Not My Will But Thy Will

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I love that famous quote by C.S. Lewis:

There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’

C.S. Lewis says that there are two kinds of people- people who believe and submit to God for what’s best for their life, and those who think that’s just a bunch of baloney and want to do things their own way. Two paths in life. Two outlooks. Two philosophies.

I’ve found that the more we align our life to God and His way the much better off and happier we are. We’re much more satisfied when we do things God’s way. After all, He created us. He knows better than I do what’s best for me. I know that’s hard for a lot of people to acknowledge. This isn’t a new thing. We’ve been following in our ‘parents’ footsteps ever since Adam and Eve made the decision to choose knowledge (tree of knowledge) over trust (trusting God). They chose to trust in themselves rather than in God. And we’ve been making the same mistake they did for thousands of years. Do we trust God with our lives or would we rather do it ourselves? It’s probably our most basic struggle.

Romans chapter 1 talks a lot about what this struggle looks like in people:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Rom 1:20-21

People have a basic knowledge of God- a basic awareness. God is ‘clearly seen’. But though He’s known He doesn’t force obedience. He always gives us a choice. And in the case of the Romans they chose their own way. He “gave them over to the sinful desires of their hearts. . . they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.” This is an example from long ago, from the early church, but we don’t need to look very far to see this struggle still being played out (and failing) in our society. Look at all of the ills in our culture. Look at the things that divide us- marriage, children, family, neighbors, leaders, work, relationships, etc. Look at the political debates (or don’t). Everybody has an opinion. Do we ever consider what God says about all this? It might not be trendy, but it’s always the right answer.

This choice has never been easy. Sin has a way of enticing us to do it our way, convincing us that our way is right. We forget that there’s something so much better out there. Sin has a way of corrupting things. It takes what God has created, His standard, and warps and twists it. But sin always has its consequences, as we see so clearly when we get it wrong. Let’s get our heads on straight and come back to God’s standard. Let’s consult the boss. “Thy will be done.” Amen!

Writing Daily

I bought a Reader’s Digest at a mall in Jogjakarta yesterday. You gotta love Reader’s Digest- pretty much the perfect bathroom reading companion. . .  full of short interesting articles, pictures, jokes, and just short enough to stimulate your mind in under ten minutes.

I read this little Bright Ideas section of how to stimulate your brain during the day. One thing it suggested was “write three pages- in longhand- first thing every morning about whatever comes to mind, no second-guessing, no editing.” I thought about that for a bit and think it’s a really brilliant idea. Perhaps not writing three pages in long-hand every day, but just getting in the habit of writing (or blogging) whatever’s on my mind with limited or no editing. Of all people, I appreciate the idea of NO-EDITING, no revising. I’ve written long hand in my journals for many many years, ever since I was 14 years old. Writing with pen and paper is still my preferred way to write. There’s just something so personal about it that computers and keyboards aren’t able to replicate. It has my handwriting style, so you know it’s from me, and because it’s pen on paper it comes right from the heart. It isn’t touched up or refined, but rather raw emotion and thought. So it carries more meaning for me. My journals have chronicled my life and are some of my most treasured possessions. . .

But anyway, is it possible to carry the raw story of handwriting over to something like a blog? This is something that I’ve wrestled with. How do I be transparent and free flowing with my thoughts yet carry the depth of a handwritten entry? I’m not sure. Like I said, it’s something I’ve been trying to figure out. But perhaps the secret, like the Reader’s Digest article suggested, is to do it daily, repetitiously, without editing.

Encouragement Comes From Little Places

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I absolutely love it when people share Bible verses and/or stories and lessons with me. It is such an encouragement to my heart. Sometimes I feel people put me and Kim on too high of a pedestal. We’ve trusted God for big things and He has taken us very far in our faith. People see this and are encouraged. But oftentimes our friends and family forget that they too can be a HUGE encouragement to us- if only they would just try. We don’t have the corner market on godly wisdom. We don’t have the lion’s share of faith. No. No. Our faith has been pretty poor lately to be honest- doubting God in the midst of our year long trial. But if you’re reading this PLEASE don’t hesitate to confront, advise, teach us or all of the above. We most definitely need to hear it.

One of our partners sent this little reminder to us today:

“Sometimes God will lead you in a way that makes no sense at all. Sometimes you will be able to see why it was good later on. Sometimes you will never know. But God can be trusted, even when you don’t understand. He is 100% loving, all-knowing, and trustworthy. Rest in that, no matter what the circumstances look like. This lesson has stayed with me in a very powerful way all my years. It goes with one of very favorite verses: Be still and know that I am God. It is enough.”

Amen! Thank you for the reminder.

Stream of consciousness

I’m feeling pretty good about the end of the year. We’ve had a lot of planning to do, more than I could’ve ever expected. But our visa is about to expire and as such, we have to leave the country to get a new one. That, as well as sell our big furniture items, pack up stuff, try to SHIP our stuff (that’s been an interesting adventure), as well as have our paperwork in order. Who would’ve thought living overseas could be so weird.

Okay, yeah, I knew living overseas would present some unique challenges. But honestly, coming into an adventure like this, you truly have no idea what you’re in store for. If I would’ve known half of what I know now back then. . . well, let’s just say I would’ve had some reservations.

But I’m NOT complaining, really! I’m LEARNING, and there’s a difference. It’s all about your attitude- and I believe my attitude is still good. A quote I like and cling to often is:

The one thing in life you CAN control is your attitude.

It’s really true! You do have control over how you respond to things- even ugly, overwhelming things. So I choose to look at all the things around me with a good attitude.