Thursday, January 12

Several Ways to Make Yourself Miserable

It seems as though complaining is a lot easier to do than finding the good in things. Does anyone else out there like to play that "victim card" like I do? I'd like to think that if I were speaking on this subject in front of a group, this is the part where I would hear a resounding "amen" of agreements and affirmation. If not, I would assume everyone had "denial cards". Even so, there's at least one group I know of who liked to play the victim card.

In the Bible, you might be familiar with the love/hate relationship that the Israelites had with Moses. I wonder how many times he was asked "Are we there yet," or "Is there anything else to eat other than manna?" How about that time the Israelites got impatient with Moses (and with God for that matter) and made a golden calf to worship? What were they thinking? I would like to think that I would have withdrew myself from that craziness and patiently waited on Moses to come down the mountain without so much as a thought towards worshipping a calf, but who am I kidding? How often do I turn away quickly from the plans the Lord has for me because I'm impatient, bitter, greedy, and ungrateful? Too often for me to count.  

I've slowly been reading through the book  by Elisabeth Elliot. I highly recommend it. That woman knows how to step on your toes (in a good way, of course). One chapter was entitled "Several Ways to Make Yourself Miserable" and I thought I would share them with you. I think this is worth typing up, printing out, and hanging up somewhere that you look every day, just as a friendly reminder.

Do the following to make yourself miserable:
  1. Count your troubles, name them one by one--at the breakfast table, if anybody will listen, or as soon as possible thereafter.
  2. Worry every day about something. Don't let yourself get out of practice.
  3. Pity yourself. If you do enough of this, nobody else will have to do it for you.
  4. Devise clever but decent ways to serve the Lord and mammon (riches or material wealth).
  5. Make it your business to find out what the Johnson's are buying this year and where they're going. Try to do them at least one better even if you have to take out another loan to do it.
  6. Stay away from absolutes. It's what's right for you that matters.
  7. Make sure you get your rights. Never mind other people's. You have your life to live, they have theirs.
  8. Don't fall into any compassion traps. If you get too involved in other people's troubles, you may neglect your own.
  9. Don't let reading the Bible and praying get in the way of what's really relevant--things like TV and newspapers.
Do you know what the Lord's initial response was towards the Israelites' sin of making a golden calf? He told Moses to step aside so that he could consume them up in a fire. Was the Lord being a bit overdramatic? Not at all. "For the wages of sin is death..." Romans 6:23 tells us. But the Lord didn't destroy them that day. Moses implored the Lord and reminded him of his promise to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Israel. And the Lord relented from the disaster of which he had spoken. Sounds pretty similar to what Christ does on behalf of those who proclaim him as Savior. It's a good thing Romans 6:23 doesn't stop at death or else we'd all be in trouble.

"...But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Praise God for that gift. Let's choose joy over misery, count our blessings--name them one by one.  Let's show compassion and not dwell on what we don't have, but rather rejoice in what we've already been given.

"A spirit of calm contentment always accompanies true godliness. It isn't troubles that make saints, but their response to troubles." (E. Elliot)

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