Learning to Hear God

My 8 year old, Lexi, stayed home from school Thursday with a fever and cold. Apparently, her immune system didn’t get the memo that Mommy needed to be writing a 7 page paper for grad school, but that’s ok.

I took it in stride.

I.

Took something in stride.

(For an explanation as to why that is so shocking, see my previous post.)

Any who, I used the day to clean the house a little (a very little), finish reading a book, and play Monopoly for 2 hours because Lexi is addicted to it.

As we got ready to go pick up the 6 year old from school, my daughter noticed her dad and me texting. She asked what we were talking about so, I shared that our friend is going to Ethiopia next month to work with some orphans over there our family has long prayed and hurt for. Lexi said she wanted to give our friend money to help fund her trip.

Lexi asked, “How much do you think I should give? $1?”

As we got into the car, I suggested we ask the Lord what He thought.

[Note: like all of you Christian parents out there, I have recently been lamenting that I fail way too often to teach my daughters how to have relationship with the Lord. They have plenty of head knowledge about Him, but I long for them to learn what it means to live with Him, day in and day out, far past rote bedtime prayers. And, like you, I’ve struggled not only to make the time to teach them to be relational with God, but I’ve also lacked the know-how, or so I thought. How do you teach a 6 and 8 year old (read: little people who aren’t great at thinking abstractly yet) to discern the voice of God, something most adults can’t do? Well, He was about to teach me how to teach them.]

My daughter whispered a prayer asking God how much He wanted her to give, and then I instructed her to listen. She said she didn’t hear anything, so I told her what I heard. I heard God say, “I love Lexi. I love her caring heart and that she wants to give. I would love it if she gave $1.”

Lexi responded, “I keep thinking of the numbers 9, 2, and 3, but I don’t have $923…”

I told her we should ask the Lord what He means with those numbers, and as we began to pray, my phone rang. It was my husband, so I put God on hold. (I was very polite about it and said, “Excuse me, Lord.” He understood completely. At least that’s what I’m telling myself…)

I told my husband what Lexi and I were doing, and he suggested God might mean $9.23. I told Lexi when I hung up, and she quickly dismissed the idea of giving her version of a small fortune. Since she was sure that’s not what God meant, I told her we should pray some more and ask Him to make it clear. She said she didn’t hear anything, so I told her what I thought I heard, “I want Lexi to give $9.23.” I reported this to Lexi, but she was still hesitant. She suggested $1 again, so we prayed and asked the Lord how He felt about $1. She didn’t sense anything, so I told her what I heard Him say, “No, I want her to give $9.23 exactly.”

I decided it was a good time to show Lexi how to determine if we are hearing from God, making things up ourselves, or hearing from Satan when we pray. To be clear, I don’t think we can corner the market on this exercise. We can and should have a rule of thumb, like anything we hear in prayer that goes against scripture is not from God. But I think, for the most part, we have to take things we think are from God with a grain of salt, unless something we sense He says is directly backed up by scripture.

In this case, there is no Bible verse that tells Lexi to give or not to give $9.23 to the Lord. So I told her about general giving verses and how the Bible teaches we are to take care of orphans (James 1:27), and we are to give with cheerful hearts (2 Corinthians 9:7), so God is definitely for her supporting our friend’s trip. I suggested to her the amount she gave was inconsequential; it was the spirit behind the giving that God cared most about…unless she felt very strongly that He told her to give an exact amount…then she’d better obey Him.

We decided we’d ask the Lord to confirm the amount He wanted her to give, and we’d keep our eyes and hearts open the rest of the day to see if He did. I told her not to be surprised if she started to see 923 different places. She got excited at the thought of it, and so did I.

I prayed silently all the way to our destination that God would visually confirm His will for her immediately. When we pulled into the parking lot and got in the car line to pick up her sister, we found ourselves behind this vehicle.

IMG_6126

I asked Lexi to tell me what numbers were on the license plate. She didn’t understand at first, but then she realized the three numbers she thought God was showing her – 9, 2, and 3 – were right there on the plate.

I said, “Huh, there are your three numbers… but they’re not in the order we expected to see them, are they?” Her face lit up, “Do you think God is trying to tell me to give $3.29?” I said, “Maybe.” She texted her dad a picture of the license plate and her theory, and he agreed he thought she was right.

