What the Spirit Desires: A Cure for Worry?

All semester I have longed to truly trust God and see the effect of that trust in my feelings. I wanted His peace that everything was going to be okay, but constantly the concerns of my life were on my mind like if I forgot them, He would, too.

Then several weeks ago, this happened. I had no intention of blogging about this, but I kept feeling like I should share. In a nutshell, the Lord said to me:

“Lyndsay, thank you for going to the nations, learning languages, loving and serving your family, and being so concerned about obeying Me with your life. But dear one, I have this one thing against you and you desperately need to hear it. You do not trust Me. You don’t relax under my care and power as a child of Mine would. While you’re physically obeying, you’re worrying. You’re wondering if what “you’re” doing will be enough and if you yourself will be enough for all the problems surrounding you. It’s a shame. I have peace and life for you if you’ll just allow Me to accomplish in your life all I said I would in My way and in My time. You do not need to be or do anything except trust and abide in Me.”

I had to just think on that for awhile and then repent, all the while knowing I could not fix myself. That’s the awesome thing about repentance. It’s not saying, “I agree with You, Lord, I am wrong, and I will do better.” Nope. It’s “I agree with You, Lord, I am wrong, and I am completely bankrupt in every. single. area. of. my. being.” And HE promises to take that heart and make it clean; He also promises to bring solutions by the power of His Spirit once we realize our inability to live His way.

He wants me to live at peace and enjoy life as I follow Him. But how, if this (sadly) doesn’t come as easily as it should?

 

Romans 8:5-17 has our answer. Reading the whole text would be great, but the gist is that our minds can either be controlled by the Spirit or by our natural, sinful nature. 

The things I usually am all in a tizzy about, needing desperately for them to work out soon, are not bad things. They are actually all things that I believe by His Word to be His will. So that led me to skim over this part of Romans 8, because I never realized that my sinful nature can take over even in the midst of daily obedience and doing things HE has led me to do.

My mind constantly on these things working out in my way and my time, adding a smidge of “I better get this right or it’ll all fall apart” made my so-called obedience a big fat adventure in missing the point. Repentance truly was the step to take, not a self help book on worry, and the next step after that was to let God show me how to have a mind ordered by His Spirit.

We can choose at any time to set our minds on what the Spirit desires instead. Let’s get specific if we’re going to do it, right? What does the Spirit desire? Here’s just a short list…

*That we would know the character qualities of God and trust His heart

*That we would know the Word of God as a comfort and a sword

*That we would know and claim personally the specific promises of God for each individual trial we face

*Full surrender in prayer, acknowledging we don’t even know what to ask, and rely on His intercession (Rom. 8:27)

*That we would know how to praise and worship God, being lifted above this realm for healing, relief, and transformation

 

And lastly, back to Romans 8, the Holy Spirit who is such a good friend and wants so much for us in the Lord, He longs for us to know that we did not receive a spirit that makes us a slave again to fear, but we received a spirit of sonship. “And by Him, we cry ‘Abba Father’. The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we also may share in His glory.” (verses 15-17)

What are we supposed to set our minds on? What the Spirit desires.

What does the Spirit desire? That we would receive our spirit of sonship!

 

Three out of four of my children were once orphans.

That’s not an easy title to break free from, even after the adoption papers are signed. I can love them, show them my intentions, and care for their needs all day long, and they blossom, and I begin to think Ah, they are beginning to see themselves as daughters! But the moment I say “no”, or even “not now”, I see it in their eyes. They’re orphans again. The trust isn’t there yet. It’s all sight; no faith. It’s every man for himself; this supposed caretaker, this supposed parent, is not what I hoped for because they will not bow down to me and bend at my command!

When we are disappointed with God’s decisions in our lives or when we don’t see His power working quickly enough, we can easily take on a spirit of an orphan–bitter, untrusting, fearful, self-protective, focused on losses, controlling, angry!

No matter what I do for my girls, I cannot make them receive their new status as daughter…but it is still their’s, like a gift all wrapped up, waiting to be opened and enjoyed.

The same is true for us.

It’ll take time for my daughters to trust me enough to relax and go with the flow. It may take years, but I know the first step would be for them to really know me and their dad, and what we’re all about, to be immersed in our heart for them.

For us as believers to truly be just that–believers–we are going to have to know God, get past the little verses taken out of context and truly eat His Word, and get in step with the beat of His heart. We’re going to have to immerse ourselves in His heart for us, which is revealed through His Word, prayer, worship, and community. There’s a “new normal” the Spirit longs for us to embrace!

