Friday, August 27, 2010

The Word on Worrying

I have been thinking a lot about worrying lately. I really haven't been worrying, I've just been mulling over the fact of why I do it sometimes. Scripture says that true love casts out all fear, and I believe that I do truly love my Lord, so why am I fearful sometimes? Why do I allow anxiousness to take over? Is my true love false?

Here's what I found out: The greek word for "care" is merimna. The root word of merimna is merizo, and merizo means 'to draw in different directions, distract; associated with anxious care or anxiety'. This word is used in the Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:22; Mark 4:19; Luke 8:14) when describing the seed sown among the thorns, "The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries (merimna) of this life...choke it, making it unfruitful."

Here is what I learned: When I worry about things, I am allowing my mind to be divided--or drawn in different directions. When I worry, I am focusing on many things--just not the right thing--My Lord and my Savior.

"I hate double-minded men, but I love your law" Psalm 119:113

When I worry, I take responsibility, robbing God of His power and His peace. Worrying also shows God that I am not really grateful for --or trusting in--his Divine Sovereignty. I need to be thankful that He's "got my back" not doubtful of His goodness.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

When I worry, I "choke" God, and His Word, out of my life. Not only does my worrying prevent me from fully listening to God's instructions, it makes me feel powerless to carry them out. Worrying never gains, it only drains. Spending time with God in His Word always grows me and equips me. The Word is always valuable.

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:27

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Here's my application: Hang with me here for a second; Once upon a time, many moons ago, we had this weird rubber fish on a plaque that sang and kind of flopped around when you pushed a button on the wood part. Here's the one valuable thing I gained from that ridiculous item--it sang a song of truth (with a slight Jamaican accent). The fish sang, "Don't worry. Be happy" over and over and over again. And as I think back to that flopping, singing Bass, I think that God would agree. We don't have to worry. We can be happy. He's takin' care of EVERYTHING.

No problem...He's got you covered. Now that's something to sing about!

"I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me."

Psalm 13:6

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tickle His Heart

Last night as I was climbing into bed for the night, Luke called me. He didn't call me because he wanted anything. He didn't call me because he was troubled. He called me simply because he was happy. He had a good day and he wanted to share his joy. I was honored to be the one with whom he chose to share. His choice to share this gratitude with me loved me, and in turn brought me joy.

And I got to thinking, shouldn't we be more like this with God our Father?

Most of the time I pray because I need something that He can give me--security, peace, wisdom, safety, patience, or discernment. And this is OK because God wants us to seek Him when we need direction. But wouldn't it honor God, wouldn't it just tickle Him, if I would also go to Him when I am happy? Or when I am just bubbling over with gratitude for all my blessings? Wouldn't He be honored if I ran to Him first--with no other intention than to spill my happy heart? I think it brings Him joy when we are joyful--after all, we are His children and He came that we might have abundant life.

I want to give God joy.
I want to run to Him and share my happiness.
I want to show Him a thankful heart.
Because I am blessed. And Because He is the Blesser.
And because He deserves my joy.

Worship the LORD with gladness;
Come before him with joyful songs.

Psalm 100:2

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Launching

OK, so besides giving birth to the kid, that was one of the hardest things I've done as a parent--leaving my first-born son in a dorm room, by himself, far away...from me.

I had decided not to cry when I was with Luke because I know he thinks that crying is kind of weird and superfluous, but as Brent hugged him good-bye and it was my turn to love on him, I kind of lost it, and the emotions rushed out on their own accord. I was able to pull it together in the end and hug him again without tears so that he wouldn't think I was a total, blubbering loser, but as I left the room and walked down the hall, I had to put on my sunglasses--if you know what I mean--and I got a very gentle, knowing glance from a fatherly-looking man coming down the hall towards me.

