Tag Archives: gifts

Big Buts

 

“Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” Psalm 86:11 (ESV)

Do you have a big but? (Sometimes I crack myself up!) Well, I do! Today, while praying during my devotions, I earnestly told God that I desired to be radically used by Him.  The words however, were not yet off my tongue before I felt a tightening in my chest and breath caught in my throat. Yep, there it was.  I knew it and God definitely knew it because it’s been in my prayers before.  

My BIG BUT…….

Wanting to be used by God, to hear his calling and answer, IS my sincere desire BUT:  I want to do it without leaving my comfort zone, sacrificing too much, or suffering in the process.  In other words, I want to do God’s work BUT do it MY way!  

Do you remember the “Parable of the Talents”?  (Matthew 25:14-30)  Jesus told his listeners a story about a man who gave his servants some of his money to take care of in his absence.  Two of the servants used the money they’d been given to make more for their master.  The last servant was afraid to take a risk…he had a “big but” if you will; and so, he buried the coins only to return what he’d been given.  I am afraid I’m an awful lot like that servant; offering a poor return on God’s investment.

God entrusts us with talents, time, money, and other gifts.  What we do with them is up to us. Will we use them to serve God or will we, ME, make excuses or let fear keep us from doing what He asks of us?  

So, what’s a gal with a BIG BUT to do? I don’t have it all figured out yet but here’s where I need to start:

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.  May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on firm footing.” Psalm 143:10 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

Did you catch that? We’re not supposed to do it on our own! (You’d think I’d learn by now). It’s God’s instruction and guidance we need to depend on to make the task before us  attainable. It’s also important to be willing to put one foot in front of the other and “walk the walk” in our everyday lives to prepare us for all God calls us to do. I’m certainly not there yet and it won’t happen all at once, but I believe with prayer, practice, perseverance, and taking baby steps as I follow after God, my BIG but will shrink until it disappears from my prayers all together. I look forward to the time when it’s finally “behind” me! (Get it? behind? I did it again!) How about you? Is your BIG BUT getting in the way of doing all God calls you to do? I pray that this may be the first step for you AND me on our “but-free” journey to doing God’s will God’s way!     

 

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Wise Wednesday 10/19/16

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“One of the gifts of being a Christian, is being content where you are.” I was in a conversation this morning when I heard these words.  They weren’t spoken about me, but they sure spoke TO me! Loud. And. Clear. And, I have no doubt I was meant to hear them.

Content: “satisfied with what one is or has”  May I be honest with you?  I don’t know the last time I’ve felt content!  In my mind, there always seems to be something lacking: in my circumstances, my relationships, and myself! It hadn’t occurred to me, until now that is, that trying so hard to be a good Christian has caused me to miss out on a gift of being a Christian!

 Striving is second nature to me…..striving to always do better and be better. That’s good, right? I’ve been telling myself it’s not only good, but it’s necessary! Now I’m wondering, is it? Constantly attempting to improve, worrying when I don’t, and the negative words that I repeat in my head DON’T feel like rewards at all. 

It took another conversation for me to see that I’ve been depending on…..wait for it…..ME! I don’t want to admit it, but all that striving is really my attempt at pleasing God through my efforts, my works!  Whoa!  As much as I’d like to deny it, and believe me I tried, this striving girl has been struggling so hard I’ve ignored the Giver and the gift!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

“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.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NIV)

What about you? Are you as ready as I am, to stop the striving? It isn’t going to be easy.  There’s a part of me that’s scared at the thought of not constantly monitoring my progress but there’s also a sense of relief that comes with the knowledge that in my weakness, God’s power is made perfect. So, I say it’s time! Let’s open the gift! First, untie the ribbons that bind us to our performance. Then, let’s unwrap ourselves from the belief that we have the strength to do anything on our own. And finally, let’s  open our hearts and know there’s true contentment found in the “presence” of God’s grace. 

P.S. Thank you to my mother-in-law for sharing her wise words and to my husband, whose patient guidance helps me in this journey of life.