Have you ever had that pull on your heart? That ache that tells you that something is not quite right? The persistent call that tells you that you have messed up yet again? The one that makes you ask, “Why can’t I be better?”
It’s a feeling of shame, mixed with regret, all combined with a ton of guilt.
I hate these feelings sometimes. Even worse, I hate how I feel when I am not sure what I should do. I hate not knowing if I will ever “be better”, “do better” and “love better”. I hate feeling like I will never get it quite right. I hate feeling afraid to take the risk to go “there”.
Sin weighs me down. It crushes a spirit. It burdens a heart. It stifles a purpose.
Sin comes and:
It laughs at us
It makes us afraid
It shames us
It makes us uncertain
It tells us, “why bother?”
It condemns us
It defines us
It confirms we can never change
It makes us self conscious
It covers us in chains
It discourages us
It attempts to hold us back from our purpose
It steals peace
It embarrasses us
It robs us of joy
It knocks on the doors of our lives attempting to lure us. It stands ready to rob us. And after it does, it leaves us injured, broken and lying on the floor unsure what to do next.
But it is in this place of vulnerable pain where our hurts drive us to admission. It is in this place where we have to take a risk. Where we have to step out of our comfort zone.
And, it is in this exact place where God is best seen. This is where we see him from an authentic, open and receptive heart. And, when we come to God, he heals and binds up our pain better than we could have ever imagined.
When we confess, and move towards God through changed actions, he comes to us – and we come to him.
And he says:
I forgive you
I love you
I will embrace you
You are my workmanship
Your actions don’t disqualify my plans
Your sin doesn’t mean you can’t win
Your ways don’t supersede my ways
I am more successful than your failures
My grace extends further than your guilt
I live inside of you. I can’t give up on myself.
You are more than a conqueror because of Christ Jesus.
You are my work-in-progress
Do you believe me?
If so, let it go. As far as the east is from the west. Let. It. Go.
Watch me work.
I can change you.
I am perfecting the beauty that is “me” within you.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
There is one tip – one tip – that is the best tip to get through an argument and you are about to learn it. We have all been in an argument. Those ugly, annoying, life-taxing disagreements that leave us feeling horrible. They hurt. They frustrate. We feel slighted, annoyed and aggravated. We just can’t seem to get over how and why a person would treat us the way that they did.
Why would they intentionally hurt us?
Why would they be so mean?
Why would they go and say THOSE things?
That is how I felt. I felt that the words spoken to me were beyond what someone should say. I felt like they were thrown out to make me feel guilty. They were words sent on a mission to wound.
They were words intended to cut deep and to leave scars.
Often, in these situations, we can feel like exploding – or simply shutting down all together. Either way, we go into protection mode.
Personally, I felt like unloading.I felt like letting all my crazy words shoot out of my mouth in continuous succession, not caring where they hit. I felt like tearing the person down because I felt so torn down myself. I was ready to shoot to win.
But, as I got ready to open my mouth to start firing a barrage of insults, I felt the Holy Spirit tug on my hard heart. The tug gently reminded me that Christ did not fight back. That Christ restrained his words when we was on trial, when he was on the cross and when breathed his last breath. He did this despite all that we did – and continue to do – to him. I silenced myself. God, what do you want me to do?Sometimes, silence in the midst of pain provides the perfect environment to hear clear answers from God.When everything in my body was saying, give them what they deserve, God said, give them what they don’t.
Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Luke 6:28-30
But, it’s hard. It’s so hard, especially when we feel hurt. To love the one who caused us pain goes against everything in our sinful nature.
How do we love someone when we are still bleeding from our wounds?
We go to the Father first. We let him bind up our bleeding aching wounds. We express our inflictions to him and we trust Him to guide us. We leave our weapons on the floor. We faithfully obey God’s Word. We speak truth from the place of love.
We give all we have to hold God’s hand through our pain, when it feels like our pain will never wane.
