Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Consider the Loving-Kindness of the Lord

With everything going on today, anything with the title “The Lord delivers men from Manifold Troubles” sounds super appealing. As I began to read Psalm 107 I began to wonder if this current world pandemic, social distancing, quarantine trial is God’s mercy in disguise as every single person has been forced into hiding?

Did this quarantine happen so we could be hidden and have time to seek our purpose, figure out life, understand what we were created for? Have we been hidden so He can heal our broken and bleeding hearts, eliminate our fears, choke out our anxiety, remove the toxic from our life so when it is over we can start a new normal, a more healthy normal? Is He hiding us so we can rest? 

I often forget that the times I’m most satisfied with my life are the times I am more closely connected with God. This year I have been so busy running around working, paying bills, trying to find matching time slots with friends to be social, serving others, etc, that I made very little time with God. As I transitioned into quarantine I found myself deeply unsatisfied, overwhelmed, and exhausted. In my search for satisfaction I was suffering from major FOMO making sure my schedule fit with as many social events as possible, all the while neglecting my broken heart and missing out on opportunities to heal and process loss from 2019.

On the evening of my "38 will be great" birthday, March 12, during my birthday dinner, the world began making plans for a drastic change. Everyone’s phone kept going off with updates about COVID19. It seemed like every half hour people were getting notifications about borders closing, Disney closing, schools closing, etc. People were being advised to begin making plans for social distance and prepare for a quarantine. I kept pushing away the dreadful thoughts of quarantine and being alone with my wandering mind.  "How will 38 be great like this?" I said to myself.  

Fast forward to today, April 5, now I’m in this place where I have all the time in the world and I’m unbelievably satisfied and surprisingly sane. I used to fear being by myself because of all the places my mind wanders. After spending this time with God, praying, journaling and meditating on His word I have been able to gain control over those wandering thoughts. I’m FREE!!! 

During this quarantine He has enabled me to cut mental and emotional ties in some unhealthy relationships that had already been cut physically. I have been able to work through unforgiveness and bitterness due to neglect and brokenness. I’ve had time to pray for my enemies and God has begun to help me see them as He does. I’ve started working on flaws in my character and begun applying these lessons to situations in my life. 

God is transforming my negative thinking into positive thinking and He is removing those unhealthy relationships I should have walked away from a long time ago. His word is healing and His promises are delivering me from destruction. I’m finally being delivered from the destruction of the thoughts in my mind and I feel like my soul is finally moving in a healthy direction.

So how did I get here?  As I pondered the same question, reflecting over the past year, I was lead in my bible to Psalm 107.  It is a scripture someone gave me for my birthday and I decided to read it.  


Two times in Psalm 107 it mentions that when we cry out to the Lord He saves us from our distress. The first time it says that after He delivered them, the people gave thanks, sacrifices and singing to the Lord for his loving-kindness. This summarizes the work God began with transforming my mind last year. Gratitude was a huge component in leading me to a mind of peace and worship got me through each new trial as I applied the lesson.

The second time Psalm 107 mentions that the Lord saved the people from distress it says, “the people were glad for the quiet” and “He guided them to their desired haven.” This applies to me today, right now, in quarantine. For the first time in my life I am no longer terrified of the quiet. I believe that God is guiding me and growing me during this season, in preparation for giving me the desires of my heart. 

So great. I’m conquering the terror of quiet and fear of being alone with myself but the problem now is I look at the land in front of me and around me and it’s dry and seems hopeless for cultivating dreams and desires. Like literally, I keep walking forward and the view of dry land stays on the horizon. I think to myself, “ How is this promise possible when the land is dry as far as I can see?” 

Following the passages of being saved from distress the Psalm 107 mentions that God can transform any situation to its opposite. He can make water spring from that dry land. He is the Creator of the world, taking what was void and formless and giving it life. If He can transform formlessness into the world I see today and transform my negative wandering mind, then he can take my dry circumstances and cause them to be fertile as well. 


So here is my encouragement for you. During this time of quarantine, when you might be afraid, or your plans have started to crumble, or you are bothered by your negative mind, pursue your Creator. Rest in His hands. Abide in His love. Your doubts and fears don’t scare Him. When the timing is right those who are hungry for His Truth will be established by Him, in the land He has prepared for them. This is just a season, it will pass. But make the best of your time with Him in this season. You might never have this opportunity again. 

