Making a List; Dreading It Twice

adult-1850268_1920.jpg

Well, it’s official. We’ve completed the first stage of our moving to move to move process. We’ve set up a temporary home in the basement of my in-laws’ house. So far, it’s been a place to sleep and not much else as we’ve spent the majority of our time packing up the rest of our belongings and beginning the repairs and refreshes on our house.

After talking with two different realtors about the best way to approach the selling of our home, we determined we would need to do some significant updates throughout the property to get top dollar for our home. As the realtors walked through our house, I jotted down their suggestions on a notepad. By the end of the tour, I had nearly a full page of projects like remodeling the bathrooms, putting new cabinet doors in the kitchen, painting all the walls and trim, landscaping, refinishing the floors, and on and on.  

Over the next few days, Jason and I priced out all the items on the list and balked at the dollar signs swimming before us, not to mention the time and effort in store for us. That list has become my nemesis. It keeps me up at night. It runs through my mind on an endless loop. It causes my stomach to churn and my head to pound. So much to do. So little energy. Yikes!!!!

Jason, on the other hand, has pretty much ignored the list. After seeing what needed to be done and what the cost would be, he set to work. He views the list as a guide, a tool—nothing more. I, however, have allowed it to run my life and dictate my attitude. For the past week, I’ve felt as if the world—at least, my world—was spinning out of control. After making my list and dreading it twice (an hour), I went about my work as if it were all up to me. I forgot that I’m not the one in control, and better yet, I don’t have to be.

From the beginning of time, God knew this day would come. He has seen how this will all work out, and He has promised strength to those who wait on Him and trust in Him (Isaiah 40:31). He’s got this! Sure, things may seem like a big mess, but they only seem that way. God has it all control, so there’s no reason for me to dread. Besides, dread and worry only steal the strength and energy I need to accomplish the tasks before me.

Lists are useful and sometimes necessary, but when they become all-consuming, they’ve overstepped their bounds. I’ve given my list to God and will let Him “worry” about the details.  After all, I’ve got plenty to do to keep me busy.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
— I Peter 5:7

Seasons of Suffering

Seasons of Suffering.png

While on my prayer walk yesterday, I saw something that made me smile and cry at the same time.  A young woman was jogging with her two dogs.  Not an uncommon sight on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  But, as the woman passed me, I couldn’t help but notice the contrast between her two dogs.  The canine on her right was as white as snow and stood as high as the woman’s hip.   The dog on her left was a brown chihuahua whose ears barely reached the height of the woman’s socks.  I continued to watch, noticing that the contrast between the two dogs didn’t end with their appearance.

As the woman jogged along, the tall dog on the right moved his legs in a slow, easy stride.  He wasn’t so much running as he was gliding.  The chihuahua, on the other hand, was moving all four legs just as fast and hard as he could and still falling far behind.  I immediately felt sorry for the poor thing, and that’s when the tears threatened to spill out of my eyes.  I realized how much I could relate to that poor little mutt.

Like him, I know how it feels to see those around me effortlessly moving forward while I’m striving with every bit of strength and energy I have and still falling behind.  And I know I’m not alone.  Just this weekend, I spoke with several strong women who are waging war against sickness, disease, and other health issues.  As I conversed with these women and their families, a litany of negative words flowed through the conversations.  Frustrated.  Discouraged.  Helpless.  Hopeless.  Like me, these women long to do more, be more, live more, but their spirits are currently in bondage to a body that can’t keep up.  And so, we watch as others live their lives and try our best not to grow discontent with our current season of life.

As I watched the contrasting dogs and thought of these women (and myself), a passage from the book of Job crossed my mind.  We all know what Job went through.  In a single season of life, he lost his family, his livelihood, and his health.  If anyone had a reason to feel frustrated, discouraged, helpless, and hopeless, it was Job.  But look at what he said in the middle of such heartache:

Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
— Job 2:9-10

Shall we receive good and not evil?  It’s a fair question.  Why is it that we, as Christians, expect to get only good things from God?  Or, to put it more accurately, why can we not understand that often the things that seem wrong or evil are actually for our good?  It just doesn’t make sense to our finite brains, but that’s why God gave us His Word.  So we wouldn’t have to lean on our own understanding.  All we have to do is trust that what He has said is true.  