She smiled at me and said, “Good – that’s a lot less than $9.23!”

I smiled as I watched this little girl learn to hear from God while continuing to struggle with her humanity all at the same time.

She is not perfect. Her heart will always have selfish leanings. But they pale in comparison to the amazing goodness and obedience and delight in Him that God is growing in her heart. So I rejoiced.

And as I finish this post, God is reminding me that is exactly how He feels about me. I may be 32 years old, and I may have been a Christian for 16 years, but I am still His little girl, learning to hear from Him while continuing to struggle with my humanity all at the same time. I am not perfect. My heart will always have selfish leanings. But they pale in comparison to the amazing goodness and obedience and delight in Him that God is growing in my heart. So He rejoices.

Control. Sigh.

I’m angry. Fuming. More than mildly annoyed.

The short version of why is we had some work done on our house, and the workers suck. I am sitting here waiting for them to come back FOR THE THIRD TIME to correct work they should have gotten right the first time… simple things, like making sure we can’t see daylight around the new door they installed, and lining up the dead bolt correctly so we can, I don’t know, LOCK THE DOOR. And they are an hour and a half late (so far).

I am telling you this not because complaining is my spiritual gift (although, I really think it might be…), but because I am realizing that while, yes, I should be hacked off about this situation, I am way beyond the appropriate level of angry.

Why?

Because those workers are blocking my goal of doing what I want to do with my morning off. And, also, because I am the least flexible person in the world (not literally, although, that’s probably true, too.)

I hate changes of plans. I hate people interfering with how I have already decided my day should go.

Why?

Possibly because I don’t feel in control when someone else changes my plans without my expressed, written consent. 

If I have the time over the next couple of months (which is laughable), I anticipate writing a lot about control. God is bringing me into a period where He intends to harp on the fact that my name is Kelly, and I’m a Control-aholic.

He brought this to my attention years ago when I had my first baby and stressed everyone in my zip code out by demanding they care for her EXACTLY HOW I WOULD when they graciously offered to keep her FOR FREE ANY TIME I WANTED THEM TO. (I won the daughter-in-law of the year award for at least three consecutive years.)

After my first daughter survived 2.25 years under my tyrannical rule, I had my second daughter and lightened up. I was still a stickler for things like don’t feed the 6 month old donuts and chocolate milk (a necessary rule with certain caretakers…), but, by and large, I learned to trust that God would take care of my girls when I couldn’t.

The dust settled for awhile, but I can see now the control-tide has been steadily rising in other areas of my life over the past year or so.  God has been unsuccessfully trying to teach me to trust Him with relationships instead of strong-arming circumstances and people. I really don’t see myself comprehending this lesson anytime soon, which is frightening because we both know God won’t leave that alone.

But most recently God has begun to show me my propensity to want to control things in ministry. My husband and I have started an adult Sunday School class together in which two curse words are involved: shared leadership. We have a team of leaders running this show, of whom I am just one. Which means the control – I don’t have it.

Throw in the lingering/chronic need to control my kids and my schedule and my uncooperative hair, and, well, I am just about ripe for some delightful “pruning”, as Jesus would say. Stay tuned for reflections on how much I kick and scream through that process in the upcoming months…

The Best Approach to Apologetics

Before I became a Christian, I realized something pretty quickly about the teenagers in my public high school who believed in God: they had no idea why they believed what they believed. They couldn’t give me much of a reason to trust their belief system over mine.

As an atheist I was skeptical at best and antagonistic at worst of any belief in a God I could not see nor “prove”, properly. I had no more reason to base my spiritual beliefs on the Bible than on The Catcher in the Rye (which spoke to me on so many levels). And the kids I “debated” religion with in school couldn’t give me a reason to trust the Bible. The “best” case I got for believing in God from my classmates was, “Just believe in God just in case!” That guy no longer identifies himself as a Christian.

Well, as He is wont to do, God got a hold of me anyway. I became a Christian at 16 in part because of the incredible love a certain group of students showed me despite my not fitting into the southern kid box, and in part because of the Lord arranging circumstances to show me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could not do life without Him.

Combine my experience with the unarmed Christian kids who could not communicate a reason for why they subscribed to a belief in Christ with my personality, and once I gave in and admitted that God was God (plagiarized from C.S. Lewis), I vowed to know why I believed what I believed.

