Welcome to Yes to God Tuesdays as I temporarily host for sweet Lelia the online study of Lysa Terkeurst's wonderful book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl.
Chapter Eight "But I Want What She Has"
Lysa begins this chapter with a pure and grateful attitude she recalled as a child, a poor child. From her reflection she was content with a Barbie doll shoebox house instead of the pink plastic house, the neighborhood ditch instead of a metal swing set, one day at the beach instead of a week. The storebought pink plastic house was too confining when she had split levels in her shoe boxes. The ditch served as a Grand Canyon for leaping, a palace for high tea, or a swimming pool of water and mud. And, a day at the beach was enough time to get burned; any longer and they'd be overcooked. But then, Lysa's family moved into their own house and Lysa thought she'd died and gone to Heaven "until the day I realized we were poor." Wow. The beauty and gift of not knowing one is poor.
Lysa didn't realize this until the governor's daughter started attending her school. Lysa never dreamed they would have anything in common let alone ever be friends. Upon being invited to play at the governor's house, Lysa's mind whirled on the luxuries: gated, fenced, huge house, security, marbled floors, fancy artwork, and things named beyond her vocabulary. Interesting enough those didn't tug on Lysa's contented heart. "It was my friend's ability to get what she wanted when she wanted it that lured my heart away from feeling like the lucky girl I'd always been." Always been. What a bubble that should never be burst. I've had my discontentment, or rather wavering contentment, crushed by jealousy or envy of another let alone full contentment stolen.
Lysa began to notice things to which she had been oblivious: sheets, clothes, toys. She began to feel poor as she held herself and her life to that of another. Comparing ourselves gets us in so much trouble. I usually think I'm a nice dresser for work until one co-worker comes to campus every so often. Dressed to kill. Not necessarily fancy but always well put together. A natural style of classy. I hate feeling less than equal, less than classy, less than "in style".
"I did what too many people do when they build themselves up against another person and walk away feeling deprived: I started resenting my life. I stopped looking for the good in my situation or appreciating what I did have." I am so guilty of that. I don't appreciate enough my life and what God has done for me. "I'm blinded to what I do have in the face of what I lack."
Desiring something other than what I have leads to a discontented and ungrateful heart. I don't want to desire for more or anything other than what I have, but the flesh is strong. His Spirit is stronger though.
"Whenever I get an overly idyllic view of someone else's circumstances, I often remind myself out loud 'I am not equipped to handle what they have--both good and bad.' "
Wow. In the last 2 1/2 years I have so often looked at every married woman, and even mothers, and wanted what they had: a husband. Just to have a life partner, true love, and soul mate. Yet, I've often done what Lysa says. I speak out loud acknowledging that any of those wives could have a terrible husband and maybe even a hateful one. That wife may be living a life of compromise. And not in a good way but rather, a compromise of herself, her value, her faith. There are worse things than being single. There are worse things than waiting for a marriage to be restored. I ask myself 'are you sure about the last one, Paula?' Yes, it is a very painful phase of limbo.
"When I want the good things someone has, I must realize that I'm also asking for the bad that comes along with it." A package deal. The good, the bad, the ugly.
Good for them doesn't mean good for me.
We aren't all equipped to handle the same good nor the same bad. We don't have the same spirit and soul. We are all equipped differently to endure the good and bad of our own circumstances but not equipped for what "they" have.
Are your thoughts controlled? 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us: For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. NIV. For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ESV
I usually think of self-control in relation to actions, words, and emotions. Controlling our anger. Controlling our tongue. But where does our anger and tongue (words) start? It starts in our thought life before evolving to words verbalized.
Lysa is so right when she says "Too many of us live with an uncontrolled thought life." Thoughts are a choice. We can choose to combat negative, destructive thoughts and redirect them to positive, encouraging, and godly thoughts. Here's a great exercise from Lysa. "Think of something you want that someone else has. Have you ever been lured into thinking, 'If only I had ____________ like that person, my life would be great!' "
Well, yeah, I've thought that. I think that. More times than I care to admit especially when it comes to marriage and husbands. Oh, and an occasional physical body image thought. I'm nothing if I'm not honest. So now redirect those thoughts by saying:
"I am not equipped for her good.
I am not equipped for her bad.
I am not equipped to carry the weight of her victories.
I am not equipped to shoulder her burdens.
I am not equipped to be her in any way.
I am, however, perfectly equipped to be me.
Therefore, thank You, God for only entrusting me with what I have and who I am."
Did you catch that third line? Yes, victories have weight. Hmm.
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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
I find it no coincidence this scripture was preached on Sunday. So much rest is needed. A lighter burden desired. A yoke easier to bear.
Her burden is manageable because it's her burden for which she is equipped. Her burden placed on me could be detrimental, unbearable, and excruciating for me.
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