Tag Archives: attitude

Resentment

Am I the only one this week who feels the loving elbow of God nudging itself somewhat forcefully into her ribs?

 

It’s OK if I’m the only one.  Because I am in a season – or I guess more specifically a valley – where God and I are wrestling out another piece of my broken human spirit.

 

And as of today, this piece now has a name.  Resentment.

resentment 1

Getting to work this morning, the first thing I encountered was a message that exemplifies the spirit of my office – “that’s not my job … that’s your job”.

 

And upon reading that, the dark cloud hanging over my head for a few days (OK, maybe weeks), gloomy yet unnamed, suddenly had a name.  And that name is resentment.

 

What is weighing me down is resentment.  That darkness that creeps a few steps deeper into my consciousness is resentment.  And it is an overall ugliness of mind, tongue, and attitude that wants to consume me like the cloud that covers Pigpen in Peanuts cartoons.

resentment 2

So I never see clearly.

So I never think rationally.

So I never speak grace-fully.

 

And there resentment hangs a black cloud over my head, slowly blowing its breeze of depression and oppression over me.

 

And since I accept the breeze and breathe it in, I am slowly becoming a walking epitome of resentment.

 

I am angry.

I am mad.

I am furious.

I am upset.

I am anxious.

I am frustrated.

I am sad.

I am honestly a little disgusted.

 

I am all kinds of levels of crazy and messed up.  Because I have fed into the spirit of resentment.  I have given it a place.  I have allowed it space.  And therefore it is hindering my race.  I am off-track of God’s purpose and off-course of God’s grace.

 

Because I am letting “it is not my job” and “that is not my problem” attitudes affect me.  I am allowing resentment to come in, sit down, and participate in the day.

 

And this is the boom God dropped on me in just in a few minutes this morning.  God and I had a serious moment when I started seeing all of this clearly and when my angst was given a name.

 

And there was actually a moment of celebration.  Yes, really.  No joke.  Why?

 

Because now I can tame what has been named.  Because now I can claim God’s grace over what has been named.

 

I can now tame – and completely stop – the influence of resentment in my life.

I can now tame – and completely still – my agitated thoughts and careless tongue.

I can now tame – and completely silence – my bad/ugly/hostile attitudes.

 

Because my angst has a name.  And because it does, it is subject to God’s authority.  Philippians 2:9-11 – “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Everything on earth is subject to His glorious name.

 

Including resentment.

 

So now the challenge becomes how do I deal with it.

 

What’s the battlefield?  Every minute of every day of human life.

More narrowly?  The hours spent at work.

 

What’s the victory?

Not letting resentment consume me.

Not letting resentment define my emotional state.

Not letting resentment guide/influence my choices.

 

Because resentment is a valley.

 

And we aren’t supposed to live or stay in the valleys.  We aren’t supposed to bunk down or camp out in the valley.  Because the valley is only a testing ground.  It is the place of decision where we have to decide to put our faith into action.  It is the passageway from one victory to the next.  It is the place where we are strengthened by truth and encouraged by progress to continue our journey.  The valley is where we decide – and then declare – God is faithful and true.

 

So why am I stuck, mired down in resentment?  Because I have forgotten that we have to do what God says and to move in His direction when we are in the valley.  We have to keep moving toward the given way out instead of standing still.  We have to be like David and run in faith with the great hope of grace (1 Samuel 17:48).

 

But I have not been trying to get out of the valley of resentment.  Instead, I have been building walls and stacking them as high as they can go.  I have not been walking through.  Instead, I have planted my feet firmly and refused to move.  I have not tired to be or do better, in any way.  Instead, I have chosen to embrace resentment and wallow in her ways.

 

So what’s the hard truth this time?  Resentment is NOT God’s best for me.  It never will be.  Because resentment keeps me stuck, unmoving and unchanging, in its deadly quicksand-like vise.  Because resentment keeps me from letting go of what does not promote God’s goodness or propel God’s plans.

 

Hebrews 12:1 – “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

 

I am not running toward God.  I am clinging to resentment.  I am weighing myself down with foolishness and trapping myself in resentment’s sinful web.

 

And I own this.  Fully and completely.  Therefore, God’s grace can begin its healing and restorative work.

 

Because resentment cannot hide in the shadows or stay cloaked in darkness once it is named.  It has a name now.  It is known now.  Its effects are seen now.

