December 13, 2022
Today I Will Be Strong and Courageous
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV).
Friend to Friend
I thought I was so godly … until we decided to move. If you want to measure your faith, just decide to pack up everything you own, put it in cardboard boxes, and move.
And if you really want to test the strength of your faith, decide to basically gut the house into which you are moving. Yep! That ought to do it!
Paint. I know a fresh coat of paint can make old walls dance with new life, but painting is also messy, time consuming, and the source of total chaos. Cans of paint lugged from room-to-room along with paint trays that are guaranteed not to spill … until they do. And don’t get me started on the whole taping thing.
New carpet. New carpet is a beautiful thing … unless those who install the carpet somehow got the impression, we didn’t want said carpet in the hallway. A communication error they said. Really? And of course, they had to order more carpet. An old piece of old carpet was put down in the hallway. Now the only thing we had to worry about was not falling over the flaps of carpet in every doorway. But I did … trip and fall.
I could go on … I really could, but you get the idea. I wish I could tell you that I handled every glitch, mistake, and hiccup in this move with a sense of humor and a good attitude, but I didn’t. I could blame it on the fact that I was tired and in pain because I was.
I have Scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis in my spine, which accounts for the severe back pain. I was also exhausted. After my last speaking event of the year in the first week of December, I raced home and packed like a crazy woman. Since we moved ourselves with the help of friends, time was running out!
Our closing date was changed three times which meant our moving date landed in the middle of the week during which our Christmas services were held. Translation: Our church has 14 Christmas services, and my husband is the Lead Teaching Pastor of our church.
I could have blamed my impatience during this move on many things and people would back me up. But God didn’t.
I could have justified my negative attitude toward people who did not do what they said they would do during this move. But Scripture certainly didn’t.
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV).
I had let my guard down. The result was a lack of faith and strength. I had moaned and complained at times like I was being persecuted in some way. How absurd! I was inconvenienced … and that is a far cry from being persecuted.
In more than 40 nations around the world today – including America - Christians are being persecuted for their faith. In some nations it is illegal to even own a Bible. Followers of Christ face harassment, arrest, torture, and even death.
I look around … and I am ashamed. I try to assuage my shame with the fact that I went through every single item we own and donated hundreds of those items to our church’s thrift store. But I still have so much while so many have so little.
The bottom line is this: I need to refocus and adjust my perspective. How about you?
Set aside your comfort.
Forfeit your convenience.
Choose to serve God to the fullest whenever and wherever you can … and while you’re at it, choose joy.
Father, please forgive me for my complaining spirit and petty whining about things that simply do not matter. Give me an eternal perspective. Help me focus on what does matter – my character – not my comfort. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
When you face a difficult situation, where do you turn first for help?
What is your attitude about those difficult situations in your life?
How does that attitude need to change?
More from the Girlfriends
Still looking for that special Christmas gift? Check out Mary’s Joy Journals and daily devotion books, Life is So Daily – Volume 1 and 2. Perfect for family and friends.
Need encouragement … a friend to help you on your journey? Are you a pastor’s wife or Women’s Ministry leader? I can help you. Check out my coaching ministry, Friends for the Journey.
© 2022 by Mary Southerland. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Tuesday, 13 December 2022.