Friday, January 8, 2016

patient endurance

Taped onto my desk at work, on the back of an old school "Important Message" paper, I have hand written 2 Peter 1:5-8.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the verse it reads accordingly:

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises.  Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self control, and self control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.  The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I read this verse often to remind myself that I need and want to grow like this but lately the words patient endurance and patient endurance with godliness have really hit home.

I don't typically allow for "distractions" like two little words in a verse to interrupt my daily devotional or reading times but I felt these needed some closer attention.  They need closer attention because they are the hitting closest to home lately.  As I had stated in my last post about resolutions, last year came with surprises and the beginning of this year is spent in waiting.  I don't feel as though I have had a lot of control and it has taken a lot of patience.

Patient is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

Endurance is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. The capacity of something to last or to withstand wear and tear.

The way I see it I have to be able to accept and tolerate delays without giving way (yielding to someone or something) during an unpleasant or difficult process.  Sounds fun, right?  I am also supposed to combine this with godliness, which is defined as the quality of being devoutly religious.

So let's put that all together...I should be devoutly religious, accept and tolerate delays, without yielding to someone or something during an unpleasant and difficult process.  Now we are really talking about some fun!!

This verse is literally life defining and very timely in my current journey.

Has anyone else been in a situation where you feel you should have way more control and action yet God continually says, "stay still." "I'm working for you."

I'm admitting today that I have a hard time with patient endurance with godliness but I take refuge in the fact that "the more I grow like this, the more productive and useful I will be in my knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

If you feel yourself in a similar spot as I am, let's join together in brotherly affection and continue to patiently endure life right where we are at.  Let's be obedient and trust that God is absolutely teaching us how to be more like him with each frustrating step of these difficult and unpleasant processes.

I'll end on this.  It is no coincidence that the verse I have written directly below 2 Peter 1:5-8 is Philippians 4:11b-13, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all this through him who gives me strength."

Hold fast my friends.  God gives us our strength.  We will get through this.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

not a resolution person this year? me neither.

For so many people , the new year brings in the chance for new opportunities, new goals, new bodies, new ambitions, and for some new beginnings.  We are bombarded on social media by mantras encouraging wellness and stability, pictures of athletes or trainers showing you what "you could be" if you just follow their plans, and news articles promising better organization skills, steps to financial freedom and 10 ways to be a better mom and wife this year.

For a lot of people these are encouraging and inspiring but if I'm being completely honest, I sort of hate all of it.  Truthfully, most of these things have the exact opposite effect on my brain, rather than encouraging me I get discouraged, feel left out, like I'm doing something wrong or that there is something wrong with the current way I live my life, eat my food, or raise my family.

What if I don't want to or feel the need to change?  What if I want to learn exactly what I am supposed to learn by living right where I am at?  I'm not saying that I don't like to better myself but that doesn't mean I have to drastically change my mindset, my appearance or my lifestyle?  What if something I'm focusing on this year is simply contentment?  Contentment with exactly where God has me and actively working through my current emotions of just being me.

Honestly, six days into the new year, I haven't felt all that inspired to do anything.  In fact, it is all I can do to just trust God with where I am at.  Last year presented a lot of challenges and unexpected journeys for me and this year, I am doing my best to just be present in what that still means for my family.

Each morning I have woken up and had to actively pursue God in an effort to ask Him to help me just live in this moment.  I hate the pressure of resolutions or goal creating at the beginning of February because I feel like its a fad at this point.

So if you are anything like me and right now you are just working on being you, not changing you, more power to you!  I understand feeling the pressure to do something, change something or be something different because its a new year but how about we just rest in the fact that the Lord has brought us to this very moment and He wants to work in our hearts and loves us JUST AS WE ALREADY ARE.  After all, isn't that the whole reason he died for us on the cross?  To save us, just as we are.

Final Note: If you are all about resolutions this year, more power to you!  This was written in order to encourage those that are in a similar boat as I am.  Sometimes some people just need to resolve to just be where God has placed them.  Other times, God calls us to move in other directions, if that's your current journey with the Lord, rock on, friend!