Settle me…

Every day, I journey to work via an hour commute. And of course, at the end of my long day, I journey back home that hour route.

That’s a whole lotta thinking time.

I have come to really, really appreciate this quiet time. It is me, my Christian music, and my thoughts. The drive is easy with little traffic and my mind has the opportunity to reflect.

I have needed this time. Over the past several months, it has become my prayer time. During these moments, I am not distracted by the busyness of the world. Yes, I pay attention to the semi trucks around me, but the noise of the world is quiet. 

This time settles my anxious soul before work. It settles my racing mind after work.

God is around us and alive in our everyday lives. He is working, speaking, breathing truth. These quiet moments in the morning and in my commute are welcomed moments to be still.

I am learning to still my mind. 

But may the God of all grace who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

Settle…to become or make calmer, quieter, adopt a more secure, steady life

Life is full of challenges and change. Life is full of people who are challenging. God is bigger than all of this.

Being a Christian does not mean life is easy, but it does mean never having to be alone.

Lord, settle me. Calm my racing, anxious mind. 

Sometimes, I allow my mind to travel to my favorite places of calm…


This calms me as I recite Scripture from memory.

Lord, settle me.

I encourage you to find some moments of quiet. Carve out some whitespace in your day.

And, Trust God to settle you.

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Sunday reflections: Happiness

Happiness. We have all heard quote after quote about happiness. Money can’t buy happiness. Happiness is a choice. 

Today, I am reflecting over our message at church on the pursuit of happiness. One thing the pastor said that has me quiet and reflective is this… achieving happiness typically involves times of considerable discomfort. 

He then proceeded to ask and challenge us…how do we deal with this discomfort? Do we choose to live with it or do we do something about it?

This led my thoughts to something else I have been working on when I pray. Instead of praying out of difficult situations, I want to pray through difficult times because I believe God has something in these moments for me.

Maybe praying through these difficult times of considerable discomfort and being willing to stepping out in faith to meet God is the pathway to happiness. After all, growth is often painful.

I don’t know what discomfort you might be feeling today, but know you are not alone. Pray through your discomfort…and look for opportunities to find joy.

What to do with Defeat

I hate it when life feels fine and then all of a sudden, it’s like that sturdy sense of stability falls out from under you. What exactly am I referring to?

Friday afternoon at work at 4:40…just when you think you might be able to leave by 5…things unravel.

Sigh…what do you do with that feeling of defeat? 

I don’t believe in coincidence. Rather, I believe firmly that God uses things and orchestrates events in our lives. This morning, my devotional was about those difficult times…do we pray for a way out or do we pray for way through?

Out and through are very different prepositions.  

I believe we do some of our best growing as we walk through challenging circumstances. When our eyes are on God and our heart open to His promises, He can do some amazing work in our lives.

So, what did I decide to do with my feeling of defeat? I chose to listen to the voice of truth. I cranked up my Christian playlist on the drive home, and once I was home, I hit the pavement for a soul refreshing, mind clearing run. I flooded my mind with His truth, prayed, and ran. 

I received some great insight during my run. The defeat will not defeat me. I will cling to His promises. 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 

Stay the Course

My day did not go as planned. I had prayed yet things still unraveled and fell apart. Discouraged. Disillusioned. Unraveled. I was upset, and I just needed a walk to be alone with my music, nature, the thoughts in my head, and God.

As I wrestled with my disillusionment and asked God what in the world I was supposed to do with it, I heard very clearly…stay the course.

Stay the course? I knew what that meant. It means not giving up. It means trusting the bigger picture to God. It means that the path He has laid before us may not be easy.


I am reading Draw the Circle by Mark Batterson, and it has really opened my eyes to the amazing power of prayer. Batterson states, “The beauty of obedience is this: it takes all the pressure off of us and places it squarely on God’s sovereign shoulders.” 

 Stay the course…the desires of my heart…as I pray these and cling to His promises, He honors my obedience. It takes the pressure off of me to be perfect.

Growth is painful but so sweet.

When I look back over the past few months, I see God’s hand all over my life. He is directing my steps. I merely need to stay the course.

What are you struggling with? What are you hoping for in your life? Pray. Pour your heart out to God. And then…stay the course.

Keep Your Eyes Ahead

I have an hour commute to work and generally take the toll road because it is so much faster. As a result, seeing  state troopers is a normal occurrence for me. I am not an overly fast driver so I rarely fear speeding tickets.

