When You’re Stuffed But Not Full

I was STUFFED.

I had eaten so much; there was no room to even breathe. Our anniversary celebration at a fondue restaurant was a rare treat. From the steaming pot in the center of our table, we drew bite after bite of delectable veggies, succulent meats and mouth-watering desserts.  It was the source of pure joy—or so we thought.

After about 20 bite-size pieces of decadence too many, we were miserable. A moment that should have left us satisfied and completely full rendered us feeling gross and miserable.

Stuffed With Food=Stuffed With Stuff

As we sat down to the sumptuous meal it was no doubt, a beautiful spread. Granted, it was a fondue experience, so the meat was RAW—yet it was so beautifully placed on the plates ready for us to dip into the boiling pot.

Boil…Eat…Repeat. Boil…Eat…Repeat. Until all was consumed. In the end, we had nothing to show for the dining experience other than a fat bill and an equally fat gut.

We began ravenously hungry and ended up totally miserable. And oddly, about 12 hours later, we could have repeated the entire process, AGAIN.

Enter the world of STUFF. Things that should satisfy us often leave us feeling miserable. Or gross. Or overwhelmed. Or… And the truth is, no amount of stuff (or food) will ever fully satisfy.

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World<Soul

Matthew 16:26 says this, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” There are so many things from our own lives we can apply in this verse:

What will it profit if I gain all the food that I want and yet lose my own soul?

What will it profit if I gain all the money that I want and yet lose my own soul?

What will it profit if I gain all the toys, fun and adventure I want and yet lose my own soul?

What will it profit if I gain all the blessings, safety and comforts I want and yet lose my own soul?

ANSWER?

NOTHING. Comforts, adventures, food, money—STUFF—will be of no use. Zero. Because like Grandma always says, “Ya ain’t takin’ it with ya!”

The stuff that matters so much in the now, doesn’t really matter that much in the end. So, where does that leave us?

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It leaves us to view things as God does. Does God bless us with stuff? Absolutely. He gives us good gifts all the time. (Luke 11:13) And we humans require provisions to make it in this life. But I can say with all certainty stuff isn’t what God cares about the most.

In Matthew 16:22, Jesus begins showing the disciples He will suffer, be killed then raised. And Peter, true to form, throws a little hissy-fit. He says, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

Well-meaning Peter wants to preserve Jesus here on earth, but Jesus corrects him saying, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (emphasis added)

Woah. Peter loved Jesus and didn’t want harm to come to Him. That is a good thing right? Even a “God” kind of thing, right?? Apparently not. Not when it is motivated by a human mindset.

Often, good stuff can even be a hindrance to a Godly mindset. And those things profit us zippo, nada, zilch.

No wonder we feel so bad when we’re stuffed! Stuffed after an extravagant meal, stuffed to the brim with earthly possessions, even stuffed with ideas that God would surely approve of…

Everything always boils down to this: Jesus’ suffering, death and rising from the grave is what matters most. Period.

It is ours to set our minds on the things of God. To set our minds to filter everything through the lens of the Gospel. It starts with a thought that this world isn’t all there is, but all that’s in the world can be used to point us and others to the cross.

Then we can moved from “stuffed” to fulfilled in Christ.

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How do you struggle with the burden of stuff?

What ways can you change your mindset about stuff to think about it with a kingdom focus?

How has this posted encouraged you today? 🙂

 

Linking up with Suzanne Eller, #LiveFreeThursday, Kelly Balraie #RaraLinkup, Arabah Joy Grace and Truth

Photo Credit:
Pixabay
https://pixabay.com/en/chaos-room-untidy-dirty-messy-627218/

https://pixabay.com/en/fondue-swiss-fondue-cheese-708186/

 

 

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The Adventure of the Half-Open (Closed?) Door

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 5:13, ESV

We’ve been there—asking God to “open” doors or to “close” them.

But what happens when the door stares at us with a half-cocked sneer? That moment when the door is clearly not open, but it’s certainly not closed either. If you’re like me, you’re tempted to think half-open (or closed) doors are a non-answer from God…or are they?

May I submit to you that the answer to a half-cocked door is this: Trust the Owner of the door.

Trust God in the Waiting…

Trust God’s timing…

But above all,

Trust God…He knows your unknowns and will work in your life for your good to His glory.

