• DANCE IN THE RAINLife is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.- Vivian Greene

unfulfilled longings+

 

I was lonely for years.

I longed to remarry, but I didn’t want to admit it to anyone. Not even to myself.

I didn’t want to pin my hopes on something that might never happen. And if I never remarried, I didn’t want to look like I had wasted my life, hadn’t trusted God, and couldn’t be content. I’d be pitied by others and embarrassed for myself. I didn’t want that.

So I buried my feelings.

At times those stuffed feelings would resurface and I would ask God for a husband. I’d journal about it, pray fervently and be on the lookout for who God might bring. Then I would try to forget about my longings, surrender them to God, and convince myself I didn’t want to be married anyway. I told myself, and other people, that it wasn’t important. That I was completely content. That I had come to terms with where I was.

That was a lie.

A lie I wanted to believe because it seemed that everyone who loved God was satisfied with their circumstances. Besides, it seemed better to deny a longing that might never be fulfilled than it would be to keep longing. It certainly was less painful.

Others had accepted their unfulfilled longings. They had come to terms with their singleness. Or infertility. Or discouraging careers. When they finally let go of their desires, they gained a sense of stability.

So I was torn about what to do. I begged God to take away this desire and he didn’t. So I cried out to him to meet me in the midst of this unfulfilled longing.

For years he met me there. And then God blessed me with a husband who is beyond my expectations.

And yet in other things – with longings just as real and intense – God has not given me what I was yearning for. He has left me with unmet desires. Desires that may not be fulfilled this side of heaven. Desires that I may live with forever.

Right now I want a healthy body that can do the things I want to do. With post-polio syndrome, I am deteriorating daily, much more rapidly than I am prepared for. Some days I wake up with intense pain, which gives way to a dull ache that drags on throughout the day. On those days, my arms are limited to basic tasks like eating and dressing. If I can use them at all.

It’s been excruciating.

View full post »

  • March 17, 2017 - 12:14 am

    Sofia Perez - Vaneetha,

    I understand your desire to serve others. I too feel an emptiness when I am not being poured out into others lives. But don’t think you are not serving. It may not be physical in the capacity that you desire to give. However, you are serving thousands of people who are hurting and looking for hope. You are feeding dry souls who are aching and long to understand how suffering can be good in God’s hands. Through your many articles you have encouraged me in my sadness to continue to press on. You are serving far more than you can imagine by sharing your trials with the world and pointing us towards Jesus.

    I cannot thank you enough. I frequently check your website for new updates because I know that whatever you write will lift me up when I am down. I am going through a difficult season and I am so grateful for you.ReplyCancel

    • March 17, 2017 - 11:55 am

      Vaneetha - I can’t tell you how much this meant to me today, Sofia. It is encouraging to know that the Lord is using my writing to point people to Jesus. That has always been my prayer. Praying for you as I write this that God will walk closely with you through this difficult season of sadness and comfort you with his everlasting love.ReplyCancel

  • March 17, 2017 - 4:19 pm

    Mike R - Bless you for this article, Vaneetha. As I have been going through more specialist visits, more lab tests and procedures, and more “new and hopeful” medications, only to find that I continue to spiral slowly downward, I have been shown, once again, that my only hope and rest is found in God. My greatest peace is found at night, when I lie in bed, deep in prayer. I can cry out, complain, argue, and weep. Or quietly rest under His wings. God does not change, but I do. I still struggle and your writing helps me to realize that it is normal, and even more, a blessing.

    Like you, I have a desire to serve. I spent my professional career helping those in physical need, so I am not surprised. It is built-in. It is who I am. I thought that my later years would redirect my energy to the Church. Instead, I find myself living the life of a a person much older than my physical age. One-a-Day now describes my activities, not my vitamins. Vacuum the living room. Or, go to the grocery store. Or, mow my tiny front lawn. Or, go to church, to the doctor, or to the pharmacy. One activity per day. The rest of each day is spent on the couch, sitting or lying.

    God seems to have said, “Be still and know that I am God.” My prayers travel a well-trod path, from desperation to joy and back again. One day I can tell him, “It is good that I was afflicted”, and mean it. The next day I am slogging through the swamps of depression, resentment, and self-pity. It is as though I must eat my meal of bitter herbs before I am given a taste of honey-sweet manna.

    Like many who have been given the blessing of bitter herbs, I have read the book of Job over and over, again. Sought reassurance in biblical passages concerning patience during afflictions. Wondered at the life of Joni Eareckson Tada, and marveled at the life of Elizabeth Elliot. But how can I relate to Job, a righteous man beyond my understanding, or compare myself with Joni? Worse, who am I to complain when there are Christians in the world who are under great persecution, and with great need for even the basic necessities of life? It is humbling to think that I falter under lessor trials.