 

Romans 5:3-5 – “And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

 

Now hope can invade all resentment’s spaces and fill me up with grace.

Now hope can begin a new work.

 

Yes, I am still in the valley.

Yes, I am still finding resentment in spaces within my heart.

 

But God is with me.

God is for me.

God loves me.

 

So one day very soon I will be able to triumphantly declare my victory over resentment!

 

Marie Fremin.  5/18 and 5/21/17

Letter to a Teenaged Daughter

(name),

You are a young lady on the verge of being a woman.  There are probably many things going through your mind.  You most likely act like you know so much yet feel like you know very little.  We all feel that way.  Even as adults.

 

Through your questions, through your confusion, through your searching, there is one truth I pray you discover.  No matter what happens to you, no matter who comes into your life, and no matter who leaves your life, there is one Person who will never leave you, never abandon you, and never turn away from you.  One Person who will never condemn you, shame you, or hurt you.  One Person who will always have your best interest at heart and want good blessings for you.

 

That person is God.

 

And as you walk into womanhood, I pray that God really impacts your life.  I pray that God gets a hold of your heart so deeply, so intimately, and so passionately that you are overcome by His love.  That His love becomes so real that it vibrates (echoes) through your thoughts, your actions, and your choices.  That His love becomes so true that you never doubt it, no matter how difficult life gets or what kind of choices you make.  That His love becomes so rooted in you that you will never be shaken, no matter what happens to you and around you.

 

Ephesians 3:18 is so true.  There are no limits to God’s love.  There are no boundaries to God’s affection.  There are no fences around God’s presence.  There are no ground rules to God’s grace.  His love is wide enough to accept you just as you are.  His love is long enough to last through all your days.  His love is deep enough to cover every choice you make.  And His love is high enough to encourage you to aim for His best.

Letter to a Teenaged Daughter

Everything you have been, everything you are now, and everything He has called you to be is encompassed by His love and blessed with His grace.

 

So I pray that you will find confident assurance in God’s love.  A steadfast trust that will keep you focused on the right things, grounded in His purposes, and confident in His care.  A resolute faith that knows He walks with you, no matter where you go, and will never forsake you.  An unshakable hope that He has great plans for you all the days of your life.

 

Your life can be guided by His peace.

Your life can be defined by His love.

Your life can be enhanced by His grace.

 

Where does it start?  Get to know God.  Find out who He is – loving, merciful, gracious, forgiving.

 

And in getting to know God, you will figure out who you are.

 

You are not defined by a boyfriend.

You are not defined by what you have done.

You are not defined by other people’s expectations.

You are not defined by the stuff you have.

You are not defined by your job, your house, or your church.

You are not defined by the world.

You are not defined by society’s standards.

 

You are defined by God.

He says you are poetry in motion, His masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

He says you are a princess chosen specifically by Him (1 Peter 2:9).

He says you are “wonderfully made” according to His unique design (Psalm 139:14).

He says you have a great future ahead of you (Jeremiah 29:11).

He says you are clothed with honor (Proverbs 31:25).

He says you are a new person not held back by the past (2 Corinthians 5:17).

He says you are completely forgiven (Colossians 2:13, Ephesians 1:7).

He says you are blessed (Ephesians 1:3).

He says He sees you as precious (Isaiah 43:4).

He says He knows your name (Isaiah 43:1).

He says He knows you down to the smallest details (Matthew 10:30).

He says you can always come to Him (Matthew 11:28, Hebrews 4:16).

 

God knows you and loves you.  He has great plans for your life.  He turned Saul the Christian hater around into the apostle Paul, who went on to impact the nations around him with an influence that is still active today.  He redeemed Peter after he denied Him and gave him the leadership of the new Christ movement.   He can do the same with you and use you in big ways.  You can impact the worlds in bold ways.  He will do amazing things for you, in you, and through you.

 

So here is my hope – that God gets a hold of you and fills your heart with all these truths.  That you search for God with an unrelenting passion and an incomparable hope.

 

Because you will experience a lot of things in your life.  People will come into your life.  People will walk out of your life.  And no matter what happens, God will be in control.  God will have a plan.  God will use all your experiences to make you a better person.  He will redeem your tears, which are healthy since they cleanse you of hurt feelings and negative emotions.  He will encourage your smile, which will draw other people to His love.  He will embrace you with love, so you always feel secure and confident of your value.