Trust that God keeps His promises and realize that if you have a dream or desire it more than likely came from Him. Once you reach that land you will gather a fruitful harvest as you pursue your dreams and desires. He will protect you from loss and what you do loose wasn’t meant for you in the first place. 

We may be in a season of affliction, but He "sets the needy, who put their trust in Him, securely on high away from the affliction." This doesn't mean we won't be affected by the pandemic or whatever trial we are in. What it means is we can go out with joy and be lead forth with peace because we know He has our best in mind. The situation may affect everything around us but when we are secure in him it doesn't affect our heart and mind. He is the creator of our life and author of our life’s story. I know for me It’s already been so wonderful. I can just imagine how my dreams and desires will thrive exceedingly beyond anything I can think or imagine in this new land.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Misunderstanding Brings Opportunity

If we are going to be engaged and connected human beings in this world we are going to need to understand we will be misunderstood as well as misunderstand others. It’s just part of life in a broken world with broken people. But we also need to understand that we have the choice to try and understand or not. My goal is to try and understand and if that is your goal too we are going to have to listen more, pray more, and talk less.

The worst distance between 2 people is misunderstanding. Being misunderstood by people whose opinions you value can be painful. Most people only understand from their level of perception and pride refuses them the opportunity to BE understanding, or even open to something they might need to realize. Why? I have no idea. But I can no longer be responsible for how people perceive me. If they want to understand, they will try to understand. But if they don’t want to understand, it’s not necessary for me to waste my time trying to explain. I will always be perceived as something I am not by that person until THEY CHOOSE to understand. 

But what I’ve realized this time around is the beauty in being rejected, unseen, misunderstood, and unsupported by people. It has taught me to rely on God for everything and I have had more peace in the midst of these current rejections and misunderstandings than I’ve ever had before, because I believe God is going to use them for something absolutely wonderful. He and I have had so many incredible journeys together but honestly, throughout my past, I’ve missed out on a lot of blessings during the transition of moving on because I have chosen to wallow in the pity of my problem and become bitter instead of focusing on the new opportunity that is on its way. 

Embracing this current transitional time with surrender has allowed me to experience God coming through for me in ways I never expected possible. He has taught me lessons I’ve managed to skip over my entire life. Here is one example. 


On a Sunday back in November, a few days after an extremely uncomfortable conflict situation, God brought me back to a story I have heard thousands of times growing up in church; the story of David and Goliath. (You can find this story in 1 Samuel 17). As the pastor read the scripture and began his sermon my eyes got stuck on verses I have never paid attention to before (vs. 26-31). God had His own personal sermon prepared for me that morning as I began journaling what I felt he was showing me. 

In verse 26-31 David asked a question and it was misunderstood by his brother with a very demeaning response. The brother’s questions of David’s motives were not fair when all David was doing was inquiring about the situation. Even the other soldiers and King Saul doubted David’s ability to fight Goliath because of their small thinking. But that didn’t stop David from fulfilling the task God had for him because he saw things from God’s great big perspective. 

David walked away from the judgement and misunderstanding and continued to pursue the task of battling the giant. He knew his enemy wasn’t his family or nation. He didn’t allow for their opinions to discourage him and keep him from fighting the real enemy. Because his focus was in the right place he brought victory to God, God’s people, himself, and even those who misjudged him. David fought Goliath his way, the way he had been lead by God to fight; even though people doubted and wanted David to fight their way. David was sure he knew the way and followed it. 

So I want to close with this, if you are feeling misunderstood and discouraged hang in there. Look at misunderstanding as an opportunity to learn, grow, but most importantly to move forward into the next phase of your journey. God knows the truth of your situation better than even you do. He will get you out of it one way or another and when He does, move on with grace, respect, and dignity, even if that person doesn’t deserve it. Don’t get self righteous by trying to defend yourself. Don’t get bitter by trying to fight back. FORGIVE, LOVE, TRUST GOD, FOCUS on the task He has for you. He will fight for you and you will win that battle against your Goliath and anyone else who opposes you. “JUST IMAGINE” the possibilities when you let go, let God and allow Jesus to take the wheel.