life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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Don’t Compare: We Serve a Very Personal God

Read this today and thought it was too significant not to share…

In the gospel of Mark, Jesus heals the same affliction (blindness) in different ways. One person’s healing involves spit and gradual clarity, while another’s healing comes instantaneously through Jesus’s words (Mark 8:22-26, 10:46-52).

The Daily Walk Bible draws out:

“…Why the different approaches to healing? Most likely it was because Jesus’ methods were often tailor-made to the individual’s needs.

So it is with spiritual lessons God wants to teach us. God may teach your friend to depend on him through financial problems; you learn the same lesson through an illness. Another Christian learns to walk by faith in affluence; you learn it in poverty. One person learns patience through being single; another learns it through being married and having children. In each case, it is dangerous to compare – rather than commit to – God’s perfect curriculum.”

Another reason why comparison is unhealthy – even (and especially) among our Christian walks. Each person is different and God uses & teaches each person differently. One is not better than the other.

There’s another instance in Mark where a man who had just been healed from thousands of demons wants to follow Jesus, and Jesus tells him instead to “go home” and tell his family what God did for him (Mark 5:18-20). It may seem like being Jesus’ disciple was the more “glamorous” of the two options, but God had other plans for this healed man and his community that were just as important and meaningful.

I hope God will continue to teach me this lesson because I am so guilty of comparing myself to others, and also of being hurt or offended when I sense that people don’t fully approve of my life or my decisions.

I have to say, comparison can even be a problem in marriage. Dayne’s and my spiritual walks are not the same; we don’t learn the same way or grow the same way, and we’re not called to all the same things. We’re different people. For some reason, this has been more of a struggle for me to accept than for Dayne. I keep wanting us to always be on the same page, which is just impossible and a bit ridiculous.

Why does comparison steal our joy? Because we were created and designed to live our lives, not anybody else’s.

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Accepting Where God Has Placed You

Today, I:

-woke up at 4:20 a.m.
-then gave myself the liberty to sleep in til 5:50 a.m.
-took a hot shower & gloriously felt all the mucus un-clog from my sinuses for 20 minutes
-got upset because my husband left out 5.whole.things. when he went to bed last night: the remote, the throw blanket, a glass, his slippers, and a throw pillow… and the cable box was still on. Spent a lot of mental energy figuring out how to discuss this with him without throwing a tantrum or criticizing. Succeeded.
-didn’t make the bed for the 3rd day in a row
-made ham, turkey, & cheese sandwiches for my hubby & me to take to work
-toasted an Eggo waffle for breakfast, topped it with butter & syrup, and accompanied it with a tall glass of OJ
-read about Moses (Exodus 1-2)
-scrambled to get out the door on time and was thankful once again for no frost on my car
-got into work 2 minutes early
-had 6 voicemails waiting for me
-got all the mail done before the mailman came – hoorah!
-attended my first “webinar” about superior customer service. Wished it told us how to deal with crazy people
-passed up multiple opportunities to speak Spanish
-didn’t take a lunch break
-felt horrible around 12 pm
-made an impressive mountain of tissues in the trash can under my desk
-checked Pinterest for distraction when I felt like my body was going to fall apart
-was told my eyes looked “glassy” for the first time
-was told to go home after my sweet co-worker Chris felt my forehead
-got all my work done except my photocopies. I hate making photocopies.
-realized I don’t know a thing about welfare
-was told that in the event of an intruder with a firearm, I should skillfully dodge bullets while announcing the intruder over the intercom and remaining on the line with 9-1-1… can’t imagine my response being so calm & coordinated
-bawled my right eye out because something got stuck in my contact… literally had tears streaming down the right side of my face
-left work not-so-promptly at 4:05
-called my hubby 3 times in a row on the way home to complain about how lousy I felt and asked him to snuggle me when he got home
-made a doctor’s appointment for 9:45 tomorrow morning
-summoned some energy to clean & cut up celery, cucumber, lettuce, and tomato for a yummy dinner salad w/ balsamic vinaigrette

If it isn’t obvious, I’m sick. I.hate.being.sick. For a productivity addict like me, sickness feels like a prison sentence. Thankfully, Dayne hasn’t gotten it, so at least one of us can continue with normal life. As noted above, I haven’t made the bed for three days in a row – partly because I haven’t had the energy, and partly because I believe there are thousands of germs nesting in it that need to be aired out.

