Tuesday, April 28, 2015

More Thoughts on Better Days

A few days ago I started to share some things I'm learning about myself when it comes to living this life I've been given. I was hoping to spur a discussion, start a conversation, hear other people's excellent thoughts and tips on better days. It worked.......better than I thought it would!

One thing I shared seemed to strike a chord ~ the idea of what it means to accomplish things. Many of you shared helpful tools and practices you've put in place to help with the never-ending to-do list that makes up life. One new missionary shared her struggle about comparing her "America-self" with her "mission-field self". I especially appreciated those of you who encouraged us all to serve God in the everyday. If you get a moment, read this excellent post about God ruling the mundane ~ she sums it up better than I ever could. I believe Brother Lawrence put it best, “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” 

I recently read this quote from C.S. Lewis. It stirred things deep within me...
perfect man would never act from a sense of duty; he’d always want the right thing more than the wrong one. Duty is only a substitute for love (of God and of other people), like a crutch, which is a substitute for a leg. Most of us need the crutch at times; but of course it’s idiotic to use the crutch when our own legs (or own loves, tastes, habits etc) can do the journey on their own!
I'm terribly guilty of doing just that ~ acting out of a sense of duty. Serving others because that is how I show my love can still be vain and unfruitful if it is simply done because I must love them. I long for more! I want to love those dear ones who've been entrusted to me until I'm spent, and then choose to find one more way to show my love. When I do this, this one thing extra, I find joy!
A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul ~ this bit of wisdom has been a help to me when I don't even want to finish what must be done. I find that one thing, and then with God's help I strive to do it.

All of us are on a journey, and while that may sound common or cliche, I believe that truth with every part of me. I am not the same believer I was when I accepted Christ as a small girl and then struggled through years of doubting my salvation. I am not the same Christian I was before I left my home country, thrilled and terrified of what God had for me. I am not the same wife that I was when I married my husband nearly 13 years ago and was scared of physical intimacy. I'm not the same missionary I was when I came to Ghana almost 12 years ago and thought culture shock would crush me. I'm not the same mama having four babies that I was when I had two and was begging God for five long years for more children.

And while I've learned some things, I still have lots to learn. I'm not full of I Corinthians 13 love; I do not always speak with the law of kindness; my speech is not always with grace, seasoned with salt; I'm not always full of faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. The list could go on and on.

But on this journey, I'm also right where God wants me to be ~ desperately needing Him.

I don't want to be in a race or a competition. I simply desire to be traveling the path of life, seeking His presence and His fullness of joy.

I don't know where you are in your journey either ~ expat, old friend, fellow missionary, young mother, empty-nester, American, Ghanaian, supporter, family member, faithful reader, one-time visitor, rookie, aged woman ~ but I do know God desires to complete what He has begun in all of us. 
As Augustine put it, "I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write."
Thanks for joining me in my ramblings.

*It has been an encouragement to read the comments on facebook, on the blog, and in my email inbox. Thank you for taking the time to share! If you get a chance, please take a few minutes to read through them. I'm sure they'll bless you as they've blessed me.
I know there are more things to share about his topic ~ looking forward to next time.


  1. LOVED your quotes, especially the C.S. Lewis one. Thank you for sharing. I hope to learn to live in His fulness of joy, too!

  2. Thanks for this new post--such an encouragement to me! You are NOT alone! Lots of hugs from France!

  3. As always, thank you for sharing your heart and what God's shown you, Patty. It isn't always easy to act out of love. I am not the type that likes to be emotional - I fear it in so many ways because I'm afraid of being labeled as "drama queen" or "irrational". God, however, has shown me that when my heart is stirred, so are my tears, and that doesn't make me "emotional" in the sense that I'm being dramatic. It means that I am letting something touch me and change me. I am finding the the tears come quicker, the heart softens more, and I am truly happier when I allow my heart to be moved and stirred, because that means I allow my God to move within me, and I don't harden my heart out of fear of a label that doesn't match the truth. I am finding that I worry less and less about what others think and more and more about what God thinks. It is liberating. :) I am not perfect, I have not arrived, but I cling to God more, and that is an amazing thing. :)