I began devouring the Bible, asking questions about nearly every verse, dissecting doctrines with people who were highly intelligent and who knew how “to give an answer to everyone who asks [them] to give the reason for the hope that [they] have, ” (1 Peter 3:5).

This whole concept of defending your beliefs is called apologetics. Seminaries offer courses on apologetics, there are countless books written about apologetics, and people make careers out of being apologists.

All those are great things. I’ve grown in my ability to defend the faith through each of those avenues. They have been invaluable to me, and if you haven’t explored them, I invite you to.

But can I tell you the best apologetical training I’ve had? 

Talking to little kids. 

My children have been the best training ground for me. They have real questions, and they need simple answers. And their favorite question is, “Why?”

Can I suggest adults are the same way?

They have real questions, and they need simple answers. And their favorite question is, “Why?”

When we talk to young children (2-10 yrs old), we are forced to answer the question, “Why do we believe what we believe,” and we are challenged to deconstruct churchy terms into words everyone can understand. And that’s what church people need too. And that’s what unbelieving adults need too.

If you want to develop your apologetical muscle, find a kid and explain their need for Jesus to them. You’ll have to do it in words with no more than 2 syllables, and you’ll have to do it in a way that doesn’t scare the hell out of them (literally), which, by the way, ought to be our approach with adults too – hellfire and brimstone tactics should not be our approach with anybody. Ever. For any reason.

There are some great perks of practicing sharing the Gospel with kids.

First of all, they have a natural disposition to believe. They don’t have hard, skeptical hearts because they haven’t experienced all the hurt the world has to offer yet. So they are fully open to what you have to say. Give them a halfway decent explanation, and they will accept it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. I’ve fumbled through many a conversations with my girls between ages 2 and 7, and they are okay with that. You are learning, and so are they.

Secondly, whatever you say won’t change how they feel about you. We are hesitant to talk Jesus with adults because we fear rejection. Kids don’t know the meaning of the word. Even if they think you are pretty well out of your mind, they’ll drop the topic as soon as you’re done talking and ask you to go play outside with them. You’re still their friend. Nothing changes that. Some of the sweetest times for me talking to my daughters about faith have gone something like this: I speak some profound truth of Christianity, my daughter responds, “Huh. That’s funny. Want to play Candy Land?” This is NOT a parenting fail. This is evidence of her full acceptance of me even when she doesn’t understand anything I’ve just said. This is a reflection of God’s unconditional love for me through my little girl. I’ll take it.

Thirdly, and most importantly, they might receive Christ! And even if they don’t, their little minds will continue to think on the things you’ve said, and they will bring the topic back up if they think of a question… even years down the road. Our daughters both prayed to receive Christ when they were 2 years old. I was with them, and I believe as fully as they could understand at that age, they understood what they were doing. We’ve continued to explain the Gospel to them in the years since, and last night my seven year old asked, “Mommy, have I asked Jesus into my heart?” She had continued to ponder what that means, and she was bothered that she didn’t remember doing that at age two. So we talked it through, and she prayed again. They remember things, these little people. They mull them over and bring them back up when you least expect it. So our “practicing” sharing Christ with them is more than just a convenient training ground for us – it’s much more. It’s “planting seeds” in their hearts for the Lord to grow.

Sharing our faith with children grows us just as much as it grows them. Give it a whirl, and let me know how it goes.

A Holiday Survival Guide for Moms Who Hate Crafts

Hey, Moms,

Thanksgiving has come and gone. I think I managed to have the children complete 6 out of 28 “things they are thankful for leaves” for our Thanksgiving tree.

Encouragement For Moms During Advent

I can’t decide whether I’m proud of that number or embarrassed… On the one hand, I’m surprised we got that many done, given that this craft-adverse mama couldn’t psych herself up enough to start the project until the week of Thanksgiving… 6 is pretty impressive when you look at it that way.

