Ginger shares what the Lord has been teaching her about growing in godliness despite the hardships of military life for this week’s Monday Minute.

Growing in Godliness

by Ginger Harrington

The phone rang in the deep hours of the night, jarring me from sleep. I worried it was bad news about my husband who had recently deployed.

It turned out to be my mom. She forgot about the time difference after our recent move to Okinawa, Japan. Thinking she just wanted to catch up, I was unprepared for the reason she called.

“I have stage four lung cancer” are words I never wanted to hear but will never forget.

Instantly my thoughts scrambled into planning mode. How bad is it? How to get home? Who can watch the kids? There are no simple solutions for military families living overseas.

Lord, why would you move us across the globe only to deploy my husband at the same time my mom needs help?

Anxiety ramped up hard bringing a level of resentment and distrust I hadn’t experienced in my faith life before.

Trusting God can be hard, especially in stressful transitions, uncertain times, or long deployments in dangerous places. These are just a few of the circumstances that ignite stress, worry, and dissatisfaction for military members and their families.

I wish I could say that I’ve mastered the art of godliness after twenty-four years of military life. The truth is I struggle with discontent and I wrestle with worry, but I’m learning that godly choices change how I navigate difficult days.

There are two directions we can turn in challenging times—toward God or toward some other source of strength and comfort.

Turning to God empowers us to grow in faith.

Far from the place I wanted to be, it was easy to allow my emotions to shape my perspective. I prayed complaints and fears like these:

  • You are in control, but my mom is dying of cancer. What’s going to happen?
  • Your word says you work all things together for good, but this situation is really bad. How is this going to work out?
  • You care about my children, but they are already struggling with this move. Why this? Why now?

I’m not saying it was wrong to ask God my questions. My questions were honest and real, but I allowed my emotions to deflate my faith. Anxiety settled in as I struggled with trusting God when life didn’t look like I wanted. To be honest, my emotions sent me spinning with doubt, discouragement, and depression.

Our best choice, the one that transforms hearts and changes lives, is our sacred inner yes to trust God. Leaning hard into faith, we purposefully choose to trust God in the midst of our experience.

In my fear and frustration, God showed me a practical but profound way to grow in godliness—The Holy But.

Whatever we place after the “but” is what we will focus on. Stress over. Worry about. When we look at God from the lens of our problems, it’s hard to choose godliness and faith.

Perspective changes when we make the faith choice to put our attention on God and to view our situation from the security of his loving presence. Growth in godliness comes with a decision to believe God’s nature is good and his word is dependable and true.

My response to life changes when I hold fast to the assurance of God’s presence and promises. When I pray The Holy But, I remember that God is bigger than my problems. My soul starts to settle and my prayers shift from fear-focused to faith-focused:

  • I don’t like this problem. It’s hard and it feels unfair, but you are faithful. Strengthen my heart today.
  • I’m struggling to accept this situation, but you are good. I rely on your goodness today.
  • My uncertainty stirs up fear, but you are my peace. Please express yourself as peace in me today.

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

1 Timothy 6:6

This verse sounds great when life is easy.

But when life is disappointing or difficult, these words seem impossible. Yet, this is no trite statement to make us feel better or to shame us in our struggles. It is a key to changing our perspective to receive the fullness of God in the midst of any circumstance. Contentment is actually the grace gift of finding our sufficiency in God. Contentment is a mind at rest—not because life is good but because God is good even when life isn’t.

Godliness, the holy choice to rely on God, brings a kind of contentment that settles our soul even in the midst of the transitions, stress, and challenges of military life. Contentment isn’t complacency, and it doesn’t mean you have to like the situation.

Growing in godliness brings peace of heart as we experience the provision God promises: His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness—2 Peter 1:3

Godliness is our great gain—the peace that comes when deeply believe God is our source of life and the provision for every need.

Move Out

Read: 2 Peter 1:6-8

Reflect:  How could your perspective change when you embrace these godly qualities today?

Respond: Try The Holy But in the challenges you face:  Problem  BUT God’s truth.

Prayer for Growing in Godliness

Lord, help me to grow in godliness, especially when I am tempted to give into fear or discontent. Remind me that you have provided everything I need for life and godliness. Open my eyes to your presence and help calm my heart with your peace. Amen.

Additional Resources

Holy in the Moment: Simple Ways to Love God and Enjoy Your Life by Ginger Harrington

The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel Has Worn You Out by Dan Stone and David Gregory