Monday Moments – Is It Ever Okay To Just Quit?

If I was asked that question a few years ago, I probably would have said a resounding “No!”  As I have gotten older and hopefully wiser, I’ve learned that sometimes, you just…Have. To. Quit.

I am so thankful that this day, and all it contained…this day is the day the Lord has made.   Knowing that, I can (still) rejoice and be glad in it (see Psalm 118:24), even though it wasn’t what I had hoped for.  I am grateful that my hope…our hope is in the Lord and His goodness, not circumstances.  Though people and circumstances will all eventually disappoint us, God never will.

It’s been one of those days.  A day of much needing to be taken care of, and things needing to be accomplished and dealt with for the week ahead.  But also a day of fatigue, feeling like I’m wearing a lead suit, and a day where the brain fog and cognitive dysfunction have gripped and clawed at me incessantly.  It happens.  And good happens.  It’s just where we choose to focus our attention.

I have heard others with Fibromyalgia and similar illnesses say; “If one more person tells me how good I look I’m going to scream!”  I get it.  But I choose to take that as a compliment, and see it as a blessing…a big blessing!  Because if I had to look as awful as I feel many days, for me, that would just make it all much worse.

So on this day I choose to focus on what was good, not what wasn’t….

  • I changed the bedding
  • Tidied up the grandbabies bedroom
  • Managed to make something to feed Hubs for dinner
  • And even though no one else but Hubs saw me, I had a really super good hair day! (wink)

Earlier this afternoon, I kept thinking of all the things still needing to be done.  As I kept trying to push myself…in my lead suit, fatigue and brain fog…I finally sat on the couch and said out loud;

“I quit! I just quit trying to push through.  It’s enough.” 

I relaxed.  I rested.  I was thankful.  It was enough.  God is always enough.

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
 In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.

 Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.   Selah   Psalm 62:5-8

I saw this quote by John Piper today, and it fits perfectly with what God has been teaching me the past few weeks about letting go of what was, quit longing for it, and start embracing what is.

“Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be.  Grieve the losses, then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life you have.”

So quit striving.  Quit the hustle to be and do everything, and just rest in the presence of Jesus.

Love,

Debbie

 

 

 

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How Much Do We Complain & Criticize…Really?

DSCN1393Trust and thankfulness.  That is how we should live each and every day.  When we trust God, we are remembering that He is fully aware of all of our circumstances.  We remember that He knows all of our needs, that He is in control of it all, and He loves us… He.  Loves.  You.

Thankfulness keeps us from criticizing and complaining about people and situations we face.  Sarah Young (in Jesus Calling, February 21), calls them “those “sister sins” that so easily can entangle you.” 

Daily, moment by moment we get to choose to trust God…or not.  The more we choose to trust Him, the easier it becomes.  We get to choose to be thankful instead of grumbling and complaining.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s no big deal to criticize and complain.  After all, there sure is a lot to complain about in this world.  Whether it’s in the big world or our own little corner of it.  Like the mechanic that really messed up your car, or the waitress that was rude and gave you horrible service.  Maybe things aren’t going so great in your family, or ___________ you fill in the blank!  But to criticize and complain IS a big deal.  Scripture says that it is out of our own heart…what the heart is full of…that is what comes out of our mouth (see Luke 6:45).  If we are constantly criticizing others, and complaining about everything that is not the way we want it to be, those patterns are becoming (or have already become) deeply etched in our heart and mind.

The good news is, there is a way to erase those etchings.  When we realize what we have been doing and confess our sin (yes, it is sin), when we confess it to God we have His forgiveness.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9

He then has room to create something new within us.  New patterns of trust and thankfulness.  Oh, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.  We have to make the conscious choice to trust Him when we want to worry or complain.  We have to choose to thank Him before the words of criticism leach out of our lips.  We say this often, and we tend to parrot the words in scripture; “Be thankful in all things…”(1 Thess. 5:18), but sometimes I think we simply don’t know how to look past the situation we are in.  Look past it friend, and look to His face.

When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Psalm 27:8

We can not always be thankful for the situation itself.  Life is hard, and things happen that are frustrating or gut wrenching.  But when we seek His face we gain a new perspective.  We start to see how much we truly have to be thankful for.   If God has allowed it we can thank Him for being with us through it.  We can thank Him for hearing our prayers.  We can thank Him that His promises never fail, that His Word is true, and that His love for us will never end.  We begin to see the myriad of things in our day to day lives that we can, and should be thankful for.

Friend, every time we choose to trust Him instead of being anxious…every time we choose to be thankful instead of complaining, we are creating new thought patterns that can be etched into our hearts and minds.  When we are overflowing with gratitude, we aren’t giving voice to the complaining and criticizing.  A thankful heart protects us from the negative thinking that is so easy to get caught up in.  Let’s purpose to get caught up in all that is right…instead of all that is not.

Problems and irritations will always be there as long as we live in this world.  But we can choose to honor God with how we respond to them.

cropped-dscn2697.jpg

I never want to write about anything and not be real.  So I need to be humbly honest with you.  After I started writing this post… I. Was. Tested.  Oh yes.  I honestly wanted to turn my car around and stupid slap someone.  Then it hit me what was going on.

There was the person who cut across the road in front of me so closely I had to hit my brakes to avoid hitting him.  I laid on my horn and muttered “idiot” under my breath.  This was on my way to church.  Yes, it was.  Then there was the poor customer service along with thirty-four minutes on hold before speaking with someone.  After still not receiving the product, I tried two more times to call the company…seventeen minutes on hold…thirty-eight minutes on hold…no one ever answered.  I was not a happy camper.

