Where Are You Looking?

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Comparison 19 Comments

It was Corrie Ten Boom who said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.” The text of Psalm 73 helps this truth rise vividly.

If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed“For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3)

They. They. They.

“They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.”
(Psalm 73:4-12)

Jealousy is toxic, damaging, senseless and ignorant. Still, like the psalmist, we often go there.

“She’s got it easy… just look at her house / car / husband / job / children / waistline!”

“Why does everything seem to go her way?”

“That woman doesn’t have a care in the world! She gets to ____ while I _____ …”

“Women like her…”

“They all…”

“Why does she have…?”

Envy wrecks the hearts of humans. It stirs restlessness, wreaks havoc on our minds and renders contentment impossible. It tears down. And when the walls of hope, peace and love are torn down by envy we become distressed. Period.

If you look within, you’ll be depressed…

“Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.

15 If I had spoken out like that,
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply.”
(Psalm 73:13-16)

Oh, you know… Why am I the only one who ____?

There’s no way I could do that.

Why am I so stupid?

Nothing ever goes right for me!

We complain.

We doubt.

We cut ourselves down and we sulk. When all the while, focusing on self leaves us depressed. Or at the very least, discouraged.

If you look to God, you’ll be at rest…

“…till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.

21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.”
(Psalm 73:17-28)

While the mysteries of what God does and doesn’t allow here on earth will never fully be understood, it seems the rest our souls long to know is found in the sanctuary. Not the sanctuary of a church building. In the sacred space of God’s dwelling. In the power of His presence.

I don’t need to look around in envy.

I don’t need to grumble and fret about what I have or don’t have.

It’s not best for me to want that woman’s people, places, positions or prosperity.

I have full access to all I need in Christ, every spiritual gift and blessing. And each time a tinge of envy sparks, the peace (rest) I long for is available when I look to God.

Dear Lord,
Would you be the strength and focus of my heart today? It’s so easy to look around and become discouraged – at times even indignant – when we see what we perceive to be prosperity in the lives of others. Help me to keep my eyes to you, and the life You’ve given me so Your strength, peace and eternal provision will calm my fussy, distracted and prideful heart.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

What or who are you looking at in the world that has you distressed?

In what unhealthy, unholy ways are you looking within?

What would it look like for you to, instead, look to God?

Write a prayer of response on the wall of my blog or on my Facebook wall. Comment on other posts. Pray for each other in the beauty of community.

Thanks for doing life with me!

PS. Be sure to watch my INSTAGRAM STORY to see where I am and what I’m doing for the next 11 days! 🙂

GWEN


If you want to read and study the Bible this summer, but at your own pace, then this is for you! I’ve put together several online Bible Study options that will guide you on a personal journey with the Lord as you read, record, reflect on and respond to His Word.

These inductive studies will help you know what God says about tender topics like forgiveness, healing, fear, depression, relationships and hope. Each study can be done in the comfort of your home and in a timeframe that fits with your personal schedule. Visit www.GwenSmith.net/BibleStudy to learn more.


 TWO NEW GRACEOLOGIE EPISODES!!!

For the modern Christian woman living in today’s sexually charged society, embracing God’s design for sex and purity can often feel like an impossible pursuit. As the culture seeks to normalize things such as pornography, erotica, and casual sex, both single and married women of all ages feel immense pressure to conform.

On episodes #42 & #43 of the Graceologie Podcast, my guest is the enthusiastic and wise-beyond-her-years Kristen Clark! We have a candid and fascinating discussion about sex, purity and the longings of a girl’s heart.

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Comments 19

  1. Your “Girlfriends in God” devotional for today from Psalm 73 went exactly with my personal-devotional Bible study for today (Psalm 73). My remark/comment is, I will look to God, since all other options will only bring distress, depression, or discouragement. I want to move forward in my walk (grief journey at this time), going through this time in my life knowing God is leading, comforting, and healing, when I look to Him.

  2. I’m in the midst of a crisis but I know God has me so I have this. After 40 yrs of marriage my husband asked me for a divorce so he could marry another. We have never had a “good” marriage but by God’s Grace, we raised 3 amazing, happy, healthy and successful kids. No regrets. Amicable divorce. Things have changed for him and he will not be marrying that woman but we are still parting ways. Our home is sold and I need a new home. God has one for me and I am asking for prayers that His will and provision overrule my onsetting panic. I have about 3 weeks to find the house and be out of this one. I have prayed for years for the “what next” after retirement. Did not dream it would include a divorce a year later. Leading of the Holy Spirit goes before me. I’m headstrong like Corrie but God wired me and I trust Him! Prayers please! And thank you!

  3. Lord, let my eyes always be on you. Would you let me always view the situation and view myself from your perspective and in light of Your faithfulness; Your unchanging, caring nature and Your truthfulness. Thank you Daddy, that you’ve never changed your mind about who I am or your desires and promises for me. I love you. Help me to know you better so I can love you more.