With that in mind, here are some encouraging Scriptures the Lord gave me this morning.  These verses apply to everyone, but I pray they will be a special blessing to all of you who are fighting illness or disease and are growing more discouraged with every passing day.  Let God’s Word assure your heart that He cares for you and that through this season of suffering, He is working all things for your good.  And remember, this too shall pass!

The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. - Exodus 14:14

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. - Isaiah 40:28-31

And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. - Deuteronomy 31:8

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. - Jeremiah 29:11

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:19

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. - Psalm 23:4

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. - Psalm 103:2-5

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. - Isaiah 41:10

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. - Jeremiah 17:14

The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. - Psalm 34:17-22

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

2 Comments
Print Friendly and PDF

Sometimes It's Best Not To Know

suave & refined.png

Recently, I invested in some intolerance tests to investigate if my diet, environment, or vitamin/mineral deficiencies may be contributing to my health issues. I wanted to be armed with the knowledge of how to best care for myself, hoping to regain strength and energy, both of which I desperately need these days.

The results came back in five days, but it might as well have been a lifetime. I was eager to see the results. I had high hopes the key to the “new me” could be found in avoiding a few things giving me grief. I knew the testing was extensive, but I had no idea the list of things to which I’m intolerant would be SO LONG!

The tests are broken down into four categories: food, environment, deficiencies, and metal toxicity.  The food category is organized according to levels and colors corresponding to a traffic light. Level 3 is red and means stop eating these foods as there is a severe intolerance. Level 2 is yellow, indicating the participant should slow down their intake of these foods as there is a decent level of intolerance. Level 1 is green, meaning proceed with caution. These items show a slight intolerance level and should be evaluated at a later time, after addressing the foods on Levels 2 and 3.

I cannot describe my horror as I scrolled down the list of Level 3 (RED) foods and saw the word, “cocoa.” As in chocolate! I’m pretty sure the blood running through my veins is nearly 50% chocolate. I love the stuff! I eat it all the time and have for as long as I can remember. Everyone who knows me knows chocolate is my favorite of all favorites. And now, it must be banned from my diet. Kill me now!!!

As I shared the results of the tests with Jason, he looked at me sympathetically and whispered, “You wanted to know.” He’s right I did. At least, I thought I did, but now that I know, I’m not so sure I want to.  After all, if I didn’t, I could continue to enjoy my chocolate in ignorance. But now that I know, I have a duty to do something with that knowledge. And I can’t say I’m particularly happy about it!

I wonder, though, if that’s why God often keeps things hidden from us. It’s not that He's sneaky or cruel. I think He does it because He knows we can’t handle the truth. . .at least, not yet. We think we want to know. We believe we want to see around the bend. But do we really? What if there’s heartache? Disease? A miscarriage? Bankruptcy? Or, heaven forbid, an intolerance to your all-time-favorite food? What would we do with such knowledge? How would we handle it? My guess is, not well! And God knows that.

They say, “Ignorance is bliss,” and in some cases, I can see where that could be true. Sometimes, it really is best not to know. As for my intolerance to chocolate (and a long list of other foods), even though I’m not happy with the results, it’s good for me to know because now I am armed with the knowledge to do something for my health.  After all, if the intolerances are as severe as they seem, I’ve been poisoning myself for a long time without even realizing it. So, in this area, ignorance would not be blissful. It would be deadly.

God knows best, dear friends. He will tell us what we need to know when we need to know it. And if there’s some area in which you feel He’s keeping you in the dark, please know that He has a good reason for doing so. Maybe you really don’t want to know. Remember, He has your best interest at heart. Trust Him. Sometimes it’s better in the dark.

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
— Psalm 139:11-12