    This entry to your blog is a bit of a psalm, or so it struck me. You acknowledge your pain and your struggles. Yet you remember God’s deliverance. And in that you find hope. God has gifted you with a remarkable ability to communicate.

    Thank you, finally, for helping me to see that there is purpose, even in my sinful failure to endure trials joyfully. What a thought that God can use my painful yearning and lack of contentment to draw me to himself, the only true answer. And to teach me that He is far greater than the temporal things I ask for. I am praying for you as I write this, in that I know that as much as you have been a teacher and encourager to the rest of us, you still must face each day of pain anew. May God bless you and your writing, Vaneetha.ReplyCancel

    • March 17, 2017 - 5:08 pm

      Vaneetha - Mike, I have reread your comment numerous times already. It is beautiful. You have such an incredible gift with words and I can so relate to much of what you said. Your words have ministered to me today, as I know they will to everyone who reads them. Thank you for sending this.ReplyCancel

  • March 17, 2017 - 5:45 pm

    Trudy - I’m so sorry your body is deteriorating, Vaneetha. It must be so hard. I have a chronic illness, so I know the struggle when we have to give up something we can’t do anymore. But what you go through is far worse. I can’t imagine it. Still, I feel less alone when I read your posts. I feel like you understand me.

    You serve far more than you know. I shared your post “Do the Next Thing” with some online friends, and they were encouraged as I was. I always look forward to your posts. They offer so much hope. I love your honesty and your thoughts of not denying or suppressing our pain, but to pour them out to God. Your close relationship with God shines through. You always point us to our only hope in Jesus.

    This reminds me of a woman in a nursing home who couldn’t do anything like she used to. When someone questioned her, she said, “I can still pray.” It really struck me. She couldn’t busy herself with serving anymore, but actually she still did serve as she continued to be a prayer warrior. Love and gentle hugs to you!ReplyCancel

    • March 18, 2017 - 2:56 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you so much Trudy. I am so glad my posts make you feel less alone- because when I post, it makes me feel less alone too. Its amazing how God uses everything!ReplyCancel

  • March 18, 2017 - 9:25 pm

    georgia - thank you for this. you can’t know how timely it is for me to read this. meeting with my counselor tomorrow to discuss this very thing. she actually reminds me very much of you, or you of her, and i know she would/will tell me these very same things. i will pray for you regarding the longings you still have. i ask for you to pray for me, as i am deep in struggle right now.ReplyCancel

    • March 19, 2017 - 2:23 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful this was helpful, Georgia. Praying as I write this that God would meet you in a tender way in your struggles.ReplyCancel

  • March 20, 2017 - 6:51 am

    Crystal - I love your blog and this definitely spoke a word to my heart as I am going on 40 and have never been married and still have the desire to be married although I have questioned many times if I should give up that desire altogether. I strive for contentment but it certainly gets hard although, like you said, God asks us to still trust that He knows what’s best for our lives and will sustain us even though He might not give us what we want in the end. Thank you for your insights and spiritual encouragement Vaneetha. Oh and by the way, your book was WONDERFUL! Please keep me in prayer and I will do the same for you 🙂ReplyCancel

    • March 20, 2017 - 6:12 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you Crystal for writing. Living with unfulfilled longings is a hard balance, isn’t it? I would love to have complete contentment but I have definitely found that constant crying out to God has deepened my prayer life. I’m glad this post in the book were helpful to you. Praying as I write this that God would meet you in the midst of your unfulfilled longings and show you that He is better than your dreams.ReplyCancel

  • March 20, 2017 - 9:49 pm

    Michelle - Your words are what I needed to hear today. I have been crying out to God these last 3 weeks, asking Him to take this cup that He has given us to drink. He hasn’t and I have struggled with not being content with His plan. Thank you for speaking this truth. This endless ache is what He is using to bring me closer to Him. Please know that though you may not be serving Him in ways that you had imagined, you are most definitely being used by Father to encourage and help those of us who are weary. You are loved, my dearest sister.ReplyCancel

  • March 21, 2017 - 1:55 pm

    Lori - Chronic illness is a hard way to grow in Christ. And those of us that have an invisible chronic illness suffer not only the pain and fatigue from our illness, but also must bear stigma and marginalization from an uneducated society (even friends and family!).
    But God … has been pleased to afflict me (Ps 119:75), and He tells me also that it has been GRANTED to me to suffer (Ph 1:29). HUH? That’s counter-intuitive. God evidently has far different thoughts about suffering and pain than I do. I must take Him at His word – who am I to be displeased with His choice when He is pleased with it? He has tailor-made my affliction for my good and for His glory. To refine me and sanctify and mold me into Christ-likeness.
    These are the things I know … but I must preach them to myself daily, because my heart’s default is forgetfulness about God’s faithfulness.ReplyCancel

    • March 26, 2017 - 6:18 pm

      Vaneetha - My heart’s default is forgetfulness, too, Lori. But thankfully as we preach to ourselves daily, the Spirit helps us remember His faithfulness. Thanks for writing.ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2017 - 5:39 pm

    J - Vaneetha, I’ve been following your blog for quite a while now, especially since I began struggling with an unexplained chronic condition about two years ago. I am relatively young and in my mid-late twenties and yet your words resonate so deeply with me. I desire marriage, yet I also struggle with feeling like a burden, being one who often receives more than I can give, and possibly not being able to be the wife and servant that I imagined to be because of this broken body I’ve been given. I’ve spent more nights than I’d like to admit crying and pleading for God to take this cup from me, yet He has in His good purposes responded with, “Not yet.”

