One of our little ones had a birthday recently. She had her eyes set on the date since before Christmas. Her expectations were ballooning with each passing day. Detail after detail was being put into place in her mind. I tried my best to say things liked, “You can’t always get everything you want,” and “Your day will be special even if __________ doesn’t happen”. It would be obvious soon enough that she hadn’t heard my counsel.
The big day came and everything went according to her plan, for about 30 minutes. Her presents greeted her on the kitchen table. She was given her favorite doughnuts for breakfast. Her wardrobe matched her approval. All was right with the world. Then it happened. As I am brushing her hair and putting her favorite headband in it, she informed me that someone has to pick her up in the carline for early dismissal. I calmly state that her plan had a flaw. No one would be available to meet her request. All the drivers in the house had work responsibilities. Surely this one detail out of the list of seventy would not merit anything more than an, “Ok mommy, I understand.”
Never have I as a mom judged a result so wrongly! A meltdown of epic proportion occurred. Tears, wailing, and gnashing of teeth best describes her response. As a mom, I felt righteous indignation rising up in my heart. After all the plans and surprises I had worked and slaved over, this is what I am receiving for my efforts. We spent our drive to school with much discussing and rebuking. Even when I revealed her surprise cake, there was still an element of disappointment in her eyes.
His mercy and loving-kindness are unmeasurable!
This earthly illustration met with Scripture in my devotions that evening. In Exodus 15 the Israelites have just crossed the Red Sea. They are singing God’s praises for the detailed and miraculous way in which they were rescued. Everything was just as it should be. Their future was filled with visions of easy travel and a land flowing with milk and honey. Then it happened. There is not water to be found for 3 days. The meltdown begins. Complaining and wishing for what had been became their cry. Their expectation of easy and the Promised Land had been met with a small measure of discomfort and waiting.
In Exodus 15:24-27 God shows up and gives them what they wanted. He gives them their need in a miraculous way. He even includes the promise that He would not visit His people with any of the plagues that had been dealt on their Egyptian enemies.
"And the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” And he cried to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a log, and he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.
A sad reality ends the chapter. If they would have just put their expectations aside, they would have seen His best was just another day’s journey. Twelve springs of sweet and refreshing water awaited. If they would just walk one more day. God knew the whole time that He had an amazing way of provision already prepared.
Like my little one, who had it all planned out, we can give in to our complaining spirit and give up on God’s best. Instead of letting go of our way and our plan, we hold onto that one thing that seems to be undone. He has the best for each one of us waiting to bring refreshment and peace.
No matter what we are facing or what we have not received in way of answer or provision, can we wait on Him? The best of God and His plan are what we will receive. Isn’t God worth walking one more day?
I have always been a t-shirt and jeans type of girl. Rarely, if ever, do I wear a pair of heels. (We do not have enough health insurance to handle the risk!!) Loving the comfortable defines who I am. Getting my nails done or spending precious minutes on my hair and makeup is low on the priority list. Extra minutes of sleep or more time to sip my coffee is where I invest.
Although this is who I am, I work alongside, fellowship with, and have dear friends who are just the opposite. Never a hair gone astray or a nail left unpolished. They discuss name brands and scroll Pinterest for the latest fashion tips. As I sit and listen to their discussions I am placed right in the middle of that age old game. You know the one I am talking about. I have participated in it more often than I would care to admit.
“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
Those last two words pack a real punch. Paul lets us know that the comparison game is such a foolish endeavor.
Through every season of life, you can look around finding yourself either falling short or rising above the crowd that surrounds you. In this system of measurement, you refer to the status quo as your benchmark. This was Paul’s point. This type of yardstick can knock you over the head or place a crown on top of your head from moment to moment.
God knows us and the struggle we are faced with daily. From fashion, to parenting, to marriage or finances, we can spin out of control at a rapid pace. How do we remain affirmed in who God made us to be, but yet be open to growth and change without being bogged down in the mire of comparison. The answer is to use a different yardstick.
Hebrews 13:5-6 states,
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
We can be content and not filled with envy or pride when we remember that everything we have and are is directly planned by a loving God. This promise of His presence for all eternity comes with the ability to cry out to our Helper when we are drowning in the trap of comparison. I love how God even includes the opinions and effects of man because He knows we will come face to face with them on a quest to rid ourselves of man’s approval. This verse reminds us to claim victory from the worry of man’s measurement and opinion.
Be content in who God made you to be, and then go in confidence being free from the fear of man’s evaluation. Sounds like a great plan, but I get in the way. Reminding my heart to embrace God’s design because His hands are the ones molding and shaping me is a constant state of surrender.
When I do surrender to this truth I find purpose for every one of my strengths and weaknesses He has orchestrated. So whether it is t-shirt and jeans in a polished nails and heels world, or another area of comparison you struggle with, just let contentment be your yardstick. You will find that instead of wanting to be what you aren’t, you will truly enjoy the variety of others and the uniqueness of you.
52-Week Gratitude Journal
Good days begin with gratitude! This 52-week gratitude journal is on our favorites list! It's one of the best ways I know to turn an ungrateful heart into a grateful one, in a hurry! When you start writing down all the goodness God has planted in your life, it becomes more difficult to complain or compare. Grab one today and start cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
Let contentment be your yardstick. I love that! What areas of comparison do you struggle most with?
As I stood in the kitchen hovering over my Insta Pot, I had no idea what the next few minutes would hold. Much like a popular crime show, I have listed the events in chronological order to paint the scene. I have chosen to leave out names to protect the guilty. To help with the proper amount of drama, it would be helpful to imagine each event with that ominous and dark sound effect.
5:07 – A call comes in from my husband saying the car won’t start.
5:09 – I am the recipient of an eye roll and huge sigh from a teen who doesn’t want to clean the living room.
"Lord, I was more like a feather than a wall in the last few minutes. I am crying out to you for forgiveness, help, and a new gaze. Please allow me, by Your grace, not to be moved."
How can the next time go the way my heart desires?
Come what may, God never changes His position or falters under the weight. We are not moved because He can’t be.
Well, as I gathered myself together to head back in the fray, I had the right gaze and the reminder of His arms holding me.
The next 30 minutes actually still resembled the previous set, but there was a difference. I wasn’t resting in my strength, determination, or wisdom. Now I was resting on the only One who can never be shaken.
Feather Like Faith to a Brick Wall Resolve requires us to set the Lord always before us and to rest in Him alone. What are you resting in today? Are you resting in your own strength, determination and wisdom? Or are you resting in the only One who can never be shaken.
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