Raising kids. Keeping House. Choosing joy, every day.

Lesser Known Lessons From Elisabeth Elliot

Like many women, my life is better for having read and heard the teachings of Elisabeth Elliot.

elisabeth elliot

I appreciated her gracious, no-nonsense approach to teaching, perhaps because I am from New England where emotions tend to take a back seat to common sense.

She spoke truth and didn’t apologize for God’s Word, and she didn’t conform God’s word to the whims of the women she spoke to.

elisabeth elliot

I have to admit that she was one of the only women that I actually enjoyed hearing speak. (I have a hand full, and she topped the list.) She practiced what she preached, and her experience from her own authentic walk with God gave her credibility. She challenged her listeners to get to know God in an era where everyone was trying to find themselves to be fulfilled. She didn’t care if her message was popular or not because she lived for the approval of One and encouraged us to do the same.

There are many tributes to Elisabeth this week, all sharing her wonderful quotes. Today I want to share some of my personal notes from lectures I listened to over the years. Hopefully they will bless you as much as they’ve blessed me.

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From a Contest of Wills, lecture

Are we accepting the will of God? Are we prepared humbly, and gratefully and faithfully to receive his will and say “Not my will be done, but Thine.” 

He knows better than we do. He is a loving Father and he knows what’s good for us. I hear mothers talk about having a “strong willed child.” My question is, “What kind of Strength is it?” Is it strong enough to pit His will against yours?

Jesus in his agony in the garden said, If it be possible let this cup pass from me. But if it is not possible nevertheless not my will, but thine be done…and that is strength of will.

{A strong willed child} does not have strength of will… it is just stubbornness. Everyone of us is born a rebel.

A contest of wills. We will never have a quiet heart until we bring our own will into harmony of that of God. There will always be conflict and anger….One of the reasons I wrote, Keep a Quiet Heart, is because I don’t seem to meet many women who have a quiet heart.

Whose agenda are you accepting? Have you decided that you are angry with God, because He has not conformed His will to yours? What pride and presumption. Presumption is defined this way: audacity, insolence, arrogance, effrontery, shameless boldness…presumption.

If God is my heavenly father and laid down his life for me, isn’t is reasonable to assume that he knows a whole lot better than I do what’s good for me? Angry at God? Our heavenly father wants nothing but the best for any of us.

God is in control, and I am not at the mercy of {circumstances.} So I can keep a quiet heart.

Whose agenda? God’s or mine?

God knows what you need and also when you need it.

When He withholds that one thing we believe will make us happy, we’d do well to remember his promise, that he’ll meet all our needs.

I get so many anguished letters from women and they feel that God is withholding that one thing in the whole world that would make them happy…

Whose agenda? A contest of wills. Is it my will or His? My God shall supply all your needs. And if you don’t have it, you don’t need it today.

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A Quiet Heart Means Confidence in God, lecture

How can we quiet our hearts before the Lord?

Lord, give to me a quiet heart, that does not ask to understand, but confidence steps forward in the darkness, guided by thy hand.

We live in a world of noise. So where can we find quietness? Quite often it’s hard to find physical quietness, but it is always possible to have a quiet heart.

Where does it begin? It comes from a long, steady, sustained gaze at God himself. The life of Jesus. Jesus lived a very busy life…people plucked at his sleeves, asking for things, arguing with him, believing him, disbelieving him, interrupting his prayer times. Jesus had a quiet heart because he only did one thing, the same thing that you and I have to do…the will of the Father.

When I keep that in mind, it completely changes the look of things. My life, my heart, it changes my home and how I do things.

That doesn’t mean that I forsake the laundry or peeling the onions for soup.

Our inner eye is directed toward God.

I am doing the laundry for God.

I am peeling the onion for God.

Everything in my life is an offering…my body, life, heart, emotions, time, work, possessions, sufferings, joy, work, is an offering to God and that gives me a quiet heart.

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Glad Surrender, lecture

Contentment is a command. My mother used to say “Behave yourselves.” Contentment is really taking yourself by the scruff of the neck and behaving yourself when you are feeling discontent about anything. It’s being still. “Be still, my soul, the Lord is on thy side, bear patiently the cross of grief and pain.”

We often confuse meekness with weakness. Meekness is teach-ability. Are you teachable? Or are you only selectively teachable? Sometimes God assigns to us very strange counselors, but we aren’t meek enough to receive it from THAT person.

From my favorite devotional that has been around for a hundred years, Daily Strength for Daily Needs by Mary W. Tileston

If we wished to gain contentment, we might try such rules as these:—

1. Allow thyself to complain of nothing, not even of the weather.

2. Never picture thyself to thyself under any circumstances in which thou art not.

3. Never compare thine own lot with that of another.

4. Never allow thyself to dwell on the wish that this or that had been, or were, otherwise than it was, or is. God Almighty loves thee better and more wisely than thou dost thyself.

5. Never dwell on the morrow. Remember that it is God’s, not thine. The heaviest part of sorrow often is to look forward to it. “The Lord will provide.”

E. B. Pusey.

Heb. 13:5, “Be content with such things as you have.” That’s a command. We are to trust that God does know what He is doing. We have a Father who is faithful, fortress, friend, and helper. Do you believe that? That’s truth. You can’t possibly be contented without trusting that God does know what He’d doing…

Psalm 16:5 is one of my life verses. “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup and have made my my lot secure.” Isn’t that a calm, peaceful sense that we have when we realize that God has assigned us our life, lot, and portion…

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Continued tomorrow.

What are your favorite lesser known lessons from Elisabeth? Please share with us in the comments or on FB.