A Little Self Perspective; A Little Bit of Faith

I have found a surprising amount of truth in this little book as of late (pictured: My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers). It was given to me about four years ago and I rejected it outright; completely refusing to read it but still unable to get rid of it. This devotional meant a lot to the person who gave it to me, so I couldn’t bring myself to donate it when it came time to eliminate some of my books. It’s managed to stay through yearly donations, no matter how much I did not want to read this dang book.

I think I rejected it so much equally because I don’t talk to the person who gave me the book anymore and because the book seems so…fluffy? I can’t stand when Christians speak/write in “Christian-ese,” or like they’re not real people. You know – using outdated words they read in the Bible that no one actually uses nowadays. Not only is it completely unnecessary and impossible to relate to, I find it distracting from the message they are trying to convey. It also comes across as a little high and mighty, and that in turn comes across to me as putting religion over actual faith…which is a big no-no. Anyway, from the one time I tried to read this book that’s the impression I got and, I’ll admit, I was way too quick to judge it.

It wasn’t until August of this year when my boyfriend and I were doing a Bible study together and, on a whim, I decided to take it off my bookshelf and put it with the rest of the study books I had laid out for us. Surprisingly, it was the first book he picked up. Rolling my eyes immediately – which, thankfully, he didn’t catch – he began to read from the page with the current date (August 26th).

Lo and behold, that devotion was centered around his all-time favorite verse: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you…” (John 14:27). He has mentioned this verse countless times since we started dating – call it a coincidence or not, but I thought that was pretty crazy. So, I thought, alright I’ll give it this one shot. 

Man it was hard to read. No, not because the devotion read like what I had been expecting, but because it was exactly what I needed to hear.

To put things in context, this past year has been a year of learning how to manage stress and to worry less. I’ve slowly been returning to myself, but at the time of reading that passage I was a complete mess of worry and stress. I underlined the question “Have you left no stone of your faith unturned, yet still not found any well of peace, joy, or comfort?” because that was how I felt to a tee. I wanted to cry, it was so accurate. I felt the farthest from God I think I have felt since I was saved, and no matter what I tried to accomplish I was failing left and right. Failure after failure left me with faith that meant nothing to me anymore because even though I still wanted others to know about God, I wasn’t so sure that He actually had my back.

I think the best response to my attitude at the time can be answered with a line from the same passage: “But if you only try to worry your way out of the problem, you destroy His effectiveness in you, and you deserve whatever you get.” Sounds harsh, I know. I felt the same way, especially considering the fact that before I read it myself it was my boyfriend who read it to me. Hearing “you deserve what you get” from a loved one isn’t in any way easy, but there is a lot of truth in the statement because if I was not willing to let go of worry I couldn’t expect to receive any help…the basis of faith in God is exactly that: faith. Worry is the opposite of faith – of trust.

I’m not going to claim that I never worry or stress out about anything. Obviously that would be ridiculous; I’m still me. I’m still a human with a natural inclination to fear inevitably failing again. However, I’ve learned to be more aware of it and catch myself when I get caught up in anxiety.

Jesus doesn’t make you perfect – you’re still going to be human and flawed – that’s how it works – but He does help you out when you ask for it and have a little faith to go along with it. He’s there to prep you for the next life and make the best/most use of this one. While there is better yet to come, this life doesn’t exist solely to be difficult all the time. Some things happen that are completely out of our own control, but most of our problems can be helped with a little change in our attitudes. As difficult of a reality as that is to face, it’s a reality nonetheless and a lesson I am still learning.

Anyway, I completely forgot about that story until I opened the devotional to that particular page and thought it was worth sharing. God is great, self perspective is good, and life doesn’t have to be filled with constant worry. That is all.

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I know that You will call me home

 

Can You show me a better way

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I want to take hold of You now

To just find out

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How to make You proud

 

You say that You are with me

And there’s no end to

Unfailing love everlasting

 

Passion and persistence

I wish I could do it for You too

 

So I will give You praise

I will give you all

Of my heart still beating

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I have heard You in the distance

The distance is in me

 

When we’re close I can feel You

When I’m far I need You

 

You are in everything

 

“One day you’ll laugh at how much you let this matter.” (Morley)

Remember that the little things which bother you now are exactly that: little. Even if your problems are weighing you down, even if cumulatively they seem impossible to face, even if you are completely overwhelmed and your mind is wreaking havoc on itself, you will not always feel this way. This is temporary. Remember that.

Take a few seconds to breathe, re-evaluate your situation (maybe your attitude about the situation as well), and just look up. Be reminded of who is on your side. Consider how powerful and flat-out inspiring the one who created you is; and you get to talk to Him personally. You get to be honest with Him. You get to ask him questions; ask Him for the things you want and need directly.

The same creator of all your favorite flowers in your garden, every ocean and every creature within them, the tall trees which have withstood years upon years of storms; He created it all for you. For us. He created you for a purpose. And that purpose is one much bigger than any problem in front of you right now because your purpose has the potential to create better longer-lasting effects than your problems ever will, if you so let it.

Let go if you must. Embrace challenges. Let them be reminders that you’re on your way to something better, that maybe this is for a reason bigger than you can see right now, that things will definitely feel better again.

Open Your Mind

Be fearless for what you may lose,
Because to gain eternity is greater.

Decide to see
Every passing moment as as thing of
Beauty

Grace

The work of a passionate artist.

Think harder about
Right now;
Why your body feels so much
And your thoughts are in constant expansion.

Your growth is not your own doing,
But strength
Is a gift.