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Category Archives: Challenge

To Be Joyful

I remember singing the song as a child, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”  It repeated that line, over and over, changing pitch, but reinforcing those words from scripture: Rejoice, always.

I have to admit, joy hasn’t been coming so easily to me lately.  I felt drug down by work in a retail,  “stuff oriented” setting, especially during the hectic holidays.  And I thought I had done well with masking it, at least while away from home during the day.  Maybe those less perceptive didn’t notice, but one person did – and she called me out on it.  Not in a mean-spirited, “why are you so cranky?” sort of way, but in a “I’ve noticed you haven’t quite been yourself lately” way.

It took me by surprise.  It’s not that I’ve been fake towards others – my smile is typically genuine.  But I didn’t expect someone who wasn’t my husband, mom or dad, or best friend to pick up on my less chipper mood.  And it forced me to think.

Perhaps the retail world is a tough adjustment for me.  However, the Bible calls me (us) to live above those difficult circumstances and tough adjustments.  Philippians 4:4 reads,  “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

If there’s one thing I learned in the Bible courses I took in college, when a word or phrase is repeated in the Bible, it should also have a sign beside it, “LOOK AT THIS!  PAY ATTENTION!”  We are told two times – TWO TIMES – to rejoice.

Rejoice

Rejoice

So my goal?  Despite my feelings, I will endeavor to rejoice.  Easy?  Maybe not.  Worth it?  I think so.

Blessings,

Beth

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Moving Forward

One thing that’s easy to forget about? Sometimes, there is ice utterly hidden under a soft, innocent-looking blanket of snow. I happened to find one of these places the other day. It went like this: step, step, wobble, slip, wobble, THUNK. I landed on the pointiest part of my hip, and boy oh boy. Ouch.

So why on earth am I telling you this story? There are two reasons:

1. So that you know that you’re not the only one who falls on hidden ice (unless I’M the only one…)
2. While laying in bed that night, a thought-provoking idea came to mind.

And I had to share.

For those of you who know me or have read any of my other blogs (most recently, here) you know that I’ve fought, and somewhat overcome Anorexia.  I say “somewhat overcome” because I still fight it, or at least parts of it – and here is where the rubber meets the road with my little story.

So I’m laying in bed, purposefully on my left side, so as not to cause unnecessary pain.  I feel sleepy, but a thought jolts me back awake.  This pain I feel in my hip, laying here in bed, isn’t much different than the pain I felt in my hips during my worst days of Anorexia.  I remembered the nights of finding just the right position to sleep in that wouldn’t be uncomfortable to my ill-padded hip bones.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been struggling more with my body and accepting it as it is.  Some of those ED (Eating Disorder) thoughts have surfaced. I try to push them back down to where I laid them to rest nearly two years ago.  But they can be like dandelions – until every last bit of the root is gone, it keeps growing back.  Yuck.

The good news?  God always brings to mind bits and pieces of his word to encourage me.  1 Peter 1:14-15 came to mind:

“Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance.  Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct”

In this passage, Peter encourages the reader to be prepared for the time that Christ is revealed by not returning to their old, “ignorant” ways of living.  We can all relate to this – regardless of the age we became a believer, there was a time in our life when we had to intentionally choose God.  There is an old way that we turned from.

1 peter 1 14

Have you slipped back to some of those old ways?  Mull that over.  And know that God is the only one who can pull you from that pit.

Blessings, and a Happy New Year!

Beth

What we Share

The other day, I made this great, easy crockpot meal.  All it took to get dinner on the table?  A few sweet potatoes, an onion, chicken and butter (and a little salt and pepper for fun).  It cooked all day, and made the house smell lovely, and tasted just great.  The next day, I wanted to tell everyone (EVERYONE) about this awesome, easy crockpot dinner.  And then it hit me.

What if I shared the Gospel like I shared this?  What if I had passion and excitement for the truth of God like I did for this sweet potato chicken recipe?  I felt ashamed.  I can tell every woman I see about this recipe I learned about yesterday, yet I can’t tell a single person about this life-giving Gospel story I’ve known since childhood.  There is something wrong with this picture,

Have I made vast improvement in sharing about God since this realization?  No.  No I haven’t.  But perhaps this little post will act as a challenge.  Does it challenge you?

Mark 16:15 says, “He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”  All creation.

mark 16 15

What will you share?

Blessings,

Beth

Not By My Strength

Tomorrow is the big day!  At early o’clock, I will be hopping on a plane to go train for my new job.  I wouldn’t say I’m a nervous wreck, but my brain will NOT quit racing!  One moment it’s “Yay, I’m so excited, this will be awesome!”…the next moment, “Oh my gosh, can I actually do this?  Am I cut out for it?  And I won’t get to see my hubby for a whole ten days!”  Yeah.

Naturally, those nervous, “can I do this?” thoughts tend to overshadow the excited thoughts.  And I get stuck there, wondering if I will succeed in this new job, or if I will just embarrass myself.  This is a huge transition.  It feels like I’m stepping off of the well-worn road I know so well to a brand-new, unfamiliar place.  My personality likes the predictable.  And this is not predictable.
The other night before bed, I opened my Bible to read Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”
I took a look at verse 12 – context, ya know?  It says, ” I know what 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.” 
In that moment, the Lord reminded me that no matter my situation – whether I’m comfortable or uncomfortable, confident or discouraged, in familiar territory or in a new place – no matter what – He will provide the strength I need for the situation.
Philippians 4 13
A concept I’ve heard many times?  Yes.  A good reminder?  YES!
So that thing you’re facing that seems impossible?  That situation that makes you hyperventilate to just think about?  You can’t do it on your own strength – but you CAN do it on God’s.
Blessings,
Beth

Lay Down the Burden

The other day, I prayed that the Lord would help me understand the depth of my sin.  I know I’m a sinner, but that knowledge didn’t have the impact I felt it should.  So I asked the Lord for help.  And he came through.

It’s kinda like praying for patience; the only way to grow patience skills is to practice…which means we have to face situations that test our limits.  Hard.  Asking the Lord to impact me with the depth of my sin meant an overwhelming sense of guilt.

The guilt felt heavy, tangible.  Events from the days and weeks prior raced through my mind.  “Oh, I should have handled that differently.  Why do I think like that?  I hate that I deal with ______ like that.  I should have outgrown that by now!”  These words and more were all I could think of.  So I started telling the Lord.  Told him all these terrible things I’d done and asked him to help me get it together.

Here’s what I think.  We need to feel and know the weight and guilt of our sin.  The end of Romans 3 talks about righteousness through faith.  It says, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22,23).  Ouch.

But as much as we need to know the weight and guilt of our sin, we need to know the Joy and Peace we receive when we begin to live for Jesus.  Acts 3:19-20a says, “Repent, therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…”

See, laying down the burden – giving it to God – allows us to live in the knowledge that we are sinners, while understanding that we are forgiven!  That is where the joy and peace comes from.  That’s how we can sleep at night.

Acts 3:19-20a

When I gave up all of the things I felt so guilty about – those sins – to the Lord, I felt refreshed.  I hope you can find the same refreshing!

Blessings,

Beth