THE ABIDING LIFE
Praising God in an Imperfect World
By Gwen Sellers
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Continued from Page One
The real kicker for me has been the internet/cable situation. I called two weeks prior to moving to schedule the change of service and was told they would verify everything and it should be an easy switch. Multiple phone calls and appointments later, I'm told I will have service two weeks after I planned. But God is using this. For one thing, it shows me just how addicted to internet and television I am. Rather than zone out at night to TV or feel in control and on top of things because I'm online, I'm being challenged to live a new way. Television can't be my escape from stress. I've been reminded that God is present and it is He who is my true Home and gives me peace; I need to look to Him, not the TV, for my comfort. In many ways, not having ready internet access was probably a forced rest from my A-type / get-it-all-done-right-now / look-high-achieving-and-perfect-to-the-world tendencies, and a reminder that God — not Gwen — is in control, during the hectic time of the move. Denied the ability to finish certain details, I had to take a needed break, and I also had to trust that it would be okay. God both rested me and challenged me in this. I've also been given the opportunity to demonstrate patience and kindness with customer service representatives, or at least to try. I am being firm with the company and advocating for myself, yet also doing my best to not ream out each representative with whom I speak.
And, again, God provides. My parents live close by and I've been able to use their internet. They've also loaned me a DVD player for nighttime entertainment. Interestingly enough, it seems my recorded shows are still recording, so I won't even miss out on things I'd wanted to see. When I'm not in the midst of moving, I'm at work where there is internet. And it turns out that work has a portable hotspot that I can bring home to use for things like email in the interim. What a great gift. As an added bonus, my internet/cable bill will be less as well. This one issue has threatened to negatively color my entire moving experience, but that is not God's purpose in this. Rather than focus on the inconvenience and annoyance, I want to look at the provisions and opportunities.
There is so much about the move for which to be grateful. It's time to embrace the joy and launch into this new phase. I have an open house celebration to plan for. People left and right are congratulating me and celebrating with me. Even the baker at the grocery store had a beaming smile and gave me a discount on the cake as a way to say congratulations and best wishes. People are readily sharing in this venture. And their excitement helps remind me to be grateful and to give the glory to God.
One guest I'm particularly excited to have at the open house is a new neighbor. As God would have it, this particular neighbor is one I thought was displeased with me when I was at the house for the inspection. But when I saw her on closing day, she seemed pleasant and gave some helpful information. And, when I actually met her a few days later, she was completely pleasant. She even told me she'd been praying for the new neighbors and invited me to join her for dinner. She also invited herself to join a summer Bible study I plan to host, and she had other good information as well as hopes for a neighborly friendship.
So, even though the move was not what I expected and I'm learning the ins-and-outs of my new home, God is faithful. He sees me. He loves me. He provides at each step. Challenges He uses to transform me and strengthen me, as well as to show me how I'm not alone.
Rather than bemoan the things that aren't working or the things I dislike, I want to give praise for the multitude of things that are working and that I love. I want to fully embrace this new phase that God has me in. It's so easy to want life to be easy or at least to be the same, but easy doesn't bring growth. And what I most want in life is to know God more and to be made more fully like Jesus. If an internet/cable connection and grimy outlets is what it takes, then okay. May I submit, learn, and look to God for where and how He is filling my glass. Yes, the size isn't quite right, but the filling is good and this time on earth is a shaping process. With that perspective in mind, my stress decreases and the hard, frustrating things of life are easier to handle. God really is in control. And He really is a loving and faithful father.
Though perhaps a bit overused, Paul's words in Philippians 4, written while imprisoned, seem a fitting reminder to me in this, and really every, situation: "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:4-7). There is always something over which to rejoice. I want to train my eyes toward God, looking expectantly for His activity in my life. He is there, and when I look to Him, I see cause to give praise even if our current world is far from perfect.
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | God-Father | Hardships
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