Faith, obedience, Uncategorized

Do I Trust Myself More Than God?

Do I Trust Myself More than God

Sometimes I put trust in dangerous places.

One day, my husband informed me he wanted to return to the Navy. I’d talked him out of this decision before and felt certain I could again. After all, he was pursuing his college degree, and going back into the military meant saying goodbye to nearly half our income and a comfortable civilian life. Nothing about it made sense, and I told him so.

But then God captured my attention. Has God ever grabbed yours?

When I relayed the situation to our pastor’s wife, she asked if I had prayed about it. Her words—more likely God speaking through her—shook me. I hadn’t. I trusted myself and my logic more than God.

However, seemingly obvious answers aren’t always fueled by God Almighty.

His ways are higher than ours, according to Isaiah 55:8-9. Wisdom finds us seeking our Father’s counsel.

Wisdom finds us seeking our Father's counsel. ~ @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet

After that divinely-led conversation, I went home and prayed. My strong-willed, rational self intentionally transferred trust to God in that moment. I asked the Lord to show me if He was behind Tony’s decision and to make His will undoubtedly clear.

God responded to that prayer within days.

The answer? Navy.

Day after day, those four letters grabbed my attention from their mount on buildings, signs, and vehicles. It was the wildest thing. Everywhere I turned, “navy” found me.

Soon after, Tony rejoined the Navy. In fact, he made a career of it, retiring in 2013. The Lord showed us much and crossed our paths with many wonderful people during those years. We wouldn’t exchange the journey for anything. God knew best after all!

Relying on ourselves, logical thinking, or statistics looks good on the outside, and trust set there often makes sense at first glance. But God’s ways are higher than ours. He woos and encourages us to rely on Him—the Maker of heaven and earth.

God's ways are higher than ours. ~ @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet

Proverbs 3:5-6 challenges us to trust in the Lord versus our own understanding. The Bible prompts us to acknowledge God, knowing He—not man—will make our paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 challenges us to trust in the Lord versus our own understanding. ~ @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet

When we find ourselves placing confidence in ourselves or others, why not turn to our Father instead? What situations are you facing today that’d be safer set in prayer, relying on God versus man?

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When Love Feels Hard — Guest Blogger

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What happens when we’re called to forgive our enemy? Surely some acts, even some people, are unforgiveable, right?

Carolyn was the last person I wanted to forgive. The event I experienced because of her was so traumatic I’d blocked it from my mind for thirteen years.

I met Carolyn at a public pool when I was eleven. She was tall and pretty. We instantly hit it off, but my parents didn’t know she had a troubled home life. She was also friends with another girl with mental problems. They were best friends until I was put in the middle. One night, when I no longer wanted to be a part of their dysfunctional antics, I told Carolyn I didn’t want to be friends anymore. She begged me to take one last adventure with her and visit the roof of her high-rise apartment. I obliged, though terrified of heights.

The roof was dark, cold, and windy. I didn’t want to go to the edge, but Carolyn encouraged me. A few feet away, I gingerly peered over into the abyss. Carolyn gripped the back of my shirt. She pushed me closer to the rail and delivered her ultimatum, “Say you’ll be friends with me forever or you’ll go over the side.”

I hated her, but I’d buried the fear she’d instilled deep inside. I thank God people rescued me from her physical clutches, but I still needed Jesus to heal me from the mental one. As an adult, I had to confront the past, but I didn’t have the power to unlock the door. Jesus showed me my mental prison, the truth about my worthless warden, and the key to breaking out.

Choosing to love the person we most fear or hate is difficult. Jesus died on the cross for everyone, even His enemies. Conquering all sin and rebellion, his sacrifice demonstrated the greatest act of love that was won with the greatest weapon: Forgiveness. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 ESV) and we choose to forgive because we are forgiven (Eph.4:32).

Following Jesus’s example of unconditional love enabled me to forgive Carolyn. It was by no means an easy task, but I know now it was a necessary one.Following Jesus’s example of unconditional love enabled me to forgive. It was by no means an easy task, but I know now it was a necessary one. Click To Tweet One week after I prayed to love and forgive her, I received an email to an account I rarely used. The subject: Do you remember me?

