When Push Comes To Shove

We had just purchased our first home. A 1950 cottage with a ton of character, great moldings, high ceilings and oil heat. Our first born daughter was 22 months old. My husband had found a position with a brokerage firm in our town. “Back in the day” those positions were really competitive. It was a privilege to  interview much less land the job. The one catch? It was 100% commission. It was terrifying. However Robin wanted to trade stocks and bonds as a career. He was confidant that he would succeed. I trusted him and knew he would be successful. I went back to work while he grew his business.

One day, while we were both at work, our housekeeper thought it was too cold in our home. So I called and had oil delivered. When they came to deliver the oil Doris told the man to fill it up. The service man had left a hand written bill for $400. Equivalent to almost $800 today. I was in an absolute panic. I think our entire take home pay at that time was $1000. How would we be able to pay it? Let alone pay our mortgage, insurance, utilities, nursery school costs, groceries and our babysitter on my salary?

When push comes to shove who do you depend on? Who do you call first? Ask for help first? Do you panic? Or are you calm as you try to figure it out? 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cast all of your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” I remember reading that as a young mother and thinking “that’s awesome but I need real help. Immediately. Like yesterday!”.

 

My mother called to talk to her grand-baby and to check in with us. She asked how we were. I told her about the oil bill. I explained how absolutely panicked I was. She said “Lillibet, you just need to trust that God will take care of it. ” Eyes roll from the first time, know it all, mother from my end of the call. She was right. Honestly as twenty something  year old I wanted to hear “That is terrible how can we help?” I didn’t really have time to pray about it nor did I want too. I just needed to be able to pay the debt for the oil.

How often do we push Jesus aside in order to try and resolve our own problems? How often do we call a friend or spouse to dialogue how to solve our problem? How’s that usually work out for us? (note Sarcasm). One of several things was happening in my oil scenario:

(1) God was trying to lovingly teach us how to problem solve
(2) God was trying to teach us about blind faith
(3) God was trying to teach us that we were not the solution to our own problems
(4) God was trying to show us that when He’s in control there is no place for fear
(5) God was saying “trust me”

If we approach problem solving from a biblical view the resolutions become pretty clear. If God says He will help us? He will! The very first place we should go to problem solve is our bible. If we are overwhelmed call a friend in Christ who is seasoned in prayer and scripture. Ask them to point you to areas of the bible to help you.

It doesn’t matter if we don’t trust ourselves. We have to trust Him. If we approach problem solving according to His biblical standards? Well, that’s a no brainer! The issue will be reconciled according to His will. And it may be hard. We may face backlash. It may be painful. But we can rest peacefully knowing that we can stand on God’s word.

If we bring our opinions into the solution there is room for chaos, distrust, gossip, accusations. When we use God’s word to problem solve we know that the solution is based on truth, His word, and it is infallible.

I wish I had a climatic ending to the story. I don’t. Honestly? I don’t even remember how we paid the bill. And I guess that’s the point. He paid ALL of our debts for us so that we wouldn’t have too.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an
opportunity for great joy”-James 1:2

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Current Mood

Do you have someone in your life who is incredibly moody? Bet you $100 you do. It’s frustrating. Maddening. Confusing. My guess is that you walk on egg shells around them? Or you just avoid them all together. Because usually being around someone like that is exhausting. First you want to help. Then when you are shot down your feelings are hurt. Some how they manage to illuminate their issues onto you.

The world tells us to confront. To engage. To argue. To discuss our feelings. But honestly? It’s not your problem. It is their problem. Galatians 5:22 tells us “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”. As followers of Christ we are to act in a spirit of love towards others. We are to demonstrate joy and peace in our lives. We are to be patient and kind. We are to dwell in goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. And, drum roll, self control.

We are not physically able to do all of the above on our own. And Jesus doesn’t expect us too. He came to fulfill the law. To die for our sins. To take those sins away. If we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us? That is the only way we can act in this manner. I take exception to self control however. This is not biblical, just my opinion, self control is a choice. We can choose not to be moody by exercising self control. God blessed us with the freedom of choice. To choose right from wrong using our God given free will.

We’ve all experienced, one time or another, a bad mood. Your children or spouse snap back in response to the tone you’ve set for your household “Why are you in such a bad mood?” You reply “I don’t know! I just am. I’m sorry.” Scripture abounds with examples of those whose mood and outlook were affected by their setting.

Saul, king of Israel, became inordinately depressed by the pressures of his office, yet often was incited to faith and optimism by the influence of music (1 Sam 16:23).

David could be inspired to great reverence by the influence of godly people such as Nathan. However he was thrown into a moral dilemma when he watched Bathsheba, from the roof of his palace, bathing
(2 Sam 7, 11:2-4).

Peter broke sharply with his bias toward Gentiles after his rooftop vision and missionary experiences. Yet he was drawn back into the same prejudice through the influence of less enlightened Christians (Acts 10; Gal 2:11-13).

These are all examples of our behavior. Our moods. They effected not only the sinner but those who surrounded them. Like us they all had a choice. I’m not sure when this big ole world decided that we no longer need accountability. But we have corporately decide that. Rarely, in any situation, do you hear anyone taking responsibility for their actions. Their choices.

I am a prime example. I was a gym addict for a decade. When my first symptoms started in my autoimmune disease I was in a lot of pain. Frankly, I should have kept going. I had used working out as a way to keep my head clear. But the pain was debilitating. This effected my self esteem and my mental status. I would snap at my kids and my husband. My moods were out of control because I felt so bad physically and mentally. I would always apologize BUT I would blame it on illness. I had no accountability. My family suffered the consequences of my decision not to choose self control over my emotions. I figured it out eventually. I made a choice to take my grievances to God and not my family. I’m by no means perfect. There are still days when I catch myself complaining.

Think about Jesus before He was sentenced to die. He knew He was going to be murdered. He knew some would betray Him. He knew people would mock Him. But He never complained. He cried out to His Abba Father! Before we cry out to our family and friends in distress make the choice to cry out to Jesus! He will understand your exact problem. It won’t ruin His day. He will let you vent without hurting feelings. He will most likely place an angel in your path to help with finding resolution!

“In everything gives thanks” -1 Thessalonians 5:18

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