#2 Teaching is always a learning experience.
Keep Coming Back
We studied from Annie Downs' book Looking for Lovely:
The key verse was Romans 5:3-5:
3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
(We had to push fast through the book since it was only a weekend retreat but Casey, Jennifer, and I tag-teamed the teaching and got it done in style. :)
Here's what I took away from the study:
She talked a lot about persevering through hard times by looking for good moment's of God's blessings in those times, and not giving up, but holding on to hope through it all.
Most of us have fairly easy lives...we're fed and clothed and have some sort of a home, but we still have some REALLY hard times, and some REALLY trying days. There are also things that we pray for that seem to never come...
These are the times of perseverance I thought of.
We also talked a lot about just not giving up, and that made me think of one my friends who had asked me for advice on weight loss and fitness. Part of my advice to her was that she WOULD mess up and fall off track, but she had to keep coming back to it...keep starting over. Moment by moment.
Example: If you're trying not to eat sweets but you give in and eat a cookie...hit the mental reset button at that moment...don't eat the whole pack of cookies.
Keep coming back to the fight!
Then I thought way back to my New Year's resolutions.
This was one of them:
- Write more. I'm going to try to sit down to write at least once a week. I definitely won't be posting everything I write, but the act of trying keeps me thinking and digging and praying and learning.
I did not stick to this.
I actually just remembered it this weekend.
My first thought was, "Well, that's awash. I guess that's not going to happen now. I don't think I'll write at all anymore."
"I don't want to by a quitter...I'm a finisher!" (That's my little pep talk to myself. :)
I thought about my advice to my friend about weight loss and fitness and it easily applied to my situation. It can apply to whatever battle you're facing, or goal you're trying to reach, or new habit you're trying to start.
Just keeping coming back to it! Don't quit.
So here I am...writing.
I also thought about something I've been praying for a long time now and it obviously hasn't happened. I struggle now to keep praying for it. That's what I last wrote about here.
At the retreat, which was in the Smoky Mountains by the way, some of the girls and I tried to see the sunrise. The problem was that where we were situated in the mountains the sun didn't actually rise for us until late in the morning. So we were there looking at a mountain, knowing that the sun had risen behind it, but we still couldn't see it.
The Lord brought this to mind for me when I taught on hope that night.
I told the girls that in this world there are always temptations and distractions that try to pull us away from the path God has for us, but we have to look past what we can see in front of us and remember that there's a greater purpose...a greater goal.
The sun still rises, even if we can't see it. We have to keep moving forward, hoping in the unseen. Holding on to faith because Jesus can move the mountain:
"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” -Matthew 17:20
Keep climbing the mountain until it moves.
Keep coming back.
Just don't quit.
That's what I'm going to do.