My Senior Quote and Other Words of Wisdom

“God asks no man whether he will accept life; that is not the choice. You must take it; the only choice is how.”

H.W. Beecher

My oldest daughter just started high school at the same school I graduated from a couple decades ago. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about my high school days these last several weeks. The above quote rests next to my Senior picture in the yearbook for all eternity. When I chose it back then I’m sure I was dreaming of a lucrative career as a blogger. Married. 2.5 kids and a white picket fence. Well, I’m married anyway. And to the boy I was dating when that Senior portrait was taken nonetheless. I suppose some dreams do come true.

Back between the pages of my high school yearbook, I was a Christian. I met Jesus for the first time in my bedroom when I was in middle school so I felt like I had a good idea about who God was and what he wanted me to do with the life he gave me. Go to church. Do a few service projects. Be a good girl. I had all of that covered.  I could live out my life and call upon Jesus whenever I felt like I needed him. Things were good.

But Jesus didn’t die on the cross for your life to be good. Good is decent health, a job to pay the bills and people who love you. Good is average. Midgrade. A ‘B’ at best. Good is the free samples of vanilla ice cream they hand out to everybody.

…I have come that you may have life and have it to the full. John 10:10.

Maybe you have all those good things.  But are you still stressed with too much to do? Do you worry too much about the future? Maybe your job pays the bills but do you still keep striving for more? Discontent?

Do you have some really great people in your life that you ignore too many times or take for granted?

Your health is probably pretty good, but do you take the time for yourself to rest properly, excercise and eat well?

Do you sometimes feel like something is missing?

Maybe that’s because the way you are accepting the life you were given is to try to do things your own way. And that, truly my friend, just goes against the grain of the reason for humanity.  If God created you for the sole purpose of loving you, how in the world can we just sit back and accept life as good? Reading a passage in the Bible here and there. Say a short prayer every now and then. That’s an insult to your Creator.

You were made for a purpose. And yours might be very simple.

Maybe you homeschool your own children and train them up in the way they should go. Or, maybe you work in retail and you shine your light every day to customers who  just want to get high on a good bargain.

Maybe you’re a missionary or a pastor and people seem to put you on a pedastal because of whatever preconceived fabricated human idea that those positions get you closer to God.

Perhaps you spend your days in corporate meetings and make a living handling other people’s money.

All of those man-made positions and ideals are nothing. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how late you stay up, or how much money you make. It’s all nothing. If you are working for the paycheck and for the praise. None of it matters, unless at the end of the day you acknowledge the One who put you there. Unless you can turn back around with the life you have accepted and open-handedly offer it back to the One who gave it to you, nothing you do matters.

What matters is how intentional you make the life you’ve been given. Are you aware of your purpose to glorify God in everything you do?

So, you have a choice.  I have a choice.  God breathed life into your lungs and gave you life without your consent. He made you without consulting you and made you wonderfully and purposefully.  The only appropriate response is to seek His will in every decision and wish more than anything in the deepest areas of your heart to please the One who gave you life. The One who came to give you life and to have it to the full.

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. Colossians 2:6

 

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The Irrational Dilemma of Being Stuck

 

When I was about 10 years old I went to the mall with my family. I remember being on the 2nd floor and stopping to peer over the railing down to the main courtyard with my dad. We were waiting for my mom to finish shopping. As I watched the people bustle below me, I pressed my knee between two of the retaining bars as many children often do and I left it there. It was then that my mom came out of the store. But when I tried to pull my knee out from between the bars it wouldn’t budge.

I was stuck.

In my 10-year-old mind I panicked. I frantically started pulling and tugging and twisting around trying anything to get my leg free from its unexpected prison.  When I couldn’t free myself my thoughts escalated into irrational scenarios.  Surely the fire department would need to be called in. Mall managers would yell at this little kid for making such a mess and ban my family forever. And my parents surely would refuse me my allowance for causing them to have to pay for the damage.

My face began to get hot from the embarrassment. There seemed to be thousands of  people walking by. I had no doubt they were thinking that I was so fat and stupid. How else could someone get their leg stuck?  I could already hear the kids at school calling me names when they got a hold of the headline, “Girl Gets Her Fat Knee Stuck at The Mall. Emergency Amputation Performed on Sight.”

Tears started to burn my eyes when my Daddy placed his hands on my shoulders from behind me and calmed me down. He said, “Stop moving. You’re just going to hurt yourself. Extend your leg gently and try to pull it out.”

I argued with him a little bit and told him that it was going to be stuck there forever. There was no way that doing what he suggested was going to work.

“Trust me,” he said calmly.  My daddy was always so calm even in the midst of his daughter suddenly facing leg amputation. Such a good quality. Wish I had more of that.

I did what he said and lo and behold, my knee came out with ease!  It was a little sore, but I was so thankful that the news crew hadn’t arrived yet that I didn’t care.

I looked around expecting a crowd to have gathered behind me to jeer and mock me while I was stuck there feeling so vulnerable.  To my surprise there wasn’t a single person pointing fingers. There wasn’t anyone there making fun of me. But there also wasn’t anyone there feeling sorry for me either. Despite all the lavish delusions that went on in my head, the whole episode had gone unnoticed by everyone except my Father.

Do You Ever Feel Stuck?

I haven’t learned my lesson very well.  My knee isn’t trapped between bars at the mall, but I still feel stuck sometimes. Things I think should have happened by now haven’t.  Things I think I should have overcome by now just seem to keep nagging at me.

It’s easier to let our minds race with damaging and irrational thoughts and let panic overtake us. allowing that leads us to believe we will never get unstuck. All the tugging and twisting trying to free ourselves from unexpected stuck-ness only causes us to hurt ourselves more and remain stuck. And that is exactly what the enemy wants.  You can’t do much to advance the Kingdom if you’re stuck.

Maybe you’ve been stuck deep in debt and you feel like you just might drown.  Or maybe you’ve lost a close relationship you thought you’d have forever and you’re stuck in the hurt and grief. Maybe life happened before you could finish your degree and you are feeling underpaid and underappreciated. It could be that you are stuck in sin or an addiction and you just can’t seem to find your way out.

Are you hurting yourself more by tugging and twisting trying to figure things out on your own? Are you making the situation worse than it actually is by listening to the voices in your head? Or are you being still and listening to the direction of your Father to help you out of your sticky situation?

So How Do I Get Unstuck?

Here’s what I have learned in my years on this planet. Life is sticky. It’s not always easy to wipe away the messes that catch us off guard. In the moment it seems like the pulling and the tugging are the right things to do. But that only hurts us more in the end. If we could just learn to Be Still and listen for our heavenly Father’s instruction on how to get unstuck, we would save ourselves so much heartache.

Ask for a way out. There is no debt, no loss, no sorrow, fear or injury that can leave you stuck forever if you seek His glory through the pain. Even when things seem impossible to overcome your Heavenly Father is waiting there to help you find your way out.

Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Asking for help is easier if you know the person you are asking.  Be still and know… We can’t get to know anyone if we’re constantly on the move. It used to be so hard for me to be still and I am a work in progress with that one. Being still doesn’t mean sitting in a quiet room and not doing anything.  It’s sitting at His feet and seeking His face. It’s wanting the Truth more than anything else and finding peace within that. Being still is bathing in the Word and soaking up what God speaks to you through it. And then trust Him! Get to know your God through prayer and ask Him to reveal ways to become unstuck while you are being still and He may astonish  you!

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33

For more on how to get unstuck through reading your Bible, click on the Bible verses above or click here.

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