Good Things Are Waiting for Us

I learned another life lesson after two built-in bookcases were recently installed in my living room. I needed to hire an electrician to add a spark guard to the two electrical outlets that the bookcases were built around. This was an important safety precaution that prevented the electrical current from arcing out beyond the electrical boxes.

I was anxious about choosing and hiring an electrician due to an expensive previous experience. Prayerfully, I asked God to please protect me from hiring the wrong electrician and guide me to the right one. I lost sleep and had a knot in my stomach for most of this process.

God’s faithful answer came to me while I was washing dishes. My kitchen sink is directly in front of my kitchen window which looks out over the parking lot of our condo complex. I looked up while rinsing a dish and saw a contractor’s van parked directly in front of my window. The name and phone number of an electrical company was prominently painted on the front of the van over the windshield. God’s answer literally stared me in the face. Our loving Heavenly Father is indeed merciful and can have a delightfully dry sense of humor. I laughed out loud as I dried my hands and quickly scribbled down this information.

An inspired thought, not of my own creation, suddenly dropped into my mind. I grabbed my smart phone and took photos of the electrical outlets that needed the spark guards. As I briskly walked outside, I heard the electrician thank one of my neighbors and say good bye. I thanked God for his perfect timing.

I met the electrician at the driver’s side of his van and introduced myself and my project needs. He looked at my photos and explained what was needed to be done. He also walked me to the other side of the van, opened the sliding door and showed me the parts that would be used. I thanked him for his time and walked back inside my home. I inhaled and exhaled a long and relaxing breath then broke into peals of laughter. And as I laughed I thanked God for his faithful and much appreciated provision!

Later, my neighbor confirmed this company had done a great job on his project. My experience was also very positive. The electrician was efficient and patiently answered my occasional questions. He worked for a half hour and the bill was reasonable. How wonderful life can be when we ask God for help, choose to trust Him completely, and remember we can wait for his faithful provision with joyful expectation!

Proverbs 4:18 NIV
“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.”

The Antidote to Worry

My bookcase project is done! I’m sure my friends are happy my frequent expressions of anxiety and panic are over, but the experience taught me to enjoy another facet of God’s love.

I jokingly call myself a recovering perfectionist. Occasional over thinking and self-doubt can sometimes make it hard to get things done. I hugely dislike this tendency and have worked for years to adopt a more positive and productive pattern.

Despite the daunting task ahead, I had a vision of the finished product and stubbornly took on the challenge. I hired a cabinet company to build and install a custom-made 6x7’ bookcase in my living room, and was immediately deluged with a long list of design decisions. Deadlines loomed and my stomach ached. It became harder to make the next group of decisions as I started to second guess my previous decisions.

I found that the specific part of perfectionism I battled was worry. I sometimes felt like I was heaving aside an incredibly heavy manhole cover in order to climb out of my unconsciously self-imposed limitations. God mercifully reminded me worry is a heavy burden I was not meant to carry. I discovered the antidote was to trust in God completely, regardless of any nagging doubts or unexpected setbacks.

Through God’s still small voice I heard Him say “I am going to bless you!”. I pressed into believing this promise and let go of the heavy weight of trying to do it by myself. Also, I chose repeatedly to stop feeling anxious and instead trusted God by waiting in faith for His provision.

God lovingly reminded me I am never alone in whatever I face when I bring it to him in prayer. The initial burning discomfort in my spirit of resisting worry and choosing to trust God in faith, faded as I continued to trust and thank God. It reminded me of the process of exercising and building up weak muscles. I read Psalms when I felt anxious and was tempted to panic. This helped me to avoid inferring with God’s blessings.

The finished bookcase is beautiful and I’m very much enjoying filling it up with books and decorative doo-dads. I recently heard God say “I want you to enjoy your life!”. This strongly motivated me to continue to push aside worry in the future and enjoy the assurance that God is with me always!

I’m not saying I have worry completely under control now. I have more home projects ahead, and I will face a similar tension again, but I have more tools now. I am encouraged by this victory and continue to trust God and His in-progress plan for my life.

Philippians 4:6,7 The Message
Do not fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know our concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.


Choosing Hope in the Face of Failure

I laugh about it now, but I stressed over the error for weeks. My beautiful new refrigerator was installed and the delivery men gone, when I realized that it was two inches deeper than my measurements. This fact was not a deal breaker because the fridge fit the width between the two adjacent cabinets. Unfortunately those extra inches of depth caused this appliance to block the utility drawer that opened across the front of the fridge. I used this drawer every day.

