Control or Contentment? Success or Selfishness?

I’m hearing lots about eliminating “toxic” people from my life–those who don’t contribute to my “success”–about walking away. I really like this idea, but does God?* In listening to and reading motivational “success” gurus I know I’ve gotta get up at 5:00 a.m. if I’m going to “be somebody.” But God says I am somebody. People always want to know what I “do” and the temptation is to say, “I’m a writer,” as this, unlike homemaking, is an approved occupation. But God approves of me. Just because.

Still, the messages are so compelling, as are the ideas of writing bestsellers and achieving other lauded goals, having an actually heeded day planner, and checking off my to-do lists each day. And the facts that vision boards don’t work for me, and my plans almost always are superceded by “life” doesn’t faze me. It can’t be that all those people are missing something–after all, they’re “successful”–I MUST TRY HARDER. FASTER, FASTER, WORK, WORK!

As I ponder all these things, and wonder why Christian motivational speakers consider non-Christians “successful” simply because they’re famous, I suddenly remember something I once heard, and now I am listening: If at first you don’t succeed, fry, fry, a hen. Ah, now that sounds like success to me. My daughter recently roasted a fat chicken in the Hobbit way – bacon, butter, herbs, and those things under as well as atop the skin. The chicken was first rinsed and then patted dry, to be cooked on high heat, and all in pursuit of a very crispy and delicious skin. Roasted along this dear bird were root vegetables, and all hearts were made glad.

When Rebekah asked what I wanted done with the chicken I could have told her my plan. Rather, I asked for her suggestions and out came An Unexpected Cookbook–The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. Not my plan, but better than. I’m liking the sound of that: Not my plan, but better than. My daughter is happy, my family enjoys an excellent meal, and I don’t have to cook. Success!

* In Andrew Murray’s classic book, Humility, he writes: “Look upon every fellow man who tries or vexes you as a means of grace to humble you.”

Fasting, My Dear, is About Much More Than Weight Loss!

The real power comes after the fast – the fast is preparation for BIG battles.

little girl praying

 

I had decided to simply, “Let it soak,” regarding an ongoing issue in my life.  And by “issue” don’t we so often mean a relationship issue?  Two people in my life were burrs under my saddle, and unlike most people, I am not willing to go through life with burrs under my saddle.

But like any horse, in my own strength I could not reach under that saddle and get that burr loose.

So, I decided to fast about it, pray about it, and keep soaking these people and myself in God’s love, which I am told on GOOD authority, never fails.

Well, I soaked them for seven days in the fast (praying for them day and night), and then two days later the burrs really stuck deep, as Satan was trying extra hard to stay where he was.

It was time to take those stained clothes out of the soaking pan and put them in the washer, agitator on on high speed!  I gave my opinion to one of these individuals, and boy did the agitator agitate.  Not fun.

I began to pray (in tongues, which is the very best and most indispensable tool for really sticky burrs, and if this is a burr under your saddle, see for yourself what Paul has to say about tongues).  Suddenly the Holy Spirit took over my prayers and I was The Somebody, as in Somebody has to take it to the heart.

In the third Hobbit movie, Thorin took his best warriors and climbed the mountain right into the enemy command center.   Enough was enough.  He had to be that Somebody who took it to the heart.  He had to act like the King and Dragonslayer he was born and called to be.

We are born, born again, to be Kings, to take Jesus to the heart of evil.  We are not to be Craven Cowards (see Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds Feet on High Places) and go licking our wounds each time we’re scratched.  We  are to decide once and for all, that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Fasting and praying, reading the Word, and listening to faith-filled preaching for seven days, put me in that place of power, strength, and unstoppable, bulldog, enough-is-enough FAITH to take it to the heart of the issue.

The heart of the issue was spiritual.  Actually, as I prayed and did  all-or-nothing spiritual warfare  (the demons could have heard and sensed me in the next county), the Holy Spirit revealed to me what was behind each thing I prayed against.  As I came against issue after issue, stronghold upon stronghold, I realized (big surprise, duh) the root issue was fear.

II Timothy 1:7 tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”  No need to expect power or love or a locigally reasoning mind from someone bound up in fear.  But if you can see it, if you can recognize the real root of the issue, you are the very person to take it to the mountain.  Boy, are you Somebody now!

P.S.  If you have never had the experience of being used by God to be The Someone let me tell you it’s the way to go.  You will be like Thorin and his warriors with their swords, and like Bilbo Baggins with his courage (study Smith Wigglesworth if you want inspiration for this, or just do the simple thing and read the Bible and choose the life therein).

.  You will be Someone.

And if you die, you die making a difference.  So much better than being the fearful, the living dead.

Seriously! Me Read The Lord of the Rings?!!!

old-books

I’ve stopped the lament about the dearth of edifying, smut-free, uplifting and thought-provoking books being published recently.  I’ve even taken a further step and am reading well-known classics (some are awful, by the way, and don’t deserve finishing) and lesser known but quite excellent books, such as Beverly of Graustark, and Elizabeth Goudge’s ever-so-marvelous Pilgrim’s Inn.

But today I have made up my mind to read books recommended by my family, books I’ve resisted for a number of years, throughout our home school journey.

hobbit-house

Experience says this is a good idea.  Case in point:  The HobbitSince high school when my girlfriend urged me repeatedly to read it, I have said, “It’s not my thing.  I know I won’t like it.”

My kids have also relentlessly pestered and badgered me to read The Hobbit, and finally, after years of resistance, I relented and read it.  And loved it!  And over the past three weekends, the three Hobbit movies have been our excellent viewing entertainment (greatly enhanced and understood because of first reading the book).

So where does all this go?  To the classic literature they have all read, the books they pity me in my ignorance of, and stubborn resistance about – The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

girl-in-read-reading

There seems to be a sort of secret affinity and understanding, a club of higher thinkers if you will, that those of us who haven’t read The LOTR books simply cannot fathom.  Therefore, it would behoove me, methinks, to read these literary masterpieces and make everyone in my house believe there is hope after all, that miracles do indeed happen, and that Mom is redeemable – perhaps even interesting – now that she is learning the difference between an orc and a ring wraith, and can even speak a bit of Gollum.

Here’s the Challenge:  Read things you don’t think you’ll like, just to make someone else happy.  Who knows what could happen?  Maybe the next time I want them to read something marvelous about which they have reservations, they’ll just read it!

What a concept – reading something new and different just because it will make someone else happy, just because it’ll give you insights into their strange conversations, just because it’s the way into “The LOTR Club” of higher thinking individuals.  This sounds like a no-lose deal.

And who knows, I might even like it, orcs and all.