About the Author

After returning from living in SE Asia with her family, Laura now writes from the mountains of Colorado. She runs the communications efforts at The Exodus Road, a nonprofit focused on fueling investigations into human trafficking. She also leads conversations for international humanitarian workers at the collective blog, ALifeOverseas.com. Laura...

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  1. This is good stuff. Although I might choose different words (you know how language is), I love how he delineates between these two concepts. I think I’m going to need to chew on this one for a while…. Thank you!

    • It’s good food for thought, for sure. To be honest, I didn’t actually finish the book– but that first bit really hit home. I admit to a terrible habit of starting and not finishing books! 🙂

  2. I can so relate to this. Thank you for posting this. So many times I am irritated and angered because my expectations for the day were not realized. When I step back I am able to see my focus was on my expectations or goals as you put it and not on God’s plan for the day. Thank you for this gentle reminder to truly seek God’s will not just in the big stuff but in my day to day routine!

    • Jennie, Oh, yes, Expectations. I have a friend who says that “Expectations are just premeditated resentment.” While I don’t think this is really true alllll the time, I get the idea. Our expectations can become real stumbling blocks to our attitudes.

  3. Oh wow….thank you so much for putting into words what I’ve been struggling with. “Anger is oftentimes the result of a blocked goal.” Ouch. But when I think of it that way, I see a myriad of examples in my life where that’s the case. Sadly, I think the desire I most often place above my goal to live and love like Christ is one of seeming to have it all together. Pretty pathetic, actually. I want to look good, have a clean and organized house, and have kids who are on-track with schoolwork. But I also find myself getting angry/frustrated when the “godly” desires aren’t being met : scripture memory with the kids, family devotions, etc….I find myself agonizing so much over when to get everything done that not much is actually accomplished. I don’t want a schedule change, I want a heart change. And I think you’re right — when we see our interrupting children (or other significant relationships) in the right light, they CAN be catalysts for change. Grace-filled change. Thanks so much for sharing your heart.

    • Sarah, I totally get the desire to have it all together. I think when I get task oriented and super-efficient, I struggle with this more. I loved what you said here:

      I don’t want a schedule change, I want a heart change.

      That was a great statement. I totally concur.

  4. Awesome post today. Thank you for bringing me into this Truth and for sharing parts of what sounds like a great read! This is such good stuff to ponder, marinate in, and rest awhile in the lines of today. Bless you. What a universal struggle among moms, being interrupted while we are in the middle of the something…. God teaches me about me and my reactions almost every time. UGh.

    Resting in the arms of His new mercies this Monday.

    • Yes, the interruptions of the mother are pretty epic, right? Such good training ground in practically laying down our own tasks for the needs of the moment.

      Thanks for your encouraging words, too, Elizabeth.

      Have a great Monday.

  5. This was such an excellent reminder. What’s funny is I just read a very similar thing in a book I’m going through called “What’s it like to be married to me?” by Linda Dillow. This book has been very challenging and has made me take a hard look at myself and sins that I tend to brush under the rug.

    God keeps bringing me around to James 4:1-4…we quarrel and fight (and yell and get angry) because of our desires; we want and we do not have. Our motives our wrong, our desires (or goals) are focused on our own pleasures rather than on what God wants for and from us.

    Thank you for this reminder. I tend to be a yeller at my kids also. It was humbling the other day to have my 2 year old huff and puff and say “argh” under her breathe when she was frustrated. I know she learned it from me! Thankful that we have such a loving God who meets us where we are and doesn’t allow us to stay there.

    • Oh, goodness, Shannon– just the title of that book by Dillow makes me shudder just a bit. Talk about a good tool for self reflection, I can only imagine!

      I can totally identify with my kids beginning to pick up my bad habits/reactions. It’s a frightening mirror many times, unfortunately.

      Hang in there, Shannon, I love your heart for Jesus and grace and desiring the better . . .

  6. “If we believe that our identity and sense of worth is dependent upon the cooperation of other people and upon favorable circumstances, then we will likely try to control them. When we discover that we can’t, then those people or circumstances are blocking us from our goals, and we get angry. if our goal seems impossible to reach, we get depressed. . . Sounds like me sometimes!!

    Even Godly desires will become a problem for us if we raise them to the level of goals.”
    Loved the analogy difference between goals and desires. Soo soo very very true! We can choose & pray to be Christ-like and have God assist us with that daily!

    Because the truth is that I have already been given everything I need for life and godliness {2 Peter 1:3}. Right now. At this moment. And my challenge is to remember that this goal of loving like Jesus is not blocked by anything I do or say! I have the power to choose to love like Christ and show Jesus to the world or be like the world and have them disdain Christianity!

