Saturday, March 31, 2018

Thinking About Thoughts.

This month has been filled with some unexpected things. A funky molar that needed a better look (and a couple extra dental appointments) and  a toilet that destroyed a solid chunk of our house are just two examples. The molar is almost done being dealt with (phew!) but the bathroom situation is a little more intense. It will require a lot more work and us potentially moving out for a short stint. You can guess how I feel about packing up much of our belongings again. Ha!

There have also been other unexpected things that are relatively minor but changed my daily habits, which is always a challenge to figure out. My hoopla stopped giving me access to all the books I used to listen to, so I haven't been able to finish the books I set out to get through this past month. My book proposal I've been working on since September took longer than expected, which is kind of frustrating since it was already taking much longer than I thought it would. I'm figuring out that most writing, especially writing books, is far more arduous than authors let on. I have a feeling I'll be learning that lesson for a while. But the proposal part is done, several chapters are written (which I'm sure will still be edited at some point during the process) and I'll be sending it off to a couple agencies and publishers. I still cannot believe it is done!

But the biggest lesson about unexpected events I have learned this month is how God works in unexpected ways. Not always outside of us, but usually inside. The key is allowing it to happen.

I am often grumpy on Sunday mornings. Church starts just a touch earlier than I like and I don't have the time to just linger in the morning the way I prefer. But with our Call this month to Receive the Mind of Christ, I have found myself more quickly changed than usual. When my mind says "Let's see what God wants me to think about this" I tend to get over my selfish pouting faster than had I just obsessed over what I don't like about it. It's been such a nice change that I'm shocked, and a little embarrassed, I don't do it more often. And I definitely had times during the month I could have been better about making an effort toward that end. I'm still a work in progress.

I really wanted to have this lovely blog post all figured out and perfectly in order last week, but I prioritized my proposal and decided that a late, more "real" and unstructured blog post would still be better than nothing. I don't have a ton of thoughts, or any super deep, insightful analogies to share with you; just a bit of encouragement, a bit of comfort for seasons of struggle or slowness.

Last week I finally received a book I had won a couple months ago. The author, John Eldredge, really resonates with me. He is passionate about Christians not becoming dispassionate in an attempt to live a good, Christian life. He argues that God made your heart and moves you through your longings, so to just tune them out or disregard them is not wise or healthy. God uses our longings and they need to be carefully directed toward Him. We need this kind of encouragement! To not just throw away our hearts when we decide to follow God, but to give them over to Him.

The book I won is called All Things New and I am eager to get to it (right after I finish The Brothers Karamazov). I'm feeling the exciting culmination of the months leading up to April and Easter and pray that these changes I am experiencing are more permanent and lasting than other seasons of my life. Here are some of the things I am now doing after working through my Called series so far, things I really want to keep doing:

- searching to Know God more deeply
- asking God what He is doing
- asking God what He wants me to do
- seeking to understand God's perspective on my situations
- following through on tasks that I don't love in order to honor God and serve others

Am I perfect? Heck no. My house still isn't as clean as I'd like (or I'm sure my husband would like) and I've let go of a couple endeavors that, while fun and could have potential, were just diverting me from what I am really committed to and caused me stress. My kids still get on my nerves and I still often react poorly when I am tired, hungry, or under a time constraint. But I see improvement in my heart and it is slowly bleeding out into the rest of my life.

While many Christians have a day and night difference in their lives once turning their life over to Christ, mine has been a slower pace, forming since I was just a child. And I've gone through seasons of wrestling with that, wondering if my testimony would be "weaker" or less important. But God has been so gracious to encourage me this year in all of that. We are all in this for the long haul, and even those dramatic conversions will have periods of time where progress feels slow, where hearts are tempted to turn back to the things they loved before. It is in the consistent, slow, almost invisible work we do that God grows the seeds of the fruit we will bear. And preparing our hearts is a pivotal first step in creating a fertile ground for all of that growing and working.

What is God working out in you this month? If you've followed along with the Five Minute Challenge, what have you seen God changing in your mind? In your heart? How has thinking about having God's perspective on your life enabled you to better live for Him?

Next month I will look at how the bible Calls us to Prepare for Jesus' return. How fitting that Easter is in April this year?! I will not be posting on Easter, but by April 4th I will have a new post and new goals for us. I am feeling the culmination of all our efforts building to this weighty tasks. I am also seeing how God has been so kind to align so many different teachings in my life to guide me in thinking through this endeavor. Every time I go to church it seems like God is giving me a small seed I need either for this series or for my book. It feels a little ridiculous that He would be so gracious. It's not like I'm a huge blogger or prominent figure, yet He still reaches down and shows me He is preparing a good work for me. Just as He wants to do for you!

May you feel the blessings of God this week. Especially the blessing of a promised eternity that is waiting for you. This life will bring trouble, tribulation, and hardship, but it doesn't end with those things. The best is yet to come! He has risen!


  1. Thanks for sharing your "random thoughts". I look forward to learning from the theme of preparing for Christ's return. I struggle with the early church hour (for me) and disciplining my heart to receive from God on Sundays; thanks for being real about that. Beth

    1. Thank you! I'm starting to feel the pressure a bit to share something worthy, but I'm trying to remember that these are God's words and to just do my job ;)