 

God has already showered you with a lot of blessings.  He has given you a loving family and friends to support you.  He has given you God-fearing parents who love you and encourage you and pray for you.  Don’t take any of them for granted.  For God will show you His love through these people and shower His grace on you through these relationships.

 

So please don’t ever limit yourself.  You can be more and do more than you think possible, because God will be with you (Ephesians 3:20).  Please don’t ever doubt God’s love.  It is real and it never runs out.

 

So here would be my prayer for you:

May you embrace His grace.

May you dive into His love.

May you relish His redemption.

May you find freedom in His forgiveness.

 

And as you do, God will show up and show out.  Because “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”  (2 Corinthians 9:8)

 

So in all you do, consider God.  And you will never go wrong.

 

Marie Fremin.  6/28-29/16.

Contentment

2 Corinthians 4:7-10But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

 

This verse has been burning in my soul this past week.  I feel it is especially meaningful as I am in a season where I am struggling with contentment.  I am questioning everything about my life.  Am I working where I am supposed to work?  Am I working too hard?  Am I living in my full purpose?  Am I spending my time wisely?

 

I know as a Christ follower I am called to be content where I am.  Paul so elegantly models contentment in Philippians 4:11-12 – “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

 

Contentment.  To be satisfied with my daily portion while still hoping for the fullness of God’s blessings.  To be happy about my place in the world while seeking out opportunities to reach out to people.  To demonstrate love in even the most impossible circumstances.  To know that no matter what happens God is in control of all things.  To believe that God will work all circumstances, even the hard and distressing ones, for our good and His glory.  To not have a desire for extravagance simply for pride and prestige sake.

 

But how do we have contentment when there is a spiritual battle waging in our soul?  How do we surrender to peace when things look impossible to our human eyes?  How do we trust all to God when unfair and unreasonable things come at and attack us?

 

It isn’t always easy to “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).  Our faith gets stretched.  Our contentment gets challenged.  Our commitment gets questioned.  Do we stand firm, or do we waver?  Do we believe, or do we question?  What is true?  What is right?

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Yet 2 Corinthians 4:10 says we have the power of Jesus in us to sustain us, propel us, keep us, and protect us.  Because though we are challenged and wrongfully engaged, we are “not crushed”.  We are not so flat or so broken that God cannot restore and heal us.  Though we are accused and slandered, we are “not forsaken”.  God does not abandon us or leave us to fight alone.  God walks with us into the fight and stands with us until the battle’s end.  Though we are knocked down and pushed around, we are “not destroyed”.  We are able to get back up and continue to fight.  We have prayer, the power of God, and the compassion of friends to help us up and keep us going.  We may be devastated in the moment, but that moment isn’t the end or undoing of our faith journey.

And why?  Because God is with us, for us, and in us.

  • Romans 8:35,38-39 – Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake
  • Deuteronomy 31:8 – And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.
  • Joshua 1:5,9 – No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. … Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
  • Psalm 9:10 – And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
  • Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

 

So let yourself live and feel beyond the moment to find His peace, joy, and security.  For though there are rough moments, they do not have to confine you.  They can define and refine you.

 

And as for me?  I will continue to question and to wonder.  Yet through it all, I will live as Hebrews 13:5 commands – “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”  I will believe I am where I am supposed to be in this season.  And I will thank Him for every opportunity, every lesson, every miracle, and every good thing.  I will learn from every hard, difficult, and impossible moment, hopefully thanking Him for refining and polishing me.  I will do my best to make the most of my influence and be gracious and encouraging.  I will live fully and freely in the season.

 

And if the season is only temporary, I will trust God to help me know when the season is over.  And when it is, I will trust Him show me His open doors and new opportunities.

 

And through it all, I will try to be like Paul and be content.  For to be content is to believe that no matter what we go through and what happens to us that God is with us.  To be content is to be thankful for His unfailing love and amazing grace that covers a multitude of sins and bad choices.  To be content is to know that we are forever in His loving embrace.

 

So though I am jostled, challenged, alienated, pressed in, tripped up, overlooked, and unappreciated, I am loved.  I am cherished.  I am cared for.  And in this I can be content.  God, help me to believe this and carry it with me every step of my journey and every moment of my life.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  3/17 and 4/2/16.

