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Frustration

I Just Want to Hear Your Voice

 

Last night, I tossed and turned. Stared at the clock. Tried to get comfortable. Fluffed my pillow. Snuggled up in a fetal position. Still couldn’t seem to get there.

 

 

1:05

 

1:30

 

2:15

 

2:45

 

3:10

 

 

Sigh.

 

I guess that’s what I get for drinking coffee, which is not a “regular” thing for me. I’m usually a decaf person. 😉

 

In the past, I’ve breathed deeply, tried to clear my head, counted sheep. Even cried.

 

Although I’m not always consistent with it, one thing I’ve started to do whenever I can’t sleep is to pray. Have you tried praying when you can’t sleep?

 

  • For your husband.
  • Family.
  • Children.
  • Friends.
  • Work.
  • Finances.
  • Missionary friends.
  • Pastors and church leaders.
  • Situations and circumstances—you know, the stuff of life.
  • Oh, and for yourself.

 

You can also thank and praise God when you can’t sleep.

 

  • For His faithfulness.
  • Forgiveness.
  • His love.
  • Jesus Christ.
  • Food, shelter.
  • Protection.
  • Not giving me what I deserve.
  • Giving me blessings I didn’t—and couldn’t—earn.

 

God doesn’t sleep, dear one. He still works when we are fast asleep—or wide awake.

 

 

The one who watches over you … never tires and never sleeps (Psalm 121:3-4).

 

 

Isn’t that reassuring? God watches over you! Even during the nighttime hours, He’s working things out for your good, for the good of your family, for someone you might not have thought of in years. Sometimes, He wants to hear from you in the middle of the night: What’s on your mind, what’s worrying you, what’s exciting you lately. So he gently nudges you awake. “I want to hear your voice. Can we talk?” Or if you’re already tossing and turning, “Hi, wanna talk?” He longs for it!

 

 

O my beloved, lingering in the gardens, how wonderful that your companions can listen to your voice. Let me hear it, too! (Song of Solomon 8:13)

 

 

Let me hear your voice. Your voice is so sweet. Your face is so lovely. (Song of Solomon 2:14)

 

 

 

Wow! God longs to hear from you. He desires your heart–and your voice–during your busy day and restless night. To Him, “Every syllable you speak [is] a delicacy to savor” (Song of Solomon 4:11). Oh, how He loves you!

 

 

 

I could’ve had too much coffee. Or maybe God wanted to talk. Or both. Regardless, He wanted to hear my voice. And I, His.

 

 

Afterward, sweet dreams.

 

 

Come alongside: How do you handle insomnia? Do you pray when you can’t sleep? Do you have a testimony of unknowingly praying for someone during the night, later learning that, at that very moment, they needed prayer? Or maybe you were on the receiving end. Please share with us in the comments. Remember, you can comment anonymously if you so choose.

 
 


 

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S.T.E.P. away from bad habits

Do you have an unhealthy habit? You know… The one that makes you say, “Ugh. I did it again!”

 

  • I ate the things I told myself I would not eat.
  • I acted out in anger when I vowed I wouldn’t.
  • I stayed inside all day when I told myself I would—at the very least—take a walk around the block.

 

Those are some of mine. What are yours?

 

Listen to Paul—a great man of faith:

 

I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate.

 

I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong…

 

But I can’t help myself….

 

When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. (Romans 7:15-19)

 

 

Talk about frustration and disappointment.

 

Sometimes, the mere idea of changing an unhealthy habit seems daunting, doesn’t it? After all, I can’t throw away all my food and start all over. And I can’t keep silent all day so I won’t spout out in anger. And walk around the block? That’s just too much effort right now.

 

 

So how can we tackle our unhealthy habits, then?

 

S.T.E.P. away.

 

Swap it out.

