God's promises · identity · obedience · questions · random writings

Good advice

I’m always amazed at how incredibly gracious God is to us messed up ragamuffins, especially to me. . You poor folks who actually read this thing…I didn’t mean to worry you too much. I know how squirmy you people who love me can get when I have a little huge freak-out and start writing posts like this and I’m not my perky self. I understand how you worry about me because my moods swing from one end of crazy to the other, and with serious quickness. It’s really happened too many times this year. I’m chalking it up to my terribly short memory. You know, the one that always seems to forget somehow that God is completely in control of my everything and that usually when I’m freaked out it’s because I haven’t spent enough time with Him and my eyes are looking in another direction. Yeah, that short memory.

I want to thank you for your prayers…many of you mentioned that you had been praying for me, and I certainly did need it. Several of you sent me messages with encouraging words, telling me what you have experienced in times similar to this, when everything just seemed too…well, too everything. Like things were spinning out of control and you felt imbalanced and unsure of the next step. Thank you for all of that encouragement. What did I ever do to deserve friends like the ones I have? *sigh*

So as you know, all this craziness has been brought on by my workaholic personality. I’ve known about it for a long time, but in the last couple of years I’ve really been thinking about how to make it better. I haven’t exactly figured out the root cause, but it seems as if it is likely several things all together. God’s still showing me all that. But this week, Todd asked me to read a part of a book he’s reading (The Christian Atheist-I read the first few chapters then he hijacked it and I hadn’t finished yet!) because he said that it reminded him of me and my current situation. The author relates his own struggle with being a workaholic, and the process he went through to change. But this part was at the beginning of his real journey, about him basically telling his counselor, after much probing and prodding,  that he didn’t feel like he would change because this was just who he was. The counselor leaned over to him and said something like “So, basically, you’re saying that our God isn’t big enough to change you?”

THAT was his turning point. When he admitted that he really was telling God “You can’t handle this job,” that made a world of difference for him. I mean, who says that to God? Who ever could? Obviously He can handle anything.

Okay, that’s great…but I didn’t think that really related to me specifically because I wasn’t telling God that I couldn’t change. I have been telling Him for a long time that I needed Him to show me what the deal was so I could figure out how to fix it. Right there was my first hint,  but I didn’t really get it until later in the weekend.

Fast-forward to Saturday morning. I woke up, so happy that I could just reach over and grab a book and read in bed for a while before ever having to get up to do anything. I grabbed a couple of books (nerd alert!) and my bible.  I started praying and thanking God for an awesome morning, and asking Him to speak to me. I did that thing that I do sometimes where I ask God to speak to me through His word and I just let my bible fall open, then I read whatever catches my eye on that page. It’s not rocket science, I know. Maybe you have a better way, but I know He has been faithful to speak to me many times like that. I may be random, but He isn’t.

This time, it fell open to Psalm 107, which starts out: Shout praises to the LORD!   He is good to us, and his love never fails. Everyone the LORD has rescued  from trouble should praise him… Alright. Check. Moving on…

Then it starts explaining all these different types of people and the situations they’ve gotten themselves into, and how when they finally cried out to Him, he rescued them from their circumstances and restored them back to an even better place than when they’d started out. It talked about people who were homeless wanderers, hungry and thirsty, depressed, imprisoned, distressed, foolish, rebellious, enslaved, sinful, physically ill, sailing on high seas, discouraged, etc… Do you see yourself yet? I didn’t. Not until I read the verses again, and in 10-16, I saw my face:

Some of you were prisoners  suffering in deepest darkness  and bound by chains,

    because you had rebelled  against God Most High  and refused his advice.

    You were worn out  from working like slaves,  and no one came to help.

    You were in serious trouble,  but you prayed to the LORD,  and he rescued you.

    He brought you out  of the deepest darkness  and broke your chains.

    You should praise the LORD  for his love  and for the wonderful things  he does for all of us.

    He breaks down bronze gates  and shatters iron locks.

Whoa… that’s me. I’ve been worn out from working like a slave. No one was helping me, or even able to. I was bound by my own self-made chains, suffering  with self-scorn and spiraling into a funky depression. So…all I had to do was pray to God? Well that’s weird because that’s what I have been doing and nothing is getting better.  But then my eyes fell back on to that part about refusing His advice. Then the part about calling on Him and He would rescue me.

You see it?? All this time, here I was thinking that I had called on God, but all I had really been doing was talking at Him. Remember what I said? I had been telling Him to show ME what the problem was so I could figure out how to fix it. Never once had I called on Him to fix it all for me…to swoop in and rescue me from this latest ridiculousness that I’d created for myself. Never once had I just turned it over to Him and said God, unless you come through for me on this and fix it for me, I’m not gonna make it.

So there it is, all back to trust and obedience. I saw Him just sitting back and shaking His head, with a grin on His face that said finally, you’re hearing Me. That was the key all along…not thinking that I was going to figure out a way to fix all this junk, not that I ever could have, but trusting Him to fix it for me, and to become a little more like His Son along the way somehow.

The coolest part was later when I was meditating on these verses and I couldn’t stop thinking about that word advice. That was the part that I was stuck on…okay, God, what specifically is this advice of yours that I haven’t heeded? I really sensed Him tell me that I’d find out soon enough. So I went about my morning, getting ready to just enjoy an entire day doing nothing related to work, but just loving the beautiful weather (this is my favorite time of year!) and visiting with family and spending time with the delicious man that He made for me. I was nearly giddy just thinking about it. While I was brushing my teeth, I decided to go check the Bible Gateway verse of the day on my phone, which I frequently do as a way to kick-off my day. It said simply:

Do as God does. After all, you are his dear children -Ephesians 5:1

Thank you, Abba. That’s good advice. I AM your child. I don’t need to worry about anything else.

Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.

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