Tag Archives: worry

Relax and enjoy my Friendship

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This is the devotional I read for July 9 and 10.  Yes, I bunch up the readings and then let them sink in for a while before I bite off another bunch.  I read the book “Jesus Calling” as my morning devos. and then I do longer readings from other books and a portion of scripture for my evening devos.  This blessed me, and I just want to share it with you.

Photo credit: annais / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: annais / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

“Stop worrying long enough to hear My voice.  I speak softly to you in the depths of your being.  Your mind shuttles back and forth, hither and yon, weaving webs of anxious confusion.  As My thoughts rise up within you, they become entangled in those sticky webs of worry.  Thus, my voice is muffled, and you hear only ‘white noise.’

“Ask My Spirit to quiet your mind so that you can think My thoughts.  This ability is an awesome benefit of being my child, patterned after My own image.  Do not be deafened by the noise of the world or that of your own thinking.  Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Sit quietly in My Presence, letting My thoughts reprogram your thinking.

“Relax in my peaceful Presence.  Do not bring performance pressures into our sacred space of communion.  When you are with someone you trust completely, you are free to be yourself… I know the worst about you, but I also see the best in you.  I long for you to trust me enough to be fully yourself with Me.  When you are real with Me, I am able to bring out the best in you:  the very gifts I have planted in your soul.  Relax and enjoy our friendship.”

~Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Stress

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It may just be me being hormonal or maybe it’s because I’ve eaten fast food 3 times this week, but today I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster.  There were some really great things that happened, and there were some super stressful things that made me want to scream and curl up into fetal position for a few days.  Most days I’m pretty flexible with the way that Latinos change their plans at a moment’s notice.  I just roll with the punches, but today the punches knocked me off my feet.

For my 5th grade class and my 9th grade Bible class, I have had my units all planned out for the last 6 weeks. I planned to wrap everything up this week since finals are the next week.  But my week is being whittled away!  Today my schedule changed HOURLY!  The kids kept asking me what subject we were doing next and I would tell them, “I planned to do such and such, but it depends on who walks in the door during the next 40 minutes!”  The demands on my flexibility were pushing me to my breaking point.

So another thing that was running in the background of my mind was the fact that I was on the schedule to lead the teachers’ devotional tomorrow morning.  I have long since quit going to that Thursday morning obligation because it’s just too much to ask me to get 5 people out the door and on the campus before 7am.  It’s just too much.  But I was ready to teach and braced for the effort of herding my people out the door early.  The devo was supposed to be during a special breakfast time to close out the year with the teachers.  Right on the schedule it said “desayuno compartido” (shared breakfast) next to my name, so I assumed that I would be sharing my devotional while we are sharing breakfast together.

Mid way through the morning the principal approached me with the devotional schedule in her hand.  “I just wanted to check that you saw this.”  She said, pointing to my name on the sheet.

“Yes,” I said, “I’m ready.” I was confused that the expression on her face was not one of relief.  She arched her eyebrows and puckered her lips into a tense smile.  Uh-oh, something’s not right.

“So you are prepared?  I was concerned because you didn’t mention anything yesterday in our meeting (which was another stressor from the day before).”

“Yes, I’m ready to share a devotional.”

“You see that it says ‘shared breakfast’ next to your name?”

“Yes, I will share the devotional while we have our breakfast.”  Her expression of worry had not changed yet.  I felt like I was missing something.  Even though I was understanding her words completely, I was missing some hidden meaning.  I prodded, “We ARE eating together, right?”

“Oh yes, do you need any help with that?”

“What?”

“Do you need me to bring anything?” she asked me.  Now I was totally confused.

“Ummm, If you want to, I suppose that’s fine.  What were you thinking?”

She informed me that normally they do a full Costa Rican style breakfast with beans and rice, fruit drinks, and eggs.  Then a sinking feeling settled into my stomach.  I asked point-blank, “Am I supposed to make breakfast for everyone?”

“YES!  That’s why it says ‘shared breakfast’ next to your name!”

