Do the next thing

Sometimes I get grumpy and feel like God owes me a girlfriend or some more friends in my physical life to fill in my days or a higher paying job or a friendlier church or nicer weather etc etc. One of the problems with this is that the focus is on me and my wants and what I think will make me happier. It’s a mildly narcissistic approach to life.

Instead the focus needs to be on God and who He is and what He’s done and is doing. God is good and is worthy of my trust. And then out of that comes the question: ‘what can I do with God?’ (This question is not meant to mean ‘what can I do for God?’ as He does not need me at all or ‘what can I do to make God like me?’ as if my piddly actions impress Him) It is a means to think about how I can serve God and others instead of myself.

The funny thing is that when I take the focus off myself and what I feel I need that there are opportunities all around me. For example I’m staying at my parents on my break from work and I started off just using it as a holiday and my parents are really relaxed people and have no issue with that, but then I started thinking that I should do something to help them. So I helped them feed the cattle their hay, which they really appreciated, and I’ve been trying to wash and dry the dishes in the middle of the day so there aren’t so many to do at night and I’ve also washed some of the windows. It’s just been really healthy to not think of myself as a lone individual, but as someone who needs to serve others in practical (and mundane) ways.

I have some poor friends with two kids and they don’t really ever go on holidays. When I was young my family always went to this beach on the South Coast of New South Wales. I’ve often wanted to return except I’ve felt like I haven’t really got too many people who would want to come with me. (Full disclosure I haven’t actually asked anyone except my sister who was interested, but did not start discussing dates.) Anyway, I thought that I could ask my poor friends to go with me and pay for their accommodation and fuel to drive there. They agreed and we’re going in the first week of September. This isn’t necessarily very altruistic of me because I’ll probably get more out of it than them, but they will also get a holiday. If it works it’s something I can do in the future when I want to go on holiday and don’t have anyone to go with.

Another thing that’s been helpful is to take some little steps with battling sin. I had kind of gotten into a pattern of frequent lustful masturbation and I knew I needed to break it, but I wasn’t really doing much other than complain about it and hope for the best. When I got really serious there were plenty of little things that I could do. For example instead of getting into the holiday mode of going to bed later and then getting up later, which isn’t good for my purity, I started setting my alarm for 6.30am. This means I wake up with a start and don’t wank. I’ve also been tighter with myself on what I’m allowed to view and think about and started being accountable with this information and that’s been helpful as well. Neither of those things are very major, but they’ve helped and also helped me feel like I’m making progress.

So I would encourage us all when we are down to take the focus off ourselves and put it on God and think about the next little thing we can do to help others and fight sin. Sometimes it’s as simple and boring as washing the dishes.

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Satisfied in You

Life is hard. It is wearying and long and there are so many ways to be disappointed and frustrated. Today was less fun. The thought of being alone and never having a companion brought tears to my eyes a few times. I got an average mark on my assignment when I had attempted to follow the instructions. Holidays make me feel lonely because I don’t have work to distract me and make me tired.

But I can’t look to the things of this world to give me life.

I must look to Him.

This is not a whine. This is an acknowledgement that life is hard and reality can hurt. But I am not a victim of my circumstance. If our God is for us who can be against us? I will trust in Him and who He is and in His promises. I truly believe that His ways are right and that He is good.