Accepting How God Created You to Be

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”  Psalm 139:13

Every day, they are messages that bombard us that we are not enough.  Our bodies and faces, material possessions, or bank accounts need improvement.  We see advertisements for products that could improve every area of our lives. Instead, we have emptier wallets and growing dissatisfaction.

We are unhappy due to the comparison game.

In college, I took a walking exercise class.  I made two friends in the class. We would talk about college, boys, and our plans when we graduated.  Both young women were pretty. I was suffering from an eating disorder at the time and wished I could look like either one.  

They would always talk about their encounters with men.  I did not want my dating life to resemble either one of theirs, but I figured if I looked like either gal, I would have a date.  One of them was petite and blond named, Jenny. Everywhere we walked, strangers would stare at her or try to talk to her. She would giggle and flirt back.

One day at the end of class, another fitness class was finishing up.  Jenny said, “see that woman over there? I think she has the perfect body and I would do anything to look like her.”  I said, “are you kidding me; you’re just fine the way you are! You have guys coming to your beck and call.” She said, “well, I don’t like how I am. I prefer to look like her.”

When we deny God’s will for us, discontent grows in our lives.

Her statement caught me off guard.  How could she think that way about herself?  But here I was, doing the same thing. I didn’t like myself and wanted so desperately to change.  I would have given an organ to look like and weigh the same as Jenny. So many of us women believe, we are not enough and we need to lose a little here, enhance over here, dye our hair, erase some forehead wrinkles, or rejuvenate some other areas.  It is an endless, horrible path.

Last Sunday in church, my pastor said something that reminded me of our discontent with our lives.  He said, “You only have one race to run. A call upon your life that has been ordained by God.” When we believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we must allow God to fulfill His will for us.  We are disappointed when we don’t have what someone else has, and we complain about how we want better. God knows what we need.

Accept God’s Will for Your Life.

When we accept that God is in control and has a will for our lives, we can finish that race, strong.  We don’t need to be discontent with ourselves. The changes we may have to make are our actions or behaviors, so it aligns with the will God had ordained for us.  We are all valuable and have a purpose and a plan for our lives. May we listen and accept that plan as God reveals it in our lives.

 

Lesson Learned: God made you.   Accept how God created you to be so that you can carry out His will in your lives.  

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the plan and purpose you have for my life.  Show me what that plan is so that I may carry it out. Help me finish the race well. Let me be your hands and feet.  Forgive me for comparing myself to others. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Step by Step

“Do not be terrified by them for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. The Lord, your God, will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. But the Lord your God will deliver them once over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them.” Deuteronomy 7:21-24

God is miraculous. He can heal instantly or keep someone safe from harm. Most of the time, we end up enduring some kind of test, physical or emotional pain, to learn a valuable lesson. For me, a stressful situation results in physical pain or anxiety.

In one month, I volunteered for many school activities for my daughter, traveled, had a lot of unexpected bills, construction in our complex, and applied for a full-time job. My skin had eczema, and my stomach and gallbladder seemed to be on fire. I would wake up in the middle of the night due to my abdominal pain. I could barely eat without wanting to throw up. Finally, I went to the doctor. She ordered blood work and tests. Praise God, everything was normal. She told me that I need to try to do less because my stomach can’t handle the stress anymore. If I don’t slow things down, ulcers and other gastrointestinal issues will follow.

I changed my diet for good, by embracing being gluten free, as much as I fought it. I prayed and meditated. For a few weeks, I did well. Then, I encountered more stress. The pain began to come back, and I couldn’t eat much without feeling sick. I went to the grocery store before church. It was the trip that broke me.

Here is what happened. I entered the parking lot of the grocery store and nearly hit by a distracted driver. The store did not have a few items. The grocery clerk did not load some of my groceries, and I smashed my fingers trying to put them in the cart. As I left the store, to cross the parking lot, I a speeding driver almost hit me. Then a large, raised truck parked so close to me, I had to climb into the passenger side to get into the driver seat. Then I saw a car pull up. The man opens his car door, with empty beer cans spilling out onto the ground and he wobbled into the store. God tested my patience at that grocery store on Sunday morning. That trip broke me.

