Wednesday, May 30, 2012

8 Seeds of Encouragement (For Fellow Desert Dwellers)



Ever have a season stretch on for what seems like forever? I have. Whether you’re dealing with infertility, a hard-to-discipline child, an unfulfilling job, mixed feelings about an estrangement, a rocky marriage, chronic pain, illness, or any other specific season that feels like the desert I aim to encourage you today.

In fact, I’m kinda wondering if that’s why my computer crashed yesterday. The 8 seeds of encouragement I’m about to share are full of hope, courage, and motivation. And not everyone wants you to feel encouraged.

But I do. And I was at church on Sunday. So I’m going to share my own take on what our pastor shared with us. We’re working through Exodus. You know, Moses, the mumble grumbles, and the manna. Ultimately, the question seeping out of that book in the Bible is this: Are you going to trust God, turn to Him with faith, and follow His instruction. (Spoiler alert…if not, He loves you anyway.)

8 Seeds of Encouragement for Fellow Desert Dwellers:

God Is Humbling You
Deuteronomy 8:3 states “God humbled you and let you hunger.” Now I bet you’re thinking where’s the encouragement in that. The Bible is saturated with verses detailing how God humbles those he loves. He blesses the humble, lifts them up. It was the humble Jesus hung around most.

You Have an Owner’s Manual
Sometimes I don’t feel like reading the Bible. Sometimes I don’t feel like exercising or eating veggies either, but I can honestly say I’ve never regretted doing any of the above. They’ve nourished me. God’s word is living and active. It bleeds into us, our outlook on life, our perception more than we could ever know.

You Are Not Alone
This is the greatest and most convincing lie we all believe at one time or another. It’s seductive. But it’s false. Yes, no one will ever know exactly what it’s like to walk in our sand-caked sandals, but Jesus promises that He will not leave us nor forsake us. And He’s pretty cool about connecting us with others who’ve gone through similar circumstances. But we need to keep our hearts and eyes open.

Oh Manna
God provided food for the desert dwellers in Exodus. Every morning. Fresh food. Sustenance. What they needed. He does the same for us. Most of the time all is takes is for us to shift our focus, to look down at our hands and feet in grateful recognition of all He’s provided.

Can You Handle It? Why Yes, You Can
We’re told He won’t give us anything beyond what we can handle. I’ve been known to ask God to throw me a bone. There are times I feel borderline crushed. I’ve grown from every single one of those times. And I never got the bone, but maybe a phone call or a hearty laugh or something small but significant to help get me through.

Complaint Meter
Time in the desert can do wonders to teach us how much we complain. Moses had to hear his people repeatedly grumble up a storm. If we pay attention, we’re able to detect how mumbly-grumbly we’ve gotten. Then we can DO something about it.

Testing 123
A test, it’s only a test. Looking at a trying circumstance this way can alleviate the disparity and hopelessness of it all. It gives instant perspective.

Ability to Distinguish Wants from Needs
I’m a crazy shopper. I’ll often whisper this question under my breath (but still out loud so other shoppers give me that “she’s batty” look). Talking to anyone? “Do I want this or need it?”

Here is one more gift that comes from desert time. We’re able to become clear about what we need in life versus what we want.

So whether it’s been 40 minutes, 40 days, or 40 years you’ve been wandering in the desert, be encouraged. Refiner’s fire. You’ll come out of this. You’ll shine.

And just like in a marathon, I’ll be waiting to encourage you on until the end. Oh Manna!


*photo by stock.XCHNG

17 comments:

  1. Those are wonderful points. Sometimes humbling hurts but it's so much better than being prideful!!
    And I love your last point too.

    Sorry to hear about your computer. :-( I hope everything gets fixed quickly and smoothly!

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  2. I loved this, Wendy. I don't feel like I'm in a desert now, but over the winter I did (and not really for any good reason!)...but I can truly say God taught me during those months of emotional exhaustion. The refiner's fire isn't comfortable ('cause, you know, when it's a fire!), but the eight seeds you wrote about remind me that, like you said, it's worth it.

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  3. Loved your take. Been in the desert. Ate sand. Drank bitter water. Feel much better now! LOL :) Beautiful post, Wendy.

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  4. Loved this post! My favorite is the you're not alone one. We really think we are, but when we open up and share, it's amazing how many other people we tend to find who've gone through something similiar. Sometimes I think that's why we have to go through something - so we'll have the compassion needed to relate to others who go through the same thing.

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  5. Great points, I need to re-read this a few times as I feel as I am going through a dessert! Thank God it is only for a season.

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  6. Love, love, love! Your point about manna struck me most. God gives us just what we need, every day. We may not be able to store it up...instead, each day, we must rely upon Him and His grace in provision. The desert time is a time for trusting. For persevering.

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  7. Being able to distinguish want from need is so crucial to happiness in life!

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  8. Beautiful post, Wendy. I drew something from every single point...thank you! Needed this today!

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  9. Jessica, I'm hopeful for that, too. And yeah, I think I get prideful w/out realizing it most of the time--hence the being humbled.

    Jennifer, Me too. :D I plan to check out your blog soon when I get up and running again.

    Melissa, So many times for me it comes down to whether I'm going to chose to learn.

    Jessica, Yep I've snacked on sand in my time. Glad this reached ya.

    Stacy, Know the commercial "there's an app for that" well "there's a verse for that". Don't remember it, but like Prego or Ragu, it's in there. I watched a lot of TV as a kid, what can I say? ;)

    TC, I just prayed for you.

    Lindsay, I loved how our pastor addressed this in his sermon. He mentioned how some of the people tried to keep leftovers. So convicting.

    Johanna, And it makes for great self-talk while shopping. :D

    Loree, That encourages me right back. Had to rewrite this bad boy b/c of the whole computer crashing ordeal. Wasn't going to give up. Glad I didn't.

    Katie, I stinkin' love you!

    Laura, Me too.

    Field Day, funeral, back to Field Day today. Strange transition for sure. But I got some rest and I wouldn't entertain worry about the whole computer crashing bit. I'll keep you posted. Meanwhile, be patient as I try to get back online the way I'd like to be.

    You all rock my world.
    ~ Wendy

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  10. Refiners fire. I love that. Thank you for these words, sweet friend.

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  11. "God is humbling you." Deep breath. This is a hard one. It hurts to be humbled, sometimes it's embarassing, it usually requires patience, but it always leads me to bow before the Throne of Grace, realizing I am nothing without Him. It's encouraging to remember that He humbles and disciplines those He loves and He blesses them. Thanks, Wendy.

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  12. Refreshing, refreshing post, Wendy.
    Lots of "anchor" points.
    Didn't get to this until the end of the day (almost the start of a new one) but I knew I didn't want to miss it.
    Love your wisdom, friend.

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  13. Love the truths here. I need them. Thanks, Wendy.

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  14. I am so with you Wendy. I don't know where to start. All of the above. Thanks for hanging with me in the dessert.

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