"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 NIV

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spiritual Tug of War

     The world tells me that I am not enough, I do not have enough, and I should not feel content with how I look. God whispers that I am complete in him, I have all that I need, and I am made in his image. The constant tug of war between lies and truth is often exhausting. How do I pull my end of the rope toward victory? How do I keep inner peace in times of turmoil?

     One way I quiet the voices of the world is by limiting the lies that come into my home. I am very purposeful about what I watch, listen to, and view. My family has gone without television for almost ten years, and I would not trade the time I've gained for anything. Being constantly bombarded by commercials for things I do not need or want is not my idea of a good time. Neither is filling my mind with situations and language that does not bring glory to my Lord.

      All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. (1 Cor. 10:23 NKJV)

     Another war tactic I use to keep peace is my sword of the Spirit. I combat the lies that I hear with truth from God's word. The days when I spend time reading about how God sees me and what he wants for me go much more smoothly than when I hurry through my day on my own.

     Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us. (2 Tim. 3:16-17 MSG)

     I also simply ask God to reveal truth to me. The messages I hear around me are often confusing. He never fails to show me what is right. Sometimes he'll direct my attention to the beauty around me. Other times he'll bring song lyrics to my mind. When I sit quietly in expectation, he shows up in ways I would not have imagined. 

     You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)

     The battle is fierce. In the end, I know my side wins. I have a strategy for keeping inner peace amidst the war. Do you?

     Lord, I know that you sit on the side of victory in this battle called life. Guide me as I struggle to keep inner peace in my daily life. Help me make choices that bring glory to your name. Amen.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Heaven in the Messy Moments

     They were embracing life; I ran to get my camera. Two grinning boys in swim suits and a soggy sand box make an enjoyable summer mess. Just as much squealing accompanied the hosing off clean-up effort.

     They did not care what the neighbors thought about them. They were not worrying about what the rest of the day would hold. They did not even ask permission to jump in. They just jumped and laughed, fully present in the messy moment.

     The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. (Mark 10:13-16 MSG)

     Jesus says children are at the center of life in the kingdom of God. I expect there is going to be a lot of laughing, simple trusting, and embracing whatever is happening in the moment. Sounds like Heaven to me.

     Is it possible to live this way now? Can I join my children in throwing off any concern that hinders me and jumping with both feet into the adventure God has planned? Why do I need to complicate the present with regrets of the past or worries about the future?

     I choose to simply trust and embrace this messy life.

     Thank you, Lord, for giving me energetic children. Help me to learn from them the simple ways of enjoying life and trusting you.  Amen.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Main Trail of Trust

     The path I had been following in the woods ended one hundred feet before me. The grass had grown up around it and enveloped it in a way only the wild can. With effort I could have found it, but I chose instead to turn around.

     Why had the trail been reclaimed by nature? It was not used regularly, if at all.

     Habits, like walking in worry, leave a trail in life. When I choose to habitually head down the path of worry, it makes taking the same footsteps easier the next time. But when I repeatedly turn toward the main trail of trust, I allow the undesirable way to be hidden a bit more from view.

The Main Trail of Trust

     You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11 ESV)

     Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7 ESV) 

     Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls..." (Jeremiah 6:16a ESV)

    God, I desire to walk on your trail of trust and find rest for my soul. When I am tempted to take the path of worry, help me to turn around and seek your way. Thank you for the promise of fullness of joy, even when I am weary from the journey. Amen.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Impending Doom or Not

     It was a terrible way to wake up, drenched in sweat with thoughts of my child in the emergency room. In my nightmare, I was informed that my eldest son had been thrown from a car in a crash and was broken badly. The last thing I remember before waking up was rushing to the ER. That was it. Eyes open with no closure whatsoever.

     What was I to do with that? Considering my husband and children were away from me and traveling by car quite a bit over the next few days, I certainly could have clung to worry. Haven't some people's dreams warned them of impending danger?

     I considered my options. I could ruin the peaceful time I had for a few days by myself, a large portion of which I intended to use to connect with my Savior, by worrying. Or, I could trust that even if something terrible happened to my family, which it most likely wouldn't, that God would be beside me and provide as I needed the entire time. I believe I chose wisely.

     Although my family is in the car headed home as I type, I am not worried. I am not in control of what happens on the highway. All worrying would do is distract me from the peace I so long to live in daily. So, I write and I pray and I go about my day joyfully.

     You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isaiah 26:3 NIV) 

     So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

     Thank you, Lord, for always being with me and covering me with your perfect peace. You love my family even more than I am capable of loving them. I trust you with their lives and to work all things together for good, even when I might not be able to see the good in the situation. Amen.