Right now for me, to abide means (a) to live in a place of knowing my bankruptcy, my inability to be who God is calling me to be and (b) to constantly be filling my eyes, ears, mind, and heart with what the Spirit desires.

I’m the type that needs to know what my job is.

This—abiding—this is my job. And the more I do it, the easier it is to see how very, very well He is doing His.

 

15 Years of Marriage…and the Lies That Add Up

(Ooh, I didn’t mean to make such a scandalous title but now that it’s there, I just can’t erase!) It’s okay, you’ll see where I’m heading as you read on…

Jack and I are celebrating our 15th Anniversary tomorrow, New Year’s Day! I can’t believe it’s been 15 years. I will never forget that snowy day in a packed church where we, with such hope in our eyes, said “I do.” No one could have told us what would come next, what trials we’d face, what mistakes we’d make…we just had to experience it for ourselves.

And along the way, along with the surprises, doesn’t the enemy of our souls just enjoy coming in and devouring that hope, those promises?

The lies do begin to add up as he whispers fears and blame…and after 15 years, I’ve finally learned to call him out and let him know I’m not afraid of these words. They have no hold on me. My choice is made because I bend my thoughts and will and desires to another whisper. Do these lies seem familiar at all to you?

Lie #1…”We have nothing in common.” For me and Jack, this “lie” has lots of truth in it. We are hilariously opposite in truly almost every way. Extrovert, introvert. Hot all the time, cold all the time. Owns seven screens, happy with one. Steak, salad. Small talk, heart talk. Jokes, blogs. Midnight, 9:30. So guess what? This doesn’t have to be a problem. It’s all about perspective. 1 Corinthians 12 reminds us there are different kinds of gifts, and that the Body of Christ is made up of many parts–and no one could do their part well without the other members doing their part well. That’s how it can be in a marriage, too. We can appreciate the way our spouse thinks whether we understand it or not. They are an individual first before they can be a member of a partnership. I like myself, and I like being an individual first. I have every intention of hanging onto what makes me ME. So, in the same spirit, I have been learning to value Jack and his opinions, strengths, and even weaknesses, as I want mine to be considered and accepted. I don’t want to put my convictions on anyone anymore. I get my one life, and so does everyone else! The only thing we need in common is loving Jesus, each other, and our family. That’s the truth to cancel out this lie!

Lie #2…”He’s changed.” Well…yeah. That happens to people over a decade and a half. The only way I could recognize Princess Leia in the most recent Star Wars movie was by her eyes. And she’s just as beautiful…but obviously she’s changed through the years. Someday that’ll be us. And not just our physical appearances, but we all evolve through time mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially. We aren’t always going to like what we’ve become or what our spouse has become. But here are three things I’m learning to do to combat this lie.

First, we go to God’s Word, which reminds: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive what grievances you may have…” (Colossians 3:12-13) We are MUTUALLY accepting, having compassion, being patient, with ONE ANOTHER. Do I really think he’s the only one who has changed, who has built up a mound of grievances and idiosyncrasies? Whether I see it or not, I am being loved and accepted as I myself work to love and accept. As we love and accept even things we don’t like (I’m obviously not talking about sin, evil, abuse, etc) people tend to unfold, and their layers come off. They let go of defenses and you connect. It’s a beautiful thing to see someone free to become who they really were meant to be, and they will never become that if someone is pressing them. It’s scary, it feels risky, but it’s really good. It’s offering to someone what you would hope they would offer you as you grow into the best version of yourself.

Second, we pray! When we pray for our spouses, no matter how long it takes for fruition, our perspective and heart toward them changes very quickly. I have seen so many times where I chose to not start a difficult conversation, but prayed for several days or weeks instead, only to see my husband’s countenance change and he himself bring up the problem for us to discuss. We can trust the Lord, He’s a good Father! He knows what we need, and He loves our spouses and is quite capable of speaking to them! (I love and recommend the book The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian!!)

Third, we set our hearts to serve and obey the Lord with our own lives first. I can’t live Jack’s life for him and I’m not supposed to. He has duties that are not mine to perform. I can support him by doing what is on my plate faithfully and joyfully, and trust him and the Lord with what is really not mine to worry about or accomplish.