“OMG!  I didn’t know that!  I thought I was sharing a devotional while we ate a breakfast that the school provided for us!” In my mind I continued:  You mean I’m supposed to cook AND teach BEFORE I teach all day long and then go home to make dinner for 25 people on the missions team that we are also hosting at this time?  Shall I kill you now or AFTER breakfast?  “OK, well since I obviously didn’t understand that, I’m only going to bring a box of donuts and maybe someone can help make coffee too.  How’s that?”  I felt I was being generous.  Her lips pursed again.  “Or… maybe we could put a sign up list in the office and see if other people will bring stuff too.”  Hmmm…

I finally just apologized for not understanding and informed her that I can’t possibly provide breakfast.  I felt the angry, frustrated tears burning in my eyes and my throat constricted as I forced myself not to cry.  This was my last straw… for that hour.  More straws were coming, falling on me like rain.

An hour later the school secretary sheepishly came to my classroom and said, “I heard what [the principal] said to you.  Um, I am going this afternoon to buy the food for the breakfast.  I ALWAYS do this.  You were never expected to make the breakfast.  Did you think you were going to have to pay for this on your own?  Oh no, I have money from the school for this.  I will take care of all of it.  Just don’t forget that you have to do the devotional.”  Believe me, I was NOT going to forget THAT!

I can’t remember the last time I felt so much relief.  However this was a cultural thing.  The principal would never admit to my face that she had been wrong- totally flat-out wrong.  No, and neither would the secretary admit that the principal was wrong.  I didn’t get an apology for the hour of heart palpitations that I suffered.  I just privately savored my relief.

Later that afternoon, I found myself standing in a space no bigger than 5 feet square shoulder to shoulder with 13 other people and only 4 chairs.  I was in the waiting room at my son’s orthodontist’s office.   The air in our cubicle was stale, pre-breathed air.  Everyone was trying not to make eye contact with each other, and trying to wait patiently.  Because my children and I were the last ones to arrive, I knew that even through we had a 4:30 appointment, there were 13 other people ahead of us who were also waiting on appointments long passed.

We waited 10 minutes before I decided, “Screw this!  I’ve had too long of a day to sit her for another 2 hours.”  My patience was shot!  We left without even informing the receptionist who was hiding somewhere in the back office so she wouldn’t have to stare at a room full of long-suffering strangers.  At that point I gave myself permission to say, “NO.  I have been imposed upon one too many times today.  I’m going home now.” We stopped at McDonalds for dinner… for the third time this week.

The Worry of the Christmas Season

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Christmas season is a busy time.  I was looking at the calendar yesterday and feeling the panic rising up in my mind.  So much to do!  I’m worried that I will forget to do something.  The season becomes stressful and we wish we had more time.

The business of our life leaves little room for the source of our life.  God gives us time, but who has time for God?  Here are some thoughts to help you manage the feelings of stress and business during the holidays.  I hope they help you to slow down and savor the moments you have with your family and friends.

I don’t take credit for these thoughts.  They come from “One Thousand Gifts”, by Ann Voskamp either as a direct quote where indicated or a summary of ideas:

When asked what was his most profound regret, the pastor answered, “Being in a hurry.  Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me.  I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry.  But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing .  Through all that haste I thought I was making up time.  It turns out that I was throwing it away.”

In a world addicted to speed, we race for more and snag on time and leak empty.  The longer we keep running, the longer the gash, and we drain, bleed away.  Hurry always empties a soul.

“Time is a relentless river.  It rages on, a respecter of no one.  And this, this is the only way to slow time:  When I fully enter time’s swift current, enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I can slow the torrent be being all here.  I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment…I slow and enter.  And time slows.  Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time’s river slows, slows, slows… Wherever you are, be all there.

We can only interact with God in the present.  Though He exists in the past, present and future, WE can only be with him in the present and he calls himself the Great I AM.  When I am present, I meet I AM, the very presence of a present God.  In his embrace, time loses all sense of speed and stress and space and stands so still and holy.

