SEX: The fight your flesh does not want to win (Commentary)

So this morning while eating breakfast I came across a blog post on a friend’s social media page titled: SEX: The fight your flesh does not want to win. I immediately knew that this was something I wanted to read.

I’m so glad I did.

If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, you’ll learn a few things about my story; one being I am a woman practicing celibacy after sex. Though it’s gotten somewhat easier over time, it’s still a struggle to stay sexually pure … ESPECIALLY since everything and [seemingly] everyone around us advocates for the antithesis. Yet, being a Christian doesn’t require you to be “in the crowd” or always agree with popular opinion. CELIBATE

This brings me to the blog.

Now that I’m on the other side of sex, I can say with a sober mind that it’s harder to stop than it is to abstain. Once you know the experience, it’s tougher to stop than it is to hold on to the V-Card (while that’s a challenge in its own right.) It’s not impossible though. Lyss (the author) does a fantastic job laying it out in her blog post. It’s a daily journey and it takes work and care — even if it seems extreme, do what you have to do for YOU! I’m still single so I’m not going to say at the end of the journey God will bless you with the best husband ever or a satisfying sex life after marriage, but I DO know, it will bring you closer to God and help you date with a CLEAR mind and CLEAR heart. Enough of my chitter chatter, take a look at the post below:

 

-Be blessed, Joc

Your stomach balls up, clenched by shame and regret.

You never thought you would get to this point… Your mind races back to the first moments as you scramble to figure out why and how this could have happened.

This person wasn’t you… It’s not who you are supposed to be and it certainly was never who you sought out to be.

 

You’re panicked.

 

You remain silent.

 

The pattern repeats.

 

You are convinced that he is the one… We will get married.

You find yourself reasoning. You justify the cost.

You cry.  Silent tears that only you see. Silent tears that want to scream.

 

“HOW?”

How do I escape this? How can I stop?

You think back to the first time you crossed the line…

Every time was easier after that.

You’re ashamed. You’re stuck.

 

You’re not alone…

 

This is the story of many young women.

 

What I am about to say is for the girls who are struggling, lost, and filled with guilt. It’s also for the girl who has never had her first kiss.Because the truth is, no matter who you are, where you come from, or what you believe— purity is one of the hardest things you will commit to do.

 

First, friends, please understand this: No matter your physical past, you are NOT stuck. If you want forgiveness, it’s yours. Jesus gives it freely and He has His arms wide open to envelope you in love. Please do not live in the prison of shame.

Colossians 1:14 (MSG) says, “God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.”

 

Wherever you are, know that my heart is to see you have the most beautiful relationship that glorifies Jesus, and because of this I am willing to challenge you to get there.

Before you even enter a relationship I want you to come face-to-face with the reality of three things:

 

  1. (If you are alive in this world) you WILL be tempted with sexual sin.
  2. EVERYTHING, good and bad, in a relationship starts small.
  3. Without a plan, you will not succeed.

 

The battle of purity is the fight your flesh does not want to win.

How can we realistically save ourselves for marriage when we know the world tells us “it’s okay”?

How can we actively fight our flesh? And maybe even more important, how can we stop when we have found ourselves crossing lines we never intended to cross?

No one is immune to falling into sexual sin. I sure wasn’t. It was a battle to stay pure at every new season in my relationship with Austyn. We had to be intentional and prepared and even though it was hard, I can tell you today – it’s so worth it.

In just a few days we will be getting married… Waiting was hard— there is no doubt about that. But what God has for us in marriage is beautiful.

Here are six things that helped us win the battle for purity, and I know it will help you too.

1. PUT JESUS FIRST IN YOUR LIFE. 

You always hear people say “Keep Jesus at the center of your relationship.”

But what does that actually look like?

Putting Jesus at the center of your relationship will not happen unless you both are putting Him first, daily, in your own personal lives.

When you pursue a relationship with Jesus and put Him first, you are laying down your own flesh and selfish desires before you ever run into temptation. Check your heart.

How can you fight if you are spiritually running on empty?

 

2. KNOW YOUR “WHY”.

Why do you believe in not having sex before marriage? Do you actually know?

Genuinely ask yourself this question! It’s okay to realize that you may not have a good answer. You have identified a weak spot beforehand, now you can go find answers!