Two Pink Lines

I’ve stood in front of half-cocked doors before. Twelve years ago, I was a newly-wed of seven years. We were enjoying our time as a couple. Translation? While I spent my days climbing the corporate ladder, Hubby was in school and student teaching aaaand working.

We decided “No kids.” While my husband’s thinking was “Not now,” I was thinking more like “Not EVER.”

But God had other plans…

When the time came to investigate the case of “the missing period,” I took a pregnancy test with fingers crossed hoping for a “No.” But when I looked that little stick, the answer was clear as day—two pink lines pointing right at me. Yikes.

So, I showed my hubby. We were prepared to…get prepared. My doctor repeated the test, yet they didn’t get the same result. Blood tests were ordered.

I went directly over to the hospital expecting that nurse to tell me my answer NOW. You know what she said instead? “Come back in one week and we will re-draw.” That was it. I was standing in front of a half-cocked door, and I was irritated. It wasn’t brain surgery—I just wanted to know whether or not I was pregnant. How hard could that be?  A simple “Yes” or “No” would have been perfect. Instead, I was slapped with “Wait and see.”

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Between the Lines

God knew what He was doing in the wait. While we waited for Friday to come, my hubby and I started our preparation. Soon, preparation became dreaming. That week changed me from a “Not EVER” kids point of view to “We will be great parents.”

Except, when the nurse came into the room after the re-draw, she said I wasn’t pregnant. She explained that I probably had a miscarriage during the wait. Initially, the pregnancy hormone was so low they needed to see if it would go up in a week’s time. She confirmed I was pregnant, but not anymore—the hormone level returned to zero. Door closed.

Today, I’m standing in front of another half-cocked door.

I had an MRI to figure out some answers, but instead I am left with more questions. They said they saw an “artifact” which the doctor translated to be “probably nothing.” He said it was a shadow that may have happened if I moved during the exam or a possible error with the machine, yet we are to “watch for symptoms” according to the radiologist. And consider re-testing in three to six months.

Half-cocked door.

Is it something or is it nothing-that’s all I wanted to know. But my answer is “I don’t know.” What do you do with that?

Here’s what I did—I put on trust. I stand trusting the all-knowing God of everything. Because it’s all I can do. And truth be told, it’s all any of us can ever do.

And you know something? I’m learning that trusting God in all I don’t have a handle on is enough, because He is enough to handle it all! The God who grants peace through the hope He offers to needy, sinful people is all you or I ever really need. Jesus’ blood restores us to God—God said so.

So, I am hanging on to the God of hope.

The doors on earth lose their importance knowing God has “prepared a place” for me in glory with Him behind the door of Heaven that stands wide open for those who love Him.

Photo Credit

https://pixabay.com/en/door-open-welcome-door-handle-194217/

https://pixabay.com/en/doors-entrance-opening-partially-217765/

 

Where you might find me:
Live Free Thursday with Suzie Eller

Rara Linkup With Kelly

Three Word Wednesday with Kristin

Bubbling Away From Pain

“Bubble, BUBBLE!”

My twelve year old yells the word “bubble” constantly while playing Super Mario Brothers with her little sister, Grace.

“Bubbling” happens at the press of a button. Grace remains in the world, but she just floats through the game in “observation” mode.

Em wants to keep Grace out of the way so she can take down the bad guys without Miss G messing up the attack plans. Because to be honest, Miss G is not actually a great player.

But ultimately, “bubbling” keeps Grace insulated from all the darts, bad guys and lava Mario land has to throw at her.

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I’m a “Bubble”

I might have invented “bubbling” before they ever added that option to the Mario game (yes, I was alive when it came out, GASP!). Except, I applied the skill to real life.

At the ripe old age of ten, my life was a mess. Maybe that’s why I was a little more mature than your average ten year old.

My family had fallen apart—my parents divorced when I was 6. I was living with my Dad and step-mom; they had their own problems—I didn’t know what they were, but I heard all about them from the next room.

I was still sad that my mom and dad couldn’t be together. I was sad that I couldn’t live with my mom, who lived four states away. I was sad that when I would visit my mom she seemed out of reach, still hurting from losing dad trying to find her footing as a single-mom to my little sister.

I remember sitting in my room on a yucky, gray, Florida day. The air was thick and dirty. I was at the end of my ten year old rope. And then I decided something… I decided “No more.”

