Believing in Yourself

“He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He also was able to perform.” (Romans 4:20-21, NKJV) 
If I’m honest here, right now, I often live in unbelief that God will do as He’s promised. I’m not talking about these “false promises” we like to put God’s name on and call it a day (for traffic to be light, our day to go well, marriage, children, prosperity). I’m talking about those in Scripture, the ones He has given us to remind us in the daily that we cling to faith when those moments of doubt come and not to our own strength. 

But Paul is showing us in Romans back to the start, where Abraham could have wavered, scoffed at God’s promise to multiply his family. But he didn’t. His faith was firmly rooted and steadfast in God, a God who gave him the strength and the faith in which he believed. 

You see, He is a gifted…of faith, salvation, promises, strength, goodness. Yet I find myself doubting those gifts and relying instead on my own faulty and very unstable ways to put faith in.  Doubt will try, in all of its crafty ways to get us to believe in ourselves instead of God. It’s a cunning way for the devil to sneak into our thoughts and get us off-track and away from God. And boy do I fall for it. 

I can look back and see God’s faithfulness in every area of my life as I’m faced with the choice to stand fast or to waver. To be strengthened in faith in Him or take a step away into faith in my disobedient self. 

Maybe like me you’ve made yourself a god in your own life when faced with the lies of doubt.  Choosing belief in self over Him who is faithful and true. Maybe today you needed that reminder of His character and the lies you’ve believed that led to doubt and self-sufficiency. Maybe today your faith needs strengthening in the only One who can give it to you…God. 

busyness.

Busy.

That’s an easy response when someone asks how I am. But that’s not really a defining response.

No, we throw that around as a banner. Telling everyone just how busy we are, full schedules, running here and there, don’t have time to talk so we text short blurbs. Life coming in 140 characters all throughout the day and into the night.

We choose the life we live. We do. So many say they don’t have a choice in what’s been given them or they don’t have a say in how their life is lived. But that’s just not the case.

Reason being?

He gave us free will. We have the choice in our jobs, whether we have that job or not. Does that mean you don’t live as comfortably as you have gotten used to? Sure. But again, that’s a choice you make.

I wrestled with this thought for a very long time, as I myself talk about how busy I am. I wear it as a badge, using an excuse to not do other things because I am just too busy. Lately though I have been making the choice in how busyness affects my life. That also means how it affects my health, my spending and my mind.

Busyness has a trickle down effect that we often don’t see until we are hanging on by a thread, little sleep and nerves frayed. Over the last few weeks I have been intentional about the choices I have made, to spend time with the people I say matter…to take time to listen rather than talk about my schedule. To intentionally put my free time into the things I desire to pursue. To choose community and people over schedules and hurriedness.

Quickly I am finding that my free will choices become much more filling when I am choosing things that do not drain me, that don’t just add something to a block of my time but it adds life.

I don’t want to miss something in the busyness of life that may not slide by again. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to be His hands and feet to someone simply because I have this appointment on my calendar. I don’t want to rush through life simply to look back, with a few more pounds and a lot less fulfillment simply because I didn’t take a few beats to be intentional about what gets on my calendar (and what doesn’t).

That also means rest. Not laziness, but true rest. Which means on the weekends I am not checking emails as often, that I am not on my phone at dinner with friends, and I am most certainly engaging in active recognition of Him in every part of my life. It means that I am making decisions in order to give Him the firstfruits in my all life (work, play, community, rest). I choose that. I get that choice regardless of what others may believe about themselves, as we have that choice.

We have to be intentional about the choices and continue to focus on making them to reinforce it into a habit of our own making that lends to a healthier life, both spiritually and emotionally.

I Fell Off the Merry-Go-Round.

When I was in third grade, several of us would commute over to another elementary school once a week as a part of the gifted program. I really enjoyed this time, not only because the other school had chocolate milk (fat kid score!) but also because it gave me time to do what I loved, which was learn. I proudly wave my geek flag now, but back then, to be a slightly overweight nerd was the death sentence in school.

At this other school, they had several options on their playground that we didn’t have at our school. (When you’re a bigger kid, the monkey bars are not your item of choice to play on) One was a merry-go-round. Oh I loved it. I was the queen of that thing, whether I was pushing it or standing in the middle without holding on. For some reason I found such great joy with it. One day as we were playing before we presented an adapted play to the school, I fell off the merry-go-round. When I mean I fell off, I mean it drug me for a full rotation with my face in the dirt. I had gotten my shortalls caught on a screw and was just being slung around. It ripped my shortalls, I was cut up, and covered in dirt. But I had to continue on with the play shortly thereafter.Eventually my mom had to bring clothes for me to change into at school.

Often, this is how life feels for me. I am either pushing my schedule or standing in the middle with abandon enjoying it. Unfortunately, when you allow others to push your merry-go-round, or you lose energy from pushing, chaos can quickly ensue. Then you’ll be dragged by your life, rather than functioning in it. You will find that life has beaten you down, ripped up your shortalls and planted you face first in the dirt. Many of us, including me, like to say that none of this is our fault…that if we had control, if we were our own bosses, essentially if we were the masters of our own schedule, this wouldn’t be happening.

Really though, you are the one who chooses much of your schedule, and what you do within that schedule. I realize many of us have jobs that require more than a 40 hours a week. It requires more than just switching off work mode at 5pm every day…believe me, I know. Our lives get demanding, whether it is family commitments, friends, or church…or personal hobbies. You make that choice in how you spend your time. You make that choice how you react to the situation that didn’t quite work out how you had planned in your head (and let’s be honest, it’s always the best case scenario where you wind up with all you wanted without the work, believe me, I’m right there with you). Life never promised to be easy, but it does promise to let us make choices.

Let’s intentionally look at the merry-go-round to see what all is on it before we give it a good push. Be secure in your grip and make the choice as to where you’ll plant yourself-in the middle spinning or on the ground pushing.