Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Beating Inflating Fears

Beating Inflating Fears

Fear grips me. I feel rattled.
It holds me.I can’t escape it.
It comes when I least expect it and it won’t leave when I tell it to.

Many times fear leaves me confused, with a heart covered with layers and layers of knots.

I know I am not supposed to do it, but I still do. The more I try not to, the more I do. So, what do I do?

Join me as I discuss my journey through my fears, my journey to beat them and God’s hand in my deliverance. Continue reading as I dive into the depths of my heart to uncover the release of fear on Katie Reid’s fabulous blog, Tightly Wound Woman.

Continue Reading…

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Living as a Disappointment (Linkup)

Living as a Dissapointment

Living as a disappointment

I lived much of my life feeling disappointed in myself.

I heard the message loud and clear, I needed to more than myself.

You got a job? You should have got this other one.
You are doing this? You should be doing that.
You are going there? Anywhere, but there.
You are thinking this? What about that?
You are saying this? I think you should say this.

Underneath the questioning, was the underlying thought that my decisions were not good enough, my thoughts not worthy and my perceptions were invalid.

Over and over again, I heard, I was not enough.

So, either I would follow the safe path, trying to be enough or I would go my own way, knowing I would never be enough. But, either way, I always knew that I would disappoint and not be enough.

All roads led to the same destination – a sea of complete inadequacy – raging sky high with waves of fear and uncertainty.

A standard was set for me and I knew, no matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, I could never meet it.

Have you ever felt this way?
Have you ever felt pulled down by the disappointment that is – you?
In a place where you ask, “What’s the use? I am going to fail anyway.”

It can make us feel powerless and out of control.

I’ve battled these feelings for much of my life, so know I know how it goes. But, now, more often than not, I am seeking to lay these burdens down at the foot of the cross. 

I lay down, rest my heart and soak in the height of love, then I see everything – differently. My low, available and open position allows me to see the reaches of something far greater than my hurts of the past – it lets me see the power of my Savior. Here, his power starts transforming and reforming and his light makes things right – failings drop out of sight. Here, I dwell under the power of his healing not feelings.

I see him accept death on the cross. I can see his acceptance of me.
I see true love in his suffering. I see his true love for me.
I see him high and lifted. I see that he can do all things.

To see Jesus is to no longer see disappointment,
but to solely see God’s divine appointment to use disappointment
as an appointment to humble myself to his will.

 

The irony of laying it down is that my purpose, my passion, my goals, my hopes and my dreams are actually unveiled as I lay down my ways to his. We expect it to go one way, yet he actually works another.

Everything belongs to him, so doesn’t it make sense?

The more we submit, the more we actually see his direction.

He knows what he wants to do with us. We belong to him. We were bought with a price. We are no longer owned by failings, but by the one who is always prevailing, overcoming and loving. He bought our failings and is shaping them more and more into something of worth.

Here, he confirms our deepest identity.
Here, he validates our worth.
Here, he says, “It doesn’t matter if you feel powerless and unsure, because I am most powerful and entirely sure.”

Amen, Father, we will go! We will walk through, and by, and for – your power at work. We come in weakness, but leave with your power.

I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. (1 Cor. 2:3)

That power (the power of Christ within) is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, (Eph. 1:19-20)

By the power of Christ at work in us, we can drop pre-conceived notions of who we should be.

By the power of Christ, we can let go of people’s opinions of what we should believe.

By the power of Christ, we can let go of the fear of disappointment.

What area do you feel disappointed? Less than? Unsure? Wavering? Reliant on others? Lost?

God calls you to lay down, open your arms, receive his love, see his goodness, taste his redemption, breathe in his glory and hear his affirmations. He has you.

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Living for Christ in a Selfie World

Less selfie and more Christ

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I’ve got something kind of embarrassing to say, something I kind of hate to admit, but I am sharing it today in hopes that God’s truth helps me overcome this annoying habit.

Here goes: I can’t stop making everything about me.

