Thoughtful Thursday with Jennifer Slattery
What a great honour to have Jennifer Slattery here today. I met Jennifer in Nashville while attending the CFRR 2016 (Christian Fiction Reader’s Retreat)
The question I am asking myself, and my guests is this:
What has been dominating your thoughts lately?
Have you ever felt sideswiped by something, maybe something that left you reeling? Surprised and confused?
I’ve never been a fan of surprises, unless they come wrapped in a bow. Nor do I enjoy being confused. I like to have all the answers, to know the next steps. And if I follow God’s leading in an area, I like to experience nice, pleasant, predictable results.
Things rarely work out according to my preferences. But they always work out for my good. The trick is remembering this when I’m in the thick of things.
My first reaction, when things become difficult, uncomfortable, or painful, is usually to pray for relief. For change or deliverance. To ask why instead of what. But what if God has allowed that very thing, whatever it is, in order to grow me, and to prepare me for what lies ahead?
God has been tweaking my thoughts lately from why to, instead, what—Lord, what do You want me to learn from this? What are You trying to show or teach me?
This shift in thinking is made easier when I remember God is a God of incredible love and faithfulness, who is always working things out for my good.
For most of my life, I’ve considered myself an athlete. When I was young, I fell in love with gymnastics and spent hours training in and out of the gym. I’d push through blistered then ripped hands, falls, and setbacks.
In junior high and high school, I turned to track and crosscountry, and later, as an adult, to triathlons. Again, I’d push through pain and fatigue, intentionally seeking out hills. No one had to prod me to show up to practice each afternoon. No one had to tell me to work harder, or force me to do drills and strength training. I entered each practice with enthusiasm and determination, knowing the pain I experienced in the moment would lead to strength come race day.
I thought of all those training sessions when I stumbled upon the following:
“…we must put into our Christian living the same kind of discipline that athletes put into sports. … They must be totally devoted to the goal of becoming winners. Every decision they make is tested by one thing: will it help to make me a winner?” ~ Warren W. Wiersbe, On Being a Servant.
In other words, if I’m being intentional about my growth in Christ, I’ll stand firm in my witness, even when I want to cower. I’ll do the hard things, maybe seek out resolution when it’d be easier to let a matter go, or reach out to a hostile neighbor when I’d rather stay home. Or perhaps wake up early to join a women’s Bible study or prayer group, knowing every moment I spend in Scripture and with other believers, I am strengthening that spiritual athlete within.
Because I don’t want to be a stunted Christian. I don’t want to be the same woman tomorrow that I am today. I want to be stronger, more loving, more courageous. More Christlike. And I’ll get there, in part, by changing my thinking from why to what.
What do you think?
We’d love to hear your thoughts, comment below
Novelist and speaker Jennifer Slattery has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team put on events at partnering churches designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. She writes devotions for Internet Café Devotions, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and edits for Firefy, a Southern fiction imprint with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com and connect with her on Facebook.
Melony Teague is a freelance writer who believes everyone has a story to tell and each story is unique and sometimes wilder than fiction. She loves to uncover the good news in society and writes human interest and community pieces. As co-author of As the Ink Flows, she loves to inspire and motivate others through her written words. In her spare time she reviews books and interviews authors. These reviews can be found right here on her website. Melony Teague was born in South Africa and immigrated to Canada. She now lives in Toronto with her husband and their two children.