His Thoughts are Higher…

Good morning!  A day off from school = perfect blogging opportunity, yes?  Yes.  Don’t worry, mom, I’ll get to the homework in a bit! 😉

We all know that life is like a roller coaster: I’m cruising along high and fast, enjoying the ride when all of the sudden, it’s like the bottom drops out.  Suddenly, I’m careening down some crazy drop, and while I’m still on the track, it feels like that little car I’m strapped into might just go flying at any moment.  When it feels like life is out of control, I desperately try to regain some sort of control.  This control seeking concept isn’t unique to me.  But how we all try to find that control?  Perhaps that’s where the uniqueness appears.

For me, finding control amidst the mountain of homework, frustrations, money concerns and whatever else might be going on almost always materializes in the form of food and exercise.  See, for the most part, eating disorders occur because there is some lack of control which begs for compensation.  Speaking from experience, when my life felt crazy and hectic with all kinds of things I couldn’t control (think homework, schedule demands, ill grandparents etc) the one thing I felt that I COULD control was how much food I put in my mouth and how many minutes a day I exercised.  And maybe this isn’t always a bad thing, but when it becomes my personal law, resulting in unhealthy weight loss, it becomes a very bad thing.

Two years of dealing with something like this certainly feels like suffering.  Eating disorders have several physical and emotional implications.  But understand this: I’m not looking for pity when I say this – I’m just being honest.  And let me be clear: we ALL have a struggle in our lives – an “Achilles heel” – that torments us.  Be it depression, anxiety, eating disorder, insecurity – any of these things we deal with have potential to feel like suffering.  And then, on top of our personal struggles, you add in life!  Of course, life holds many beautiful elements, but things like busy-ness, job or school stress, family tension, sorrow are tough.  Life can look pretty bleak sometimes.

The sermon at church yesterday was the last in a series on Job.  You want to see some suffering?  My struggles seem TINY compared to Job!  He literally lost everything.  EVERYTHING.  Family, home, possessions…everything.  Except his faith in God.

When we deal with difficult things, we want to know why.  Why me?  Why do I have to deal with this now?  I’m a firm believer that God doesn’t allow things into our lives just for the sake of watching us squirm.  Because:

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Pastor Jonathan (here’s his blog) made a LOT of good points in this sermon, but the one that has stuck with me the most is this:

“God uses us best in places we’ve been broken the most”

Pastor Jonathan went on to talk about how we can sympathize AND empathize when it comes to ministering to those who are dealing with things we’ve come through.  It’s this idea of “Beauty from Ashes” – from our darkest moments can come something beautiful.  Because:

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And I just love this idea: we don’t necessarily have to be through a particular trial in order to have impact on someone.  The way we handle our challenges – that can speak quite loudly to someone who is struggling also.

So why all of this today?  Well, God has impeccable timing, obviously 🙂  But to be more specific…

I’ve been planning a trip to Africa to work with some friends.  In December, my doctor gave me the OK to continue planning, as long as I kept progressing, health-wise.  Things had been going well, but the stress and chaos of school has apparently started getting to me; my weight has been slowly going down over the past few weeks.  Nothing drastic, but enough to cause concern regarding my ability to go on this trip.  In order to go, I need to gain several pounds in a few months – and it feels like I’m standing at the bottom of Mt. Everest.

Why, God?  Why do I have to deal with this now?  What’s going on?  What are you doing!??!”

Well….

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Perhaps now is not the time to go to Africa.  Or perhaps God is waiting to show me His strength and sovereignty yet again…or…fill-in-the-blank.  Who am I to put God in a box?

So here is my musing of today.  I have faith that God has a plan in this entire situation – and that my struggles are not needless.  He will be glorified!

I know that was a bit heavy – but thanks for reading today, friends 🙂

How has God been glorified in your struggles?  I’d love to hear about it!

Blessings,

Beth

The “Live Dead” Challenge

Hi folks!  I know I keep promising a recipe, and I promise it’s coming…I’ve just been quite busy this week.  As a matter of fact, I should be doing homework right now.  Sooooooo I’ll make it a short and snappy post 🙂

Here at school, we’ve started the “Live Dead” challenge this month.  The idea is to learn how to “die to self” – take a look at John 12:24-25.  This is accomplished by spending some intense time in the Word and in prayer.  The focus is unreached people groups in a region of Africa, so in each day of the challenge, prayer focus is placed on one of these people groups.

 

Here’s what my journal looks like!

I officially began the journal today.  (Isn’t it amazing how close the word “journal” is to “journey”?  ….. )  Like I said, learning to “live dead” is accomplished by spending meaningful time in the Word and in prayer.  One significant aspect of this challenge is to tithe our time by giving a tenth of it back to the Lord.  Folks, this means almost 2 1/2 hours each day.  That’s a lot of time.

They provide a basic frame work for how to go about spending this much time with the Lord – reading the Bible (and journaling) for an hour, memorizing scripture for 5 minutes, praying for 30 minutes, worshiping for 30 minutes, then listening/being still for 5-10 minutes.  We use the Live Dead journal as a springboard for all of this.  I’m still just blown away by how much time that is.  Man!  And the bigger thing…how on earth could I ever find that much time to spend on this…to spend with the Lord?

My first thought: “I’M A STUDENT!  I have so much homework, so many commitments, so much to do!”

And then I thought: “This is impractical.  Who has that much time to devote to reading the Bible and praying except for pastors?”

The journal topic dealt with tithing time, and then it prompted us to think about and respond to this concept of tithing time.  I began to contemplate and write a little about how huge of a commitment it felt like.  And then…conviction.

I thought about tithing money – I feel strongly about tithing the “first fruits”, not what’s left after taking care of other financial responsibilities.  So how is time any different?  Is it really any different to give God whatever time is left after I do my homework, write blog posts, browse pinterest and review Facebook?  I don’t think it is.

We, as followers of the Lord, tithe money in faith.  Ten percent of a paycheck feels like a lot sometimes, but God is faithful to provide when we’re faithful to give and have faith.  The writer of today’s devotional in the journal writes, “If we tithe…10 percent of the time He has given us, He will take what remains of the day and bless it, making it more fruitful than we can believe possible.”   Perhaps I ought to tithe time in faith also.

This is tough.  I want to give time and believe, but the numbers…the time…it just doesn’t quite add up for me.  But remember the man in Mark who says, “I do believe!  Help me overcome by unbelief!” (9:24)?  Yeah,

So what shall I do?  I think I’ll work towards spending more and more time in the Word.  And I’ll pray about it.

That’s the best thing.

Do stay tuned for a recipe…it’s coming soon! 🙂

Take care!

Beth