We Are Not Called to Worry

worry

Image by spaceodissy

Lately I’ve been having a lot of conversations about singleness with friends of both sexes. Maybe it’s because it’s spring and with all the engagements, weddings, pregnancy announcements and new babies it seems like everyone we know is twitterpated. Maybe it’s because some are new friends and we haven’t had this conversation yet. Maybe it’s because we’re human beings in our 20s. Anyway, there’s been a lot of talk.

But something began to tug at my heart when I realized a couple of those friends and I frequently text each other complaining– via funny ecards, memes, or our own words– about being single. In the course of discussing a blog post about singleness and marriage, one friend said “I mean, doesn’t my future husband know I’m tired of waiting?! He needs to get here already!” I’ve said that too.

The first thing that came to mind, knowing my guy friends’ hearts, is “Don’t worry, he’s tired of waiting too!”

But we are called to other things in this season of singleness, however long it lasts. 1 Corinthians 7:34 says There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world– how she may please her husband. And lest we chafe at that, good ol’ Paul follows it with verse 35:  And this I say for your own profit, not that I may put a leash on you, but for what is proper, and that you may serve the Lord without distraction. 

God has other work for us. 

My friend knows that. But she said “I feel like I’m more worried about when I’m going to get married. That’s just how it is.”

God is not calling us to worry about when we will get married.

Hear it from Jesus Himself in Matthew 6:25-34:

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

When the Son of God specifically says not to worry, worrying is not “just how it is”. Worrying is sin.

Spurgeon says it succinctly: Remember this: had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.

He has called us to concern ourselves with the “things of the Lord”. May we always, ever, only, pursue His kingdom and His glory… and not worry about a husband or wife until He gives us one!

Thinking, Feeling

Thinking

Image by Victor Perez

I read this post on feeling and thinking on The Christian Pundit. I feel like it’s a common oversight I find in a lot of Christian books/resources/whatever written for women. They assume (and granted, most of them are written by women– this post was written by Rebecca VanDoodewaard) we”re all having problems with our feelings all the time and need to be more logical/practical/action-taking.

Me? I’m Margaret Thatcher. I’m sick of feelings. I don’t like taking others’ feelings into account, because I don’t much take my feelings into account. Feelings are feelings. Facts are facts. We shouldn’t confuse the one with the other, and for the most part I don’t.

But essentially I have the opposite problem Rebecca has. I jump right to the action: fixing the problem, finding the solution, praying the prayer, organizing the meals. What I’m not always good at is the feeling. Feeling grateful, thankful, or even hurt– God has designed us to do both.

We have different temperaments for a reason. Those of us who have trouble feeling should take time to be more compassionate, and those of us who feel deeply should work on responding and taking action. But we should also act like the different members of the Body we are and both enjoy and employ our gifts.

Encouragement from genealogy passages?

Freeze frame

Image by jinterwas

This year I am taking the 3650 challenge, where we read 10 chapters of the Bible a day. There is a wonderfully encouraging Facebook group where we talk about what we’ve read and challenges we’ve encountered or breakthroughs we’ve had. Today a woman noted that she’s struggling with the genealogy passages in Chronicles.

Several things have helped me:

  1. Listening to the genealogy passages rather than reading them myself. No skimming!
  2. Knowing that some in other cultures have been brought to Christ by these very passages, seeing the legitimacy and history of Jesus’ lineage.
  3. A friend once told me she likes to think of how God must read these lists. To Him it must be like flipping through a scrapbook of loved ones.
  4. Imagining the full, individual lives each of these people led. It also helps me be thankful I live after God sent His Son to die for us so we are no longer slaves to the Law but recipients of such grace.

Spurgeon on Worry

Let it Rain by Krikit

Image by Krikit

“Why do you worry? What possible use does your worrying serve? You are aboard such a large ship that you would be unable to steer even if your Captain placed you at the helm. You would not even be able to adjust the sails, yet you worry as if you were the captain or the helmsman of the vessel. Be quiet, dear soul– God is the Master!

“Do you think all the commotion and the uproar of this life is evidence that God has left His throne? He has not! His mighty steeds rush furiously ahead, and His chariots are the storms themselves. But the horses have bridles, and it is God who holds the reins, guiding the chariots as He wills!

“Our God Jehovah is still the Master! Believe this and you will have peace.”

(Charles Spurgeon, quoted in Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman)

What’s Going On Right Now (3/9/12)

Clock Panel by jsklz

Image by jsklz

This is the almost Daylight Savings Time edition. Don’t forget to spring your clocks forward Saturday night before bed!

Elevator Speech

Elevator Floor by derekskey

Image by derekskey

Don’t be a “wage slave”– be in business for yourself.