And now Advent season is coming, and we moms feel the pressure once again to “make memories” with our little ones and point them to Christ so they don’t lose Him somewhere in the wrapping paper, but, honestly, few of us really believe we can do that without making ourselves flat crazy…

But before we pull out our brown paper bags – to hyperventilate in, not to create some glitter-laden, pipe-cleaner reindeer head – there’s some truth we need to remind ourselves of…

Those 6 days of Thanksgiving leaves – taped to the mantle because this mom couldn’t fit in a trip to a craft store to find some decorative branches, and just what would I put them in anyway? – those 6 days of reading thankful scriptures and leading little ones in scrawling their own thanks in crayon on the back of each leaf and taking the time to tell the Giver, “Thank You” – were better than none. 

Read that again, Mom.

Some is better than none.

Whatever effort we make during Advent will be better than nothing, too.

Because He was never after crafts anyway.

The best thing you can do for your kids during Advent?

Take the time YOURSELF to marvel at the grand orchestra that is the redemption of mankind through one… little… baby. When we are in awe of Him, our kids will find Him awe-some as well – the real point of Advent.

I want to wait with bated breath for Christmas morning to finally arrive because the true story that God became baby to save you and me from ourselves is just. too. good.

And if there are no homemade cookies and popsicle stick snowflakes made by little hands too sprinkle and glitter happy, that’s ok, because the waiting for the unfolding of God’s redemption plan – from the Fall til that first Christmas morning, from His ascension til His return – poised on the edge of our seats – that is enough.

Because He was never after crafts anyway.

No, He’s after our hearts.

It’s hard to keep this focus. Understatement, I know.

But I know something that can help because just reading the introduction has already helped me. It’s a new Advent devotional book called The Greatest Gift by One Thousand Gifts author, Ann Voskamp. I could not be more excited about this resource I am using to right MY heart, and, lucky for us, these are on sale for $7 at Lifeway today.

You need to read this book. Your kids need you to read this book. A few pages each day will keep the awe of Christ in the front of your mind – on the whole of your heart – front and center for your little ones to see, to feel.

And if you manage to bake some cookies with them somewhere between now and Christmas morning, consider yourself an overachiever.

♥ Kelly

How Could I Not?

I don’t really fear Satan. I believe in God’s power over him and don’t worry that Satan will somehow usurp God’s good plan for me. Satan can only do what God allows him to do (Job 1,2), and I have confidence God will use Satan’s schemes for my greater good and His greater glory (Jeremiah 29:11).

Where I struggle is with the fear that God is powerless to save me from myself. Obviously, God is all-powerful. But when we factor in human free will, I get a little nervous. Because I know myself. I know my tendency to run away from God instead of toward Him. I know my resistance to pain and suffering and all things undesirable – the very mediums God tends to use to accomplish spiritual growth in us…

In light of all these facts, I worry that I might have the ability to choose to resist God. I fear I possess the capability to utterly ruin whatever good plans He may have for me by being disobedient and uncooperative. He isn’t going to force me to do anything I don’t want to do. That’s scary. Because sometimes I need to be forced. I know myself; left to my own devices, I won’t always choose to do the best things. Sometimes I need God to make me.

I was talking to the Lord about all this the other night. And at one point I just asked Him, “Do You get exasperated with me?”

I was thinking along the lines of human parents who get exasperated with their children for asking the same questions a hundred times or for stubbornly refusing to obey certain rules. We get exasperated…

Since God is our Father and we believers are his children, does He experience similar feelings of exasperation with us when we act childishly or foolishly? Or does the whole parent/child analogy break down there? The Bible does say the Lord doesn’t grow tired or weary (Isaiah 40:28)… even of me and my ridculousness?

I continued to think about my children. At the end of the day, when they’ve fallen asleep, I take a few minutes to go in and look at them. I pray over them. But, mostly, I just look at them – their little features, their cute positions, their innocence – it all overwhelms me. It fills me. And I inevitably feel inexplicably blessed that they are mine.

How Could I Not?

Whatever feelings of exasperation toward them I had throughout the day, all those feelings disappear when I watch my children sleep.

That got me thinking about God watching me sleep. Does He have to fight the urge to reach through the heavens and stroke my hair or kiss my forehead? Is His heart overwhelmed with love? Is He speechless that I am His? I think it’s a safe bet He probably is (Jeremiah 31:3, Isaiah 43:1).

After pondering that image and those questions, I was reminded of a David Crowder lyric in which he says to God, “Thank You for loving me.” And because I was feeling thankful, I said those exact words to God, “Thank You for loving me.”