The Bible tells us very clearly why we should not have sex before marriage, but you need to seek those answers in the Word on your own so they can be real to you.

 

3. YOU ARE NOT THE EXCEPTION, YOU ARE THE RULE. 

We cannot allow room for ANY evil, or even the appearance of evil. No matter what. Even if you know 100% that “We would never do that.”

This lie we tell ourselves is the perfect opportunity for the devil to come in.

Is it worth it? Nope.

Here is the truth: You are not superwoman with your ability to battle temptations, and you can’t treat yourself as such.

For instance, when Austyn and I began dating we made a rule that being alone in a house together was not an option. This was decided before we even kissed, so why should it matter? If we hadn’t even kissed we certainly would not be tempted to have sex.

Fast forward a year later – if we had not set that boundary early on, we could easily have fallen into temptation… Because I am not superwoman. I am a young woman who is capable of falling into temptation like anyone else.

Always treat yourself as the rule, never the exception, and you will be helping your future self.

4. SET UNWAVERING BOUNDARIES. 

A common thing I tell girls, who have found themselves crossing boundaries they never thought they would cross, is to “Put the line down where it hurts.”

If you find yourself crossing boundaries in a car, maybe you need to save the kissing for when you’re out of the car. If something “hurts” to cut out, that can be a good indication that you should draw a line and make a new boundary. Boundaries can be added, but they should never be taken away.

The truth is, if you move it even a little bit you will find it easy to disregard your boundaries altogether. And to be honest, that is exactly what will happen.

5. GET ACCOUNTABILITY.

Nope, your accountability partner is not your boyfriend or fiancé.

You need someone from the outside who can see things clearer than you and who will boldly ask you the uncomfortable questions.

Oh yeah. The questions you hope they will not ask, but need them to.

The healthy fear of knowing someone will check up on you will help you in hard moments. Make sure you trust your accountability partner and verbally give them permission to ask the hard questions.

It is so powerful to have someone running alongside you and cheering you on!

6. PHYSICALLY PACE YOURSELF.

This one is the hardest for people to apply…

Why? Because it requires being honest with yourself and, typically, doing the opposite of what you want.

I can tell you from personal experience – this is the most critical step, next to your relationship with Jesus. Where are you headed, physically?

If you’re dating, let’s assume that you have plans (or, at least in your head) for marriage.

 

Are you in school?

How many years do you have before you both can make that commitment?

Do you even want to get married soon?

 

Let’s say that you think you will get married in 2-3 years or have at least two years before you would even consider marriage.

You have already been dating for a few months and the likelihood that you will have your first kiss soon is very high. If you kiss now, and still have a while of dating left, do you think you are physically pacing yourself for success?

Are you going to be able to handle that level of temptation in the long run? If you are human, the odds are against you because the truth is the longer you wait, the harder it becomes.

The reason I am asking the hard questions, and challenging you to do the hard things, is because not falling into sexual sin before marriage IS HARD.

But, I know you can do it….

 

This week I will walk down the aisle and marry the man of my dreams. I remember when I was young and I made the decision to wait and give everything to my husband.

I waited.

He waited.

And together we fought to wait.

 

Even if you have struggled with sexual sin in the past, what the devil meant for shame, hurt, and brokenness, can be redeemed. God wants your story to be beautiful.

Waiting is worth it. The fight is worth it. Saying no now is actually saying an ecstatic “YES” later on.

Always cheering you on,

Lyss

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What An Old Testament Shunammite Woman Taught Me About Discretion.

This morning I read the entire fourth chapter of 2 Kings in its entirety. I don’t always read whole chapters, but today, I just could not seem to put my bible down.

After wrapping up, I had a revelation about the Shunammite woman that I don’t believe I’ve had before. In the text, her preteen/teenaged son apparently suffered a stroke or an aneurysm, and once he died in her arms, she made a b-line to Elisha — the man of God who prophesied that God would even give her a son in the first place. The ENTIRE TIME, from the moment she decided to go to get Elisha up until the boy was raised back to life, she said “all is well” or “everything is fine” when people asked how she was doing — despite the fact that her son just died. I know people give a lot of flack when Christians “pretend” that everything is fine when things are falling apart and I always thought this woman was doing the same thing….BUT The LORD revealed to me this morning that she wasn’t “faking” at all. She was in all actuality practicing wise discretion.