On the road again to run some errands, and three separate vehicles on three separate roads were riding my bumper.  I was going the speed limit which was apparently not fast enough for them.  I don’t care to get another speeding ticket, thank you very much!  On my way home the incident occurred where I wanted to stupid slap the person.  That’s when it hit me.  That’s when the Holy Spirit sort of slapped me!  I was writing about trusting Him and being  thankful, to keep from criticizing and complaining…and within three days I realized just how much more growing I need to do!

It seems like when we have to deal with others’ ineptness, lack of work ethic, apathy, rudeness (the list could go on), that’s when the criticizing and complaining comes into play full force.  When it comes to dealing with other people, we struggle.  But honestly, the struggle is not with others.  It is with ourselves.  It is with our old sin nature.  Sure, Satan is out there prowling around looking for someone to tempt, destroy and devour (see 1 Peter 5:8).  He’s  constantly shooting his fiery darts at us to hurt us, to cause us to lose our testimony.  But, if we take responsibility for ourselves and our own spiritual growth (Philippians 2:12-15)…if we are putting on our spiritual armor every day (Ephesians 6:13-17)…if we are not making provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14)…then we will be abiding in Christ and not so easily tripped up by minor irritations of life.  When we are being filled with the Holy Spirit daily, we are more able to offer thanksgiving to God instead of rushing to complain.  You see, God’s Word gives us everything we need to know how to live this life we are given (see 2 Peter 1:2-8).

Take God’s Word in, live God’s Word out.

So what are we to do when that person cuts us off,  or someone is unable DSCN3228(or unwilling) to give the help or service needed?  First I think we should utter a prayer of thanksgiving…for safety, or for the ability to be kind to someone who maybe doesn’t deserve it.  When you think about it, none of us deserve God’s kindness, but He showers it on us anyway.  We can say a prayer for the other person.  Honestly, they have needs we know nothing about.  Show grace.

“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You.”  Psalm 63:3

We can choose to be the hands and feet…and lips of Jesus.  Because we may be the only person to be Jesus to someone who desperately needs Him.  We never know.  But Jesus does.

Let’s be less quick to criticize, and quicker to behave Christ-like.  Let’s be quicker to make sure our own behavior is pleasing to God.  Let’s be more dependent on Him and the Holy Spirit in us, and not so dependent on how others behave towards us.  Ultimately our behavior is our own responsibility and there will be no excuses when we stand before Christ.  No blame game.  Only one thing:  were we…are we obedient and faithful to God and what His word tells us.

“Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength….and love your neighbor as yourself.”  Mark 12:30-31

Yes others will hurt us, misuse us, misunderstand us, and wrong us in one way or another.  We do live in a fallen world after all.  What would it look like…think of the influence we could have for the Gospel of Christ if we were filled daily with God’s Word and His Spirit, and acted Christ-like in the face of adversity instead of reacting in the flesh?  Just Wow.  The things that could happen!

Less criticizing  + More thankfulness = More peace, more joy

Friends, the more we are abiding in Christ…staying close, being filled with His Word and the Holy Spirit…the more the light of Jesus will begin to shine through us.  Others will be drawn to us instead of avoiding us.  No one wants to be around negative complaining all the time.  But when the light of Jesus shines through us, when we show grace to others, we can begin to influence others for good.  Let it start with us.

Glad He’s still working on me!

Love,

Debbie

Sweet Fellowship

Beauty in Every DayWhom do you most enjoy spending time with?  Is it your spouse after a long day?  Maybe it’s a best friend who has known you since “way back when”?  Could be it’s a parent whom you enjoy having those long conversations with.  The conversations don’t even have to be long.  Sometimes they are brief, but end up being just the encouragement, or filled with the wisdom you needed at that moment.  Either way, you walk away with a smile and a little spring in your step that you didn’t have before your time together.

Friends….that’s the kind of time Jesus wants to spend with you.  It doesn’t have to be all formal, calculated and ritualistic.  Just hang out and chill with Him.  Tell Him your deepest desires and dreams.  The ones you don’t dare tell anyone else because they might think you’re silly.  Ask Him to give you understanding about something you’ve read in His word.  Hey, He wrote the Book…I think He’s capable of helping us understand it!

Tell Him all about that situation that irritated you and frankly, makes you angry.  Ask Him to help you gain His perspective on it.  Then just sit…  relax…and listen.  Listen to His sweet voice falling on the ears of your heart like the morning dew on the grass.

 

In The Garden

I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

Refrain:
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

                                                                                 Charles A. Miles

Garden

Some days it is admittedly harder than others to be still and take that time to communicate.  But after all Jesus sacrificed for you and me, don’t you think that we could sacrifice a few minutes of sleep, or (ah-hem), a television program to invest in the most important relationship in our lives?

I guarantee dear friend, you will walk away from that encounter with a smile on your face, and a song in your heart.  You’ll have a new spring in your step as well as the strength for whatever lies ahead.  The more time we spend with Him in His word and prayer… the more we realize how we can’t… or don’t want to live without Him in any of our days.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”  Psalm 34:8

“The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

      Think about this for a few moments;  If you look back at Genesis 1:24-28,  you see that God created all living creatures; cattle, creeping things, beasts, etc. “according to its kind”.  But when He created mankind He said;

Let Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit), “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;”  Gen. 1:26a

All of the creatures and critters were created according to their own kind, in their own likeness.  But we…mankind…we were created in the image of God…after His likeness.  Dear friend, He created you…He created me…for the purpose of having fellowship with Him!  Just let that sink in.  The Creator of the entire universe created us to have fellowship with Him!  But He won’t force Himself into our days.  He waits, like a gentleman, to be invited in.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. ”   Revelation 3:20

     Friend, I do hope you will invite Him into your day…everyday…to enjoy sweet fellowship together.

If you’ve been encouraged, I’d love for you to please share. 🙂

Blessings,

Debbie