HELP!!!! I have three children & from time to time, I get these texts, calls & messages. Most of the time, they need me to drive them somewhere, buy them something or listen for venting purposes. One of the things I’m learning is to think about solutions that are internal rather than external.
It seems to me that it’s a common perception that our needs & struggles are externally resolved when the real solution lies on the inside with how we see & think about things.
Here are some things to consider:
- Do I not like my neighbor because they look successful or because I’m insecure?
- Is that co-worker really that obnoxious or are my internal judgements looking for reasons to justify my cold disdain?
- Does that person get under your skin because they touch the internal hotspots that need divine attention & healing?
Before we think in terms of external solutions, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to adjust our internal assumptions.
This morning seems to be fraught with “oooooops!” and not just a few. Some of these mishaps are relatively minor, but when they stack up, things can get “challenging.” I’m hoping that the entirety of this day isn’t a string of consecutive mishaps. But even if this day goes from “oooops to oooops”, rather than “glory to glory”, I’m deciding to go with trusting God more than dwelling in the frustration.
When I write this, it sounds good, but the individual decisions to walk out this mindset is where the rubber hits the road. And this is where the step by step reliance on the Holy Spirit moves into execution mode more than speculation & ethereal platitudes.
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, but feel free to join me in making these decisions to trust God throughout your day today!
We all deal with disappointment, feeling let down & even betrayed. It’s not an issue of “if” you’ll experience these things, but moreso “when” and most importantly what we do with this stuff. While this week for me has had some awesome high points and causes to celebrate, it’s also had a fair share of disappointments. So what do we do with this stuff? The Bible is replete with examples of people dealing with disappointment, feeling let down & betrayed – Judas, Joseph, Leah & Moses are a few names that immediately come to mind.
A few helpful points:
- remember the lesson of the pearl: it’s beauty started with an irritant
- sometimes disappointment can show us that maybe we’ve had the wrong focus – looking at people, situations or events more than keeping our eyes on God; this reminds me of when the angel spoke with the women at Jesus’ tomb in Luke 24:5, “Why do you search for the living among the dead?”
- redemption is the outcome when we put discouragement & let down in God’s hands
- let’s encourage each other to remain faithful to God, knowing that God is doing divine things of which we are unaware (Rom 8:28-29 – all things work together for good to those who love God, . . . . )
Sometimes I get frustrated with God, not so much because I’m not getting my way (that was a problem when I was younger), but moreso because of some struggles I have with God about faith & trust. As followers of Jesus, we know that we’re supposed to trust God & keep the faith, but sometimes this gets tricky. It’s in those “sometimes” that I can get frustrated and even mad with God because it can get really difficult and seemingly impossible. Maybe you’ve had some similar challenges in your walk with God pertaining to a health or relationship situation. Maybe you’ve struggled with God about some decisions or the direction you’re supposed to go with your career, education or family consideration.
The Bible is full of people who have been in some of the exact same situations with which we may be struggling. So here are some thoughts that can be helpful:
- timing: sometimes God does last minute work that can be really unnerving – consider when Abraham was about to sacrifice Issac in Gen 22
- bits and pieces: I often find that even though God knows the beginning & the end of stuff, we frequently find ourselves in the “need to know” zone, a little bit at a time and not the giant picture – consider Moses and the incremental nature of how God used him to liberate the Israelites from slavery in Egypt
- honesty with commitment is important for intimacy: you can be honest with God about your frustrations without putting your entire relationship with God at risk – consider Job
- endurance & persistance: the Apostle Paul comes to mind when I think about a biblical example of what endurance looks like, even finishing an extremely well run race with getting his head chopped off
- community: the Bible is full of examples of people encouraging each other in staying obedient to & passionate for God – consider when Jonathon encouraged David about being the king of Israel in 1 Sam
God makes a way when there seems to be no way so be sure to share this with a friend to spread some encouragement! 🙂
Do you ever get frustrated with yourself?
I recently returned from leading our first team trip for Saving Moses and it’s been a little tricky getting back in the groove. A few things that I’m presently working through include the regular jet lag sleep challenges, the normal digestion excitement and catching up on missed sleep. Additionally, I’m trying to process some of my experiences and this has proven to be rather difficult.
When I get in these kinds of mindsets, I often get impatient with myself and frustrated that I can’t seem to get back to my regular groove, which only makes things more frustrating & difficult. Thankfully, God had a nice chat with me this morning and reminded me of a few helpful things:
- temporary – life can change is big & dramatic ways, but more often, our current situations are temporary & are changing incrementally, even when we don’t know it
- be gentle – I can often be harsh & impatient with myself, which often makes things worse; when I’m gentle, gracious and forgiving with myself, I seem to adapt and grow more easily
- now – being present today, in Denver, Colorado with my kids, husband & church family is very good
Have you ever struggled to pray because of various distractions? This morning happened to be one of those times for me & that can be really frustrating because if you’re like me, you really want to pray! So perhaps I can give you a few ideas that could be helpful:
- tell God that you’re having a hard time praying because of the various distractions. I say something like this, “God, I really want to pray right now, but I’m having a hard time because I find myself to be distracted with all kinds of things, some things important & some things not so much.”
- sometimes I will write down what those distractions are – maybe making a to-do list, or briefly writing out the various things about which I’m concerned
- take a pause and listen / wait – often after I do the first 2 things above, it gets easier for me to pray, listen and to be more present with God than the various distractions
- don’t get way frustrated with yourself – commit to have some prayer time in your life everyday so that on those few days that seem to filled with distractions, you can be certain that there will also be some totally amazing times with God that will be nothing short of glorious – all realtionships can have some ups & downs
- sometimes it helps me to review a verse or passage from the Bible that has seemed to really capture my attention & thoughts – in these times, I give myself to exploring this verse or passage with God & I find these times to be particularly rich with God’s presence
Over the last month of so, I’ve been really purposeful about asking God for input on a very specific request. I’ve made intentional time & been very fervent about my request to God, but I’ve been rather frustrated thus far with what seems to be me to a lack of God’s input. I was sharing my frustration with some friends this morning & one of them had an interesting observation. After graciously listening to me express my frustrations, she simply said, “Maybe God’s answer isn’t for now. Maybe you’re not hearing an answer from God at this time because the answer is for a later time & not now.”
The thought that God has timing for the answers for our requests is a super helpful insight & has really encouraged my faith & trust in God. While we may want God’s answers now, God knows exactly when to answer our requests, as well as how 🙂
Life has LOTS of distractions. Since i’ve sit down to write this blog, i’ve erased it 3 times, turned on my itunes, checked my blackberry, told David to be nice to Benji while playing chess & thought about the funny story of construction men looking in my window after i gave birth to Benji (its funny now but it wasn’t at the time).
Focus is a big deal. Right now, there’s alot of bad news you could focus on or you could chose to keep your eyes on God. I find that when i focus on God, its easier to give myself to Him, even during the busy-ness of the day. When i get my eyes & thoughts on other things, like concerns, worries, uncertainties, people frustrations, work issues, etc, i find that my heart gets jittery & unsettled. I pray that you would have God’s grace to give Him your focus throughout your day, its activities & demands.
ever feel like you should be in a circus act for plate spinning?
Everyone has busy lives – sometimes less, sometimes more. Today, is a plate spinning day for me, so i think its even more essential than normal to consider what Paul says in Phil 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
For every concern, frustration, request we pass along to God, and He tells us to do this, please be sure to include a thanksgiving as well. Then allow God’s peace to guard your heart & your mind. Then spin away baby & trust God to help you spin & catch a plate if it falls. 😉