And now this is taken from Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young

Trust me and refuse to worry, for I am your Strength and Song.  You are feeling wobbly this morning, looking at difficult times looming ahead, measuring them against your won strength.  However, they are not today’s tasks- or even tomorrow’s.  So leave them in the future and come home to the present, where you will find Me waiting for you.  Since I am your Strength, I can empower you to handle each task as it comes.  Because I am your Song, I can give you Joy as you work alongside Me.

Keep bringing your mind back to the present moment.  Among all my creatures, only humans can anticipate future events.  This ability is a blessing, but it becomes a curse whenever it is misused.  If you use your magnificent mind to worry about tomorrow, you cloak yourself in dark unbelief.  However, when the hope of heaven fills your thoughts, the light of my presence envelops you.  Though heaven is future, it is also present tense.  As you walk in the light with Me, you have one foot on earth and one foot in heaven.

Your future is in My hands; I release it to you day by day, moment by moment.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow.  I want you to live this day abundantly, seeing all there is to see, doing all there is to do.  Don’t be distracted by future concerns.  Leave them to Me!  Each day of life is a glorious gift, but so few people know how to live within the confines of today.  Much of their energy for abundant living spills over the time line into tomorrow’s worries or past regrets.  Their remaining energy is sufficient only for limping through the day, not for living it to the full.  I am training you to keep your focus on my presence in the present.  This is how to receive abundant Life, which flows freely form my Throne of Grace.”

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Keep your thoughts in the present and don’t worry about the future.  Be fully present in all you do this season.  Look your loved ones fully in the face when they talk to you and give them your full attention.  Don’t worry about completing all the things on your To-Do list.  Just breathe, and don’t worry.  “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6: 34

Stop trying to control your future

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Happy Monday morning everyone.  This was from my devotionals last week and I’ve been mulling it over in my mind for several days… trying to apply it to my own life.  If you’re a planner, if you’re a worrier, if you rehearse speeches in your head then this might speak to you as much as it did to me.  Be blessed.  Jesus loves you!

Trust me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them.  Relax, and refresh yourself in the Light of My everlasting Love.  My Love-Light never dims, yet you are often unaware of My radiant Presence.  When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My help.  This is a subtle sin- so common that it usually slips by unnoticed.

“The alternative is to live fully in the present, depending on Me each moment.  Rather than fearing your inadequacy, rejoice in My abundant supply.  Train your mind to seek My help continually, even when you feel competent to handle something by yourself.  Don’t divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help.  Instead, learn to rely on Me in every situation.  This discipline will enable you to enjoy life more and to face each day confidently.”

~Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.

Planning vs. Peace

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I thought someone out there might need this today.  This is from the devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  It is written as if Jesus is speaking to you personally.  Just thought this was a good word to end the week with…

“You will not find My Peace by engaging in excessive planning; attempting to control what will happen to you in the future. That is a commonly practiced form of unbelief. When your mind spins with multiple plans, peace may sometimes seem to be within your grasp; yet it always eludes you. Just when you think you have prepared for all possibilities, something unexpected pops up and throws things into confusion.

“I did not design the human mind to figure out the future. That is beyond your capability. I crafted your mind for continual communication with Me. Bring Me all your needs, your hopes and fears. Commit everything into My care. Turn from the path of planning to the path of Peace.”

From the Devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

Why don’t we use the word “Repose” anymore?

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“Now there was a famine in the land… The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live.  Stay in this land for a while and I will be with you, I will bless you’… So Isaac stayed and planted crops in that year, and in the same year reaped a harvest a hundred fold becasue the Lord blessed him.”  Genesis 26

 

In church on Sunday I happened to be having a good Spanish day, my mind tracking exactly with what the pastor was preaching.  I got into the zone where I didn’t have to be translating back into English as I was listening, I was just thinking in Spanish.  Then the pastor said a phrase that just caught in my mind.  He said, “Repose en El”.  I knew he was saying “Rest in Him”, but I got stuck on the word Repose.  I tried to think of the exact English word.  I know we use the word Repose in English, but I just couldn’t think in what context.

