Do you ever feel ‘blah’ or get bored?

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I proclaim to you new things from this time, Hidden things which you have not known. Isaiah 48:6 NASB

Hey, I found a new app on my iPhone that you might like.

I can’t wait to get that new car!

What’s new with you these days? 

I’m just sick of ‘same-ole, same-ole’.  I wish I had something new and exciting to look forward to.

How we all long for new and improved. Who among us has not wanted to believe the copy about some product that will make a difference in our lives?

When I taught French, I loved going to workshops to learn something NEW.  I always traveled to the training with the hope that I’d come home with a fresh and different way to help students acquire French.  I usually did.

From time to time, seminars on how the brain learns best equipped me with tools to engage my students.  One principle, oft repeated, emphasized how the brain craves novelty.  Anything unprecedent or out of the ordinary will stimulate the brain, will wake it up and push it out of its ‘business as usual’ mode.

The last couple of weeks God’s promises of ‘new things’ have captivated my heart, the seat of our imagination.  Two days ago, as I meditated on the Isaiah proclamation above, I cross referenced it to discover other contexts. For example, Paul quotes Isaiah’s prophesy proclaiming God’s plans to bring about what would never even enter our minds, things never before seen or heard.

So, what are some of these new things God has planned? A rapid scan produced these some verse fragments:

Job 29:20 – My glory is ever new with me

Is 42:9 – Now, I declare new things before they sprout

Is 43:19 – I am going to do something new

Is 48:6 – I proclaim to you new things

Is 62:2 – a new name

Is 65:17 new heavens and a new earth

I haven’t even mentioned the new covenant, our new hearts, new mercies, the good NEWs…….

Finally, consider how often the psalmists talk about singing a new song. Why would a new song be needed, if there were not unprecedented and wonderful praise-worthy acts of God?

Marinading in this image of the ‘new’ has brought front and center a startling realization. If we crave the new, if we long for fresh and are drawn to ‘new and improved’, then could it be that God wired us to actually desire ‘new’ and not be satisfied with ‘business as usual’? 

This possibility really excites me.  If God made us to crave ‘different’, then that means he intends to satisfy that need.  Doesn’t he do that with all our needs?

So, how has this ‘news’, this revelation changed my life?

Simply, that every day, throughout the day I keep saying, ‘New things!  New things!’ and I have my eyes up looking around and my ears open to hear, to see, to recognize what is new.

Friends, this is who our God, our heavenly Father is, the creator of all things new.  He himself must love planning and carrying out what will surprise his image-bearers. Since God is infinite, then his projects will never cease to astound and delight us.

We don’t have to wait for the new heavens and new earth to experience God’s NEW in our lives.  New is occurring all around us if we have eyes to see.

Are you up to the task?

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Due to this pandemic-shift in my weekly routine I have more time.  One activity I have taken on is teaching 3 of my grandchildren beginning Spanish, via Zoom.  Two live in Florida and one in North Carolina.  Now, you have to know that I am only an intermediate-level Spanish speaker.  I’ve been working on acquiring Spanish, not yet two years. Being fluent in French has helped. God also has given me years of assisting kids acquire a language.

I do not FEEL up to this new task. But it’s not my limited Spanish that unsettles me, it’s my fear of not ‘being ENOUGH’ as a language teacher. I have doubts about creating and engaging my 3 students competently enough to hold their attention so that they both learn and enjoy Spanish.

This feeling of ‘not enoughness’, of not being UP TO the task is not new.  I struggled with that same sense of inadequacy during the 27 years I taught French.  I cannot remember one day when I ever approached my classes feeling confident in myself OR competent.  In fact, I had a love-hate relationship with this career.  On the days when a lesson would go well, I rejoiced and felt energized.  But a previous day’s success never translated into the expectation that tomorrow would deliver the same outcome.

I know I am not alone.  A pastor friend of ours ALWAYS asks Mike and me to pray fervently for the preparation and delivery of his occasional sermons.  Like me, he evidently struggles with doubts and fears about being ‘up to the task’, as do many others I can think of.

What about parents raising kids?  Do they ever have confidence in their ability to nurture, discipline and teach their children?  I don’t know a single mom who does! I never did, that’s for sure.

Mike, my husband, rarely feels self-confident.  During our 6 years in Western North Carolina, he would ask me to pray for EVERY radio script he researched, wrote and recorded, for EVERY article he composed for World magazine, for EVERY Sunday school class he taught, as well as for EVERY session meeting in which he took part.  Here in Huntsville, he continues to ask for and I know he depends on my prayers to our good God on his behalf.

One of our sons who is an Army lawyer texts us to pray for each court appearance and airborne jump he makes. We also pray for the weekly work, travel and parenting needs of our other son and his wife. They regularly share the tasks that face them that keep them ‘needy’.

So, I ask you, is self-confidence wrong or is it the norm?  Could it be there is something weirdly weak about me and the people I’ve mentioned?

Tabletalk, the devotional monthly magazine published by Ligonier ministries, reassured me this week that not feeling UP to it, to the assigned task, is normal.  Pastor David Strain wrote in his March 21-22 weekend devotional (page 57 of the March 2020 issue):

…..the infinite God…only (is) enough. (This doctrine of God’s infinity) reminds the anxiety-riddled introvert: “You are right to feel your limits so keenly. But you are wrong to think you should be up to the tasks before you.  You were never meant to be enough.  You were meant to live depending on Me. Only I am enough! My grace is sufficient for you, and My grace is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9).”

What a relief!  No wonder I don’t feel up to teaching the kids Spanish.  I’m not supposed to.  That uncertainty, that fear is a gift from our good Father. He created us to be needy, right from our conception.

I love 2 of the looser translations of Matthew 5:3 where Jesus proclaims the poor in spirit to be blessed.

Contemporary English Version: God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven!

God’s Word© Translation: Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

Is there no room for confidence in the Christian life?  You know the answer to that!  We put our confidence not in ourselves but in the One who is infinite, powerful, good, wise and sovereign over every one of us whom He created: whether rock, butterfly or human being.  What a relief NOT to depend on Maria!

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