    Only being a few years into this physical battle, there are many days where I feel absolutely overwhelmed at the very likely possibility of many, many more painful days left ahead of me. What if it never gets easier? Oh, how I long and groan inwardly for our return home to heaven! But then I read your transparently honest words which bring such comfort and encouragement to my weary heart. Your continued perseverance in clinging to Christ after all these years has shown me that indeed, this road ahead may not become easier, but there is still hope as we sojourn on this earth. Your words point me to the hope of our Lord who sustains and gives grace to endure each and every day with contentment.

    Thank you for sharing your hope, but even more, thank you for sharing your pain, because truly God’s power has been displayed and glorified through your weaknesses. You are such a blessing.ReplyCancel

    • March 26, 2017 - 6:21 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks so much for writing. I understand the pain of looking at the future and wondering, “what if this never changes?” When I do that, I ask God to remind me, tangibly, that He loves me extravagantly and whatever happens will ultimately for my joy.ReplyCancel

Share to Facebook|Subscribe|Tweet This Post

seeking God+

 

Have you ever felt distant from God? I have. I have vacillated between times of intense closeness to God, times of faith with little fervor, and times of feeling removed and disconnected.

When I’ve felt distant I’ve wondered, ‘What is the key to being connected to God? Is it obedience to God’s commands? Is it regular fellowship and accountability with other believers? Is it suffering?’

While all those things can draw us close to God, I have discovered that the fundamental requirement is very simple.

Closeness to God requires that I seek him. That is all. Seeking God means looking to the Lord for all my needs, repenting of sin, and desiring to be close to him.

King Asa provides a vivid example. In his early life, he was faced with a huge battle against the Ethiopian army. With limited resources and no human chance of success, Asa turned to God. He sought God for this huge endeavor because God was his only hope. And God delivered him in a phenomenal way.

But later in his life, Asa became more self-confident. In a much smaller battle, Asa didn’t seek God but sought an alliance with another king instead. He won the battle, but God sent a prophet to rebuke Asa for not seeking God first. Rather than repent, Asa punished the prophet. Several years later, Asa came down with a terrible disease in his feet. Yet he refused to seek the Lord and just sought doctors. And Asa died, without Scripture recording he ever sought God again. (2 Chronicles 14-16).

Asa sought God when his circumstances were overwhelming. That’s exactly when I seek God. When I feel powerless and fearful. When I am suffering and desperate and know nothing can be humanly done. When I realize I can’t fix it myself. I lean on God because there is nothing else to lean on.

But like Asa, in the lesser things of my life, I often don’t call on God. I rely on myself. I think that I can handle it because the problem doesn’t seem overwhelming. I don’t ask God for wisdom because I think I can figure it out with my own resources.

For me, my twenties were characterized by self-sufficiency. Everything was going well and I didn’t think about God very much. I read the Bible occasionally but not regularly, I prayed sporadically but not fervently, and I obeyed God but not wholeheartedly. I trusted myself, relied on my own judgment, managed life as I wanted. View full post »

  • March 3, 2017 - 3:51 pm

    Elaine - My friend and I spoke of suffering and the uphill climb of a Christian, but we would not exchange it for anything. I also know what living on my terms was like, thankfully the Lord kept pursuing and wooing. Love this post, you are a delight and a blessing.ReplyCancel

    • March 3, 2017 - 5:08 pm

      Vaneetha - Isn’t it amazing the way the Lord keeps pursuing and wooing us? Thanks for writing, Elaine!ReplyCancel

  • March 3, 2017 - 5:50 pm

    Melissa - HI Vaneetha. I just wanted to say that I just finished reading your book titled “the Scars that have Shaped Me” and I’m so glad I did! I applaud you for sharing your story. I thank God for you and I pray he continues to bless you and use you for His purpose and Glory. God bless you and your family.ReplyCancel

  • March 4, 2017 - 6:11 pm

    Sara - That was a great (and needed) reminder! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • March 6, 2017 - 2:49 am

    Izak - Hi Vaneetha, you are such a blessing! I am looking forward to meet you and thank you in person and to have long chats in the new life coming.ReplyCancel

    • March 6, 2017 - 11:25 am

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Izak. Won’t it be wonderful to have all eternity to talk to other believers!ReplyCancel

