Am I Responsible for Their Happiness?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.                                                                                                            1 Thessalonians 5:24 NIV

The tendency to confuse faithfulness with responsibility runs deep in my DNA.

I did not distinguish between those things when putting a Saturday women’s conference together for our church. My intent was to minister to the women who attended our Sunday School class. So when I learned how many additional women were registering, I began to worry. Why were they coming? What were they expecting? This wasn’t an event I’d spent months planning. I hadn’t even promoted it but for a notice in the bulletin.

When I feel overwhelmed, I usually discover I’m feeling responsible for something beyond my control. My desire to minister to the women at the conference had morphed into a burden to make them happy. The pressure to meet their unknown expectations was stealing my joy. It was all on me.

The Difference Between a Goal and a Desire

In order to help us understand where our responsibilities end, some thought leaders have delineated between a goal and a desire. A goal is something you want, and you control the means to reach it. A desire is something you want, but you don’t control the variables to reach it. You need the cooperation of other people and/or circumstances for your desired result to happen.

For example, let’s say you plan a picnic for your family. You get up early to shred cheese for their favorite sandwiches. You hum as you spread pimento cheese onto slices of homemade bread. The picture of your family enjoying your special effort brings a smile as you pack a lovely quilt.

An hour before you leave, your son’s friend calls to invite him to the pool. He’s spent time with his friend but not with the family. You say, “Next time. Today is family time.” Disappointment oozes out of his pores. His body comes to the picnic, but not his heart.

At lunch you hand your daughter her sandwich on a paper plate decorated with her favorite cartoon character. She whines, “I don’t like this bread.”

At least you have homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Your son grabs the cookies, the ones you stayed up to midnight to bake, and says, “Mom, they’re moving!” To your dismay, the seal wasn’t tight. Ants march through your cookies.

Did you fail? Was your effort a complete waste? That depends.

If your goal was to make them happy, then yeah, you failed. No one’s happy. But if your goal was to love your family, then, well done! Big success.

Learn from Jesus

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29 NIV).

Jesus’ assignments aren’t heavy burdens, when we live yoked to Him. He’s gentle. If we learn from Him, we’ll be gentle with ourselves too. Any goal that requires someone else’s cooperation can be blocked by them. God doesn’t hold us responsible for what we can’t control. He asks us to be faithful—to Him.

God doesn’t measure success by how things appear but by how we trust Him. When I realized the source of my anxiety before the conference, I was able to let it go. I only had to be faithful to do my part in the power of the Holy Spirit and leave the results to Him.

TWEETABLE
Am I Responsible for Their Happiness? – insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big Godand Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, was released in February 2020.

Little Faith, Big God: Grace to Grow When Your Faith Feels Small by [Wilson, Debbie]

She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Have you ever found yourself stressing over what is beyond your control? What happened?

God’s Chosen Ones

by Christina Rose

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”                                                            Colossians 3:12 ESV

A few years ago, I worked in downtown San Francisco. Many of my lunch hours were spent exploring the local historic churches. I would hop a cable car to the top of Nob Hill to Grace Cathedral to walk down the aisle in the light cast by the stained-glass windows as noon church bells rang. Beautiful Old St. Mary’s Cathedral in Chinatown offered noontime concerts by local members of the symphony. I would also often cross the street from my office to walk through the luxurious Palace Hotel lobby on my way to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.  

St. Patrick’s is a large, magnificent church. Its brilliant stained-glass windows showcase each of the patron saints of Ireland. Founded in 1851 to serve Irish immigrants, it today continues to serve a large immigrant population made up as several nationalities.

While all three churches had services at noon, St. Patrick’s by far had the largest attendance.

Each weekday at noon, hundreds of parishioners would fill the church, their heads bowed in prayer. Some would kneel at the large Jesus statue at the entrance and touch his feet as they whispered their prayers. Others would walk on their knees with hands in prayer, as they made their way to the altar.

One day, I saw a young man in laborer’s clothes march down the aisle and throw himself on the altar, crying out in a language I could not understand. I imagine he could have been a young father, praying for the provision of his family. On special holidays, there would be standing room only, with an overflow of devoted souls lined up outside the church.

Many, including myself, found great peace at these noontime services. Jesus said, ““Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29 ESV). Spending an hour in prayer and meditation on those visits to St. Patrick’s took my mind off of myself and my problems and moved my focus on to God and His bigger picture.

I would leave that place of worship with lightness of heart, knowing a powerful, compassionate God was in control. It put everything into the proper perspective.

Afterwards, I would return to my high-pressure corporate law office to the deadlines, trials, court appearances, and occasional tantrums. I was able to do my job calmly and keep my peace, knowing who is truly in charge of all things.

While some may associate meekness with weakness, it is actually power under control.  It is the ability to see yourself as a servant of God, rather than for other people, and truly will make your burden easy and your yoke light.  Following Jesus’ example as gentle and lowly in heart eases the pressure to perform. We rest in our confidence in Him.

