Putting Doubt to Death. | Part 1

Max Lucado said if there was one thing he could go back and tell himself when he first started his writing and preaching career it would be “to prepare for self-doubt.”

Listening to this well-versed, highly successful author and lead pastor of 30+ years admit that he continues to deal with doubt was an eye-opener. A game-changer. A needed shot of reality.

Really? That’s the one thing you would tell yourself. Interesting. I don’t struggle with that. Not so much.

Wait. Yes, I do. This was a WORD for me and maybe it will be a WORD for you.

This one little five letter word that I believe we do not give enough thought. Enough respect for the weight it holds.

Wrapped tightly in a shroud of insecurity and unbelief and even arrogance. That word doubt.

We all doubt something.
Doubt someone.
Doubt everyone.
Doubt everything.

We doubt ourselves.
We doubt our spouse.
We doubt our children.
We doubt our neighbor.

We doubt God.

He may not be considered God to everyone, but we ALL doubt Him at some point.

Doubt His existence.
Doubt His ability.
Doubt His love.

And then there is that one lie that led to that one word. Doubt.

In the garden Adam and Eve chose doubt…over God. Evil over Good. And God loved them and loves us enough to allow us the ability to choose.

They chose to believe the lie that maybe they were missing something.

Maybe they actually could be like God…forgetting they already were

Oh, how we so easily fall into the same trap and follow in the same ill-gotten footsteps of these two who had the perfect life.

And because of doubt…gave it all up. For death. And as soon as the choice had been made, they regretted it. Wished they could take it back. Take back the doubt that now filled their once pure and innocent and full-of-Life hearts.

Now nothing. No peace. No joy. No afternoon strolls with their Creator in perfect harmony. All because they doubted their existence and chose what was “a delight to the eyes” and what would “seem to make one wise.”

Isn’t that the way it always is? The grass is always greener. Yep, been there and done that. Like a mirage of sorts…the closer you get, the better it looks until you actually take that step and in an instant you wish you never had.

Wished you had followed your gut that told you it was too good to be true.

Wished you could take back that initial doubt and go another way. The other way. Any way but where you find yourself now. In this dead place.

No green in sight. Where did it go? It was just here.

We never have just enough to be satisfied and so when the temptation is laid bare, we can’t help ourselves.

We. must. try. it. We must doubt our own reality. Our own existence.

I guess it really is in our nature to doubt. In our flesh, Adam and Eve born, nature.

But that doesn’t make it right or good or healthy. It just makes us real. Real human.

So, that’s where doubt starts. As a seed. Not even necessarily planted deep…it doesn’t need much water to grow. Just a touch. Just an inclination. Just a hint of sunlight to spur it on.

Likes those first weeds of spring in my plant bed, that doubt is. Doesn’t take anything much to get them growing, but once they start, it takes all of heaven and hell to get them killed. And there are always a few left that I miss and they grow more. I can never get rid of all those weeds. Try as I might, I can never kill them all.

And I may never be able to kill all the doubt in my life. Not until I’m perfectly perfect and right now I’m perfectly imperfect.

So I’ll keep hashing this doubt thing out. And I hope you’ll hash it out with me some more. It needs to be put to death. As much as we possibly can. Only when we start to kill the seeds before they sprout, will we ever start to live fully.

Graciously,
Meredith

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The mule is blowing her lips.

My husband is full of one-liners. Spend more than a few minutes with him and you are sure to hear one. There is one I hear pointed towards me quite often and this time I said it before he could…”Yes, the mule is blowing her lips.”

And she was. That was me. The mule. Blowing her lips.

I was frustrated. Nothing really new for me, but my kitchen endeavors can bring it out in full force. This night was no exception. I have tried several times to make bread, but not often because I always end up failing. Miserably. Why I thought this time would be any different is beyond me.  I came across a recipe for the “Best Texas Roadhouse Rolls” and decided an hour before supper I could do this. I’m a woman. I should be able to make bread. Shouldn’t I?

I just happened to have a packet of “dry active yeast” (whatever that is) and I had one tbsp of butter even though it called for two, but surely that wouldn’t be a big deal. Butter and sugar had been on the grocery list, but on the way home from town the kids BOTH fell asleep, so I didn’t dare spoil a nap to stop by the grocery store for butter and sugar. It’s not like those are staples in my house or anything. I only make a gallon of sweet tea a day and cook everything in butter…with butter on top. And butter inside if it will fit. I’m southern. Don’t judge me.

I digress.  Back to the rolls. I will try to get on with the point, once I figure out what it really is.

It all started well. The yeasty-watery concoction started to “bubble” as it said it should. I warmed the milk and pat of butter on the stove to 115° using my dairy thermometer. I felt sure Martha Stewart would be proud of that little maneuver. Or Paula Deen or whoever is the latest and greatest tv chef star. I don’t have cable or satellite, so if they aren’t on PBS or Ion Life…I don’t know ‘em. I digress again.

I’m having a hard time focusing. Now we are probably getting to the point.

I’m sure the recipe I was reading was perfectly fine for anyone who has made rolls or bread or anything with yeast before. What else do you make with yeast? But I was not sure if I was supposed to “mix” and “stir” ingredients by hand or with my Kitchen Aid, which doesn’t get nearly as much use as it would like. Or my husband would like. So I used it.

