Pep Talk for Myself (and maybe you)

Is something scaring you? Whenever I am threatened with something scary, and given time to think about it, it is a time of examination, a time of rehearsing what I have believed in less threatening days.

I think first of what I believe about God. I believe he exists and created everything out of nothing, can be everywhere, and knows all about everyone. As hard as that is to imagine, I have a harder time imagining him not existing – given all I see around me. I don’t understand how this works and I don’t have to explain it to anyone else, thankfully. I’ve never heard anything bad about God from anyone I thought credible.

Then I review what I’ve heard about me and God and our relationship – from an old and reputable source. The people who wrote down the information claim to have gotten it right from God. It’s mystical, but I don’t think that discredits it. Anyway, I believe that he wants me to be kind of like an adopted kid, one that he’s willing to devote himself to raising and loving no matter what.

He’s got this plan for a family that has a lot of complicating features, because everyone in it is different. It’s a lot like a super rich Dad who has decided to raise special needs kids, a whole bunch of them. One important difference is that he is incapable of making a bad parenting decision. His parenting style is “love them into loving back” and he doesn’t use guilting and shaming as tools. He has really wonderful plans for all his kids.

So what do I think about the scary situation? God might decide to yank me out of it – sometimes good parents do that. He might decide to hang on to me while we go through it together. It all depends on where he thinks I’m safest. See, I believe all this and have decided I’m in if he wants me.

Now I’m going to believe he hasn’t lost track of me. He hasn’t been distracted or forgotten about me. He has never made a bad, unloving decision. He has me in the best place, no matter what it looks like to me – and believe me, the way some things look do not make any sense. Except maybe after. Things don’t have to be good to turn out good.

Another thing to remember, (sigh) there’s an adversary, an antagonist, a bad guy, a predator who wants me to believe exactly the opposite of all this, and he wants to remain incognito himself. The minute I remember that he could be orchestrating things, I can just feel the power coming back to me. I get so mad I forget about being scared. I remember whose family I’m in and who is really in trouble. It’s not me.

This is the most simplistic way I can put how I’m feeling right now. I am so thankful for the peace and relief that comes in bad times when I remember these things. Oddly, sometimes it’s harder to watch someone else go through a crisis than it is to go through one myself. I just want to make all the bad stuff go away, right now!

Instead I have to know God isn’t just taking care of one kid. He’s looking out for every one of them, better than I could – although he might send me to do something for someone. Fortunately, I believe God wants everyone in his family and he tells his kids to treat everyone like they were a new brother or sister. There is no one more inclusive than God.

There is so much more to think about than there is time to think, and that is what makes life seem so interesting (and so short). Even in hard times, I’m glad to be here. Just sayin’…

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers how he made us. The Bible, book of Psalms 103:13-14

Get some clothes on…

Get some clothes on.

I taught my children to get dressed fairly early on in their childhood, thinking it would serve them well in the future. Sure enough, to this very day they almost always get dressed at some point in their day and everyone is glad because of it. The training has been worth it. It had purpose behind it. I hoped that they would be able to function well in society and not have to waste time in adulthood over issues so elementary as clothing. (I’m not saying that they don’t grimace at some of those early pictures and say “Mom, how could you let me wear that?!”)

Why did you let me dress this way, why? (You were learning...)
Why did you let me dress this way, why? (You were learning…)

I’m thinking about the word discipline, and the hard times we go through. If God has us in his sights, he promises that we are going to be under discipline. He says it’s his fatherly duty, like any parent who teaches a child something in order for them to make it through life. I’m sometimes tempted to substitute the word “punishment” for discipline, but punishment is only one element of a much larger picture. I wasn’t punishing my daughters in teaching them to get dressed. But interestingly, it may have felt that way to them at times.

I’m going through some hard times lately. Almost on a daily basis there is something happening that could be described as painful – physically, emotionally and/or spiritually. I have to ask myself if I’m being punished or trained. Either way, I’m told by the entity I consider to be my father that it is because I’m loved and he wants me to be ready, calm and peaceful, and productive in the future. He tells me I will think it is painful, but that he wants me to be encouraged by it because it WILL have good results.

When hard times go on far longer than I would think necessary for effective discipline, it’s tempting to think there’s no point to it, no loving father behind it, probably no end in sight. This point of despair and giving up is exactly what I am being trained to beat. To be an overcomer, means I’ve had practice dealing with things that are hard to overcome. It’s hard to wait. I can get really tired of words like patient endurance and long suffering. That’s why the words jumped out at me this morning, “you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood”. Oh, yeah.

I’m just saying that having this perspective from a source I take to be credible, actually does encourage me and make me feel like I am loved even in a hard place. I’m not expected to always solve the problems I’m facing. I don’t have to figure out what’s going on. All I have to do is acknowledge that a capable God sees and is at work in my situation. I get to be expectant, cooperative, alert, watchful for that purpose that might be behind it all. I’m learning to get dressed for the future – a good thing.

*My credible source this morning was the word of God, a letter written to Hebrews, chapter 12 and verses 4 – 11 .  These people had it rough too and God was encouraging them through their pastor, a man named Paul.