Saturday, July 14, 2012

What Road are You On?

This morning I started down a road called 'self-pity'.  It's a road I have traveled many times. You know the road...'I can't even get one second to myself because for some reason no one in the house can find anything on their own!' 'The moment I get on the phone someone needs something at that very second!'

For some reason the road of 'self-pity' is a saved favorite in the gps of my mind and emotions. 
At times I wake up and declare, "I refuse to travel the same pitiful road today!"

But my actions are no different.  I don't stop to declare God's word over my life, my family.  I don't use even one minute out of my 24 hours I have in a day to ask for God's grace for my day.

 I quickly get ushered into the crazed-filled morning of having three young'uns wanting breakfast, needing milk, yelling "all done", but no way in hades are you about to leave the table with oatmeal smeared all over your face, hands, and clothes!  Quick get the wipes from upstairs, quick run back downstairs to get the clothes caked with dried oatmeal off and new ones on.  Oh, wait!  I smell something not so pleasant from my youngest who is still in diapers.  Grab the wipes and dag-on it!  Only one wipe left and by the smell of things, one measley little wipe will NOT do the job.   Aaaggghh! Let's run back upstairs to grab a full container of wipes, dash down the stairs to tackle some business.

In an instant, I have all three children either yelling my name, crying because one stepped on a toy that was supposed to have been cleaned up the night before, and hearing the other say, "uh-oh".  I never realized how those two syllables (are they even real syllables?) could evoke instant fear into me.  The results of those two uttered sounds in my household never is a good thing.
'Uh-oh' is right.  My two year old opened up the box of cereal I had packed in our bag the night before, so I would not be late this time to my playdate today, and dumped it all out onto the carpet.  Nice. 

It can go on and on from there but the anxiety in me is welling up even as I write this.  Good stopping point.  But can you see why I need God's grace?  Grace...equipping me to do what I cannot do in my own strength. 

God knows how hard and exhausting raising kids are.  Every little 'uh-oh', cry, mess, exploding diaper, just chips away at even the strongest of hearts. With every child born, God has given every parent the capabilities needed to raise that child the way God designed. We as parents need the power of God's grace to do our job well and stay sane!  We desperately need it. How many of us ask for it?

But I have realized that if I do not take a moment to whisper, think a quiet thought, or even yell out to my God before the day starts, I automatically hed north on that dredded road of self-pity.  If my actions that put me back on that road do not change, then destination self-pity here I come.

 Isn't that the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.  Huh.

I don't want to be insane.  Not really in my plan of life.  So, I will take my minute before "crazy" starts and declare, "God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of strength, power, love, self-discipline and a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

Friday, July 13, 2012

Free to Live

Free to Live

We have so much freedom to do what we want, to live how we want.  Yet, we live more imprisoned than those who are physically behind bars.  In a sense, inmates live with more freedom than we do because at least they recognize their imprisonment.

There have been so many times I had not even realized I was allowing something to hold me captive. 

I have been convicted lately by feeling the sense of holding myself back. Placing my faith behind prison walls so to say. I experience joyful situations on a daily basis, yet hold back my laughter. I experience so much generosity from my husband, children, and friends, yet hold back my gratitude.
I hold back.  I ask myself "why?"  I hear no answer.  I only hear the faintest sound spelling out a 4-letter word...FEAR.

I can be afraid of EVERYTHING if I allow it!  Spiders & snakes (ok, who isn't?), vehicles slamming into mine, falling & busting my head wide open, getting a freaky skin eating disease, an airplane crashing right into my bedroom as I sleep.... Get my point?  It goes on and on and even gets more ridiculous the more I give way to fear.

Fear can imprison me if I allow it. Fear is the number one lie in my life that I allow to hold me back.
There are times when I recognize it and I choose to fight it with the weapons God has equipped me with, His Word.  Then other times, I run and cower, hoping the fearful situation just disappears as quickly as it came. 