Noises Off

Noise. It is a word I find myself thinking and saying quite a bit this last week.

 

I feel like I have had an excess of noise in my life this week. The noise of the fight that ensued Wednesday night while trying to clean up the kitchen. Loud voices to express flaring tempers resulted in a flurry of unpleasant noise. The noise of the conversation Thursday night in discussing a recent incident. Disappointed voices trying to find healing (common) ground in actions and reactions, resulting in unresolved issues after hurt expressed emotions. The noise of curiosity at work yesterday regarding friendly conversations with the techs. A concerned voice asking questions about busyness that interrupted a peaceful moment of laughter at the end of a chaotic day.

 

And as I think about everything, the current context is noise. Those sights, sounds, thoughts, and experiences meant to draw us close to God. Yet sometimes they have the opposite effect.

  • To distract instead of focus
  • To influence negatively instead of positively
  • To persuade away from God’s will instead of into it
  • To deceive instead of truthfully inform
  • To conform instead of reform
  • To compare instead of appreciate
  • To make jealous instead of cherish
  • To bring dissension instead of peace and harmony
  • To make hopeless instead of infuse with hope
  • To push down instead of lift up
  • To reject instead of accept
  • To deject instead of inspire
  • To cause sorrow instead of bring happiness
  • To discourage instead of encourage
  • To accuse instead of listen

 

Noise in our heads. The voices of conflict that pull us in opposite directions in our search for truth. The voices of the law, full of rules and stipulations, battling the Voice of truth that pulls us toward Himself. The voices of selfishness, keeping us focused on ourselves, trying to drown out the Voice of love that encourages us to reach out to people.

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1 Corinthians 13:1 says “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal”. Meaning I can be the noise. I can be the noise in my life. I can be the reason I’m not hearing from God, I don’t feel connected to God, or I don’t feel loved by God. Maybe I am drowning out His grace. Maybe I am filtering out His love. Maybe I am denying myself His compassion. Maybe I am refusing His forgiveness.

 

I can also be the noise in someone else’s life. I can be the voice telling Noah he is crazy to build an ark when there is no such thing as water from the sky. I can be the voice of an Israelite whining at Moses that God is trying to kill me in the wilderness and I’d rather be back in my Egyptian slavery. I can be the voice of a Pharisee demanding that Jesus judge the woman caught in adultery (John 8). I can be a voice in the crowd demanding that Pilate crucify Jesus (Mark 15). I can be the voice of Abraham, begging God to save the city for just a few righteous people (Genesis 18). I can be the voice of Jonah that encouraged an entire city to repent (Jonah 3), or I can be the voice of Jonah who soon after berates God over the city’s turning to Him (Jonah 4). I can be the noise of praise that celebrates His goodness and points people to a miraculous God (1 Chronicles 16:9, Psalm 105:2).

 

No matter what the noise is in my life, there is good news. Psalm 93:4 says “The Lord on high is mightier Than the noise of many waters, Than the mighty waves of the sea”. And Psalm 65:7 promises “You who still the noise of the seas, The noise of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples”. He can help us tune out all the noise that tries to drown out His voice. He can help us silence the voices that are talking us out of His love. He can help us turn down the volume on all the negative influences so we can more clearly hear Him.

 

Noise is everywhere. Noise is all around us. There will always be noise. There will always be an influence [of sin] trying to draw us away from our Creator. There will always be pushy influences (wind – 1 Kings 19:11). There will always be loud influences (earthquake – 1 Kings 19:11). There will always be flashy influences (fire – 1 Kings 19:12).

 

And bigger than any of these things is our loving Father. His “a still small voice [whisper]” (1 Kings 19:12) will always speak volumes of love. Will always beckon us to come to Him without hesitation or hindrances. Will always be able to overcome the noise in our life.

 

And as I look at my life and I think about the noise, I realize it is important. For it is going to qualify what kind of person I really am. It is going to strengthen my faith. It is going to prove what I really believe. So I am praying to filter out God’s voice, God’s influence, God’s love, and God’s direction from all the noise. For only in listening for and following His holy whisper can the noise not affect me, hurt me, redirect me, or influence me.