And without missing a beat, He smiled and said, “How could I not?”

God. Of the universe. Said that to me.

I fought the urge to count the ways to Him that He could not, and I chose, instead, to accept His fatherly gift.

After all, what was God really saying?

He didn’t mean He loves everything about me. I’m certain He’s not real fond of the countless ways I find to sin, for example.

He meant there is something special about our relationship – Parent/child – that endears His heart to mine no matter what I do or don’t do. Just like me with my kids. When they’re sleeping, and I can hardly breathe for their beauty, no matter how many times I felt exasperated with them that day, I can’t come up with any possible reason I wouldn’t love them.

They are mine – I love them – how could I not?

I need this reminder of God’s heart toward me often. Daily. And I figure I’m not alone.

If you’re needing a reminder, too, I recommend Isaiah 43, in which God says to the Israelites, and subsequently, to Christ-followers, “I have called you by name; you are mine…  you are precious and honored in my sight… I love you,” (Isaiah 43:1, 4).

Spiritual Legacy: He Provides

I’ve never had a full-time job. As in, NEVER.

I guess that’s what happens when you marry an “established” man before you graduate college. Elian had a great job that met our needs. I finished my degree a year after we said, “I do,” working part-time along the way.

Once I graduated, our plan was to have children with whom I would stay home relatively soon. So hunting for a full-time gig was neither necessary nor wise at that point. I continued part-time work for a couple of years until I was 8.5 months pregnant with our first child. I took the last month of the pregnancy off and birthed an amazing little person in April, 2007, fully intending to stay home with her.

Lexi Baby

The more we thought about it, Elian and I came to the conclusion that my paltry part-time paycheck wasn’t so dispensable after all. I mean, we could make it, but it would be jeggings tight.

So we decided right after Lexi was born I would look for something part-time to give us some wiggle room. It helped both first-time grandmothers wanted nothing more than to babysit their little darling while I worked.

Summer started, and I had no idea what kind of work to look for. And, frankly, I wasn’t in the frame of mind to tackle a job search. Don’t get me wrong – my heart delighted in the gift of my precious daughter. I was completely and utterly in love with her.

But.

She wasn’t much of a sleeper and thought nursing was something she should do EVERY TWO HOURS FOR THREE MONTHS STRAIGHT. And, as any woman who has nursed a child will tell you, that equates to approximately 8 minutes of sleep each day for mommy. And that is a generous estimate. Add to that the mystery “colic” she had, which really means she was inconsolable for no apparent reason, and I was moments away from being committed.

Throw in a job search with the interviews and the “showering” and the whatnot, and all I could do was imagine my sarcastic response to a potential employer’s question like what are my “strengths” … I AM ALIVE AND SO IS MY CHILD. WINNING.

So, you see, I wasn’t feeling the whole work thing. I just wasn’t there physically or emotionally, and every time I looked at that little baby – 4 weeks old, then 6 weeks old, then 8 weeks old – I thought the same thing: she’s too little for me to leave her for work.

And yet. The financial wiggle room. It wasn’t there.

The days went on, and we continued to float along, wondering what we should do.

Then, mid-summerish, some friends came to visit us. At the time, they were our daughter’s appointed guardians if something were to happen to me and Elian. So they came into town to meet their possible future new addition. We visited a good long while, had some lunch, watched the baby’s every fascinating move.

Then they handed us an envelope. Obviously, I knew what it was – a congratulations-on-the-new-baby card. But it felt different in my hands.

It felt… thick.

It probably has a folded, hand-written note in it, I thought.

I pulled the card out and read the front. I don’t recall what it said, but I remember what happened next.

As I opened the card, $20 bills came falling out. More bills than I could count. My eyes filled with tears as the realization set in that many hundreds of dollars were sitting in front of me.

Overwhelmed, I searched our friends’ faces for an explanation. It went something like this, “We hope this small gift will help you be able to stay home just a little longer with Lexi.”

The Lord… through His people… I’m telling you… He provides.

I did stay home, worry-free, for several more months. As is the case with most colicky babies, once she turned three months old, all was right in the world. No more countless hours of crying. She slowed her roll and learned how to give me 3-4 hours between feedings, which meant my 8 minutes of sleep/day DOUBLED. I started to feel more human again. A part-time job fell in my lap. And I didn’t kill anyone.