I was seething mad. I wanted to go off on the world for being so inconsiderate and selfish. But these were strangers, no one I knew. How can I bring people to Christ, when I can’t let go of people’s dangerous actions or habits? How can God trust me with big things when I lose it over small things?

A few weeks went by, and I went to a small group gathering. There was a Bishop and his wife, who came to preach. They prayed over some people and had words of knowledge for others. The wife came over to me and asked me, “if you ate a whole apple pie, what would happen to you?” I said, “I would get sick.” She said, “so you eat one piece at a time, and you will be fine?” I said, “of course.” She continued and said, “God can give you everything He has for you at once. He can perform a miracle or answer all of your prayers. But you won’t be able to handle it. Usually, you need to do things, step by step. We let fear keep us from starting something, or we do well and start doing it on our power instead of His power.”

The Israelites journey to the promised land was only supposed to be 11 days. Instead, it took 40 years! They sinned, complained, and were disobedient. They would go back to their old ways after they promised to change. Towards the end of their journey, they had to defeat many of enemies. God told them He would help them, but one enemy at a time. God had the power to destroy them all, but instead, He had them fighting one battle at a time. They needed to grow and have the spiritual maturity to be trusted by God.

Our faith cannot lack when we are following His will. If we see all the problems, we lose our trust and get hurt, physically and emotionally. Let us increase our faith and trust in the Almighty God.

Lesson Learned: Let our daily surrender be to God. May our faith and patience increase. And take the difficulties one step at a time.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your covering and protection over me. May I trust in you and my faith grow every day. When trouble surrounds me, let me see your guiding hands. Remind me what is true and all that you have done already in my life. Forgive me for not trusting in you Lord. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Not Sure How That Worked, But It Did

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

There is a fantastic skill which I possess (insert sarcasm).  When I plan, it is for every possible scenario. I can think of every disaster that could happen from a “1” to a “10”.  It is exhausting.

My lovely parents asked if we wanted their slightly new couch.   We have to come pick it up. We do not own a truck, and they live 150 miles roundtrip from us.  Since it was free, my husband said he would figure it out. Of course, he didn’t explain how he just said he would take care of it.  My parents and I, of course, annoyed him with all sorts of questions. I asked if we need to rent a moving truck and who would help him move the couch.  He just said, “Chillax lady, I will take care of it.”

That answer did not suffice.  I began to think of the couch falling out of our SUV and landing on a busy Southern California freeway.  My husband would hurt himself. Then, I remembered, I am married to this man for almost 16 years, never once was there a disaster.  He quietly calculates and plans and figures things out. He tries never to let anything beat him. So, I decided to be positive, even though I was quietly thinking about what could go wrong.  My parents vocally worried.

Up until my husband was driving away from my parents home, they were still calling me and freaking out.  I calmly said, “I trust him, he will be fine, and I will call you when he arrives home.” He arrived home with the couch still safely strapped in the car.  He carried the three sections in all by himself. We put the couch together, and I breathed a sigh of relief.  He said, “I told you it would be fine.” I called my parents and told them he made it here safely.

After a much-deserved rest, he was enjoying the new sofa.  He turned to me and said, “you and your parents had no faith in me.  I calculated the measurements and knew it would work.” At that moment, I realized this is how God does His will.  God hears us whining and complaining about things taking too long to come to pass.  The same thing happened when the Israelites when they were traveling to the promised land.  God knows every detail. He knows what we need. Things may look impossible, and we wonder how God will come through, and He always does. We need a bit of faith.  It may not be how we want it, but it is the right way.

Lesson Learned: Have faith and trust our Heavenly Father in all situations.

Prayer: “Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for doubting your abilities.  Let my faith grow every time; I see your marvelous works. Remind me of all the times that you answered or protected me.  Let your will be done. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

There is a Unique Purpose for Each of Us

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

 

Patience is a difficult concept.  We know good things come to those who wait.  Yet we live in a world that demands things instantly.