The first 2 minutes of “fast mixing” were perfect. It’s when I went to “stir” the extra two cups of flour (Better for Bread flour, mind you…the expensive stuff…that’s probably 2 years old, but it’s been in the refrigerator, so that’s ok, right?) into the mix that things got a little “sticky.” I assumed to “stir” the ingredients I should use the “hook” attachment. I think that’s what it’s called. Anyway, I proceeded to do that at which time the flour exploded out of the bowl all over the counter and cabinet doors and me and down that black hole between my stove and counter, which is where that flour will stay for quite a while, I’m sure. And what was left in the bowl was a sticky, boogery mess. I think I just made up the word boogery, but it is the best word to describe it. The stuff looked and felt like a big bowl of boogers. My son agreed. And then I wondered why he didn’t want to try one after they were cooked…bless his heart.

The aftermath.

The aftermath.

Note the abyss between the stove and counter…that flour will rot there.

Note the abyss between the stove and counter…that flour will rot there.

At this point, I tried hard not to say a bad word. I don’t think I did. But I wouldn’t bet my life on it. What’s in the well does come up in the bucket, and I’m pretty sure my well was a little dirty at this point. I was this far in it and had wasted four cups of expensive (all be it old) flour, so I was going to see these little boogers through to the end. Pardon the very sad pun.

I finished up with the instructions as best I could and ended up with some sad looking rolls. The dough did rise, much to my amazement. The rolls did bake and sort of resembled rolls. Sort of. And they sort of tasted like rolls. Sort of. My kind husband said they “weren’t that bad, but seemed to be missing something.” Well, that was the understatement of the year. But what? What were they missing? I followed the directions as best I could. I only skimped a little on the butter and my flour was only a couple of years old and I’m not sure if I was supposed to use the mixer or not and really didn’t know how to roll the dough out, but other than that, I followed the recipe to a “T.”

Boogers rising.

Boogers rising.

And in the middle of my mishap, my kindergartener decided to continue his reading practice.  A small booklet on the kitchen table caught his eye and he asked, “Mom, is the title of this book, “God. Will. Use. This. For. Good.”? Yes, son, that’s the title of that book. And yes, son, He probably will.

God will teach me something from this “Merdie Mishap” tonight. He will teach me that a recipe is not just a list of ingredients for you to pick and choose what you want to use and how much and how you want to use them. If you don’t know what you are doing, you follow a recipe to teach you. Maybe one day you can tweak the recipe to make it better and give it your own flavor. But when you are a hopeless fool, as I,  and have no idea what you are doing, YOU FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.

How often do I do that with God? Take just what I want from the Bible and apply it just how I want just when I want and just as I want? More often than I would like to admit.

God gave us His Word so we would know his thoughts. His ways.

Psalm 119:105 
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

His instructions are for our good and His good pleasure.

Proverbs 4:13
Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;

    guard her, for she is your life.

Since the beginning of time nobody has been able to get this right. I wonder if Eve or Sarah or Rachel ever blew their lips like a mule? I endeavor to believe they did. And that makes me smile a little. Surely I’m in some like company…can I get an Amen?

God knew we were not going to get it. He knew we were not going to listen. And He knew that in our sins and struggles we would HAVE to come looking to Him for help or we would never find it. In the pit, the only place to look is up. Been there. Done that.

I’m thankful that I did accept His answer to my plea for help. And that He still answers me every time I call. And I can trust that He always will.

I will probably give up on bread making. For now anyway. They make really good rolls in the freezer section that take very little time and as my son pointed out, taste much better than my homemade version.

That being said, I will not be giving up on following God’s plan of instruction for my life. Being in His word daily, I’m finding wonderful insight and truths that I’ve never taken the time to see before. I can’t imagine how getting through the entire Bible will affect my daily walk. It can only be GOOD. And surely I will mess up. Again. Tomorrow. But, He will always be there to get me back on track.

God will always get me back on track, just like my husband does when teaching our children how to ride a horse.

Sometimes he has to take the reins and show them what to do.

Then they can take the reins themselves and mirror their father’s instruction.

The Bible is God’s mirror for us into His very soul. As His children, we should know it.

To know the Bible is to know God. To know God is to the know the Bible.

To know God is to have True Life. 

Moments of blowing our mule lips will come and go. (That doesn’t sound right, but it is what it is.)

God will always be our guide, waiting for us to ask for the Lead and waiting for him to Answer.

Sometimes the biggest lessons learned come in the waiting. And then the biggest rewards come after the wait.

To any other mule lip blowers…take heart. You are not alone. Maybe we could have a contest sometime? And then again, maybe not. 😉

Graciously,

Meredith

I knew I would be able to use this photo one day. Little man is not a mule, but he’s not little either.

I knew I would be able to use this photo one day. Little man is not a mule, but he’s not little either.

A Song for Sunday | 10,000 Reasons

There is a song that has been speaking to me a lot lately. I had heard it before, but over the past 6 months my soul has fallen in love with it.  We sung it together live at Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s talk in Lynchburg last fall and a few weeks ago our church Praise Team led us in it. It sums up my walk right now so well. You can hear a preview here, but let the words speak to you. I bought the cd a few weeks ago and now my children and I blast it at least a few times a day. I think it sounds even better in my three-year old’s voice. 😉 In camping out for a while on the song writer, Matt Redman’s website, I realized he also has written several books and has devotions available for download that go with some of his songs, including this one. Awesome! Check it all out here. Be blessed and be a blessing today. We have many more than 10,000 reasons IN Christ Jesus. 🙂

10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
by Matt Redman

[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy nameYou’re rich in love, and You’re slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

[Chorus x2]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
Lord, I’ll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before
O my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I’ll worship Your holy name
I’ll worship Your holy name