The Lord… through His people… I’m telling you… He provides. 

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33)

Winning at Failing

I’m not sure how it happened, but I seem to be friends with more and more people who are “green” and “organic” and “work out” and “don’t eat crap”. They never eat anything not grown in their own backyards, they make their own shampoo, and they’d have their doctorates in homeopathy if the Internet could award that sort of thing. They are amazingly energetic, focused people, and I am sincerely proud of them.

But for someone who just tries to keep her head above the ever-rising water, it can be intimidating to think about my “perfect” friends. It’s not that they ever have or ever will condemn me for my all-refined sugar diet and my synthetic-chemicals-only policy, I just feel overwhelmed when I compare myself to them. I make myself feel like a failure, and, quite honestly, from a health standpoint, I am a failure.

If health were the only area in which I wasn’t the valedictorian of awesome, that might be ok. But it’s not.

Turns out marriage is hard. I missed the pre-marital class on “putting your spouse’s needs in front of your own”. Getting this rock of a heart to accept that and implement it multiple hours (minutes?) in a row is proving difficult. Paul says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).  If the Bible is the standard (and it is), then I’d have to say I am failing at marriage too.

Apply that same verse to friendships, and I’m screwed there as well. Selfishly and vainly aptly describe how I react when friends don’t do what I want them to do. I’m not at all thinking about them and their needs, just about myself.  Again, with the failing.

How about parenting? I’m tired. “Teaching” the same lessons that never seem to stick; losing patience before breakfast is over; reacting to the ugly with ugliness of my own. I’m not going to be the poster child of a parent who does not exasperate her children (Ephesians 6:4). Not this week (year?) anyway.

There are more ways in which I fail not fit for public consumption. (You didn’t know I had that filter, did you? Yeah, add that to The Failure List).

It’s more than a pity party I’m having over here, and I’m working my way to a point, so please don’t share a “cute” Facebook image about “bucking up” and “staying positive” and various and sundry sayings that fall into the category of “not my reality”.

(I’m clearly feeling feisty today. Add that to The List, if you want.)

(I’m also using the air quotes ad nauseum. Just imagine Chris Farley reading you this post, and you’ll “feel better” about the “whole thing.”)

Who’s ready for the redemptive point of this post?

I think God brings my failures (all of them) to my attention (all at once) in order to show me a vital truth: I need Him. 

You (I) may think I already knew that about myself. And I did, in an intellectual sense. But in an experiential sense, I seem to need a tangible demonstration very a lot often. Daily, even.

Last week, when I was acutely aware of The Failure List and not so aware of my intrinsic value to God, He did some things to remind me this whole show runs on His power like a car on gasoline (or electricity, if you’re one of my green friends. Sigh.)

Two different friends in spiritual predicaments reached out to me for advice. Me. ME. The woman with The Failure List a mile long and growing. Part of me wanted to say, “I can’t help you.” And I was right, couldn’t help them. But God through me did. The Holy Spirit brought to mind what to say, and it proved helpful (so they say). (I’m such a skeptic. Where’s my list, I need to add that.)

Another friend told me she wants me to speak at a program at our church in the fall. Me. ME. The woman with The Failure List a mile long and growing. Given that my heart is to eventually speak/teach/write as a career, I found it to be so sweet of God to have my friend think of me.

Then yesterday I took my Failure List to a place I volunteer once a week helping women who find themselves pregnant and scared and hopeless. My role is to inform the clients of all their options (abortion, adoption, parenting). The bigger goal is to love them well, showing them Jesus-love no matter who they are or what decision they want to make for their baby. The biggest goal is to spend time understanding what their spiritual beliefs are and sharing with them what mine are.

In the interest of HIPAA, I can’t tell you exactly what happened yesterday, but I can tell you the Lord used my time with one client to show me, “Your Failure List is no match for My power. I can and will use you despite your failures, and I can and will bless you despite your failures. My agenda doesn’t depend on how long or short your Failure List is, and your need for Me doesn’t depend on how long or short your Failure List is.”

If I can muster up the energy I’m going to ask God to use His energy and power to help me fix my eyes on Him instead of The List. That sounds pretty biblical.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,” (2 Corinthians 4:18).