Living in Faith, Scripture verses, What I've Learned Lately

Restarting after getting stuck

A wasp is caught between the window and screen above our kitchen sink. How did it get there? We can’t see the slit that it must have slipped through, but some sort of opening must be there. Now the wasp can’t seem to find its way back to the hidden opening either, so it crawls along the screen, looking in vain for an escape route.

I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve found myself in the same situation.

Restarting after you've gotten stuckWhether I’m going along oblivious to the things around me or consciously make a decision that sends me down the wrong path, the result is still the same: I’m stuck in a place I don’t want to be and don’t know how to get out.

Sometimes the thing I want — the place I want to be — is right in front of me. But like the wasp that can see the outdoors but not find its way to freedom, I can’t always easily find my way back to where I want to be, either.

I don’t think I’m alone. In fact, I know I’m not because the Bible tells multiple stories of people who found themselves in a place they didn’t expect.

You might think of others, but two that come immediately to mind for me are:

  • Eve, who ate the forbidden fruit and then shared it with Adam (Genesis 3)
  • Jonah, who hopped on a ship going in the opposite direction from what God instructed and then ended up thrown overboard and in the belly of a great fish (Jonah 1-2)

These are important stories and have lessons for us to learn, but one of the biggest self-imposed “stuck and turned around” stories for me is Moses.

Yes, Moses was a great leader who God used to get the Israelites free from Egyptian slavery and through the desert toward their Promised Land.

Yes, Moses had such a close relationship with God that they had true back-and-forth conversations.

Yes, Moses was the person God entrusted with the 10 Commandments.

But before all that, Moses was a murderer.

He was raised in Pharaoh’s household and many scholars believe he was being groomed to take over Pharaoh’s throne. But beneath the fine Egyptian clothes, education, and abundance of food and drink was a Hebrew man. As much as it may have seemed he was ingrained in Pharaoh’s family, Moses knew his true heritage.

One day when he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, Moses snapped. Rage overtook him and he killed the Egyptian. (Exodus 2:11-12)

What happened next? Moses panicked, just like the rest of us would.

He buried the Egyptian in the sand and thought no one saw what he’d done — but he was wrong.

The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?” The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.” (Exodus 2:13-14 NIV)

When word reached Pharaoh, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses escaped and fled about 700 miles east to Midian.

Talk about being stuck in a place he didn’t expect or want to be!

One day Moses was living the spoiled life of Pharaoh’s heir apparent. The next, he was a murderer. And then he was a fugitive trying to escape Pharaoh’s wrath.

The years Moses spent in Midian weren’t wasted. He met his wife Zipporah and they started a family. He worked as a shepherd for his father-in-law Jethro.

Do you know what shepherds have a lot of? Time. Hours and hours of time away from other people. Time to think. Time to dream. Time to reconsider. Time to repent.

We know that David used his time as a shepherd to connect with God and I believe Moses did, too.

When God was ready — and when He knew Moses was ready — He called Moses from his “stuck” place in a big way. Moses wouldn’t live the rest of his life in Midian as a shepherd. Instead, he would return to Egypt to demand that Pharaoh release the Hebrew slaves.

Moses wouldn’t hide from prying eyes and try to walk through life unnoticed. Instead, he would be front and center as the leader of God’s people.

It was all because God had a bigger plan for Moses and Moses was willing to follow.

It can be the same for us when we’re stuck somewhere we didn’t expect. We might be surprised, but God isn’t. We might not know which direction to turn, but God does.

We might feel trapped like the wasp behind my screen, surprised to be in that place and unable to find our way out (which it did, after a couple of days). But we can get out of our stuck spot. We can cry out to God for help and be certain that He hears us.

  • The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. (Psalm 34:15 ESV)
  • When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17 ESV)

And when the time is right, God will help us get out of that spot and on to the next thing He has for us, just like He did for Moses. We just have to be willing to follow.

How have you been reminded lately that God will help us get unstuck, even when we brought it on ourselves? Is there something you can do to help someone else see this for themselves?

Share a comment so we can encourage each other.

When the time is right, God will help us get out of our “stuck spot” and on to the next thing He has for us. Click To Tweet
Living in Faith, Scripture verses

God remembers even the smallest things about us

As businesses attempt to get closer to how they were before spring 2020, many of us who have worked from home for a year or longer are returning to the workplace. My turn came the week of Sept. 13 when our department began going back to the office two days a week.

It had been 18 months since my coworkers and I packed our laptops, grabbed files for current projects, and prepared to work from home “until further notice,” as the official communications said.

I stopped by once in July 2020 to get a few more things since our work-from-home time was stretching further than any of us originally expected. Walking back in on Sept. 14, 2021, was a bit surreal. The cavernous warehouse-turned-office-space was the same, but I’d forgotten some of the details.

How one of the light switches near my workspace must be flipped down to turn on its bank of lights since the switch at the other end of the department is always flipped up.

