The Study With Friends community includes a team of bloggers who bless us with authentic and honest musings about how their faith informs their life, and how life informs their faith. These blogs offer insights and advice from the heart. They are experiential. For instructional insights, visit our bible study page.
I was diagnosed with MS about 14 years ago. The good news, that I found out immediately, is that there is medicine that can help me cope with all of the symptoms and maybe even help stay in remission. This wasn’t always the case! The bad news is that all of the medical treatment options were needles– injections. I don’t like needles, like a lot of people. In fact, I’ve passed out at just the sight of a needle before. I thought this was a cruel joke! I did it every day, took that shot, that needle, which was going to keep me in remission. It never did, but I kept trying different medication options. Always needles.
Just for a moment, think what it would be like if one day you chanced upon a person who was trying to figure out what are the most important things to know in life. You would be given the task of helping that person decipher this. What would you say?
When it comes to daily time in the Word and prayer, we have a lot of reasons why it might not happen. “I know I should read my Bible every day, but I get distracted and forget.” “I meant to spend time in prayer but the kids just never give me a minute.” “I’m too busy.” We may not say these things out loud, but either we think them or we unconsciously believe them. What comes next in this cycle? Guilt, regret, lament. We are pitiful creatures that way.
If you know me socially or personally, a fair depiction of me is that I am an extrovert—gregarious and sociable. However, I am not that entirely. My oomph comes from being by myself, in the Word and with Jesus. My heart delights in this time. Unfortunately, I fall short, bigtime, when it comes to making and/or taking time to just be me, in the quiet, with Him.
Age is a funny thing. It has the power to make us feel powerful and important, or weak and incapable. Feeling “old” or “young” can have remarkable consequences for how we treat ourselves and others. Whether it’s the naivete of a teenager, the wisdom (or stodginess) of the retired, or the whirl-wind that is the “prime of life,” the world judges us by the number of years we’ve been alive.
But it’s just a number, right?
Well, I just turned 30. Honestly, I feel just how I thought I would feel.
And nothing like I thought I would feel.
The boat would turn onto the new tack, or course, as the passenger ducked under the boom that was swinging to the other side of the boat. The passenger would find a perch on the opposite side of the boat from the billowing sail and lean back to balance the boat. The sail would fill up with the wind and off we would go in the new direction. It was magical, like a dance on the water.
As last year was ending and a new year approaching, I, like many, did my own little “year in review.” 2017 seemed to have its share of downers. Among them, my mother fell and broke her hip, and subsequently died. After finally persuading my husband to take a vacation (it had been several years since our last one), our trip south in September was cancelled by a hurricane (one of several that affected our country). There were earthquakes and wild fires in our country and terrorist attacks all over the world. I personally was sick with bronchitis for over six weeks. That was followed by a shingles outbreak that lasted 4 months. In December my husband spent 8 days in court being defended in a law suit. I could easily have felt sorry for us, and the world in general.
Our society uses merit-based standards to judge whether someone or something is worthy of a title or role, such as a Grammy or Oscar award winner, military General, Nobel Laureate, pageant winner, etc. We consider income, status, accomplishments or the opinions of others to determine worth. We also place a great emphasis on self-esteem, which is defined as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect.”
But what does scripture say about worth and worthiness?
Long before I became a mom, I worked in Santa Monica, CA. I worked for a boss who would harass me sexually with his vocal comments. He was very inappropriate. So much so that I wanted to file a report with OSHA. However, I feared that he would track me down. He did not seem to be a very stable human being. The payroll check that I received bounced. No real surprise there, considering his instability.
It’s hard to remember the last time I was truly joyful. I’m a generally happy, positive person. But when was the last time I truly exuberated joy? I’ve heard the difference between happiness and joy described many ways, but this is one of my favorites: Happiness is an emotion that can disappear as quickly as it comes, but Joy is a choice.