How that person responded – is about me.
My ministry work – is about me.
Someone getting chosen above me – is about me.
My husband’s response – is about me.
My children’s behavior – is about me.
The response of another – is about me.

Can you see where this is going?

Somehow everything centers around – me, myself and I. And even when I say it doesn’t, I lie.

I don’t want to do this, but it is almost like I can’t help myself. We live in a “selfie” world.

We take pictures of ourselves in the moment and all we can think about is how we performed, how we looked and what kind of response we will get. It is almost as if our worth is dependent on “likes”.  It is almost like others “comments” are vitally important in our missions.

So, I wonder, how do I really die to self instead of pretending all that matters is myself?

God says: Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. (Mt. 23:25)

I certainly don’t want to be that dirty Pharisee, but my cup is just the same – dirty on the inside and shiny on the outside. I lure others over with my outer beauty, until they come closer to see what I have inside. Truly, no one wants to be filled by a cup that only pours out black, dirty and tainted water. There is no living water there. Dirty unclean vessels can’t love as Christ would – nor live as he would.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (Phil. 2:3)

How do I get over myself to dive into God’s will?

Because I am tired of swinging on the pendulum of righteousness – either I swing too far to the left and am completely inadequate and selfish or I swing too far to the right and am completely over-righteous and prideful.  

Back and forth I go.

Have you ever felt this way? When we ride this swing, we can never seem to rest in the peace of the Lord. We are always striving to be more, to do more and to give more. Both a guilty shame-filled heart and an overzealous righteous heart both have roots in the “me first” mentality.  

When one falls down, the other side lifts higher. Back and forth they go.

Yet, the middle place on the pendulum, the still place, is the place of love, grace, mercy; it is a restful place.

God calls us here.

So, how do we come to this resting place of stillness, shamelessness and surrender?
The place where we are neither self-centered or self-inflated, but simply self-less? 

Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity… (2 Tim. 1:8-9)

Note:
– The power of God saved us.
– The power of God called us.
– The power of God leads us in our holy calling.
– The power of God works not through our works but through his.
– The power of God works as he purposes.
– The power of God bestows grace over grace.

This is the power we walk in. Anything more or anything less than God’s power is just the endless movement of a pendulum that keeps heading in the wrong direction.

It is solely by the power of Christ that we do anything. When we work through his power, his power at work within us makes us selfless, humble and full of grace.

It reminds me of the lyrics of “Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus”:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

We fade, Christ brightens.
We become selfless, he becomes radiant.
He shines, we take the back burner.

Not by the power of our own might, but only by the power of the great God we have in sight.

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Overcome The Real Enemy of Worry

Overcome the Enemy of Worry

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“Mommy, can you just be with me.”

The look in his eyes, says it all – he is worried and scared about the perceived “real enemy” on TV.

Fear and worry fills his face, but, my son seems to know that having mommy next to him makes all the difference.

He knows that with the presence of a parent, he is safer.
That the TV is not real and that his mommy is.
That nothing can come against when is mommy is there.

I love both his faith in me and his desire to draw near to me in this moment.

But, I wonder am I this way when I come face-to-face with worries?

Do I choose to sit with the enemy and dwell on his tactics
or do I choose to sit with my Father and dwell on his goodness?

Do I choose to let God protect me, guard me and speak truth into my soul
or I do I choose to let the show and all it’s details play on and on and on? 

Do I choose to sit with the fear-consuming, worry-ravaging, all-powerful Father 
or do I choose a screen that replays my worst fears,
my worst case scenarios and my enemy’s worst threats?

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Ps. 16:8)

I keep my eyes on the Lord!  I. WILL. NOT. BE. SHAKEN.

Eyes on God can’t have eyes on problems.
Eyes beholding nature’s beauty can’t be beholding life’s injustices.
Eyes beholding God’s love can’t be beholding the world’s hate.
Eyes beholding God’s truth in a still moment, can’t be running circles in fear.

