The Hero I Have Known
by Grace Julius Ssembatya
To the world you are one person, but to me you are the world. You don’t have much, but we have always and still feel like we have everything. You don’t have millions in your bank account, but you have created a legacy worth much more.
You taught me love, patience and endurance. You taught me how to pray and led by example. You praised me whenever I did well and pointed out my mistakes with that gentle voice. You encouraged me to work hard in school and taught me how to read and write. I still remember your voice as you tell me bedtime stories and sometimes sat around the fire at night. I still remember everything you taught me.
Grandmother you are the truest, dearest, more than a grandmother to me. I call you a friend, sister, cousin and also dad when I lost Dad to the world. You stood alone for 20 years after he neglected ....
With over 20 years as a trainer for leaders in state government, Kimberly shares her expertise on the Choose 2 Think podcast Episode 031: When Love says, "What's the need?" as she encourages us to apply Phil. 2:3-8 to our lives whether at work or in the home.
Among other topics, we chat about
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Existential angst deals with the general unease we may feel as humans regarding our existence on this earth. It can create a bit of tug of war between our mind/heart and our body.
As I see it, there are two different kinds of angst that center around 1) our physical world (just the normal life stuff like paying bills, waiting in line at Kroger, taking a walk around town, etc.) and 2) all things spiritual. Often it's hard to tear the two apart because they are so intricately woven together.
We know a steady breakfast of coffee and donuts is not good for us, yet it seems to be what we crave. We know that forgiving our mate for the unkind things they said is wise, yet we struggle to let go. We can feel overwhelmed by the political and societal trends of the world around us. We may know we are significant and unique, but, on the other hand, we feel powerless and unworthy at times. These types of scenarios create inside us a sense of existential angst. [Heck! Just losing my car keys is enough to drive me bonkers!]
We're happy, but not quite. We're satisfied, but not quite. We're fine, thank you very much, but not quite. We want God to be our first love, but we also don't.
Let's dig deeper.
Have you ever felt like your heart is at perfect peace, your joy abounds, you are fulfilled and satisfied?
And then other times, you are listless, restless, disgruntled, uneasy, out of sorts?
Although my thought life has taken a 360, and I am more skilled and habitual about taking toxic thoughts captive than I ever have been in my life, sometimes I have this one little stumbling block called fear that gets in my way. The next one in line is lack of trust.
When I am afraid, I long for comfort. When I am distrustful, I doubt and become skeptical.
Okay, so we recognize the ups and downs of our lives physically and spiritually.
But what is the purpose of existential angst?
1) It shows us we may have a problem. Kinda a no-brainer, huh? If I am perpetually irritable and often arriving late to work, I've created a recipe for angst. I need to acknowledge the problem, and then I can move into a few solutions, such as getting up earlier, delegating morning tasks, removing some to-do items from my list, etc.
2) Existential angst pushes to the surface whom or what we love. Our hearts are lonely hunters, always on the look-out to find and be loved, to discover worth and be deemed worthy. Like she camels in heat, we paw the ground, sniff the air, and quite desperately, impatiently search for a "mate." Unfortunately, just about any mate will do. (See Jeremiah 2 for more details.)
Allow me to expound just a bit on point two.
God created us to desire love and to desire to be loved. He made us to want to find worth and to be found worthy and accepted. This is the great, divinely initiated HUNGER, that voracious void that gnaws in our veins.
But no worries, friend. We WILL satisfy that appetite for love and worth all right. We will stuff ourselves with our jobs, our spouses, our friends, our food, our money, our things, our exploits, our titles, our appearance....
What, dear friend, is the Love of your life? What gets most of your attention? For whom do you work, toil, seek validation, approval, acceptance, comfort, identity? How do you deal with existential angst? Basically whatever we are "obsessed" with is what we truly love. Whatever we give our mental time and energy to is what we love.
As Christ followers, we may be ashamed to admit our struggles. We may feel embarrassed to let others know that we are not exactly the victorious Christian sojourners we were essentially designed to be. It seems if we do confess the trappings of our flesh and the spiritual battles we are facing, the conclusion is that we don't exactly reflect the glory of God.
