RSS Feed

Burned

I’m sure it’s happened to you at some point in life: you follow your conscience, do what you believe is right, only to have it turn around and bite you. You’ve been burned. The first time it happens? Eh, we can deal with it. The second time? At least for me, it causes me to be leery to work to do good to others. If you are burned while lighting a match, do you eagerly light the next one?

The other day, I was feeling exceptionally burned. My attempts to be kind and compassionate to people had backfired – two separate times. I was about ready to just give up…to quit trying to do good to others.

But then, out of nowhere, this voice whispered into my heart “Never tire of doing good”. Uh…what?

I hopped on to google to find the reference for the verse so I could actually read it.

“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.” (2 Thessalonians, 3:13)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the verses before this, Paul writes about how he has heard that some of the believers in the area had become idle and essentially, weren’t contributing. Paul urges the readers to keep doing good – and to not stop, no matter how tired.  I felt so encouraged after reading this passage.

So I got burned.  Does that mean I should stop sharing the love of Jesus through my actions.  Not hardly.  I think it’s these moments that shape us into who we’re supposed to be.

My goal this week?  To keep doing good (to people).  Regardless.

Blessings,

Beth

Advertisements

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

Step by Step

God is faithful.  When we are willing to listen to Him and follow his lead, he’ll do just that – lead us.  Lead us exactly where He intends for us to go.  Here’s a story for you:

There is a new Cabela’s store set to open up here soon.  I decided I may as well apply, although I wasn’t too interested in working retail.  Constantly changing schedules, working on holidays and grumpy people….no thanks.  I scheduled an interview as I finished up the online application, and put the date in my calendar.  Woohoo.

As the interview date drew nearer, I came this close to canceling it.  Why on earth should I interview for a job I didn’t even want?  But Ron encouraged me to go – it would be good practice.  Even the day before the interview, I just didn’t want to do it….but there was this still small voice inside that said “just go”.  So I went.

During the interview, I mentioned that I have an Education degree, but that I wasn’t stuck on the notion of teaching in the traditional classroom – and don’t large corporations like this have teaching positions?  Why yes, yes they do.

To make a long story short(er), two days after my initial interview, my phone rang.  It was the store manager of our soon-to-be Cabela’s.  They wanted me to come in for another interview.  Cue pounding heart!

The second interview went very well – and just over a week later, I got a call – I had been selected for the position of “Systems Trainer”!  Benefits.  Vacation.  401k.  Year-round employment.  A reliable winter income.

Laying in bed that night, my mind was racing with so many questions.  Where will they send me for my 2-week training?  Where will I stay?  Will I be able to do laundry?  Will Ron survive??!  So many questions.  And then, a whisper in my heart – And step by step You’ll lead me, and I will follow you all of my days.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'”

Isaiah 30:21

Step by Step

Step by step.  All of the questions?  He’ll lead.  He already showed that He is capable by leading me to this job!

Trust Him to lead you.

Blessings,

Beth

A Picture of Priorities

I’m a creature of habit.  I have a morning routine that sets the tone for my whole day.  I tend to read my favorite blogs in a certain order.  And as odd as it may sound, I have routines within routines.  Like I always floss and THEN brush (right, Christy??)  The honey ALWAYS goes on the yogurt before the banana.  And I even put my rings on in a very specific order.

It used to be a mindless activity – putting my rings on.  But as I’ve received and purchased rings over the years, each one has taken on a meaning – and been given a priority.

The first ring I put on my hand is a simple band – but it says “faith”.  On the inside, it says “Live by faith, not by sight.”  Putting this ring on first reminds me of my first priority: to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37).

The second ring I put on?  My wedding band.  It reminds me of the love between my husband and I, and also, that my marriage is second only to God.  Keeping God as the first priority will enable me to ‘Love your neighbor [husband] as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:39).

The third and final ring I place on my hand is my engagement ring.  I’m still thinking about exactly what priority it symbolizes.  Of course, it’s a reminder of the initial commitment between my husband and I, and it reminds me of all of the circumstances and events that brought us together.

It may seem insignificant – the order in which I put my rings on each morning.  But every day – whether it’s a hurried affair or a leisurely moment – I am reminded of my priorities.

priorities

What in your life serves to remind you of your priorities?

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

Perspective from a Potato

Picture this: I’m standing in the kitchen, pulling the ingredients together for the super awesome crock-pot dinner I had planned for the evening.  I grab the bag of potatoes – which has two in it – and discover that one of them is rotten.  Moldy.  Squishy.  I need two potatoes for the recipe.  I turn back to the potato drawer and see that there are three little red potatoes left.  “Well, I guess that will have to do,” I think to myself.  So, I go to work preparing dinner.

A little bit later, a sense of failure washed over me.  “Why didn’t you check the potatoes before grocery shopping?  That was dumb!  You could have gotten more.”  I went for a walk (my time to decompress), and realized there are two perspectives to my potato incident.  I could see it as a failure – I hadn’t ensured that both potatoes were still edible.  Or, I could see it as a moment of resourcefulness.  I didn’t have two good russets, so I subbed in what I had on hand.

I think I like that one better.

I think it’s the same way in our walk with the Lord.  When he allows us to hit bumps in the road, we have two options: to see it as a bump in the road and cry and moan about it, or we can see it as an opportunity for growth.  In my experience, when I can shift my perspective to see life’s difficulties as a chance to grow, the situation becomes more bearable.  I have a sense of direction now.

All of this makes me think of God’s discipline.  Hebrews 12:7 says “Endure trials for the sake of discipline.  God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline?”  A few verses later, Hebrews 12:11 says “Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So maybe my potato incident wasn’t “discipline”, but I think it illustrates the point of perspective.  When those difficulties in life do show up, changing our perspective makes such a difference.  Knowing that those difficulties (discipline) will grow us – it makes me feel a lot better.

Blessings!

Beth

Not Why, But What

Posted on

You all know what I’m talking about.  That moment, when we’re at our wit’s end over fill-in-the-blank, and all we can think is “Why?  Why, Lord?  Why do I have to deal with this?”  We (or at least I) mope and frown, wishing whatever I’m dealing with would just pass.  Please?  I mean really, what did I do to cause this?

This is exactly where I am with some tummy troubles I’ve been experiencing recently.  The discomfort has lasted much longer than normal, and I just want it to leave me alone.  I ask the Lord “Why?”  Two things come to mind:

1. In my last post, I mentioned that I’d been experiencing a dry time – a time of feeling far from the Lord.  In this time of tummy discomfort, I’ve done a lot of crying out to Him.  And our lives are to be about growing closer to the Lord, yes?

2. Inspired by my pastor’s wife, I’m beginning to see the questions “why?” and “what?” on two very different levels.  Rather than simply asking God why we’re dealing with something, we should ask God “What?  What do you have for me in this time?”  It’s kind of a “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again” type of humility.  Kind of telling the Lord, “Well, I know you have a reason, so what am I to do or learn?”

Asking God “What?” allows us to be peaceful, and rest in the promise of Isaiah 30:21:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

I’m faced with this challenge today – to ask God “What?” instead of “Why?”  Will you do the same?

Blessings,

Beth