Bible · Calm · Chaos · christian · Christian Devotion · faith · peace · purpose · Spirit · Uncategorized · worry

The Calm in Chaos

Calm in Chaos

Have you ever had one problem and made an effort to resolve the problem, only to find a bigger one develop?

That happened to us. Our dishwasher broke. We bought a new one. I woke up to puddles all around the dishwasher, but I hadn’t even run the new dishwasher yet. It didn’t seem to be a big deal until we went to the first level and noticed that water was pouring onto the carpet from the ceiling, and the wall and carpet were destroyed. ServPro has been here daily to remove our hardwood floors, sink and drywall. It’s a real mess. To make matters worse, nobody wants to take responsibility for the mistake. The installation people say it’s a defective dishwasher, and the dishwasher company says it’s the installation company’s fault.

My husband and I have been on the phone and sent numerous emails, trying to get the issue resolved. Of course, I just want our home restored back to the condition it was in before we got the new dishwasher. Sometimes, life is just like that. We have a problem, and on the journey to resolve the issue, other problems and challenges arise. What do we do in these situations?

One major thing that I’ve noticed is that patience is very important. We want things resolved quickly, but the truth is, some things just take time—sometimes, a lot of time. We just have to go through the process. If we rush to try to fix it, we aren’t allowing God to fix it. When He does a thing, He does it well.

I was at the point of almost wanting to yell at an impolite customer service representative. It may have been very justifiable to get angry, but my lack of self-control and patience could’ve had a bad outcome for us. Remember in Numbers when Moses was in the wilderness with the Israelites? God told him to speak to the rock and water would spring forth. However, Moses got angry with the people and struck the rock (and water rushed out).

God gave Moses clear instructions, and he disobeyed them. God also gives us clear instructions as to how to conduct our lives in His Word. In the midst of our issue or problem, we can’t justify our behavior based on someone else’s bad conduct or actions. In Moses’ case, he was frustrated by the people’s complaining. I’ve been frustrated with the dishwasher and service people. Think about it. What are you angry or frustrated about? It doesn’t matter what it is. There is still no excuse. God’s Word calls us to be patient and longsuffering.

Moses also took credit for water coming out of the rock. God is the one who provided the miracle. We have to think about it? Our way out of problems and issues in life is Him. When there is a solution provided, He deserves the credit.

When we have problems, we have an opportunity to show others the love of Christ. Instead of me angrily going off about the problem, I should’ve been peaceful and patient.

Moses and His people never saw the Promised Land in Moses’ time because of his disobedience, pride and anger. We have to be careful not to make mistakes in the midst of problems that can put us in a much worse situation.

I’m resolved to work through this dishwasher fiasco with the love of Christ anchoring my feelings in the right place. As a side note, it looks like some repairs and remodeling that we’ve been putting off can finally be resolved. If we stop to meditate on His Word and His will in the midst of chaos, He will show us the good that can come out of any seemingly bad situation. Chaos can catapult us into greater. Don’t trust me on it; trust Him!

Trusting Him with you,

MaRita

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Bible · christian · Christian Devotion · Employment · purpose · Uncategorized

Working with Purpose

 

“90% of adults spend half their waking lives doing things they would rather not be doing at places they would rather not be.”

Why We Work, September 2015 (Simon & Schuster/TED)

I ran across this article about the reasons why we work, and overall, the statistics are daunting.  Many people aren’t spending most of their time on earth doing things that they find meaningful, fulfilling, and engaging.  However, the reality of the situation is that if we don’t work, we don’t eat, right? (2 Thessalonians 3:10)  While a small percentage of us have jobs that we find meaningful, most don’t. How can we navigate through life when, out of necessity, we have to do things that we don’t want or like to do? How can we push through everyday tasks when we don’t feel like they’re part of our purpose?

When I was young, I remember my father having us help him to take large stones from one side of our pond to the other.  We carried heavy stones, loaded them into a row boat, and unloaded them, only to carry them up a hill to their final destination.  I had no idea what my father intended, but when the task was over, the landscaping looked beautiful. We all felt like the effort had been worth it, but we didn’t have the vision or insight to see what our father saw.  I’m convinced that sometimes life can be like this very simple illustration.

We have to trust that God knows our desire to please Him and to fulfill His purpose in us.  When we have a heart for Him, regardless of what our immediate placement is, He can use us and fulfill His purpose in us. It’s always toughest when we can’t see what’s up the road and we don’t understand the whys.  I know that I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and push the panic button more than a time or two when things just didn’t make sense. However, we can’t cave in to what we see. When we do this, we have the inclination to sin. We want relief so we gravitate towards what we think is gratifying. For example, gossiping, sexual sin, alcohol or drug abuse, negative attitudes, bitterness, resentment, etc. can be a result of us caving to our feelings and not clinging to His Word.

One verse that I live my life by is found in John 15:2. Jesus says, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes so that it may bear more fruit.” Many times we might think about bearing fruit by simply imagining all that we can and will do for others, but I think it’s more.  We have to mediate and reflect about ourselves first. I’ve had to ask myself, what is your relationship with Christ bearing in you? We must ask ourselves daily if we are being obedient to His Word. Are we loving another? Do we have peace and joy? Are we patient, forgiving, kind, gentle, good? Do we have self-control? And, if we don’t have love, how can we have any of the other fruit?

