The wheat field across from Safe Haven Farm ready for harvest, Haven, KS

Watching clouds when you’ve got a job to do

I put unpleasant things off. Don’t you? If I have a task to do that I know isn’t going to be fun, I tend to avoid it until it’s absolutely necessary. That’s one reason why I schedule dentist visits six months in advance, so when the appointment comes around, I have to go.

It’s easy to avoid conflict. It’s easy to put uncomfortable tasks off. I reason with myself that now isn’t the best time anyway. I’ve got too many other things going on, and I’ll take care of it when life slows down a little. But God has something to say about that mindset.

The wheat field across from Safe Haven Farm ready for harvest, Haven, KS

The wheat field across from Safe Haven Farm ready for harvest, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Ecclesiastes 11:4.

Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.
If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.

Usually it’s not a good idea to pick single verses out of Ecclesiastes. It’s one of those books where context is especially important, but this verse is self explanatory. Procrastinators never get anything done. And they look for excuses to keep putting things off.

Can you imagine a farmer waiting for perfect weather to plant a field? In Kansas, that just never happens. We only have perfect weather when we don’t need it. The important times of years, planting and harvest times, it’s either too hot, too cold, too wet, or too dry. But the farmers here make it work in spite of the weather. And that’s the mindset we need to attack life with.

Our lives will never be perfect. There will always be something wrong. Maybe it’s a job or a relationship. Maybe it’s financial trouble or health issues. Whatever is going wrong in your life isn’t significant reason to avoid doing the right thing. If you can’t do the right thing when life sucks, you won’t do the right thing when life is better.

That begs the question, what is the right thing? Like always, the answer is what’s in the Bible. What does God say? God tells us what He expects from us. He has shown us how to live our lives. The example He set for us, and the examples other godly men and women have set for us, led us to live lives that aren’t always fun. Sometimes we have to make hard decisions. Sometimes we have to take a stand against friends and family and loved ones, and sometimes that will make us the bad guys in their eyes. But what is right is right.

Don’t run away from the right thing. Don’t run away from doing what God has told you to do. You know what God says. And if you don’t, pick up a Bible and start reading. He’ll talk to you soon enough.

But whatever you do, don’t wait. Don’t sit around making promises to do what God has told you to do when life gets better. Don’t tell yourself that you’ll make the right decision when things aren’t so stressful or when you’ve cleaned up all your messes. You’ll never get there. Life is messy, and you can’t even begin to start cleaning it up until you bring it to God anyway.

If you don’t know what to do, keep waiting. God will show you. He’ll make it obvious. Believe me, He’s not that subtle. You’ll know what you’re supposed to do when the time comes. And until the time comes, just keep living life the way He says.

But if you know what God wants you to do, why are you waiting? Why are you sitting there? Do it. I know it’s scary. But your life isn’t going to work until you take the next step and do what God says. Stop putting it off. Stop making excuses. Stop watching the clouds. You’ve got a job to do.

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The difference between knowing truth and doing truth

I was in a really bad car wreck a number of years ago, but miraculously I walked away from it. Looking back, I should have let the ambulance take me to the hospital, but I was too stubborn and didn’t think I was badly injured. And, truthfully, I wasn’t badly injured. I did find out later that my left shoulder had indeed separated, and because of the delay in treatment I ended up in physical therapy.

That’s where I learned a very important lesson in life. See, I could go to my physical therapy appointments and meet with the doctor, but my shoulder didn’t get any better until I started doing the exercises he prescribed for me at home. I didn’t want to do them. They were uncomfortable and time-consuming, and I just sort of let them slide until I had to go back to my therapy appointment. Surely just meeting with the doctor and letting him poke my shoulder was enough. I didn’t have to do the exercises at home, right?

Right.

Anyone else ever been there? Where you think that you can get away with just doing half of what you’re supposed to do? And you wonder why things never change? I’m sure all of us have been there before, and that’s probably why we think we can get away with just listening to God’s Word instead of actually integrating it into our lives.

first_wreckToday’s verses are John 8:31-32.

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

It’s one thing to know the truth, but it’s something else entirely to do the truth. Knowing and Doing are two very separate, very different things. Everybody knows that your car will run out of gas unless you fill it up, but just knowing that fact won’t stop you from running out of gas. You have to stop, pay too much money, and put gas into your car if you want it to keep running. Just knowing doesn’t make a difference. Just knowing won’t change anything.

It’s true that knowledge is power, but it’s only powerful if you put it to use. Otherwise it sits on a dusty shelf like that ancient book in the second hand shop that nobody wants. And all it’s good for is a paperweight.

God’s Word is the same way.

You can know a thousand Bible verses and still not live by them. You can know Jesus died for your sins without giving Him your heart. You can know that God exists without offering your life for His service. You can know that adultery, lying, stealing, is wrong and still do all of the above. You can know everything, but it won’t change your life until you do it.