It may have something to do with displaced or misordered love. As humans, we are wired to latch. Wired to cling. Wired to love. Often our human tendencies, our addictions come as the result of misplaced or disordered love.
Our general come back is...."Well, my life conditions may stink, but inside I have the joy and peace of my salvation." Yes. That is the clincher, but what difference does God say that very fact should have in your life?
In other words, in the core of our souls we know we are saved. We managed to grab hold of eternal life by the mercy and grace of God and the work of Christ. We are regenerate souls, having tapped into joy everlasting. How should this knowledge affect how we live?
Frankly, I have a good deal of existential angst...and, on the one hand, I think this is kinda normal for Christians. After all, this is not our home. Not only does God instill deeply in us to our very core the desire for love and worth, He also sets "eternity" there.
This means we will never be quite satisfied here, in every situation, 100% of the time.
We may have moments of divine revelation and joy. We may learn to live in and walk in God's divine peace. We may even dance with the great King and feel His presence as He delights over us.
That I can willfully chose to place God and only God on the throne of my heart is perhaps the greatest privilege I may ever be given. The truth is, I don't want to have displaced, out of order love in my life, but sometimes I recognize that I do! Sometimes I am afraid that what God says is really too good to be true. I want to live with abandoned trust, love, adoration toward Him, but sometimes I'm scared of what this might mean.
Ah, there's the rub. And now you know why I spend so much of my energy and time writing about thoughts and why I've built a ministry about gratitude. Our thinking drives our emotions and actions. If there is nothing else I can do, I can at least choose the proper thoughts. This gives me the greatest opportunity to live a fulfilled, contented life on this earth despite the angst (practical or spiritual) I'm sure to experience along the way.
And I don't want to miss the purpose that God has for me either. My life is not about me. Of course, it starts with me, but ultimately it must be about serving others and sharing the love of Christ. I can best fulfill this objective when my thoughts are healthy and filled with God's truth.
Bottom line: Setting God first in your heart and mind has the power to influence the day-to-day existential angst you may experience.
The spiritual trumps the physical.
To sum it all up, in my humble opinion, some existential angst is Biblical - we are not of this world (John 15:19) and God has set eternity in our hearts (Ecc. 3:11). However, existential angst that results from not loving God before all others and from not loving Him with all our hearts and minds...well, that's sin and must break His heart.
If the purpose of existential angst is to help us discover that we have a problem and that God may not be "seated" in the #1 spot in our lives for our love, devotion, and attention, what are we to do?
We acknowledge the angst. And we muster the courage to:
If you want to put God first above everyone and everything else, well, that is a very, very good start to discovering the secret to a life well-lived and fulfilled. Start exercising your heart and mind toward achieving that desire. Choose to think properly and truthfully. Ask God to heal your heart and mind. He will do it in His good timing.
If you'd like to complete a few exercises about taking those toxic thoughts captive, check out the FREEBIES tab above for worksheets and exercises to get you on your way to a healthy heart and mind.
And thanks so much for stopping by!
I've learned a few things over these past few months since I've rebranded my ministry and website.
1) Bearing my soul before the "world" takes a good bit of courage
2) Stepping out into the entrepreneurial world really is a hustle
3) Building the "tribe" is quite the unexpected challenge
As you may know, I've been really pushing hard to put out a healthy dose of inspiration and motivation to encourage you on your journey. My yearly ministry goal sheet is this:
1) Blog post twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays)
2) Post gratitude image/quote to Facebook page daily
3) Record weekly video about doing life, shortcuts, hacks, baking, walking, adventuring
4) Post daily to instagram
5) Publish monthly newsletter
6) Conduct and coach participants through 7 Day Challenge course at least twice a year
7) Thinking about: developing an eMentoring program for women or facilitating a Bible study online
All this to say, I could really use your help! And I'm willing to offer you lots of downloadable freebies, encouragement, inspiration in exchange!
aGH MINISTRY MISSIONS STATEMENT:
I NEED YOUR HELP
It would mean the world to me if you would help me on this adventure. Perhaps you could:
1) sign up to receive my monthly newsletter a Grateful Heart (register on my website). Although the thought of receiving a newsletter may not be that appealing, I promise not to bombard you or to sell your email address--it's just me on the other side trying to put into your hands free downloadables to make your life a bit easier and to provide you with a practical tools, checklists, goal sheets, etc., to promote healthy thinking and an energized, go-God life style.
