Christian Living

Taking the Jack out of the box

Last week was really busy. We had stuff going on every day; ironic that we spent the week talking about calm on our podcast.

Anyway, as I was attempting to find calm in the middle of the craziness, my knee-jerk reaction was to blame my lack of calm on my circumstances. Isn’t that what we do? If the cat wasn’t sick… if I had more energy… if my schedule was less packed… etc., etc. It’s so easy to look at stress and blame circumstances.

There’s a problem with that though: stress is a heart issue. Applying a circumstance change to a heart issue doesn’t solve anything. It’d be like a doctor giving you headache medicine for your cough. Yeah, they’re both medicine, but it’s not really going to help.

Somehow just recognizing that I was applying the wrong remedy to my problem has made a big difference. When I feel myself getting stressed, I can take a second and ask what’s causing the stress. Instead of telling myself that it’s due to something I have no control over (e.g., having a sick cat) and then being doomed to hang out in the stress until the circumstance change, I’ve been looking for a second answer. Maybe I’m actually stressed about something else and the cat is just triggering my stress. Or maybe I had a bad experience with sick cats.

We all carry baggage of some kind. You might hate vanilla scented candles because your grandmother sprayed vanilla perfume on every blessed thing in her house. Our previous experiences with something can cause it to have more emotional weight than what the isolated thing should weigh.

I’m such a huge fan of EFT/Tapping for working through that stuff. Even if you don’t have PTSD, we’ve also had smaller traumas throughout our lives–it’s just the nature of living in a broken world. And all those smaller traumas are often what’s actually causing our stress. About a year ago, I added Tapping to my morning routine and it’s made a world of difference–it’s now my go-to tool any time I feel stressed. Sometimes when I start Tapping, I’ll find myself saying statements that I didn’t realize were connected to my stress. It’s an amazing tool both for figuring out what’s going on in your heart and for dealing with your heart problems. If you’re not familiar with Tapping, you can check out a tutorial at www.eft.mercola.com.

I’ve been thinking about Ruth and how we need the kind of determination she shows. In Ruth 1, Naomi gives her a couple opportunities to go back to her father’s house. Ruth could have stayed with her family, in her hometown, living with people who were just like her. Instead, she chooses to leave all that to move to a different country where the culture is vastly different. She chooses to take Yahweh as her God.

Dealing with heart problems is hard. It’s not the easy road by any stretch. However, heart problems will just keep coming up every time your circumstances trigger them, until you address them. It’s sort of like a jack in the box–turning the handle may cause the “jack” to jump up, but it doesn’t put him in the box. Take the jack out of the box and you don’t have to dread circumstances.

So, just to recap: stress is a heart problem. A heart problem requires a heart solution–not a circumstances solution. And looking into our hearts, solving the heart problems, that requires some serious determination. I pray God gives you (and me) a dose of the kind of determination Ruth had.

Blog_ Taking the Jack out of the box

Christian Living

Waiting for More

Waiting is not one of my top skills–I get antsy and cranky. I don’t like having to wait. It feels like I’m wasting time that I don’t have. I especially hate when I’m waiting without knowing why or without being able to see the end coming. I mean, it’s one thing to stand in line somewhere and to know exactly how many people are in front of you. I think our DMV decided to switch things up for that very reason. Now, you get a different sort of number dependent on what you’re there to get. Each reason has its own letter and then a number afterwards so you never really know how many people are in front of you. There could be 15, but since you’re the only G#, you sit there listening to A#’s and C#’s, waiting for the next G# to be called. Shockingly enough, it’s actually shortened everyone’s wait time šŸ™‚

Bible study this week has been about waiting and how God builds wait times into our lives. In John 11, Mary and Martha send for Jesus becauseĀ Lazarus is sick. Verses 5 and 6 say, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.Ā So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days” (NIV). Pretty counterintuitive, right? Jesus loves them so he doesn’t rush to Lazarus and heal him. He follows that up in verse 14-15 by telling the disciples that Lazarus had died and that He was glad for their sakes that He hadn’t been there.