And last but not least, Lie #3…”If I had married so-n-so, I’d have…” Ugh. This one’s really a sad and desperate attempt of the enemy to get us when we’re down, because we rationally know there’s no way to know what would have happened if we had chosen a different path. We never know what someone else’s home life is truly like either. This thought, this lie, is a mirage in the desert. I think I could have been happy with several different guys that I liked in college and Jack could have been happy with several different girls he liked, too. Why? Because we CHOOSE to be happy. “God’s will” for our lives wasn’t one choice 15 years ago, His will for our lives is right now, every single day. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us what God’s will is for us: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This is God’s will for us. In what we chose, or in whatever situation we find ourselves in somehow, this is God’s will for us. Our active stance is to take joy, pray, and give thanks.

 

The lies have a way of adding up if we listen to them, but so does God’s Word. We can go from strength to strength, building precept upon precept, living out the love He gives, without condition.

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Getting Started (On a Budget)

Once you have a bit of knowledge and believe it’s true, it’s time to get started. Some people make all their changes at once, usually because a health scare convinces them to! Others do it because that is their personality. But most of us need to realize it is okay to make changes gradually. It is silly to think “I cannot afford organic meat, fruit, and vegetables therefore I will continue to eat at McDonald’s and buy Little Debbies.” There is a middle ground. Also, there are rungs of the ladder. I have never been a McD’s and Little Debbies eater, thanks to my Mom, however I certainly wasn’t a quinoa and coconut oil eater either. Wherever we are on the ladder, at certain intervals in life we will learn more, believe more, and move up a rung. There’s no shame in being where you are. There are definitely some things I eat still that people ahead of me on this health path would cringe at…I am still learning.

I’d like to talk about  basic foods and meals you can start with that are whole, real, inexpensive foods. A couple things first:

*The hope is that eventually all the things in boxes and wrappers and fast food drive throughs would simply be crowded out, because like I wrote yesterday, these things eaten on a regular basis are making the systems of our body stressed to the point of pain and disease. As they are crowded out, you are feeling full and satisfied, your digestive system will be working better, and you just won’t have room for the other stuff. I am so thankful to report that a healthy fat at every meal/snack will make you feel better and more full that junk ever did…otherwise, I could not have done it. No reason to be hungry, folks! I just have to say it…”Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

*The foods I am going to mention are not completely unprocessed, because like I said I am coming from a place of middle ground. If I said you had to grind your own peanut butter and make your own almond milk, you would be done with it and I would, too. But it’s a step in the right direction, and each of us have to see which of these minimally processed items works for us and which do not.

At ALDI, my favorite grocery store and a genuine gift from God:

-Eggs (I eat two for breakfast. It is the only breakfast that makes me feel awesome until lunch! Eating eggs dropped my cholesterol like crazy, and the healthy fat/protein ratio is fantastic. Eat eggs!) You can have breakfast for one person for 6 days on $1.29!!!

-Oatmeal (Cheap and easy in the microwave! I add cinnamon, 1 tsp of honey, and frozen blueberries to the kids and they love it. I personally don’t like oatmeal, but its very good for you and I eat it when I have to.) There’s another breakfast you can have for one for about $2.00 a week.

-All natural PB- Eventually I will go to an even less processed type of PB but right now, this is what we do. It’s a good protein/fat combo and I eat a tablespoon of this for a midday snack with a piece of fruit a couple times a week. I think it’s a great, inexpensive thing to give to kids–smear 1 tbsp on apple slices–and their snack cost $.50 at the most.

-Raisins

-Spinach/lettuce/cucumbers/mushrooms/tomatoes/4 kinds of peppers/onions/potatoes/sweet potatoes/etc– The way I get my veggies in is I have a cup full of raw veggies at lunch and then a huge salad with at least 3 handfuls of spinach and other veggies/leaves at supper. I also put spinach or kale in my protein shake. Personally, I have no problem feeding my family white potatoes a couple times a week, if you were wondering. It is a starch so I would also have a green veggie with it, but sometimes they just need something like that to help them fill up.

-Fruit (organic or other)- I usually get 4-5 different types of fruit per week. I eat at least one piece a day at lunch or snack and the kids have at least 2. Produce can certainly add up, but if you aren’t buying snack cups of applesauce, fruit roll ups, etc anymore, you may find more room than you thought in the budget. I rarely leave Aldi’s having spent more than $65. When you eat fruit, have a protein and if possible a little fat with it, to keep your blood sugar stable.

-Chicken- I get a frozen bag with 8 breasts in it for about $6. It would be ideal to get organic but I’m not able to do that right now.

-Tilapia- Frozen bag, great price and so easy to cook.