One of the first questions that new acquaintances ask one another is “What do you do?” or “What field are you in?” You need to be able to answer that question with no more than about 20 seconds of description. What is more, you need to answer that question in a way that sounds absolutely fascinating and that almost compels your interlocutor to ask further questions. Now if your answer is nothing more than “Oh, I work at Acme ball bearing company,” you have squandered a potential wealth-producing opportunity. You have told me nothing really interesting about yourself. What do you do for Acme? Are you the chairman? Are you in sales, production, or accounting? Now had you smiled broadly and said, “Oh, I show manufacturers, chiefly the Acme company, how to produce the smoothest, shiniest, hardest little spheres in the whole universe,” you might well have fascinated me. Apart from anything else, people with expressive faces who are really passionate about something are just more fun to interact with. If all you can tell me is that you work for someone else and are at his beck and call, frankly, I’d rather speak with him. He sounds more interesting than you. So, no matter how you serve your fellow humans, think of yourself as doing something fascinating; see yourself in business, rather than merely being something.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin in Thou Shall Prosper {affiliate link}.

How does your morning begin?

Open Bible by Ryk Neethling

Image by Ryk Neethling

Chris Brogan wrote today about “setting your plate” for success. Inspired by his reading of Deepak Chopra, he points out that if you’re checking your iPhone first thing in the morning you’re letting reaction to others’ thoughts/ideas/demands begin your day.

Until today, I’ve been doing this. Telling myself I’m jumping into being productive, I turn off my alarm and turn on my phone in almost the same motion, instantly encountering the ping-ping-ping of incoming emails and Facebook notifications. It is nice to be productive, but what have I done? I’ve let others’ priorities influence the first moments (or hour) of my day.

Now, I don’t have this off-centered approach to my whole life. I follow detailed, prioritized to-do lists to keep my days on track. I use the time when I’m most creative and productive– the evening– to my advantage. I get more done after 4pm than most people do all day (after I’ve already finished a “day’s work”)! I am doing the 3650 Challenge this year and I’ve been reading (or listening to) ten chapters of the Bible during my lunch break. I have prayer and devotional time at night before bed (when normally my brain is much more engaged than first thing in the morning). But how am I beginning my day?

Now that I am freelancing full-time and can get up at a more natural time for me, I’m not groggy and useless first thing in the morning.  So what thoughts should fill my mind? I have been filling it with others’ thoughts. Brogan suggests filling it with  my own. I’d rather fill it with God’s. So this morning I read today’s ten Bible chapters first.

I know this isn’t very mind-blowing (millions of people make quiet time their literal first priority), but this method is new for me. What about you? Whose thoughts should occupy your mind in the morning?

Perfect Harmony

Stream Lines by r-z

Image by r-z

Imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:12

The biblical heroes of faith call to us from the heights they have won, encouraging us that what man once did, man can do again. They remind us not only of the necessity of faith but also for the patience required for faith’s work to be perfected. May we fear attempting to remove ourselves from the hands of our heavenly Guide, or missing even one lesson of His living discipline due to our discouragement or doubt.

An old village blacksmith once said, “There is only one thing I fear: being thrown onto the scrap heap. You see, in order to strengthen a piece of steel, I must first temper it. I heat it, hammer it, and then quickly plunge it into a bucket of cold water. Very soon I know whether it will accept the tempering process or simply fall to pieces. If, after one or two tests, I see it will not allow itself to be tempered, I throw it onto the scrap heap, only to later sell it to the junkman for a few cents per pound.

“I realize the Lord tests me in the same way: through fire, water, and heavy blows of His hammer. If I am unwilling to withstand the test, or prove to be unfit for His tempering process, I am afraid He may throw me onto the scrap heap.”

When the fire in your life is the hottest, stand still, for “later on… it produces a harvest” (Heb. 12:11) of blessings. Then we will be able to say with Job, “When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). selected

Sainthood finds its source in suffering. Remember, it requires eleven tons of pressure on a piano’s strings for it to be tuned. And God will tune you to perfect harmony with heaven’s theme if you will withstand the strain.

Things that hurt and things that mar
Shape the man for perfect praise;
Shock and strain and ruin are
Friendlier than smiling days. 

Excerpt from Streams in the Desert {affiliate link} for March 4.

What’s Going On Right Now (2/28/12)

You’re probably aware that 2012 is a leap year. That means you have a whole extra day (tomorrow)! What are you going to do with that “found” time? Make it count for eternity, friends.

