In Others’ Words: Waste Not, Want Not

It all comes down to response, doesn’t it?

I can’t always control what happens in my life — the joys or the sorrows. Even when I make a decision that I’ve determined is right and best, that doesn’t mean I control other people’s responses. What I see as leading to healing and wholeness, someone else may interpret as wrong.

And in the act of creating joy in my life … I experience sorrow.

What I must choose to do … what I have chosen to do … is accept that sometimes joy is laced with sorrow. It reminds me of when we were a military family and Uncle Sam would decree it was time to move. The goodbyes stained the transition with tears, even as I knew that God was in the move. He was going before us and there would be a place for us. Friends.

A reason for joy.

In the midst of troubles — changes, being told what I am doing is wrong — I can choose to trust or to doubt. I can choose to be brave or to be fearful. I can choose to have confidence (my word for 2013) or to question who I am and why I did what I did.

One wastes my time.

One reaps wisdom.

In Your Words: How have you not wasted your sorrows?

Don’t Waste Your Sorrows Click to Tweet

Troubles: It All Comes Down to Your Response Click to Tweet

Read the first chapters of Catch a Falling Star and Wish You Were Here! Click to Tweet

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  1. July 22, 2013, 6:00 am   /  Reply

    Very touching & heartfelt words, Beth. Thanks for sharing. Through the years I’ve come to realize that there are so many God-lessons to be learned through these plus and minus times… not that we covet bad times. It’s just that I think we humans were meant to learn during our lifetimes, perhaps to more fully understand what we will discover in heaven 🙂

    I’ll Tweet this post.

    • July 22, 2013, 10:11 am   /  Reply

      I like your phrase “these plus and minus times,” Elaine. And I like the thought that what we learn here we will more fully understand in heaven.

  2. July 22, 2013, 7:03 am   /  Reply

    My name means sorrow & pain, named for my dad’s favorite cousin. Didn’t like it until a friend pointed out redeeming qualities of the Via Dolorosa. When I asked the Lord for a new name, He told me “Hope,” and I like that lots.
    It amazes me how He is daily a God of redemption and conversion–some of our greatest weaknesses or trials giving us empathy and strength to get footholds in Him and help for others. Thanks, Beth.

    • July 22, 2013, 10:12 am   /  Reply

      I love how you wove your name through and through with Hope, Dee — and I know how you weave hope through the lives of others.

  3. July 22, 2013, 7:18 am   /  Reply

    Wow, love this, Beth. I really don’t want sorrow. I tend to try to avoid it at all costs. But when it does come along, I want to choose not to waste it, like you said…to learn and grow and have my eyes open to the joy available in the midst of that sorrow.

    • July 22, 2013, 10:13 am   /  Reply

      Sometimes I’ve tried to ignore the sorrow in my life …pretend it’s not there. But that’s a waste of time — and a waste of what God is trying to teach me.

  4. July 22, 2013, 8:01 am   /  Reply

    When I meet a woman who is struggling with depression, and falling apart from the inside, I can say a few well armed words, words with weight and power and HOPE…

    “I have been there and I know the way out.”

    I had a line in an earlier version of my MS that I cut because the scene wasn’t needed and the point had already been made. But I loved the line, “Sarah no longer begged God for a way out of the darkness, she thanked him for a prince who knew the way in.”

    Sometimes what a person needs isn’t a church-y platitude, but someone who has taken their sorrows, armed themselves in prayer and knows how to use the experiences God allowed to go to war for those who don’t.

    • July 22, 2013, 10:13 am   /  Reply

      So well said, Jennifer.

  5. July 22, 2013, 8:37 am   /  Reply

    There is a verse in Scripture (can’t think of the wording) that expresses the idea that our sorrows aren’t wasted because we can help others through their time of need since we’ve been there ourselves. Whenever someone experiences a loss in their family, I know how it feels, especially if it’s a parent. Of course, everyone is different and entitled to their own feelings, but they’ll likely feel some of the same things I did. It’s amazing how God can give us perspective years later and the strength to take on someone else’s pain — we’re still able to remember what it felt like, but we’re healed enough to reach out and help someone else.