I needed to hear that this week. I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of waiting. Sometimes my health issues and the minuscule progress is enough to drive me nuts. I hate not having any sense of how close the end of the line is. I’m tired of praying over and over for different relationship issues without seeing progress. I’m tired of praying for my husband to have a less stressful job. I’m just tired of waiting.

And it’s easy to equate waiting for God’s answer with Him not caring or not working

Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus so He waited. He could have healed Lazarus–faith was not the issue.Ā In verse 21, Martha tells Jesus that Lazarus wouldn’t have died if He had been there. Mary says the same thing in verse 32. The disciples had seen Jesus heal many people. They all had faith that He could heal Lazarus.

Jesus wanted more for them.Ā As Jennifer Kennedy Dean says, “If Jesus had come to Bethany and healed Lazarus before he died, Mary’s and Martha’s prayer would have been answered. Their faith in Jesus would have been affirmed. They would have been more certain than ever that Jesus is Lord over illness. But they would never have known that Jesus is Lord over death” (Live a Praying Life,Ā 96).

By waiting, Jesus showed them more about Himself–that He’s not only Lord over illness but also Lord over death. I can’t even imagine what a comfort that would have been to know that prior to His crucifixion. I know it’s a comfort to me now. I love Psalm 116:15–“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants” (NIV). Every time someone is dying in our lives, I’m comforted that God is right there because their deaths are precious to Him.

God has a reason for waiting, and it’s not because He doesn’t care. He loves us. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). A wait equals more, not less. Whatever you’re waiting for, it’s because God wants to give you more, to show you more about His lordship.

So, rather than getting cranky or railing at God for taking so long, I’m working on thanking Him for wanting to give me more and asking for the grace to wait for His best. I want that more, which means I have to wait for it.

Uncategorized

An Easter Reminder

Who would have known that I’d be entering such a busy time of life! I suppose that’s just God’s grace–writing about rest beforehand has at least kept it in my consciousness, if not at the forefront. So! I fully intend to get back to my series on rest, however, as it is Easter this week, I thought I’d share some of my meditation leading up to it.

We celebrated Passover earlier this week. I love celebrating the Jewish holy days! They really are a catechism. It was so neat to remember the history of Israel, of God bringing them in to Egypt and then leading them out. Of His provision with the Passover Lamb and the foreshadowing of Jesus as our Passover Lamb. We also just happened to finish reading the Harry Potter series with our kids the day before Passover.

I know some folks really dislike Harry Potter and the magic in it. I have to say though that finishing book 7 right before Easter was so good!

*spoiler alert*
If you haven’t read the series, book 7 is a meditation on the end of Jesus’ life, on the kind of bravery that it took to walk into death knowing full well death was coming… of the bravery it takes to not act. I love how J.K. Rowling talks about love and sacrifice. Harry’s mother’s sacrifice provides a protection that sinks into his very blood and makes his very skin unbearable agony to Voldemort. At the end of the series, Harry’s own self-sacrifice protects all those he loves. And we see this with Jesus’ death. Once we have been brought into His family, we are protected. Things get difficult and painful in the midst of this broken world, but Satan is unable to effect lasting damage on us. We are safe, no matter what appears to be happening around us, not because of some quality in ourselves or because of some quality in our circumstances, but because of Jesus’ sacrifice. We are safe, both from God’s wrath against sin and from Satan’s schemes. It’s incredible! I love that we then take that safety with us every moment of our lives. Even if Voldemort were perhaps to stick a flaming hat on our heads, we would still be safe.

Reading through the Deathly Hallows reminded me of how much I have to celebrate. It’s always easy for me to get lost in the stress of holidays and forget to remember the reason behind them. I pray GodĀ  brings special reminders into your own life to refocus you, just as He worked out the end of Harry Potter for me, so that we can really celebrate in the midst of the hubbub that surrounds Easter.

Have a blessed Easter season!