I’m sharing about my e-book, Mindset for Moms, this week–if you missed it, head here to read yesterday’s post.
I spun around on the tree swing, full of praise. One hand holding the rope, one hand lifted in awe, a grin on my face.
Amazed by God’s goodness.
I had dared to dream of a new house for my family. A place where we could love, learn, and fulfill His calling. But my dream was too good, too specific, too unlikely. So I let it go, trusted, remained content.
He had turned around and given the dream, in all its fulfillment, right back.
But why was I surprised? Isn’t goodness and mercy part of the territory when it comes to His character?
Christians tend to have a flawed mindset about God. We seem to believe that if we surrender and say yes, that He can’t wait to do the most awful things to us–to make our lives miserable in the name of character development.
How could we dare to think this about our loving Father? Is this how we feel toward our own children? Hardly. I am a wildly imperfect mother, yet I always search for ways to bless my little ones.
In the timeless classic A Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, Hannah Whitall Smith tackles this skewed viewpoint of God:
“He is our Father, and He loves us, and He knows just what is best, and therefore, of course, His will is the very most blessed thing that can come to us. I do not understand how it is that Satan has succeeded in blinding the eyes of the Church to this fact.
But it really would seem as if God’s own children were more afraid of His will than of anything else in life; His lovely, lovable will, which only means loving-kindnesses and tender mercies, and blessings unspeakable to their souls.”
My family and I have made life choices that many would consider crazy and uncertain. Here are a few:
- adopted a sick infant who nearly died, my son Elijah from Liberia
- adopted an older child with special needs, my daughter Trishna from India
- became missionaries and lived fully off of the financial support we raised
- moved cross-country to work against one of the darkest issues of our time, child sex trafficking and exploitation
I write this list not out of pride about our decisions, quite the opposite. We wanted to do these things, and it is easy to do what we want to do!
That’s the thing about God–when we offer our dreams to Him, He makes us want to do His will. This enables us to move forward in joy and confidence, even when we face life’s inevitable challenges.
When we change our mindset about God, we can dream again. And we need not fear giving those dreams to Him, for we’ll find His dreams for our lives even better than those we could ever have imagined for ourselves.
“You parents–if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7 : 9-11
A Special Offer for (in)courage readers:
Any (in)courage reader who buys Mindset for Moms in any format (PDF, Kindle, Nook, or iTunes) can receive a FREE PDF version of my first book, Steady Days (a $9 value).
To take advantage of this offer, simply send me an email after your purchase with the subject line “I bought Mindset for Moms” and I’ll respond within a few days. Offer valid through July 31, 2012.
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment with your response to this statement to be entered to win a copy of Mindset for Moms. (Two winners today.)
“If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for _______________.”
My answer? “If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for a new opportunity.”
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If I wasn’t afraid I would ask God for a perfect opportunity to share him with someone…but right now just talking to best friends to say hi is hard, so /asking/ to talk about something super important with someone is not something I feel like I could succeed at even if God answered with a yes.
If I wasn’t afraid I would ask God for a new opporitunity to bless Him. I would ask him to identify some sort of job that I could do that would bring my talents to a place of need. I have been a stay at home mom and now a stay at home grandma for a lot of years. We are going to be moving soon. I need to refocus the dread into something more inspiring. I know He has a great plan for the next few years…. I just need a bit more willingness to follow along. And we need a house to live in also so I’d be asking for that too : ) I have not specifically asked Him for a house, thinking maybe that if we can’t find one maybe we won’t have to move. wishful thinking on my part. ha ha I know that moving is going to happen sooner or later no matter if I want to move or not. Thanks for a chance to win your book. It looks inspiring, janita
If I wasn’t afraid, I’d ask God for more~
If I wasn’t afraid I’d ask God to fill me with His love, to leave frustration and irritation with people behind. I had for Him to use me.
if Iwasn’t afraid, I would ask God for courage not to give up, to stay in the fight, to focus forward in faith, to take those steps forward and not jump three steps backwards, to believe that I can and that I’m worthy! I just don’t know how.
None of us are worthy, but that’s the beauty of grace. He calls us for more and gives us the tools needed to succeed in it. Often times I look at myself as un worthy. Sometimes it’s hard to see past the negative feelings that try to consume our thoughts. But we can’t let the obstacles in life bring us down. Sometimes all it takes is a leap of faith. We don’t need to know where we are going, just trust God to take us there. I know it sometimes may feel like for every step forward we take five steps back, but we can’t let that stop us, we just have to keep pushing forward, because that one step you took, will make a difference.
Helen G. says
I would ask God for more opportunities to share the Gospel, more time, more patience, and a new baby 🙂
Becky J. says
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God to set me free from all that binds me-so I could get out of my boat of safety and into deep waters with Him…
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for deeper trust in His timing.
In the last six months, I resigned from a job I once loved, put a house on the market that I don’t think I ever imagined letting go of and I’ve left every dream/thought of “next steps” with a tail-end of “Why not?”. Why not me, why not my family, why not in this life?
I’m letting God lead my family’s direction, my personal direction – but sometimes it’s hard to wait patiently. It’s hard not to think, “Is this a sign?” It’s hard to wait & not do.
I do believe in Jeremiah 29:11 – I know God has a plan for me and I know at the heart of it is goodness…I’m just struggling with His timetable!
