• Faith

    Functional gods

    In my Bible study, recently (No Other Gods by Kelly Minter), Kelly was talking about the biblical story of Jacob, Leah & Rachel, and how both of these women had their sights set on their (functional) ‘gods’: Leah’s ‘god’ was Jacob (his love), and Rachel’s ‘god’ was bearing children.

    Functional gods | SheWillRise.ca

    What stood out most to me, though, was this:

    How many of us settle for so much less than what’s available to us,
    simply because our sights are set on the wrong Source?

    Leah’s sights were set on what Jacob could do for her, rather than on how God was answering her desires and healing her pain… in His way.

    Rachel’s sights were set on the fact that her lack of children made her feel ‘less than’, rather than being grateful to God that she had the love and devotion of her husband, Jacob.

    Both of these women were consumed by their false gods. They couldn’t (wouldn’t) see how God was actually present and active in their lives.

    I think, then, of my own life… and the things that I’m focused on or striving after. Where am I discontent? What am I looking to for satisfaction and fulfillment?

    … Leah thought that ‘if only’ she could have Jacob’s affection, then she’d be satisfied.

    functional-god-definition… Rachel thought that ‘if only’ she could bear children, then she’d be satisfied.

    I often think, ‘if only’ I could …

    • be successful in my business (earning money)
    • have a better house
    • have a more reliable vehicle
    • lose the excess weight…

    then I’d be satisfied.

    I’m striving. I am looking to earthly things and accomplishments for satisfaction, fulfillment, and peace.

    Yet, I’ve had these things that I wanted, before… but I’ve not found satisfaction.

    Reason being, God alone can fully satisfy. No person, place, thing, or accomplishment will ever suffice! Only God being our everything — above all else — will ever bring the kind of fulfillment we seek.

    It’s okay to want those other things — a healthy home, a loving marriage, a well-cared-for body, a thriving career — so long as we don’t seek them more than we seek God… so long as we remember that the only thing we truly need is God, alone. Everything else is merely icing on the cake — an added blessing! (“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God… and all these things will be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33)

    As long as we feel we need anything other than God, we will be discontent, striving, and chasing ‘idols’. But if we believe that we need nothing but God to be satisfied, then everything else becomes simply a blessing given to us from Him! (not earned of our own merit or action).

    I don’t need a thriving business… because God has promised to provide for all of my needs. Yet, He has blessed me with this gift of being able to use my talents and skills in service to Him. God gave people work so that they could have a sense of accomplishment over the work of their hands, and something with which to fill their days. I, personally, am blessed to be chosen to use my gifts for Him in this way!

    I also don’t need weight loss in order to be acceptable or loved or admired, as God loves and accepts me as I am. However, God also calls us to be good stewards of these earthly bodies so that we can carry out His Kingdom plans, and He wants us to seek Him for comfort — not food. Food has also become a false ‘god’ for me.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Father, forgive me for setting my sights on all of these other things — looking to them for satisfaction — when only You are the true answer! I praise You for Your grace, mercy & patience with me, Lord. Thank you! Amen.

  • Faith,  Personal,  Work

    On Work Ethic and Fear

    On Work Ethic & Fear | SheWillRise.ca

    Yesterday, I started reading, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. The very first lesson is that “rich people don’t work for money… they make money work for them.” And, within this lesson, another said, “we need to learn to control our emotions — to think before we act”.

    Robert shares that most people (the 99%) are driven by the emotions of fear & greed… fear of not having enough money, and then greed about what things they will buy with the money they do get.

    These two fears never completely go away. So, we need to learn to control them … to respond (after thinking), rather than react (without thinking).

    After finishing chapter one, I set the book aside, needing time to let it all sink in. And, as I put some of my other books back on my shelf (ones I’d been reading the day before), my eye landed on “The Motivation Manifesto” by Brendon Burchard. So, I pulled it down and started skimming through it, as something in my gut prompted me to do so. And, sure enough, there was a whole chapter titled, “On Fear”. So, I sat down, and read through that chapter.

    Where I started off, it talked about the “weaklings” — those who fear effort — calling them “worshippers of ease” and “escapists” (all of which struck a nerve). It talked about them having given up their power to absolve themselves of the responsibility of living a remarkable life. Ouch.

    Brendon writes, “They don’t have the resolve to pursue their highest selves, or any meaningful purpose … [But] what good is a life without struggle? … What mastery can there be without real effort…?

    This made me think, again, about how I’ve never been driven towards “mastery” or “excellence” in anything. I’ve never cared to excel; good enough was good enough.

    Yet, I’d also researched “work ethic”, this morning (along with what the Bible says about this topic), learning that it’s about dedicating oneself, and giving your all toward somethinghaving certain principles that guide your work behavior. And, in combining that with these two new insights from these books, I’m starting to see that the value of all of this isn’t the outcome or the result. Its value actually lies in the fulfillment that comes from knowing you gave it your all, and –more importantly– that God is glorified by our dedication, integrity, diligence, and commitment to the task at hand.

    For me, the outcome has almost never been worth the effort I’d have to expend; it wasn’t worth me forfeiting things I’d rather be doing with my time.

    But that, there, is also faulty thinking: that “my time” is my own!

    God says we are to be good stewards of this life, including — maybe especially — our time… because my whole purpose for existence is to know God, love God, and to make Him knownto do as He calls me to do… not to whittle away my days, being comfortable, scrolling social media, and gluttonously feeding my ego with motivational quotes.

    So, the true fulfillment isn’t in what we get from the work we do (eg. the money, or all that it could buy). True fulfillment lies in giving our all to the work, itself, because that honors God — which is the whole point! In using the gifts and talents God gave us, in service to others (with a good attitude, and with excellence), we are bringing glory to God, and being –proving ourselves– set apart for the Kingdom.

    And, honoring, and bringing glory to, God is FULLY worth my time… it’s the only thing that really is!

    By knowing that our joy and fulfillment come through doing the work, it seems all the more imperative to me, too, that we choose work that best uses the talents and gifts God has given us… choosing work that brings us joy.

    Do you know what work best aligns with YOUR talents & gifts? If not, feel free to set up a time to chat with me (30 minutes, no obligation), and we can get you some insight on that!