What I am reading this week.....
(1) I love this article about how sometimes limiting displays of affection is whats best for the other person. This article talks about situations where one is moving from friendship into relationship. But, I have found this to be true in established relationships where one person needs things to slow down for a bit. I've had it happen to me and I have been the one to slow things down. I think the author's point about caring for someone meaning you don't make grand statements before you are ready. I've been hurt by this and currently have a friend who was recently hurt by this (a guy rushing in too fast), so I think its best to wait. Don't discuss serious things too much before you are ready...or if you think the other person is still getting ready.
Displays of public affection, verbal commitments that are born out of sheer emotion, and false promises based on temporary emotions are the "useless" gifts that we can be so generous with. But then we’re too stingy with the costly gifts essential for the other person’s well-being: We don’t consider their welfare before we pronounce our commitment or affection; we don’t consider whether our displays of affection will be healthy for them or cause possible confusion and later hurt. Are you learning to deny your selfish desires and put the other person’s spiritual welfare ahead of your own emotional and physical lusts?
How do you truly know whether you are committed to this person and that you truly love him or her? Here’s how you know: Your love is directly proportional to your willingness to act unselfishly, to even let the person think less of you, if in doing so you are serving their spiritual advancement. If you would rather not declare your love because you want to make sure the relationship is wise, that’s counting the cost. That’s love. If you would rather know whether your feelings are returned before you even know whether the relationship would honor God, that’s selfishness. Analyzing your feelings is a waste of time. Analyze instead the fruit of love, your willingness to sacrifice, your commitment to the other person’s welfare.
(2) This post by Ray Orland is so encouraging..sometimes we are trusting, even when we are struggling through the hurt. If I had a nickle for every time some well meaning Christian has told me during a time of struggle that I wasn't trusting enough, I'd retire now. Sometimes, there was truth to what they were saying, but MANY times, I was struggling and doubting and trusting anyways....thats hard. This is espeically common in singleness (and from what I hear, in waiting to have a baby) -- I would usually walk away from those conversations feeling just as frustrated by my singleness as I was before, except now I also felt guilty for being a bad Christian and not trusting God enough.
You may be going through hell right now. You may be bewildered, gasping, frightened. But that doesn’t mean you aren’t trusting God. It might mean you are trusting God.
Isaiah really unde...rstood something. He understood that it’s in this tension that our strength is renewed. How so? There is something about coming to the end of ourselves and our own strength and wisdom — that’s when our hearts finally crack open, and the love of God pours in.
When we have nothing of our own left, when nothing will suffice but that which is directly and immediately of God, that’s when God alone is our sufficiency, and we find him to be so. He’s worth the wait.
(3) Jon Acuff hit the nail on the head when talking about fearing the future. I am bad about this. When I was job searching, I imagined the future as me living with my parents or barely making ends meet working in a restaurant, drowning in debt. As a single, I imagine that I will never get married and will spend my holidays all alone in my house eating takeout and watching lifetime or sitting awkwardly through a family meal with someone else. In law school, I'd miss one question on a final and imagine I failed. Where is God is these imagined worst outcomes? Nowhere. Even if the worst were to happen to me, it could still be redeemed, still be salvaged. Even if I walked through the valley of the shadow of death, I would not do it alone. Thanks for the reminder Jon!
There’s just me. With my meager skills and abilities trying to navigate the entire world
That should be scary. I’m wildly incapable of trying to control the world. I’ve tried. It didn’t work.
God, on the other hand? You’d be surprised h...ow very few things get out of control when they are in his hands. Never is the word that comes to mind. You’d be surprised how many situations are beyond his ability to redeem. None is the word that comes to mind. You’d be surprised how many monsters are bigger than him. Zero is the word that comes to mind.
Fear is a lonely thing because it always tries to tell you there is no God. Don’t listen to it. God is near. And fear is a liar.
(4) Fabs Harford may be my favorite blogger ever. I want to be her best friend. I relate to everything she writes, partly because she is 30 and single and serving the Lord and stumbling through life like the rest of us, and partly because she is so honest. I love that, I love feeling like she was honest about the good and bad in a situation.
Here is her article on Love v. Ego hunger as it relates to relationships and even more importantly, as it relates to God.
(5) Jesus despises suffering. Love this article. Love the Paul Tripp Quote included.
“To have an accurate, biblically balanced view of suffering, you must first say suffering is a bad thing. Its existence points out all the things that are wrong with us and our world. We live in a world that is broken and groaning under the weight of all the damage that the fall has done. We should never look at all of this carnage and think that it is okay that people suffer. Scripture calls us to be a community of compassion, motivated by love, and zealous to relieve or remove suffering whenever and wherever we can. And the Bible promises that there will be a day when all this carnage will forever end, and we will be welcomed into a place totally free of any pain or suffering.” – Paul Tripp, Lost in the Middle