Where Do I Belong?

I grew up a bit of a mixed-up kid.  I was born in Canada.  My parents were born in Texas.  That made me a “dual citizen.”  I was made fun of in the States for having a “Canadian” accent.  I was made fun of in Canada for having an “American” accent. 

Now, I knew what an “American” accent was.  After all, our family made a trek to Texas every year from wherever we lived.  Most of the kids in the family “picked up” that Southern drawl as soon as we hit the Texas/Oklahoma border!  But, I didn’t really know what a “Canadian” accent sounded like until I was older and could hear it more clearly.

I grew up learning the history of the United States and the history of Canada. 

I knew all 13 provinces and territories and most of the 50 states.  We drove across those states putting together state map puzzles many times.

I grew up learning French.  I also heard and learned words like “y’all” and “tard”- (translation: plural “you” and “very tired”!)  I knew that soda and pop were the same thing.  I knew that many Canadians drank hot tea while Texans drank iced tea.  I knew in which country to buy “Shreddies” and where to buy “Shredded Wheat”.  I knew where to get “Smarties” vs. “M & M’s”!  I knew what sticky muggy heat felt like and I knew what it felt like to get frost bite inside of my lungs!

I was mixed up though because I didn’t know to where I “belonged”.  Was I truly American or was I truly Canadian?  When I went to Canada I said I was Canadian but if I went to the States I said I was American.  Where did I belong?

I felt like an alien or foreigner no matter where I was.

There are several places in the Bible that talk about those of us who are believers being “aliens” or “foreigners” in this world.  The verses are found in Ephesians, Hebrews, and I Peter.  Ephesians discusses the fact that there was this division between the Jews and Gentiles but Christ did away with that and they became part of one family under God.  I like the verse in Hebrews and I Peter as well because they talk about the fact that though we live in this world, it is not our home.  There is another place far better waiting for us.

I don’t have to feel like I don’t belong.  I know I am a child of the King.  I know that I have an eternal home with Him.  I know that He wants me to spend the rest of my life here and in heaven with Him under the promise that I am His and I belong.

“Dear Father, Thank-You that because of Your great love and sacrifice I belong to You now and forever.  I am not out of place.  I do not have to be mixed up. I am Your child.  Thank-You for this priceless treasure.  May I never take it for granted.”  

 

Have you ever felt like you didn’t belong? Where do you find your sense of belonging?

The Battleground

It seeps in when we least expect it.

It may come from places that surprise us.

It surprises, astounds, overwhelms, shocks, side swipes, and generally at times knocks us off our feet.

It is the attack.  The devil is good at it.  He’s cunning and sly and crafty and downright nasty.  But why should I be surprised?  He is the enemy of God and since I belong to God, he’s going to do everything he can to keep me off balance, out of whack, distracted, and throw life out of focus if possible.

Spiritual attack is nothing to be mocked or laughed at.  It is serious business to the enemy of my soul.  That’s why God reminds me in I John 4:4 “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world.”  He reminds me in Ephesians 6:12 that I don’t wrestle against an enemy that is flesh and blood “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  He goes on to tell me to put on the full armor of God in order to battle.  One of the ways I need to do that is to remember that the battle does not belong to me but rather to God (I Samuel 17:47, II Chronicles 20:15).  But I also need to remember that God gives all that I need to stand.  In II Corinthians 10:4-5 says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish (which means to detonate, blow up or explode) arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

The thing is, we forget.  We forget we’re not in it alone.  We forget that God is the One who called us to do what He gave us to do.  We forget that God is the One who said He’s already planned what He has for me to do (Ephesians 2:10).  We forget that when things come at us and pull us down, we need to recognize those things for what they are and take them to God and let Him do battle for us.

This week I got overwhelmed by a task that I KNOW God gave me to do…which means He’s given me the ability to do it.  But, I began to let thoughts of insignificance and “smallness” take place in my mind.  Actually, I began to compare myself to others around me who are more established in this area and have been doing this ministry a long time.  Those thoughts began to seep into my heart and I began the downward spiral of wanting to quit. 