I am sad to say that the reason why I feel this way about God is because it seems to be the case all the time.
I wish it was not but it seems that way.
And I am so tried, let down and sad.
Its not that I do not believe anymore its now at the point where it just does not seem to matter because God in his wisdom has better things to do.
thanks ever so for writing this and for this forum.
If I wasn’t afraid I would ask God to Set me free from loneliness & grief now that my Mom, who was my best friend, my prayer partner, we went shopping together, spent everyday with for the last 6 years & now that she is gone I am all alone in the daytime. I am lost & having a difficult time moving forward. Thank God for Incourage emails everyday to read & help me.
aussie monica says
Carol, I know how you feel. I miss my mum terribly, too
Christina Burrell says
“If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for more children_.”
Beth Williams says
If I wasn’t afraid..I’d ask God for a “heart transplant” to be nicer all the time & not have bad attitude–especially at work.
Would also ask for friends for my hubby–he is an introvert and has “unusual” hobbies-low frequency radio, World War II computer games, Iguanas.
Would like a different job for me.
Praying blessings for everyone & believing in His goodness!
Janelle A. says
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for a mission opportunity. I’d love to look into some sort of mission trip, but I’m afraid of where He’d take me/for how long/what it would mean for my family!
Grace KP says
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for more close friends that I could be totally be honest and open with.
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God to help me to be more well spoken and to be able to share His amazing love with others.
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for the ability to walk back into church.
My dad passed away at home with COPD. On one of his last days, I dropped a piece of equipment needed for his breathing treatment. Fear gripped me as I quickly ran to wash the piece that I had dropped. I knew my dad’s need was critical, but I also knew that he had seen me drop the equipment. As I scrambled to correct my mistake, I heard the still voice in my spirit, “You have never been free to make a mistake.”
The fear that has paralyzed me is that of making a mistake. My prayer is that God will set me free from this fear. God help me to move forward, knowing that You are not like people and that You will love me , protect me, help me, and set me on the right path again, even if I do make a mistake.
To make it short, I would ask God set me free from the fear of making a mistake or asking wrongly.
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for a ministry.
AMEN to your post!! I’ve heard things like this before where people were afraid God would do the worst, instead of the best. I know I’ve fallen victim to such warped thinking and I am sure others are out there thinking the same. Some of us have had very bad experiences in life that added to that in the form of highly legalistic churches where if you step a toe out of line, God punished you. One time when I was driving, my car died. The minister told me that God was punishing me for whatever offense the minister thought I made at that time. I lived with 18 years of that horrible thinking. It’s taken a long time to do a turnaround after I had left that church long ago.
Lindsey Bell says
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for a healthy pregnancy. . . But after three miscarriages, I’m afraid that if I ask, and he says no again, I won’t be able to handle it.
Lindsey, your comment hurts my heart! I pray God’s blessings on you in the form of a little one at the perfect timing, and that your mourning would be turned to joy.
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for a chance to go on a vacation I needed to fly to.
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God to reveal our future life in China. (We are missionaries and like you said…surrendering was hard because I want my comfortable life in States. But that’s not where he wants us. What a blessing to see your post today!!!!)
Carrie Stephens says
A few hours ago one of my little ones asked for something and I said, “Yes.”, and I thought how much joy it brought me to do that. I think some of us are too afraid to ask for what we want from God,because maybe we have asked for the wrong things or with wrong motives in the past. But God delights in telling us “Yes”, especially when we ask for more of Himself.
Yes! Carrie, I believe you’re right. I find that even when I can’t say “yes” to my kids for whatever reason, I almost always start planning or thinking about what I could say yes to that would bring them joy.
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God to use my to my full potential
If I were not afraid, I would ask God to help me be beautiful in mind, body, and spirit, all the time.
Lisa H says
If I wasn’t afraid I would ask God for another child.
Sue Humes says
If I wasn’t afraid, I would quit this job and jump into the ministry that God is calling me to.
aussie monica says
If I wasn’t afraid, I would homeschool my kids again
Melinda T says
If I wasn’t afraid to ask, I would ask God for change. To help me be that girl full of energy, hope and optimism.
If I wasn’t afraid, I’d ask God for new dreams. After the past 4 years of a miscarriage and subsequent unexplained infertility, 2 failed adoptions, and now falling in love with a foster son over the first 8 months of his life who will most likely (without God’s divine intervention) go back to one of his birthparents, I’m afraid to keep hoping for the dream of being a mommy, just to get my heart broken again. I need a new dream.
If I wasn’t afraid, I’d ask God…to release me from the fears and worries the rules my life. To fill me with courage and peace and hope and trust. To accept what I know in my heart but my head won’t acknowledge. And to forgive me for my fear – for my lack of faith.
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for inspiration on how to better use my gifts for Him.
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God for more. Someone else just said that I know but it’s what I was thinking. Last week I did ask God for help for our family, for my husband….I was desperate and yet didn’t fully believe God would do much about it. He totally blew my mind with his CRAZY way of helping and loving me and mine. Wow! Why do I doubt that he will be generous or specific or kind? He’s so big!
Dena Evans says
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God to have good health, a good Christian husband, and to truly show me what His will is for me and the courage to carry it out.
Jessica Mumford says
If I wasn’t afraid, I would ask God to move me to wherever He wants to!!!