Problem Solving

A Simple Solution for a Pesky Problem

I want to tell you something ridiculous. I had a little problem of an explosion of shoes and socks in my laundry room for 12 years. I had a shoe shelf for people to put their shoes on and a basket for socks, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the family to use them. They would just throw everything on the floor and call it good.

The crazy thing is, I couldn’t make myself do any differently than them. When I would get tired of the mess or if people were coming over, I would just shove everything over and close the door!

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A couple weeks ago my oldest son, Judah, finally figured out how to fix the problem. He suggested that we move the shoe shelf to the other side of the room. You see, it was kind of half-hidden behind the door. Just like that - BOOM - the 12-year-old problem was solved.

That pesky problem is no more, and every time I walk past the laundry room I feel happy instead of annoyed. The solution was so ridiculously simple. I have no idea why it didn’t occur to me 11+ years ago.

As I was thinking about moving the shelf to the other side, I thought of when the disciples were fishing and Jesus told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. You see, Jesus has a solution ready for every single problem we face.

Sometimes we think His answer seems too simple or silly, and sometimes we just forget to ask Him. My laundry room situation made me think: why didn’t I just ask Jesus what the solution was 12 years ago?  

How Some Horses Taught Me To Pray

I want to tell you a little story. When I was growing up we lived in at least 22 different houses that I can remember. My parents were missionaries, so we were very mobile. This is a story about something that happened at one of the places we lived in Texas.

I would’ve been about 12 years old, when a family we were friends with decided to go to Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in Belize for a 6-month school. They were looking for people to house sit for them, and we happened to be looking for somewhere to live. That was that. They moved out, and we moved in. No big deal, right?

Well, what made it interesting was the little fact that the family owned 4 horses, and we had to take care of them! Not one of us knew anything about horses. I was really excited about it though. I mean, what 12-year-old girl doesn’t want to “own” a horse!

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The family gave us a crash course on how to feed the horses, and then they left us to it. Fun fact, they neglected to tell us that one of the horses was pregnant!

One day after school, I asked my mom if I could get one of the horses out to go for a ride. She told me to wait until my dad got home. If only I would’ve listened instead of hassling her! Instead, I begged and bothered her until she gave in.

When I went over to the field to get the horse, I couldn’t close the gate behind it fast enough. A second horse came right on out with it, and they both ran straight to the barn. When I got over to the barn door, all I could see was the backsides of the two horses blocking the doorway as they chowed down on horse feed.

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That was the moment that I wished I had listened to my mom. My anxiety level spiked, and I started to cry. You see, I really didn’t want to get kicked by a horse, and there was no way those horses were going to come out of there on their own anytime soon.

In my desperation, I went over to the swings and sat there praying for God to help me. I remember that I started singing worship songs as I cried. My 12-year-old self needed a serious miracle, or I was going to be in big trouble.

After a few minutes, a neighbor we had never met walked into our yard. I’m not sure what made her come, because the neighborhood was very spread out and had a lot of large, leafy trees. It’s not like she could’ve just walked by and seen what was going on.

Well, this girl knew right what to do. She walked right up to those horses, slapped their hind ends, dragged them out of the barn, and put them right back into the field. I couldn’t believe it! God had sent help!

Call to Me, and I will answer you. Jeremiah 33:3a

 
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This is the first time I remember worshipping and praying for a breakthrough. It may seem like a small thing looking back now, but I learned an important lesson. God listens when we humble ourselves and cry out to Him. He knows exactly how to help us clean up our mess.

Don't Just Google It...

I remember one specific, hard day when my kids were younger. It was one of the times when I felt really helpless as a mom. I was so frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to parent a troubling behavior. I had done everything I knew to do, but things weren't getting better. 

I decided to take a hot bath and talk to Jesus. I remember that He clearly spoke to me in that moment. He brought back to my mind a Bible verse that had the key I needed. 

Note that He brought the verse to my memory. It's important to hide God's Word in your heart so that He can bring it back to your memory at the needed moment.

When you don't know what to do, stop and ask Jesus. He may speak to you through a verse, a whisper, a feeling, or a deep knowing in your heart. 

It's so easy to just pick up your phone to google search for an answer or to text a friend to get advice. I'm not saying you shouldn't do those things at all, but make sure you also stop to ask for wisdom from above. 

You can test what you're hearing from God against this verse: But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reasonfull of mercy and good fruitsimpartial and sincere. James 3:17

Key Idea: God is eager to share His secrets with you; you only need to stop, ask, and listen.

If you want to learn more about hearing God's voice, I recommend Havilah Cunnington's Prophetic Personalities Course.

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Let's Make a God Box

Jesus clearly said that He gives us His peace, peace that doesn't even make sense. Once He gives it to us, He expects us to steward our hearts and to learn to stay in that peace. 

It seems like people almost wear stress like a badge. Like if you're stressed, it means you're doing something with your life. We can even think that if we don't worry, we aren't being responsible. But Jesus doesn't call us to live in stress. He calls us to live in peace and from peace.

The Bible tells us that we have a good Father. When we really understand how much He loves us, we don't have to worry. 

 
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If you're struggling with worry, I challenge you to make a God Box. You could use an old shoe box or cereal box. If you want to, you could even decorate your box. Seal the box up except for a little slot where you can slip in small pieces of paper. 

When you are worried, write your worry on a slip of paper, read it to God, and slip it into the box. Once you've put it into the box, you can't take it out again. Your worry now belongs to God.

You could say this is the opposite of putting God in a box. Put your worries into the box and let God do what only He can do.

Destiny Key: Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:34 MSG

 

Is Your Default Yes or No?

Is your default answer yes or no? Do your kids hate asking you for permission because the answer is usually no? It can be easy to quickly say no, instead of doing the hard work of listening carefully and coming up with a healthy way to say yes. 

When my 10-year-old daughter came to me and told me she had written a book, I could've easily said, oh that's nice, and gone on with my life. That was a key moment for me to see her passion and find a way to help her. 

I didn't know what to do, but I knew how to track down the people who did. I spent hours and hours and hours co-laboring with my daughter on her book. Now she's 12 and is working on her 3rd book, and her older brother is working on his second! He said he figured if she could do it, he could too. 

Of course, there will be times where we have to say no, but let's not let it be our theme. Negativity kills creativity. 

Key Idea: Don't be the kind of person who has a problem for every solution. Find a way to get to a YES!

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