And then, God…

spoke deeply into my heart reminding me that it’s not about how I see myself but about how He sees me…and He sees me as capable and complete. 

assured me once again of His call on my life and His direction.

reminded me that it’s about confidence in Him, period.

Spiritual battles are difficult but nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37).  And so, I stand complete, capable, and confident in Him.  I stand strong in His mighty power (Ephesians 6:10) and give the battle back to Him.  Oh that I may hold tightly to these truths and live in the victory of them.

“Dear Father God, Thank-You for Your patience as I learn to walk in Your Kingdom power and in Your confidence and strength.  Help me be always alert, always ready, always seeking You and Your way for me.”

“Chicken Little” Alive and Well?

scared chickenWe have such curious, busy imaginations.  Given the “right” set of circumstances, we can imagine any number of things happening.  This can be a good thing as we dream big.  It can also be a bad thing as we “nightmare” big.

We get worried over the things that “might” happen.  Maybe we are a little more like “Chicken Little” than we like to admit.

Worry is not something we should practice.  We have a trustworthy God.  We say we trust HIm.  We say we believe Him.  Then why do we spend time worrying over things  for which we have no control?  Why do we waste energy worrying over what “might” happen?  Yes, we’ve all had difficult things happen and we’ve seen other people deal with tough times but the question still remains, do we truly trust God or not?  Is He truly in control or not?

In Matthew 6 Jesus tells us many things about worry.  He says not to worry about life, what to eat, what to drink, about our body, about clothes, about tomorrow, and then He tells us that each day has enough trouble of its own.  He also tells us to seek His kingdom and His righteousness and that when we do that He will give us the things we need.

If we are filling our time worrying, we are wasting valuable energy.  If we are filling our time seeking Him and His kingdom and His righteousness we are using valuable energy on what really matters.

The truth is, only God knows the future.  We know that.  We don’t know what’s coming.  We have the moment we are living right now…and that’s it.  We handle everything that comes at us one moment at a time.  As we give those moments to God, He can make the most of them.  He puts His energy into us as we turn our energy and attention to Him.  His valuable energy plus my valuable energy makes a priceless commodity.

“Dear God, Help me remember that I only have this moment to live for You.  Let me live it with Your kingdom in mind.  Help me to make each moment count for you.  Live in and through me, I pray.”

photo courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art

I believe…

Over the years, I have been asked often how I do it…how do I keep going in the midst of pain?  How do I keep smiling in the midst of crisis?  How do I keep my head up when the Dr. brings yet another bad report?  Okay, now before anyone begins thinking that I am putting myself on the pedastal…let’s all agree that life is tough.  Let’s agree that everyone has their battles of one kind or another.  Everyone has the days of just not wanting to get out of bed.

I just happen to be the recipient of the questions because I’m the recipient of the battles and the storms and the crushings and the breakings and the blessings and the joys.

But here’s the easy answer…

the reason I can go on…

is because I believe God.

I believe Him when He says I’m not alone (Hebrews 13:5b).

I believe Him when He says that He loved me enough to sacrifice (john 3:16).

I believe Him when He says that His grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9)

I believe Him when He says He’ll take care of everything I NEED ((Philippians 4:19).

I believe Him when He says there’s a reason for all I go through (II Corinthians 1:3-6)

I believe Him when He says that someday I will be with Him in heaven (John 14).

I believe Him when He says that He has endured everything so that I would not go through the enduring alone (Hebrews 4:14-16).

I believe Him when He says that He has given me all I need to do what He called me to do because He planned it ahead of time (Ephesians 2:10)

And the list goes on.

I believe Him.  That’s it.  It has nothing to do with me and if I have something no one else does.  It has nothing to do with what I can do on my own.  It has nothing to do with anything about me.

He says He loves me.  I love Him.  I believe Him.  I trust Him.  Yes, there are days that are more difficult than others….but He’s there.  There are days I would like to trade for something easier…but He’s there.  I believe Him.

“Dear Lord God, Thank-You for being believeable.  Thank-You for being trustworthy.  Thank-You for Your great love.  May I love You more today than yesterday.”