As Christ-followers, we are called to do truth. Truth is a tool, just like God’s Word. The Bible calls itself a two-edged sword, but even a sword isn’t good for anything if all it does is sit around.

So what does that mean for you and me? Don’t just know God’s commands, do them. Don’t just know what God says is right, do it.

Want God to change your life? Want to see a difference in your world? It won’t happen if you just sit on what you know. You won’t see any difference at all just by osmosis. Doing truth is an active process, and it’s something you have to work at every day, a conscious decision you make every morning when you get up.

Stop resting on your blessed assurance, Christians. Get up and start doing what God says.

I’m leaving my awesome job, and this is why

Yes. I have officially resigned from my amazing job with my amazing company. My last day is February 6. I’ve managed to tell some people, but it’s still going to come as a surprise to others.

So the big question is, Why?

When you’re young, it’s hard to look back over your life and see God working. He’s there. That’s undeniable. But you haven’t lived enough to be able to put the pieces together and see His hand working in your circumstances. You have to get a little older before you can do that.

Because He does. He’s involved in every aspect of our lives, and He can make something beautiful out of the moments you think are unredeemable. And even if you think every decision you make for Him is taking you in the exact opposite direction you want to go, one day you’ll wake up and find yourself teetering on the edge of your dreams. And you’ll have no idea how you got there. You were just following God, doing your best to keep in step with Him, and then you opened your eyes, and the desire of your heart is right in front of you.

StarterToday’s verse is Psalm 138:8.

The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

God has plans for us, you know. And He’s working them out one day at a time. I’m a planner, so I like to know what’s coming. But God doesn’t always let us in on that part of His plan. We just have to follow Him and live the way He’s told us. See, He’s been working in my life since I was a very little girl, preparing me for this moment since before I even knew what I wanted.

I wrote my first novel when I was 11 years old. I’ve been a writer since before I knew it was a possible career field. When I graduated from college and there were no writing jobs available, I didn’t know what I was going to do. So I did what I could and ended up in a library, where I honed my web managing skills.

Little did I know that was the very skill I needed to get my next job—the job I’ve been at since March 2010. I started out as a Web Content Specialist, but it was pretty obvious soon that my writing skills were far superior to my web knowledge. So the company created a position for me—Creative Writer. It had a lot of responsibility. A lot of pressure. I learned so much about marketing, about advertising, about copywriting and legal responsibility. And plumbing, of course. I learned more about plumbing than I ever thought I would want to know.

March 2015 would have been my five-year anniversary. I had planned to work at this position for ten years. Well, God had a different plan.

About a year go, He started poking me. Hard. Trust me, He’d say. And I did. I increased my giving. I volunteered more time. But He still kept telling me that I wasn’t trusting Him enough, that I wasn’t trusting Him with everything. I did everything I could think of that would cause me to put myself in His hands—everything except walk away from my job. And that’s what He was calling me to do.

Seriously? Walk away from the best job I’d ever had? Where I get to make a living as a writer? Scratch that. Where I make a good living as a writer? You may not realize this, but writing doesn’t really pay very well in normal circumstances. Walking away from a great job with good people and awesome benefits and retirement and Keurig machines—that’s just crazy!

Every argument I had, the answer was the same: Just trust me.

So maybe I’m crazy. But that’s what I’m doing.

I will work my last day at my current job on February 6, and from there, I’m going to write. I don’t know what I’m going to write at this point, but I know who I’m going to write for—my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And I’m going to trust that He will provide for me.

God has had a plan for me since before I existed, and He’s been working it out slowly. He’s given me the friends and the connections I have for this. He’s given me the education and the job experience I have for this. He’s given me the skills and the talent and the gifts for this. He’s been preparing me for this my entire life, and it’s time I stopped dragging my feet.

He wants me to trust Him? I will. With everything. My future, my dreams, my life. And we’ll see what happens.

Is God asking you to trust Him today? Maybe He’s not calling you to quit your job. Maybe He is. Whatever He’s asking you to do, do it. He’s worth trusting. My experience with God is that He never does things the way you expect. His way is always better.

For anybody wondering, even though I will no longer be “gainfully employed” after February 6, AlwaysPeachy will continue, Monday through Friday, for anyone who wants to read it. And if anyone is interested in having me come speak for their church or Bible study or knitting club, I’d be glad to do so. I work for coffee. 😉

How crafting reminded me to be teachable

Do you know any stubborn people? If you do, you know they can be really frustrating. Just in general. I am a stubborn person. In fact, most people in my family are stubborn people.

And one thing I’ve noticed about myself is that I often convince myself that I can’t do something. And once I’ve convinced myself that I’m not good at it or that I can’t do it, I refuse to even try.

Now it’s true that knowing your gifts and recognizing your skill set and staying inside them is a good idea. You don’t want to extend yourself beyond what God has called you to do. But at the same time, you should try to remain teachable because you never know when God might be trying to add something to your resume.

Look what I made with Jessicas help)

Look what I made with Jessica’s help)

Today’s verses are Proverbs 8:32-36.

