Tag Archives: God’s will

Does God Owe Me?

Does God Owe Me

Have you ever thought God owes me ?

1 Peter 1:14-16 has been hitting me and those near me so hard that I feel like I could write about it for a few weeks! I’m thankful that the Spirit is pushing this so hard in my life and pray that I will continue to be open to God’s will.

Anywho.

Some of you out there are very righteous people. Not self-righteous, but righteous. Your heart truly seeks God; God’s word plus His Spirit lead you to a righteous life.

You don’t ask for much. You ask on behalf of others: help them get that job, heal them by your power, bring them to a saving knowledge of Your son. For yourself, you don’t pray for wordly things: you pray to grow deeper, gain wisdom, want what God wants.

So when that one little thing comes along that you’re really passionate about or that one big thing is taken away, it’s tempting to think, What!? God owes me! I’ve lived a righteous life. I always seek Him! Why me!?

But this is not Biblical. The Bible doesn’t say, Be righteous, and then God owes you. Live a sacrificial life, and God will make sure you get that one thing you want.

Sounds kinda nice, huh?

We don’t live a righteous life and then get served by God.

Holy God served us first and calls us to a life of holiness.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,  since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,  knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:14-21, ESV)

I’m learning this with my children. Just because I try to live my life for God and to serve His people, it doesn’t mean that my kids will know Jesus. It doesn’t mean that my children will choose to love people. I certainly can’t just coast. My flesh wants to abdicate their care on someone else, and yet God knew all that about me and still put His very own Son in my judgment place.

And I want – I long – to be like Him.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4, ESV)

Lord, align my heart with yours so that I want what you want. Thank you for showing me that I owe you my very life, but you’ve given me grace so that I do not live out of fear or guilt. But in freedom, I hold out my children, my marriage, my failures, and my flesh. Take them and refine them.

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What to Get, What to Reject

Not only do I hear this from others, but I also seek this answer myself,

How do I know what to do?

Sometimes, I am so consumed with the answer to this question in a situation that I am frozen. Halted. Pondering all of the pros, cons, working every scenario out in my head. As if my risk analysis could lead me to a satisfying life.

It can’t.

Only Christ satisfies.

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,  since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,  knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:15-21, ESV)

So I see first of all that I need to reject what I used to live for. Maybe that’s fame, money, status, popularity, a hot bod, knowledge, position, things.

We turn away from these things because our holy God became our substitute and won us back to the Father. So we seek a different life. A life that exists to glorify God and show Him to others.

In Proverbs 4, some more insight is shared on what things we should seek and what things we should cast off. We are told over and over again to pay attention to these words, to listen, accept, take hold, not forsake, hold on, guard, keep your eyes fixed. And the message is? Seek wisdom. Reject unrighteousness.

Notice what we can get rid of:

  • wealth v.7
  • evil acts and associations vv. 14-16
  • cheap emotions v.23
  • gossip, foul words v.24
  • dwelling on the past v.25

It seems from this proverb that wisdom and righteousness are intertwined – what are your thoughts on this? Do you agree? If you agree with your head, do you think your actions agree as well? (I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!)

Let’s Kick Comparison to the Curb (this might involve Facebook)

After seeing my friend Mel’s cute picture of tapas on Facebook with the caption, “Date night!”, I was a little jealous. Emma was very newly born, and tapas seemed sooo date night: you know, dim lighting, ultra chic people, fancy heals, Sangria or Spanish wine. Tapas.

So when I saw her at church, I asked, “How were the tapas?” (First thing out of my mouth.)

She laughed and said, “Good… It’s funny how Facebook makes everything seem great. You saw my pic and thought, ‘Tapas!’, but really they were good but overpriced.”
Then she proceeded to tell me about how they decided to go somewhere after dinner, and they ended up walking too far (and not enjoying it), etc.

And there I was coveting that date. Because of Facebook.

What you see of others on Facebook only gives you a hint about them.

Even those who are pretty open on Facebook, whether you like it or not, are not revealing everything about themselves.

Yes, part of it is that we all want to be perceived a certain way: maybe wise or funny or athletic or political or perfect. And so we post things that fall in line with our Facebook agenda.

But the other part is this: Comparing yourself or your situation to someone else’s is unbiblical and unproductive. Many people say “Comparison is the thief of all joy,” and I absolutely  agree with that.

You cannot compare yourself to others and also be satisfied in Christ.

God has a unique will for each of our lives, and that will may include being rich. Or poor. Being healthy. Or chronically ill. Being married. Or single. Having children. Or not.

And His will for us is intended to bring glory to Himself – not to make you happy or comfortable.

We don’t get to choose, but we do get to give God the glory for our existence and all that we have.