So I went home and looked up the word in the dictionary, I mean on the internet.  And I was thrilled with what I found.  “Repose” does indeed mean rest, relax and lay down.  But it also has other uses.  It can mean:

a state of being at rest

peace, tranquility, calm

a dignified calmness of manner, composure

to rest from work or activity

to refresh by rest

to put confidence or trust in a person or thing

to put under the authority or at the disposal of a person

to deposit

This was very interesting considering the context.  The message was about what to do when a Crisis comes to your life.  When a Child of God finds himself in a Crisis of some kind, he should tune his spirit to the Lord and find out what God’s plan is.  We are not to strive and worry and stress.  We are not to follow the plans of our own minds or the natural ways of the world.  God’s ways are not our ways.  Very often God’s ways are contrary to our logic and our instinct, but if we follow His instructions, we will reap a harvest even in times of drought.  He will bless us for our obedience.

When the Crisis comes, Rest in the Lord.  Put your confidence and trust in Him.  Put yourself and your wellbeing under the authority of God.  Put all you have at God’s disposal to do with as He sees fit.  Make your deposit in the Lord.

Your calm manner, your peace and tranquility in the face of general panic and chaos will strike a stark contrast with the ways of the world.  Your soothing manner will become an oasis.  You will be the calm in the center of the storm.  When you repose in Him, you will become a very appealing oddity in the worried eyes of the world.

Are you ready to Repose in Him?  When all the world is in a panic, can you trust and rest and remain calm?  Only a true child of God will be able to put their trust in Him in the time of crisis.  Make your deposit safe in the Lord.  Repose in Him when the storm rages around you.

One of my favorite pictures. If you look closely, the guy in the doorway is holding a cup of coffee. Love that!

 

Worry Warts

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This is for all you worry warts out there.  This is what the Urban Dictionary says about the phrase “waiting for the other shoe to drop” which is the title of tomorrow’s’ blog:

To await an event that is expected to happen, due to being causally linked to another event that has already been observed. Gets its origin from the following joke.

A guest who checked into an inn one night was warned to be quiet because the guest in the room next to his was a light sleeper. As he undressed for bed, he dropped one shoe, which, sure enough, awakened the other guest. He managed to get the other shoe off in silence, and got into bed. An hour later, he heard a pounding on the wall and a shout: “When are you going to drop the other shoe?” Thus the term “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
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Do you ever have seasons in your life where you feel like you just can’t catch your breath?  Why don’t you just kick me when I’m down!!  Gesh!  What does a girl/guy need to do to catch a break around here?  Are you kidding me?  THIS on top of everything else I’m dealing with right now?  To use another cliché, when it rains, it pours.  Having experienced times like that, it’s only natural to feel like one bad thing can start a land slide of disaster in your life.
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But here’s my Oh-So-Profound advice from the movie “When Harry Met Sally”.  Remember when they are driving from Chicago to New York after college and he asks her, “Do you ever think about death?”  He then brags about how much he thinks about death in order to make himself sound like a deep person.  He says, “I’m just sayin’ when it comes down, I’m going to be ready for it.”
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And Sally quips back, “Well in the meantime you’ll ruin your life waiting for it!”
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You can stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, and tomorrow I’ll tell you why.  For now, just breathe… exhale… and stop worrying.  You’re not being buried alive, it just feels that way now.  You’re not being singled out as a victim.  You’re not being punished.  Hope is just around the corner… in tomorrow’s blog.

Don’t Worry, I Tell Myself…

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One of my favorite passages is the “Don’t worry” section of Matthew 6:24-36. As a matter of fact, my Bible flops open to that passage when I set it down because I’ve worn the spine out by reading that page so much. But sometimes I get bored with the version I’ve memorized. So this morning I read this passage in 5 or 6 different versions looking for a fresh perspective on this old and beloved path. I liked The Message version the best. I can just imagine Jesus telling this to me in person:

“You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can’t worship God and Money both. If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

So I’ve spent my day thinking about this passage while going about my work of cleaning, packing and taking care of the kids. I’ve tried not to worry about getting all we need in our suitcases. I’ve tried to focus on how God is working in me and around me. I’ve tried to keep the right perspective about my possessions vs. my life’s calling. It’s not easy and it seems to require moment by moment adjustments and corrections in my thoughts. But I think these verses helped me today.