When we have our eyes set on God’s perfect love, and we receive it in a moment of close embrace, fear is cast out. (1 Jo. 4:18).

The presence of God that sits with us when we fear, gives us a new perspective on what looms near.  His presence confirms to our soul – we are his.

By faith he (Moses) left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (Heb. 11:27)

Moses seemed to know God is “Emmanuel” – meaning, “God with us”.  He seemed to know, when God is with us, nothing can come against us.

When we dwell on God’s nearness, worry fades and strength pervades.

Moses knew he could move forward with “God with him”; He could persevere verses cower in fear.

He saw the one who is right there.
Always present.
Always helping.
Always leading.
Always loving.
Always protecting.
Always giving.

Do we see “God with us” in our problems? Do we allow his real and powerful presence to cast aside all our worries?

Because when we pull near, he is there and there is no room left for fear. His love pulls up and fills us up – in a real and powerful way. Then, worry has to leave.

Suddenly, we overcome the face of fear through the power of faith.
We know he is closer than any looming disaster and more powerful than they enemy.
We see him with us as we go through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4).
We remain in God – and he remains with us.  (John 15:4-5)

Worry and worship aren’t friends. When one comes, the other leaves. Stillness and a racing mind don’t hold hands either. One runs away from the other.

When we choose “God with us”, we seemingly find our way of escape, our protector, our strength, our hope, our defense. We can trust he is working all things out for his purposes, which are always good.

Enemies can try to come against, but when God is with us, we send their bags packing, because God wins every time.

Dear friend, I know what it is like to worry. I know the pain, I know the agony and I know the despair, but today, God is calling you to something greater. God is calling you to get real, honest and transparent; he is calling you to bask in his presence.

Will you call him near as the screen of life portrays images that invoke fear?  He offers the ultimate protection.

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Today, I linkup with #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

Dealing with an Annoying Person

Dealing with an Annoying Person

I had friend; she was sweet, beautiful and helpful, but sometimes, she had a way of getting under my skin. Normally, I just shoved my irritation through the door of my heart and locked it there with a key. After all, sometimes it feels easier not to deal with things.

I remember one specific day – she asked me to borrow a coat. But, as I handed it to her, she looked at it with disdain. I knew her. I knew she had her eye on one specific coat in my closet. I knew her mind was set, even though she put me through a song and dance trying on each one – I knew where this charade was headed.

In that moment, I wanted to say, “Wear the coat I gave you. I am wearing this one.”  I wanted to send a message that I knew what she was up to. I wanted her to see that her approach was wrong.

But, as I evaluated how to deliver this message, the quiet whisper of my heart said, “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” Lev. 19:18

God’s truth spoke to my heart saying, “Others may annoy you, but it doesn’t matter what they do, it matters what I tell you to do. What matters is – love.”

We headed out. She, wearing the beautiful coat – I, wearing the old one.

As I returned from dropping her off at her house, I recounted all her offenses against me. My irritation levels were on high alert in general, so you can only imagine my frustration when I arrived at the front door, to find it locked and dead-bolted, with absolutely no way in.

Try as I may, this house was impenetrable – and my heart felt imbittered.

But, as I shoved my hand into my old not-so-nice coat, the coat, I felt something; it was just what I needed- a bobby pin – one she has left in my pocket while trying my coat on.

It was this bobby pin that allowed me to pry a screen off a window, so I could climb in to unlock my front door.

In that moment, my whole perspective shifted. I found the key to unlock both my resentful heart – and my front door. 

It unlocked all the small annoyances.
The truth is, the hurting person is hurt. They need love.

It unlocked the power of seeing over small offenses.
God rewards a heart that forgives, that shows mercy and that looks beyond offenses. He rewards a heart that sees a heart.

It unlocked the power of sacrificial love.
True love means we put another before our self. When we look past the exterior, God wows us with the interior of the one who stands before us.

It unlocked my mind from anger and resentment.
When we open the door of our hurts to the great God who understands hurts, all we can do is run into his open arms to receive forgiveness. Then, we can start seeing the ministry work the Lord has set before us to do in the heart of another.

