Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Letting Go

Letting go is hard. Of anything really. Especially for us eternal optimists and ever confident and hopeful souls. I tend to always believe the best will happen, and that things will work out pretty close to how I think they will. Most of the time I'm wrong, but nevertheless, I still keep hoping! Hope is a double-edged sword. When we are hoping in things that have a secure foundation, our hope is good and uplifting because it is based on truth. Hope that is not based on truth, however, can lead us down a desperate spiral that is very hard to get out of. When we cling to things that can crumble at any moment, when we gain our sense of security from things that change, our hope leads us astray. Breaking away from that hope is one of the most painful processes I know. We hope because whatever we are hoping for holds some promise of happiness or completion. When we finally realize that our hope is empty and that that which we long for is not going to come to pass, we must let go. Giving up that hope means we are giving up that possibility of happiness and satisfaction. Or so we think. Scripture talks about how great hope is. It's way up there with faith and love, pretty lofty company in Scripture. But the hope Scripture speaks of is hope in Christ, of our future with him, of the new life he gives. The struggle is to constantly tear away our hope in other things and place our hope upon Jesus. That is a sure foundation and one that will not disappoint. Not all hope in other things is bad. But when our joy hinges on the fulfillment of that hope, or when it is a hope that is based on something that is not true, we will inevitably be disappointed. When I find myself hoping strongly in something, I must ask God to show me truth and to lift my eyes continually to the hope of knowing Jesus and "seeing him as he truly is when he appears." Then when all other hope disappoints, my hope and joy in HIM remain.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ever tire?

Do you ever get tired of being strong? I do. I know that the Spirit is supposed to be my strength, but I still get tired. I'm tired right now of trying to feel or not feel or think or not think certain things. Maybe I'm not living His strength the way I could. Regardless, it is always such an effort to keep lifting my thoughts to Him, to continually refocus on Jesus. If it is God who does the strengthening, why do I continue to spend myself? I don't know, but I do know that thanksgiving and the presence of God change things. Next time you are down or tired try thinking, "God is HERE. Right now. Right beside me." I never would have guessed it, but that reality changes my whole perspective and makes me smile. Mmmm. Thanksgiving. It can be very difficult. And even more difficult to really mean. Not only, as my roommate said today, does gratitude release healing chemicals into our bodies, :o) it also demonstrates and fosters trust in God. We trust that God is sovereign and recognize that life does not revolve around our momentary happiness. It fosters selflessness because we are no longer thinking of what we do not have but on the goodness of God, his provision and plans, his greatness. And in this mindset we are then more likely to live generously and seflessly. What a discipline, to give thanks always. And what a blessing, for thanksgiving to be such an integral part of your spirit that gratitude, trust and generosity overflow in your life. Oh, Lord, may it be. Forgive me for my ungrateful, discontent spirit and words. Lead me in the way everlasting, draw my heart to thanksgiving and worship, to the God who is above all and before all, who keeps the universe in balance, who watches as I sleep at night.