Tag Archives: discouragement

One o’ Those

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I’ve had one of those days or maybe not so much days, but weeks. One of those days when everything I throw at the trash can (think full coffee filter. Why do I throw those things?) doesn’t actually go inside the trash can and one of those days when you look up to the sky to try to get a handle on things and breathe, but a weird worm from a nearby tree drops onto your upper lip. (Ok, that didn’t really happen, but I did visualize it happening as I looked skyward that day. I have a very active imagination that can be a pro or a con at any given time.) So as I’m walking along, wondering about weird worms, I realize so much about our day is perspective and where we place our focus. My thoughts after I missed the trash can were, “Geeeeez, isn’t anything gonna go right today??” In that moment, I felt a much gentler thought almost audibly whisper, “There are many things that have gone right today.” That whisper, I believe, is the Holy Spirit. There’s no describing it, but I’ve heard it with my heart before many times. (“You don’t have to do this.” Is one of my favorite statements the Comforter has ever made to me. That was when I thought I had to drink. A lot. That’s a previous blog post.)

When I was gently corrected and reminded of the many blessings God had poured out on my ungrateful head that day, I realized that there are only moments of discouragement. Not “bad days.” It’s unlikely that every minute of a 24-hour period could be bad. It’s only moments we, in our fleshy ways, try to make out to be worse than they truly are by focusing on those instead of the good ones.

When Jesus left this earth after being raised from the dead, He said, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 (NIV) I know I need an Advocate. Somebody who’s gonna help me out by reminding me that every little thing’s gonna be alright (some of you now have a Marley song stuck in your head now. You’re welcome.) Even on one o’ those days I throw the banana away and start to eat the peel.

Lacking Motivation

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I’ve heard it said, or sung, “Lord, I hope this day is good” and I find myself hoping the same thing today. My motivation to do anything has taken a hit lately. My body hurts. My head feels funny, and not in a good way. My face’s natural position is a frown. I have to fight to accomplish anything. I don’t wanna do anything. Meh…

And then, I took 10 minutes to yell to God for help. And all of this came to mind:

Don’t accept the thoughts the enemy is putting on you. Don’t let all that junk become who you are. It is not. When God saved you, you became flawless. There is nothing you can’t handle. You ARE motivated. You can do absolutely anything. He accepts you just as you are. Don’t put things off. “Get after it!” As someone from a previous generation might say. Smile. A frown is NOT natural. You have a LOT to smile about. No one can take what God has given to you. You are poised, confident, successful, happy, motivated, and able to accomplish all tasks set before you.

That’s truth. If you don’t recognize it and/or the lies are easier to believe, take a few minutes today to sit in silence. Be still, knowing that He is God. Listen to what He has to tell you instead of all the other garbage.

