buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Worry”

Pursuing the best life

I got a notice a couple of weeks ago that AT&T will be coming through my neighborhood to install a fiber optic line. A couple of days later, there were multiple colored lines spray painted in my yard and on the street. Then the real work began yesterday. Men were digging and drilling holes across the front of my yard. As I was watching them (for at least a few minutes at a time), I noticed there was a particular hard place for them to dig and drill. The place was near another hard place that I found a year or two after I moved into my house. The hard place was really a very large rock that extends from the front of my house to the back of the house; I assume the same rock. I didn’t know though that the rock extended to where they were digging. And apparently under my driveway. They were having a tough time making a trench under the driveway. They had to stop and readjust multiple times. They eventually got around the obstacle, but it took a couple of hours in the hot sun to get the job done.

All this was happening while I was preparing to write this blog. Before the men showed up, I had all the best intentions to write all day. I had several things to get done, but I got very distracted. I get easily distracted when it comes to my writing times. Over the last few months, it’s been a real struggle to sit down and write. It’s been very discouraging. Usually the words would flow before I sat down to write, but it’s not like that right now. However, when I sit down to write and focus on what God puts before me, the words come. The trouble isn’t writing, it’s sitting down to write.

My pastor spoke about focus this past Sunday. We are bombarded with distractions all around us. Everything can get us off track. The enemy uses the world to get our attention. The worldly things draw us away from God. Dr. Tony Evans said in a message last month that God doesn’t want us to love the world because it’s run by Satan. The world leaves God out. God will not compete with Satan. When we focus on worldly things, we worry. We place too much emphasis on things that do not matter; they are temporary and unimportant in the long run. We should look at things through an eternal lens. Will this thing matter to us in 100 years? We are after all eternal beings and will be somewhere in 100 years.

It reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha when Jesus came to visit. Martha was upset that Mary wasn’t helping in the kitchen. Mary had chosen to sit at the feet of Jesus, but Martha complained to Jesus that Mary was needed in the kitchen. But Jesus said, My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42 NLT) Mary was focused on the most important thing in that moment – Jesus. Martha was distracted by her work, and she failed to see the things that truly mattered.

Jesus is the solution for our worry. When we focus on Him, He gives us a different perspective on our circumstances. Only Jesus is bigger than our worries. We should focus on the One who can fix our circumstances; who controls all things.

Jesus told us through Scripture that the most important commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength (Deut 6:5). In other words, seek Him first and everything else falls into place. The Israelites were instructed to repeat this commandment over and over; to tell their children, to tie this commandment to their wrists and foreheads, and to write the commandment on their doorposts. This commandment was essential to keep God’s people focused on what mattered. When Israel forgot, they were lost and exiled. There were removed from their Promised Land because they chose idols instead of God. They lost their focus on what really mattered.

When our lives are centered on Jesus, He will lead us to the Promised Land; the best place. He doesn’t remove our circumstances, but He gives us peace in it. Jesus is our Shepherd who protects us against the enemy. He leads us to the green pastures and the cool living water to refresh our souls. Jesus said there’s only one thing worth being concerned about. Like Mary, have you found it? Sit with Jesus for a while before you do anything else and let Him be your guiding light. Find eternal value that will matter in the long run.

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Colossians 3:1-2 (MSG)

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Freaking Out!

It started Friday morning. I guess you could call it a bit of a “freaking out” moment (or two or ten). I am in a desperate place, and the only thing that can save the day is Jesus. I have been pretty self-sufficient most of my life. I have always had a good job, a place to live, plenty of food to eat and love from my family. But is that all what God wants for me? Is it all about my happiness; my well-being? Or does God have a different agenda? Sure, I am blessed to be in the place that I reside – spiritually speaking as well as physically speaking. However, on Friday I was freaking out because I was looking at my current circumstances with an economic picture that isn’t too bright – right now. I don’t know how to resolve my needs – everything I have decided to do has really come to a dead-end.