As God’s Chosen One, He promises rest for all souls who seek Him.

TWEETABLE
God’s Chosen Ones – insight from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: What helps you the most in finding rest in God alone?

 

 

 

 

Are You Afraid of Missing Out?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.   Matt. 11:28 NIV 

My young friend ticked off the activities her family crammed into Christmas. They had more holiday traditions than the Okefenokee has mosquitoes. With the approach of a holiday, FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out—can hook the unsuspecting. We think more is…well, more, and less means—bless your heart; you missed out.

Someone defined busy as:

Being

Under

Satan’s

Yoke

How do we throw off this unholy bondage?

Come to Jesus.

 The first step is clear but not easy with a crowded schedule. Come to Jesus.

There’s a strong temptation when we are busy to lay aside our personal time with the Lord. All we have to do makes finding one-on-one time with Jesus feel impossible. But here’s the thing. Jesus wants the pleasure of your company. He will help you make time for Him.

This may require being flexible. But if you were young and in love, I’ll bet you’d squeeze in time for your sweetheart.

Sometimes I eat lunch with an open Bible or turn off the radio on my drive to work so I can converse with Jesus or listen to a Bible app. The time of quiet reflection refreshes my faith and recalibrates my focus.

If a time of busyness is hampering time with Jesus, ask Him to help. Look at your calendar and schedule time for Him.

Bring Him Your Burdens.

Jesus invites the “weary and burdened” to unload on Him. A burden is anything that weighs you down.

One season my responsibilities crushed me. Not only did I have holiday baking and gifts to buy, wrap, and mail, I had to prepare a workshop for the week after Christmas. One afternoon, I wrote down every crushing burden, then I pictured handing them to Jesus. The process alone lifted my spirit. But what happened next astounded me.

That afternoon an appointment unexpectedly canceled. I zipped to a nearby mall. It was like an unseen guide directed me to just the right gifts for all my out-of-town family–in an hour. And the stores gift-wrapped!

Link and Learn.

 At the end of Jesus’ life, He prayed, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (Jn. 17:4 NIV).

What? Didn’t Jesus know about all the people who were still sick? What about those who hadn’t yet heard about Him? But notice–Jesus didn’t say, “I finished all the work.” He said He’d finished the work His Father had given Him.

How can we know the work He has for us each day? We come to Him and learn from Him. Then, when we feel pressured, we can say, “Today I only have to do what God wants me to do today.”

When we live in sync with Jesus, we not only find rest for our souls, we glorify our Father. And dwelling in His presence brings us peace.

TWEETABLE
Are You Afraid of Missing Out? – insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with being overwhelmed by your to-do list?

Come to the Quiet Place

by Tammy Kennington

The mound of dishes extends to the uppermost edge of the kitchen sink, and reluctantly, I begin the process of methodically rinsing each plate, bowl, and glass before depositing it in the dishwasher. I have just enough time to finish peeling the baked-on oatmeal from the insides of the crockpot before my daughter rushes around the corner with a look of concern etched across her delicate features.

“Mommy, I need help with my math. NOW,” she emphasizes.

Casting a quick glance toward the stove, I notice the pot on the right back burner is spitting angrily across the surface. With a sigh, I quickly twist the knob to low and turn my attention to the middle-school girl planted directly in front of me. She is a diminutive package of tears and foot-tapping frustration, and I can’t wait for the school week to end and give us both a break from homework.

In that moment, the dogs begin barking uncontrollably—probably at a wayward rabbit passing through the yard—and a hungry teen-aged boy utters something about being hungry.

Me? I just want to go to bed. And I wonder why some days seem much longer than the standard 24 hours.

Jesus recognized this same weariness in his disciples.

Their day had been overflowing with prayer, preaching, and healings. The people–needy and desperate–longed for someone to make a difference…to change their lives…to offer hope. By the busy day’s end, the men were as empty as my freshly rinsed sink. Do you ever feel it, too? The need to be filled up…restored…replenished?

Jesus offers us the answer. He beckons gently, calling each of us to spend time at his feet. “…Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31 NIV).

Make your appointment with the Prince of Peace, friend. Breathe in the rest only He provides. Step away from the pressures of the immediate and discover soul treasure in the Eternal. He’s waiting to meet with you today.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29 ESV

Tammy KenningtonAbout the author: Tammy Kennington is a writer, speaker, and child abuse awareness advocate. Familiar with the impact of trauma, mental illness, and parenting in the hard places, Tammy leads women toward a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with the God who loves them.

The author of five children’s nonfiction books, Tammy’s work has also been featured by Thriving Family, The Upper Room, Light from the Word, and others. You can meet regularly with Tammy at Mercy Multiplied.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Tammy’s children’s book for 8 to 11 year olds, Penguins,  (Exploring our Oceans: 21st Century Skills Library), please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What do you do when you spend time with the Lord? Share what works for you.