Copyright 2015 AC Williams LLC

Don’t be afraid of commitment

While I was camping in the wilds of Colorado last week, I woke up in the middle of the night and had to go to the bathroom. At home, it’s pretty easy to get out of bed, tromp downstairs to our 100-year-old home’s single bathroom, and then return to bed. But when you’re camping?

First, it was freezing. Either low 40s or high 30s, so I had lots of layers on, and lots of layers always make it more complicated to navigate when you’re bundled up inside a sleeping bag. But I didn’t just have my sleeping bag. I also had a gigantic fluffy TARDIS blanket that I’d cuddled up with inside my sleeping bag because even with all my layers on, I was still freezing. Second, once I managed to get out of the sleeping bag, I had to put my shoes on, unzip the first layer of my tent, unzip the second layer of my tent, and get up off the ground. I needed my flashlight too and my extra sweatshirt. Once all that was accomplished, I still needed to hike then 1/8th of a mile (or so) to the vault toilets.

That was just to get there. Getting back into the sleeping back took just as much work. The lesson I learned? No matter what you’re doing when you’re camping, whether it’s sleeping or cooking or walking or even getting up at night, it takes commitment, because everything you do takes 10 times the work.

Copyright 2015 AC Williams LLC

My tent set up at Happy Meadows Campground, west of Colorado Springs, CO

Today’s verses are Colossians 3:23-24.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

Our world today is scared of the word commitment. Granted, it is a scary word and an even scarier concept–to be devoted to a principle or an ideal or a person or a company. It takes a lot of trust and a lot of forgiveness sometimes, and it takes a lot of work. A lot of work.

Being committed to something, person or object, requires that you care about it more than you care about yourself and your personal ambitions. Being committed means that you’re not selfish. When you’re willing to go all in for someone or something, it means that no matter the cost, you’ll do what’s necessary.

It’s important to do what God says matters, but there isn’t really a Bible verse that says what job you should work or what career you should pursue or what college degree you should get. God’s given us each our own skill sets and dreams and desires, so we each need to do what we think He’s calling us to do as individuals. The end goal just should be to glorify Him in all that we do.

See that word? Whatever? Whatever you do, do it like you’re working for God. Whether it’s work or church or family or friends, whether it’s your relationship with your parents or your kids or your spouse, whatever you’re doing today, do it the way God says is right. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you. Maybe you think it will open you up to ridicule or make you a target. But if God says it’s right, do it. It doesn’t matter what people say.

That’s what being committed means. You do it even if it isn’t fun. You do it even if it means more work for you. It’s not about what you’ll get out of it. It’s about how much glory you can give God before, during, and afterward, trusting that the reward God will bestow is worth far much more than anything you can earn down here.

God’s looking for people who will do what He asks. You can ask questions. You can have doubts. Just don’t give up. Don’t let the amount of work facing you convince you that it won’t be worth it. God makes everything worth it.

Softening a hard heart is like rewiring a finished house

My parents have started watching this television show about home inspections. It’s not something I’ve ever really thought about, honestly. But then, I’ve never purchased a home. This show is interesting because 80-90% of the issues these home inspectors have to fix stem from one recurring problem: The builders did it wrong first.

If the builders had built the house to code or laid the foundation correctly or repaired electrical or plumbing problems the right way, the homeowners wouldn’t be having trouble. And no one would have to come along behind them to fix everything that’s wrong.

And, let’s face it, it takes 10 times more effort to go back and fix a problem afterward than it does to do it right the first time.

626111_35347132Today’s verses are Colossians 3:23-24.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on what you have to do. It’s so much more fun to do the things you want to do, but life isn’t always fun. And it’s not always supposed to be.

If you’re a follower of Christ, you’ve been entrusted with a lot of responsibility, and not just in your day job but in your daily life as well. Part of that responsibility is living your life in a way that demonstrates God’s grace and Jesus’ love to the people around you–especially those people who you don’t particularly like. The other part of that responsibility is being a good employee.

Whatever you do, whether you’re a doctor or a lawyer or a chef or an engineer or a stay-at-home mom or a writer (aka a glutton for punishment), you are responsible to do the best you can. And, no, you’re not supposed to do the best you can for the sake of your career or the sake of your boss or the sake of your coworkers. You’re supposed to do the best you can for God Himself.

Maybe your boss signs your paychecks. But all authority comes from God. If you’re a Christ-follower, your first authority is God. You do what He says first before anyone else, and if He says to serve your boss to the best of your ability, that’s why you do it.

What if that boss is hard to get along with? What if that coworker is impossible? What if that job has just become so exhausting and so tedious and so frustrating that you just can’t stand it for one more day?

You have to be willing to work. Period. Laziness doesn’t belong in a Christ-follower’s life. (Please don’t mistake rest for being lazy. That’s another blog post, but believe me when I say they aren’t the same thing.) You have to work. Everyone has to work. God has given us dreams and goals and gifts and abilities and talents that are unique to who we are as people, and we need to be willing to work to achieve them. Because if we’re willing to work and if our hearts are focused on keeping in step with the Lord, He will work events in our lives out to give us the desires of our heart. But it doesn’t just happen. You don’t get rewarded just for sitting on your blessed assurance and expecting a miracle.

At the same time, there has to be a line in the sand somewhere. In my life, God has often used exhaustion and frustration to show me that it’s time for a change. But that’s a choice you have to make personally.

If your situation is so exhausting, so frustrating, so irritating that you can’t stand it anymore–move. Step out. Step back. Change your situation. Make the choice to move on.

If you can stand it, stay. And stop complaining. Because the more you complain about your situation, the more difficult it becomes to work with a willing heart. And if you can’t work with a willing heart for the Lord’s sake, you’re going to start forfeiting blessings.

And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to do that.

So if the job is tough, power through it. But don’t do it haphazardly. Do it right. Build your foundation solid. Do the job the way it’s supposed to be done, without cutting corners or taking shortcuts. Do it because God has told you to do it.

Just be sure to keep your heart soft. Be willing to work, and be willing to work for the right reason. And if you can’t, you might seriously need to take a long, hard look at your life. Because if your heart is hardened, it’s going to take a long time and a lot of effort to break it open again.  Sort of like trying to rewire a finished house because it wasn’t done right the first time.