In Others’ Words: Refusal

Last Monday’s blog post, “Hope and Having,” spurred a lot of conversation — including a fun bit of back and forth with my friend I call “Wise Guy.” If you’ve read this blog for a while, you’ve probably heard me mention “Wise Guy” before. I call him that because … well, he is a guy who is very, very wise.

Simple enough explanation, right?

Last Monday’s quote was: Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. (Epicurus, BC 341-BC 269, Greek philosopher)

Besides telling me that Epicurus made him think of some Greek guy with a chef’s hat (Epicuriuos — as in Epicurious.com ), Wise Guy reminded me of some of his own iterations of  the Greek guy’s thoughts. I settled on today’s quote:

It is sad to refuse what is available for the sake of what is not.

Lot of truth there.

Don’t believe me? Then listen to this take on it:

Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.

Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.

It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?

There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. (Isaiah 43:19)

Ah, the power of words … and thinking about them … and turning them this way and that, as you apply them to your life — and then apply Truth to them.

Last Monday we talked about things like “now” and “contentment” and “gratitude.”

Wise Guy’s quote hints at how hanging on to yesterday — or dreams of what we wanted/hoped for that didn’t come true — can blind us to the joys of today.

And then Psalm 43:19? It’s like God tells me: Beth, stop looking back over your shoulder at what could have been. You’re going to miss what I’m doing in your life right now.

In Your Words: What I love the most about this blog is the conversations that we have. Any thing you’d like to add today? Maybe about a time when what you couldn’t have blinded you to what you could have? Or maybe you’re embracing a brand-new something God is doing in your life … I’d love to hear about that too!

I’m visiting my author-friend, Sandra Orchard’s, blog today and talking about fiction flavored with reality. I hope you drop by!

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15 Comments

  1. October 26, 2012, 6:13 am   /  Reply

    Don’t keep going over old history~

    I love that. I get stuck on all the ways I have not been all I should be. That minimizes God’s hand of restoration and love on my life.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 26, 2012, 7:37 am   /  Reply

      “God’s hand of restoration” — beautiful phrase.

  2. October 26, 2012, 6:49 am   /  Reply

    This post makes me think about the kind of guy I thought would be good for me vs. the kind of guy God knew would be. Funny to think about.
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      October 26, 2012, 7:37 am   /  Reply

      There’s a story there …

    • Jeanne
      October 26, 2012, 7:55 am   /  Reply

      I thought about that, too, Wendy. 🙂 In my life, of course.

    • October 26, 2012, 7:56 am   /  Reply

      That’s exactly what it made me think about, too, Wendy!

  3. October 26, 2012, 7:29 am   /  Reply

    You really do have good wise comments here, and another great photographer, too.
    For me one element of wisdom is to embrace new situations that come, no matter how they look in the beginning, and watch God use His divine nutcracker to open the often hard outer shell to reveal the nourishing food inside.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 26, 2012, 7:38 am   /  Reply

      Wonderful analogy, Dee.

  4. Jeanne
    October 26, 2012, 7:57 am   /  Reply

    Making an idol out of what I wanted instead of keeping God on the throne added all sorts of discontentment to my days. Learning to embrace God’s plan and see it as the best for me came hard, but fill empty places in my life.

  5. October 26, 2012, 8:18 am   /  Reply

    Hey Beth, this post was super important to me today. I’m working on embracing that brand-new something God is doing and posts like this help me to remember to keep looking forward. Thank you, thank you!

  6. October 26, 2012, 8:36 am   /  Reply

    I love this post, Beth, and I’m so happy to know about the reference to “Wise Guy.” I saw him mentioned and thought maybe it was a TV show. Even Googled it, but didn’t come up with an answer. Mystery solved. 🙂 He certainly does sound very wise!

    Have a great weekend.

  7. October 26, 2012, 8:45 am   /  Reply

    Yes, I can relate. You visited a post I wrote recently about how I’d dug up some depressing personal journals. While writing about my “hopes of having” was, I’m sure, helpful in some way, I now realize how chained I was to discontentment, mainly with myself . I couldn’t get past my failure to change the things “I” wanted to change. Talk about depressing. Somehow by the grace and patient love of Jesus, I finally let go — in the sense that I quit clinging to what I hoped for in order to be at peace and began to seek joy in the miraculous moment in front of me. The family. The day. The air I was able to breathe. OTHER people. The Spirit of God alive in me. What “I” wanted finally seemed too out of reach to keep reaching, and it wasn’t until I let gave myself a little grace that I was able to “move on.” And perhaps some of those changes I desired have taken place in the decade since I was so very sad and stuck. But regardless of acquiring what I thought I needed in order to be happy, I, like Paul, have learned to be content in all circumstances. Well, not to say I’ve mastered contentment, but finding contentment in a course other than attaining personal “perfection” was extremely freeing for this poor tired soul.

    Hugs to you, my thoughtful friend.

  8. October 26, 2012, 8:58 am   /  Reply

    This quote has me asking myself how often I do this. Do I refuse God’s blessings because they don’t fit my plan? Because I’m holding out for “something more”? Am I telling God what He wants for my life isn’t good enough?

    Lots to ponder here.

  9. October 26, 2012, 11:15 am   /  Reply

    I spent far too many years dwelling on The Past. It’s far more fun living in the present as I eagerly anticipate what the Lord will do in the future.

  10. October 26, 2012, 8:39 pm   /  Reply

    Every time I look backwards, I stumble and fall. Great post, Beth and it’s made me stop and think.

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