TRUTH: We all go through crazy events and trials that make us feel hopeless and afraid YET we need not “waste” our precious strength sharing our every woe with EVERYone. That was the key difference between the Shunammite woman and those Christians who act like life is all sprinkles & unicorns. This woman was no fake. She had a need and knew where to get it filled. She didn’t spend precious seconds risking being thrown off her mission by telling people who couldn’t help her her problems. She basically told them, she was alright and kept it moving. She didn’t say “fantastic” or “magnificent” — just alright. Then The Holy Spirit said to me, “Jocelyn, THAT is how you need to be. That is how God TRULY wants His children to act. Not fake and phony, but not sulky and or sluggish. YAHWEH is the first one Who you should tell your problems too — not friends or social media! Some people may have good intentions but will ultimately do nothing but damage your faith that God can fix your problem. Yes, God gives you a trusted few to physically vent – but remember keyword FEW!”

That revelation floored me. The Holy Spirit was absolutely right (he always is for that matter.lol) The Shunammite woman didn’t even go into great detail with her own HUSBAND when he asked why she was hurrying to see Elisha. She simply said “everything is alright, I’m going anyway” and she was on her way.  To have a drama-less life, guard your mouth and only share your issues with people GOD gives you peace about. That may be ONE person in the entire world and that’s okay.

I plan to make changes to be more like the Shunammite woman and guard my mouth. Be careful who I tell your business to, and be careful who I share my prayer life with. Sometimes the conversation will just need to be between myself and God as I seek my healing, restoration, blessing or whatever I may be in need of at the time. And that’s okay.

Be Blessed, Joc

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MY TOP 3 BOOKS FOR FEMALE BUSINESS BOSSES!

Owning your own business can be hard. Like REALLY hard most of the time.

When I first started Joc’s Photography I spent my time scouring the wide world of Google for any insight on how to make it as a serious female business owner; even if I was just starting out. It seemed like it took me FOREVER to track down tangible “mentors” in the art/entertainment industry and I promised myself, that as soon as I began to see progress, I would share my insight one day so other young women won’t have to struggle as hard as I did to find their place in the world.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post. Even though I’m a good few years late, I’ve decided to share three books that have truly changed my life in the best ways! As a single female entrepreneur (also working a full-time job) it’s tough figuring things out on your own. You know, trying to juggle your dreams, with your love life, and friends/family — it honestly gets overwhelming at times; but, regardless of how hopeless the journey may have gotten at times, the insight I’ve gained from these three ladies through their books are always good to re-up my creative tank and keep me pushing towards my goals!

 

#1 — THE GIRLPRINT by Valeisha Butterfield Jones

I must admit, when I purchased this book, I was a bit biased since I have personal ties the author. See, Valeisha grew up in the very same small town as I did and to see her go on working for the likes of Russell Simmons, President Barack Obama, and found her own nonprofit organization was all the testimonial I needed to hit that ORDER button! Though we’ve only had conversations in passing, I inherently expected her to pour her soul onto these pages before opening that Amazon box, and boy oh boy did she deliver!

If you are a woman interested in art, entertainment, or business in general, this book lays out a strategic blueprint (that Valeisha used herself) to help you propel your dreams into action. Even though I had big dreams prior to reading this book, my inner determination kicked up a notch when I closed the back cover. The Girlprint really gave me the push I needed business wise to work through the ups and downs and plan a course of action as a lady boss.

Image result for the girlprint valeisha

You can buy THE GIRLPRINT here:  http://amzn.to/2gfkrv6

 

#2 SUCCESSFUL WOMEN THINK DIFFERENTLY by Valorie Burton

I forgot what initially inspired me to order this book, but I’m thankful for it! This book is laying in my bag tattered and bent up from having been read so much. I remember thumbing through the pages for the first time and thinking “Where have you BEEN ALL OF MY LIFE!?!” Of course, it was an exaggeration, but for a woman in her early 20s at the time, I felt like I was aimlessly wandering around life trying to figure out what it meant to be a woman post-grad. I was just growing in my personal faith/spiritual walk at the time I first cracked this baby open, and I was pleased to find the author discussing the importance of trashing the “‘I’ll do _________ someday” mindset and thriving from setbacks instead of wallowing in them.