The other day, though, I saw a state trooper make a quick turnaround in the median. The car followed behind me for miles, exit after exit. I was not speeding, but nevertheless, I found myself looking back in my rear view mirror every few minutes. I realized as I did this, my palms were sweaty and my heart rate a little faster.

Why?

It turned my thoughts to how we often look back and allow the fears of our past mistakes and failures to hold us hostage to the future God has promised us. I thought of Lot’s wife who looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt in the book of Genesis.

I am extremely thankful that I did not experience the same results as Lot’s wife for looking back, but I am thankful for God’s reminders of His promises in everyday life moments.

I needed to not fear anything as I drove to work that day. Instead, I needed to keep my eyes focused ahead on the promises God has in store for me.

 Our past can teach us lessons, but we need to keep our eyes focused on what is ahead.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. Philippians 3:13 NIV

Yes, sometimes it feels like we must strain and keep pushing forward, but keep your eyes on God, and He shall lead you through all the rocky waters of life.

What if…

It’s one of those mornings where no one but me has to be up early. My husband has the day off work, and school is closed for my son today. 

In the mostly quiet house except for the off and on barking of our dog, I really don’t mind these days of being awake in solitude. My mind does a lot of thinking during these mornings.

The other day, I wrote about “keep fighting.” The next day, my devotional was about fighting, and it really resonated with me. It’s important to fight through the struggles of life and keep our eyes on God. But, here’s another thought to add to this whole fighting thing….God loves to fight for us.
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. Exodus 14:14

Stay calm? During hard times?? This is definitely something I continue to learn. It is becoming a little easier everyday. The whole expression of “let go and let God,” it really holds a lot of truth in terms of peace.

When I am discouraged, before I know it, my mind wanders to this world of “what ifs.”

What if I had chosen another career? What if I hadn’t changed jobs? What if we had moved so many years ago like we had planned? The list can go on and on.

But, here is another question…”What if I am exactly where God needs me to be right now?

Life isn’t easy, but it is during the most difficult moments that we can experience the most growth.

On this Good Friday, I reflect, what if Jesus would have been spared the pain of everything He endured on the cross for us, for you, for me? 

That is a what if I don’t want to think about because the answer would change everything.

Thankfully, that’s not how the story goes. Jesus died so that we may live. His death and Resurrection change everything. He died on the cross so we can live in His truth and promises.

Instead of worrying and “what iffing,” I need to let go and let God. He will fight my battles. Just stay calm, trust His promises, and rest in His peace.

What if we worried less and prayed more?

Prayer can move mountains. 

Whose Perspective are you Focusing on?

As I sit here in the darkened living room, I hear the rain falling against the capped chimney. I hear my son breathing softly as he sleeps on the couch…his favorite thing to do on the weekend. The rain could easily match my mood if I let it. I have just finished a hard, hard week…conflict, tension, confrontation, disagreement, difficulty…I find myself questioning if I could have done something differently or handled a situation from a better approach. It all seems like too much. Like a giant rock in my path…

 

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The decision I have to make is will I let that rock define me…will I let that rock stand in my way…will I let that rock discourage me??

Sometimes, a rock stops us dead in our tracks. Sometimes, a rock is in our path to make us pause and reflect. And sometimes, a rock in front of us might signify that we need to take a detour to find our way back.

I’m still reflecting what the rock in my path means exactly. I do know this, though. When we see rocks in our path and feel discouraged, it is easy to start looking around at other people’s lives and wondering if we were somehow forgotten about…

It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap…it’s easy to think everyone else has everything else better off than we do. Just spend a few minutes on Facebook. Most people don’t highlight the worst moments of their days on Facebook. Most people don’t share their marriage issues, their issues with kids, their hard days at work on Facebook. We see a snapshot of something good on Facebook and then we can easily think that everyone else has something great going for them, and we are well….missing the mark somehow.

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What window are you looking through? Whose view are you focusing on? Your view which is often focused on feelings and the present situation? Or God’s view which promises He will use everything in our lives to grow us and move us forward?

I found myself falling into the comparison trap earlier this week, and a convicting thought infused my mind.

When I compare myself to others and see my accomplishments, my life, my career, my fill in the blank, as less than someone else’s fill in the blank, then I am undermining the work that God is doing in my own life.

He has gifted each of us with different gifts and talents. He has each of our lives on a different timeline.

When I take my focus off Him and onto worldy perspectives of success and happiness, it leaves me feeling empty and less than worthy every time. So, even though my life is not perfect, I will remember I am God’s work in progress.

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls-Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills. Habakkuk 3:17-19 NKJV

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