In my cowardliness, I feel the weight of the shackles on my hands and feet.  I am paralyzed, unmoving.  This is when I need to break free my faith that I casually placed aside.  Faith means believing.  Believing is choosing.  Choosing is action. 

Fear wants to paralyze us.  Faith wants to propel us into action, freeing us.
My prayer is that freedom is not just a word from my mouth but an action from my faith.  That I will live in freedom everyday and not take it for granted.  For now, I will tackle Fear and all its false realities. I will choose to live in freedom for that is the gift Jesus died to give, not just me, but us all.

He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives... Isaiah 61:1 The Message
You are not slaves; you are free. 1 Peter 2:16
So Christ has really set us free. Galatians 5:1

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Perfect People

‘There’s no such thing as perfect people

There’s no such thing as a perfect life

So come as you are, broken and scarred

Lift up your heart and be amazed, and be changed

By a perfect God’

This is an excerpt from Natalie Grants song ‘Perfect People”

How many of us try to live this illusive perfect life?  I admit it.  I do.  I try and try until I just want to collapse under the weight of the lie. 

By no means am I perfect.  I am so very far from perfection and yet I have a desire to pretend to be.  What is up with that?! 

I truly desire a perfect life.  I want the perfect, well -behaved children, the perfect husband.  I want to over hear my husband telling another how perfect a wife he has in me.  And don’t forget the perfect house and the perfect d├ęcor that goes with it; the perfect vehicle to fit in the garage of that perfect house.  Whew!  Are you exhausted as I am just reading my “perfect “list?! 

So I ask myself, “Where does this desire of perfection come from?”  I am about to get raw here, so hang tight.  As a child, I always felt lesser of a person to everyone else except in the eyes of my parents.  My parents esteemed me to the hilt which I am grateful for.  However, I did not know how to cope with those who did not see me as the greatest.  I am not placing blame on anyone; it’s just how I felt.  Knowing what I know now, our feelings can distort what truth is.

 I’m sure people did not think I was the greatest, but so what?  I did not have enough self confidence at the time to ask myself, “How does God see me?”  If I knew to ask that question every time I was teased at school or looked down upon by another, this would be the outcome.  I would ask myself, “What does God think of me?”  I would look in His Word, His Truth, to find the truth about myself.  God created me for a purpose and He created me in His image.  However, He is perfect, I am not.  God loves us even though we are far from perfect.  That is why God sent a perfect Savior, Jesus, to help perfect us on a daily basis.

But what I heard when I was a child growing up in a Catholic church was that God was perfect and we are not. Period.  Either they left out the rest of the message or I chose to not hear about letting Jesus help us change from day to day, moment by moment. 

So I went about life trying to be perfect on my own, in my own limited way that I knew how.  Oh how limited it was.  I strived to make good grades and yet never conquered my procrastination.  I strived to be a good friend and yet never stopped gossiping.  I strived to be a loyal girlfriend and yet never stopped my roaming eye.  I wanted to be the best at these things and more, but I did not know that I needed someone much more powerful than me to help me conquer the inadequacies in my character.  I did not know to ask Jesus for help.  Thankfully now I do and He has changed me.  I am so thankful that He changed many dysfunctional things in my character before I met my husband, who is not perfect, but completely perfect for me. 

I still have many inadequacies and I am not cured from the desire to be perfect.  I don’t know if I really will ever be in this life.  But I am aware when that desire to be perfect  tries to creep up much quicker than before.  I try my best to take it to God every time and ask Him to help me see my wonderful, flawed life.  Thankfully, God opens my eyes to see all the humor my life with three active children and a loving, adventurous husband brings.

Life is such a cool journey.  When we feel life is not cool but instead exhausting, maybe we should ask ourselves, “Are we being real?”  Or are we just trying to be “perfect”? 

My challenge to you is, ask God to open your eyes to things you may have never seen before in your life.  Strive to enjoy your life as is, not as you think you wish it to be.

“As for God, His way is perfect.  All the Lord’s promises prove true.  He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection.  God is my strong fortress.  He makes my way perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:31-33