Spiritual math and gratitude

Hi everyone,

I know I’m cutting it down to the wire this month, but I haven’t forgotten about my second post! It’s been a very busy month with a rather large transition taking up most of my mental, emotional, and creative energy, much of what’s left of the latter having gone to Drawtober.

In any case, in going through this big transition (moving out of my parents), I’ve really been given an opportunity to put some things into perspective, learn some lessons, and dig down to a few outstanding issues that I still need to address. And because it’s getting late in the month, I’m tired, and I’m not entirely sure how to string them together cohesively, we’re going to approach them as a list.

God’s not interested in subtraction

If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you’re probably familiar with Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

You’ve probably also heard the phrase “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away,” usually as an encouragement to hold things with a loose hand.

Something I’ve (re-)realized about myself recently is that I mostly think of God in regards to the taking away half of that phrase.

But that’s not actually what God is like.

God is interested in addition, exclusively. Because He works all things together for my good. Everything He does for me, every trial I walk through or victory we win is for my good, even if, at the moment, it feels like a loss. Even things I straight up lose, perhaps never to regain, are ultimately only ever to add good. Because He’s a good God, and that’s what He does. And I know there’s something more profound there than what I’m saying here, but mostly I just bring it up to encourage you and to get it on the page because I feel like maybe for someone, it’s what you need.

I really don’t care that much about things

As part of moving, I had to pack up everything, or almost everything, I own. And for anyone else who’s ever moved, you know that that can be a bit of a pain…which as a privileged middle class-ish American, I realize even as I’m typing is an outrageous statement to make (whoops).

But, setting that aside for a different soul search/post, I’ve also learned that ultimately, things don’t mean that much to me. There are some really, really nice houses not far from where I live now, and honestly, I find I wouldn’t even want to live in them if I could. It’s just not that big of a deal to me (which for my wallet, is lovely). I’m rediscovering the joy of having fewer things (and of libraries and streaming services which can own things for me, haha), and it’s been really nice. That being said, I’ve found some other things I’m more attached to (family and family proximity, familiar places, and specific concepts of home, life, or family being a few) that I need to hold more loosely as well, but hey, it’s a start.

Value every minute that you have with family

Directly tied to the point above, in moving I have also seen what an incredible blessing my family is and has been. I have a greater understanding of just how much my parents have given to me, continue to give to me, give up for me, and selflessly sacrifice for my happiness and well being, up to an including to the detriment of their own, and it’s been both humbling and amazing. You are by far the greatest personal examples I have of unconditional love in my life, and I love you both very much. You are amazing.

It’s time to get back to my anchor/core. A wake up call.

The biggest take away I think I’ve had from this experience is also, I think, the biggest take away I’ve had/have from this whole summer: I need and miss Jesus.

As the Lord well knows, I am a runner. Terrified of hearing things I don’t want to hear, when things get tough, one of my first reactions can be to hide. And, as most Christians can tell you, once you start running, man, it can be hard to go back (because of pride, not because of the awesome, open-armed Father waiting for us when we get back for any of you atheists out there who are wondering).

And that’s not to say I’ve walked away from my faith this summer or started actively pursuing a life of sin or anything (at least not on purpose), it’s just been, well, hard to focus. Often, I’ve felt driftless, sometimes hopeless, and frequently discouraged. There are areas in my life where I’ve realized I am just disappointed and hurt and sad, and I squish it down so much sometimes I don’t even realize it myself.

But in dealing with this move and the emotional ups and downs that has brought, I’ve realized that really, what I need more than anything, what I need more of than anything, is Jesus.

When I’m at my peak walking with Him, everything is a joy. When I’m listless, driftless, lost at sea, it’s because He’s not there. Somewhere along the way this summer, I feel like I lost my spark. This fall and moving into my next year, I want to get it back. In the areas where I am hurt, I need to open up to get healing, where I feel discouraged I need passion, where I am lost, I need guidance. I need to know the Father’s love, for me specifically, and for the passions and loves I have. I know all of these things are available to me freely through Jesus. I know He has them ready. I just need to ask and go get them.

Jesus, where I am weak, where discouraged, where helpless, help my unbelief. Show me your love.

Amen.


So, what about you? Any valuable lessons from this summer? Any thoughts on the thoughts above? Let me know in the comments and if you want more content like this, please follow me here or on social media using the side bar links. Thanks for reading!

5 thoughts on “Spiritual math and gratitude

  1. Alma Cook October 31, 2018 / 9:55 am

    So good. This reads like a sweet devotional—which is perfect because I’m still in bed right now & this is a way better intro to the day than Instagram. 🙂

    • brainnoms November 1, 2018 / 6:40 pm

      Haha, that’s amazing. Honored to bless your beautiful morning!

  2. Jacque October 31, 2018 / 9:32 pm

    Alma! I love you! Thanks for all of this sharing. You nailed it!

  3. Technoheaven August 6, 2019 / 2:59 pm

    This is WONDERFUL. All of it, including how you wrote it! But typically when I read things there will be something that pops off the page, sticks out or rings a bell in my head … and in this wonderful blog post it was this:
    Abby wrote => things don’t mean that much to me
    Yes … the way that I say it is more like:
    It’s all just stuff.
    And you nailed it … the stuff is not the important part… Walking with Jesus is a Joy (as you said … and there you have it Abby … a recipe for joy:) … But also when I say it is not the important PART that implies there are several “parts” … didn’t Jesus refer to this when talking to Martha about Mary? (this is your homework … to check how that story went down).

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