If only…

Have you ever played that mind game with yourself, “If only….”? Maybe you have even played it with your closet friends talking aloud or seeing someone win the lottery on the nightly news.

If only, I lived there instead of here. If only, I had a million dollars I could follow my dream. If only, I were thin and beautiful like her I would have a lot of friends. If only, I were different than who I am now.

What it means to follow Jesus

There have been plenty of times, I played the “if only” game throughout my life. I wondered why God placed me in the most useless place or circumstance. As I measured myself against others, I would sigh and wonder when it would be my turn to be happy, to be at peace, or to feel fulfilled. It is so easy to fall into this “if only” game with social media showing us how much fun or how happy others seemingly are by their vacation, party photos, and joyous announcements.

The “if only” game is a trap we must avoid at all costs.

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:21-25 (GW)

Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was the greatest use. He did not think the way we do, but how God thinks. He never defended, argued back, or vindicated Himself because He knew God’s character and understood His purpose.

What then is my purpose where I am planted now?

“So I can guarantee that God’s angels are happy about one person who turns to God and changes the way he thinks and acts.” Luke 15:10 (GW)

I find it freeing in Jesus’ example of never defending or arguing about God’s character. He went about the purpose God put Him on earth to accomplish. He suffered and died for me to save me from my sins. Why must I complain? We never have to play the “if only” game with God. Christ accomplished our “if only.”

”If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”

So then, those who suffer according to God’s Will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter 4:14-19 (GW)

I must never measure my life against another person. God is the director of my life. We each have our own place and purpose for the glory of God. When I refuse to play the “if only” game as a follower of Jesus, I am totally incapable of judging where I am to be. I satisfy His heart when I make others strong and mature in God.

mulberry tree

My Prayer

“I thank you, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, I pray that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, that no evil may have power over me. Amen.”

(Adapted from Martin Luther’s Morning Prayer)

Getting to know God

I have been writing in a journal since I was a young girl. I have kept a prayer journal over the last ten years to draw closer to God. Are you waiting for answers? Draw closer to God.

The Prayer Journals Facebook page provides prayer journal prompts and inspiration. Please join me there or on Twitter @prayerprompts.

God’s Blessings to You,

sheri-clear-glasses
Sheri

© 2016-2020 All Rights Reserved

Getting Our Attention, A Faith Series #3

In the first post in this series, Getting Our Attention, A Faith Series, I touched upon an unforeseen event that occurred in my life in the summer of 2009. It not only affected my life, but for many, especially in the United States. It was the economic crisis of 2008 that resulted from the mortgage industry bust. Never in my wildest imagination would I think my life would take such a dramatic and frightening turn as it did that summer. My career suddenly ended. My family’s entire future was at risk. The old aphorism comes to mind when we suddenly find ourselves in dire straits – “There are no atheists in foxholes.”

Yet God doesn’t only get our attention when unusual circumstances cause extreme stress or fear; He can turn us toward Him with wonderful unforeseen surprises too.

A Love Story

It was the year I would turn 31 years old. My father had passed away suddenly the year before. I began to take stock of my life and wondered about my future. I was single, unattached, and my friends had not only married, but we’re beginning to start a family. My career kept me traveling during the week and it was difficult to meet new people. I decided to put a personal advertisement in the local newspaper. This was before the Internet and personal ads were the thing then to meet new people and potential significant others.

After considering what qualities in a significant other I desired and the activities I enjoyed, I crafted a specific and concise personal ad. I decided that the photo was optional because after all, the person was taking a chance on my looks too.

Several weeks prior to placing that personal ad, my best friend suggested, “Perhaps God doesn’t want you to be married and have a family.” Like a dagger in my heart, I was crushed to think God did not want me to have a life companion. While I felt desperate at the time and I wondered if I was making the right choice in placing a personal ad in a newspaper, I relied on God to show me if I was meant to be with someone. I was willing to accept whatever direction and answer He gave me.

“Everyone should live the life that the Lord gave him when God called him.” 1 Corinthians 7: 17

After a few anxious days of my personal ad being published, I received a total of 24 letters many from whom had not bothered to read my personal ad. I had letters from men ranging in age far from my designated target range. There were inarticulate letters and others that seemed like essays on why they would be the “one.”

notecard1There was one card that kept drawing my attention. The handwriting on the envelope was small and neat. My heart had skipped a beat when I pulled the Henry Matisse note-card from the envelope. I had the exact same note-cards. After several days of examining and re-examining the note-card and gathering my courage, I decided to call him. After several weeks of dating, and discussing our individual hopes for the future, he asked me to marry him. Fearful of rushing too quickly into marriage, we waited a year before getting married on a Maui beach in Hawaii. In a few short weeks on February 14th, my husband and I will be married 27 years.

Love

“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Vinny Sal Soul Mate

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, Thank you, Lord for getting my attention in unusual and unforeseen circumstances to that I may turn to You who knows me best. You have created us for companionship and have re-created us for fellowship in our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you, Lord for helping me to find friendship among those who know the constant love and mercy of Your Son especially my husband. Help me to continue to live under your direction, always ready to hear the call, “Follow me.” Pour into me Your good Spirit, so that I am not afraid to follow, and fall, and follow again. In Jesus Christ’s name, I pray. Amen

Getting to know God

I have written a journal since I was a young girl. In the last ten years I have kept a prayer journal to draw closer to God. Has an unusual circumstance dropped you to your knees? Draw closer to God. I encourage you to begin a prayer journal today so you can know Him too. When you draw close to God, He will draw close to you. Is He trying to get your attention today? Answer the call. I know you will be glad you did.

Getting Our Attention – A Faith Series is a four-part series. I am grateful that you have taken the time to read the third post in this series. I pray you will continue to follow The Prayer Journals blog.

The Prayer Journals Facebook page provides prayer journal prompts and inspiration. Please join me there or on Twitter @prayerprompts. If you have a specific prayer request, please email me in confidence at theprayerjournals.com@gmail.com.

God’s Blessings to You,

Head shot 2019 - revised

Sheri

© 2016-2020 All Rights Reserved