 

Help me Jesus to process the noise correctly so that Your purposes are accomplished and Your name is glorified. Help me to be a person who hears, sees, and knows You despite the noise of life (Matthew 13:15). AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin, 2/14/16

 

BONUS SCRIPTURE GRAPH OF MY THOUGHTS:

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Whatever

Whatever.

Whatever

Only eight letters, but it is a word filled with possibility. With potential. With hope. With destiny. With power.

 

Sure, I say “whatever You want God”. I pray “whatever You will God”. I believe “whatever You promise God”.

 

But do I really mean it?

 

Am I really open to whatever God has purposed?

Am I really available to whatever God’s direction is?

Am I really obedient to whatever God’s instructions are?

Am I really content with whatever path God leads me down?

 

Am I really joyful with whatever my circumstances are? Even when things don’t work out the way I want? Am I really at peace when my idea of whatever bumps into God’s divine plans – and they don’t line up? When they disagree? When God says “no”?

 

Because God has His whatever in mind. It has eternal value. It has His best enfolded into it. It contains more goodness and blessing than I can imagine.

 

But His whatever comes with a price. I have to let go of all my ideas and dreams of what I want to grab hold of His plans. I have to lay down and possibly walk away from what I want to fully embrace His purposes. I have to let go of the emotions choking the life out of me – disappointments, hurts, pain, shame, anger – to allow His love to redefine and fill me. I have to believe His plans are for my good, even if my circumstances or feelings contradict His goodness. I have to believe His way is the best.

 

I have to think positively, no matter what is happening to me, in me, or around me (Philippians 4:8). I need to be content with the season I am in and go with His flow while He’s trying to teach me, grow me, and change me (Philippians 4:11). I need to find ways to love people by serving them (1 Peter 4:10, Matthew 25:40). I need to stop judging people, their circumstances, and their decisions (Romans 2:1).

 

So I sit here and wonder if I really have the right attitude. Am I a believer who truly and wholeheartedly says “All that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go” (Joshua 1:16)? Am I a follower whose foundation is “And now, here we are, in your hands; do with us as it seems good and right to do to us” (Joshua 9:25, Jeremiah 26:14)? Am I seeking Him regularly so that I am “a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3)? Do I try to honor God in all my decisions, giving preference to His way instead of my will (1 Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17, Matthew 6:10)?

 

I admit that I struggle with those “whatever” seasons. When it isn’t entirely clear which direction He is pointing me. Where I get a small vision of the fulfillment of a dream, only to have it not come to pass. Where I taste the full extent of His goodness only to feel like He pulled the spoon away and said “no more”. Where the future is cloudy and uncertain, so I can be easily persuaded by fickle feelings and erratic emotions.

 

And I feel like He is telling me that these “whatever” seasons are the most important. Because I have to decide if I truly believe He has my best interest in His sights and that He is ordering my steps so I find His best. Because I have to decide if my words are just the fading vapor of an insecure faith or the product of a deeply rooted truth. Because I have to decide if my heart is lukewarm (Revelations 3:14-16) and uncommitted (James 1:6-8) or a spiritual garden of growth (Matthew 13:23, Galatians 5:22-23) and love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

 

So when I am facing a whatever moment, how will I act and react? What will I think? Will people benefit or cringe from being around me?

 

For each one is an opportunity from God. A chance to recite my faith or reinforce my doubts and fears. A chance to walk forward with grace or back up in shame. A chance to stand strong in spiritual power or to retreat in human limitations. A chance to be wrapped in His love or to be isolated by human emotions.

 

A chance to do better. To think bigger. To speak boldly. To love brazenly. To hope unconditionally. To believe fearlessly. To know positively.

 

No matter what happens, I will always believe in God. And I can only pray that such audacious and radical faith will transfer into each and every one of my whatever moments so that He is honored and His influence is obvious.

 

Thank You, Father, for using all of our whatever moments. Help us to be more like Jesus, who prayed “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36). Help us to be focused on You and steady in Your love. AMEN.

 

Marie Fremin.  2/7, 2/8, and 2/10/16.

I Don’t Know

For the last two weeks, I have felt like I am stuck in the middle of a maze. Unsure of where I am and uncertain of where I need to turn. I feel like I was making good progress and going with God’s flow while considering the possibilities of where He would lead. Then BAM! I turned a corner of the maze and hit a dead end.

