Showing items for 'January 2019'

Shifting Focus

Posted by Zach Baum on

After the holidays, I’m finding our home is filled with stuff. There are piles of new things and the boxes they came in. On top of that, we also have a little baby girl arriving soon. There's so much to get and so much to do! This leads to my wife and I planning how we will get rid of the...

Showing items filed under “January 2019”

Confessions of a (Recovering) Control Freak

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My husband is retiring from the military after 32 years of active duty service. This is a big step for both of us. He hasn’t had to apply for a job since he was in high school. And since we’ve been married, he has always known what he was going to do and when he would get promotions. We haven’t really had to worry about our future. Until now.

As for me, I’m a “recovering” control freak, which is a weird trait for a military spouse. But when things get stressful or uncertain, I default to, “If I can control all the things about this, then everything will be okay.”  So, in this journey of my husband transitioning out of the military and into his next position as he continues his career, I have been trying to control freak it. Every day I was trying to gain control of the unknown by asking him if he took this step, or called that person. And I could tell I was stressing him out.

I finally decided that I needed to talk with God about it. I remember the day well. “Lord,” I said, “he is just not doing the things he said he wanted to do. He is stressed out and this is new territory for us. But God…what if he doesn’t get a job after he retires?”

Immediately I felt the Spirit say, “Do you think I can’t take care of you?”

I don’t always get immediate answers from God when I pray. Sometimes I don’t get answers at all. But I have found that when I am earnestly seeking him, or if my thinking needs to be straightened out, sometimes I will feel an answer from him like I did that day.

When I felt that answer, I took a sharp breath in. Yes! I thought. That’s right! God will take care of us now, just like he has taken care of us for all these years.

At that moment, my worry and angst disappeared. I no longer had to ask every day if my husband was taking care of things. Instead, I prayed each day, lifting my husband up in prayer. And instead of pointing out what my husband was or was not doing, I was able to talk about what God was teaching me; that he is still in control and has a good plan for us. We started agreeing that we just needed to look for what God was doing and follow his lead.

We still don’t know what my husband will be doing after his retirement. But we do know that God has been showing us some potential paths. We know that he has a specific plan for us. And we know that God will reveal that plan to us as we follow his lead, pray, and stay in relationship with him.

Now I am constantly reminded to live the truth of Isaiah 30:21, Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  I don’t have to know the path forward because I’m listening to the one who is showing me where to walk. He knows the way forward, and I trust him to show me.

Shifting Focus

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After the holidays, I’m finding our home is filled with stuff. There are piles of new things and the boxes they came in. On top of that, we also have a little baby girl arriving soon. There's so much to get and so much to do! This leads to my wife and I planning how we will get rid of the mess, how to organize the chaos, and find some peace again.

My mind doesn't feel all that different from how my home looks. I find myself in a season of transition and cannot help but think about how things will be changing soon and although we try to plan for it, there will always be something to get, or to clean up, or…who knows. These thoughts turn into worries that are all bouncing around in my head like an old computer screen saver. 

In the same way we are trying to tame the mess in the house, I’m learning I need the wisdom to discern how to address my concerns and worries. I need to decide which ones I need to learn to live with, with the understanding that our Father is taking care of them.

I find encouragement in the close of 1 Peter where he wrote to the early persecuted church, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7).

I find peace in this not because I can make everything right (there's always a new mess or a worry popping up), but through the knowledge that everything has been made right in Jesus Christ. I find peace in knowing that even if I do not know the path that I should be taking, God does. And Jesus has showed me who I should strive to be in every area of my life.

If you are like me at the start of 2019, trying to take the first steps towards finding peace after a hectic holiday season, I suggest a shift in focus from what we could do to what has already been done.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. - 1 Peter 5:8-11

Posted by Zach Baum with

God Doesn't Want Us Comfortable

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Comfort is a great thing. No one wants to sit on an uncomfortable couch, we all want our home to be a comfortable place, and no one wants to wear an itchy sweater. Everyone wants to be comfortable. Comfort means being relaxed, being more yourself, and feeling secure. Comfort is perfectly fine and great in the physical aspects of life, clothes, furniture, and homes, but maybe that’s it. Maybe comfort isn’t supposed to go beyond physical things. Maybe it isn’t meant for how we live our life.

Since I’ve been married I’ve always felt like God was pulling my husband and I away from wherever we were comfortable. We moved 1600 miles away from all friends and family, and the place we were both comfortable and had always called home. We lived in a small apartment that just never really felt like home. My husband was in graduate school working as a grad assistant making very little so we had the smallest, and tightest budget ever--which wasn’t always comfortable to work with.

Then we finally started to get into a rhythm of that life and make what we felt was a great plan for the future, God made us uncomfortable again. My husband didn’t get into the PhD program like we had always planned he would. That meant we had about 6 months to find him a job before the university stopped paying him, and that was very scary and uncomfortable. Then he found a job, a great job and loved it, and after his second week there we found out I was pregnant.

The last 12 months of our lives have pushed us out of our comfort zones of being in control and feeling like we get any say in our future plans. Every day and each month all we could do was make a small plan for the weekly future, and honestly God has blessed us more in this season than I could have ever dreamed of.

This has made me realize that sometimes God calls us to be uncomfortable. Great things don’t happen when you are cozy in your comfort zone. Esther from the Bible is a great example of this (her story is recorded in the Book of Esther in the Old Testament). She was an orphan living with her uncle in a foreign city which I’m sure wasn’t the most comfortable place to be. Then suddenly she’s chosen by the King to be his new Queen just as one of the kings nobles wanted to destroys the Jews, Esther’s people. Esther’s uncle persuades her to use her new position close to the king to try and save her people; again, I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that was. She’s super young, newly married to a king and now she needs to try and persuade him against one of his highest nobles. She did it though, and ultimately the Jews were saved because Esther went where God needed her. She went where she was uncomfortable, and that is where God can do the best things.

 

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