Salvation Secured

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I heard today that a lot of people, based on a certain statistic, think that Christians are just “hate-filled hypocrites”. And I’m sure that’s exactly what the enemy would have all who will listen to believe. But I have to say, and maybe it’s just because I’m one of them (one o’ them thar Christians, you know) that I don’t see any hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is defined as “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense” and some synonyms include empty talk, dishonesty, and insincerity.
I can understand how this would get annoying. After all, I get annoyed at the way some Christians act (red cup, anyone?) but in all honesty, I believe a lot of it is they aren’t secure in their salvation. I was a Christian for years and still did all kinds of things that would make a lot of church-goin’ folks blush. But here’s the deal: God didn’t lay out every part of His “moral standard” for me at that point of my journey. He knew I’d be completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t possibly live up to His idea or beliefs about who I was in Him when I was in that place. So maybe that’s what some individuals see as hypocritical. They’re living by a different code because maybe they don’t have difficulty in the same areas as you do. Their 2 X 4 is something different than yours. All that being said, the Christians I know and the ones that I hang around, know full-well of who they are. Both who they are with God and without Him. They don’t shade the truth or cover up their human tendencies and forget what Jesus did for them. They’ve accepted the fact that without God’s help, without the Creator lining up their days, that they would indeed be hypocritical. They would go back to their old ways, whether it is drugs or alcohol, or lust and sex, or finger-pointing and a judgy, critical spirit, whatever the case may be. The Christians I know are all learning to trust God in each of their personal trials. They don’t stand and say “No, I never do that and I don’t think you should either!” The Christians I know say “Oh yeah, left to my own devices, that’s exactly what I would do. Without God’s help I couldn’t make it through a day without a drink.” Or “There are times when I’m tempted to go back to the drugs, but thank God I don’t.” Because that’s not what they look to anymore. Those leave us feeling hollow, searching for more. It’s no surprise that addicts don’t keep doing the same drugs and the same amounts; it takes more. And more. Then more. Because that’s not a hole-filler. The Christians I know look to God for their help because He is our strength, the ultimate Hole-Filler, and He is their joy. They don’t feel like they’re better than everybody else. They feel very much like they are everybody else. The Christians I know have experienced the freedom that no man and no 12-step program could ever give. They are free. I am one of them.  He is my strength and He is my joy. I was addicted but now I’m not and that is because of God.  So, that being said, if people from “yesteryear” see me “nowadays” (where do these terms come from?)  then yeah, they may see a hypocrite. They may look back and remember what I used to do and what I used to be, but that’s not me now. And it’s not the Christians I know.

Multi-Colored Straight Jacket

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I’m exhausted. Yeah, I said it. I’m not one to complain, I don’t think…I am one to overanalyze and pick apart to decipher what’s what and how I could possibly improve. In my prayer this morning, I told God all the things on my mind. And by things, I mean heavy things (how the church will impact our community) and little things (the pain in my elbow). I sit and wonder (about the little things ironically enough) if God healed us, then why does my arm hurt? I have faith. I have hope. I have love. I believe He can do it, so why on this Earth does my arm hurt? I’m healed by His stripes. He can make it stop instantaneously. (He, in fact, did this for me just the other day: I have poison ivy that was, well, you guessed it, itching. I prayed for it to stop. What happened? It stopped. Right then, right there, no waiting period.)

I get frustrated like it’s something I’m doing wrong. I crinkle my brow, open my Bible and get to work. I look for Scriptures that would help the situation. I look for that one missing piece that unlocks the rest of this crazy puzzle. I have an AHA! moment. Then the pain is back either in a few hours or the next day. I feel like crying, but can’t. People have it worse and all that, ya know? Then, the guilt comes. WHY would you pray about something as ridiculous as your joints when there are children who haven’t eaten in weeks? Elderly who can’t afford their medications…people with cardboard homes…Injustices running rampant throughout the world as we know it. Ugh…didn’t pray for that, now did I? I stink. I’m a horrible person. Why would God care about my elbow?

Then the tears come because it’s as if a light shines through that ugly dark hole of condemning and God speaks. Yes, He speaks. He speaks to me. If that’s the definition of crazy, then sign me up for the straight jacket (a multi-colored one, preferably) because the Creator of this universe talks to me. It’s not a voice that can be heard, although I’m waiting for that day too. There’s no explaining it. The Holy Spirit envelopes me in a warm hug, and suddenly, without warning, I’m dancing around like Olaf! God cares about me! He let me know this morning and then let me know I’m tired because I’m trying too hard. DOH! Be still, girl, be still. Rest easy, knowing that I’m God. All those thoughts that overwhelm you, pluck them from your mind, pull them down, and weigh them out. Would this come from Me? If I wouldn’t say that to you, toss it out. That’s not from Me and it’s certainly not for you.

When is the last time I was just still? When was the last time I just sat, breathing, knowing that my God is my God?

12″ Off the Ground

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So on the days that we don’t float 12” off the ground on our “Holy Spirit high,” how do we cope? How do we deal with the voice in our head that tells us He’s not Who He said He was and we’re not who He says we are? We’re not constantly and consciously reminded of our worth in our everyday lives unless we work at it. The grocery store cashier doesn’t tell us we are pure and lovely and good. The guy in the car next to us doesn’t have us roll down our window to say, “Hey! You’re a child of the Most High God!” Angels don’t wake us up with the fluttering of their wings. Our aches, bruises, and twinges are still there. So what do we do when we don’t feel like God is right there with us?

