3 Things To Do In The Middle Of Your Troubles

If you’re anything like me, when I have trouble or stress in my life all I want to do is eat, complain, and remain as inactive as possible.  Hey, I’m just being honest.  Can you relate?

Lately, God has been leading me into a particular season of prayer.  It’s been one of seeking his heart and hearing his voice.   Life hasn’t necessarily been full of trouble or difficulty recently, but it has presented a lot of busyness.  And if you’re like me, busyness has the tendency to distract.  Auto-pilot becomes a natural and sub-conscious state of being.

When we come to realize that we are in this ‘funk,’ three key actions will aid to reset our priorities and improve our spiritual mental capacity.

Romans 12:12 reminds you and I to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

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Here’s what we can take away from this one powerful verse.

  1. Rejoice in hope – That’s right, we have real hope in the promises of God.  His word is reliable.  And whether we can feel him actively involved in our circumstances or not, we can be reassured in the hope that we really do ‘know’ that he is.
  2. Be patient in tribulation – In our pain, misery, and distress we can easily allow ourselves to become anxious.  But God’s word instructs us to be patient.  For me, this is a kind reminder that life comes in seasons.  They all come and go.  Sure, some last longer than others.  But patience allows us to chill out while God is doing his thing.  He’s not oblivious to your current state of life.  Release your stress to him and trust.
  3. Be constant in prayer – ‘Constant’…meditation is what comes to mind here.  Prayer doesn’t always have to be kneeling in a dark closet (I’m not sure I’ve ever even done this).  I would suggest that ‘constant in prayer’ simply means to remain in a state of continual awareness of God’s involvement in our lives throughout the day.  My prayer life totally changed once I learned how to remain mindful of God’s presence around me throughout my entire day…AND once I learned the habit of talking with him in the midst of that presence.

So, try this today.  Write it down.  Ask a friend or spouse to join in this quest with you.  Claim your joy in the hope we have in God, move patiently through the season you are in, and saturate your days in prayer.

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.

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How To Listen When God Begins To Speak

I’m just being real with all of you here.  In the past 5 days, God has intentionally placed the same passage / theme right in front of me.  Different messages.  Different devotional books.  Some might chalk it up to coincidence after 2 or even 3 times.  But FIVE?

I wrote about it just a few days ago when it first hit me.   Have you been there before?

When God sends me multiple signs, speaking the same thing to me over and over…..my natural instinct is to work hard at trying to figure out WHAT and WHY behind the message.  But I continue to learn that this is not usually effective.

Here’s what I AM learning, though still not perfect.

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  • God rarely yells.  He whispers.  What do you and I tend to do when someone is whispering at us.  We cup our hands next to our ear, turn our head toward them, and try hard to block out all other distractions to decifer what is being communicated.
  • God’s timing is NOT going to accommodate our need to know now.  We try to figure out what God is saying and then get frustrated when we don’t understand right away.  He reveals whatever it is to us at the right time…NOT the desired time!

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Stop Searching For The ‘NEXT’ Thing

Have you ever found yourself wanting something new?  Specifically, I’m thinking of a new opportunity, experience, or career.

Or maybe you have recently stepped out of something, but the next ‘phase’ of your life lacks clarity.

For whatever reason, most of us do experience longing for a ‘NEXT THING’ at some point in our lives.  And it becomes even more difficult waiting for what that next thing is when we think we have an idea what it might be.

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Recently, after nearly 20 years of working in church ministry, our family moved across the country to Colorado Springs.  My wife accepted a position with a Christian publishing company, and I am currently working as a Barista at a popular coffee shop.  Shortly after moving and starting my new job, I quickly started speculating.  I noticed that I was trying to guess what God’s next assignment was going to be for me…as if my purpose were on hold.

But there was a huge problem with this.

I was already in that assignment!

I received a random text from a friend last week.  It read, “I was praying for you today, and God wants you to know that you are right where he needs you.  Invest your all in it.”

This almost brought me to tears.

The lesson I am learning in all of this is very simple…BUT equally challenging.  I am to accept where God has placed me as my primary ministry focus.  Period!

Then this scripture hit me right between the eyes.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

 I was seeking God, but not with ‘all’ my heart.  A large portion of my heart was dedicated to seeking my next calling….job…opportunity.  I was peering into the future, into a season God has not allowed me to see yet.

God may very well be working on details for me somewhere down the road, but I am really excited to pour my life into the HERE and NOW of what today consists of.

 Can YOU relate?  Does any of what I’ve shared resonate with you, or am I really the one one?

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.
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Lady, You’re Holding Up The Line!

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You’re a coffee snob, and it’s affecting your attitude.

Standing in line to order my coffee at the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble, the following conversation takes place right in front of me:

Barista:  May I help you?

Customer:  Yes…um…what drink did that person order?

Barista:  I don’t know.  Hey (to the other barista), what drink did you make that customer?

Other Barista:  Oh, I think it was a vanilla frapp with whip.

Customer:  Yes, I’ll have that! 

Done in 60 seconds, but I found myself becoming quite impatient with this woman’s apparent lack of espresso knowledge & inability to know her order before she steps up to the counter.  As growing thoughts of (almost) rage quickly permeated my being, I had a startling realization.  “I’ve officially become a coffee snob!”  

2 Corinthians 6:6 then hit be between the eyes…  ‘We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.’  I want to be proven faithful to God by my patience…especially in small moments like these.  My character was not discounted by any outward display of rude behavior, but my heart was. 

Deal with it:

1. Recognize and address the emotions that are going through your mind.

2. Empathize with the person annoying you.  Put yourself in their situation.

3. Redirect your ‘reactions’ into doing something helpful in the moment.

What situations challenge your character?  Comment below.

Photo credit: susanotcenas.blogspot.com