It unlocked a new reality; true love costs something.
Love means we lay down what we have, so we can see how God wills us to reach the other. Sometimes it may cost us a coat, sometimes our time, but no matter, we lay it down in love.

We are all fallen, hurt and imperfect, but as we see past these things, our well-maintained fortresses are penetrated, our walls are taken down and true relationships are forged.

Truly, love surpasses locked doors. It opens up a whole new world.

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Worthy of God’s Call (Linkup)

Worthy of God's Call

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I remember afternoon after afternoon staring at flash cards. I would try to articulate the right word, while having no idea what to say. I could see the frustration in my parents eyes. I could sense the air of irritation at my stupidity. I just wasn’t getting it. I didn’t know what I was doing.

I was behind. I was a mess of a reader – and I felt like a mess of a person.

It’s no wonder I was held back in third grade.

My lack of performance made me inadequate.
My inability to succeed made me a failure.
My incapability to please my parents made me feel out of control.
My perception that I had nothing to offer, made me feel like giving up.
My shortcoming made me feel I would always fall short in life.

Have you ever felt this way?

Have you ever felt less than, unsure and demotivated because you were afraid you weren’t good enough?

Sometimes, I feel like I return right back to that table; it’s as if the piles of flash cards stand before me. I see myself trying and trying, yet failing and failing. I see myself giving my all, only to feel like I know what the result will be – failure.

But, today, the voice of my eternal father is louder than feelings of the past; he speaks new words to a weary heart.

Words that change the game.
That mark me anew.
That free me from situations that come to cloud over me with insecurity and fear.
That save me from the rains that try to soak me with inadequacy.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)

The truth is, that I am God’s unique work – the ultimate work of his hand. He has chiseled me just the way he wants me. Piece by piece he has cut little areas within me to make me more like him. Piece by piece he has shaped me into who he wants me to be. Yes, at times, it has hurt, but his small cuts have made all the difference –  so that I may bear a greater resemblance to Him.

He has created me to be more than enough in Christ Jesus.

His grace is sufficient for me.
God worked and he loves what he has created.
He loves the beauty that is Him – in me.

God not only has given me good things to do in this world, but He has shaped them beforehand for me to do. If he has predestined these plans, it assures my heart that he can use even the most lacking child.

He created me and knows where I will go.
He sends my feet in the direction they should head as I trust them.
I can rest in the fact that I won’t “miss it” as long as I am trusting him “through it”.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Prov. 16:9)

These are my roads, created for me to walk in. They are your roads, created for you to walk in.

With Jesus, we no longer need to walk in fear, because as he draws near and he wipes away every old tear.

It doesn’t matter what our past record is because God makes all records new. He clears the slate to put on our plate what holds eternal weight. That is our fate. Not flash cards, not old names, not old feelings – our fate is once-crucified Jesus Christ sitting in glory and us standing in heaven right there with him. That is our fate.

The works I am walking are pre-established, set forth for God’s glory and will be brought to completion on the day of Christ Jesus. There is no pressure to succeed or to be better, because these are his pre-prepared works.

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6)

Step-by-scary-step Jesus walks with us. He walks in front of us and behind us too. He is always with us.

In this, we can take risks.
We can step out when we feel fearful.
We can walk into rooms with flash cards and now cower.
We can live in the face of our inadequacies.

His roads lead to peace, joy and purpose. Insecurities fall to the sidelines. We can run confidently, knowing where our strength comes from because when you have God behind you, you don’t need baggage.

With Christ, there is an understanding that you are less than,
but there is also an understanding that through him
you are more than.

Be assured, friend, Jesus knows our way and in him we lack nothing.

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Kicking Shame to the Curb

Kicking Shame to the Curb

I want to be closer to God, don’t you?

Sometimes, I want to grab all that he is so I can be all that I am. I want to just get over me, be done with my ways, and move straight into his.

