When Life Stinks, Get an Air Freshner

In the Christian life we have what we call Mountain Top Experiences and Valley Experiences. Mountain Tops are when things are going well and you have that sense of elation. You can see for days. It is euphoric. Valley Experiences are the low points. Have you ever noticed that there are more trees and grass in the valleys than on the top of the mountain? Why is this? Well, not to be crude, but thats where all the manure is. All the fertilizer drains into the valley. In our spiritual lives the valley is where we grow. Only through difficult circumstances do we take stock in our lives. Only in dire situations do we concentrate on who is in control of our lives, us or God. Only through hard times do we test our faith in God. And only by testing our faith do we grow stronger on this journey of Believe.

I am praying this prayer, “God, strip me of all my preconceived notions of what my life should be-and please help me to just LET GO.” You see, I wanted a big church to help a lot of people, and to be honest, to make myself look good. “See what I did.” “You said it would never work.” “I proved you wrong.” What God has given me is a big old piece of “Humble Pie”. Matthew 23:12 says- “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.” The Message.

Easy to SAY, hard to DO

It is hard to step out of the way and let God work. We get caught up in the details that we can do. It reminds me of my son Blayne. He always wants to help. He is 4 but he thinks he is 14 when it comes to helping. (Some of you with older kids are thinking, “take it while you can at 14 there less help than at 4.”) The fact is that he is just not big enough to use the table saw or carry the new oven in the house, but boy does he want to. A lot of times he gets in over his head and I have to bail him out. Most of the time when I find something he can help with you know what happens? It makes it harder on me. It would be easier and faster and sometimes cheaper to do it myself but I am trying to help him learn and grow. Don’t we get in God’s way a lot? Don’t we get in over our heads and have to ask God to bail us out? Don’t you think that sometimes we make Gods’ job a lot harder on Him? I know I do. “Let me help God.” “I can do that.” “I’m big enough to do that on my own.” Then the next thing you know we are either frustrated and crying or the heavy load has fallen on us and we are trapped. God comes to the rescue at our urgent cries for help and He looks at us and says in a kind and fatherly voice, “Will you let me do it now?” I am to that point with the church. “Yes God, you do it, because I can’t. It is your church, your ministry, your problem. I am just here to help when you ask me to put feet to my prayers.” Humble Pie, um, um GOOD!

Cool Check, Go God!

Once you let go and let God things start to happen. Remember how I told you yesterday we are behind on our bills due to the doctor and medicine bills? Well yesterday my wife just happened to open one of our insurance letters (we get a letter from our insurance company EVERY time we go to the doctor just letting us know that we went to the doctor, we never open them) and there was a refund check for $1,258.86. WHAT?? Thats like a bank making a mistake in your favor, an Urban Legend. But there it is. “Pay to the order of” in all its glory. It is enough to get us caught up and fix the vans front end and according to my wife, order a set of PINK cookware that she has been wanting. God is SO COOL.

Life Continues

Today is Sunday. I was out side all day yesterday working in my shop building shelves and bookcases for my wife. Dad feels better and the kids are starting to get over the various ailments that they had. It feels like we are headed out of the valley and up the next mountain. Thank goodness, it stinks down here!

Remember- Life is mountain tops and valley lows. You can’t have one without the other.


8 Responses

  1. That’s what I’ve been telling Amy all week now.. (well since I have no voice.. actually in text message).. I’ve been telling her.. stop worrying… relax… pray…. and let it go…. God has always taken care of you in the past.. one day at a time

  2. Yeah, but it is so much easier to say than actually do. Even I have had a tough time lately. But, you are right He has always taken care of us, even when we weren’t serving Him.

  3. Yeah I know…. I’ve got the same problem! i worry and worry about something before I remember to just let it go. Did that with a situation at work…. it got really bad.. and I just decided to let it go… Dave was worried that they would fire me instead.. and they didn’t. I kept telling him not to worry… it was going to be ok.
    Love you!