Leap by Bex.Walton

Image by Bex.Walton

  • The Front Porch Republic discusses the rising trend of people living alone. I have a roommate now, but I’ve lived alone several times previously and always loved it. Because I’m an introvert, it gave me more time and energy to devote to purposeful causes. I do understand the concerns he raises about making  yourself the center of your own universe, though. I definitely don’t like to think of myself as a dependent being.
  • Carolyn Weber, the author of the lovely memoir Surprised by Oxford {Amazon Affiliate link}, has a lovely blog where she’s doing a series called I Read Dead People. Her latest installment is about Frankenstein, and the thoughts and feelings surrounding her father’s hospitalization.
  • Speaking of hospitalization, here’s a good reminder from the Brazen Careerist blog about the ten health mistakes you’re making because you think you’re too busy. Guilty, guilty, guilty…
  • If you’ve been looking for good photography info, I hope you’re following the Digital Photography School blog in general. Today there was a good basic tutorial on how to choose the right shutter speed. I’ve been shooting in Program mode a lot but I need to experiment more with Aperture or Shutter priority before I make the leap to full Manual. I need to get in some more practice!
  • I could have written this post, but for all of you who’ve been asking since I made the move to full-time freelancing, here’s the Mint.com blog’s take on how to start freelancing. I’ve been doing the prep work for years (I incorporated in March of 2009) and while I still need to learn a bit more about accounting, I’m absolutely loving making the leap (see what I did there?).

100 books in 2011

At the beginning of this year I took the GoodReads challenge and made it my goal to read 100 books. Mission accomplished (with the inclusion of the Bible, which I read through chronologically–something I can’t recommend enough– with my now-roommate Kate)! Not all were worth recommending (in fact, some were terrible), but it’s the end of 2011 and my mind is 100 books richer. :)

2012 will be the year of re-reading, starting with the Lord of the Rings and probably continuing to at least War & Peace and probably Atlas Shrugged… and from there, who knows. Anyone want to join me?

Image by shutterhacks

I’ve told some people about this and several have asked for the list (which I’ve been keeping all along), so here you go…

1) Believing God by R.C. Sproul, Jr.
2) A Chance to Die (Amy Carmichael) by Elisabeth Elliot
3) Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot*
4) The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
5) The Testament by John Grisham
6) Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Rigler
7) Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
8 ) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien*
9) The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
10) In the Company of Others by Jan Karon
11) A. L. T. by Andre Leon Talley
12) Chocolate & Vicodin by Jennette Fulda
13) Born Round by Frank Bruni
14) Poke the Box by Seth Godin
15) Emily Post by Laura Claridge
16) The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis*
17) Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon
18) Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
19) Live Alone and Like It by Marjorie Hillis
20) The King’s Speech by Mark Logue
21) Keep A Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot
22) The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
23) The Narnian (C.S. Lewis) by Alan Jacobs
24) Millionaire Women Next Door by Thomas Stanley
25) Common As Air by Lewis Hyde
26) Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis*
27) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis*
28) The Silver Chair  by C.S. Lewis*
29) At Home by Bill Bryson
30) The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis*
31) Assured by God by Burk Parsons
32) God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew*
33) The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis*
34) All By My Selves by Jeff Dunham
35) Bossypants by Tina Fey
36) Do the Work by Steven Pressfield
37) The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis*
38) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle*
39) When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley
40) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery*
41) The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
42) Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriett Reisen
43) Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery*
44) This is A Book by Dimitri Martin
45) Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery*
46) The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel
47) Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery*
48) Familyhood by Paul Reiser
49) Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery*
50) If You Ask Me by Betty White
51) Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery*
52) Made to Crave by Lisa TerKeurst
53) Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery*
54) Snobs by Julian Fellowes
55) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens*
56) Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery*
57) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows
58) Mavericks at Work by William Taylor
59) Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes
60) Christianity & Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen
61) A Praying Life by Paul Miller
62) Addicted to Mediocrity by Franky Schaeffer
63) Half Assed by Jennette Fulda*
64) Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery*
65) The Story of Charlotte’s Web by Michael Sims
66) Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
67) Young, Restless & Reformed by Collin Hansen
68) Emily Climbs by L.M. Montgomery
69) Good Stuff by Jennifer Grant
70) Emily’s Quest by L.M. Montgomery
71) My Lucky Life in and out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke
72) Further Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
73) Eat Mor Chikin by S. Truett Cathy
74) Radical by David Platt
75) A Wind in the Door by Madeline L’Engle*
76) A House Like A Lotus by Madeline L’Engle*
77) A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeline L’Engle*
78) In Christ Alone by Sinclair Ferguson
79) Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg
80) The King of Madison Avenue by Kenneth Roman
81) Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
82) Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
83) Life Without Limits by Nick Vujicic
84) Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
85) Chore Whore by Heather Howard
86) Be My Guest by Conrad Hilton
87) Suck Your Stomach in and Put Some Color On by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson
88) Einstein in Love by Dennis Overbye
89) Mistress of the Monarchy by Alison Weir
90) Confessions of a Carb Queen by Susan Blech*
91) Diary of a Player by Brad Paisley
92) Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres
93) Many Waters by Madeline L’Engle*
94) Growing Up Amish by Ira Wagler
95) The Wilder Life by Wendy McClure
96) Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper
97) The Flinch by Julian Smith
98) The Organized Heart by Staci Easton
99) Christmastide: Prayers for Advent through the Epiphany for the Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle
100) The Bible *

*Re-read