Archive for January, 2010

Got Worry?

Posted: January 24, 2010 by clairer in Trusting God

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them.” ~Matthew 6:31-32

If there is one command in Scripture that I find most difficult to follow, most likely it would be this one: do not worry.  Thankfully, I’m not in a situation where I need to be concerned about where my next meal is coming from, but there are still many things I worry about from day to day.  How am I ever going to pass this Comparative Government test?  Am I going to be able to remember my entire poem when I get in front of the judges?  What did my friends think of me when I said that?

We’re all prone to worry.  It can hit us any time and any place and be about anything.  Some worry about what people think about them.  Others might worry about performing well in school or work. Some might worry about financial problems.  Still others about their futures.  Worry hits us when we’re felling insecure and out of control — like our lives are outside of our hands.  After all, if we could control our futures, we’d have nothing to worry about, right?

Wrong.  Thankfully, our lives are not in our feeble, finite, and incapable hands — they’re in the strong, never-failing, perfect hands of our Father God who knows all things and loves us more than we can imagine.  It’s amazing how many of us unconsciously wish that we held our future in our own hands instead of our Father’s (which is what we do when we worry).  When I think about how little I know and how foolish I often am, I am so glad that God holds my future.

One of my favorite things about Matthew 6:31-32 is that Jesus doesn’t merely say, “Do not worry,” but provides us with a reason not to worry: “your heavenly Father knows you need [these things].”  God is fully aware of what we need and want; and even better, He provides for all our needs.  Some of my favorite passages of Scripture are when God provides for the needs of His people — He provides food for the Israelites in the desert, He provides food for Elijah in the wilderness, He mercifully provides shade for Jonah, and when Jesus sends out the twelve and the seventy-two, God provides for all their needs (they bring no food or belongings with them and have no plans for provisions!) — and this is the same God we serve today.  He still provides for the needs of His children.  We just need to trust that He will give us what is best for us.

This applies to our day-to-day lives today.  I’m a high school senior.  My biggest worry right now?  Getting scholarship money to go to the college I want to attend.  However, in the past few months, I have become increasingly aware that my “heavenly Father knows” what I need.  Because of that, I have been working on converting my worry into prayerful trust.  God provides for all my needs and I am confident of one thing: God will provide the money for me to go wherever He wants me to go.  I have no need to worry.  My future is completely in His hands.  But, after all, what better place is their for my future to be?

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The True Me?

Posted: January 6, 2010 by clairer in Pride, Truth

I was bored one summer afternoon, so I grabbed my laptop, opened my browser, and checked my Facebook account.  My newsfeed was littered with results from my friends taking yet another Facebook quiz.  Usually, I ignored these (as the results tended to not mean anything significant), but this one intrigued me: “What famous literary character are you?”  As an avid reader and fan of literature, how could I resist taking this one quiz?

I briefly answered the eleven “what-would-you-do-if-this-happened” questions and viewed my result.  Apparently, I was most like Jane Eyre – someone who struggles between her mind and heart’s desires, an eccentric, quiet and thoughtful, smart, romantic, and forgiving person.  I quickly dismissed the results.  True, some of the qualities might be similar (of course I am forgiving, smart, and thoughtful), but me be Jane Eyre? Jane Eyre is extremely plain, someone nobody wanted, and was deceived by the man she loved.

I much preferred to think of myself as a Lizzie Bennet – someone who was smart, witty, pretty, and unafraid to speak her mind.  Of course she had her faults, but in light of all of her good qualities, they weren’t that significant.

However, why was it that I was so quick to reject the result that I didn’t like?  No doubt if Elizabeth Bennet had been my result, I would have been quick to publish it to my newsfeed and paste it on my profile.  Perhaps it wasn’t so much that the result was wrong, but that I viewed myself incorrectly.

One of the areas that has been central to my maturing process has been seeing myself as I am and not how I imagine myself to be.  As a strong-willed, imaginative perfectionist, it is easy for me to see myself as I would like to – a perfect, smart, beautiful prodigy with a mixed-in Mother Theresa personality.  Learning to see the truth has been a process for me that will continue throughout my life.

When I was little, my stuffed animals talked to me.  I knew that it was really my mom talking through them, but they always seemed so alive because their personalities were so realistic.  Looking back, I can understand how my mom developed and understood these personalities so completely – their personalities were perfect replicas of my own!  My favorite stuffed animal was a lamb, originally and creatively named “Lamby.”  She was strong willed, sometimes irascible, and a perfectionist.  There would be times that I would argue with her and ask her why she couldn’t just be like my brother’s stuffed bear (who had an extremely sweet, caring personality and an adorable little laugh), to which she would reply, “Because you aren’t.”  This puzzled me somewhat because I thought I was a lot more like my brother’s bear than my demanding lamb.

However, as I matured, I began to be able to see and acknowledge my true self, both good qualities and flaws.   I was more selfish than I wanted to be, less considerate than I could be, and more stubborn than I should be.  While I didn’t and still don’t like to admit where I fall short of who I want to be, acknowledging who I am was the first step for me to work toward becoming who I can be.  There are some things that I won’t be able to change about myself, like my appearance or my naturally strong personality, but there are other aspects that I am able to change now that I see a bit more clearly who I truly am.  I can practice more patience, work on being more considerate of others, and learn to channel my strong will so that it is used effectively to serve others and not selfishly.

I think that it can be a temptation for all of us to see ourselves in the way that we want to.  However, it is important for us to have an accurate picture of who we are.  Without truly seeing who we are, we’re blinded to the areas where we need to grow and, without this growth, we are unable to become the people that God wants us to become.  While it takes humility to look in the mirror and see the areas where we need to grow, God reminds us that we aren’t alone in this task, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

In all humility (*cough*)…I still didn’t think that I was a Jane Eyre, so I went back to take the quiz one more time.  Jay Gatsby?  No way!