This morning I felt much better after sleeping on my disappointment.
And this evening I dug out some notes I made last spring when I spoke to OMF Language School students about “Avoiding Despair”- I thought perhaps I should take my own medicine!
HOW TO KEEP FROM DESPAIR
1. Accept the fact that your life will not go according to your plan!
A. What God is going to do he’s going to do. “He also said, "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come." (Mar 4:26-29) So scatter the seed and GO TO BED.
B. The converse is also true. What he’s not going to do, he’s not going to do. “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-- for he grants sleep to those he loves.” (Psa 127:1-2) So you can go to bed at night!
So much depression can be eliminated by this simple formula:
Go to bed at night, get up in the morning, eat 3 meals a day – in community whenever possible, drink lots of water and go for long walks.
2. What you are in Christ is of way more significance than what you do for him –SO DON’T GET TOO BUSY!Work on less program and more living. Make Deuteronomy 6:5-7 your “program” in evangelism and discipling as well as child-rearing : “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
3. Remember the Word of God is eternal, the people in your life are eternal… the church you are planting is not eternal. If your self-worth is wrapped up in the credit you get for church planting you are setting yourself up for disappointment. In Aomori I have watched 3 amazing churches rise – and fall.
4. You don’t need to prove your worth with numbers or busy-ness. It hurts when people assume we sit around twiddling our thumbs because we can’t count the kids who call me their spiritual mother or the people my husband leads to the Lord in our statistics. But if we are afraid of obscurity we may miss the REALLY BIG OPPORTUNITIES that God has prepared for us. What if Philip had been afraid to leave the big churches in Samaria and Jerusalem where it was “happening”? What if he hadn’t headed down the desert road to Gaza? (Acts 8)
In the midst of the season’s business, Advent is a time to remember… What you are in Christ is of way more significance than what you do for him – SO DON’T GET TOO BUSY!