Fulfilling our purpose doesn’t always mean leaving our jobs to do something else. Sometimes we have to stay right where we are, and it can feel wrong but be right in the Lord’s plan for our lives. Part of our pruning process may involve doing things that we don’t understand, but if we always keep our hearts and minds in sync with God’s plan, we will have peace and find purpose in any place in our lives.

Our fulfillment and joy has to be found in relationship with the Lord first. Period. Any other order is out of order. We don’t do God a favor when we go to church, read our Bibles, or give service to others. We do these things out of our love for him and our desire to please Him, but God is pleased when we trust Him and obey His Word. This seems simple but can be very challenging. There is always the temptation to put other things before Him, but worship has be a lifestyle. We have to lift Him up and seek to please Him. When we commune with Him, the evidence of what’s within us will flow outward to others.

People can feel the authenticity of those who are in fellowship with Christ. They light up their jobs. They brighten gloomy situations. They are positive but real. They are quick to listen and slow to speak. They are compassion, but stand for injustice and avoid cliques. They don’t brag about the good they do, but they do good. When we have a heart for Christ and a Christ-like attitude, we are working with purpose and on the mission that God has given us, regardless of our station in life.

I pray that today God will supernaturally reveal His purpose in where He has you right now. Psalm 119:105 lets us know that His Word is light to our path and a lamp to our feet. In the dark places, He will show us how to proceed and help us to work toward our divine calling.

Praying with you now and always,

MaRita

 

Christian Devotion · Uncategorized

The Breakup

how-to-breakup

I’m ready to break up.  Maybe a trial separation. A divorce might be too final for the relationship we have. After all, we’ve been together for most of my life. One of my best memories of my silent partner is when I went to a restaurant called Farrell’s in the mall.  It was my birthday, and I was probably eight or nine.  My grandfather bought me the biggest jawbreaker I had ever seen.  I nursed the thing multi-colored ball, licking to see what color was next for months, savoring the sugary rock in a Ziploc bag.  Now, it seems pretty gross, but back then, I was in love.

Whether it was gathering up my change in college (when I should’ve been using it for laundry) and using it to buy pink Snowballs or cherry pies or hijacking cookies from the cafeteria, I’ve always been the one to eat dessert first. Life is short, right? To this day, I gravitate to the back of every menu first, at least scanning the desserts before I order my salad.

The thing is though, I’ve now grown tired of the stranger in my bed.  In fact, the stranger goes everywhere I go.  Whether it’s a public place or private sanctuary, the stranger won’t leave me alone.  When I walk, try on a new dress, or laugh, I feel the foreign shake of my new belly jiggle.  I try to suck it in like I always have—only now it rebels. It almost feels like it’s laughing at me for trying to suck it in.  With a belly that refuses to comply, I now have to get to the root of the problem. I must kick out my fake friend sugar even though it has comforted me through so many valleys. Admittedly, the comfort only lasts seconds to minutes, but it has felt good while it lasted.

This morning, I began the breakup (or redefinition of our relationship) by leaving sugar out of my morning coffee.  It’s a tiny step to most, but huge for me. Sure, I’ve done it tons of times before, but like an unhealthy relationship, I’ve always run back with open arms to the wickedly tasty treat hidden in far too many things to admit.  Now, it’s different.  The stranger in my middle is screaming for change.

I searched for scriptures to comfort me.  I can do all things through Christ.  Your body is a temple and not your own.  The race isn’t given to the swift or the strong, but to those who endure to the end. These are just some of the helpful scriptures that help, but one that has always helped me to push through difficulties has been Romans12:2, which says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Before defeating any battle, we have to mentally prepare. One strategy that has been effective for me is to focus on the end goal.  I see myself without the extra weight.  It is possible. I remember seeing my book in print before it even happened. Now, I see books on the shelves, and it keeps me going.  It sounds simple, but it is powerful.  “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).

When I have the vision, I acknowledge and accept the difficulties that will come along with setting the goal. I can’t see a life without sugar, but I can see a life without a sugar addiction.  I envision a healthy relationship with food. It will help me to avoid getting taken off track by distractions and temptations. When I do eat sugar, I won’t have a feeling of failure and defeat because I have set a realistic goal and anticipated at least some of the obstacles.

Maybe your thing isn’t a sugar addiction. Maybe it’s more complicated. It might be a chemical dependency, a relationship, or other bad habit. Today is a good day to decide to break up with anything or anyone who is holding you back from being the best you that you can be.  As cheesy as it sounds, it’s true.  There is only one you.  You are special.  We can’t give our best when we are in bondage of any kind.  Christ gives us freedom, and addiction of any kind is bondage.  I might feel free the moment the sugar touches my tongue, but the effects are damaging to my mind, body and soul.  It’s this way with most of the things that can cause us to be in bondage. I dare you to test yourself. Don’t allow yourself to make excuses for your behavior.  (For example, my excuses have been things like, I’m getting older, and my metabolism has slowed down. I’ve had three kids. I’m under stress. I’m big boned. Etc., etc.)  Think past the moment and focus of the enduring effects of your decisions.  You just might just decide, like me, that it’s time for a break up.