The other person is not the one with the power to repair us, God is the master healer. The other person does not have the power to fix our problems, but God is master fixer. The other person does not have the power to rule over our feelings, God rules on high.
Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. (Jeremiah 17:4 NIV)
God is our protector, provider and lover of our soul. He will repair the damaged hearts we have.
Let’s pour out our pain, our hurts and our trials to God. He can take it. He has carried the world on his shoulders, he can certainly handle our issues. He will repair our scars, bind up our wounds and give us a fresh step in him.
Christ didn’t love wounded, he loved from the power of God. He didn’t love embarrassed, he loved from the strength of God’s power. He didn’t live ashamed, he lived knowing his eternal purpose.
We are not defined by our arguments, labels and guilt, but we are defined by the power of God at work in us. When we are ruled by this power, we can act differently. We can act according to the power of God.
We can win the war of arguments. We win when we stay near to Christ. We win when his love pours through us despite our feelings. We win when we keep ourselves upright. God is the best tip to get us through an argument.
Despite what another person does, God will be faithful to bind up wounds and to take care of us.
God doesn’t answer based on what we want, he answers based on what we need.
We may think we need peace and he says no, you need trials. We may think we need joy – he says perseverance. We may think blessings – he says endurance. We may think money – he says contentment. We may think appreciation – he says love.
I was on the hunt for “encouragement”…
After my “big rejection”, an amazing friend who is wise beyond her years, strong in the Lord and faithful to his call, sent me this verse:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1
I think she wanted to encourage me in my race, to help me with endurance, but what God revealed was something far deeper and even more convicting. Let me explain…
I love a good race. I love competing and I love pushing through my personal barriers physically and mentally. I get the idea of running a race for the Lord. Why?
I feel ready to give it all. I feel ready to explode off the starting line and to push no matter what my body feels. I want to arrive at the gate of heaven and fall in front of my King with a fast beating heart, with sweat on my brow. I want to fall before him out of breath, knowing I gave it all. I don’t want to have an ounce of push left.
I want this so badly. But still, I get caught looking at the sidelines. I look at the crowds of people telling me to follow them, I look at my own inadequacies and I pump my arms with pride.
God knows this. He sees this. And, as any fine coach would do – to make me the best runner for his kingdom – he trains me. He pushes me. He sends me through hard training days; days with some pain – some trials. These trials serve to mold me into a champion runner for his kingdom. They strip me of my own ways and the world’s ways – to make me more like him, the ultimate champion.
Even so, sometimes I wonder, despite all this, why I still slow down?
And, this was why Hebrews 12:1 was so powerful. It was this part…“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.”
God bugged me with this verse to see that: I can’t run loaded with weight. I have a part in this race.
Sin weight slows me down. It trips me up. It keeps me from Him.
And, when sin is strapped on, its burden is heavy. It’s consuming. It stops us in our tracks. It distracts us and trips us up. We can try to pretend it is not there, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t.
God is faithful to keep bugging us to address it. When we do, we grow. If we don’t, we fall.
I may have been trying to run a “victory”, but sometimes a “failure or a disappointment” ends up being the greatest “victory”. Why? Because as we fail, we can see our own faults and we hear him whispering, “Confess.”
I didn’t want trials. I didn’t want pain. I didn’t want rejection. I didn’t want humiliation.
God said, “It’s not about you. Confess.”
I confess Lord, I have sinned. I want all of you. I can’t mentally pursue the race you have set before me when my mind is weighed down by my own desires and my own sin.
It is easy to want joy, peace, contentment and blessings. It is easy to want encouragement and motivation, but God is operating from the throne of all knowledge, all power and all sovereignty. In his seat, he sees yesterday, today and tomorrow. He knows precisely what we need to finish our race. He knows precisely what will hold us back from finishing.
He wants us to be champions. He wants us to run with speed and power and strength.
He wants us to finish strong and joyful.