Not only is comparing ourselves to others absolutely against God’s design, but it’s quite useless because:

1) What we see of others is only a shadow of who they are. You don’t know their deepest fears and regrets. You don’t see the aching of their soul. Only God has that knowledge and in fact is in control of those things, and that’s why He is their comforter.

2) You are not them. (Your spouse is not their spouse, your friend is not their friend, etc.) Even if you did have “that certain something” that you see in them – whether it’s a possession or countenance or externals – you would not have it like they have it. Your soul is different from theirs. Things react differently for you than for them.

3) Comparing wastes a lot of time, energy, and heart that you should be using on the life and ministry that God gave you.

God has a purpose for your life. He designed you perfectly for it.

With whom or with what do you need to cast off comparison? How can you use that time and energy to respect your husband, nurture relationships, share the gospel, and love a hurting friend? What do you need to give up to kick comparison out (Facebook? Work statistics? Your children’s accomplishments?)

Write it down. Tell the one you’re closest to. Pray about it. Thank God that He made you you and put you right where you are.

Making Peace with Being a Working Mom

Can I just say it: It’s HARD being a working mom!

But I don’t mean that it’s not hard being a stay at home mom.

What I do mean is that my situation is that I’m a working mom. And I find it incredibly difficult.

Sometimes.

Last year, at this time, I let you know that I was leaving my job. I had some part-time work that was going to fill in the income for a while, and then we were going to try to make it with a stay at home mommy. Which is what I wanted and what my heart still longs for.

Well, I ended up going back to work.

Are you confused yet?

There are many circumstances that went into us making the decision for me to quit my job, one of which was income taxes, another – larger – issue was childcare. Our regular babysitter was starting to be negligent with my son Samuel, and it wore on me more than anything else. When you work part-time, it is very difficult to find childcare. The providers just want (understandably) full-time kids.

So we made the decision. We thought it would work!

But financially, it just really wouldn’t.

However, God has been helping me come to terms with being a working mom. If it is not possible for me to be a stay at home mom, and we truly think we’re following His will, then perhaps His will for me is to be a working mom!

Maybe it’s not the choice I want to make, but it is His plan that I have to trust.

And He has made the working mom “pieces” all fit together with the least amount of pain possible.

Examples:

  • The filming schedule I was on was less hours that I had worked at my other job. So as my filming was wrapping up, I inquired if they would accept me back at that amount of time per week. I had no idea if they would say Yes, but they did! It’s not a huge difference in time, but it makes a huge difference at home.
  • By His grace, we found a babysitter who is willing to work part-time, and she is sooooo good with our son. I’m so thankful for her.
  • I finally recognized that God blessed me with the ability to make a good income in a short amount of time. Financially, I could have to work 40+ hours a week, but he made it possible for me to work at 15 hours a week and still have enough for our family to give, save, and spend as we are led.

When I talk to stay at home mommies, it’s still hard for me not to covet their situation. But now that I have accepted that this is God’s plan for our family – at this time in our lives – I have so much more peace about it.

However, I’m not looking forward to going back to work after Emma is born. I remember how hard that was with Samuel, and I just don’t want to do it!

Will you remind me then what God is teaching me now?

The Weapon for Fighting Your Doubts

What happens when you trust God, are taking big risks for Him, and feel like you’re not seeing results?

This is something I’m struggling with right now. Even though I know that God’s plan and timing are perfect. And I should know, I’ve seen it played out over and over again in my own life. Even though I know that nothing is guaranteed and that a life of faith also brings certain sufferings and prejudices, I still want to see something happen with all that I feel I’m giving to God.

And when I read that last sentence, I feel pretty pathetic – because I know I’m not giving everything I have and everything I should. And I most certainly am not giving anything compared to true Christian martyrs.

What’s worse is I usually don’t struggle with insecurity in my faith. So why now?

Why do I know God’s will in my life, am following my husband’s leading in that will as he follows the Lord’s, and I still feel anxious? Anxious that no growth will occur?

I can think of at least two reasons.

1. Faith – I am lacking faith.

Certainly, we always have room to grow in the faith department, but I am at a place spiritually where I am not fully trusting God, and I want to trust myself instead.

And here’s the important thing to know: When our faith starts to shake, we have the greatest opportunity for it to grow. Here’s how I know:

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:2-8, NIV, emphasis mine)

2. The Enemy hates it when Christians stick their necks out for God.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8, NIV)

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NIV, emphasis mine)

And so I will fight this enemy and my lack of faith with God’s own Word, knowing that His word is true and good and perfect.

Photo by sardinelly

 

Gifts Abound

Right now, as I type, God is answering prayers in my life. And I’m humbled.