No more sadness. I didn’t have time for anymore tears. I had STUFF to do. So, I “BUBBLED.”

At first, I bubbled myself in anger. I turned sad into mad until I learned how to amputate sad.

Then I bubbled away all the pain. I lived through everything learning to cauterize all the grief in me.

Except, the “bubble” stopped being a thing I did, and became who I was.

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A “Bubbled” Heart = A Hard Heart

Over the years, I didn’t know what I was doing to myself, but by God’s grace I started to see it. Most people just thought I was I “strong person.”

Nope.

I was a hard-hearted person. And I had done it to myself. Somehow, when I had no real understanding of God, it made sense to protect myself from feelings I didn’t need or want.

And it wasn’t pretty how I made the discovery that something was off with me. After I came to Christ, I was sitting in the pew behind someone blubbering in a puddle of tears over a message. I was harsh and judgmental in my mind. I had stinging thoughts like, “GET A GRIP, LADY. Pull yourself together!”

Yep. It was bad.

Yet, God is faithful in my rottenness, and it ALWAYS comes down to this phrase in my life…

BUT GOD.

God was gracious to make me look at those thoughts and to see the nature of them. I didn’t figure it all out right then…OH, no. But He’s showing me. And He’s helping me see over the wall I built one baby step at a time.

And how is He doing it?

HIS HOLY WORD, that’s how…

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

That judgmental, insensitive, unfeeling me? It doesn’t exemplify the character of Christ. Little by little, God roots it out and calls me out on my sin. God bursts my bubble—in a God way…and it’s all good!

My prayer:

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

I don’t want to “Bubble” through life missing the beautiful struggles that pull me closer to God’s heart—even if they break mine.

 

You’ll find me linking up with Suzie Eller’s Live Free gang here.

And Kelly and Friends on Tuesday. 🙂

 

photo credit:

https://pixabay.com/en/super-mario-red-jumping-man-1138462/

https://pixabay.com/en/soap-bubble-colorful-ball-824564/

STOP Trying to Fix Junk On Your Own-Three Tips on Fixing Problems For Good

Here’s the latest…

**DISCLAIMER**
*As you read this, filter it as a conversation I am having with myself. I am sticking my finger in my own face, and you get to listen in. 
Stop it. Stop trying to fix yourself on your own And stop trying to fix others. You can’t fix what’s really broken without Jesus. Puh-leeeze gurl, if you tried to fix your biggest problem by yourself, you would do nothing but slap a one-way ticket to the lake of fire into the palm of your hand. So get a grip.

Let’s look at this logically. You have been doing the same things over and over again, and you’re still a struggling, hot mess. How’s that workin’ out for you?

Maybe it’s time to change. To really change–for good.

Repeat after me:

I can’t do this alone.

I can’t muster up what it takes to fix what is wrong in me or…

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New Year, No Room to Contain the Riches of Jesus

I’m not the only one who has to make room for my Christmas treasures, am I?

While cleaning out stuff so I could put the kids’ gifts away, this question popped into my head:

“Have you any room?”

I totally get that the “No room at the Inn” time has come and gone–A.K.A. Christmas. It swept out of here and off the radar faster than you can say “April Showers.” (P.S. Come o-o-on Spring!)

BUT.

That won’t stop me from talking about it.

The Season of Giving is ALWAYS

Luke 12:16-17

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’

The parable of the rich man reminds me of one HUGE thing… I’m rich. You’re probably rich, too–especially if you don’t have room in your house for the new gifts that walked through your door this Christmas.

And what is the rich man’s thinking?

“OHHHH what shall I do? I have so much STUFF and I need more room to stuff my STUFF!”

So what does he do?

And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” Luke 12:18-19

“I will do this,” he says.

The rich man’s biggest worry wasn’t having room for his stuff. Nope. His big problemo was not consulting God what to do in his abundance, and he didn’t even take time to thank God for the abundance in the first place.

The rich man didn’t have room for God in his thoughts, let alone his life.

Does this happen to us?

Do we acknowledge God for His goodness to us?

Do we have room in our hearts and minds to be mindful of Him?

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Let’s Back Up a Minute

Christmas was practically yesterday.

The reason God lowered Himself to become a baby in a manger was to become the Savior for His people.

Every minute of everyday, we are people in need of a Savior. All the way to eternity and back. When we don’t have room for the only gift we really need at Christmas, we’ll likely have no room to acknowledge God’s graciousness to us in all the other gifts He hands us–just like the rich man.

