And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32

Saturday, October 3, 2009

How to Handle a Trial

I don’t know how many times God has convicted me with what He’s given me to write. That happened to me this morning when I was working on a seminar I’m teaching at our church later this month.

In the seminar, I’ll be talking about how we normally handle trials and how that differs from the way God wants us to handle trials. As I was writing it, I was thinking to myself, well, I handle trials pretty well so it will be easy for me to teach this workshop. The more I wrote though, the more I began to see that while I handle some trials well, there’s certainly room for improvement—a lot of room, as a matter of a fact.

Take today, for instance. My trial today is that it’s 8:30 in the morning, and I’m already bored. My kids are asleep, my husband’s off grouse hunting, it’s too early to call a friend, and I’ve already had breakfast and my two cups of coffee for the day. My trial is boredom, and even though it’s a little trial, I still have to figure out how to handle it in a godly way.

According to my advice in the seminar, I should handle the trial by asking myself these two questions: How can I love God best in this trial, and how can I love my neighbor best in this trial?

But I wasn’t following my own advice this morning. Instead, I was asking this question: How can I have the most fun in this trial? (You understand I wasn’t asking the question out loud, but that was the direction my mind was taking. )

I thought of a few ideas of how to have fun, but they seemed like too much work, which showed I was also operating with another concern: What is the easiest way to handle this trial? (Which by the way is why I have a problem with emotional eating -- it's an easy way to add a little excitement to life.)

Now, normally, I would just go on my merry way, trying to find something fun to do. But instead, God used the things I'd written earlier this morning to convict me. I wasn't practicing what I preached.

So I asked myself the two questions I'm planning to tell everyone else to ask: How can I love God best in this situation? The answer? I could have another quiet time. How can I love my neighbor best? Well, since most of my real neighbors are asleep, I could love my internet neighbors and write a blog. So you see, that’s what I decided to do.

I would love to hear some of the wrong questions all of you ask when you’re in a trial. This is the list I’ve come up with so far:

1. What will be most fun?
2. What will be easiest?
3. What will be best for me?
4. What will give me the greatest life?
5. What will make me look the best?

Can you think of any I missed? If you can, please e-mail me or list it in the comments. I’m not giving the workshop until later this month, so I can still add questions to the list at this point.

Meanwhile, I better get going. I have some loving God and loving my neighbor to do. (And I will try to refrain from loving my refrigerator.)

P.S. I just read this blog over again, and want to add one thing. I'm not saying I can't ever have fun in life. I'm just saying I shouldn't live my life for fun - which is what I tend to do. Others focus on accomplishment, the approval of others, etc. My weakness is fun - so that's why I need to be careful about handling my boredom by focusing on fun. There are a lot of things to do around the house today that I consider boring, but really need to get done so I can focus my life on doing the other things God has called me to do. So, I hate to say this, but probably the next thing I should do if I want to love God and others is paperwork:(

1 comment:

eliz said...

I rarely get bored, I live with too many people and work at home. But I get frustrated with my life frequently. O.K. daily! (blush) So I tend to think "what would make me feel comforted, cozy and loved?" Well obviously reading my bible and praying always fulfills all of those needs. But since my mindset is already "off". I start looking at worldly solutions first- hot cocoa, going back to bed, TV, internet shopping, complaining to a friend. And then my mind wanders even further, next to self pity, why me, why my life, couldn't I just have one day without being frustrated. Me-me-me. UGH!