Anyways, it’s kind of funny that I came down with this after my last blog entry about slowing down. I’ve really had to slow down. This past weekend, which was a 3-day holiday weekend, Dayne & I spent inside doing a whole lot of nothing (video games, movies, reading, eating, sleeping). I didn’t even go to church on Sunday (Dayne went, and I was so thankful that he could still go).

When it comes down to it, I have a very hard time just taking it easy and relaxing and not getting anxious about life passing me by. I feel like I always have to be making the most of everyday, accomplishing something, doing exciting things. I don’t know where that pressure comes from, but it’s not healthy! Of course, motivation to some extent is healthy, but there is something the Old Testament is teaching me about God and everyday life. We don’t have to be meeting these huge milestones everyday for God to be working in us and accomplishing His purposes through us. A lot of God’s work in our lives is through the mundane, everyday stuff. Usually when God does call us to do big stuff, He spends a lot of time building us up for it (Noah had to build the ark before the flood, Abraham waited over 100 years to have his son, Joseph spent thirteen years imprisoned in Egypt, Moses spent forty years hiding out with shepherds before God called him to go back to Egypt & confront Pharoah, etc.). This encourages me to see the point and the glory in the everyday.

I shared this quote with Dana recently, and I’d like to share it here:

“Wherever the providence of God may dump us down, in a slum, in a shop, in the desert, we have to labour along the line of His direction. Never allow this thought — “I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly can be of no use where you are not! Wherever He has engineered your circumstances, pray.” – Oswald Chambers (emphasis mine)

Do I believe in His providence? Yes. Do I believe in His sovereignty? Yes. So then, I am okay with being sick right now, and I embrace this time of rest and taking care of my physical body. I pray that I will continue to be patient with myself and seek God out in my everyday.


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Walk, Don’t Run

I realized tonight that I am clearly in the midst of learning not to run ahead of God.

I feel like Dayne and I are on the brink… we got married, I switched jobs, we found a church, we started getting involved in some groups, we’re reading the Bible, and we’re going to be looking for a house sometime soon (God willing). Friendships and relationships have shifted, our marriage has changed as an entity and it has changed us, our calendar is suddenly empty… it’s all very new and exciting and bizarre and uncertain. There is so much potential.

This is usually the point where I run ahead of myself, of the people around me, and of God — to figure things out, close deals, move ahead, and dream big. I am a planner by nature and am not satisfied with planning a mere step ahead… I like to have at least the next 6 months figured out (it used to be more like six years, so I’ve gotten a little better).

God is teaching me something while I’m reading in Genesis about these patriarchs who walked with God daily – minute by minute, hour by hour. First – I need to slow down. And second – I need to not get ahead of myself, and especially not ahead of God.

This lesson came up in one of my readings this past week: in Genesis 16, Sarai became distressed that she & her husband, Abraham, had not had any children yet, even though God promised them descendants. So she told Abraham to sleep with her servant so that they could have children. He did, and Sarai’s servant (Hagar) had a son, and the situation caused enmity between Sarai and Hagar. Eventually, Hagar fled from Sarai’s mistreatment. Broken relationships and sin resulted from Sarai’s rushing ahead of God, which was rooted in her distrust of His plan.

I want to receive the best God has for my husband & me, and that will come as a result of seeking Him first, trusting His plan and his timing, and faithfully walking with Him.

I hope I will continue to focus on this and take things a little slower than I usually do… I know Dayne would appreciate it! And I might have time to appreciate and receive all that God’s giving me, showing me, and teaching me right now.