Monday, January 12, 2009

Embrace the Place Where You Are

When we were growing up, we formed a mental picture of who we were based on the conditioning we received from our culture and family. We kept dwelling on this picture until we decided that our identity was synonymous with the image we had of ourselves, but it is so dysfunctional to keep the past alive or to project ourselves into the future. We may be saying to ourselves, "Someday, when this, that, or the other happens, I am going to be happy and at peace", but Paul says in Philippians 4:11, "For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." We can be peaceful inside no matter what is happening outside because we can choose how we feel about ourselves, others, and the world. Many people are not happy with where they are in life so they worry, try to reason things out, and then try to change things that only God can change. Joel says, "I believe that we create much of our own unhappiness by constantly resisting and fighting against situations and circumstances occurring in our lives." Carl Jung said, "What you resist, persists." We need to relax and accept the place where we are. Is it easy? Well, no. We have been conditioned to wrestle with life and resist our circumstances, but great peace of mind occurs when we REALLY turn things over to God. If we relax and give up worry and stress, we can start enjoying life. That doesn't mean we can't be honest and pray that things will be different, but in the end, we know that God has the final say. If we believe that our God is loving and has our best interest at heart, it is so much easier to give up our struggles. Romans 8:28, my favorite verse, says, "All things work together for good to those that love God." God won't automatically remove every challenge because we have to go through some things to refine and develop our character. That is for our own personal growth, but if we have the right attitude, we will come through these challenges stronger and better than ever. The thing is: GOD wants to give us a GOOD life and fulfill our DESTINY more than anyone. He put a dream in our hearts, and He will direct us to it. At the same time, we need to trust that He knows the big picture. He knows when there is danger ahead or the timing is not right. So with the little knowledge we have that allows us to "see through the glass dimly" (I Corithians 13:12), we need to trust that He knows when something or someone will be a distraction that hinders our destiny. Some of the very things we may be frustrated about right now will be the very things at which we look back in the future with a great deal of gratitude. I remember when my teaching job was RIFed because of budget cuts. I was so heart-broken. Today I am so grateful for the opportunities I've had as a guest teacher to meet so many kids in the district, and mostly I'm grateful for the flexible schedule it has given me so that I can take care of my family. Let's stop being short-sighted and start embracing the place where we are TODAY.


R4C said...

I am studying "The Truth Project" in a class at church (It's amazing by the way). One of the things we learned last night was "Why do we worry?" if we trust God then we should be worry-free. Like you said, if we really believe what we believe about God then we should be peaceful in all situations. We don't really resist our circumstances, we resist God. "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)." However, I agree it is hard to muster up a good 'worry-free' when things seem dim. It is much easier to reflect on the greatness of our God in those times and let him carry the burden of our worry.

Patty said...

Kim, I so appreciate your comments on the blog today because I know how hurt you are by recent events. It's hard to embrace the place we are when tough stuff happens, but I am thankful that your church and the blog are both reminders of God's promise to carry our burdens if we cast them on Him. GB!

Patty said...

A facebook friend of mine, Sabby from Israel, sent out this story, and I thought it would be great to share it here. God knows the big picture. We know only a small part. That is why we need to embrace where we are. God has a reason for it!


"Years ago in Scotland, the Clark family had a dream. Clark and his wife worked and saved, making plans for their nine children and themselves to travel to the United States. It had taken years, but they had finally saved enough money and had gotten passports and reservations for the whole family on a new liner to the United States.

The entire family was filled with anticipation and excitement about their new life. However, seven days before their departure, the youngest son was bitten by a dog. The doctor sewed up the boy but hung a yellow sheet on the Clarks' front door. Because of the possibility of rabies, they were being quarantined for fourteen days.

The family's dreams were dashed. They would not be able to make the trip to America as they had planned. The father, filled with disappointment and anger, stomped to the dock to watch the ship leave - without the Clark family. The father shed tears of disappointment and cursed both his son and God for their misfortune.

Five days later, the tragic news spread throughout Scotland - the mighty TITANIC had sunk. The unsinkable ship had sunk, taking hundreds of lives with it. The Clark family was to have been on that ship, but because the son had been bitten by a dog, they were left behind in Scotland.

When Mr. Clark heard the news, he hugged his son and thanked him for saving the family. He thanked God for saving their lives and turning what he had felt was a tragedy into a blessing."