 

So I backtrack to the last sure place and try again. A few more steps, and I hit another dead end. So I turn back again and try another direction. A few more steps, and I hit another dead end.

I Don't Know 1

So now I am standing in the middle of the maze. Feeling lost, confused, and stuck. And so I look up to God, who sees beyond all the dead ends, and I ask “which way do I go?” – because I don’t know.

 

I don’t know if I should stay straight or turn left or right.

I don’t know which direction leads to the exit.

I don’t know how many more dead ends I have to face before I find my way out.

 

And I feel God nudge me that I have found the right answer in saying “I don’t know”.

 

Because I truly don’t know. Which means I either try to figure it out for myself – and possibly stay lost for hours – or I trust Him to guide me out. For God sees me, and God sees the exit. And God knows the steps I need to take to get out of the maze. And God is trying to get me to turn in the right direction – following Him – so He can lead me where I need to go.

 

Because I do not have all the answers.

Because I cannot see above the maze or beyond the walls in front of me.

Because I can keep making wrong turns for a while.

 

But instead I choose to say “I Don’t Know”. And I what I find is that “I Don’t Know” is the starting point for God. To move. To speak. To guide. To encourage. To impart. To send.

 

“I Don’t Know” is the place where my humanity and limited perspective meets a supernatural and unlimited God.

 

“I Don’t Know” is the place where I (need to) pause. To seek God. To ask God. To learn. To listen. To wait. To pray. To be still. To trust.

 

Because I need someone to help me, to turn me, to guide me, and to direct me.

 

And when I choose to say “I Don’t Know”, I open the door for God to start moving – for me, in me, and through me. Because “I Don’t Know” is my starting point. For answers. For direction. For a miracle. For revelation. For my destiny.

 

I don’t know what tomorrow will look like. He has a good plan.

I don’t have many answers. He has them all, and He will reveal them as I need to know.

I don’t know which direction to turn to walk with Him. He will guide me.

I don’t know what to say to encourage someone’s faith. He will give me the words.

I don’t know how the dream in my heart will come to pass. He is working it out.

 

I don’t know how to let go and forgive the hurts of my past. He does, and He is walking me toward forgiveness and reconciliation.

 

I don’t know how to always treat people compassionately and fairly. He does, and He is teaching me to walk in love at all times.

I Don't Know 2

So I need to come to the place where I don’t know, and He will meet me there. He will walk with me. He will teach me. He will give me peace, joy, and hope. He will help me to be thankful for all things. He will shower me with grace.

 

And then He will fill me with compassion, to help point others to their “I Don’t Know” epiphany.

 

So I don’t know. But God does. He sees me, no matter where I am. He knows right where I am. No matter how many wrong turns I take. No matter how stuck I feel. No matter how long I wander. And He loves me unconditionally through it all.

 

So I will say “I Don’t Know” and hope in the One who does. Because He will make sure I get out of the maze – either taking me turn-by-turn or by creating a door in the dead end.

 

So I don’t know. I will consider the possibilities in front of me, yet I will trust God to guide me in the right direction. I will believe God to turn me in the right direction. I will stand confident that God will show me the right direction. And this will leave me open and flexible to whatever way God sends me.

 

I don’t know, and that’s the best place for me to be. How about you?

 

Marie Fremin, 1/31/16

Parable of the Sower

In my small group last night, our conversation turned to people who say they love God but live in ways that seem to contradict that love. So we started talking about what it means to love God. And I think it comes down to attitude.

 

When we are willing to completely surrender our lives to Him and live within His boundaries, He promises to bless us beyond measure and give us peace and joy that human understanding cannot explain. This means that sometimes we have to make the hard choice to do things His way instead of doing things our way. This means accepting His “no” with grace and poise instead of fighting Him. This means letting go of our ideas to hold onto His promises and dreams.

 

But it’s not an easy way. In Matthew 7:13-14, He says “Enter by the narrow gate”, because this is the better choice. But it requires sacrifice, surrender, and surety. And most people just aren’t willing to go there. They aren’t willing to say “no” to what they want. They want to do things their way. In their timing. By their methods. According to their emotions.

 

And God showed me as I drove home last night that it goes back to the sower and the seed.