Many times, we pick up our unhealthy habits again because we didn’t replace them with a healthier habit. And when we do give in, the Bible says it’s usually worse (Matthew 12:43-45). For me, that means replacing processed foods with more wholesome, natural foods. That way, when I get a craving for something sweet, I have a natural alternative that I can turn to—not empty calories that I’ll later regret. What can you swap?

 

 

Thank your supporters in advance.

Sometimes telling our closest friends or family members what we’re trying to do and thanking them in advance for their support can help us change our unhealthy habits. When our loved ones see we’re trying to improve ourselves, they can be our biggest cheerleaders. That might not always be the case, so it’s important to choose our cheerleaders carefully. For me, that could mean sharing with my family that I’m trying to work on my anger and I would appreciate any support they can give me. Who can you recruit as a cheerleader?

 

 

Easy does it.

It’s difficult to make drastic changes to our ingrained habits. So it’s best to start small. In my example, instead of saying I’m going to walk around the block, I can break that down by focusing on the things that need to happen before I can walk around the block. I could say, “Today, I will simply put on my shoes.” It might not be a big deal to some, but for people who struggle with depression, putting on our shoes can be that step in the right direction to get us outside and then to walk around the block and beyond. Celebrate these small victories. Remember Zechariah 4:10: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” What is your small beginning?

 

 

Pray, pray, pray.

Unhealthy habits are bigger than we are or else we would have already given them up. But thanks be to God that He is bigger than anything we could face—including our bad habits. The key is continuous communication with our Higher Power, Jesus Christ. With Him, all things are possible. Without Him, we are powerless.

 

 

It won’t be easy, but when you S.T.E.P. away from your bad habits, you’ll soon change your “Ugh, I did it again” to “Yes, God did it again!”

 

STEP away from bad habits

 

 

Come alongside…. Do you have an unhealthy habit you would like to change? What is it? Which S.T.E.P. can you focus on today? Remember, you can comment anonymously.

 
 


 

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Complain, Lament, Whatever You Call it… Just Do It!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my latest poll about complaining to God. We had great discussions—not only on this blog but also on Facebook and on LinkedIn.

 

Like most of you, I would give this question a 5—I completely believe it’s okay to complain to God. In fact, the Bible is full of complaints—and even laments—to God:

  • Job
  • Psalms
  • Jeremiah
  • And of course, Lamentations!

 

Rest assured, dear ones: We can approach God with our complaints—especially when we don’t understand why something is happening or why things aren’t working out the way we had planned or hoped.

  • Marriage.
  • Career.
  • Illness.
  • Life in general.

 

When we complain to God with humility—when we empty our innermost feelings to God, He leans down from His throne, positions His ears to our lips, and comforts us like only He can. He heals us and gives us hope (Psalm 10:17).

 

It’s tempting to “sterilize” our feelings when we approach our Heavenly Father, dear ones. But listen to great men of the Bible, as they brought their raw feelings to God Almighty:

  • O God, listen to my complaint (Psalm 64:1).
  • I spill out all my complaints before him, and spell out my troubles in detail (Psalm 142:2).
  • And so I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet, I’m laying it all out on the table; my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest (Job 7:11).

 

What a relief to know that we don’t have to “clean up” before talking to Him–before complaining, lamenting, mourning—even grieving in His presence. He already knows about it. Listen to Psalm 139:

 

I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking…. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence….

 

Let’s be that open book to God, dear ones. Let’s not cower away from our God. Let’s long for that intimacy with our Lord. Do you want it? I do.

God wants to hear our complaints—however “small.” He is the God of the forest—and the God of the trees. When we talk things out with Him, He brings us comfort, wisdom, and peace.

 

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life (Philippians 4:6-7).

 

 

Peace can come to you when you complain to Him.

 

In fact, several years ago, I went through a very difficult—and lengthy—time of illness.  I was consumed with anger, but I wouldn’t show it. After weeks and months of barely scratching the surface of my feelings, I had enough. I told God—more like yelled in my frustration, “I’m so angry with you!” Immediately, I felt in my spirit a loving voice that said, “That’s what I’ve been waiting for. Now we can move forward.”