When you’re a business owner, you’ll have rough periods. In the 10 years I’ve been freelancing as a photographer I’ve had some pretty low moments (personally and business-wise) but applying principles spoken of in this book has allowed me to grow where I have been planted and renew my love for the art that makes my heart sing! If you want to cultivate the attitude necessary to real kick butt in life, you need to purchase this book like YESTERDAY!

Successful Women Think Differently

You can snag Valerie’s book for yourself here: http://amzn.to/2gfVpfg

 

#3 OVERLOAD by Joyce Meyer

JOYCE MEYER IS MY SPIRIT ANIMAL! If you are a woman of faith (or considering growing in your faith) this book is definitely for you. I know you may be thinking “Um Joc, what does Joyce Meyer have to do with being a female entrepreneur?” My answer to you: everything!

Living in this age it’s easy to become overloaded with the limitless options in food, homes, career paths, men…so being able to center yourself, calm yourself, and focus on saying ‘yes’ to what really matters is vital for a prosperous life. In business as a woman, you are tasked with wearing SO many hats that you need a book like this to help you take hold to your peace of mind and become rooted in your faith. Afterall, what you believe in and think about the most eventually shows up in your life somewhere down the line. If you’re a photog wife and mom struggling to keep your head up. If you’re a freelancer with a full-time job (like me) wondering how on earth you can fit LIFE inside of life. If you work a corporate job and feel like no one really hears your voice. GET THIS BOOK!

You’ll learn how to finally let go of emotional stress, activate peace, and how to apply biblical wisdom in a practical way so you can experience life like you never have before!

Image result for overload joyce meyer pdf

This book was so good, I ordered TWO copies (so I could give one to a friend) and I purchased the audio reading for the car. Go on and get your own copy here: http://amzn.to/2gyM7b5

 

Drop me a comment or email and let me know what you think of these books! I hope they change your life like they’ve changed mine!

Peace & Photos,

Jocelyn

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The Silent Marriage Killer

I was scouring the internet for topics that we could discuss at my love/dating event The Opposite Sex Revealed 4 (visit HERE details & tickets) and I came across this article by Derek Harvey called “The Silent Marriage Killer More Deadly Than Sex & Money—I Wasn’t Ready for This…” Here’s how it read:

Just after my wife and I got married, we attended a seminar on aiding the rehabilitation of human trafficking victims, particularly those trafficked for sex. (I won’t get into all that…that’s another story for another day.) In one of the presenter’s talks, he asked the audience what the biggest cause of divorce was. Since I had just been through premarital counseling, I pretty much felt like an expert at marriage. I shot my hand up quickly to answer the question, and blurted out, “Sex, money and communication!” …then looked at my wife next to me and grinned. Too easy.

“Wrong,” the presenter barked back. “Those are symptoms of the real problem.”

Ouch. Embarrassed much?

Not only was I given a sharp lesson in humility, but what followed changed my life. I was about to be told the best piece of marriage advice that this young, prideful, newly married man-boy could’ve ever asked for.

He continued…

“The reason marriages end in divorce is because of one thing…unmet expectations.”

*mind blown*

My newly married man-boy brain couldn’t handle the revelation. I don’t remember much of what was said after that. I was too busy thinking of all the unmet expectations I was already experiencing after being married a month.

Since that seminar six years ago, I have seen the pain and frustration that plays out from having unmet expectations, not just in marriage, but in all relationships. It’s a deadly venom that flows to the heart and wreaks havoc in relationships.

But having unmet expectations isn’t just a marriage problem. It’s a life problem.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re single, married, working, unemployed, old, young or [insert demographic here]. Having unmet expectations is lethal to everyone. No one is immune.

So…what’s the solution?

I’m a math guy. I ‘heart’ equations. I love crunching numbers and thoroughly enjoyed algebra and calculus in high school (although I probably couldn’t do a calculus problem to save my life now). So I came across an equation.