 

Despite my own efforts, I don’t feel like I haven’t found my ultimate calling.  My efforts aren’t growing as fast as I would like and I get discouraged.  My doubts seem to be what grow instead and I wonder, where is my breakthrough?  Where are you God?  One Friday evening, I was driving to pick up my daughter at a birthday party.  This drive would change my life forever.  

 

I was approaching a very busy intersection and I had the green light.  My phone was mounted its holder near the dashboard.  I glanced down because I heard a notification. This glance was no more than 2 seconds.  All of a sudden I felt my car slam on its brakes.  I looked up to see bright lights and a car moving across the front of my car.  They went so fast through the intersection that my car shook.  That driver went through on a solid red light.

 

There was no collision. I drove out of the intersection and slowed down to about 20 miles below the speed limit. If my car was any father into the intersection or if I was in a different lane, I would have died.  As I realized what had happened, I shook and cried.  My life was saved.

 

I said, “Father God, I will never ever doubt that you have a plan for my life, because you saved me.”  My car does not have automatic braking, I didn’t brake when I saw the car.  God slowed my car down.

 

Many of us believers have a bad habit of wanting to know the exact plan God has for our lives.  We want to plan out every aspect of our lives.  There are reasons God hasn’t revealed every detail.  We have to grow, mature finish things and be content exactly where we are at.

 

There is a saying, “Bloom where you are planted.”  Wherever I am, I will do our best and for God’s glory, even though it may not be my true calling.  I will be thankful for everyday I wake up.

 

Lesson Learned: Be thankful for everyday we wake up and lovingly await God to reveal His purpose for us.

 

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for everyday you have promised me.  Give me peace and endurance during those times of waiting.  I wait in great expectation for all you have promised me.  Let there be a hedge of protection around myself and my loved ones.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Have it God’s Way

“The heart of man plan’s his way, but the Lord establishes their steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

“Have it your way” is a saying that advertisers made up for Burger King. The idea is to pick exactly what you want on your burger. Subway and Chipotle have made this the very idea of their food chain. Besides food choices at a restaurant, it seems we want tailor made lives.

This past fall, I was helping my sister-in-law and her friend run the pony rides at the local pumpkin patch. At the end of the ride, we gave out a lollipop to the children who rode the pony. Seems simple enough, but it was one of the craziest things I have seen.

One would have thought that I was handing out an iPhone. Every kid wanted a specific colored lollipop or their parents wanted one for the sibling that didn’t ride the pony. At first, I wanted to accommodate their wants, but when this became time-consuming, I began to just hand it out instead of letting them choose.

It got so bad that this mom began to argue with my sister-in-law because her kid wanted the green lollipop instead of the red one. Well, my sis had no time for that and said, “it’s a lollipop for goodness sakes!” and walked away from the mom.

The mom stood there dumbfounded. I was thinking “has this what society has come to?”

Yet,  I think of God more as a genie in a bottle than as The Almighty. I pray prayers hoping that situations always turn out in my favor or so that my family and I do not experience pain. I want my life tailor-made, comfortable and pain-free.

Allowing God’s will isn’t going to be pain-free. It will be challenging and sometimes, unexplainable. But following His will always turn out to be the best for us.

Lesson Learned: May I freely allow and accept my life to align with God’s will.

Prayer:
“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for asking for every want to be met. Thank you for supplying all of our needs. Show us your way and lead us on the path that you want our lives to be on. Align our hearts and minds to your will. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear your direction. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Unknown Meddler

“He that passes by and meddles with strife belonging not to Him, is like one that takes a dog by the ears.” Proverbs 26:17

There are times where meddling is obvious. Then there are times where you mean well, but it ends up causing more problems. This is evident when we get in the way of God working in our lives.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard a fire truck pass my home. I looked out my window and it stopped in front of my neighbor’s home. As most nosy people, such as myself would do, I went outside. A lot of neighbors were outside. My next door neighbor asked if I heard a woman screaming. It thought there were children playing on the green belt behind my condo, but that was not the case. There is a space between condominium units that gives access behind our condo unit to that community green belt. Another neighbor pointed over to the large group of people who were surrounding a young woman sitting on the grass. She was in great distress, crying and sweating.