That afternoon, I took the exit ramp off the freeway to go to the grocery store where I encountered a hand painted sign at the stop light that read “Trust God.” Never seen the sign before, it was just there right where I needed to see it. Thank you, Jesus, for the reminder. My anxiousness left me, until Saturday. Saturday I was mowing my lawn when the lawnmower broke. The anxiety returned – how am I going to fix my mower? My hot water heater too is acting up. How am I going to get a new heater? Anxious moments again filled my heart. My circumstances cause my peace to vanish, and my anxiety to return.

I have been fretting – I don’t worry, fretting sounds better – how all of my problems are going to be resolved? When is the deliverance coming? I have come to the end of my own resources, and God is telling me to trust Him. I get it. I do. He is trustworthy. He is faithful. But I am still anxious about the timing. Is God going to delay the answer so that I can learn a new lesson (or an old lesson that I have yet to grasp)? I know God is not punishing me, but is there another reason that I am not hearing from Him? Has an answer been sent that I missed along the way? Is there sin left unchecked? These are the things that circulate in my mind when I am fretting. Is there any truth to what is circulating?

These are irritations to my little life in my comfortable bubble. James MacDonald was teaching this past weekend in a Southeast Asian country that is closed to the Gospel. He reminded me in his teaching that God has a different agenda than what we see in human terms. His agenda is not about our comfort; it’s not about our happiness. Pastor MacDonald said it’s not even about justice or even God’s love shown to the people of the world. It’s greater than all of that. God’s agenda is really about God’s glory, and the exaltation of His Son Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth. Pastor MacDonald gave the point, that “when we take care of what’s on God’s heart then He’ll take care of what’s on ours.” Point served and received.

When I am stressing about my future, I am seeing it through my own eyes. There’s more to my circumstance than I can see with my physical eyes. Psalm 118:17 says “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” My troubles are not for me to wallow in but to give God the glory in. I may not see how things will work out right now, but God’s Word says it’s all good – He’s got this (my interpretation of Romans 8:28). Stay tuned to see how God fixes my mess! And seriously, is my mess really that important in the grand scheme of life and death? Nope, I will live through the trial regardless of what the outcome will be.

“What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself. Luke 12:29-32 (The Message)

Pennies from Heaven

I was having a bad day. I had been writing all morning. I was struggling to get through writing about the worst days of my life. I was having fits of crying from emotionally draining memories. I listened to a sermon while I ate lunch. It was about worrying. I’m really not much on worrying. Sure I have concerns, but I can’t call them worries, can I? I listened to the sermon and the last point the preacher made was about uncertainties of the future – hmmm… maybe I do have a “worry” after all. He said to bring the whole truth to God, and He would give me peace which transcends all understanding. It really wasn’t about the uncertainty, but about the “fear of the unknown.”

The section of my life I was writing about was the death of my Mom. It was the hardest thing I have lived through in my “relatively” short life. I had to sit down after that sermon and discern what my real concern is about the uncertainty of my future. I am single. My whole life, my parents were my family. Yes, I have sisters but they have their own lives and families. Oh, I know I am a part of their families, but it’s not the same. When push comes to shove as the saying goes, they think of their families before they do me – as it should be. If I was married and had kids, I would be doing the same thing, but I don’t.

A year after my Mom died, my Dad got married again. Praise God, he found someone to live out the remaining years of his life. Once again, I am left in a bit of a predicament. God has shown me my real fear. I am afraid of being alone. I know I have family and friends, but I really am totally alone. This was my deepest, truest revelation I have had in quite some time. As I was in the midst of this struggle on this day, I decided to go for an afternoon walk. I was tired of thinking about these deep issues.

Once again, God opened up my heart to look down. I saw two pennies lying on the street as I walked along. If you remember from a post several months ago, God places pennies in my path to remind me “in God we trust.” I have only one who really is my source of strength and who I can rely upon. The future is uncertain and no one is guaranteed a long life. I could be alone whether I was married or single. I acknowledged God’s providence and continued on. My fear of the financial future came up as well. I don’t have money coming in, and I don’t have any prospects of the future. Again, a penny was placed before me. God will work it out. I have to trust Him with everything! Yes, I have anxious times ahead, but God is faithful in everything. He is in control!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

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