Since the front door has beveled edges it was not as deep at the sides as in the middle. I could open the drawer about 6 inches and touch the front compartments of the small organizer tray inside. Other important items in the back were frustratingly beyond my reach.

I thought almost obsessively about how I could rescue my spare keys, tape measure, and the winding key for my antique clock. My first solution was to find someone to help me temporarily disconnect the water line from the freezer unit and roll the 250 pound refrigerator out of the way so I could fully open and empty the kitchen drawer. I put off taking action, and time went by. The sight of the drawer taunted me with feelings of hopelessness in the situation.

One day I heard God tell me to push the plastic organizer tray to the back of the drawer and tilt the front of the tray up. Startled by this simple solution, I followed the instructions and the tray slid out easily with all the items I thought were so important. I felt such joy and laughed at myself for feeling so discouraged over something God fixed so easily. This experience reminded me that I am free from the lie of hopelessness. And I have an infinite resource and refuge in Christ who is not repulsed by my failures.

Psalm 94:19 (NIV) When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.

Psalm 9:10 (NIV) Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Tending My Thought Garden

It sometimes starts when I wake up. My mind replays failures from the day before, past criticisms that still sting, but worst of all, lying voices that say my hope for a blessed future is a deceptive fairy tale.

Currently, I fight my most intense spiritual battles over my thoughts. For me, it is imperative that I do not let deceptive, discouraging thoughts stay in the forefront of my mind because they can take root and multiply. I compare saying no to these thoughts with pulling weeds in a garden. This work is never ending and I gladly accept this assignment because the results are such a blessed relief. Peace and joy then pass thru my mind’s gate and I sleep better at night. I’m so very thankful Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection gives me the authority to defend my mental fence line.  

Jude 1:9 (The Message) “The Archangel Michael, who went to the mat with the Devil as they fought over the body of Moses, wouldn’t have dared level him with a blasphemous curse, but said simply, ‘No you don’t. God will take care of you!’“

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

I daily put on the helmet of salvation and protect myself by believing God blesses me every day regardless of my circumstances. I simply look for my blessings during the day, and heartily thank God for them. I stand firm with the knowledge that the provision of good things to come is God's responsibility. I can then enjoy the adventure of discovering new truths and abilities without the pressure of producing them. 

My offensive strategy is to choose thoughts that direct me forward in the purpose and assignments that God gives me. I remind myself that all is well for me by the healing and emancipating power of Jesus’ blood shed on the cross, and his resurrection. A very wise associate pastor from a local church informed me that the minute she gets out of bed each morning, she stands up, raises her arms in praise and enthusiastically declares Psalm 118:24 (NKJV) “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it!” There is nothing like praise to push back the influences of hell.

Ephesians 6:15-18 (The Message) “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued…Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them.  God’s word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”

"In God's Hands" by Sara Gore

I found my wallet yesterday. What a tremendous relief after searching for over a week!

Misplacing my wallet was nothing new to me, but I worried this time because 10 days had passed. I delayed creating new bank and credit card accounts with the hope it would turn up soon. I ran out of cash and groceries and was left with peanut butter sandwiches. Raised in a partially pessimistic environment, my default pattern was panic, hopelessness, paralysis, and isolation. I worked hard to avoid those traps and learned a far more valuable lesson that I treasure. 

After praying for God’s help to find it, I felt a receipt of joy and calm. This reminded me my burden was now in God’s hands and all would be well, no matter the outcome. I resisted the many urges to panic and stay stuck in a hopeless funk. Persistent patience was my doorway to the path of trusting God and enjoying His plans for me. I chose to not give up on myself because God says He will never give up on me.

Life experience has taught me an attitude of hopeful and joyful expectancy in God’s faithful provision is crucial! My choice of hope and joy is a vital piece of armor in the battle over my mind’s attitude and my faith in God’s salvation. A member of a previous church I attended once said the helmet of salvation is living with the belief that we can each look forward to good things from our Lord every day! This protects our mind from the lie of hopelessness.

When I finally found my wallet, it was in one of the first places I looked. It had fallen behind a bag of office supplies and was hidden. My subsequent searches had jostled it loose and made it visible. I’m so thankful I did not give up. And I believe my choice of trusting God and resisting hopelessness gave me eyes to see what was waiting for me to claim. My renewed goal is to spend more time in joy and thanksgiving for God’s gift of life and salvation, regardless of my circumstances! And most importantly I feel a bit more aware of God’s loving presence that is always with me. Thank you Lord Jesus!

“O Lord you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, planned long ago.” Isaiah 25:1 NIV