The rich man’s focus was on the stuff rather than the giver of the stuff.

But, here was the Giver’s response:

But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:20-21

Woah. This question leaps out of those letters–

“…the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”

All the plans we make and the possessions we store up will be completely worthless to us one day. Merely being “rich” is not what is most important, but instead being “rich toward God.”

God enriches my life at all times. Period. Anything of value I have comes from God, therefore HE is the value of my life.

No Room To Talk

As I “make room” for my new stuff, I am looking to God as the giver of that stuff–but that’s not all–I’m making room for Him.

Room for God in my Decisions

Room for God in my Desires

Room for God in my Daily Living

Let’s set out this New Year turning our thoughts God-ward. Reflect on His giving nature. He is the “rich” One and He gives more than any other living soul.

And as receivers of His goodness, we should spread that goodness so far and wide, that others need to make room to contain it!

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Why Christians Should SHINE… not Shudder… in the Face of Terror: BY Arabah Joy

My friend Arabah Joy nailed it with this one.

Stay strong in Jesus friends, He is our only hope and strength!

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1. A spirit of fear is not from God. {II Timothy 1:7}

When we start to feel fear and terror, we need to remember this is not from God! God gives us a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. Those are quite the opposite of fear, don’t you think? So when fear begins to affect your decision making ability, STOP. Deal with that ungodly spirit first… then you’ll be in a position to make a healthy, godly decision.

2. ISIS (or cancer, a predator, or fill in the blank) is not your real enemy. {Ephesians 6:12}

The enemy behind the mask is Satan. And the thing he wants from you the most is your faith and confidence in God. If he can shake your faith, he can steal your influence. He can render you inoperative and ineffective in the battle. Warrior, don’t let him have your faith!

3. The only way to fight this battle is with spiritual weapons. {II Corinthians 10:3-6}

Listen, the greatest weapons we have are not guns and tanks and armies. Neither is it by shutting ourselves off and creating a false sense of security. We have already been given the strongest weapons available and they are spiritual. These weapons are strong enough to DEMOLISH strongholds. We fight with the sword of Truth and on our knees. If you do nothing else, pray! Pray God’s Word. Pray Truth. Pray God’s promises.Beseech His character. Get off Facebook, sure… but not because you are afraid. Let it be because you’re doing warfare in your prayer closet!

Want to see the rest?? Click HERE!! Don’t Hesitate! 🙂

As originally seen at Grace and Truth, Written by Arabah Joy

Dear Christians: Calm Down About Starbucks’ Red Cup (By my Friend Emily Gehman)

My friend Emily Gehman weighs in on the Starbucks cup thing over at Shattered Magazine and emilygehman.com.

Yeah. What SHE said… And here’s what she said—>>>

Dear Christians: Calm Down About Starbucks’ Red Cup

This just in: Christians now offended by the color red.

Wait, what?

As I scrolled through my newsfeed, I thought for a moment I was seeing headlines from The Onion, a satirical news website. So I clicked some titles and scrolled up and down just to make sure that I wasn’t falling for another one of The Onion‘s somewhat believable, yet untrue stories. Nope. Not The Onion.

And, terrified, I realized that I’m now living in a world where I mistake real news for being The Onion news, not the other way around.

[Warning: Tongue-in-cheek ahead.]

Shocked and horrified, I read that Starbucks now hates Christmas and Christians and Jesus. Why? Because (dun dun DUN) their 2015 holiday red cup design is devoid of anything related to Christmas or holidays, except for, of course, being the color red. When finally my eyes were accosted to behold this horrific slam to Christians, I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was true; the new holiday cup is the color red. Clearly, CLEARLY, this is an attempt to wipe Christmas and Christians off the face of the earth.

[End tongue-in-cheek.]

My mouth hung agape at the news articles I was reading about how Christians are enraged at a simple red cardboard cup. I did some digging, to make sure I wasn’t reading an Onion story, proving again my disbelief of the newest thing Christians are supposed to hate and I suppose, boycott. (NOPE.) Allow me to point out a few things, in no particular order, we (Christians) should consider before we cry “blasphemy!”

To see the rest of this AWESOME article, click >here<

https://shatteredmagazine.net/dear-christians-calm-down-about-starbucks-red-cup/