I want to share with you what I have learned about casting your net when it is so empty and you are so tired.
As I have been studying in the Gospels this year I have been amazed at how many applications I can make from the lives of the apostles to my own. This last week I was thinking about how chaotic my life has been over the last year. So many changes and so quickly, like a whirlwind. Many of them have left me feeling unstable and reeling! And yet, amidst them all I have felt the peace of my Savior. This has come in surprising ways.
It seems like when I am going through the craziest most difficult times God will ask me to do just one more thing… for Him. Like the apostle Peter, He will ask me to cast my empty net into the water one more time. In my own very human mind I will say to Him, But can’t you see that I’m in the middle of a mess right now? I am so tired and worn out. My net is so empty and I don’t know if I have the energy to cast it one more time.
But because I want to be faithful, I do it anyway. I do the one more thing… for Him. And somehow, by some miracle, this one more thing ends up being the thing that saves me, the thing that actually fills my net. This thing I did for Him, ends up being the thing that draws me closer to Him and gives me added strength and energy and renewal. This thing I did for Him ends up being such a blessing from Him to me. I am so grateful that He knows how to fill my emptiness and pushes me to do just one more thing.
The other day I was listening to the speech I recommended below and the speaker mentioned someone sharing this phrase with her, “To worry is to lack faith.” That thought snapped around my heart like a trap! This last week my 19 year old daughter decided it was time to spread her wings and move out. And though I also feel like this is the next step for her in moving forward in her life it happened quite suddenly and caught me off guard. Even though I know it is right, it is so hard as a parent not to worry about your children as they strike out on their own. I had been fretting about how she will manage, what choices she will make, what challenges will come her way, etc.
As I pondered on the phrase I realized that I truly was showing my fear and not leaning into my faith. I know our Heavenly Father loves my daughter every bit as much as I do. I know that He has a plan for her. I know that He will be watching out for her and even though there will be trials, because we all have them, she will get through them. I can continue to pray for her and be here for her if she needs someone to talk to, but I have to trust God to take care of her.
No matter what our own personal struggles are, there are times when worry sets in. And if we are not careful it can set up camp and really take over our thoughts, our motivation, and our lives. We must recognize this worry for what it is, a useless drain on our energy, especially because worry never seems to accomplish much. Faith on the other hand is the predecessor of miracles and a much better investment of energy. So I will try to use a worried thought as a trigger to remind me to pray, let it go and give it back to the Worker of miracles.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
5 ¶ Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Is there something you are worrying about that would be much better handled in the hands of God?
Song: Let Go by Matt Hammitt
Talk: Be Still and Know God
Have you ever had one of those days (or maybe even weeks) when you just don’t feel like you’re enough? Like you aren’t measuring up to the expectations those around you have for you? Like no matter how much you do there just isn’t enough time to do all that is required? Maybe you just feel lonely and unappreciated?
I think we all have those times! Even those of us who normally feel cheerful, optimistic and blessed beyond measure… This post is for one of those days.
There is always one who loves you. He knows you completely – the best of you and the worst of you – and He still adores you! He knows your strengths and your weaknesses. He knows you intentions and your desires. He knows how hard you try. And He admires you for all of those things. In His eyes, there is no disappointment, only love. If you are feeling weak and weary… If you are feeling broken and discarded… If you are feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated… He is there. Go to Him. Ask Him if He loves you. You can find peace and comfort in His heavenly embrace. To Him, you are always enough!
17 Thy Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
Song: I Am Loved
Favorite Find: God’s Love letter for you…
Talk: Living the Gospel Joyfully
Talk: Trust in the Lord
This picture is called “Seeking the One”and it was created by Liz Lemon Swindle. My son and I put together a big puzzle of it and until we sold our house recently it hung above the stairs in our home. I looked at it every day. And every day I felt deep gratitude for the Man who would leave the ninety and nine to find the one, because I have been that sheep, the one He seeks.
I honestly don’t know where I would be without my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I can’t imagine having to live out my life with the shame and regret of my mistakes and bad choices! I am so grateful for His love for me and willingness to sacrifice on my behalf so that I can shed the pain of my past and try again.
He loves each of us like that! He reaches out to us one by one and desires for us to come. He wants to heal us, help us, and walk us home.
Jesus Christ suffered in the garden, died on the cross, and rose again on the third day. Because of His willingness to do these things we have the opportunity to recognize our wrongs, repent and move forward becoming a little bit better day by day.
I have thought a lot about ministering in the Savior’s way over the last year and one of the things that struck me as very relevant is that being vulnerable enough to allow others to serve us is just as important as reaching out to serve those around us.
I think that in a general sense, we are all great at serving, especially when we are specifically asked to. However, I know that many of us struggle with being vulnerable enough to actually accept service from others, even when we need it.
There is a quote by Rick Warren, in his book The Purpose Driven Life, that says, “Vulnerability is an endearing quality. We are drawn to humble people. Pretentiousness repels but authenticity attracts.”
Our brokenness is part of our perfect journey and God will ask us to share our vulnerabilities to bless the lives of others! How will you consecrate your suffering to God’s purposes?
We are taught our whole lives to love one another, to get outside ourselves and serve, that we are God’s hands on the earth. I have been the recipient if service enough times to realize how important these things are, but for the longest time I felt guilty because I never felt like I was serving because I wasn’t organizing or being involved in big organized projects. It wasn’t until recently that I finally realized what it meant to follow Christ’s example in the way we minister.
I’m not sure what it was that brought the epiphany I had. It was probably a combination of reading about His life in the gospels again combined with other articles on service, but suddenly a lightbulb came on for me. Our Savior was never involved in big organized projects, He served as He went. He saw a need and He filled it. And generally these opportunities came as He was on His way to somewhere else. With this understanding also came a realization that there have probably been many opportunities to serve in my life that I have bypassed because I was too focused on the next place I was going or the next project I was wrapped up in.
Understanding that the little things we do to make another’s life easier are the essence of service has really been a game changer for me. It has created a desire in me to be more aware of those opportunities throughout the day. It has made me want to slow down a little and pay more attention to the whispers that come showing me the needs around me. It has helped me feel validated in the little things I do to show love to those around me. Now I feel great when I take an hour to listen to a friend vent, or go out of my way to write a note and create a special treat for one of my kids who is having a hard week, or take the afternoon and spend some quality time with my husband. I have begun to see the time I invest in facilitating my scripture study or writing for my blog as opportunities to serve as I share God’s word and love with those who read my testimony. I never really saw these as service before, and as good as it is to be part of big organized service projects, better understanding Christ’s way of ministering helps me to recognize that maybe service in the little things along our daily path are just as important, if not more so.
Serving in the Savior’s way means keeping our eyes and our hearts open to see a need and fill it, just like He did.
I learned so much from this talk, especially on the topic of real intent. After listening to it a few years ago I was able to look back on my life and recognize the truth of what He was saying. God does want to answer or prayers and share great knowledge with us but He first wants to see that we really do intend to do something with the answers, that we aren’t just asking out of mere curiosity. The most profound answers and insights I have gotten in my life were during times I really needed them! Times I desperately plead for them! Times I intended to use them to take the next step in my life! God knows our hearts and our intentions matter to Him!