      • March 7, 2017 - 7:10 am

        Izak - Absolutely!ReplyCancel

  • March 7, 2017 - 7:05 am

    Karen - I’ve been feeling a little “dry and dusty” and this was just what I needed to read!!! Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • March 8, 2017 - 10:50 am

      Vaneetha - So thankful this was helpful, Karen. I often need this reminder as well when I am feeling “dry and dusty.”ReplyCancel

  • March 7, 2017 - 10:57 pm

    Ruth - I saw this earlier and just now getting the chance to sit still and read it. The last few years have brought many losses / failures and I struggle with bitterness for those that caused my suffering. I struggle with being angry with myself that I still struggle with bitterness even after so much time has passed.
    But reading this reminds that each suffering, betrayal, and failure, God has used to show His endless love, His limitless power. I was raised to know about God but having my life crumble around me has brought a more intimate knowledge of Himself.
    And so bitterness disolves in the enveloping love of the Father. For what right do I have to bitter about an action God used to show His perfect love. Self- condemnation loses its grip, for what right do I have to condemn myself for what he has forgiven. Questions give way to acceptance, I don’t have all the answers, i probably never will, but i can trust that even these circumstances will be used to for His glory.
    Thank you Vaneetha for your words. I look forward to each of your posts, even if I don’t get a chance to read them right away.ReplyCancel

    • March 8, 2017 - 10:49 am

      Vaneetha - I love your perspective, Ruth. What an encouragement to all of us as we struggle with suffering, betrayal and failure. Thank you so much for writing!ReplyCancel

  • March 8, 2017 - 6:38 pm

    John B - A beautiful post. What you’ve described is my story too. It is a lesson I’ve had to learn many times. Thank you for writing about it – teaching and reminding me of the best ways to handle my walk with the Lord!ReplyCancel

    • March 8, 2017 - 9:21 pm

      Vaneetha - You’re welcome, John. One of the reasons that I write is to remind myself of the truths that I know!ReplyCancel

  • March 9, 2017 - 4:54 am

    Valynda Sloan - I have always enjoyed the Bible’s story of King Asa. It, along with all you said, has always spoken to me loud and clear! The most beautiful example of Grace there is, than that which was spoken of him after his death, giving us all such great Hope in God’s forgiveness and love and assurance of our Salvation. These are the verses in First Kings15: 14, and Second Chronicles 15: 17, where it tells although Asa didn’t remove the high places from Israel, nevertheless, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord (perfect, before the Lord) ALL THE DAYS OF HIS LIFE. God’s Grace! He was still a child of God! So thankful to know no matter how far we stray, His Grace and Love is calling us back!ReplyCancel

    • March 9, 2017 - 1:22 pm

      Vaneetha - Very true, Valynda. And oh so comforting that although Asa missed out on the closeness to God at the end of his life, ultimately God remembered Asa’s commitment to Him. God’s grace is amazing.ReplyCancel

Share to Facebook|Subscribe|Tweet This Post

 

lightstock_do_next_thing+

 

I have been barely functional for the last several months.

Participating in a clinical trial for post-polio since the fall has left me exhausted, struggling with crushing fatigue and discouragement. I feel drained and overwhelmed. So many things have been left undone. My desk, piled with things to do, seems too daunting to even approach.  Where do I start? Since I can’t do everything, I wonder if I should bother to do anything.

As I sat at the table pondering my options, I remembered this advice from Elisabeth Elliot. Advice that has taken me through numerous trials and countless days. Days when I felt inundated and didn’t know what to do. Days when it seemed impossible to accomplish anything.

Do the next thing.

These simple four words that have fueled me through the mundane and the monumental.  Somehow they brought clarity and strength when I needed it. Direction when I felt overwhelmed.

They provided me a framework after my son died. “Do the next thing” meant take a shower. Write the obituary. Plan a funeral. And after the initial flood of activity, it was invaluable advice in grieving when I still had the daily tasks of life before me. Make dinner. Beg God for grace. Do the laundry. Read the Bible. Call a friend. Take a nap.

And then years later, wondering how I was going to make it as a single parent, I followed the same advice. I was obsessing and lamenting over how our broken home would affect my children. Would they love God? How would they process their pain? How could I even maintain a household in the midst of insanity?

All I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and cry. Give in to self-pity. Make it all go away. But I knew that I needed to face what was before me. I couldn’t hide.

I would ask God for strength, and then do the next thing. Make dinner. Drive them to their game. Prepare my Bible study lesson. Pray with them at night. There was no sense worrying about the future. I couldn’t control it anyway. I could just do the next thing.