We are more than just conquerors in Christ Jesus.
What baggage holds you back? What do you need to confess? What trials might God be using to train you?
When we confess, God has a greater gift in store. The gift of speed and endurance that helps us run our race unencumbered.
SEE YOUR BEAUTY. You are absolutely beautiful to God, just as you are.
You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Songs 4:7)
God loves you. Choose today to believe in the depths of your heart that God does not look at you and see a list of flaws, of shortcomings and of failures. He sees beauty. He sees a treasure that he loves. One that he created. He sees a child of God, his own child.
For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. Deut. 7:6
God doesn’t look and define you by your shortcomings, failures and your lack of _____.
Instead, you are defined by greatness – His greatness. He chose you, my friend. You belong to God – not because of anything you did – and certainly not because of your goodness. But, because of your beauty – in Him.
When we believe that God accepts us because of him, the spotlight can come off of us. When we believe that he loves us because of his love, we can stop harping on failures. When we believe that he is greater than us, we can finally stop feeling so weak.
God’s love surpasses our limitations. There is no moderation. What he gives, surpasses expectations.
We expect to be pushed away for our failures, but God draws us near. We expect to be cast aside for our weaknesses, but God makes us strong. We expect to be ridiculed for our flaws, but God comforts us.
He knows we fall short. This is the point. This is why we need Christ. This is why we need grace and forgiveness. We need his saving work to be righteous – in Him. His grace. His love.
The real beauty is that it is all about Him. We are beautiful because of Christ. He makes us beautiful.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12).
God looks at you, his child, and says:
“You are beautiful.”
“I want to lavish love upon you.”
“I know you sin, but, as you confess, I extend you my grace.”
“Be guilty no more, I have come to your rescue.”
“Let go and trust me to refine you.”
“Do not fear yourself. Let my perfect love cast out fear.”
“I love you as I have created you, you are my work in progress. I know what I am doing. You are beautiful.”
Do you get frustrated at your failings? Do you feel less than sometimes? Do you feel unloved? God sees you and he sees beauty. It is time you see your beauty too – not because of you, but because of Him.
Have you ever wondered what is wrong with you? Why you can’t do things right? Why you are the way you are? Hold tight, you are about to find out how to overcome your weaknesses in this two part series. There is one simple tip that will change your life!
We all have them. Try as we may to sweep them under the carpet, our flaws, our shortcomings and our failures still exist. In fact, often stand out bright as day.
Or, at least this is how I felt – when what started as a simple task turned into a colossal failure.
I was working on what was supposed to be the most delicious, mouth-watering seafood salad ever made. I bought fresh lobster. I cut up some farm fresh vegetables. I even sautéed some scallops to go in it. But, somehow I made the dressing all wrong – lemon, tons of lemon – was all we tasted. I didn’t want to admit it – it tasted straight up nasty!
It’s funny how something so small, and so meaningless in the grand scheme of life can make us feel so less than. What begins as a small mistake develops into a persistent ache. It lingers. It annoys. It hurts. And it whispers the lie that we will always mess up – that we are full of mistakes.
It’s not only small mistakes that hold power, but relationships, circumstances and words of decades past that rule over us.
Relationships highlight our deficiencies, asking, “How did you screw up again? Why did you say ‘that’? Imagine what they think of you now? They don’t want to be around you.”
Circumstances knock us down, telling us, “You can’t conquer me. You always react in this way. You will never change.”
Ancient words call down from the attic saying, “You were always this way. You are not beautiful, smart or worthy. You can’t change.”
These words can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. We fail because we have failed. We are abandoned because we fear abandonment. We act in fear, and fear brings about our worst fears.
How do we change? How do we prevent these words from taking residence in our hearts, ruling our minds and directing our actions?
“…For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Matthew 12:34)
We look at the heart. Because when we change the beliefs of our heart, our thoughts will follow step. And, if our thoughts are in line with truth, our actions will be based on love.
Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. (Proverbs 4:23)
There is a lot of heart work to be done and many “heart” beliefs to reform (see this post for more on the heart). But, what you are about to learn is one of the most life changing beliefs when truly embraced.
Tune in on Thursday for Part II – where you will find the one thing you can do to overcome your failures.
When you believe this truth – your life, your mind and your actions will never be the same. I am so excited to share it with you!
Remember, you are being transformed into his image – you are a conqueror. Your failures and your weaknesses do not have to hold the power to reign over you.
Now, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37)
See you on Thursday to learn the tip that has been so helpful to me. Find out how to overcome your weaknesses!
It was one of those days. I wasn’t sure how to get through a bad day – that was this bad.
“I don’t want to leave the house. I don’t want to put my shoes on. I can’t get dressed. I don’t want to get in the car. I can’t buckle myself in. I don’t want music. I do want music. Mommy, I am hungry. I am not hungry. I am thirsty. I am not thirsty.”
We make it to the car – a small victory!
“Mommy, don’t sing. I don’t like music. I want my window down. I don’t want the wind to hit me.”
Finally, our car pulls into our destination – a huge victory!
Goliath may have been strong and mighty, but all I know is that I felt like David as I walked onto that soccer field. I defeated my giant. I arrived. I did it!
A sense of relief washes over me. I was ready for my time of solace. My time to sit down and cheer on my adorable boy from afar. I can be still. I can sip a drink. I can think. I can recuperate. I can “be”.I give him a little push in the direction of the field, and say, “Have fun, Mommy can’t wait to cheer you on.”If only the story ended here. Because if it did, I could wrap it up with a bow and say, “persevere my sister, all will get better – just obey, be loving and trust God.”
Your pain, your emotions and your story are not for naught. Behind these circumstances God has glory waiting to be unveiled. He has power waiting to be revealed. He has encouragement awaiting your soul. He stands ready to show you how to see God’s glory – hidden in your present day circumstances.
So take hope. For in the moment is pain, but joy comes in the morning. (Ps. 30:5)
The story of the blind man paints an incredible picture for us. He was actually born both blind AND poor. We can only imagine his struggles, his loneliness, his embarrassment and his feelings of hopelessness.
We may ask, “how could this happen to him? Blind and Poor? What hope did he have for work? How demotivated must he have felt?”
Yet, with Christ, all things are possible for those who believe (Mark 9:23).
Jesus often rescued others to reveal his glory – and to better the story.
So, he “spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.” (John 9:6 ESV)
After the blind man applied the mud, Jesus told him to wash his eyes. He did. And – the blind man could see! Imagine his joy when his blurry eyes gave way to the glory held within the eyes of Christ.
When we look at this story, we see Jesus was faithful to heal. But the blind man played an important role too. He had to take a moment, to step out of his suffering, to step out of the place of despair and to get up and walk to the water. He had to obey, when perhaps all he felt like doing was sitting and laughing at the thought of putting mud on his eyes. When all he felt like saying was, “nothing has ever worked for me before”.
But, he got up. He listened. He believed and he obeyed. He took a step towards healing. And, what probably was the biggest prayer of his lifetime – was answered.
God takes pain and exchanges it for glory and power. He comes into our moments of despair and of hopelessness and offers us a new step – when we believe.
When asked earlier why this man was blind, Jesus said it was “…so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”(John 9:3 NIV)
It kind of reminds me of the words Jesus spoke Martha at Lazarus’ tomb, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)
When we believe, we perceive the glory of the Lord.
The beauty that God reveals to us often extends beyond our own eyes. It surpasses our benefit. It has some saving work to do.
Because God knows his glory is too amazing to contain. He knows the glory in our story is too fantastic to jar up. We have to share. We have to talk. Come and see what Jesus did – for me – as I believed!