The number of quotes I have scattered among photos of family and friends to encourage me on crazy or long days. My favorite for a morning smile: Make today ridiculously amazing.

The sandstone coaster I bought at a local shop just for fun: Be happy, it’s contagious.

The small desk clock that was a promotional gift sample from a vendor almost 30 years ago.

They aren’t big things, but they help make my workspace my own. And as intentional as I was about surrounding myself with certain things when I began working in this department, as much as I like them, they slipped my mind when I didn’t see them every day.

I’m so glad God isn’t the same way about us and our lives.

Make today ridiculously amazingIt can be easy to think He doesn’t remember us or doesn’t care about us when we might not be paying much attention to Him. But the beautiful truth is, He never forgets a single thing about us, no matter how small it might seem or how long it might have been since we told Him hello. Nothing about us ever slips His notice.

God knew us—everything about us—before He created us in our mother’s womb.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16 NIV)

God knows us so intimately, He knows how many hairs are on our head.

God even knows how many hairs are on your head. (Matthew 10:30 NCV)

God knows our name and exactly who we are, even among the billions of people on earth.

And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:17 NIV)

God knows our thoughts even when we never share them, and He knows our words before we speak.

The Lord—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath. (Psalm 94:11 ESV)

You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. (Psalm 139:4 NLT)

God knows our name—and He will never forget it.

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. (Isaiah 43:1 NKJV)

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:15-16 ESV)

Just because we might not be thinking of God never means that He isn’t thinking of us. He’s always with us, always watching over us, always loving us.

Be happy it's contagiousSometimes we just need a little reminder to spark fresh recognition in ourselves.

How have you been reminded lately that God cares about you, right where you are? Is there something you can do to help someone else remember this for themselves?

Share a comment so we can encourage each other. And then go have a ridiculously amazing day.

Just because we might not be thinking of God never means that He isn’t thinking of us. Click To Tweet

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God sightings, Living in Faith, Scripture Lessons, Scripture verses

Slow down, see God, be changed

Busy, busy, busy. That’s how many of us tend to go through our days whether we’re at school, in the workplace, at home, or somewhere else. Even our vacations can sometimes be so full of activities that we feel like we need a vacation once we get home from vacation!

slow down and see God; see God and be changedAs crazy and scary as the past 18 months have been, one benefit for some people has been the realization that life doesn’t always have to be so busy. We saw that we can slow down … take a break … step back a bit … and the world will still keep turning.

What a refreshing reminder for some of us, myself included.

I’m a firm believer that God is all around us in big and small ways every day. After all, Scripture tells us so multiple times. First, we have the obvious example of the creation story in Genesis. A few other references to it include:

  • You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. (Nehemiah 9:6)
  • Thus says the Lord,the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him: “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hand? I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host.” (Isaiah 45:11-12)
  • For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)

We can forget to notice those daily reminders as we rush through our days. What’s playing on our radio or in our earbuds drowns out the bird’s song. Our morning routine keeps us from noticing the sunrise. We’re checking things on our phone while waiting in a restaurant so miss the smile from the baby at the next table.

I’m not pointing fingers here; I’m just as guilty as anyone else. But I’m trying to do better. Why?

Because when we slow down, we see God.

And when we see God, we can’t help but be changed.

After all, how can we not be changed and be in complete awe of God once we see Him for ourselves?

That’s the kind of change I want to have in my life. But how do we do make it happen?

The best way I’ve found is to ask God to open my eyes and ears so that I’ll see or hear Him around me that day. When I do this, it’s amazing how many ways I notice Him. It’s as if He’s just waiting for the opportunity to show off. 😊

I also try to write down some of the things I see or experience. Then on those days when I’m struggling or questioning or doubting, I can look back and see how many ways God has reminded me of His presence.

Sometimes I see Him in big, obvious ways like the pillars of cloud and fire that God used to guide the Israelites while they were in the desert (Exodus 13:21-22). Other times it’s in subtle ways that are easy to overlook, like when God spoke to Elijah in the still, small whisper instead of the earthquake or fire (1 Kings 19:9-13).

Either way, it’s God. He’s in the biggest of the big and the smallest of the small because He created it all. He wants — and deserves — our praise for every bit of it, from the tallest mountain or most complex creation to the everyday things in life that feel inconsequential.

As Christians, we’re told to continually praise God. Learning to slow down so we can see Him in everything around us is one way to do that, one way to keep Him as an important part of our day.

It doesn’t become habit overnight and there are plenty of days when I don’t focus on it as well as I could. The world still clatters all around me, pulling my attention in too many directions. But I keep trying and hope you do, too.

We’re all works in progress, no matter how old we are or how long we’ve been following God. How do you set the world aside long enough to see God in your everyday life? Have you found a way to keep track of those moments so you don’t forget them?

Leave a comment to share what you’ve learned and help someone else in their journey. We can all use help along the way.

Be blessed, friends!

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