They aren’t what you might think of as the biggie prayers. But they are important to me and my family.

I am not extremely superstitious. However, in the last week, certain things have happened so specifically that we knew God was opening doors. Have you ever had that happen (do tell!)? It was kinda creepy…

And I’m scared.

Scared because I will lose control. The vicegrip I have on security – it will be gone.

Scared because I will fail. And I will be the one to blame.

Scared because it will be new. And the old – the comfortable? – it will be gone.

Scared because I will have to trust God. And trust my husband. And I’m used to trusting me.

So while I’m sitting here just thanking God for caring about the little things in our life, I’m also shaking in my boots. Peace is there, but courage is lacking. Could you pray for courage for me?

Courage that I will trust?

Courage that I will be able to say good-bye to my comfort and my control?

Thanks.

P.S. Sorry to be so cryptic, but nothing is completely decided yet. I will definitely share at a later date. I promise!

I Wasn’t Listening

I have been reminded lately that my husband is a source of wisdom in my marriage. Not reminded in the sense that he finally did something wise for a change. No. He’s wise, but I don’t pay attention to his wisdom.

I read a blog post from my friend Holly on the busy-ness she struggles with and how she should “[trust] that [her hubby] hears from the Lord” about things going on in her life.

Then, I was reading yesterday about community, and the question was posed – Are you committed to and experiencing the personal transformation that God has planned for [the redemptive relationships already in your life, like marriage, family, small group, etc.]?

Um. Committed yes. In theory. Experience is where it’s breaking down. Why? Because I’m not looking at my marriage as a source of hearing about God’s will.

Which is pretty dumb because of what God tells us through Paul in Ephesians 5:

Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as also Christ is the head of the church – he himself being the savior of the body. But as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the word, so that he may present the church to himself as glorious – not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless. (NETBible, Ephesians 5:22-28)

God ordained my husband to be as much like Jesus to me as is earthly possible!

. . . (let that sink in, ladies. And men.)

So do you think God leads me through my husband? If I’m submitting to that leadership, then yes. What happens if I’m not even looking to him for that leadership? I will look to someone or something else:

  • myself
  • another man
  • success
  • material possessions
  • other women in my life (who are great for spiritual growth but are not the “head”)
  • fulfillment in being “a good mom” or “a good person”

I could go on. Couldn’t you?

So. When I realized that I actually have not been submitting to my husband in this way, I tried to make a change.

  • When he told me I can be negative and critical, I tried to listen and not be defensive.
  • When he and I were looking at our finances to consider a life change, I trusted his conclusions. And I didn’t fight them to make my way “fit”.
  • When he recommended that I take some alone time to have time with God (and not blog), I took him up on it.

And this is only this week. What a breath of fresh, leading air I’m smelling – ladies, it’s SO good!

What if you don’t feel your husband is in a right relationship with God to lead you? In that case, I have to ask a follow up question: Are you in any kind of emotionally or physically abusive relationship? If so, SEEK HELP NOW. Contact your pastor or another family of God who can help you and point you to professional Christian counseling. You need to be safe and in a healthy place before anything else. Next up for everyone, PRAY for your husband to have men leading him in his life, and barring abuse, follow and respect your husband. It may be sloppy while he’s growing, but God is unendingly faithful.

I’m so blessed with a husband who prays for me daily and leads me in humble acknowledgment of the responsibilities God has given him. I’m no dummy, though. I know myself. This will continually be a challenge for me. And so I pray.

Lord, give me a heart that submits first and foremost to you. Bless my husband to listen to you and submit to you daily. I pray for a listening heart, a learning heart. A heart for you.
It’s WEDDED WEDNESDAY! Bloggers can link up any marriage post during the week. If you’d like to spread the love, add the button to your post, but please link back to me somehow. Button code:

Gonna Get My Bliss On

Remember when I won my ticket to Relevant in October (was it that long ago already!)? I was beyond thrilled and got started on exactly the right (or left ;)) foot with my blog.

So a few weeks ago, I very harmlessly entered a contest to win a ticket to Blissdom, a blogging conference that also seems incredible, but for different reasons. You could enter the contest, hosted by One2OneNetwork as many times as you wanted, but I just entered once (3 entries).

Imagine my utter, total, explicit, heart-pounding shock when I saw the preview line in an email telling me that I WON THE GRAND PRIZE – ALL CONFERENCE FEES, HOTEL, AND AIRFARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you One2OneNetwork! I am so thrilled and will represent you well!

Yes. Woah. My heart is still beating 2 days later.

I just want to ask: God, Almighty Wonder, why do you choose me for this? You obviously want me to do something here for your glory. What is it?

I beg You to open my eyes, clean out my ears, an unfurl my fists so that I can be your vessel in this digital place that now beckons me often.