  4. I have been struggling with even just believing that God is real and He exists for the past couple of years, and I was raised up in the church; this terrifies me, so I have been desperately praying every day this prayer from John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress”, and I have been trying to trust that God will give me belief and faith in His way and His time, but I have been struggling so hard these past few years. The prayer from “Pilgrim’s Progress” is this:

    God be merciful to me a sinner, and make me to know and believe in Jesus Christ; for I see, that if his righteousness had not been, or I have not faith in that righteousness, I am utterly cast away. Lord, I have heard that thou art a merciful God, and hast ordained that they Son Jesus Christ should be the Saviour of the world; and moreover, that thou art willing to bestow him upon such a poor sinner as I am, (and I am a sinner indeed;) Lord, take therefore this opportunity and magnify thy grace in the salvation of my soul, through thy Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

  5. Father God,
    Strengthen me to look upward to You instead of inward toward myself or outward toward others. Help me to be content with what I have that has been given by Your hand. Let any envy I harbor melt into happiness for others’ favor and good fortune. Make the depression I feel turn into a total reliance upon You for my every breath. Thank You for the goodness You show to me, my loving Father. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

  6. Please pray for my Daughter. She does all the above due to her low self esteem. She knows and believes in God but her relationship is not where it should be.

  7. As I began reading this devotion this morning, I was mulling over something, yet again, that I cannot control. I was letting the worry eat at me in the same breath that I was praying to God, asking him to give me peace with it. Then I read your words and I realized I was praying to God, but wasn’t really LOOKING to Him. Thank you for your thoughtful perspective.

    1. You have said it so well and I think there are many of us who sometimes worry in the same breath we pray. I’m asking for you and for myself this morning, that God will grant us the peace and heart knowledge that He knows our every need and hears our prayers.
      Debbie

  8. Lord, You have blessed me beyond measure. When I look at my life through Your eyes…I’m like “Wow!!! I have everything I could ever need or want and more!!!” Here’s my problem Lord, I don’t always see things they way I should. I see them through my human sinful eyes. I feel I don’t measure up to being a good wife, mommy, child of God, etc… I feel lonely and lost at times (a lot of times). We moved to be closer to our church and finally build some friendships and here we are almost a year later and still no really close friendships. Lord, is it me? Is there something wrong with me? I know these are lies of satan, but Lord, sometimes I listen…..Help me Lord to have confidence in who I am because of You! Help to look to You and not to what I feel I have or don’t have. Thank you for all of Your blessings and thank you for Your mercy and love for me. Amen

  9. Thank you God for sisters like Gwen, for the encouraging words. I was really feeling down this morning and when I read the prayer, my heart was touched. Please pray for me, I have been struggling trying to finding better employment and housing.

  10. Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for what I have and what I don’t have. I thank you for the answered and unanswered prayers because you know what I need. I thank you for friends and even enemies becaise they keep me prayerful Lord I tjank you for family and ask for guidance in dealing with them. And Lord, I ask that you help me to realize what I can and can’t change. In the blessed name of Jesus, Amen.

  11. Heavenly Father you have bestowed so many blessings upon me and still I feel lost. As a mother, a wife, a woman, I’m having feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy. I’m looking outward for things to make me happy when what I need to be focused on is you. Dear Father, please help me find the joy that I feel is lost. Please help me to be happy with myself again. In Jesus name, Amen.

  12. Heavenly Father, I humble my self to ask you to forgive my envying eyes and heart in Jesus merciful name. I have sinned against your Holy Name, wipe away my sins and let the blood of the Lamb wash away all my evil. Creates an envy free heart and eyes in me. Keep my heart and eyes unto Jesus the author and the finisher of my faith. Bless my life and let me see Christ in people around me. In Jesus Christ, my Redeemer’s mighty name I pray. Amen.

  13. Lord, forgive me. Forgive my disobedience, forgive my unfaithfulness, forgive my questions, forgive my why. You know my heart Father, and I just don’t get it. This wilderness, this place, I’m feeling so alone and this email today showed me that I need to draw nearer to you, but I need YOUR help. My hands are open, I release it all to you, please come take it away from me, I can’t do this anymore without you. Help me to be all that you want me to be, help me to find my purpose. Lord help me, in Jesus name. Amen

  14. Dear God, thank you for teaching me again and again that I need to keep my eyes on you. Please give me your strength and thank you for being my wisdom from God, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. Please help me to love mercy, do justly, and walk humbly with you. Thank you for being more than enough for me. I love you Lord, thank you for everything! (1 Cor 1, 1 John 1, Psalm 73, proverbs 3:5-7)

  15. God I thank you and praise you for all that you have provided and are still providing for me. I repent for sometimes wanting what others have and not focusing on all of my blessings and not fully accessing all that is available for me. Help me to set my thoughts on things above and focus on you for peace of mind today. In Jesus name Amen.

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