Last night I returned from a conference. A women’s conference in Charlotte called She Speaks. It rocked my world and the Lord encouraged me in so many ways. I’m on a mountaintop – pumped about what the next couple years of 818’s future looks like.
My friends and I leave North Carolina and jam to 90’s boy bands the entire drive home, fingers sticky from candy and soft drinks to try and keep us awake. As we approach I-40 West I’m so excited to get home. To sleep and rest in the Lord after all He taught me this weekend.
We pull in a parking lot to part ways and when I put my car in reverse, something didn’t feel right. I jumped out of the driver’s seat and my suspicions were confirmed. I had a flat tire.
Great. It’s my birthday. The Lord just worked mightily in my heart and I made so many friends this weekend. I feel so refreshed. And now I have a flat to deal with tomorrow. On my birthday.
My friend was so sweet to drive me home and I unlock the door to my apartment, carry my bags inside and I realize it’s a little hot in my room – and not the kind of hot when you’ve carried lots of luggage in at once. A full blown, “My AC is broken in TN in the middle of July!” hot!
As I laid in bed last night, I got overwhelmed. And possibly a little selfish. I texted all my friends in the neighborhood to find a ride the next morning to assess the situation. And every possible emotion that was NOT of the Lord came over me. I was angry, irritated and flustered. And I felt the Lord saying, “Rebecca, go read Jesus Calling.” So I did.
In the middle of the night I stumbled to my bathroom and I turned to today’s date and was shaken back to reality.
“Relax and let Me lead you through this day. I have everything under control: MY control. You tend to peer anxiously into the day that is before you, trying to figure out what to do, and when. Meanwhile, the phone or the doorbell rings, and you have to reshuffle your plans. All that planning ties you up in knots and distracts you from Me. Attentiveness to Me is not only for your quiet time, but for all your time. As you look to Me, I show you what to do now and next.” (Jesus Calling)
I suddenly let something SO eternally worthless, like my car, invade what God had accomplished this weekend and I finally said, “Lord, we’ll take care of this tomorrow.”
Have you ever had a day like that?
Satan attempting to use any situation or material possession that is eternally worthless to thwart God’s faithfulness in your life?
I was humbled when I remembered this Scripture.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7)
Material matters cannot get in the way of God’s goodness.
And I needed that reminder last night. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on the One who truly only matters and that is Jesus.
Psalm 62:5-6, 1 John 5:14, Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 100:3
I am quite sure my daughter Rebecca does not understand why I would EVER start a devotional with the title “Lowering My Expectations”. As a parent, I have always had very high expectations and I believe children need those as long as they come from a place of grace and diligent prayer. One thing I have learned through my “cancer journey” is that sometimes we do need to lower our expectations of things here on earth and remember where our confidence and expectations should lie.
(Psalm 62:5-6) Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
(1 John 5:14) This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
I think we all have a little bit of vanity whether we want to admit it or not. I know I do. Sometimes God can teach us through some of the roughest times that His thoughts toward us are all that truly matters. We spend a lot of time worrying about people, what they think and what we dream they might be thinking. In reality, they probably aren’t thinking at all. I learned this through the hair loss that accompanies chemotherapy. I know many people may not relate to this - hopefully you’ll never experience it - but can still learn truths from my experience.
When I first heard the word chemotherapy, the only thing that came to the forefront of my mind was HAIR and the loss of it. Those two words just go together. Those of you who know me, know I have always had somewhat of a “fixed” hairdo. Not one of those “wind-blown” looks in Garnier Fructis commercials that I so admire. My hair has always required lots of “product”! I was not excited about the potential of hair loss and thought about it every day and night and also went through a bit of denial in thinking I might just be the ONE it doesn’t happen to during the treatments. I was wrong. My sweet husband kept saying, “We’ll get through it”. I kept saying, “I CAN’T SHAVE MY HEAD!”. I kept reading about all of these women who had been so brave to shave their heads before their first chemotherapy treatment. But remember, I was going to be the one it didn’t happen to. Again, my husband said “You can do this on your terms!”
Well, it happened just like the doctor told me it would. After the second treatment my hair started to thin and finally I said, “I can’t stand it any longer, get the clippers.” I had great friends who brought me such cute hats and I had even purchased a wig that looked somewhat like my own hair. (If you’ve never been to a wig store, that’s an experience all in itself) But, I didn’t want to leave my house. What would people think? Would they notice? Will they be staring at me saying “What in the world is she wearing? Look at that wig!” “She has a hat on, I bet she is going through chemotherapy.” All of these thoughts rushed through my brain. But, what I realized the first time I went out with the wig on my head was that no one was really looking at me, thinking anything. I prayed before I left “God give me the courage and the boldness to do this”. A calm came over me when I remembered a passage from Isaiah 43.
But now, this is what the Lord says--
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush and Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the ends of the earth--
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”
Is there someone or something you spend a lot of time worrying about? Do you ever play out things in your mind that never happen? Try lowering your expectations of the opinions of others.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. (Psalm 100:3)
2 Thessalonians 3:11, Psalm 51:10, Isaiah 60:1, 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Driving down the road. Sunglasses blocking out the vibrant rays of the cloudless day. Wind blowing your hair. Your favorite song blaring on local radio, and then it happens. Radio static. Completely throwing off your groove. #firstworldproblems
But, maybe that static is a gift from God, awakening you from the comfort of your routine.
How often we can get into the rhythm of “driving” through life with our daily routines, sticking to the things that we like and the things that make us feel good.
While routines are good to get into, they can also make us complacent. Then complacency leads to dull edges on things which we once stood strongly for and eventually leads to numbness of the lost world around us. Often times, we do not even realize how dull, complacent, and numb we have become until “static” comes in and disrupts our flow of life.
We are even warned about the “busy” complacency that fills our schedules in 2 Thessalonians 3:11, “For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.” How easy it is to veer from doing the work God created us for because we are too busy with other things. We are too comfortable in our groove to seek out potential opportunities to give a kind word, speak truth, or even lead others to Christ.
The Psalmist new this truth when he wrote in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” If we are not daily renewed, we quickly lose our edge becoming dull. Have you prayed for The Lord to renew His Spirit in you?
Lord, we pray that you renew Your Spirit in us each day! Help us to fight complacency and comfort! Keep us sharp on all edges! Send your static to interrupt our daily routines!
Are you watchful, sharp, and ready to be used for His purposes this day?
Isaiah 60:1 tells us, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” Those who know Jesus have a light that shines brightly within them that is in stark contrast to the rest of the world. Christians must daily, moment by moment, be aware that the world tries to dim their light, often with good things like routines.
Thankfully, we have confidence in an eternal hope that awakens us from our daily “drives.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 tells us, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” Praise The Lord for He sends static to awaken us from our routines! He protects us from complacency.
What do you need to awaken from? What do you need to awaken to?
May we enjoy those daily drives with the sun shining, listening to our favorite songs while the wind blows our hair. But may we also use those sweet moments to turn back to God, thank Him for His presence and faithfulness, and seek His renewal. Then, when the static comes, awaken.