We have seen glory, to shine glory. We shine glory, so that others may believe.
“…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)
God’s glory is BIG – and once revealed – there is no stopping it. Look at how far the Glory of God has shined in this story. We still talk about the healed blind man today. The story encourages us thousands of years later.
Because the blind man overcame, he couldn’t help but proclaim. And the more he proclaimed, the more restored he became. The more he shared the more he believed. His faith is fanned. He can’t contain the glory of the Lord. It is too much to hold inside.
We can learn a valuable lesson from this blind and poor man who had been through so much. No matter our situation, no matter our pain, no matter our suffering – there is glory in our story. Can you see it now? Perhaps not. Will you see it some day? Likely.
Trust God to work and faithfully wait. But, make no mistake, he has hidden glory in your story. He turns our messes into masterpieces – for his purposes.
We are the light bearers for Christ’s glory present day.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
Do you feel like you have no light today? Take heart. He will work things out. He will redeem his children. He loves us too much not too. He has not forgotten you. He cares for you.
Wait and see. God has hidden his glory in your story. He shows you how to see God’s glory in your life. While once you were blind, soon you will see. And when you do – Go yell it on a mountain! There are others waiting to learn how to see God’s glory.
I had no idea I was in for one huge scare – and a timely lesson on some key ways to guard your heart – as I walked over to my computer.
I planned to indulge in just a few seconds – of distraction, of indulgence, of entertainment. But, these seconds ended up being seconds that cost me so much.
My eyes darted around the room for my 1-year-old daughter. She was nowhere to be found. I called her name. Nothing. I furiously looked around the room. Nowhere. My heart skipped a beat. Anxiety welled up in my chest. There are so many things that can happen in just seconds. My mind raced. The possibilities overwhelmed me.
Then I heard it—a thump, thump, thump. My worst nightmare was becoming a reality. Something was happening to my baby. She was falling. I sprinted to the most dangerous spot in the house—our stairs. There I saw her – crying on the floor. My heart broke.
My distraction led to this infraction. My preoccupation created a situation. My online enjoyment led to her torment.
How often are you finding that what you seek online—pleasure, satisfaction, fun—leads you to a situation of tribulation? What we do in a matter of a few seconds may have long-lasting repercussions. What makes us feel good or accepted can make others feel the exact opposite: denied and rejected.
As I hugged my crying baby girl, God spoke to the deepest recesses of my heart. It was time I turn away from the internet to think about how I am impacting others. It was time that I look at what my heart is seeking.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
“Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart” (Psalm 26:2 NLT).
My heart needed testing, and God was faithful to show himself.
HE REVEALED 3 WAYS TO GUARD YOUR HEART:
1. Guard it from a distracted mind. I was distracted from the moments that he had given me to experience and enjoy. I loved to see my daughter’s new milestones, but I didn’t get to see her climb those stairs. I missed that moment.
When we immerse ourselves in a screen, we miss the in between.
We miss what God has set before us. We miss his plan and his will. How can we be focused on what he wants when we are focused on what we want? We can’t. We miss out on him. And on our family and our future.
Instead, let’s be attracted to our King, instead of distracted with a screen.
2. Guard it from seeking excessive amusement. “Entertain me! Delight me! Consume me!” That is what I say so often to my screen. Give me a moment of joy in a world that leaves me feeling so empty. Give me a moment of pleasure in a world that hurts. Give me a laugh when I so often want to cry.
We are missing the point. God doesn’t want us to fill our emptiness with amusement. He wants us to fill our emptiness with him. Amusement comes and amusement goes, but God’s love remains forever.
When we are constantly filling our mind with “noise”, we miss what God wants to say in the “silence”.
“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)
“I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.” (Psalm 101:3)
3. Guard it from seeking FAME over his name. Read my posts. Like me. Favorite me. Retweet me. See me. Accept me. Do you notice the theme? It is all about me.
When the focus is on self, we often put God on a shelf.
“LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2).
It is all about God’s fame. May we proclaim this fame. God’s – the glory, for his story—not ours.
Are you looking online to fill the desires of your heart? God has created you so that you need to rely only on him to fill your every need.
“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9 NLT).
Do you believe this? If so, turn to him. Talk to him. Rely on him. Take joy in him. Distract yourself with him. Amuse yourself in him. Seek his fame.
When we are looking for his glory, he presents a beautiful story. He will be faithful to give you seconds that will serve as priceless memories.
Hold his hand and take a moment – free of distractions – to look in his eyes; his beauty will astound you.
I try to so hard to “do good”. I try so hard to keep everyone happy. I try so hard to keep things in order, to make others feel good, to do things the right way, to be all that I can be – and to be who others want to see.
I try and I try and I try. But, I fail and I fail and I fail. It can be tiring. It leaves me worn, discouraged and wishing I could be better than – me.
Even worse, I notice that in my pursuit of perfection, I tend to hurt others. I don’t want to do this. But, I do.
It is a common day, when simple words of feedback, turn into living giants of criticism. They come and tower over me with pointed fingers, telling me that I am not “good enough”, “talented enough” or “wise enough” to handle life. They push me to strive harder and reinforce the idea that I am failing.
Why do we let these giants hold so much power?
When we seek to set our own worth, we fail. Because only One defines worth.
Any worth found outside of Him is worthless.
God writes the definition of who we are – and why we are.
I may seek worth in bills paid, things in order and a happy family, but God gives us his worth. We are worthy because we are his children, loved and fully accepted.
God has a greater glory is greater than our manufactured version. His glory surpasses expectations. It exceeds our wildest dreams. It is bigger than you or me. But, we miss seeing it when our mind is focused on our perfect ways.
His glory unfolds in the midst of weakness. In the place of imperfection. In the land of mess.
God is greater than our perfect. He shows up in our faults. He is present in our weaknesses.
This is where beauty is unveiled; and I want to see it. Christ makes my imperfect – perfect. Perfect in Him, as I trust Him.
I want this better way. Let’s remind ourselves of God’s truth as we move towards him with authentic, open and receiving hearts. He will be faithful to touch us in just the right way.
Bible Verses for Perfectionists:
1. “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32)
His strength is power.
2. “Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14)
We are being made holy. We are a work in process.
3. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6)
He is greater than any barrier that stands in front of us.
4. Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 103:8)
His mercy does not end for us because he loves us.
5. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God… (Eph. 2:8)
Grace is always ours, even when we fail.
6. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
He made us beautifully. We can believe this.
7. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
He holds us and loves us; his hand won’t let go of us – ever!
8. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
His ways are easy, when we truly are in them.
9. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
We are not perfect. He is.
10. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
Let us be weak, because we can then be strong in Him.
God doesn’t view our weaknesses as obstacles to closeness with him; he sees them as opportunities for growth as he loves us.
This random Saturday morning, I had no idea that being stuck in NYC traffic was going to teach me a life-changing lesson on how to take charge of your expectations…
When my son laid eyes on just about the biggest big rig ever seen, his eyes light up as bright as a kid on Christmas morning.
“Roll the window down!” he yelled.
With utter urgency, his little fist started pumping – up and down, up and down. This would have been really cute, except for the fact that I was contending with New York City stop-and-go traffic.
Getting directly next to this truck was going to be a feat in itself. With 2 kids sitting in the backseat on the verge of tears and on the brink of disaster, I knew what I had to do.
“Super Mommy” needed to come to the rescue – in a big way!
Nothing would stop me from making my little boy’s dreams come true.
Finally, after much breaking and accelerating, I got my son in perfect hand thrusting position! Yes!
The driver was delighted. Mikey was delighted. I was delighted. Everyone was happy. We all shared a moment of fun as the truck let out a massive “honk!”. Victory! Happiness! Joy! The truck driver and I threw out some quick pleasantries, a couple of laughs and then he kept on truckin’.