And it got me to thinking; I really don't remember that I cared a lot about my parent's feelings when they dropped me off at college so many years ago. In fact, I don't think I ever really internalized that my parents had feelings at all. I was so exhilarated with the fact that freedom was finally mine, that I never gave it a thought that my parents could be suffering--even just a little bit (OK, I'll admit it. I was a pain in the butt as a teenager and maybe they were just relieved). At that point in my life, I was fairly self-absorbed and life revolved around me and my new experiences. And as a college student, I think, to some extent, that self-focus is OK, since college life is often remarkably free of "real responsibilities"--a time when you can chase your dreams and pursue your goals. College is supposed to kind of be "all about you"--within reason.
I loved college. I discovered who I really was in college. I grew in maturity in college. I hope Luke can do this too.

So as you are sitting and reading these last few posts and saying, "Speaking of self-focused, I think she is becoming rather inward...", let me assure you that I know I need to broaden my focus and look outward and Upward. My help and my security comes from the Lord and not from me controlling my circumstances. And I am learning to be content. Bear with me. And pray for me. I need it.

"...for 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 everything through him who gives me strength."

Philippians 4:11-13

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Time Wins

So here I sit...struggling against all the changes that my life is throwing at me. It doesn't matter how much I struggle, though, my foolish kicking and screaming don't make one iota of difference to TIME--which marches on. I read an article in Scientific American while I was on vacation and it said something like, "scientists are now discussing if the dimension of "time" really exists at all..." The article was interesting and all, but come on folks, TIME exists! I can see it in my graying hair and my kid's too-short jeans. I can see it when my babies turn into teenagers in the blink of an eye. And I can see it when I remember how things used to be--and long for it to be that way again. Here's what I am talking about:
  • No one had to buy crayons or markers or any fun little-kid stuff for school this year--just grown up, boring, un-fun school supplies....
  • No one really "plays" outside anymore; they might lay on the hammock or ride their bike to a friend's house, but my days of sitting in my Adirondack chair and watching them play on the swingset are over... "Look, Mom! I can touch the the tree with my toes!"
  • When I go to Target or Walmart to do errands, I don't have a whole gaggle of kids following me--in fact, more often than not, I am alone...
  • And the biggie...Luke leaves for college TOMORROW and I will be setting out five--not six--places at the dinner table every night--until I set out 4, then 3, then 2....
My family is growing up and I don't like it.

My kids are turning into young adults and I don't like it.

I REALLY liked all the little kid stuff like doing the Library Reading Program in the Summer and having dirty tired kids who played all together on the swingset after eating supper on the porch. I liked reading books to them and drawing pictures on their lunch sacks, and I even liked watching Arthur in the afternoons after school while they thought I was working in the kitchen.

I REALLY loved having little kids!

And I really love the ages my kids are now!

Does that sound contradictory? I guess what I am saying is that I have thoroughly enjoyed my kid's childhoods and the role of "Mom" is a comfy, cozy place for me. I want things to be static, but at the same time, I want my kids to enjoy all the dynamic, life-changing, growth-producing stages that I experienced. I can't have it both ways.

TIME seems to be the winner in this game, so I'm thinking maybe I should stop pouting. And start enjoying all that this stage of life has to offer.

But...just for now, I think I'll cry a little. Tomorrow will be a new day.

"One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 3:13-14

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Closed Due to Flooding

Sorry for the inconvenience, but this blog has been temporarily closed because of flooding:
  • Flooding of my basement because of too much rain--ruining my new wood floor
  • Flooding of my time doing loads and loads of backpacking and flood laundry
  • Flooding of my energy staying up late scrubbing the sludge out of my basement tile and putting rooms back together
  • Flooding of my internet access (due to my almost two week vacation in the remote back-country and my weekend at the lake--from which I just returned)
  • Flooding of my emotions as I realize that my oldest son leaves our home in exactly 5 days
  • Flooding of my tears as I say goodbye to wonderful neighbors who are moving away
  • Flooding of my grip as I realize that I am not the one who is in control ...
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."

Isaiah 43:2