    • July 22, 2013, 10:15 am   /  Reply

      I love that verse, Lindsay:
      I Corinthians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. (NIV)

      • July 22, 2013, 2:33 pm   /  Reply

        Yes, that’s it!! Thanks for posting. I was going crazy trying to remember it. 🙂

        • July 22, 2013, 5:49 pm   /  Reply

          I’m like that too, Lindsay: What’s the verse? What’s the verse? 🙂

  6. July 22, 2013, 9:14 am   /  Reply

    You know I love this, Beth. It’s a wonderful reminder of how our troubles shape us into who God meant us to be. I love “Don’t waste your sorrows.” Also, “And in the act of creating joy in my life … I experience sorrow.” I relate, I relate, I relate. Thanks, my friend.

    • July 22, 2013, 10:15 am   /  Reply

      Somehow I knew you’d relate, Kim. 😉

  7. July 22, 2013, 9:16 am   /  Reply

    Beautiful words once again, Beth! The last line of Tim Keller’s quote really struck me. “Don’t waste your sorrows.” That attitude comes from a spiritually mature mind focused on God’s agenda instead of our own. So many people perceive sorrow itself as a waste — something that needs to be moved through quickly, never pausing to hear the Father’s comfort or lessons. Your wonderful post will resound in my mind for the rest of this week. 🙂

    • July 22, 2013, 10:17 am   /  Reply

      It’s taken a while for me to choose to focus on God’s agenda — not mine. There is so much more to glean from life when I ask him “What are you teaching me?” rather than asking “What do I want?”

  8. July 22, 2013, 9:40 am   /  Reply

    I think perhaps we face three general categories of sorrow.

    The first, and most prevalent, is the personal sorrow of a dream denied or deferred, betrayal by a person once trusted, an unwanted move from a well-loved place.

    The second is that associated with death of a friend or loved one. Instead of touching our ego, this touches, and tears our heart.

    The third is the wrenching, paralyzing sorrow that makes us wonder if maybe Aldous Huxley was right – that our world is some other planet’s Hell. This is where you meet, and hold, a child caught in the backblast of an IED, doomed but not yet dead.

    I believe that the only antidote is discipline of thought and action. To stand for Heaven, we have to look unflinchingly into Hell – ours, or another’s – and keep working.

    It doesn’t matter if we tremble in rage or fear or self-pity. All that matters is whether (to paraphrase St. Paul) having done all – we stood.

    • July 22, 2013, 10:18 am   /  Reply

      And there you go again, Andrew … saying such bold truths.
      Thank you for joining the conversation today — and always.

  9. Susan Tuttle
    July 22, 2013, 12:57 pm   /  Reply

    “I can choose to trust or to doubt”…exactly:) I say these words to myself a lot. Helps put things into perspective. Beautiful post, Beth.

    • July 22, 2013, 1:21 pm   /  Reply

      Thank you, Susan.
      And so often, choosing to trust or to doubt is where I find myself.

  10. July 22, 2013, 3:00 pm   /  Reply

    Beautifully written, Beth. Through the heart ache of a lost friendship, I learned how to look to God for affirmation, and to let go of hurtful words. I had to work through bitterness and extend grace. To forgive and let go. I made mistakes in the relationship, and I learned from those as well.

    Sorrow doesn’t have to be a reason to give up. It can be something I lean into, learn from. It drives me to Jesus, the ultimate comforter.

    • July 22, 2013, 5:47 pm   /  Reply

      “Sorrow doesn’t have to be a reason to give up. It can be something I lean into, learn from. It drives me to Jesus, the ultimate comforter.”

      So beautifully said, Jeanne.

  11. Andrea Cox
    July 22, 2013, 4:39 pm   /  Reply

    Such sweet words, Beth.
    If the sorrow hasn’t taught me something, I know I’ll have to go through the teary stage again (and who wants that?) So, I try to push past the pain of the moment and see what I can learn to help me get to the next step in this process we call life.


    • July 22, 2013, 5:48 pm   /  Reply

      Such wise words, Andrea.

  12. July 22, 2013, 4:53 pm   /  Reply

    I’ve found I Corinthians 1:3 so true. A year after my husband died, a friend’s husband died and my journey and where I was encouraged her…this has happened over and over whether it is sorrow or a mistake I’ve made…God puts people in my path that I can encourage.

  13. July 22, 2013, 5:49 pm   /  Reply

    How God turns the bitter into the sweet, yes, Pat?

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