And each time, by just doing the next thing, I was able to make it through. I had just enough light for the next step. But that was sufficient. It was all that I needed. More information would not have been helpful. View full post »

  • February 16, 2017 - 5:35 pm

    Rebekah - I LOVE this and needed it in this very moment. Your words of truth and your genuine nature have encouraged me many times. Thank you. On to do the next thingReplyCancel

    • February 16, 2017 - 9:23 pm

      Vaneetha - So glad, Rebekah. “Do the next thing” has helped me so much!ReplyCancel

  • February 16, 2017 - 10:16 pm

    Elizabeth Johnson - Wow. This is just such incredible advice. Yet so simple. I really needed this. Thanks for sharing and God bless you Vaneetha.ReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2017 - 9:04 am

    Scott - Thank you so much for your continual encouragement Vaneetha. You have been in my prayers. “The Lord be with your spirt. Grace be with you.” (2 Timothy 4:22)ReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2017 - 9:23 am

    Gaye - I woke up this morning feeling under the weather and after a day of rest resolute to get “something” done today. I literally said out loud to God, where do I start. And then as the microwave beeped to tell me my oatmeal was ready, I sat down to breakfast and started with this e-mail. WOW, talk about timing! God’s so amazing! Thank you my dear Sister that he used you to talk to me in my daily grind. God’s Blessings to you!ReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2017 - 11:57 am

    Sheila - Vaneetha I can’t even tell you how timely and helpful this is to me right now. Thank you for letting your broken life bring life to others!! Thank you! May God bless you and give you the strength you need and the next thing he has for you!ReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2017 - 1:27 pm

    Precious - “Thank you for letting your broken life bring life to others” I agree with Sheila. Thank you so much beloved.ReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2017 - 1:43 pm

    Trudy - I’m so sorry these last months have been even harder on you, Vaneetha. I love this post. It really has encouraged my heart. Not to worry about what I haven’t been able to do, but just to keep doing the next thing. This especially strengthens my heart – “I didn’t need to figure it all out. I just needed to be connected to God. To hear his voice. To be still. And most of all, to trust him.” Thank you so much! I pray God will give you daily strength and peace!ReplyCancel

    • February 17, 2017 - 2:36 pm

      Vaneetha - So glad “do the next thing” is encouraging you too!ReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2017 - 4:44 pm

    Jeanne Takenaka - Vaneetha, what beautiful truths and encouragements you share here. Just do the next thing. I’m so thankful that when we don’t know what else to do, or when life is overwhelming in its severity, we can do the next thing. There’s healing in following this wisdom. Doing the next thing brings us through the dark places . . . along with God, of course. Thanks for your encouragement. I needed your words today.ReplyCancel

    • February 17, 2017 - 9:18 pm

      Vaneetha - I agree, Jeanne – there is so much wisdom in following this advice. It has been so helpful to me!ReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2017 - 4:54 pm

    Kathy - Do the next thing. I’ve used this before in times of upheaval when I didn’t know what to do. I never knew where it came from. Thank you for sharing. Praying that you will start to feel better.ReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2017 - 6:13 pm

    Mike R - What a blessing to find your new post, today. Thank you.

    “While the future looked dim and unknown, I knew that everything was under his loving sovereign control. I had to take God’s hand in the dark,..”

    As my long battle with illness continues with no improvement, and new and upsetting lab tests roll in, it feels like blow after blow keep coming. And all the while my life’s demands don’t go away or lessen. So I just go from doing less to doing little. Formerly a very active and involved to a couch-sitter (because most of the time that is all I can manage).

    The things around me continue to go untended. My “18-month” illness has gone to “2-3 years” to “We’ve found some other problems…”. Suddenly it may be life-long, or life-ending, depending on what my doctor tells me next week.

    The one clear thought that comes to me now is, “Be still, and know that I am God.” On the one hand, it is the sobering reminder that this life is not about me. And there is the comfort of knowing that our God loves me and is working out my final redemption.

    Thank you for your writings. They are encouraging and edifying.ReplyCancel

    • February 17, 2017 - 9:23 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks so much for writing, Mike. So sorry for what you are dealing with – health issues can be a constant reminder that this is not our home! Praying as I write this that the Lord will encourage you as you wait…ReplyCancel

  • February 18, 2017 - 12:07 am

    Allyson Marshall - I have a small group of fellow sufferers who are slowly but surely working our way through your book- slow only because with our poor health and various personal trials, we have a hard time getting together! Thank you so much for the ways you have willingly shared your heart with your readers! Even from a place of barely functional, God is using you mightily!ReplyCancel

    • February 18, 2017 - 1:34 pm

      Vaneetha - Oh Allyson, what a blessing to know that the Lord is using my book in that way. That means a lot. Thank you for writing! The last few months I have struggled with whether I should post at all- and your email is a precious affirmation.ReplyCancel

  • February 18, 2017 - 10:58 am

    Teresa - Thank you so much for your precious words, they are always just what I need to “hear” And Thank You from the bottom of my heart that while in your suffering you take the time to share and pour into others! I can see God smiling at the warrior you are! Praying for you lady!ReplyCancel