 

Do you want to move forward? Don’t bury those frustrations. Voice those to God–He can handle it. He wants that intimacy with you. That’s what He’s been waiting for.

 

You don't have to clean up before talking to God.

 

Complain, lament, whatever you call it… just do it!

 

Come alongside…What are you frustrated about? Have you complained to God? What’s holding you back?

 

Ooh, a Shortcut…. Not So Fast!

“Momma, momma, why can’t we just take the shortcut?” asked my four-year-old on the way to the doctor. He saw the doctor’s office in the distance and must’ve figured that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line—why not just take it?

 

“Because…”

Longwayrev

 

 

I maneuvered the twists and turns through the medical complex as I tried to think of an answer he could understand.

 

“Sometimes we have to take the long way to get where we’re going.”

 

“But it’s just right there.”

 

“I know. But sometimes we can’t take shortcuts. There might be things we need to see on the long way—maybe something we need to learn.” Like patience, I told myself.

 

Isn’t that like life? Sometimes we’re in a situation for much longer than we anticipated.

 

  • Singleness.
  • Illness.
  • Unemployment.
  • Any type of life transition.

 

Like my son, we might say, “Why can’t we just take a shortcut, Lord?” Or, “Why is this taking so long, Lord?” Or, “How long, Lord?”

 

We’ve all been there.

 

Today, I want to remind you about the Israelites.

 

When the king sent the people out of Egypt, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was the shortest way.

 

God said, “If they have to fight, they might change their minds and go back to Egypt.” So God led them through the desert toward the Red Sea.

 

The Israelites were dressed for fighting when they left the land of Egypt. The Lord showed them the way; during the day he went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud, and during the night he was in a pillar of fire to give them light.

 

In this way they could travel during the day or night. The pillar of cloud was always with them during the day, and the pillar of fire was always with them at night. (Exodus 13:17-22).

 

Dear one, God has a reason for taking you the “long” way. Be assured, that despite how long you’ve been in your situation, He is with you, and He will show you the way. He has not left you.

 

Sometimes it is frustrating to have to take the long route, but remember: We might not understand the road we travel, but we can rest that the Lord will direct our steps (Proverbs 20:24). He has good and perfect gifts in store for us (James 1:17).

 

 

Come alongside… What situation do you find yourself in today? How long have you been there? How can you trust God’s plan for you?

 


 

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Giving myself a time-out

 

I just had to get away.Give yourself the gift of a time-out

 

  • Step aside.
  • Take a break.
  • Remove myself from the situation.

 

I was starting to get frustrated and irritable–just plain perturbed.

 

Is this what I’m like when I’m in a foul mood? I sure hope not. (Denial?)

 

The sarcasm, complaining, and bad-mouthing was getting to me. Now, I too was doing it. No matter how hard I tried, I caved.

 

I needed a time-out.

 

I walked away quietly, hoping the commotion around me was enough of a distraction that no one would notice my gradual absence.

 

Deep breaths in and out, in and out.

 

I wish this were an isolated incident, but if I’m honest, I’ve needed to give myself a lot of time-outs lately.

 

I don’t view it as something bad or discipline for something I’ve done; rather, a gift.
  • Of space.
  • Of time.
  • Of meditation and refocusing.
  • Of God.

 

My Father meets me in time-out. He leads me to rest (Mark 6:31). He quiets me with His love (Zephaniah 3:17). He speaks.

 

  • Not in the wind.
  • Not in the earthquake.
  • Not in the fire.
  • In a whisper.

 

He lets me catch my breath and sends me in the right direction so I can respond–not react–with renewed strength and wisdom.

 

Yes, I need time-outs. I want time-outs. The gift I give myself.

 

I hope you will too.
Come alongside… How are you dealing with your frustrations? Do you need to give yourself a time-out? Will you?

 

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Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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