But then, shame shows up.

Shame comes to tell me that I am bad.
Unworthy.
Unloved.
Worthless.
Without a plan.
An orphan of God.
Distanced from love.
Unheard.
Unvalued.
Unbelievable in my actions.
(Fill in the blank)

Shame takes us by our hair, drags us to the ground and then beats us up, until all we can see is defeat. It’s the ultimate sucker punch from the devil.

If he can succeed at shaming he can succeed at defaming God.
If he can succeed at shaming, he knows we’ll stop proclaiming.
If he can succeed at shaming, he can make sure we aren’t flaming for Jesus.

I have become more and more aware of this cycle – and I am fighting back, my friend, because life is too short to live laying on the ground with bruises. You can’t get up and serve God when you are always injured.

Because the Sovereign LORD helps me,
I will not be disgraced.
Therefore have I set my face like flint,
and I know I will not be put to shame. (Is. 50:7)

Fighting back shame means 3 things:

1. We allow the Sovereign Lord to help us.
2. We hold fast to the truth that Christ makes us without all shame, without any blemish – essentially “unbruisable” in him. He paid the price to absorb all shame as he took his last breath on the cross.
3. We set our faces like flint.

What? What does it mean to set a face like flint?

flint
noun

  • a piece of flint used with steel to produce an igniting spark, e.g., in a flintlock gun, or (in modern use) a piece of an alloy used similarly, especially in a cigarette lighter.
  •  a hard type of rock that produces a small piece of burning material (called a spark) when it is hit by steel  – Google Dictionary

We, like a rock, keep our face motionless in the face of impending shame. As the devil leans back to deliver his punch of shame, we stay hardened, fearless and impenetrable.  We don’t make it easy for him to hit us, because hitting a rock is never comfortable. It’s not normally something you set out to fight.

And, did you catch the result?  The result is staggering, my friend. Oh, how I love it – a spark is produced.

A spark of courage.
A spark of hope.
A spark of light.
A spark in our heart.
A spark that brightens the situation.
A spark that paves our way.
A spark of renewal.

This spark does not hold us back from the plan of God, but lights the way for it. This spark lights God’s ways in our heart. It sets us on fire for him.

It sets God’s plans in our hearts, not our insecurities in where we walk.

Today, we walk shameless. Jesus took every last bruise on our behalf, so we don’t have to walk in shame. Now, we walk with the light, the spark, of Christ Jesus that leads us in complete holiness, complete surrender and complete security in him.

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Today I am joining Suzie Eller for her fabulous #livefreeThursday, Susan B. Mead for #DancewithJesus and the Five Minute Friday linkup.

When You Don’t Have It All Together

Do you ever play a situation over and over in your head kicking yourself for that slip of the tongue or shrug of the cold shoulder?

Do you ever wonder how everyone else seems so much better at this life than you?

I love this picture of my family. We froze this moment in time just after the birth of our sixth child. It captures smiles precious to my heart, and sometimes I sit and stare in amazement at God’s blessings.

DSC_0006

BUT …

This picture froze A moment. What you don’t see is everything that led up to this. One. Moment.

Just minutes before, our 3-year old daughter stretched out on the floor screaming, crying and kicking. The dress Mom chose did not meet her standards, and she let us know about it. We pulled out all the tricks. Treats. Tickling. Bribes. Anything. It’s a wonder we kept the dress on her body and the bow in her hair. But for that one moment, we did.

Then, as we gathered around the pretty white couch in the cascading grass, our 4-year old son stepped in ants. He squirmed and itched and yelped as ants marched from his toes to his nose. We picked the photo-busters off one by tiny one as fast as our fingers could find them. Then we perched him in his place on the couch and screamed Cheeeeeesssse!

And now this masterpiece hangs on my wall.

You know why? An artist.

The photographer we chose for this job – she knows us.

Donna Cummings has been snapping our moments for years. She’s caught us throwing sno balls during a Texas snowstorm. She’s captured the boys shooting hoops in the driveway. She knows us. She knows how to make it work, and she Makes. It. Work. She’s an artist.

