Tuesday, November 12, 2013

the root & the remedy

i've had this unsettling feeling of discouragement and dissatisfaction stirring in my spirit for almost a year. i've tried to cover it up, make excuses for it, and pretend it doesn't exist. i talked to friends about it and confided in my family. i tried praying it away and asking God to make it easier.

what i should have been doing all along was asking God to show me the root of my problem. today, He did. i didn't even have to ask. He just did. He's so good.

the long, overgrown, deep root of my problem is comparison. yuck.

i had no idea. it didn't even look like comparison! but sure enough, when i take a good hard look at my heart, i see comparison as the source of the pain. here's what it looked like: it's been almost one year since we to our new home. as soon as we got here, we started looking for a new church. i knew leaving our church home wouldn't be easy. we'd been serving, worshiping, fellowshipping, and growing our relationship with Christ there for 8 years. our friends were there. our daughter was baptized by her favorite Sunday School teacher there, and when our son just a few months old, our Pastor dedicated him to the Lord. i knew it would be hard to leave that church and find a new one.

but how hard could it be? there are more than 30 churches within five miles from our house. seriously:
approximately 40 square miles of Dallas and surrounding cities. red dots are churches. 
in our family's quest to find a new church home near in our new community, we visited a handful of churches. every Sunday, this unsettling feeling of discouragement and dissatisfaction would creep in and bring me down. it felt like homesickness but it was only on Sundays. and then, i would be overcome with a dark cloud of guilt for having the dissatisfaction feelings in the first place. that's a lot of yucky feelings to have on Sundays, my most favorite day of the week! i knew what i was feeling wasn't right.

i thought those feelings would go away when we found the right church. i was trying so hard. 

what i really was doing was comparing every church to our old church. every pastor to our old pastor. every teaching to the old church's teachings. every worship band to our old church's worship band. and nothing was matching up. nothing was good enough. there's no place like home.

it makes me nauseous to know i was doing that. i know better. God wants me. He wants my attention, all my focus on Him- not on a church. He wants my worship- regardless of how the band plays. His teachings are all i need. my satisfaction is in Him.

God revealed to me the root of my problem is comparison. and because He is a loving God, He also revealed to me the remedy to my problem, and that is thanksgiving.

i was so caught up in comparison that i didn't even see this could be is part of God's plan.
instead of comparing, critiquing, and feeling dissatisfied and discouraged, i can thank God for where He has us, for the amazing teaching i've been blessed to be under, for so many churches nearby, for the opportunity to worship God with other believers, and that we even live in a country where i am free to call Jesus my Savior. i'm thankful that our family makes God and church a priority. i'm thankful that i can hear God, and that God hears me. i'm thankful that my children love going to church to learn about Jesus. i'm thankful for what God has in store for us, wherever He has us. there is so much to be thankful for! how could i forget!? Lord, be glorified in my life! i trust Your plan!

comparison was robbing me of joy and peace. but no more. i'm repenting of those sinful thoughts and feelings, killing those roots with my utmost thanksgiving. God can do a new thing with these roots! i will grow in gratitude. i am so thankful. God is good. He is worthy.

if you are feeling down, lost, resentful, jealous, dissatisfied, or discontent, i want to encourage you to pray God shows you the root. He will! and if you find that comparison is stealing your joy, thanksgiving is the remedy.

  • thank God for who you are. you were made in God's image, and He made you wonderfully. (see Psalm 139:14)  
  • thank God for where you are. God has called you right there, right now. where you are is part of His good plan for your future. (see Jeremiah 29:11-14)
  • thank God for Whose you are. you are a child of God, bought with a price, and invited into the Kingdom for eternity. nothing compares! (see Isaiah 43:1 & Ephesians 1:4-5)

Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. 
(Acts 3:19-20)

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days...And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
(Ephesians 5:15-20)

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. 
(Colossians 2:7)

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 
(Colossians 3:15)