Stupid or smart?

Lucy-and-Ethel

Pastor Mark asked us yesterday, “Where’s your focus?” Then he read this verse:

Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. 
Romans 8:7 (The Message)

And it presses in on me. In a round-about way, it’s what I’ve been working on . . . 

. . . releasing my fear of being stupid.

     I used to think being stupid was letting details slip by you.
          And being smart meant overlooking nothing.

               But now I know being stupid is overlooking grace.
                    And being smart is trusting God with the details. 

Because details will continue to slip by me. I’ll forget to lock a door at night. I’ll not mail a birthday card on time. I’ll fly too fast through a daily Bible reading, not listen attentively enough to my sweet husband, mess up a scripture interpretation.

     But I’ll still be okay.
          Because grace covers those things.
               All those things.  
                    It’s smart to trust him with my stupidity. 

God doesn’t want my attention so centered on daily details that I miss out on his eternal presence.

Because he knows me better than I know myself, I’m free to think more about him than about me.

He’s smart enough to take it from there. 

That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
Romans 8:28 (The Message)

* * *

Do you have trouble letting go of details, too?

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36 thoughts on “Stupid or smart?

  1. Dianna

    I loved this post, Lisa…mainly because I too often find my thoughts here in this world rather than thinking on things above…on Him and trusting Him for all He’s doing…especially when it doesn’t appear to make “sense” to my way of thinking. Your post today reminds me that it is okay when I can’t control all areas of my life because He does a much better job than I do! FOCUS…it’s everything!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it’s definitely our natural default to focus on what we can see and hear rather than on things in the spiritual world. I struggle with that too. But so thankful that he is in control even of that if I can keep letting go and trusting him with it. Thanks, Dianna.

  2. blankDebbie

    Oh yes, I don’t want to be so consumed with the details of life that I forget the most important of all; growing in my relationship with the Lord. I think having that daily morning quiet time helps me to order my day in the right priority. At least I start out well but at times get distracted. I’m so thankful for God’s grace and patience with me though.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      It’s great that you start your day that way, Debbie. It does make a difference whenever we consciously choose to give him all our attention for a set amount of time. I amaze myself how easily I can get distracted even then. But yes, so thankful he is patient with us at all times!

  3. blankfloyd

    Good lesson. I need to change my definition of smart as well. Being right and efficient is a gift from God, but being wise is using that gift with the right perspective. Excellent perspective and post. Got me.

  4. blankMari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith

    I hear you, Lisa. Overlooking grace sounds really stupid. Yet I once in awhile do it without noticing it. Lord, have mercy. Matthew 6:33 came into my mind while reading your post “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. Thanks for reminding me of what is really important. God bless you!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Matthew 6:33 is definitely a fitting verse here, Mari-Anna. Thanks for quoting it. With God at our center, he’s always got us, even when we sometimes get lost in distractions. We don’t have to be perfect because he is!

  5. blankbill (cycleguy)

    Loved what you said Lisa especially these words: “But now I know being stupid is overlooking grace.
    And being smart is trusting God with the details.” As we say in my neck of the professional woods- “that’ll preach.” Never can hear too much about grace. 🙂 Oh, congrats on the 21 years. We hit 40 this past June.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      It took me a lot of years to get smart enough to realize how ignorant I am. 🙂 Amen to never hearing too much about grace! It’s my favorite topic these days.

      Congratulations on 40 years. That’s a lot of life together. Wonderful!

  6. blankCindy

    I am hard on myself in that I never feel quite adequate, then I let the details slip by. I don’t feel I am up to the task anyway. Silly way to think, I know. I also have been working on getting my focus off of myself. We each go through times when God is working on us, taking us to the next level or simply causing us to see that we really do need Him. And during those times I tend to end up too focused on myself. I appreciate what you have said here, it’s very true. Today I will trust God with the details, and tomorrow I will do the same. Thanks for the reminder! I came over from Nanettes blog, I saw your comment there.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I hear you, Cindy. It’s easy to stay focused on “me” even as *I* try to grow spiritually. I look forward to the day (only in the next life!) where I fully and truly let go of demanding so much of my own attention. Praying for us to accept God’s gracious gift of grace on ourselves in the meantime!

  7. blankBeth

    For some reason the image of Lucy and Ethel (from “I Love Lucy”) at the chocolate factory popped into my head when you referred to the details you need to let go of, Lisa. So often we feel like it is up to us to notice every “chocolate piece” that comes our way, but we are human and will fail this task. I’m learning, ever so slowly, to focus on Christ and trust Him to work out the details. I’m so glad you are too. After all, His ways are so much higher and better than ours! Loved your words here today, my friend.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      That image of Lucy and Ethel is so perfect. ha. So I changed it on my blog. Thanks for the idea. 🙂

      Yes, we will always fail at keeping up with every piece of chocolate, and we need to learn more and more to be okay with that. Thanks for your help in keeping me focused on his grace.