Parable of the Sower.jpg

In Mark 4 (also Matthew 13 and Luke 8), Jesus tells the story of a sower who is out sowing seeds: “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 14 The sower sows the word.

 

God gives us all faith seeds. From the moment we are born, we are implanted with the ability to believe in God. We are full of the possibilities of knowing Him and walking with Him. Which simply means we all have the opportunity to believe.

 

But our enemy will come against us at every opportunity to keep us from believing. Keep us from sprouting truth. Keep us from developing faith. And Jesus shows us three examples of this is Mark 4 by illustrating three unproductive seeds.

 

Seed #1: And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes [snatches] away the word that was sown in their hearts [lest they should believe and be saved].

 

Some people allow themselves to be distracted away from God and go their own way – because it looks and feels better. They know God is asking them to walk forward, with Him, but they want instead to walk a side path. Because it looks better, it has fewer rules, and because it makes them feel good. There is no surrender, no rules, and no boundaries. They are free to live as they please, and if God is with them, great; if He isn’t that’s OK. They allow themselves to be snatched from His love by their own desires. When life is really as simple as allowing God to adjust and expand your desires. Psalm 37:4 reminds us to “delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart”. In enjoying God and following His plans, He will allow us to have joy, peace, and happiness. He wants us to enjoy our life, but on His terms – not ours.

 

Seed #2: Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root [it lacked moisture] it withered away. 16 These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble [in time of temptation fall away].

 

Some people stay at a shallow, uncommitted level where they don’t grow roots of dependency. Paul prays in Ephesians 3:17-18 that all people would know God and be rooted in Him – “17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—”. There is a depth of His love that requires us to be rooted in confidence, faith, and trust in Him. Because only when we are rooted in Him will we stand firm and stand still in the middle of pain, trials, and hardships. He doesn’t want us to have shallow, undeveloped, and immature roots. For when we are not grounded in Him, we will be easily convinced to go the wrong way. We will be easily persuaded to not trust God’s voice and direction. We will be easily deceived into believing God does not love us. So God wants us to be rooted – firm, committed, wholeheartedly sold out – in Him, so we know who He is and we know who we are in Him.

 

Seed #3: And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 18 Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, 19 and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things [pleasures of life] entering in choke the word, and it [he] becomes unfruitful [bring no fruit to maturity].

 

Some people are so absorbed by personal pleasure and living as they please that they have blocked out room in their heart for God. They want to feel good and look good, because their substance comes from outward appearances and personal pleasures. If it feels good, it must be OK. If it looks good, it must be the right thing. But what they don’t realize is that they don’t produce life. They don’t produce eternal value and change. They don’t produce growth. They don’t encourage maturity and selflessness. Because they have no substance. They have momentary value and temporary pleasure, which will not last. When the moment passes and the excitement wears off, the value is gone and the pleasure disappears. And God wants so much more for us than that. He doesn’t want us to live from one pleasure to the next, from one moment to the next, from one piece of happiness to the next. He wants us to live “being transformed into the same image [of Christ] from glory to glory” by His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18), because “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Because though we live in the world, we “are not of the world” (John 17:16). Meaning we can live beyond the moment and above our feelings. Meaning we can think eternally instead of just now. Meaning we can have “life more abundantly” (John 10:10) than the moment, the emotion, and the trend.

 

And then Jesus tells us there is a fourth seed, the way a believer and follower should live. Because He has already told us how not to live – selfish and snatched away, ungrounded and faltering, and driven by the moment and pleasure. So now He has to give us something to strive for, the goal of being His follower.

 

Seed #4: But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” 20 But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit [having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience]: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.”

 

This is the only productive seed. This is the only seed to have a harvest. Because it is the only seed that isn’t selfish in its roots. It is the seed that chooses to endure instead of be pulled out of the good ground. It is the seed that chooses to develop roots of faith in Him instead of being distracted away. It is the evidence of people who get what God wants to do so we decide to trust Him completely. And because we do, we “bear fruit”. And we continue to bear fruit. We continue to grow, to mature, and to change. We find new and exciting things in our life, the evidence of His presence.

 

The seed is in you and is yours to plant. Are you allowing it to grow and develop in Him? Or are you keeping it in darkness and isolation, hoping to feel good today? The choice is always yours. What are you doing with your seed?

 

Marie Fremin, 1/27 and 1/30/16