EXPECTATION – OBSERVATION = FRUSTRATION

Here’s what that means. Below are two hypothetical situations played out…

EXPECTATION

When I come home from a long day at work, I EXPECT my wife to have dinner prepared and ready for us to sit down and eat as a family. She’ll be wearing an apron with no food stains on it (because she’s perfect like that) and her hair will be perfectly done up. Meanwhile, my 16-month old daughter will sit in her high chair and eat with utensils…never missing her mouth, which makes cleanup a breeze. After we all finish eating at exactly the same time, we’ll head out into the Colorado sun and go for a nice family stroll, while the butler (you read that right…BUTLER son) cleans up the kitchen and prepares our home for evening activities.

OBSERVATION

I come home from work thirty minutes late, and dinner hasn’t even been thought of…much less started. Because of this, my toddler is screaming her head off, signing “MORE! PLEASE! EAT!” When I search for my wife, I find her working on a design project trying to meet a deadline that’s technically already past due. When I ask what’s for dinner, she glares at me the way only an overworked, overtired work-from-home-momma can glare (it can scald your pupils…so the legend goes). After picking up my toddler, I make my way into the kitchen to find an abundance of NO GROCERIES. So, being the manly chef that I am, I set my eyes on cheese and bread. “Grilled cheese!” I exclaim. I put my daughter in her high chair as an influx of rage bursts from within her. I quickly grab the apple sauce pouch to appease her. It works…for now. I get to work on my grilled cheese sandwiches. Everyone eats. The kitchen is left a mess. Toys are scattered throughout the living room just waiting to break someone’s ankle. My wife and I collapse on the couch, avoiding eye contact and avoiding volunteering to clean the kitchen. I could keep going but…you get the picture.

FRUSTRATION = The difference between the two.

Quite an elaborate illustration, I know. But I’m trying to paint the picture of what our expectations can be like versus what life is actually like…what we observe. (DISCLAIMER: In no way was that illustration indicative of my actual life. It’s either not true at all, or highly exaggerated…or spot on. The jury’s still out.)

Antonio Banderas says it best,

“Expectation is the mother of all frustration.”

The fact of the matter is this: In life, we often have expectations that go unmet, and we’re often frustrated because of it.

But we don’t HAVE to be.

Here’s the answer: Let your OBSERVATION take precedence over your EXPECTATION. Period.

In other words, go with the flow.

Some would say to not have any expectations at all. But I wouldn’t go that far. I think healthy, realistic expectations that are communicated are good to have. They’re something to reach for.

But when you come into a situation and your expectations aren’t met, let your observation take the lead. Discard your expectation in the moment and deal with reality at hand.

Tired of being frustrated? Then set aside your unmet expectations and face reality head on. Then, after the fact, have a conversation with whoever is involved about what you expect and why.

In what ways have you dealt with unmet expectations? How have you positively handled facing reality? What other ways have you combated frustration? 

What do you think? How do you feel?

You can check out more from Derek here: http://faithit.com/silent-marriage-killer-derek-harvey/

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20 Hard Lessons You Need to Learn Before

20 Hard Lessons You Need to Learn Before 30 http://ow.ly/aDUH30dDIL3

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Life lessons I learned from Miss Lucy

Lucy. Lucy, Lucy, Lucy.

She’s the friend every woman has but doesn’t really like. Whenever she comes to visit, she’s a pain in the butt and literally saps every bit of energy you THOUGHT you had stored up. The only time she doesn’t come around is when you have a kid, but then she’s right back at your front door after they’re home a month or so.

imagesIf you haven’t guessed by now, Lucy is the menstrual cycle that comes ‘round every month. The two of us have had a hate-hate relationship since I was in middle school and it’s only gotten better because I know once I hit my fifties she’s outta here! So I can deal with her for another 20 years or so.

Anywho, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had SERIOUS issues whenever Lucy came to visit. More than normal – to the point my little twelve-year-old body could turn from a shining example of happy-go-lucky youthfulness into a tangled pretzel of agony in a matter of seconds.

As I’ve approached 30 years living on this earth, Miss Lucy has brought more bounce to the ounce as the pain has doubled, my energy has gotten freakishly low, and a myriad of other oddities have found themselves sneaking into my life.Menstrual-pain-470x219

When my natural instinct has always been to quit my job, curl up in a ball, and sleep all day; Lucy has forced me to pull it together, pray, and get through!

 

Lesson # 1 – Pain is inevitable in life.