  8. blankCeil

    Hi Lisa! I am coming over from Hear it On Sunday.

    That photo of the Lucy Show is hysterical! I love a good sense of humor 🙂

    Being held back from the bonds of imagined ‘stupidity’ is a sad thing, but I think we all do it. I have said some amazingly insensitive things in my day, never meaning to harm anyone. I think we all have to learn how to forgive each other, but to forgive ourselves too.

    Grace does cover these things, but so does a sense of humor. And a sense that tomorrow will go better!
    Good to see you again 🙂
    Ceil

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Beth (above) gave me the idea of the Lucy episode so I added the picture. It made me laugh too.

      Forgiveness definitely needs to come into play when we’re talking about our stupidity (real or imagined), so I’m glad you brought that up. And grace and forgiveness go hand in hand! I love how God works things. He definitely is the wisest among us!

  9. blankMia

    My dear friend
    I think our Pappa has assigned quite a few angels to help me remember daily the things I need to remember, for with Fibrofog I have a VERY SHORT memory span. But this week I have seriously pondered the fact that we need to take our eyes of our shortcomings, weaknesses and so forth and start reveling in the wonder of our Lord Jesus who lives in us despite all those things. I don’t think He minds half as much about those nonsense we can make such a big fuss of.
    Much love to you XX
    Mia

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Agreed, Mia. If we want to count our shortcomings, it will consume all our time. So let’s look at his wonders instead! It’s more beneficial and definitely more enjoyable.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Kristin. Where would any of us be without grace? I’m very thankful too for his lavish outpouring of it upon each of us at just the right times in just the right ways. It really is smarter (and more peaceful!) to rely on that instead of our own abilities (or lack thereof).

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I loved how The Message put those verses too. It really made me see them from a different angle. Sometimes I can get so conditioned to what a verse says that I don’t even hear it at all, so a different translation shakes things up again for me.

  10. blankDolly@Soulstops

    Lisa,
    Thank you for being so honest and sharing with us your fear…Can I share mine? I am a little nervous about my upcoming trip to Guatemala in October…it is a definite out of my comfort zone, and I will trust you God with the details…help my unbelief…Love the verses and the reminder that God is in the details 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I definitely understand the fear of going into a different country. I have that one, too. 🙂 But as great as the fear is, greater will be the grace to cover it. I do know that. Yes, we believe and Lord help our unbelief!

      I’m excited for you to be able to go to Guatemala. I know you’ll have some amazing stories to tell when you return.

  11. blankAlicia@theOverflow!

    Funny how that fear of “being stupid” can keep us from experiencing His best- you know, the strength that He pours into our weakness. I think you are one SMART woman for recognizing your Savior’s presence! Love my visits here, friend.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Your comment reminds me of how we sometimes *can’t* learn something when we’ve convinced ourselves we can’t. Yet God doesn’t want us to shut ourselves off like that. So I pray for greater eye-opening moments to recognize and appreciate his presence. Thanks, Alicia.

  12. blankKatie

    Oh I am so working on trusting God with the details. So much is out of control for us right now with Matt’s health and job and so much. But then things like this week happen (what I messaged you about on FB, not sharing publicly) and then I TOTALLY SEE GOD at work. He works better than any detail that I or anyone could have.

    As a side note: I just watched this episode of I love Lucy this week. It was hilarious.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Trusting him with the details is such a hard thing to do, and especially when life is seemingly out of control on the outside. But I’m proud of all the steps you take to trust him with all areas of your life. I’m trying to do the same. I do love when he gives us an inside glimpse that proves he’s got this! Glad you got one of those moments this week. It encouraged me as well to hear about it.

      Can I just say what WEIRDNESS is going on with that Lucy episode? ha. First Beth mentions it in the comment above, then the very next night I’m sitting at a ladies’ event when one of the speakers starts telling how she felt like Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate candy episode when she first started working at Manna House. I was so surprised to hear that second reference in less than 24 hours. And then to find your comment here about just seeing it as well. If things come in threes, I guess that’s the end of it. ha. Unless I’m supposed to look it up and watch it again myself. 🙂 I guess God can even use I Love Lucy, huh?

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  14. blanklaura

    I am so not a detail person. And I am so grateful for grace. Your pastor’s words about focusing on the self preaches a good lesson to this self-conscious woman. I’m going to remember that, Lisa.

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  16. blankCaleb Suko

    I just want to frame this quote and put it up somewhere “God doesn’t want my attention so centered on daily details that I miss out on his eternal presence.” What a difference that makes when we really grab hold of this concept. There are so many areas of my life that simply need to look up and realize the eternal presence of God so I can let go of a few of those details.

    1. blankLisa notes...

      I’ve been on vacation this week, and it’s funny how those details can fade away when I’m away from home. But get me back in my natural setting, and I can get distracted easily again too. Praying for grace to “realize the eternal presence of God” everywhere we go. Thanks for sharing this.

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