    • February 18, 2017 - 1:32 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Teresa. I’m so glad God is using the blog and thank you especially for your prayers. Sometimes its hard to press on and “do the next thing” but I’m so grateful when I do.ReplyCancel

  • February 20, 2017 - 9:25 am

    Faith - Thank you for your bravery and honesty, Vaneetha. I’ve been immensely encouraged by many of your articles on Desiring God, often coming across them at just the right time. Reading this post on your blog also came at just the right time – all part of God’s sustaining grace in the darkness of suffering I suppose. I’m still in the dark and seemingly unending tunnel of physical, mental and emotional suffering.. struggling very hard to trust God and see him as the good and loving father he is in the midst of all this. I hope I can be as faithful and sure as you one day. Keep fighting, keep trusting and keep blessing others! Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • February 20, 2017 - 10:20 am

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Faith. So glad God used this post to encourage you. Praying as I write this that God would keep sustaining you, and that you would sense his intimate and life-giving presence in the midst of this tunnel of suffering. Also praying for deliverance!ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2017 - 5:50 pm

    Barb - But what does one do when there are dozens of next things that need done now? And ai pick the wrong next thing???ReplyCancel

    • February 22, 2017 - 9:34 am

      Vaneetha - That’s a dilemma! But do it with prayer and pick something and trust He is working in it. As the poem says, leave the results to Him.ReplyCancel

  • February 21, 2017 - 7:01 pm

    Battle exceptions and options – Coffee at Midnight - […] *blog post can be found at Dance In the Rain […]ReplyCancel

  • February 22, 2017 - 3:07 am

    Ruth (Fruitful Today) - Thank you so much for this word of encouragement. I’ve never read any of Elisabeth Elliot’s writing but I think I should! I’ve read some beautiful, powerful quotes from her, including this one today. Praying for you now, that God will help you to know his comfort and peace within your crushing fatigue. Sounds like it’s been an awfully frustrating and discouraging few months…ReplyCancel

    • February 22, 2017 - 9:37 am

      Vaneetha - Elisabeth Elliot’s writings contain so much wisdom! I have learned so much from her and highly recommend her books. And thank you for praying for me. I so appreciate it.ReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2017 - 3:22 pm

    Donna - Just what I have been needing. It is great relief to read this blog. No doubt I was led here. I think God will be able to speak to my heart reading here. Finally, I have found something I can’t relate to. Possibly make sense of. So needing this. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • February 26, 2017 - 10:22 am

    janet - That’s how I’ve always done it. When I’m overwhelmed, I do something that can be accomplished without too much time and effort, which makes me feel good as well as keeping my occupied. Then I go to the next thing.

    janetReplyCancel

    • February 26, 2017 - 2:48 pm

      Vaneetha - It’s such a simple and freeing way to think about things, isn’t it?ReplyCancel

  • February 27, 2017 - 6:07 am

    Gina - I’ve been exhausted from health issues since Christmas while working full time and I admit- sometimes I did just curl up in a ball and ignore the world, but “do the next thing” will be my mantra the next few months as I dig out of that which has piled up all around me literally and figuratively. Thank you.ReplyCancel

    • February 27, 2017 - 1:35 pm

      Vaneetha - So glad this was helpful. I’m having to remember this myself today!ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2017 - 3:03 pm

    Joy Lenton - This is so helpful, Vaneetha! I’ve been living in the overwhelm of late, rather than an in the overflow of God’s grace. It has been there, of course, but anxieties and myriad clusters of concerns have clouded my eyes from seeing it. I’m stopping by from my good friend,Trudy’s site ‘Freed To Fly’, because she kindly linked to this post. And I’m so glad I did. Bless you for sharing from the deep place with such wisdom and great advice. Now to try to put it into practice! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • March 2, 2017 - 4:24 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks for writing, Joy. I so understand about “living in the overwhelm of late, rather than in the overflow of God’s grace.” Praying you will sense the overflow of God’s grace as you put it into practice!ReplyCancel

  • March 3, 2017 - 5:03 am

    weekly grace and links – Abounding Grace - […] Do the Next Thing by Vaneetha Rendall Risner. She shares how these four words by Elisabeth Elliot have fueled her through the mundane and the monumental, and I am right there with her. There might be season when there is just enough light for the next step — but that is sufficient. If you are feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, just do the next thing. That will be enough. […]ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2017 - 1:00 am

    Ethan holden - Vaneetha, I just wanted to let you know how much this article helped me! Recently, due to a certain situation I have been letting fearful thoughts overwhelm me, and there have been times where I have been so overwhelmed It has paralyzed me. I read this article and it really has helped me! When fear hits and I can’t get my mind of those thoughts that fill me with fear I just do the next thing and I’m able to get my mind Back in order.ReplyCancel

  • March 25, 2017 - 10:12 pm

    Marvin Eylander - How can one do the “next thing”, when one’s mind is seized-up by the calcified rust and sticky goo, of 40+ years of anxiety, fear, and melancholy?ReplyCancel

  • March 27, 2017 - 8:03 am

    Kathy Vaughan - Thank you,Vaneetha. This is such good advice. I have saved the poem you referenced for the days when all I can do is to do the next thing. Blessings!ReplyCancel

Share to Facebook|Subscribe|Tweet This Post

 glory humility+

 

I have always been far too preoccupied with my own glory.