On a scale of 1 – 10, the pain I endure every time Lucy pops in to say hey is about a good — umm — CHILDBIRTH! Now I know I’ve never had kids before, but I’m pretty sure the pain I experience is as close to childbirth as I can get! I’m talking pain where your entire body writhes, pain that lingers every time you sit up, pain that makes you want to throw up and pass out. Yeah. That type. Regardless of how much I hate pain, this experience every trip around my body’s sun keeps my attitude in check. It reminds me that I am human and as unfair as it may seem, I’m not the boss of everything. The only thing I can truly control is my response to negative experiences during this life of mine. I don’t have to let painful events or happenings warp my view of the future or kill my hope….I can just deal, choose to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and push through!

 

giphy (31)Lesson #2 – I need God.

Maybe this should’ve been listed first. My oh my – the need for God has been scribbled in jumbo marker ink all over my entire existence! To experience the emotional ups and down, energy plummets, and nausea has taught me to lean on the everlasting arms of Abba Father! There is absolutely NO WAY in this entire universe that I would be able to make it through anything without Him. I need the strength only given by God through my salvation through Jesus Christ. I as a mere human do not possess the strength necessary to DEAL with half of the stuff I’m able to day in and day out. I’m don’t agree with “we’re all gods and goddesses” – naw, we are image bearers of God, but we ain’t Him ya’ll. HE made our bodies as they are. HE gives us that extra burst of juice we need to push through the pain. HE whispers to us “keep going, I’m with you” when life gets too hard to deal with. I (and my body) are physical testaments that the help of God is what’s allowed me to not check out.

 

Lesson #3 – Resilience is my spirit animal.

giphy (5)

I’ve always said that resilience is the primary name of my game. Since birth, I’ve had to bounce back from some pretty tough hands, and regardless of what I was dealt, found a way to grow from the experience. When Miss Lucy comes around, there is nothing “prissy or missy” about her. She is a savage Amazon warrior who plays rough and keeps you on your toes. One month, I may be out of work for a week. Over the course of several others, I’m fine. Some, I’ll have close calls and just pray my way through – but in each situation, I’ve found out that I was better than I was before. Whether it’s becoming stronger mentally, getting much needed rest physically, I’m able to emerge from Lucy’s visits happier and more renewed than I was before she came. Sure, I may be running on emotional fumes the first day or so after she leaves, but eventually, I get my mojo back.

 

Lesson #4 – There is never a time creativity can’t come out to play.

giphy (19)What I mean by this is, balancing the consequences of mother Eve’s idiotic decision-making skills has caused me to be creative in figuring out ways to stay working, making money, and functioning at a normal level. Whether that’s taking cat naps in my car or ignoring phone calls to sleep for 5 hours or create a makeshift anti-nausea tonic from ginger, carbonated water, and pain pills – my creativity is usually called to light. You always think of using your creativity to manipulate photos, paint, or create kiddie forts; but you never think of how creative you have to be when it comes to maintaining life balance!

 

I’m about 98.72% sure that reading this post has been one of the most oddly interesting things you’ve done today, but don’t let the lessons escape you. Though Lucy has taught me these things, they are still applicable to every aspect of life.

Be blessed ya’ll

  • Joc

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Are You an Ancient Israelite in Disguise?

Around 2013 I decided to really get serious about Bible reading. For some of you reading this you may have just blurted out loud….

“But you’re a Christian Joc, you’re supposed to take the bible seriously and read it!” You were probably also sporting one of these faces…..

— and what you may (or may not have) just blurted out is a valid response; yet the sad truth is, as society becomes more corrupt, the days become more hectic, and people become more comfortable with seeking selfish pleasures to “get away from it all” — SERIOUS bible reading (reading to actually understand it and apply it to real life) often takes a back seat….if it doesn’t end up getting thrown into the trunk out the gate.

Back to 2013…..

I decided if I was going to understand the story of the world and all that jazz, I needed to start from page one and read a little each day. I was able to successfully do this until I got to the book of Ezra, when I found myself getting a little off track. Life circumstances and changes caused me to lose focus and skip all the way into the New Testament. Well now it’s 2017 and I’ve decided to start back at the beginning and uncover what I missed before. Today, I was reading Numbers chapter 11 and I was hit with a spiritual revelation!

