Category Archives: Want What Is: 365

Google Search: How to Worry…

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Well, I finally found one question to which Google has no answer:  How does one worry?  It’s just not in there….every answer given, all the pithy techniques suggested, all the medications mentioned are to help one STOP worrying.  For some reason an instructional site on “worry” doesn’t exist.  There isn’t a professional making tons of money telling us to repeatedly think unproductive thoughts, imagining the worst outcome possible.

Do you know how to worry?  I do.  My husband and I joke that as soon as the umbilical cord is cut, parents’ begin their life-long job of worrying.  The truth is, I was an expert at worry way before the first baby arrived, before the “I dos,” before the Friday night dates, the first rental, the final exams, and the freshman 15.  I never read it in a book and no one tutored me in worrying.  I just had what seemed to be an “inevitable knack for sustaining wearisome, anxious thoughts about things I may or may not be able to change.”  Let’s say it’s just one of my many talents.  Unfortunately, I often find the “what-if” and “if-only” thoughts sapping me physically, taxing me mentally, and dragging me down emotionally.  How about you?

Here’s the GREAT news…If you know how to worry, you already know the cure!   The Bible says, “Don’t fret or worry.  Instead of worrying, pray.  Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.  Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.  It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  (Phil. 4:6-7, The Message)

If we know how to worry, we know how to pray continually.  Worry becomes a habit, just as does anything we repeat over and over.  Instead of  trying to figure out what should happen, how things should go, what the timing should be, why not shape these worries into prayers by replacing them with petitions and praises based on all the promises that are “yes” in Jesus Christ.

Sometimes I’ll remind one of the boys about things he needs to take care of and he inspires my confidence when he responds, “Mom, I got this.”  When I’m trying to remind God what He should be doing through my worrying, I remember on the cross He said, “Jill, I got this.”

Want What Is: Day 31

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The ticking of the clock booms in our den and calls attention to the passing of time.  I sit and think of lessons over the last 31 days during my  “Want What Is” project on contentment.  A broken vacuum, a broken shower, a new tv, a troubled teen, a gift between brothers, a sore throat, opportunities to share my faith, a hurting friend, a marital “discussion” :>), making ends meet, a fallen tree and a broken fence, a friend in recovery, a little more prayer….all bring a a sort of discontentment.  Discovery dawns, because I, like the singing duo Sugarland, know “there’s gotta be something more.”

I don’t just “want what is.”  My heart and soul cry out for more than is.  Recalling an old saying, I cringe:

“I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.  Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.  I don’t want enough of Him to make me love [those different than me] or pick beets with a migrant.  I want ecstasy not transformation.  I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth.  I want about a pound of the eternal in a paper sack.  I’d like to buy $3 worth of God, please.”  -Wilbur Reese

I want more of Him.  I don’t  want to settle for $3 worth of glory and satisfy myself with the mundane as I barely taste of the divine.   As C. S. Lewis says,

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

 Maybe “Want What Is” is a pretty good goal, but possibly falls sickeningly short of the abundant life promised.  The goal is “godliness with contentment.”  A better project title– “Want Him.” Just semantics?  Probably.  Worth thinking about?  Definitely.
The clock ticks and deep calls unto deep with each second.  God makes me want Him.  I feel His pleasure when I respond to the echos of eternity and realize with even greater clarity that not only contentment, but even abundance, is found when my life is totally yielded to Him.

Do you have fleas? (Want What Is…day 14)

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If you have or have had young children in school, you have probably had to check heads for lice before. Not a fun experience at all. But how about checking for fleas?…

I just re-read The Hiding Place, the story of Betsy and Corrie ten Boom and their experiences in German concentration camps in WWII.  Upon entering Ravensbruck, the notorious women’s extermination camp, they found their “beds” swarming with fleas.  Betsy encouraged Corrie to give thanks for the fleas in obedience to God’s command to  “give thanks in all circumstances.”  Corrie responded, “Betsy, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea!”  Betsy persisted, stressing the use of the word “all” in regards to which circumstances God’s children are to give thanks.  Corrie finally relented and gave thanks for the fleas.  As time went on the sisters wondered why they had such freedom with Bible teaching and praise in their barracks.  Finally, they discovered that the guards did not want to enter because of the infestation of fleas!  They were given the privilege of seeing what their faith couldn’t even imagine…that God could use fleas for His glory.    

 Do you have fleas?  I know I do. Certainly, we all experience situations and circumstances when we think, “even God can’t make me grateful for this!”  Consider choosing to be grateful, choosing to thank God for the fleas in faith as you serve Him. It’s a steep challenge. When I have done this in obedience, I experienced more joy, more love, and even sometimes gained a glimpse of how He used the “fleas” for His purposes.

j

Want What Is–Regrets

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Sitting around the table, laughing, sharing and then the question was asked, “What do you regret most from 2011?”  Things got quiet.   That one powerful word- “regret”- immediately changed the mood.  As each person recalled perceived mistakes and past sins, a “weightedness” came over us.  Regrets don’t lead anywhere.  They often stall us and prevent us from growing and progressing. Regrets usually carry guilt with them, but we are the “uncondemned.”  In the silence of the moment I thought, “Want What Is.”  Could the idea apply to the past?  Why not?  Under a God who has accomplished the end already according to His perfect plan, a God, who as our pastor says, “…uses what He hates to accomplish what He loves,” we of all people can say, “I wouldn’t have chosen that path, but because God is my father, I want what is.”

Words you can’t take back, a relationship you should have ended earlier, not realizing the road your teen was headed down, missing opportunities to play with your little ones, buying that unneeded item, hurting your husband….regrets.  Don’t let them weigh you down any longer.  Repent, ask forgiveness, and want the path you have trod, it is in His hands.  God is the God of second, third, fourth…..chances.  He can redeem anything.  Anything.

Want What Is: 365

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I’m starting a project today that I’m calling:  Want What Is: 365.  Here’s what it’s about and why I’m doing it:

Want What Is: 365  is a daily project for 2012 of practicing contentment.

There are a few reasons why I am starting this project:

1.  I know it’s God’s will that I grow in contentment.  1 Timothy 6:6 says, “Godliness with contentment is of great gain.”

2.  I want to bless my husband in a new way this year.  I have learned through years of mentoring and study that a contented wife is one of the greatest gifts to a husband.  I, by God’s power, want to give my husband this gift.

3.  This past year has been a trying one for me personally.  I have suffered loss of confidence, negative self-thoughts, hormonal struggles and possibly even depression.  I think Satan was definitely getting a stronghold in my mind.  2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 talks about this:  “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”  Taking negative thoughts, self-pity and other destructive thought patterns under the obedience of Christ and practicing contentment by walking in His Spirit will bring blessing to my life and cause me to be a blessing to others.  I long for the joy of that.

4.  The economy today brings temptation with it to complain and grumble often…sometimes even constantly.  That’s not the life I want.  I want to please God and live His abundant life.

So, here’s how it works:

Every day when I catch myself thinking selfishly rather than as unto God, I want to stop, reverse my thinking, and set my mind on what He has given me, how blessed I am.  I want to stop and purposefully Want What Is.  I plan to keep a journal daily about these experiences and how it affects me, my family, and my friends.

I think this is going to be difficult.  Very difficult at first.  With time I think it will become easier, later becoming a habit (takes 21 days to form a habit….this might take me a bit longer!), and then a way of life.

Why don’t you join me in Want What Is: 365?