DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF?

OK to sweat the big stuff? The truth is that I shouldn’t sweat anything, well maybe it is alright for me to sweat being obedient, sweat moving my body members according to a growing picture of God’s principles in action.

Logically there should be no difference between tough tasks and easy tasks. If I am standing doing the dishes and singing I am using the same body parts as standing singing to a thousand people at a church meeting. What makes the one situation sweat me more than the other? It is if I take responsibility for more than standing and singing and waving my hands about, if I take responsibility for doing things so perfectly that others listen understand and choose God. Sweating that changes small stuff into stressfull “big stuff”.

If only I was a logical being! But there is hope, God would not command me to “Let this mind be in you which was in Jesus”,  the one who is named LOGOS ( the beginning and end of all reasoning); if he did not stand ready to give me-his logic.

If I want to figure out what a healthy positive godly approach would look like I simply have to look at ” How do I normally mess up this situation?  What do I normally see, feel think and do?” I then figure out what the opposite would look like and ask for grace to do the opposite! Should be simple, huh? Yet I am so often too proud to look at how I naturally mess it up.

So, how do I normally sweat the small stuff and thereby burn up my energy and squander the neurotransmitters God has placed in my brain? Neurotransmitters I need to handle stress?

I ask myself which of the following two responses would use up more calming serotonin in my brain?

A. Yes Lord 1.I see the trial and I recall to mind that you have helped me deal with many similar issues before. 2.Thanks for placing this challenge in my life but I will need your grace and help while doing my part.  3.Help me remember that my part is always do-able with you and that I have you in me. 4. You will never allow me to be tried so severely  that I would have no way to avoid sin. I do not fear discomfort or even dysfunction but Lord, keep me from sin. 5. I realize that everyone struggles, everyone in a victim and my situation is not specially horrible. The devil intends it for evil but you intend it for good.  6.The results are all yours,  and I know enough about you to trust you in the things that I can’t understand. 7. Help me keep in mind all the wonderful things that will still be true no matter how this situation turns out, at the least, (and what a least!) I will live forever with Jesus as his beloved bride whom he has cleansed and presented to himself as pure undefiled and without blemish.

B. Oh My God! I could try but there is no point, I couldn’t do enough to make a difference,  I’d probably just screw it up, I’d need others to help and no one cares, after all it’s just one problem after another and then we are all going to die!

OK you get the point, choice A. makes more sense but I so often choose choice B.

Some things I do to sweat the small stuff are:

1. Fail to carry a grateful memory of all the things God and I have already faced.

2. Fail to ask for help from those God has gifted me with, because I don’t want to be a burden. Or I ask for help and then beat myself up for asking.

3. Focus on more than obedience, on more than moving my body members. Worry about doing it perfectly or getting perfect results, on getting others’ approval etc. Attach my worth to the outcome.

4. Forget the unloosable good things God has given me.

5. Think that circling round and round on the problem will find solutions and protect me.

6. Imagine all the possible problems that could arise out of this situation in the future.

7. Imagine how others would handle this situation better than I and beat myself up for my relative incompetence.

Now copy down response A and practice it all week

 

BE REAL

I take a look at the world around me, starting with the tip of my own nose. That, and everything else I see will cease to exist in a blinding flash of intense heat. Considering that, what should my priorities be?

2 peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

The scriptures suggest less materialism and a holy life. I add that the opposite of my normal focus is usually pretty close to godliness. That would be to focus on relationships,”love people-use things, not love things-use people” especially concentrating on the other persons blessing and working at BEING REAL with them.

I, a follower of and believer in the finished work of Jesus, should, of all people be most able to relax and be real. Unfortunately, church is often the place of the most intense concentration of pretense and superficiality found anywhere. A wise observer once noted that Sunday morning from 11 till noon is the most segregated hour of the week in America. I am suggesting that it is also the hour in which we love to pretend more than at other times. We talk in strange ways when we pray, we pretend to have participation in our Sunday school classes by having the teacher go on and on reviewing the teacher’s manual and asking people to read a verse. Yet, no one is asked to get real with the scripture, to share how those verses frighten them or anger them or seem impractical etc.