It was from Carolyn. She was married with kids and had recently found old photos of us. She remembered my name, which recalled happy emotions, but because of childhood trauma she couldn’t remember any events before high school. She wanted to know what I remembered about her so I chose to be honest. She was so mortified by my experience that she asked to talk to me over the phone. By the loving mercy of God, it was an hour-long conversation that set two once-tormented little girls free.

Love is a choice. Forgiveness is priceless. Both are the keys to freedom.mirachellequote2-apr8-fb

Perhaps you struggling to forgive someone today. What will take for you to choose God’s love in order to forgive?

Love is a choice. Forgiveness is priceless. Both are the keys to freedom. Click To Tweet

Get to know Mirachelle!

Mirachelle's author photoMirachelle Canada is a writer, playwright, screenwriter, and theatre director/producer from Northern Virginia, where she teaches television production at her high school alma mater. She is passionate about awakening creativity and the gifts of God in everyone.

She is currently working on her first historical fiction novel set during WWII, inspired by her time studying theatre education in London, England.

Connect with Mirachelle at:

her Website  on Facebook,  Twitter, and  Instagram.

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Difficulties and the Abundant Life

 

In every moment, we have a choice as to what we’ll focus on and, therefore, how we’ll feel. We live in a world that is all about me. What’s in it for me? In fact, when someone gives of himself or herself unconditionally or doesn’t appear to understand the gravity of their situation, how many of us question their motives or their sanity? What are they up to? What’s their agenda?

However, God never intended us to live this way.When someone gives of themselves unconditionally, how many of us question their motives or their sanity? However, God never intended us to live this way. Click To Tweet

In John 10:10b Jesus says, “I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Abundant life refers to life in its abounding fullness of joy and strength for mind, body, and soul” (NIV). As I studied this, I realized that it didn’t say we’d have an abundant life with no problems, or an abundant life with no worries or difficulties.

I have a friend who is a great example of what it means to live life abundantly. Anytime someone asks her how she is doing, her response is, “I’m blessed, blessed beyond measure.”

With that response, you would think she lived a charmed life. You wouldn’t know her daughter was just diagnosed with MS, a crippling disease that will eventually take her life. You wouldn’t know her husband, who is 62, just lost his job—three years before full retirement. You wouldn’t know all of these things because she believes that the gifts she has been given, even the gift of another day with her daughter, makes her blessed. Her focus is on the blessings and she has real joy.

I love to share the story about a group of alumni, highly established in their careers, who got together to visit their old university professor. As they sat in his living room, their conversation turned into complaints about stress in work and life. The professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups—porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal—some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite. As he passed the tray around, he invited them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said, “If you noticed, all the nice looking and expensive cups were taken first, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. It’s normal for you to want only the best for yourselves. That is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the best cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. What all of you really wanted was the coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups.” All of the former students looked around the room at the cups each person held. The wise professor held up a plain, ordinary cup and continued, “Now consider this: life is the coffee. Jobs, money, and your situations are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the kind of cup you have does not define, nor necessarily change the life you live. By concentrating only on the cup, you fail to enjoy the coffee God has provided. “

God has offered us a life overflowing with joy and steadiness of mind, body, and soul–if only we focus on the coffee and not the cup. The abundant life is attainable for all of us, regardless of our circumstances.The abundant life is attainable for all of us, regardless of our circumstances. Click To Tweet

What about your “cup” are you focused on? Your circumstances, job, finances, struggles, personal weaknesses?

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What are your blessings? The coffee in your cup? Make a list of the blessings God has given you—mind, body, and soul.

Then begin focusing on those blessings (the coffee and not the cup) by practicing the phrase my friend says when asked how she is doing, “I am blessed, blessed beyond measure.”

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Seeking God’s Wisdom in Our Waiting Periods — Video Devotion

To learn how to stay faithful through your waiting periods and through the disillusionment that can easily follow, download a free copy of our Becoming His Princess Bible study (HERE) and check out our weekly video segments HERE. You can also listen to and/or download the audio for each week, free, HERE. (Make sure to return to our YouTube Channel a week from today to check out week five, which centers completely on waiting faithfully and what God is and might be doing through those difficult seasons.)