  4. Thank you and God bless you for this post. I really feel uplifted by your story, why? Right now i am in a kind of Valley experience too, since the beginning of this year, i havnet earned a single income and yet i have been involved in three major projects that ought to be yielding some income by now, but alas, nothing!

    I am a kind of person that likes to relate to God as an adult. i often think totally relying on God is a sign of irresponsibility, so i have this notion of “do your part and let God handle the unseen part”. I believe our role is to do the physical and let him settle the spiritual. I still hold on to this believe even now, but your post has really helped me to appreciate letting go and letting God.

    Thank you.


  5. i’m learning that the only thing we should prepare for in life is change. nothing stays the same. nothing. its a hard lesson to learn, but the sooner we wrap our minds around that fact, the sooner we are able to really live it all out.

    i don’t know what’s best for my life. i don’t know how it should all work. i shouldn’t be the one writing the screenplay. and, every time i pray for humility, something crazy happens. and usually, the prayer comes flying out, then i wince – knowing what’s to come. those prayers always get answered….

  6. My sincere apologies to both T.J. and Mandy, my internet was down for a few days and I was not able to approve your comments.
    T.J.- There are two major schools of thought on this one. Some say you should let God decide everything from what you where in the morning to what parking space you park in at work. Others feel the way that you do. On this issue I try to find a balance between the two. Let me explain. I believe God gave us a mind and the ability to reason for, well, a reason. Some decisions we are able to make for ourselves. I don’t wake up in the morning and ask God what color shirt to wear, I ask my wife, just kidding. However, if when I am picking out my shirt and I reach for a blue one and I hear God say, “Shawn, wear your “Underdog” t-shirt” then I am to obey. Does that make sense? Sometimes God’s directions don’t make sense at the time but when I am at Wal-Mart and some one stops me to comment on my “Underdog” t-shirt and I have the chance to share God’s love with them it all becomes clear. Now, major decisions I take to God and wait for Him to show me where to go. Buying a house, new job, moving, marriage, these types of life changing decisions, I take those to god in prayer and wait for His direction. Sometimes I still make the wrong choice but that is my fault. I either got to impatient or I wasn’t listening close enough. I great book to read God.net. It is in my Currently Reading list on the right. I just finished it and it talks about that intimate relationship with God and hearing His voice. Great, great, great book. One of the best books I have read in probably two years.

    Mandy- I know exactly what you mean. Here is one I prayed for that I highly recommend you DON’T try- I prayed for God to teach me “patience” AHHHHHHHHH! I now have three kids under 4, a puppy, and a wife I love but who gets into situations like Lucy from I Love Lucy. I have prayed the “Make me humble” prayer to. I won’t do that again. Yeah, why is it those prayers get answered right away and my prayers for a ’65 Corvette have gone strangely unanswered. How weird.

  7. Shawn,

    Thanks alot for ur words and advice. They are so effective. I have been blessed by it. And guess what? A friend of mine online has ordered one copy of the book you recommended for me, since i couldnt get a copy down here in Nigeria. Can you imagine that? I am all joy as i type this words now, i cant wait to read the book!!!

  8. T.J.,
    Glad to hear you enjoy my writing. I am just a guy who sees things a little different than most people. My wife encouraged me to start writing and I have found out two things. I love writing and it is helping me to look at life in a different way. When I sit down to write and seek God’s direction on things that have happened to me they look different. I see meaning behind the seemingly meaningless things that happened. My perspective shifts from earth to heaven. I hope you continue to read and I hope something I write helps you get closer to an incredible God who loves and cares for you. I hope you enjoy the book, thats a lot of pressure, I mean you went to all that trouble based on my recommendation. I am sure you will like it as I don’t recommend books I don’t think are worth it. I think it is also amazing that the internet connects people all over the world. This blog is now international. How cool is that! Feel free to pass on my blog to anyone you think would enjoy it.

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