This Pastor’s Wife’s Purpose, Question 3

Remember that journey we’re on to discover our specific purpose? Here we are again! I can’t say it enough – we are here to bring God glory.

But how are we doing this? Or not doing it?

On to Question 3: Where are there gaps in your life? A longing for doing something differently? Or doing something new?

  1. Marriage – This one is totally my fault. I have an awesome marriage, and my husband is my best friend. But I haven’t been investing enough in our marriage. After I won the ticket to Relevant, I spent the next week getting ready for the conference while Brad was ill and Samuel had a cold. Then we all got sick. Brad and I haven’t been getting good quality time. The lack of quality time lingers around like a fight that never happened, doesn’t it?
  2. Spiritual Investments – This is what I call any actions I take towards people I care about with the hope of sharing about Jesus’s saving work on their behalf. This is one of my greatest passions and is usually in the “I’m excited about…” category. But, again, busyness threw off my usual priorities. I feel focused on myself rather than focused on how God wants to use me.
  3. Prayer – I love praying, but I am terrible at it. I blame my doerness. It’s really hard for me to sit still and talk to God. But when I do, it is so amazing and fulfilling. He already knows me, and He’s there waiting, but I keep passing Him by saying, “Later God – I’m busy right now, can’t you see!?” If I don’t spend time talking to God, how can I hear from Him about my purpose?
  4. Coaching – Brad coined this term (for me anyway) this year for any relationships where we talk through spiritual things together. For example, Laura, my accountability diva, and I are in a coaching relationship. Another word for this is discipleship.
    Laura and I meet once a week unless something comes up, and we can just see God’s sovereignty in pairing us up. This is going pretty awesome, I would say (wouldn’t you, Laura?), but I desire more coaching relationships. For some reason, without having any authority at all, being a pastor’s wife means people listen to you. I don’t know why, but they do. So I want to be a good steward of this position and make sure I’m actually telling people things that matter. I haven’t been taking next steps in the opportunities that are in front of me.
  5. My Job – It’s easy to be excited about the shiny new things, but it’s a lot harder to be excited about the things that require endurance. And my job is no exception.
    I work for an amazing company that has blessed me to be able to work part-time from home. But because my heart right now is really with Samuel, it’s hard for me to always have an attitude of joy about my work – well, not about my work, but about working. I like what I do, but my heart is just torn. I know all of you moms feel my pain.

As you can see, I am not presenting myself as a living sacrifice right now. But I’m encouraged that some tweaks in my routine (courtesy of Amy Andrews’ eBook Tell Your Time) might pull my priorities to front and center.

Now it’s your turn! Where do you see needed improvement in your life? Share with us.

Here’s how:

  1. If you’re a blogger – blog your answer and link us up to it!
  2. If you don’t have a blog, add your answer to the comments.

Again, Lord, I see my need for You, and how I am reveling in myself instead of You. Align my heart with yours so that I naturally desire to do Your will in my life. Please bless my friends on their purpose journey.

This Ducky or That Ducky

My little man Samuel is starting to cruise – you know, hold on to things (namely mama) for dear life while he wobbly uses his feet to get somewhere.

When he’s on his play mat, he loves to walk over to his jumperoo and spin the duckies. He has been spinning these duckies from the other side of the jumperoo for months, but now he gets to enjoy them from the other side. This time, as he was digging his toes into the ground so he could continue the spinning, he looked over his shoulder and saw his shelf of toys. And on that shelf? Another ducky. A different one – this one is fluffy, sits in an eggshell, and has a squeaker.

But he kept spinning the jumperoo duckies while he snuck longing glances at fluffy ducky. And it made me wonder – am I like that? Is God leading me to something else while I sit here spinning the duckies I’ve outgrown?

Finally, he took the leap and made the turn. Then, he postured his body and face in a way that made me laugh so hard I had to hide it so I wouldn’t throw him off of his target. He stole a glance at the spinning duckies before taking that first step toward the fluffy duck.

After a couple of baby steps mostly in the right direction, he was very close. But instead of stepping one more time to clinch the ducky, he leaned waaay forward and grabbed it, stuffing it in his mouth and toppling to the ground. His face looked stunned until I squeaked the squeaker, and then he realized why he had taken those steps and risked the fall.

Where are you right now?

  • Are you stuck spinning the duckies when you should be taking steps in another direction?
  • Are you ready to take those next steps, but you’re hanging onto the old because it’s what you know?
  • Are you on the journey, almost there?
  • Are you grabbing hold of it in wonderful anticipation?
  • Are you taking a spill and wondering where you went wrong?
  • Are you tasting the sweetness of being on God’s path for you?

Wherever you are, take that risky step.