“And so, my children, listen to me,
    for all who follow my ways are joyful.
Listen to my instruction and be wise.
    Don’t ignore it.
 Joyful are those who listen to me,
    watching for me daily at my gates,
    waiting for me outside my home!
 For whoever finds me finds life
    and receives favor from the Lord.
 But those who miss me injure themselves.
    All who hate me love death.”

I’m not a crafty person. I can’t cut things out straight. Or color inside the lines. I’m creative with sentence structure. Not paints and glues. But I have lots of friends who are.

I’m part of a little group that decided to start having craft nights where we all bring supplies and make something. My first thought was that I wouldn’t enjoy it. My second thought was that everyone would have to spend time helping me figure out what I was doing.

To my great surprise–and thanks to the very patient help of my wonderful paramedic friend–I actually made something cool. Granted it included some pretty cool stuff that was already made, and I just stuck it all together. But my little wall hanging came out great, and I can’t wait now for the next time we’re going to get together to do something crafty.

Plus, I had a wonderful time hanging out with my friends.

If I had been stubborn and refused to let my friend teach me how to use her craft supplies, I don’t think I would have had a good time. Not at all. But she taught me, and I was willing to listen. I was willing to learn. I could have. I could have refused to come because “I’m not good at crafts.” But I didn’t. And I had a marvelous evening.

How many times does that happen in our lives? How many times do we pass up God-opportunities because we think that we wouldn’t be good at it or because we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re not worthy of it.

Lies. All of it. Don’t believe a word of them.

If you pass up the chance to learn something new, you might be missing the opportunity to achieve something great for God.

What would have happened if influential people throughout history had refused to learn? Abraham Lincoln? Martin Luther King, Jr.? Bill Gates? Imagine what our world would be like now if they and others like them had refused to learn. It wouldn’t be a fun place .

Be teachable. That’s the key. Be willing to learn. Be willing to listen to what God is trying to tell you. Listen to what God is saying in His Word, and then do it.

What is God trying to teach you today? What are you refusing to do because you don’t think you’ll be good at it? Stop making excuses. Give it a try. Be humble about it, and don’t worry. And if you turn out to be terrible at it, that’s great. You don’t have to do it again.

But you never know what might happen.

The cloudy sky over a cool old building, Edinburgh, Scotland

It’s okay to say you don’t know

I hate not having answers. I’m not sure why this is, but I always feel like if I don’t have the answers to every problem, I’m a failure. The three words I hate the most to have to say: “I don’t know.”

That’s not a realistic way to live, but that’s often the expectations I put myself under. I tell myself I have to know everything. Even if all I know is that God has it taken care of, I feel like I can’t just say that I don’t know. I have to explain.

Maybe that’s not bad, but it tends to feed my pride and my proclivity to rely on myself.

The cloudy sky over a cool old building, Edinburgh, Scotland

The cloudy sky over a cool old building, Edinburgh, Scotland

Today’s verse is 1 Kings 2:3.

Observe the requirements of the Lord your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go.

This verse comes from King David’s final instructions to his son Solomon. David is about to die, and Solomon is about to become king. After a long life with lots of successes and many mistakes, David probably had this figured out. If anyone could figure it out, it would be David, the man after God’s own heart.

In David’s words, he didn’t tell Solomon to have the answer for every problem or situation. He didn’t tell him to plan for every eventuality. He told Solomon to obey, to follow God and do what God says is right. And, in David’s words, if Solomon could do that, God would bring success and prosperity.

And that rings true today.

Yes, there are habits and strategies you can use to reach success, but there are plenty of people out there with great work habits and brilliant strategies who aren’t successful yet.

I don’t have this figured out, not by a long shot, but what I do know is that God is the one who determines whether you’re successful or not. You can work as hard as you can, but until God puts His hand of favor on you, until He fills your life with grace, you aren’t going to go much of anywhere.

I’m not saying we can be lazy. No, if we want something, we do have to work for it. But we shouldn’t rely on our own strength to get it. Know what you need to know. Do what you need to do. Invest your time and your energy in the task God has given you, but realize that your success doesn’t come just because you’re a hard worker.

That’s a huge relief, especially for this performance-driven perfectionist. I’m going to do the best I can do in every aspect of my responsibilities, but at the end of the day, if there’s a question I can’t answer or a situation that I haven’t prepared for, it’s really all right to say, “I don’t know, but God does.”

That’s not a cop out. That’s not a bad response. In many instances, that’s the only response.

So what task has God given you to do? What has He put you in charge of? Have you done your best? Have you prepared for what you can prepare for? Awesome. Leave it at that, and stop worrying. And when you encounter a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t hesitate to admit you don’t know. Not only will it show others that you’re truly trusting God for the unknown aspects of your task, it will keep your own pride in check. And it’ll help you remember that God is the one in control and it’s by His grace we succeed and increase, not just the strength of our own hands.