Did you know? You have an artist, too. One who knows you, and knows how to make your life a masterpiece.

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (ESV)

We often look at the beauty before us without considering what it took to get there. We see the victories in others’ lives and applaud, but we never look for the pot holes along the road that brought them there.

When a potter forms clay he engages in a process of molding and forming it. When imperfections arise, the potter mashes the clay back down only to build it up again, forming and shaping it into exactly what he desires.

Constructing a masterpiece takes delicate hands, willing to get dirty. And friend, God wants the job.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

God sees your masterpiece. Let Him work.

When you feel the pressure of His palm in your life, give way. And in the meantime, be confident of this – We all have moments we would never want hang on the wall. But, if we let them, those moments will move us to cherish great artwork and exalt the Artist who formed it.

Katy

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I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it's safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don't look quite like they did ten years ago, but I've learned along the way dreams do come true ... even if you're not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife's life at www.katymccown.com and I'd love for you to visit me!

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don’t look quite like they did ten years ago, but I’ve learned along the way dreams do come true … even if you’re not at Disney World. I blog about a football wife’s life at www.katymccown.com and I’d love for you to visit me!

 

 

 

A Sure-Fire Way to Get What You Most Want

A Sure-Fire Recipe for Blessings

Most of the time, and I hate to say this, I do anything but what is right.

I get frustrated at crying kids.
Get irritated at the load of work I have to do.
Feel annoyed with people who get in my way.
And grab hold of a discontent heart.
I look at others and judge.

I gravitate towards sin, especially when I am not filtering life through God’s Word.  With the burden of my sin and the distance it causes between me and God, I have been considering how to approach this. Because, like Paul says, I normally end up doing the exact things I don’t want to do. Then, I hate myself for doing them.

How do I do what is good to do and forgo what isn’t?

How do I find God’s  joy and his blessings
as I cast sin aside?

God delivered a simple recipe of truth to answer these questions in the sequence of these verses:

1.) Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)

It’s simple. Delight.
Delight in his truth.
Delight in his love.
Delight in his law.
Delight even more in his grace.
Delight in his power.
Delight in his sovereignty.
Delight in his being.
Delight in his guidance.
Delight in his mercy.

The more I delight, the more he will help me and offer me the deepest desires of my heart – the things I want the most. The things that I often try to obtain by sin. These are the things he wants to give me.  With this, God pushes out any works based approach as I delight in him.

The power of delighting casts out all fear of the future, people or circumstances, because God casts out any control they have over my future.

When we delight, they have no weight on God giving us what we most desire in the deepest recesses of our heart.

2. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Ps. 37:5)

If my ways are committed, then my ways are likely in his will. In this there is no disappointment, because I will what he wills. We are working in unison. It comes as no surprise to me that he says “he will do it.”

We delight and commit  – and he sees us through it.

When we delight in who God is and what he can and will do, all we want to do is commit to and trust in his amazing ways.

3.  He will bring forth your righteousness as the light… (Ps. 37:6)

What is the result of delighting, committing and trusting?

He gives us the desires of our heart.
He does what we most desire.
​He brings righteousness.

The recipe for blessings is clear – we delight, commit and submit.

As we proclaim his goodness, sing songs of praise from our lips, we discover the joy that is God. We discover his ways, and we let go of our fears.

He makes us righteous solely by residing in him more. He delights us with the most amazing gifts of our lives, things we may not even be aware of, and he will do his will, which we also will in unison.

Let’s stick to this recipe, my friends – it will yield amazing results.

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When God Did Not Give Enough (Linkup)

When God didn't give enough

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“I want that one, Mommy! No, that one…”

“Pick the one that you like the best,” I said, laying the two books before him.

“This one!”  He skipped with excitement to the checkout line.