Up until now (Genesis-Numbers), the ancient Israelites were oppressed in brutal slavery for 400 years, miraculously freed from Egypt, graciously given food from Heaven, and yet reeked of ungratefulness! Here’s what I read:

1 Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down. 3 So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the Lord had burned among them.

4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

7 The manna was like coriander seed and looked like resin. 8 The people went around gathering it, and then ground it in a hand mill or crushed it in a mortar. They cooked it in a pot or made it into loaves. And it tasted like something made with olive oil. 9 When the dew settled on the camp at night, the manna also came down.

10 Moses heard the people of every family wailing at the entrance to their tents. The Lord became exceedingly angry, and Moses was troubled. 11 He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

That sounds like a lot of us, doesn’t it?! We literally beg God to give us a miracle, then when He performs it, we get bored or tired of it, then want something bigger and better — totally ungrateful for the blessing we literally JUST received! 

When the ancient Israelites first stepped out Egypt they were complaining, but when God delivered them via the Red Sea they changed their tune. They were glad to be out of slavery….until a little time passed and they got hungry. They went to Moses so he could ask God to send them food — BOOM — God drops manna from heaven and brings on a horde of quail for them to eat. They’re happy again….until they reach Mount Sinai and get bored again. They TOTALLY disregard the Living God Who LITERALLY just performed miracles out of nowhere and began making an idol to worship like they were back in Egypt. FACEPALM!!! Over and over they find themselves running on the hamster wheel of being grateful-ungrateful-satisfied-not satisfied …… it’s no wonder they stayed in the wilderness so long…. how could God trust the first generation Israelites with the Promise Land if they couldn’t even be satisfied with the starter blessings God had already showered them with!?!

EXACTLY.

Take a moment to think about everything in your life. Your job. Your home. Your mode of transportation. Your health. Your finances. Your love life. Your family.

Are you praying for and expecting God to give you more, but still missing the fact that you’re a smidge ungrateful for what you already have?

Take this lady I know:

She graduated from college between 2008 -2010 when the economy was plummeting and there were literally no good paying jobs available. She didn’t know how she was going to pay her loans, let alone survive. She didn’t know how she was going to afford rent, food, gas — ANYTHING! She prayed for a job and in less than 2 months was called by an old employer from high school asking if she needed a job. Sure she had to move back home and stay with her parents…sure she had no desire to work in the field she formally worked in…sure her paycheck was small and she was technically living below the poverty level — but she had a job, no rent payment, and enough to cover her bills.  She was grateful! NOW fast forward 5 years later and she’s still working the same job. Though she filled out what seemed like a billion applications, she wasn’t able to find a job paying more money, or a position in the field she wanted to work in. She was MISERABLE! She was barely getting by juggling paying her bills and trying to maintain some sort of social life. She slowly became discontent, overly stressed, and despised the very thing she asked God for — her job!

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In her eyes, her job was holding her back from the life she was truly destined to live. It hurt her to wake up every day, racking her brain on why it seemed career opportunities were passing her by, while the cost of living was going up! I’m happy to report that now, while it’s still a struggle, she’s more content with the blessings of having her basic needs taken care of and she hasn’t given up on her dreams. She’s just a little more thankful.

That woman developed the attitude of an Ancient Israelite and didn’t even realize it. I’m not God but I would dare say God hasn’t blessed her with anything more YET because it’s not the right time (He’s got something grand marinating behind the scenes) AND because her posture towards the blessings she’s already afforded still isn’t quite right. Like the Ancient Israelites, it’s quite possible that God is not giving her ALL of the blessings she could be getting because her attitude isn’t ready for it. Let’s say He was to give her the job of her dreams now, she’d probably tire of that too and start complaining about how much work it is or about how it’s not like her old job! I don’t know for sure, but it’s certainly a thought.

Take some time (as mentioned above) to reflect on your life and pray about it. Ask God to reveal any way you’re being ungrateful. Take time to thank Him for what He’s given you. Even if you don’t have as much money as you’d like, travel as much as you’d like, have the relationship or marriage that you’d like — you’re still blessed and God will supply ALL of your needs! Just continue to be thankful!

Be blessed,

Joc

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Filed under Dear Diary, It's Me Joc, The Christian Life