What if I said it’s not about feeling? Right here on this page you’re reading, I say: It’s not about feelings at all. It’s fact. He’s there. Always is, always will be.

You may have heard or read that He doesn’t move we do. I would venture to say more often than not, we don’t move at all. We sit stagnant, waiting for God to come to where we are. Now don’t misunderstand, God is always there and He’ll meet us where we’re at…all we have to do is ask. But 1.) we ain’t askin’! 2.) we ain’t goin’ anywhere! (Forgive the southern roots and “grammar” but sometimes it’s necessary to get a point across.) God says ask and we shall receive. We have not because we ask not. (See? Even God says we ain’t askin’!) I think many times we’re afraid we won’t get it. THEN where does that leave us? With an unresponsive God? I don’t think so. I think we get discouraged and do our own thing if it’s not in the allotted time frame. Secondly, we’re called to seek God. Does that mean He hides at times? Yup. At least that’s what I believe. If He was always right out there in the open, why would He ask us to look for Him? Seek and ye shall find. It’s not about us feeling Him, it’s about knowing Him…knowing Him well enough to know that we get closer to Him when we move in His direction. Seems silly, huh? That it takes so long to figure out in order to get closer, we have to move toward it?

P & J

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Have you ever had one of those days when you just can’t override your emotions? And just when you think you’re coming out of your funk you realize your 2 year old has not only pooped “all by himself” (Yay! *sigh…) and decided to wipe with ½ a roll of toilet paper, which has found itself into the toilet. Many days, I feel like I’m not gonna make it. Simple as that. My body tells me just that. My muscles give out, my head starts to ache and spin, and it becomes more difficult to breathe.

The great thing is I have a God that reminds me He’s right there. Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that may sound trite or cliché. And quite frankly, on a day when your child states, “But Mommy, I don’t have any underwear!” as you’re getting out of the car at school, this knowledge can only be so comforting. I don’t have time at this point to grab my Bible for Scripture study and revel in Who God is or ponder anything. Except for maybe why life has to be so difficult at times. (Why does life have to be so difficult at times??)

God lets me know in only a way that He can that I’mma be ok. All those critical thoughts are not what He’s thinking. All those negative, ugly remarks are from the one that wants to completely annihilate me and my beautiful soul; they are most definitely not from the One Who loves me more than anything. So on those days, when I’ve just stepped in what appears to be a mixture of pee and jelly, God gives me a quick hug if I only take the 3 seconds to let Him.

Breathe

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As it turns out, you can give up some things in your life and still not grow any closer to God without an honest effort. I have been off Facebook for 18 days now, (not that I’m counting, I just noticed the date…I truly haven’t missed the noise of everyone else’s random thoughts.) and just realized I’ve spent only some, and by some I mean a few hours, if that, with God. Quiet, peaceful, beautiful, serene, let’s-hear-from-God-time. Without that determined effort, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life, there will always be yet another distraction that can take the place of quality time with the Creator.

I’ve been trying to breathe. Literally and figuratively. I get to a point where it’s easier not to breathe. My body sometimes thinks it takes too much energy and effort. So I just stop for a bit. A few seconds as if to allow my body time to catch up. I just stop. And the world doesn’t. It continues. There is no medical team rushing in as a machine beeps, there’s no concerned loved ones thwacking me, it’s just me and God. And a reminder that I will live the abundant life and that His promises are forever true and always there. My prayer today is for those who don’t feel like they can go on, who feel like they can’t do enough. Maybe not breathing isn’t the answer, in fact, I’m almost sure it isn’t, but taking the time to breathe in and out and just knowing that the God Who created you loves you, is the answer. Search no more, child, here He is. In your midst, all-knowing and ever-faithful.