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Your Worst Enemy

I’ve been enjoying our Christmas tree since the day after Thanksgiving. Does it seem like ‘decorating day’ is an endless day?

1. Moving around the furniture in order for everything to fit just right, making sure there is balance.

2. Hauling everything down from the attic, spreading everything out & then living in chaotic organization until the decorations are precisely placed

3. Then the subtractions, additions + the rearranging which always accompanies the many days to follow. It’s never ending, it seems!

I wonder…

What if we were as deliberate with people and with matters of true importance as we are when we decorate for Christmas?

You know… moving around our schedules to make sure others ‘fit’? Taking the pains to ‘haul’ off or help carry the weight/burdens of others? Shifting our mindset from self and the present situation in order to see the bigger picture? Looking to make decisions based on the greater good rather than on our own selfish desires or concerns or feelings? Making those hard decisions even when it is uncomfortable?

“Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil.”

James 3:16

👆 This needs no commentary. It states it perfectly…

Selfishness = Confusion+Evil

A dear friend of mine, when I was in a period of complaining, once said to me “Dana, you are you own worst enemy.”

I was focusing on myself too much, concentrating on how I felt I had been wronged or was in a desolate season thinking God was not hearing my cries.

I was waiting & waiting for something to happen, for God to fix the situation, but I was not able to get beyond a victim mentality to see what God was doing in the midst of it all — for the greater good — for His Kingdom. How fitting it is to speak of now as we are in the season of Advent and studying what it means to wait on the arrival of our Savior, don’t ya think?

I never forgot those words of my dear friend & sister in Christ. She and her words helped shape me and turn my way of thinking around many times since then to focus upward rather than on self.

We can either focus inward, on ourself & on our own selfish ambitions & desires and ‘woe is me’ mentality, or we move out of the way and let God do His perfect work THROUGH us, through OTHERS around us, & through each situation in which He has placed us.

It’s not about you (or me).

Stop focusing on your own feelings, how you’ve been wronged, or on what is wrong with the world around you.

Help stop the chaos + confusion. Ask God for wisdom + revelation to know His plan for your life in this situation & how you can make a difference or even grow from it.

Stop being your own worst enemy.

(I’m preaching to myself, again, btw.)

Carob Tree Mentality

Carob Tree Mentality

In the book ‘The Circle Maker’, Mark Batterson speaks of the life of a carob tree, stating that we must have a carob tree mentality when praying, praying long and praying hard.  
I did a bit of research on the carob tree, as I was intrigued by this.  The carob tree takes years to start bearing fruit, as early as 6 years, but it can bear fruit for up to 80-100 years. Although irrigation does help its production, it can thrive in dry areas.  
In a world of instant gratification, we are not accustomed to bearing these times of drought in our lives.  We pray ‘pop-up’ prayers wanting them to be answered as soon as we finish praying. We pray, and then expect a “presto” answer as toast popping out of a toaster.  
The truth is, “As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given” (Daniel 9:23), however, you may not see the answer for quite some time, maybe not even for years and years.  The ability to withstand these periods of drought is the same as having a carob tree mentality.  We must not give up. We must continue praying – praying without ceasing. We must persevere through our longings.  When we shortcut our longing, this becomes a lust, because we seek that instant gratification rather than holding out for that which we are longing. 
‘Praying’ is an important part of seeking that which we most desperately long for:  Jesus.    Praying long and praying hard is the answer for, in due season, we will see the fruit of our prayers.  We will see a harvest, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).  If you are restless, frustrated, disappointed, weary, unhappy, dissatisfied, or WHATEVER… just PRAY.  Pray long, and pray hard.  
I have a dear friend who once told me that I was my own worst enemy, making me realize I was looking at only the negative and not trying to be a part of the better picture.  Prayer can do this for us. Even if we don’t see an answer at this moment, prayer gives us hope that the answer is coming.  
Keep praying, without ceasing. Do not give up.  We may get to a point where we are at the end of the rope and think, “I have nothing left BUT prayer.”  Well, let me tell you, dear friend… Prayer is EVERYTHING.  
Prayer is not the last resort but rather the beginning of hope.