I saw an ambulance pull up behind the fire truck . I told the paramedics that there is a better area to park the ambulance and to access the situation. Another night or gave them directions and they drove off. A firefighter came out to the fire truck  and saw the ambulance driving away. He started waving his hands feverishly in the air and yelling for them to stop. I told him what the neighbor and I suggested. He gave me this glaring look that could have burned two holes in me. He angrily said, “NO! NO! NO!” And stormed off.

I thought I just messed up big time. Time is so valuable in emergency situations, a matter of life or death. Thankfully the delay didn’t cost the patient her life. The paramedics got her on the gurney and into the ambulance quickly.

I began to pray for the woman and her situation. But God spoke to me and said, “you do that sometimes…you get in the way.” Thankfully God is more patient than that firefighter.

However, I am sure God is a little frustrated at how little I trust Him and try to do it my way.

I give myself a lot of worry and stress figuring out the different scenarios of how a situation could go. More grey hairs and wrinkles.

There are many situations that I had no working plan where I saw God take care of it all. We just need to trust the all-knowing, eternal expert. Whether it is trying to solve an argument or a situation, wait and see what God is doing instead.

Lesson Learned: Don’t get in the way of God or emergency personnel.

Don’t Leave out a Welcome Mat for the Enemy

“…And give no opportunity to the devil.”  Ephesians 4:27

 

Most of us know to avoid the outright immoral things in life.  However, the enemy uses little things to catch us off guard.  Those little things open the door to the enemy and we soon see how immorality has crept into our lives.

 

One day, I was walking through the neighborhood and noticed a house had a for sale sign.   My neighborly friend, Monica lived next door to this house.  Monica was walking her dogs and asked if she knew the status for the sale of the house.  She didn’t know, but instead told me about what a relief it was to have the house vacant for a while.  Apparently,  that house had some bad renters.  They had parties until 5 a.m., the other days loud music was played at all hours, and had people living in the house that didn’t belong.  The Sheriff was called many times over the years to that home.

 

I did not think these renters could sound any worse until she said that they had cockroaches.  (Ewww…)  And these cockroaches that were living in that home decided to explore through an unknown hole in the wall and come into her kitchen.  She and her husband patched the hole in the wall and bleached everything in their house.  She said it was a miserable experience that she hopes never happens again.

 

After my walk, I came inside the house to see my daughter walking around while she was eating.  I told her Monica’s story about the cockroaches and how she needs to sit at the table when she eats, so we don’t see those bugs in the house.  My tween daughter (tween=can have an attitude when she talks) says, “well they aren’t hear yet!”  I brought her over to the dining room table and said, “just because they aren’t here, doesn’t mean we want to give them an invitation.”

 

I thought about how I have had that same attitude my daughter had about the cockroaches that I have had towards things in life. What kind of invitation have I given to the enemy?  I have heard conversations amongst co-workers that were filthy or were filled with gossip that I decided to join in on.  Music that had colorful language or degrading lyrics that I listened to because it had a good beat.  Watching t.v. shows that had too much violence, sex scenes or bad language so I didn’t want to feel left out because everyone else was talking about it.   My life needed a good bleaching like my friend’s home.

 

It may not seem like a big deal to watch a t.v. show or listen to some music, but it does over time.  This is the gateway for the enemy to take advantage of to bring more opportunities to sin.

 

The fight is exhausting but it is important to stay vigilant or the sin will take over.  All of this sin takes us farther away from the relationship God wants with us.  The competition is too strong.  Keep in remembrance that God’s will for us is better than anything we think of as fun.

 

Lesson Learned:  God’s narrow path is better and wiser than any wide path the world wants to take you.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for trying to fit into the world.  Convict me when I slip up.  Thank you for your grace and mercy since I am not perfect.  Show me the way you want for me.  Guard my eyes and mind from the tricks of the enemy.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”