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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Unity & Trust, Peace & Joy

Here I am again, a day later, blogging.

I guess sometimes you need to vent about something to feel right again.

Life is good today. While work was a bit rough and I felt a bit off all day, there were some definite bright spots in between 8am & 4pm. For example: chatting with Dana in the morning, getting some solid work done, finally receiving the school’s updated phone list (yippee! Seriously), and my friend Ashlee bringing me a cranberry-orange smoothie from Panera and chatting with me at the end of the day.

I also got a good start this morning with my Daily Walk Bible. I’m up to Genesis 15, and it’s really cool to see some themes start to emerge:

  • Yesterday we studied the building of the Tower of Babel, when God noticed the power of man’s UNITY and pride and decided to disperse them and confuse their languages (Genesis 11). It was interesting to ponder how we are still in a state of confusion and dispersion today, which leads to a lot of worldwide misunderstanding and conflict. The most fascinating part is recognizing that we have greater unity in Christ than we’d ever have in human unity. God’s plan all along is for a more perfect unity through Himself.
  • Today we studied God’s call to Abram to pick up his family and his possessions and move to a land that God would show him (Genesis 12). What?! This proposition would never fly in Lisa Land. I’ve noticed that I am far less TRUSTing than Abram. I am a planner through and through, and the idea of starting something so revolutionary while only knowing the first step throws me because it is so counter-intuitive to me. However, this is the FAITH God calls us to have! “…Without faith it is impossible to please God…” (Hebrews 11:6). Will I recognize my lack of faith and move forward in complete trust in God? I could think of one major area in particular where I struggle with this: our search for a house. I was thankful for the opportunity to talk this through with Dayne tonight, especially because he’s reading the same passages each day with me. I think we have a fresh perspective on our house hunt in 2012, and I think I have the motivation to be more calm and at peace and patient with wherever God leads us.

After work, Dayne was supposed to be out til 7, so I actually summoned the energy to go run some errands! I read a great article today entitled, “You Never Marry the Right Person“, and was so excited about it that I decided to buy the book at Barnes & Noble: The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. CANNOT. WAIT. to read it. I also picked up The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht, because I read great reviews of it and have been wanting to read a new novel. And I bought a new journal for notetaking during sermons, prayer requests, etc. for 2012. I write everything down.

I *also* ran to Target and finished buying my husband’s surprise birthday presents!! His birthday is February 6th.

…Feel free to leave him love notes, as long as they’re not too lovey.

The day settled with cheeseburgers and corn for dinner, made by my hubby, with our conversation on what we’ve been reading in the Bible and the catch-up of our days. In case you’re wondering, Dayne had a good day, too. I’m proud of the fantastic job he does at work and thrilled that he is such a great provider. I’m a blessed lady.

Well, my blog friends, that is about all I wanted to say. I needed an encouraging day pretty badly, and God gave me one. I am thankful for my many blessings tonight, and I even have the energy to stay up a little later so that I can write this blog and start my new journal.

I hope you’re all feeling some peace and joy today, too — though those words are often on Christmas cards, I am feeling them ever-so-strongly tonight.


Pinch Me.

Well, I have completed my first week of full-time work EVER. Hurrah!!!!

I know it’s only been a week, but I love my job and feel that it’s the perfect fit. My mother-in-law emailed me earlier this week to tell me she hoped I would “continue to have a good feeling about God leading [me] to this job”. That phrase stuck in my head because that’s exactly what I believe! During the last few months, I had no idea how God was protecting and preparing me and orchestrating everything to bring me to this job. And I feel certain that He brought me to this school for a reason, and He is establishing and growing my relationships there – as well as growing me personally through this job – for a reason.

I love seeing how such a big, innovative cyber school works. I love shuffling and organizing papers, greeting families, and talking to friendly people on the phone. I love having a fast computer, two monitors, learning how to print labels, mail merge, and use Excel. I love the routine as well as the daily interactions with members of a huge staff (something I’ve never been a part of before). I love being able to be the first smile people see when they walk in the door. During my last job as an innkeeper, and continuing in my current job as a receptionist, I’m realizing that I have strong hospitality instincts. I don’t know if I necessarily have the spiritual gift of hospitality, but I love welcoming people and making sure they feel comfortable and at home.

I wanted to write this post, basically, to rave about how good God is and how unbelievable my life feels right now. I am so happy. I have never, ever felt completely content and purposeful in my career, and I finally feel like I have landed where I am supposed to be. I finally have full-time hours, benefits, responsibility, appreciation, and interaction — all in one place. I have loved my previous jobs in other ways, but I have never felt like I could actually settle in any of them. I feel like I’m home in my life – married, in a great full-time job with a wonderful staff, living in a nice apartment – and sometimes it feels a little too good to be true.

You know when you’re having a great dream where everything’s going right (you’re on a date with Johnny Depp and you’re really developing a connection, for instance), and you suddenly become aware that it’s actually a dream… so everything becomes a little less good while you’re waiting to wake up and go back to Depp-less life as you know it?

That’s kind of how I feel – like I’m smack in the middle of dinner with Johnny Depp.

But instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop, I’m going to be thankful; believing that God is incredibly gracious and loving, I’m going to fully appreciate where I am right now. Life is such that we have to appreciate the good times as we experience them because nothing is ever guaranteed. So I choose to blossom where I’m planted! And let God be glorified through my joy.