Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What If Dissatisfaction Is A Good Thing?

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." CS Lewis

Sometimes I can't help but be dissatisfied. Do you know what I mean? I'm sure that most of the time this thought can and is bred out of selfishness. But I was challenged last week to think of this (and sufferings) as a gift. 

The gift of remembering that this world is not our home. 

1 Peter 2:11 (the Message) tells us, " Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul." How beautifully and boldly put. 

I remember in college (I went to a Bible Institute.) I used to really struggle with the concept of thinking of heaven and being with Christ as more amazing than some of the experiences of here on earth. And I remember feeling like such a failure as a believer because of this. And when sharing this with a friend, he turned to me and said, "Shauna: the reality is that even if you feel this way: When you get to heaven-- You won't feel that way." 

Marriage is one of those experiences that I would love to live. Now: before you go ahead thinking, "Shauna: there's more to life than marriage, etc.": KNOW THAT I KNOW THIS. Of course, I'm sure that (if the Lord wills it) I will enter marriage somewhat naive. But for those of you who don't know me and you're reading this: I'm 30 and single. Which, in today's world means that most people my age have been married and are now divorced. Most of my friends have children. I've overheard some horrendous fights. I know of women (believers) who have been physically and emotionally abused and have done my best to walk with these couples. So, again: know that I know that I know that I know that marriage is not the end all and be all of life. 

However, despite all of the negativity that I have shared above: I still have the desire to be married. I'm trying to let God do His best in working through my fears of marriage, but I still have the desire. To serve someone. To love someone. And, well, selfishly: to be served and loved back. I've fought a lot against this but can't help but know that God designed marriage and there is something (obviously) powerful in that. Scripture is so clear about what it is a picture of: Christ and His bride. The sacrifice. The love. The Commitment. The Benefits. 

I pray to be married someday. But, with that, I also pray that God will have His way: as I know (that I know that I know that I know) that His way is best. It really could be in God's best possible plan for me that I never be married. Heck: maybe that's why I have the desire: So that it makes me cling to Him even more. 

But maybe, just maybe..... I have the desire because I know that this world is not my home....For I was made for another. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Choosing Gratitude

"You [can] choose to either be thankful or unthankful,
 to recognize a blessing or to overlook  it,
 to acknowledge a kindness or to mindlessly ignore it. 
You decide." 
                                                       -Nancy DeMoss

I've been reading a lot lately on gratitude (Enter shameless plug here for "Choosing Gratitude, Your Journey to Joy, by Nancey DeMoss.) and have just come to the conclusion that one can never have enough. Especially as a believer. In the last several weeks the Lord has been prompting me to open my eyes and look around and express my gratitude.
It really is a choice. Thankfulness, that is. As someone who struggles with mild depression from time to time sometimes I just can't stand it when someone says, "It's all in your head: it's a choice." Partly, because, well, with depression, it's not that easy but secondly: because I know that they're right when it comes to seeing the good in situations and thankfulness.

I wish I could be super spiritual here and say that I just became really burdened to do word studies on "joy" in the Scripture and just became a Scripture hound; However, that's not it. Between the Lord convicting me on my negativity and the book that I've been reading, trying to choose thankfulness and gratitude has truly been eye opening and has brought a refreshment to my soul.

Life isn't perfect and rosy for me. Needing to find a new place to live, financial plannings and decisions, the possible job hunting, the ministries I'm involved in, the relationships I try to maintain, the burdens on my heart  for life and others, the sins I commit (because, well, I'm a sinner), etc, there's a lot going on and a lot at stake.But I can either look at the circumstances or look at the blessings and trust my Saviour and Provider.
I live under a roof. And a beautiful one at that. I have a car. I have a job. I have insurances. I have friends. Friends who pray for me, listen to me and well, talk to me. I have good health. I have food. I have seen hundreds of sunsets and sunrises. Filled countless journals. Seen the stars in the Southern Hemisphere. Lived blocks away from two different oceans. Watched different cultures. Talked with Josh Groban. (True: But I just threw this in here for fun. hehe.) Smelled the roses. Have been taken on dates. Have cried tears of joy for multiple reasons. Have seen miracles occur. Have had to decide which friend I want to hang out with. (As someone who was bullied as a kid: this still never ceases to amaze me.) I have a God who loves me though He knows just how wretched I am. (Disclaimer: this list could go on and on, from the delicious taste of an orange or strawberry to an amazing cup of coffee to the guardian angel who's spared me from some horrific something or other...)
The reality is: God showers blessings upon us, the saved and unsaved....(Matthew 5:45, James 1:17) Will you choose to be active and look for them and even more: be thankful for them? Or will you turn you head and walk away? The choice is yours.

[Note: There is also a reality that sometimes what we consider as consequences or even sufferings could be considered blessings... but this is a topic that I need to pray and think upon much more before I write about it.]