If you subscribe before June 30, your name will be entered into a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card AND a free book! RICO THE MORKY will pick WINNER!!!
2) Like, follow, and SHARE a Grateful Heart Facebook page
3) If you see a gratitude image that speaks to you, please share it! Also, please comment on posts.
4) Subscribe to my youtube channel - I'm still experimenting there! I need your ideas! Leave a comment!
5) Follow me and share on Instagram. I have so much fun here photographing Midway, Kentucky, horses, Rico, family, nature and God's beautiful creation.
6) Email me or PM/DM me anytime! firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to chat with you!
7) Please pray for me and for God's direction in my ministry.
And do not neglect doing good and sharing,
for with such sacrifices God is please.
The topic of RESTORATION is multifaceted. A few possible synonyms for restoration are repair, refurbishment, reconditioning, rehabilitation, rebuilding, reconstruction, and remodeling. Notice the prefix "re" which means "again" or "back."
We've been considering the names Job gave to his three daughters after he came through his trial. He named the first a name meaning "Day by day," and to the second he gave a name whose root means "to scrape."
His third daughter he gave a compound name of sorts: Qeren Hap-puwk or in English something like: Keren-happuch which means "horn of antimony."
The symbolism here is so rich. Let's break down each word in the compound. First Keren.
This word means "horn," "strength," and "light." The first time this Hebrew word is used is with Abraham in reference to the ram (the sacrifice God provided for Abraham in place of his son Isaac) caught by its horns in the thicket (Gen. 22:13). You may also remember that the acacia wood altar carried by the Israelites during the exodus from Egypt had four horns on each of its corners (same word in Exo. 27:2).
If we dig deeper to the root of this word, we find a verb that means "to shine" or "to send out rays or to display or grow horns." This verb is used only three times in the Old Testament to describe Moses's face and how it "shown" after he spoke with God on Mt. Sinai and obtained the two tablets (the second time) on which were written the commandments (Exo. 34).
The second part of Keren-happuch's name basically means "to paint," and is used to describe the black make-up women in earlier times wore around their eyes. I learned that "antimony" is a chemical element, lustrous and grey in color.
So what do we do with all of these details that provide such a rich foundation for Job and his choosing to name his daughter in this way?
Not only did Job learn to live life with such gratitude and appreciation for each day he was given, he also never forgot how God had never left him through such extreme adversity. Now we see a few more adjectives to describe Job's final transformation and restoration into a man God had strengthened as a result of his trial.
We see Job's fortitude sustained by God and erupting and bursting forth from the ashes of his devastation, agony, grief, and pain.
My grandmother was a modern-day Job. Although she did not lose her possessions, she did lose six of her ten children and two husbands to death in her lifetime. Her faith never waivered. Instead, after each passing, a new layer of her strength in God was revealed, even brighter and more prominent than the one before. Her grief must have been immeasurable, unfathomable...but God's glory shown like the brightest rays of the sun against the backdrop of the darkness she had experienced.
Do you know what her favorite Bible verse was? It comes from John 1:1 in the New Testament: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
She told me once that this verse said it all. God was there in the beginning. God gave us His Word (both in the written form of the Bible and in the person-hood of Jesus Christ). Not only that, God later gave His Son to be lifted up on a cross and later lifted up from death. She said, "What more do we really need to know?"
Job knew about sacrifice. He knew grief and despair, agony and turmoil.
But he also knew the remarkable beauty of restoration.
Did you know that "in all the land no women were found so fair as Job’s daughters" (Job 42: 15)? Each daughter was a profoundly lovely reminder to Job that he served a God who taught him
Have you ever met this God who restores?
Please know that you are not alone in your pain and loss. Not only do we have the promise of everlasting life after we die, we also have the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, right here and right now to help us come to full restoration while we live on this earth.
We can be made new, rebuilt, refurbished, if you will, and the results are positively beautiful.
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