Today I’m thrilled to have fellow ACFW member, Sherri Stone here on my blog. I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to notice a common theme in the devotions I’ve posted lately. And no, I don’t plan what my guest bloggers write about. 😉 The theme? Pretty sure it’s clear in her title. Wow, this one is a hard one to get. Maybe that’s why God keeps repeating it. 🙂
Oh, and before I go much further, I wanted to announce the winner of last week’s give-away. Elaine Stock, you’re it! I’ve gotta admit, having won give-aways hosted on your blog twice now, I’m uber thrilled! I’ll email you soon to chat about the best way to get Janet’s book, Heaven’s Pray, to you.
Thank God It’s NOT About ME!!
I’ve been a social worker for over twenty years, and as you might imagine that has brought me face to face with more problems than I care to remember. Some situations are out of our control as humans, but it’s startling to know how many miseries are self-induced. When you have my job it’s also quite frustrating to see how many “crises” come your way because of someone else’s actions.
One Saturday when I was on call I heard from one of my nurses that a patient was out of diabetic testing supplies and had been for several days. Of course it didn’t become a crisis until Saturday. Replacing those items is not difficult during the week when resources are readily available, but on the weekend…
I was mad. I had a patient to take care of and a nurse to support, and no solutions were coming to mind. I needed to pray but because I felt angry I didn’t feel like I had the right to pray. I certainly wasn’t feeling very ‘spiritual’.
You’re already thinking it, aren’t you? When you least feel it, that’s when you most need to do it. In fact, in that moment God was already speaking to my heart, and as he does so many times, he used that situation as a teaching moment for me. It’s as if he spoke out loud and said, “If I were bound by your feelings, I would be totally useless to you. When will you remember that it’s not about you? It’s never about you. I AM the One whose strength and wisdom matter. I AM the One whose love never waivers. I AM the One who is never surprised. IAM the One with ALL that you will ever need. Ask me.
So I did. I vented my frustration and thanked Him that no matter how much of a mess my emotions were He was and would always be God. I also thanked Him ahead of time for taking care of the problem, which of course He did.
I do need reminding from time to time, though, so there is now a tab in my bible that marks Numbers 22, the story of Balaam’s donkey. The tab simply says “NOT ABOUT ME!” God chose to use a donkey to speak to Balaam. (The amazing thing is that Balaam talked back, but that’s a story for another day.) The point is, God can use whatever or whomever is available. Sometimes that’s a donkey. Sometimes that’s me. Sometimes there’s not much difference.
Can we be thankful in all situations? Yes. Is it easy. Of course not. It takes remembering where to focus our thanks. If we wait to feel thankful we have missed it. God is not now, nor will He ever be handicapped by our emotions. Picture God as a large boulder holding down the strings of many balloons. The balloons are our emotions and they may hold perfectly still on a calm day, or they may be whipped into a frenzy in a storm, but they will never move the rock!
A thankful heart is not a feeling. It is a choice. Every day, in every situation we have the right, and God’s permission to come to Him at any time no matter how we feel. We develop a heart quick to give thanks when we take our burdens to him – no matter how we feel – trust Him for the results, and give thanks for who He is.
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus” (1 Thes. 5:18, NLT).
Sherri is a medical social worker with hospice. She is currently working on her Dark Family Secrets Series, but is also collaborating with her hospice chaplain on a book about the hospice experience. This is her third year with ACFW. Connect with her at www.sherristone.net or http://www.facebook.com/sherrilynnestone or on Twitter @sherristone2.