Wonderland

Wonder is a big part of worship, but I let worry and want keep me from wondering as I should. Instead of letting awestruck wonder fill my heart and life, I waste precious time worrying about whether or not I’ll get what I want. Want and worry go hand in hand, and I find I can’t have one without the other. My wants are right in the middle of my worries. Those worries are a sure sign that I’m focused upon myself rather than God.

When I focus upon God, I’m struck by His majesty,  I’m also amazed by His patient love and find myself seeking His presence. Saying two in the Gospel of Thomas says this about seeking.

“Jesus said, Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. And after they have reigned, they will rest.”

I love the progression Thomas includes in his gospel because I’ve found that seeking does disturb at first. When I get past the disturbance, I marvel as I am able, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to reign over the things of this world. The reigning isn’t about controlling circumstances but rather about living in and loving through them. It’s taken a long time for me to come to this place of rest, but the Holy Spirit provides peace that passes all rest I’ve ever known.

Worries and wants are giants that can only be slain by wonder in and worship of a God who loves me more than I can imagine on my own. With the help of the Holy Spirit and the company of those who hear my heart and continue to love me anyway, I can not only absorb that love, I can share it with others. It’s what the Good News of Jesus Christ is all about, and I thank God for the patience He has shown to me.

It’s tempting to stop seeking and simply sit satisfied safely in my own salvation, but that self satisfaction can never take the place of the joy that comes from sharing God’s love. When it comes to temptation, I can test God and try His patience, or I can trust Him and take His advice. Either way, I  find that God never changes, but He can change me if I let Him.

I think I’ll keep seeking, wondering, and worshiping God because I love the peace that comes once I find Him.

Seeking God
Seeking God

Tedious Trudge or Joyful Journey?

What’s the first thing you seek when you awake? If you’re like most, it’s a cup of coffee or something to eat. I like to linger in bed and talk to God before I start the day. My day is much better when I start it with Him. If I am worrying or whining, our time together isn’t time together at all. Worry makes it all about me, and that ruins the moment. The day goes from bad to worse. If I seek Him first thing in the morning and thank Him last thing in the evening, I find myself walking in His kingdom throughout the day.

Yesterday was a perfect example of being in His presence all day. I didn’t worry once, and God showed me how beautifully that affects my journey. Anytime I end up doing the children’s story, I know there is a lesson God is trying, without success, to teach me. I have the story today, and it’s about worry:) I’ve read and prayed over the scriptures for two weeks, and Pastor John shared the message God gave him about the powerful passage on seeking. I finally get it, and it is a transforming lesson indeed!

I hadn’t thought of the connection between worrying and seeking until John shared the message with me. Worry and trust are closely connected. If I worry, I don’t trust. If I trust, I don’t worry. It’s a simple message, but one with which I’ve struggled my entire life. Christ knows that worry causes me to miss God’s kingdom, and that makes life a tedious trudge instead of a joyful journey. God lets me decide which path to take, but He prefers I let go of worry and embrace the joy God’s kingdom has for me. Holding on to worry keeps me from seeking God’s kingdom; that makes me let go of worry as if it were a hot coal and seek God in a whole new way:)

Last night, I was getting my sparrow and lily ready for the story this morning,  and I was struck by the notion that worrying forces me to live life in a backward way. If I focus upon food, shelter, clothes, taking, making, getting, and doing, I don’t have time to seek God. Can you imagine what God’s world would look like if we all sought Him first? It would be His world and not ours. It would be His life and not mine. It would truly be “His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven:)” That was part of the powerful lesson this week.

So why do I worry? I worry because I don’t trust God. It’s as simple as that, and God will not let me add any ‘if’s, and’s or but’s to that lesson. I have been known to take a perfectly wonderful lesson God teaches and add a little something to it, and that’s worse than worrying. That’s playing God, and it gets me into more trouble than not trusting Him. I’m humbled when I think of His patience with me and very thankful He sees me as a child learning to walk in His kingdom. Otherwise, I’d be in big trouble.

There is nothing worse than worry. It causes the past and future to invade my present. It makes me old, wrinkles my face, sours my stomach, disrupts my sleep, ruins my health, and keeps me from God’s presence. Wow, do I need any more convincing? I finally got God’s message on Thanksgiving day, and that was perfect timing on His part. Seeing Ali after seven years was icing on the cake yesterday. I told her she was my sticker this week, and what a wonderful blessing it was to hug her tightly and reconnect beautifully.

Worry causes me to look at the clock, think about the cost, wonder if I’m able, etc… Thanksgiving 2012 will go down as the week God put worry in its proper place-behind me! I pray I will remember the lessons from Matthew 6:25-33 as long as I live. I know I will as I seek Him in prayer, look to His Word, and see His world as He desires. God certainly did His part in making the lesson this week memorable, and I know if I will put Him in His proper place-in front of me, the journey will be a joy-filled walk in His kingdom that will help me draw nearer to Him and those He places in my path:)

What’s Wrong With Worrying?

Worry seems harmless enough. Doesn’t it show that I’m staying on top of things? Isn’t it a sign of maturity and responsibility? Shouldn’t I be thinking ahead and solving problems? Isn’t it important to ponder past mistakes? The answer, according to Matthew 6:25-33, is a clear no!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you–you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” NASB

The scriptures from Matthew’s gospel make it perfectly clear that God does not want me to worry. I’ve learned to see worry as a measure of my faith. Fretting shows a lack of faith, and worry is a sin. That keeps worry at a distance. If I believe God is who He says He is, worry has no place in my life. That’s very easy to say, but I’m afraid it isn’t as easy to live out. Seeking God’s kingdom and remembering Christ’s righteousness help me hang out with the Holy Spirit and tell worry to take a hike:)

My stubborn need to be in control and know what is coming are the seeds at the center of my worry wart. God promises to be with me always, and that is more than enough to calm my fear. Fear flees in His presence. Living in the moment is sometimes very unpleasant, but knowing that God shares the hurt reminds me of another beautiful promise.

“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:30 NASB

There are many more examples of such reassurance in God’s Word.  Joel 2:21-27 tells me He is in with me, and He is my God.  I still fall prey to fear and let worry take up space in my heart and mind, but I’m learning to look to His Word and let it surround me. It embraces and stills as nothing else. Keeping God’s Word near my heart and in my head is the best way to learn from and find joy in this amazing journey:)