I don’t like saying that because it sounds terrible. And embarrassing. And deeply sinful.

God does not share his glory with anyone else and our lives need to be preoccupied with his glory and not our own.

As a child in the hospital, I remember watching TV for hours on end. The ward was dull and boring and the four walls of the hospital were all I knew. But TV took me to a world where people lead exciting glamorous lives, lives that I longed to emulate.

Much of my time was spent fantasizing over what my life would look like. Once I left the hospital, I imagined that one day people would marvel over my beauty. And brilliance. And bravery.

I don’t fantasize about those things anymore, mostly because I’m a realist. I still have same struggles, though they are more discrete and hidden.

I now wrestle with wanting to be “successful” in the Christian world, which is still ultimately about my glory. And of course, I always want to look humble.  It’s insidious and frightening, which makes it all the more terrifying to write it on this screen for others to read and know.

But thankfully, God knows this preoccupation with my glory is poison to my soul and he reminds me that I need to run from it.

My latest awareness of this sin started when I was reading the Bible and was drawn to Luke 14:7-11. In this passage, Jesus says “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place… For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I wrote in my journal, “Do not sit down in a place of honor. Take the lowest place. Let others praise you and not your own lips.”

I even wrote “take the low seat” on the prayer card that I pray daily for myself. I am asking God to bring this about in my life.

I don’t like the low seat. I want to take a place of honor. And if other people don’t know my accomplishments, I’d like to make sure they do. And so I would prefer to casually drop into conversation some of my achievements, ensuring that I don’t sound like I’m boasting.

View full post »

  • February 2, 2017 - 8:36 pm

    Juliemoemoe - Our secret sins are the ones that secretly tear apart our soul. Bringing us farther away from God. Thank you for sharing this🙏🏻ReplyCancel

    • February 2, 2017 - 8:50 pm

      Vaneetha - They do, Julie. I’m thankful that God loves us enough to keep bringing them to the light!ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2017 - 8:25 am

    Sheila Dougal - Vaneetha, I so identify with what you write here! One of my life verses is the one you mentioned where Jesus warns of doing what you do because you love the glory that comes from people rather than from God. It’s a spotlight on my soul! Another verse in Proverbs about the fear of man being a snare… that’s the snare I get caught in too often. I hate it. Writing publicly (whether it be a Facebook post or a blog post or article or whatever) has often been the place where I come face to face with this temptation to do what I do for the love of men’s praise again and again. One of the scriptures the Holy Spirit often uses to help me is Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ?” I ask my self is this writing obeying Christ? Is it exalting him or me? Is it putting him as the center and his ways as right? Often times the writings I feel most led to share I don’t want to share because I fear people in my life will be offended by it and thereby I reveal my motive is the love of men’s praise. But those are the writings that usually are most Christ centered and therefore are the ones I know the Spirit leads me to share for Christ’s glory. I also find that looking for comments, and stats on readers are pitfalls for me. I love what you’ve shared here! I think any person in public ministry, writer feels this conviction as a Christian. Thank you for boldly and vulnerably sharing the truth! May Christ be magnified over and over in your life and your joy multiply! Much love!ReplyCancel

    • February 3, 2017 - 7:54 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you so much for writing, Sheila. I can relate to everything you said. Love that Galatians Scripture and the question you ask, “Is this exalting him or me?” I have so far to go… but thankful that he who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it!ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2017 - 12:51 pm

    Effie Darlene Barba - Thank you for allowing yourself to be so vulnerable when you write. To God be the Glory, AmenReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2017 - 1:05 pm

    Beth Paul - Vaneetha,
    Again (as you do so often) you have challenged me and written words down that I should be journaling about myself. I can completely relate with these very powerful battles in the mind and spirit. What I am convicted that I “glory in” are the impressions I make or what people believe or think of me. I have known this to be an idol in my life but fight daily to be free of it. Your words helped me to place some scripture along side the inadequacy I feel and recognize that low self worth may just really be a revelation of my desire for glory. I think of you often and thank God for you as you have spoken truth into my journey out of your own brokenness. Though our bodies may fail us… “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Ps. 73:26
    BethReplyCancel

    • February 3, 2017 - 7:50 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful this helped you, Beth. I wish it wasn’t such a struggle for me but I know the more I bring it to light and give it the Lord, the freer I am.ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2017 - 1:19 pm

    Effie Darlene Barba - Also, last Sunday as I lay in the hospital bed recovering from emergency surgery; I realized how blessed my life has been with so many surgeries in the past. Over the years, through all the trials; I have seen God’s miraculous Grace at work in my life. A view I might not have seen were it not for all the trials along the way. I wrote this poem that morning; hope, it blesses you today.