Excitedly, I got into the car, envisioning his joy in the back seat. He got a new book –  action figures and all. I bet he is so happy. I want to glimpse his joy. I want to see his face.. We will play and play and play. Boy, will he be so happy with his mom now!

But, day dreaming was cut short to day screaming, as my 3-year old repeated incessantly, “I don’t want it Mommy.”

He screamed and he screamed because what he got wasn’t enough.
He screamed and screamed because what he left behind was better.
He screamed and screamed because it wasn’t the way he wanted it.

My heart broke. I had wanted to give him something special, enjoyable and exciting. I wanted him to enjoy the moment. I wanted him to delight in it, yet my little son, was anything but delighted. It was no longer about his toy and joy, because now he was completely annoyed.

A seed of discontentment was growing. The more he thought about it, the more angry he grew – with me. The more he thought about his other toy, the more he looked at his and hated it.

While my insides wanted to yell, “Be grateful boy, Momma could have gotten you nothing!,” my outsides knew I’m just the same.

I see it’s shine, then forget it and start to whine.
I hold joy tight until complaints come into sight.
I see another’s toy and lose all my joy.
I look back, and think, I didn’t want it like that.

I wonder why he gave me this – instead of that?
I mutter a thank you, then secretly wonder why it isn’t bigger and better.
I can’t even see what he has given me, because all I can see is what I didn’t get.

I say I want what God’s blessings, but do I really?

It seems I want it on my terms, my way and according to my plan. 
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Mt. 6:33)

I want it in a way that puts me ahead and that makes me important.
But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.” (Mk. 10:31)

I want all gifts and no patience. All blessings and no pruning. All things and no holds bar.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:2)

I want it all now and pout like a baby when I don’t get it.
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8:25)

God is better than empty demands for illusions of peace, significance and happiness.

He promises to meet our needs according to his all-knowing power regarding what we need.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)

He is greater than any earthly toy I could covet. Greater than any pile of plastic. Just having and knowing, God, is the ultimate treasure.

It reaps rewards far greater than any empty, breakable, momentary toy I want.  God offers me deep, deep meaning that touches my insides with the deepest healing touch.

Enduring love.
Everlasting peace.
Empowering character.
Extreme perseverance.
Eternal rewards.
Endless faith.

I can only imagine who I would be, where I would be and how empty I would feel if he gave me everything I have demanded of Him. Or, if he gave me what everyone else has in order to quell my discomforts. Or, if he ran to fix every dissatisfaction that resides within.

I may look quite similar to a spoiled toddler and I am not even sure I would like that person too much.

In my pursuit of things, might I lose my pursuit of him?

God is infinitely better. Moments pass, desires wane, but Christ endures. His love never ends. Sure, he loves to give us what we desire for today, but as a Father would, he delights in giving us what we will need for tomorrow.

‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’ (Job 1:21)

God desires to meet our deepest hungriest, soul-quenching needs. Certainly, God often gives us things that we want, because he loves us, but his heart beats for what lasts, for what is not plastic – to be burned in the fire – but for what counts. But, for what will give us deep lasting contentment.

“…each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.…” (1 Cor. 3:13-14)

Toys often burn, land in the trash, end up broken in a closet or shoved in a corner. The things of the Lord never burn, never break and always endure. They survive the test of fire.

Let’s take joy in the small gifts of today, because our contentment today may prepare us for the big eternal gifts the Lord is planning tomorrow. Everything we have is a gift, because God loves us. He is using it all for his purposes. We are being transformed – to be a perfect and holy living sacrifice to the Lord. The ultimate gift of beauty for him.

Let’s take our eyes off our deficiencies
and place them on to his all sufficiency.

We have so much to be thankful for. God loves us so much that he gives in a way that answers the deepest cries of our heart. He knows what we need better than we know ourselves.

Dear friends, God’s not a holy Santa, handing us everything on our wish list. Likewise, he doesn’t drop coal at our door step either when we don’t match up. He is so much better than that.

And, the fact of the matter is, even if we don’t get anything, we still have everything – in Him.

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