I see these children and so want to hold and care for them. One day…
One of my least favorite words: Fear.
As I’ve shared in previous posts, I very much want to help children with special needs. Even more than that, I don’t want to live a shallow life knowing with faith in Christ I could’ve accomplished so much more.
I wish I could say I’m living fearlessly, but nope…there are still plenty of times I am afraid. I am afraid I won’t be good enough or will be unprepared. I’m wondering if it’s worth the risk—if it is a risk I am willing to take.
Something that God reminds me that helps keep me going is that living in fear is selfish.
I’m going to try and give an example. Let’s just suppose you somehow know in a couple weeks you’re going to be near deep water where people could easily drown if they don’t know how to swim, and you somehow know you are going to be in a situation where you are the only one who can save a child from drowning if you have the skills to do so. Now, suppose you don’t have the skills to yet, but you have the time to learn. Would you be willing to learn so this child has the chance to live? I would hope so. Being afraid to learn to swim, afraid you won’t swim fast enough, afraid of the water—that would be a selfish fear.
A lot of us are living in this selfish fear. We should be doing our best to “learn to swim”. We should be willing to “jump in”, even if we’re not 100% sure our effort will be a success.
So, is this selfish fear keeping you from doing anything for the benefit of others?
A glimmer and light in ripples they flow,
temporary reflections of the person they show,
A mirror, an image, a face they perceive,
Making a man think that he truly believes.
He walks away and forgets what his natural face was,
the Word is not shown in all that he does.
He was a hearer of words, but didn’t take them to heart.
He saw the example but he still took no part.
He has now been deceived, but of his own choice.
He will live for his pleasure, temporarily rejoice.
His happiness will fade as the truth is revealed,
That he has put off for later, and that has been concealed.
The facts of life are often ignored,
it’s our choice now to listen, rather than keep it all stored.
Why wait till the end, and be filled with regret?
When we still have the choice that we haven’t made yet?
Make it now while there’s time, be prepared, watch and pray.
The hour is soon coming, when before us may lay,
The consequences of what we have chosen to be, what could have been erased, we could have been free.
Yes, there are struggles, we may suffer in our choice,
There will be trials and often pains, but even through it we rejoice.
Be glad in the Lord, he has paid for our sin. Examine yourselves. This faith…are you in?
I’ve been trying really hard lately to eat healthy. Pretty much living off of smoothies with fruit, veggies, protein, nuts, grains and such. (Maybe I should’ve said drink healthy. 😛) After a couple weeks or so I got used to the change and now I really like them.
Just a few moments ago I was offered some chocolate pudding, (Okay, I know this sounds really random but hold on a minute, I’m going somewhere with this lol) I took one bite and thought something was wrong with it. I looked at the packaging and tried to figure out what was wrong with it—I usually love chocolate pudding! I just plain didn’t like it…it didn’t have the same kind of sweetness as the fruit I’d been having daily.
Now to the point:
It made me think of what we are feeding ourselves and digesting spiritually. We are surrounded by things in this world that we try and satisfy ourselves with, and many times we think we are satisfied even though we’re not because we don’t truly know what it means to be satisfied.
I think many of us haven’t really had enough of a taste of what God has to offer to where we want more of Him and no longer can satisfy ourselves with what the world has to offer. (Like I can no longer satisfy myself with chocolate pudding 🙃) It takes some time to adjust. It takes self-discipline and perseverance, but once we are adjusted it’s like a different lifestyle with different appetites. We no longer want the fake stuff, but rather have a distaste for it.
To truly taste and see that the Lord is good it takes time. We have to watch what we are feeding ourselves and before long we will have more of a desire for God than anything else in this world.
I will never cease to praise You, Lord.
My requests will be continually made known.
I can never thank You enough;
You are a good and gracious God.
I will forever seek You, Lord;
By day and by night I will pray before You.
You are a just and faithful God; I know You do good to me even when I don’t understand it.
You protect me from the devil’s wrongdoing; You guide me from the shadows into light.
Only You can make my heart content; Your Spirit brings rest to mine.
Make my heart more like Yours; plant Your desires within me.
Only in You do I find hope; in Your arms my heart finds rest.
Where the weary fall and the weak faint I will not go, for Your strength carries on.
You bring healing to the broken and provide peace to those who trust in You; Your faithfulness continues on.
The wicked do not understand Your ways; no, even Your children cannot fully comprehend.