    With Joy and Hope

    By Effie Darlene Barba

    I felt the warmth of love and Grace

    Your breath of life upon my face

    As I awoke this bright new day

    With joy and hope I bow to pray

    To sing a song of love to You

    For all that You have brought me through

    My life so filled with wondrous things

    My spirit soars on gilded wings

    For You my God, my dearest Friend

    Have been my strength to now ascend

    Each mountain peak that I have faced

    Through pathways treacherous sometimes laced

    With slippery slopes that bid my feet

    To fall below in tears, defeat

    Yet on those roads of dark despair

    Your gentle voice was always there

    You gave me hope to then believe

    Your promises I would receive

    You drew me closer to your side

    Where in thy grace I did abide!

    Some would look upon my life

    And wonder with the trials, strife

    What is my source of happiness?

    And why my heart is filled with bliss

    Then I can tell them of Your Grace

    And How to seek Your lovely Face

    If they Accept Your Gift, Your Son

    Their Victory You have already won

    I felt the warmth of love and Grace

    Your breath of life upon my face

    As I awoke this bright new day

    With joy and hope I bow to prayReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2017 - 2:19 pm

    Amy - Excellent, timely reminder, Vaneetha. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2017 - 2:52 pm

    krista - Dear Vaneetha,
    Thank you for being real 🙂ReplyCancel

  • February 3, 2017 - 4:34 pm

    MIke R - Praise is a powerful drug. And it never cures the disease. I should know, as I am a praise addict. I recently read a booklet by Tim Keller, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness.
    https://www.amazon.com/Freedom-Self-Forgetfulness-Path-Christian/dp/1906173419/ref=la_B001H6SAQW_1_9/156-2335874-1212305?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1486157087&sr=1-9

    It is a short sermon on 1 Corinthinians 3:21 – 4:7. The focus is the joy that comes when we are able to stop being concerned with others think of us, and what we think of ourselves. As a person who is constantly afflicted with the sinful habit of “man pleasing.” I’ve got a long way to go, but it greatly helped me on the journey.ReplyCancel

    • February 3, 2017 - 7:45 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you for the recommendation. I will definitely read that- I really appreciate all the Keller books I’ve read!ReplyCancel

  • February 6, 2017 - 8:06 am

    Kristel Finns - I love this! Do you know the location of the picture? I am thinking of framing a print as a reminder that it’s always about His kingdom. Love love loveReplyCancel

    • February 6, 2017 - 10:48 am

      Vaneetha - The picture is of Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany. Its a photo by Rachel Davis I found on http://www.unsplash.com. Its an awesome site for pictures. What a great idea to frame a picture as a reminder of his kingdom!ReplyCancel

  • February 6, 2017 - 11:45 am

    Sherri Crane - Vaneetha, Thank you for your honest sharing. This has been a wrestle of my own heart and prayers to God for humility–to esteem and promote Him and others as better than myself. To follow Jesus’ example and take the form of a humble servant (Phil.2)

    Thank you for your honesty.ReplyCancel

    • February 6, 2017 - 5:01 pm

      Vaneetha - Glad we are all works-in-progress and that his grace covers all!ReplyCancel

  • February 11, 2017 - 5:50 am

    Derek Riley - I constantly have to remind myself what I do I do for God not myself or man, which must be extra difficult when what you are doing is to be seen, read and heard. Thank you for your honesty.ReplyCancel

  • February 15, 2017 - 1:09 am

    Ruth (Fruitful Today) - Vaneetha, this post really helped me. I thank God forgiving you the courage to use your “platform” for his glory by boasting only in your weaknesses. Your raw honesty has been a blessing to me, not just here but in so many other of your posts. ‬Ruth 🙂ReplyCancel

  • March 17, 2017 - 9:39 am

    nancy o miller - Thanks for helping me (and countless others) today. You clearly were made to help and that is what you are doing.

    Post polio cannot take away the wisdom God has imparted to you and the extraordinary ability to convey this wisdom in a pragmatic, honest, helpful manner. You are a minister, one who helps the soul, in the truest sense. So glad God blessed my life with you, even if I only talk with you thru your blog.:)

    I rarely read blogs. I won’t miss one of yours. 

    With gratitude and love and prayers for you,
    Nancy ReplyCancel

    • March 17, 2017 - 12:00 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you so much for writing, Nancy. I am so glad the blog has been helpful!ReplyCancel

Share to Facebook|Subscribe|Tweet This Post