Taking a Stand to find My Happiness!!

Happy

 

A friend of my recently told me that he really like the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, and I can say that I get it, that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Knowing that despite everything that’s going on in my life, I’m putting my faith in God; I’m confident that he will see me through. Last week I had a conversation with my mom about some of these thoughts that are circling in my head. Although I don’t put all my energy and effort into these things, not having my own family, a stable career, or own a home; I feel as though I’m somehow lacking. Whenever I talk to my family from my home country it seems family, career, and children are very important. What you do when you have those things doesn’t seem to be a concern. Despite not buying into that definition of what success is, I have to admit that it does cause me to doubt myself. I’ve not accomplished those things, so does that mean I’m not successful? For me it’s more important to be an emotionally healthy adult, and to live a life like Jesus. Family, money, and career are only part of life, a very secondary part. I’m glad I had that conversation with my mom, she assured me that she understands my priorities in my life. That made me extremely happy. The older I get, the more I realize how wise my mom is, and did I mention all around awesome!

As I contemplate why I’m feeling stuck, and feeling like I haven’t achieved enough, I take time to put those thoughts in the right category. The conversation with my mom revealed a lot about my faith. She told me about time after time when we prayed for our needs to be met, and almost instantly God answered our prayers. Even recently, I wanted to take a class that my church was offering, but didn’t have the money. It was going to enhance my Spiritual Gift and help me to be a better resource for those who are hurting or in need. I prayed that I would somehow get the funds to take the class. On the last day to sign up, I received a check in the mail, apparently my employer didn’t pay me everything, and sent me a check. Many of the stories my mom told me, there was time after time when God showed up. I laugh because I think after time and time again of seeing God show up, how can I still doubt him.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke 17: 5-6 NLT.

Sometimes as believers we struggle to understand what God’s word is saying, but just think that even his disciples who were withMustard Tree him also struggled. In a later verse Jesus explains that although a mustard seed is very small, it yields a big tree with plenty of fruit. So that’s what our faith must model, with just a little faith we must yield great big things. So what is Faith anyway? Faith is believing in something that’s not seen, having confidence that something will happen in the future. In contrast what’s doubt? Doubt is the lack of belief, even though there may be evidence that should convince you otherwise. Doubt is a funny concept, for example we may hear the enemy tell us, “see God hasn’t come through for you when you needed him, he’s not real.” So if God’s not real then the enemy isn’t real either, but no he would have you think that he’s real but God isn’t! We live in a world of opposites, good & bad, light & dark, up & down etc. So it stands to reason that if God the positive or faith isn’t real, then the negative or the devil/evil doesn’t exist either. Next time you start to have those kinds of negative thoughts about God, see what happens if you use that argument. I’m willing to bet that some of your thoughts may subside.

Many believers struggle with this central question. If God is real, why does he let me get tempted. I’m not quite ready to debate that topic, but I did find this verse today:

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. James 1: 12-15 NLT.

I think the verse says it all, we sometimes get too hung up on things and try to explain everything, so rest assured that God doesn’t tempt us; but yet we doubt. I’m not one of those people who feels sorry for myself. I’ve noticed a trend with emotions like shame, pity, and self-doubt. They put us in a state of in action, we don’t like the current situation, but yet we sit around and do nothing. In contrast self-confidence, faith, and hope puts us in a different state. Those emotions put us in a state of action, we want to get up and do something about our situation. We say “so what if my circumstances aren’t ideal” we get up and do something about it. So today I got up made a list of what I wanted to accomplish, and then I got up and did something about it. I’ll admit I did feel like just laying in bed a few times, then there was that voice “get up!” “Get Up!” “GET UP!” Ok I hear you I’m up.

So what about you, are you letting shame or doubt keep you in a state of inaction? Do you believe that you shouldn’t have faith because things didn’t go your way? Ask yourself what could I have done differently? Am I in a state of Action or Inaction? In order to actualize our dreams we must act. This is a cruel world we live in, nothing comes easily. As Christ followers, aside from his grace and love, we’re also guaranteed that the path isn’t going to be easy, that we will struggle. We are also promised salvation, and the hope of his eternal grace. As Christ followers we sometimes have to stand alone, to stand for what other people might think is a crazy idea. I made anew friend this week and she encouraged me to do something bold. Sometimes you have to “TAKE A STAND” you have to have faith like that little mustard seed. To have faith that God will come through for you, even though those around you who love you tell you know, you’re making a big mistake.

Will you TAKE A STAND with me, to not let the naysayers feed you with doubt and self pity. I’d love to hear how you’re taking a stand, send me your comments below.

Taking a stand

 

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Patience is a Virtue! But what does that mean?

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I’ve been giving words of wisdom and encouragement lately, but despite my positive outlook, it’s not always easy to stay positive. I needed some encouragement today, and a few thoughtful words from a friend did the trick. Have you ever prayed “god grant me patience?” Well how do you get patience, does it come when things are calm? Chances are you have to be in a situation that tests your patience, and helps to build it up. Sounds like a relatively simple lesson, except when we’re in a situation, it’s very hard to step back and see the bigger picture.

I’ve been learning that sometimes you have to just enjoy the journey you’re on, that’s what life is all about, enjoying each and every moment. I though this would be a fitting time to stop and reflect on what my friend said. Despite all the positive steps I’ve taken in other parts of my life, I’m not ideally where I’d like to be in my work life. As my friend thoughtfully said “you’re not necessarily happy …yet you’re right where you need to be, enjoy the journey and know the best is yet to come.” Those words got me thinking, she’s absolutely right. I’ve been praying for patience, and here I was in a situation that isn’t ideally where I’d like to be, and I couldn’t recognize that this was an opportunity to gain patience. This was of course only the beginning of an awesome day. The situation I thought I was heading towards is not what was actually destined to happen. I had a really awesome day, and it set me up for another great day tomorrow. All it took was a few well thought out words to get me in the right mindset.

This led me to change my mindset, I didn’t know how my day was going to go, but that shouldn’t stop me form doing my best. If there is one point I’d like you to remember is this! None of us can control the future, and the past has already gone, we can’t do anything about that. But we still have control of this very moment, I could have been in bed watching TV, instead I’m choosing to listen to music, and let my thoughts guide my fingers. I’m not sure who these words are going to encourage or lift up. But I still have control of what I do in this very moment. I decided that I was going to do my best (the best that I’m capable of right now, noting more or less), be in the moment and maintain control of my actions. In that I found my strength, I didn’t worry about where I though I was going, not focusing on the bad outcome I was predicting. Of course the outcome I though I was certainly heading towards never happened, instead I was victorious, and I accomplished much more than I though I was capable of.

What about your life, are you in a situation that you don’t think is ideal? Do you think that you’re heading for let down or disappointment? What if you can change that outcome, what if you stop focusing on that bad outcome you’re certain is coming? What if you just focused on what you’re doing right now, is life giving you an opportunity to turn things around? Those are a lot of what if scenarios, but you’re still just guessing, none of us knows how the future is going to play out. So like the lesson I learnt today. Live in the moment, do your best right now. It’s possible that the Universe (or God) has a different plan for you. Sometimes it’s ok to just take a breath, relax and see what happens next.

What do you think, am I on the right path? Will anyone else join me, do your best that you can right now, and let the future be the future.