Making a List; Dreading It Twice

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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

Trusting in the Rock

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On Saturday, Jason and I took Barnabas out for a hike.  We hoped to get away from all the stress and decision-making taking place in our lives right now as we prepare to sell our home and purchase a motorhome for full-time deputation. Overall, it served its purpose, but more than that, God used a moment of that hike to point out a hard truth in my life. Allow me to set the scene.

We came to a water crossing. The stream was wide but not deep if one planned his steps carefully. Barnabas crossed first. No big deal. Jason followed, and I was next. I did well until I reached the last step, which was more like a leap to the river bank. I made it across but landed in the gushy sand that sank and squished as soon as my foot made contact. This is the conversation that followed:

Me: “Ew, I stepped in the gushy stuff.”

Jason: “I used that rock just under the surface so I could step far enough to be on the other side of the gushy stuff.”

Me: “I guess I didn’t see the rock.”

Jason: “It wasn’t a rock you would trust.” (He knows I’m very particular about what size and shape of rock I’m willing to put my weight on.)

Me: “Oh, well, I’d rather step in the gushy stuff than stand on a rock I don’t trust.”

At that moment, it was if those words flew out of my mouth then circled back and hit me right between the eyes. How often do I settle for the “gushy stuff” in life because I’m not trusting in the Rock? How many times do I take flying leaps instead of standing firm on the Rock? Why is it so hard for me to trust the Lord? He has come through time and time again. He has proven His power, His love, and His goodness. Yet, I still bypass His way for my way. I step around Him to take the path I see, the one that looks best to me.

As I discovered later that day, my trust issue with the Lord has wreaked havoc in all my relationships. Not only have I stopped trusting God, but I’ve also stopped trusting others. I expect the worst out of people and situations and have fallen for the lie that the only one I can depend on is me. When I realized this, I had to laugh out loud. Not because it was funny, but because it was so ironic. I know I’m a mess. I know me better than anyone, so surely, I understand I cannot depend on myself. Yet, I do. It makes no sense. And all of it began when I refused to trust God with my life.

Maybe you can relate. Perhaps you know what it’s like to follow your own plans and try to solve your own problems. Maybe you, too, live a life of fear, worry, and stress rather than trust, peace, and joy. If so, I will tell you the same thing the Lord recently showed me—it doesn’t have to be that way! It’s a matter of choice. We can choose to stand on the Rock or to make our own way through the gushy stuff. We can choose to trust God instead of fretting over every detail of our lives. We have a choice, so what’s it going to be—the Solid Rock or the sinking sand?

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.
— Psalm 31:3
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
— Psalm 40:2

How Good Is God's Word?

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The Bible speaks extensively about the power and holiness of God’s name. Not only that, but it also details God’s nature by the use of many names such as El Shaddai, Jehovah Jireh, Adonai, and more. When we consider these things, there can be no doubt that God’s name is important.

That’s why I’m so fascinated by a phrase I came upon in the book of Psalms. Yes, once again one of the verses I’ve read a thousand times reached out and smacked me. Thankfully, it was a good slap. The kind that made me stop and read the verse again and then meditate on its impact on my life. Check it out.

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
— Psalm 138:2

Notice the last part of that verse: “thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” That’s exciting, people! Knowing how marvelous and holy and mighty the name of God is, it pales in comparison to God’s Word. Do you realize what this means for us? It means God’s Word can be trusted. If He’s made a promise, we can know, without a doubt, He will fulfill it. He has staked His name—His reputation—upon it.  

Yes, if God Himself magnifies His Word above all His name, then we can too. We can know if God said it, it’s settled. He doesn’t lie. He never makes promises He can’t keep. He doesn’t exaggerate or water down the truth. It is sure. It is powerful. And in it, we can be confident, no matter what our feelings or circumstances may want us to believe.

How good is God’s Word? According to the Author Himself, it’s even better than His name. How’s that for a confidence boost!!!

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
— Numbers 23:19