Much of You remains a mystery to all, even as we seek Your face.
Fix our eyes on You, Lord; draw our hearts nearer to Yours.
Many people who know me would define me as “the girl who plays all those instruments” or “paints all those paintings”. I’m working on that. When people look at me, I don’t want them to see me, but Christ in me. I want Christ to define who I am.
I’ve only known a small handful of people who when described to someone that has never met them one of the first things said is something of their relationship with Christ–how they truly love the Lord, serve others with a humble heart, and have a rare kind of joy–people who Christ tangibly defines who they are. Over the years I’ve noticed people with this special kind of trait have become increasingly rare. Why is that?
To put it into one word: Selfishness. The world has become more and more self-centered, self-reliant, greedy, and just plain selfish!
Why the increase? Well, my answer to this is just my opinion from what I’ve observed: We’ve grown. We’ve found so many ways of making life more convenient and comfortable, our overall knowledge has increased, (not to be confused with wisdom) we have invented so many things that cause us to rely on ourselves, and oh, the entertainment…I am blown away at how much people put into their own pleasure. And yet, despite these things, this seems to be just about the most unhappy, unsatisfied generation ever!
We are surrounded by SO MUCH. It used to be just “the grass looks greener on the other side”, but now with the way we can easily drive from state-to-state or get online we can see thousands of “greener hills”. The more that’s available the more we aren’t as easily satisfied and are therefore greedy. We find ways to make providing for ourselves easier, which gives us the idea that we can fully rely on ourselves. We know a lot, but we assume we know more than we really do. We see people who’ve got an easier life than we do, making us think of how hard our life is and making us self-centered. We’ve found things that make us “happy” that have distracted us from knowing what true joy is really like.
I could be wrong, but I believe we have a whole lot more temptation going on with these things than we did just a few generations ago. It is so easy nowadays to have this jealous, self-centered, self-reliant mindset, which is hardly the mind of Christ but quite the opposite.
We don’t have to let the world define us, but it’s no easy task to prevent it. That’s where we are denying ourselves and surrendering to God.
Now, before you say, “I’m not selfish!” look at yourself. Are you living selfishly? When you get on your feet each day are you doing and saying things for your own benefit or for the benefit of others?
It has sadly become quite normal to live selfishly. We are typically living how we feel like it. Occasionally we are helping people when it’s not too terribly inconvenient and we feel like we ought to, but then it ends there.
Let’s not allow this selfish way of living define who we are. Let’s see if we can figure out what it really means to die to ourselves. Let’s break this habit that we’re surrounded by and allow Christ to define who we are.
So, something I never really shared from about 6 years ago:
While spending some time with God–nothing fancy, just stretched out on my bed staring at the ceiling–I pictured a beautiful girl on a beach in a simple white dress, walking and talking with God, carefully listening to every word He said and speaking with a special kind of joy and laughter. After awhile she began to collect seashells contentedly in a basket, later tossing them back onto the shore again. Next, the sky grew dark and a storm came over causing strong winds and harsh waves. She was on her knees through the storm, hurting and in tears before God. After a time of weeping, while still in pain she began to worship; the sky grew clear and the beach calm again. She stood up, leaving what had burdened her on the ground and raised her hands before Him, the tears of sadness changing to tears of joy. She then began to dance and sing in praise to God.
After awhile of thinking about this, I remembered hearing of a verse about “a time to dance”. I had no clue where it was, so I had to look it up. I found it and thought it went well with what I had seen:
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.”
I later wrote a poem (which I have shared on my blog years ago):
The waves reach out, and they slowly pull back,
As she walks on the shore in delight.
She follows the steps, she knows the right track,
Footprints she sees ahead in the light.
Often storms of great force arise, and waves crash with violence and strength.
With clouds so dark, she could not see the skies,
She struggled often for times of length.
On her knees the tears quickly came down,
She lifted her hands in praise.
She was lost, but now she has been found,
On the ground her burden lays.
She lifted her head in awe to the God who can save,
On her feet she stood with confidence in the True One.
She humbly gives thanks to Christ for the gift that He gave.
Across the sea she watches the rising of the sun.
In the Light she dances,
Her heart overwhelmed with love.
She’s been given so many chances,
By her Father above.
In gentleness and peace she now follows,
Through laughter, through pain, and through sorrows.
He has taken her hand,
She walks closely by His side.
Taking steps in the sand,
She goes by her Shepherd’s guide.