Thursday, July 30, 2015

Valuing the Familiar

I love Psalm 23. Micah can already quote it and when Kevin can talk a little better I know he'll be able to as well. I want these boys to hide God's Word in their hearts while they are little. It's so easy to memorize and learn when you are that young and I want to take advantage of that with things that will have an eternal influence. Psalm 23 is chock-full of goodness and inspiration and comfort and a kick-in-the-pants. And yet, I often consider it overused. There is nothing wrong with the familiar. 

Psalm 23 brings comfort to my heart. God is my shepherd; He provides for what I need. God goes with me so I don't need to fear. God prepares places of rest and stillness for me. 

Philippians 4:13 is another great verse. God will give me the strength and ability for whatever He calls me to. This verse even gets used by non-believers as a positive thinking mantra. That's not how it's intended. Paul was speaking about living with contentment in whatever path of life God placed him. Some of Paul's places were hard places and God gave him the strength he needed.   

It's easy to overlook the familiar: to not see the rich truth in familiar verses because we know them. We just skim over them instead of letting them seep into our hearts. We don't see the value of the work we do daily because it is so normal- so routine- in our minds. We see only the potty-training accidents and sibling fights instead of the training ground of our children's minds and souls. We don't see the wisdom of the people that God has placed in our lives because they are familiar. We know what they ate for breakfast and the last time they apologized for saying something they shouldn't have. 

My husband always reminds me that an expert is someone who does the same thing somewhere else. It's the element of mystery, the lack of familiarity, that makes that person an expert. We don't see them day after day. We read a resume and hear of their greatest accomplishment and see those near us taking out the trash and losing their temper. People are just people. No matter how accomplished or talented or wise we are all flawed. 

1. Realize the value of those near to you. They know you. They know your life and they can speak truth into it. No, they aren't perfect and no one else is either. 

2. Set your sights on the familiar. Those Bible verses that comfort you. The work that's before you every day. The floor that needs swept again. Glory in that routine and the work God is doing in your heart through it. 

3. Live where you are. Serve Jesus where you are and you'll serve Jesus wherever you are. A new place or situation only seems new in your mind.  Once you are there it becomes your routine, your normal, and you lose that motivation of a "dream" place or job. It's still work. It's still hard. 

We are a society ever chasing the new, the thrilling. We pursue work that fulfills us instead of doing what's before us with gusto. We leave marriages for someone more exciting and rip our families apart in the process. We church hop, job hop, city hop so that life is always exciting and new instead of knuckling down and growing in the places God has for us. Is it thrilling? Not always. Birth is the big moment of having a baby; after that it's just day after day of love and training and care. But that's where your character is forged. That's where the results are accomplished. That's where the work is done. 

On the days when it seems like nothing is changing, when weeks drag on through the same problems and issues, don't be discouraged. You'll look back in a year and see how far God has brought you and be amazed. 

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