Meanwhile, on one of the busiest freeways of NYC, I was guilty of the unthinkable! I let two cars slip into line in front of me. I inadvertently left open the tiniest of gaps on a freeway where most people don’t give you an inch. And, in true New York fashion, these opportunist drivers took advantage of my gap.
Our final moments of celebration were cut short when the SUV behind us pulled his car right next to ours. With a red face and a quickly moving mouth, he signaled me to roll down my window.
Anxiety welled up in me. I knew what was coming. Afraid, I rolled down my window down.
His anger was palpable, “What is wrong with you? You let two cars get in front of you! What are you doing? Pay attention lady!”
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
Some way, some how, God gave me peace as I responded to this man. He needed peace. So peace I gave him, not as the world gives.
I felt for him.
In his own attempt to get ahead, to be effective and efficient, he turned into a mad man. The irony of the situation is that, after he yelled at me, he cut up the line and gained a significant head, but as traffic freed, much to my discomfort, we still ended up side by side further down the road. All his maneuvering made no difference in his ultimate progress.
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)
In his quest to rush, to get ahead and to power through, he got nowhere. His impatience didn’t propel him forward; it landed him right where he would have been if he had kept his cool.
How often are we like this man? How often do we have expectations that rule us?
Expectations Can Drive Us Mad
You may be thinking, I would never be like “that”! But, I find I’m guilty of being a “mad woman” too. I often take measures into my own hands to get things “accomplished”. I rush to get to my “destination”, only to get frustrated when others hold me back. I “speed” to the least populated checkout lines at the store and become agitated when the cashier is the “slow” one. I rush through bedtime stories with my son, in order to arrive at my “chill time”.
Unsaid expectations can rule me. I think, “How dare “that person” mess up “my plans”, get in “my way” or “hold me” back?”
These expectations leave me sad, upset and irritated when things don’t go my way.
Are expectations just demands wrapped in a bow to cover their ugliness? Is God even present in these demands? Or, is he just the one we feel upset at when we don’t get our way?
How To Take Charge of your Expectations
God doesn’t give us what we want. He doesn’t answer us. He doesn’t hear us. And, others hinder our success. They block our lane. They get us “stuck”.
With all this focus on our personal progress, we miss big opportunities. The opportunity to love. The opportunity to serve. The opportunity to encourage. The opportunity to witness, to see God’s glory and to understand truth. Why? Because our one-track mind speeds to our destination of choice – and the needs of others become the red lights that stop us.
What are your destinations? Maybe it’s education, maybe it’s a ministry, maybe it’s getting your kids into the best schools, maybe its your comfort, maybe its saving money, maybe it’s climbing the professional ladder, looking great for a playgroup, decorating your house, taking care of your yard, buying that house or (fill in the blank).
Are you missing the journey, the glory, and the people who need you?
Let’s not drive in vain. Let’s slow down and see the scenery that God has set before us. Let’s take a minute to look around,
soak it in and delight in the glory the Lord is displaying.
Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40)
The truth is God hasn’t – and won’t – forget about us. He knows our dreams, our hopes and our wishes. He knows what we hope for. He knows us. We don’t need to rev up our cars and fill up our tanks in vain – he has an unlimited supply of gas for us, when we trust him. He will get us where we want to go- in his timing. Do you trust Him?
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
When we let go of our need for speed, we will be freed- freed to love, freed to experience peace and freed to see Him work.
God has something special prepared for us in the midst of our “traffic”. If you feel like you are stuck and you don’t know how to take charge of your expectations – the answer is that you don’t take charge. Instead, you let go of your will and surrender to His.
He will take care of you. He sees you. He has big plans for you – for his glory.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)
Release your expectations into His Hands. To Take Charge of Your Expectations – you let him take charge.
You will be amazed at what He does.