It scares the liver out of me to be real for fear I will not be accepted if people see the real me. Except then any acceptance that I receive is superficial and does not impact my loneliness. This is a lonely world and the United States has crafted what is probably the loneliest society ever!

I can start with God. It is pretty safe to BE REAL with him as he already knows all about me, Duh!, and seems to like me anyways. Yet, in my insanity, I am afraid that he wouldn’t like me if he found out the real truth. The truth is that I might not like myself if I took a full realistic look so I project my self contempt on the Lord. (I am,after all, much worse than I realize, maybe the worst sinner ever–like the apostle Paul.) Am I sure that I would accept a God who accepts me? Pretty low standards, right?  I project my own contempt (I don’t like myself so you must not like me either.)

Just as it is impossible to love God without practicing on a person that we can see.

1 John 4:20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

It is impossible to accept myself, warts and all, without BEING REAL with a fellow human, finding that they still accept me and have hope for me even though they know me. I can then realizing that God feels the same way. Ask God to bless you with someone you can BE REAL with, if they reject you then you had a fake relationship that would never have given you a picture of God’s acceptance anyways. However if they are accepting but you never GET REAL with them, then you will say “yes but” to their acceptance and not benefit as God intends.

Lord help me to find in you all the acceptance I need but help me to be more open to letting others see the clay vessel that I am so that they might marvel in the treasure I contain–your love and Spirit within me.

 

EMERGENCY KIT-God watch

Which comes easier to you, listing needs that you would like God’s help with/ or listing praises as to what he has recently done in your life?
My brain is naturally wired to be concerned about the problems of life: I have to work hard to see all the beauty and wonder and praiseworthy things that God has done and is doing.
Sure I am grateful for things he has done in the distant past but what have I noticed him do recently. I find that it is the recent acts of the Holy Spirit in my life that give me the courage to get up and face today.
I led a Sunday school class for adult Christians a few years ago. I would start by splitting the whiteboard into (praises / requests) and then we would go to prayer. At first the requests side was packed and the praise side was empty. I than posed the question,” Is it that God has not been answering prayers, in which case why ask him for more? Or do we promptly forget his blessings, in which case why should he answer? He is more interested in helping my faith grow and in bringing himself glory than he is in doing this or that favor for me. It only took a few weeks to fill out the praises side with current answers to prayer. I guess the problem was lack of observing God at work and lack of remembering.
It takes work for me to exercise my positive vision of what God is doing in my life. I exercise by mechanically practicing the art of the PICKY POSITIVE. By:
1. Stopping at lunch, supper, and bedtime. 2. reviewing the previous four hours searching for anything positive (the brain can only remember 4 hours with clarity) . When God shows me a positive, I savor it and appreciate it for a moment, let it balance my heart and then move on. When I come into trials, the memory of all the good, will lessen the impact of the problem and help me turn to God rather than overreact. Then I take every opportunity to state appreciation to those around me for their positive acts and to witness to one and all what God has been doing in my life.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Philippians 4:8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
At first being picky positive came with difficulty, I felt that I was belittling the seriousness of the problems by noting the positives. Or I was worried that, if I became too polyannish, I would not deal with the tasks at hand.
In reality, noticing the positives keeps me from being overwhelmed so that I have more stamina more creativity, hope and willingness to cast all my care on him and do the little that I can. I have a greater ability to bring God glory by witnessing to what he is doing in my life. I have greater peace that he can handle the current situation because he has been handling the recent situations.
My singing and praising him gains substance from being specific rather than vague. It is similar to the difference between saying to my spouse,”I love you” and saying to them. “I so enjoy and appreciate your dependability, enthusiasm, integrity, creativity etc. as I noticed in how you did (fill in the blank_______).”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (She was talking to an earthly love, but I like to quote her to express my love to Jesus, he likes me to count the ways that he is worthy of my love.)
(JESUS)How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise,
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -and the FATHER will help me love thee better after death.
Small things to be positive about: Things of beauty, interest, feeble efforts, fun, joy, useful, comforting, encouraging, strengthening. People being helpful, courageous etc.
God giving me opportunities, opening my eyes to see, my heart to pray. Teaching me from nature, or his word, or through fellow traveler