Instant Gratification and Pure Joy

Lately, we’ve been pounded with issues that were meant to knock us off course. Things that a few years ago would have made us hide under a rock. Or crawl away and lick our wounds for days. We’ve had the usual financial challenges, car troubles, home repairs, and more. And in this past week alone, my brakes went out on my car and my laptop died. I mean dead. I stared in disbelief at the black screen hoping that my powers of suggestion would cause it to rise from the ashes to make me happy. But it didn’t.

Now let me tell you why this laptop stood out as such an important thing amongst all the other things that needed repairing and praying for. We have a desktop computer from 1910—I mean 2002—that you have to talk sweetly to each morning when you turn it on in order for it to run properly. And even then, it only does what it wants to do and takes its sweet time doing it. You can’t have more than a few windows open at the same time and I believe I’d have time to cook dinner in the amount of time it takes it to move from one webpage to another. It is a rebellious child, for sure.

And since I’m a writer and I spend a lot of time staring at the screen waiting for inspiration, I depend on that laptop, which sits on the TV tray in front of the couch, to be ready for me when that inspiration hits. I use it for everything, including my emails, which up until this week I read on Outlook Express. I guess it goes back to the days of dial-up when you’d have to write all your emails, then make your Internet connection to send. I’ve never liked using webmail programs, especially with a slow computer. I like the way Outlook Express or Window Mail, whatever it’s called now, lets me see the email in the window below and quickly click delete and view the next one. With my dinosaur of a desktop, it takes forever to view the email and delete. So I admit I am old fashion about certain things. Okay, enough about that.

I went to a writers conference this past weekend (more on that at a later date) and learned a lot and came home with ideas oozing out of my brain and proposals to write. I hit the power button on the laptop and expected it to bow in obedience to me. Instead, I bowed in submission to its stubbornness and later its demise. I laid hands on it and prayed. I was one step away from anointing it with oil but I didn’t want to abuse such a sacred act.

Instant Gratification

The first thing that popped into my head was, “How much would a new one cost?” I didn’t want to trouble my friend’s husband who has always been my computer repairman because, honestly, we’re broke and I can’t afford to pay him. I hated to even ask. But I did ask and he determined it was ready for burial.

So how did I think I could go purchase a new one? On credit, of course. Bad Sherri. Bad, bad Sherri. We have made a vow to be debt free. I cannot go out and finance a laptop. But that is exactly what the old Sherri would have done. That is what society teaches us. Why should we wait for anything when we can go out and buy it on credit? That’s why our country is in the state it’s in. And that’s a blog for another day.  

James 1:2-6 tells us we will have trials and temptations and what to do when we do. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be matureand complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

It doesn’t say that your trials will be taken away from you or that you’ll have your answer as soon as you ask. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Trials are there to build our faith and make us strong. When I asked God to heal my computer, I believed. But that was not what needed to happen to grow me.

So while I could have rushed out and purchased a new computer on credit so I wouldn’t have to wait even a moment to get back to work, I knew I had to wait. I knew that I had a choice to make. I could either let Satan tempt me into getting us further into debt or I could deny myself the instant gratification and wait upon the Lord. The thing is: a new computer wouldn’t have brought back the emails I lost—the correspondence with people who were supposed to interview me about my new novel. (If you’re out there, please contact me.) Satan wanted me to be discouraged. He wanted me to have a pity party. And don’t think I didn’t have a wee bit of one. But I know that whatever Satan means to harm me and to set me back, God means to profit me and move me forward.

James 1:9 says: “Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position.” Okay…I guess I’m in a pretty high position right about now because our circumstances are pretty humble. I’ll take pride in this stage of life if it can bring glory to the God above who knows every hair on my head and never lets any situation reach me without first passing through His hands.

Something else I learned from the loss of my laptop: It’s okay to sit on the couch and watch TV with your family without having a computer in front of your face 24/7. Those emails can wait. At the conference this weekend one (or more) of the speakers talked about prioritizing and using your time wisely. Talked about cutting out the time wasters. Why do we work 15-hour days but really only get about three or four hours of real work done? Because we’re goofing off on social media or reading emails that don’t take priority.  If only I’d spend as much time reading my Bible as I do reading all those emails that hardly pertain to me.

Not having the laptop has forced me to come back to my office, sit down at the desk, do what needs to be done, and then leave the room. Go back into the living room and be with my family. Or wash dishes and do laundry. And my legs don’t hurt and feel numb like they did before. This has been good for me. Of course, I still hope to acquire a new laptop one day—and hope to apply this knowledge to my lifestyle when I do.

Proverbs 23:4-5, 18 says: “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

We don’t have to work ourselves to death trying to get ahead or acquiring riches and material possessions. God’s got a plan for us and it will be fulfilled in His timing and with the resources He provides for us, the people He puts in our path, and the knowledge He gives us and leads us to gain. Rest assured!

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6 thoughts on “Instant Gratification and Pure Joy

  1. Audrey McLaughlin August 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm Reply

    Great post Sherri! My husband and I treated ourselves to a cruise through the Panama Canal a few years ago. Once onboard we bought a small amount of minutes for use in the Internet Cafe. We wanted to be able to check our email messages and keep in touch with our families while we were gone. Those minutes were not cheap. Because those minutes were limited…and because there were so many wonderful ways to pass the time on this trip…I found myself reading the important messages in my email account and then quickly “moving on”. I made cursory checks on the various message boards that I am a part of but kept on “moving on”. My husband did the same thing in the same quick way. At the end of the trip when we still had minutes left on our account, it made me realize how much precious time we waste everyday on our computers.
    I came home from this trip committed to using my time more wisely. Unfortunately, I have fallen back into old patterns and bad habits. Your post today was a wakeup call and I need to heed it. I’m going to find a way to limit my minutes just “surfing” the web and use my time more wisely and thoughtfully. Thanks for sharing with us and God bless your ministry!
    Audrey

    • Sherri Wilson Johnson August 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm Reply

      We are creatures of habit, aren’t we? Glad I inspired you to refocus. 🙂

  2. Phyllis Land August 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm Reply

    So sorry to hear about your computer, but very glad to hear of Dan’s new job. What an answer to prayer. Perhaps, down the road there will be a new computer. God gives us so much, and He knows our every need, so why not a computer?

    Ask Dan to give me a call if he has time to do a small job for me in the next few days. I have company coming on Sept. 6, and I need two places painted were some water leaked in somewhere. Also, I’d like him to look at my roof and see if I need to get someone to fix where it may have leaked into the house. We think water just blew back under the shingles and that’s what caused it. It would be a blessing if he could do it before he starts his new job. Our number is 770-578-9452. Thanks so much.

    Phyllis

    • Sherri Wilson Johnson August 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm Reply

      You’re so right!! He always provides at exactly the right moment! I hope Jim is doing well. I’ll tell Dan to call you. Not so sure about the roof since we don’t have health insurance. 🙂 P.S. I’ll delete this since your phone number is on here.

  3. Nina Roesner August 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm Reply

    GIRL. You must be doing something right. 🙂 All in His timing, though, right?

    Still learning with you!

    Nina

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