    “God’s goal for our lives is to become the person He created us to be. Paul said, ‘This is the will of God, your sanctification’ {1 Thes. 4:3}. Nobody–nothing–on planet Earth can keep us from becoming the person God created us to be. The only ones who can interfere with that goal is ourselves.” – Neil Anderson, Getting Anger Under Control

    That sounds like a very very interesting book that perhaps I should read also!

  7. God’s timing is hilarious to me! I just completed my first full week of p90X after weeks and weeks of debating the efficacy of beginning. And then I read this post. It hit MY bullseye! I am not struggling in the way that you are – my children are teenagers. My struggle instead comes from the pride of not being able to physically do the things I once could and LOOK the way I once did. Pride has been a big topic in our house the past week…it seems God is leading me to have a closer look at this personal issue. So thank you for revealing to me words of caution but reassurance; my goal is to be Godly, in the way that I take care of my body and what I put into my body. But this lofty goal should not come at the expense of living in shame or anger because my pride can’t take the current hit it is receiving. I should live in the knowledge that I am living the season of life I am supposed to be living, knowing that God is walking beside me, cheering me on and encouraging me to live with grace at whatever stage I’m in. Thank you, thank you!

    • Cynthia, YES! I loved this comment– loved how you were able to see a different spin on things. Pride can play a major factor in getting us off track, dontcha think? We start turning inward, and all the sudden can’t see God for the biggness that we have made ourselves.

      Prayers for you today in your journey–
      and don’t you just have a love/hate relationship with Tony? ha ha!

  8. Laura,
    I laughed so hard at your description of your workout! I’ve been right there with you. Funny how what used to frustrate me in the moment is a cherished memory now!

    I am in a strange place in life…widow with an 11 yr old boy…trying to figure out what is next for me in life. It all keeps coming back to that godly goal. It doesn’t really matter where I am, what job I find, or what godly desires I have as long as I keep my eyes on that godly goal of Christlikeness. BUT… when I get sidetracked and blinded by my godly desires that have been blocked by life or God or whatever…then come the fits! 🙂

    I have been thanking God lately for Phil 1:6 because I can say confidently that HE WILL PERFECT the good work He began in me and in my son. 🙂 He will get us to the goal. Even when we get angry at the interruptions and detours, He is still perfecting all that He began in you and me. 🙂 I’m thankful He keeps moving me toward the goal when I get sidetracked by the desires and I’m praying I can keep that goal in sight and keep the desires in the the right perspective! 🙂
    Loved reading what you wrote and look forward to reading more. 🙂

    • Dianna, oh, new friend, prayers for you today from a porch in Thailand. Praying for you and for your son, that you would feel the gracious arms of Jesus today, that you as a mother would keep your eyes up and focused on the Lover of your Soul.

      Clinging with you to the GOOD WORK He is, most definitely, doing in both of you,

      Laura

  9. It is good to remember that we have the agency to choose our reactions.

    On another note, it always astounded me how my kids couldn’t even afford me the time to use the bathroom. I remember them calling to me through the door and sticking their little fingers under the door trying to get to me. It’s because they love us so much that they can’t stand to be away whether we are using the potty or doing p90x

    • Yes, good point! I reckon mothers are just uber-popular! ha ha.

      I love that statement, though, about choosing our reactions. Oh, that is a good one and a true one. I once heard a friend pray for “Godly reactions”– that in a moment of unguarded reacting, even then she wanting to overflow Christ.

  10. This is beautifully written, and wonderfully insightful. My husband and I don’t have kids, but the tendency to put each other above God is prevalent. I struggle with putting my work above God, and get annoyed/angry when I get interrupted too many times. But something I keep reminding myself is when my relationship with my husband is off, when I have to raise my voice to get my point across, my relationship with God is definitely off and I need to be putting him first. Jesus didn’t care when people interrupted Him; in fact, He embraced it. Great encouragement!

    • “Jesus didn’t care when people interrupted Him . . . ” YES, b/c He was able to see the person as more important than the task. Oh, if only I could do the same . . .

      Thanks for stopping in Hannah,
      L

  11. Haa, I can so relate! Especially the part when the kids descend with questions, fights, arguments, life halting needs, and injuries as I am trying to work out. When I asked my husband what was wrong with me and why I got so angry, he asked me what rights I thought they were violating. “No you don’t understand was my first thought”, but he was dead on. I was elevating myself and my goals, above them. God has been very gracious and I am changing day by day. Thanks for your post an the reminder to evaluate y focus!

    • Jody, Oh, man, what a husband and a perfect question! Ouch, right? Tell him I will be remembering this one next time I try to get in an exercise video and get interrupted.

      Have a great, focused, rest of your week!

  12. You share strong meaty words of truth, Laura. “ME” tends to get elevated above loving like Christ: my desire to have it my way, my hurt ego, my self-righteousness. I need to continually replace “me” with Christ in my heart. Enjoy your blessed week.