-Soy or almond milk- These are minimally processed as well. Most people are not doing soy these days. I’ll talk more about that another day. These milks have the calcium and vitamin D of cow’s milk. In all my studies, I have simply found that cows and their milk have been so messed with (hormones, stimulants to make them produce more milk, pasteurization process killing the natural enzymes) that I choose to steer clear.  HA, I just re-read that, no pun intended! Our family isn’t completely dairy free, we just do not consume major quantities of it. This has helped sinus and digestive problems.

-Brown rice

-Bag of dry pinto beans

-Frozen berries

 

SAM’s (but this is not cheap, I don’t think):

-Bags of raw nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts) I think these are a perfect protein and I have at least one serving a day at one of my mini-meals. It’s a great protein/healthy fat combo which we need to stay full!

-If you’re going to have dairy, try Fage Greek Yogurt

-They have frozen berries also (I love eating a bowl of these actually still frozen, it’s like ice cream!)

 

KROGER:

-Hormel -lunchmeat that is nitrate free. This is definitely processed and you can decide for yourself if you want to eat it. It’s a compromise that is sometimes necessary for my family.

-Almond butter

-Coconut oil

-Rice pasta, corn pasta, or quinoa (or you can get these at Bulk Food stores at a much better price!)-These along with brown rice are the only grain carbohydrates we eat. Some people do not eat corn in any way, shape, or form, you can study that for yourself if you care that much! 🙂

-Laura’s Lean Beef- This is where I get my high quality beef. It is NOT cheap, but we don’t eat beef that often.

***Yes, I go to three grocery stores plus I get a few things at the D&D but I usually only go to Sams, Kroger, and D&D once a month, while I go to Aldi every week. Also, there are definitely a few other items I pick up, too, like spaghetti sauce, canned beans, sausage every now and then, etc. We are not 100% purists. Where we are on the ladder right now is finding a place of balance. We have to learn and balance hunger, health, special food needs, and fun. I remember about four years ago throwing away anything in our house that had high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated soybean oil. A couple years ago, I looked for hidden sugars in everything and got rid of most of that, for example exchanging jam for fruit spread. Then one year ago, we threw away anything in our house that contained wheat (that’s another blog for another day). It’s going to keep progressing little by little.***

So…here are some meals with those foods!

Breakfast: Eggs or oatmeal

Lunch: Leftover meat or Hormel lunchmeat, fruit, raw veggies OR cheese, fruit, veggies  OR beans and rice in the crockpot and eat as leftovers with raw veggies

Snack: Peanut butter on an apple or banana OR a handful of nuts and carrots OR greek yogurt with frozen berries

Supper: A big salad; one carb besides the salad if you choose to, such as rice pasta, brown rice, sweet potato fries, white potato, quinoa; chicken, fish, or beef. You all can be a lot more creative than me, but we have a lot of taco salad, chicken in the crockpot, fish or beans with rice, hamburgers on lettuce leaves, soups and chilis, spaghetti, and a few casseroles.

Snack: frozen berries and nuts OR something small from the other meal ideas

There are certain dietary issues people have, and little picky eaters, but I think it’s just important to dig in and start doing what you CAN do. These are the foods available to my people, and they eat it! I realize it isn’t quite that simple for some, but the Lord will give you wisdom about your path for yourself and your family. I will say that if you can switch to 90% whole, real food you will see changes now and less disaster physically later…We have found that eating like this most of the time has taken care of our health issues and when we do have a splurge like birthday cake or pizza from a restaurant, we feel the difference. You don’t see what it’s doing until you get away from it. Then as you add it back in, you realize just how cruddy those foods made you feel.

Also, about the budget side of things–Having a large family (which we hope to have as time goes on) is a choice, and when we make that choice, the fact is the grocery bill is going to go up. It just is, no way around it! But I don’t think that means you can’t eat well. You may not get to eat out. You may not get to buy snack foods except for a movie night every now and then. But I really do believe that families can survive and thrive on whole, real foods. I think for an adult or older child (like 6+), each can eat on about $2-$3 a day. That is $60-$90 per older child/adult per month. I think that is a reasonable amount of money for our #1 physical need to be met!! Also, I promise that health problems, addiction to sugar, etc. are way more expensive in the long run. But again, change things at the pace you want to. Maybe get rid of cereal and do eggs or oatmeal. Maybe get rid of chips and cookies and offer fruit and nuts for snacks instead.

I have went ON AND ON AND ON but those of you who were asking for these details, I hope this blog post helped! Journey Well, Friends!