I have a meeting today, I guess you could call it an interview, and I was reviewing in my head all of the questions this person might ask me. If asked to describe myself what would I say? This person doesn’t know me from adam or the type of life I lead but if I was moved to be 100% honest with her this is what I would say, “I am a dysfunctional Christian”. I feel as if God is on my doorstep banging very hard to let him in and I keep fighting it. Why? I don’t know. I think when you become a Christian later in life (I was 33) you have a hard time ‘giving it all to God’ when so much of your prior life you did everything with your own best interest in mind. I recently saw a movie “Eat, Pray, Love” and Julia Roberts character made a comment “I don’t feel anything”, that’s where I am right now. Summer should be a time of relaxation, joy, love and fun. Mine has been filled with work, deadlines, obligations, expectations and yes, some fun….Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed this summer but my heart keeps breaking because I am not where I want to be in my walk with Christ. I try to blame it on outside influences; the husband who’s walk with Christ is in the baby stages, the father, who I also work with day in and day out, that triggers the anxiety and anger issues I have with constant negativity; the busy schedule that makes me choose between what I want to do and what I should do. Debt; the consistent out of debt one minute only to get back into it another. Here’s how I would like to “fix” it. Focus on God! Period. Retrain the brain, Reschedule my life, Prioritize the things that will make me one with God versus being a neighbor with God. The thing is, until I decide AND truly believe that this is my one chance to get it right, things will continue to stay the same. Will my life look like it does now if I put these changes in motion? Probably not. But….will I have peace in my heart and a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior and experience what it is like to ‘give it all to God’. Man, that sounds good. Maybe I can turn dysfunctional into functional yet….
I’m so excited to be in the presence of God. I love how He does His thing
through FaceBook status’, I came across a friend’s status talking about
teaching her son to play “Follow the Leader” and it really hit me. It
read, “The boys are playing follow the leader. Josh started trying to tell
Jeremiah what to do but I corrected him. The leader does what he wants his
followers to do. He doesn’t just tell them what to do. I find interesting
application of that to real life.” I don’t think she’ll mind me using her
name, thanks Nicole!
So this idea hit me so hard and it got me thinking about our walk as
Christians. I call myself a Christian, which to me means that I strive to
be Christ-like. Jesus was the ultimate example of the perfect leader. God
laid out the ways in which He wants us to live and he fulfilled His
leadership through Jesus Christ. I just love it. So it provokes me to
look at my life and see where it is that I need to grow. It is really easy to
look at the visible things in my life that seem to be fulfilling this idea
but this thought (over the last hour) has really challenged me to look at
the areas that I need to work on. At BlastZones this week (our churches
version of VBS) we have a verse every day. Yesterday, it was from
Hebrews 12:1 “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
And I love this analogy. Running the race that God has marked out for us
means running the ‘whole’ race. Not just the easy parts, not just the
paths that are fun or beautiful, all of them. The rocky, rigid, wet,
nasty gunky ones too.
I believe one of the trickiest things about being a Christian is striking
the balance between feeling encouraged by the things we know we do well;
those things that we are good at and are using to benefit God’s Kingdom –
and being challenged by God to move forward in the areas where we know we
need to grow. The areas where I know that even though I am not running
after Him, He’s after me! Love you guys!
Please take some time to check out this blog site. Incredible ministry at work. He is EVERYWHERE and that He desires EVERYONE!!! I would ask that you add this ministry to your prayer time and partner with them as they reach out to those God brings along their paths!
It’s an honor to be a part of “Connecting Women” today. I’m so thankful for environments like this that seek to create nurturing and inspiring community for women.
Over the last couple of years God has really been softening my heart to the need for the intentional development of women, especially women in leadership. One of my greatest burdens for women is helping us truly identify and understand who God has made us to be and to embrace that wholeheartedly.
As leaders, I believe it’s so critical that we do the tough work of understanding ourselves and how we are uniquely wired. As women in particular, we have a tendency to allow a lot of other things in our lives to define us and we lose sight of our God-given gifts, talents and abilities.
“Over the last fifty years women have secured for themselves greater opportunity, greater achievement, greater influence, and more money. But over the same time period, they have become less happy, more anxious, more stressed, and, in ever increasing numbers, they are medicating themselves for it.” From Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham
That statement is heartbreaking to me. It’s heartbreaking because I really believe it’s true. I’ve begun to see this in my own life. Our opportunities have increased rapidly and we’re adding pressure, responsibility and activities daily, but we’re not taking the pressure off in other areas. We’re just piling more onto our already overflowing lives.
Marcus also shares in his book:
“The conventional image of a successful woman today is that she’s a virtuoso juggler, somehow moving fast enough to keep all the many aspects of her busy life in the air at the same time. This is a common image, but it’s also quite sad. The core skill of juggling is throwing, not catching. To keep every object in the air, you have to get rid of each one as quickly as possible, barely allowing it to register on your fingertips before you toss it up and away, preparing for the next object to throw.”
I’m willing to bet that most of you are jugglers. You’ve learned to be really good at keeping things moving but rarely are you stopping to evaluate what you should be spending your time on. You feel like you can’t put anything down and as a result you tap into your strengths less and less until you are not even sure what they look like anymore.
One of my favorite verses is a constant reminder of my need to evaluate who God is calling me to be:
Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message)
“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given,
and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t
compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for
doing the creative best you can with your own life.”
Can I challenge you to stop juggling and seek to understand what makes you uniquely you?
How has God uniquely wired you?
What are your strengths and gifts?
And how do you need to reorganize your life to experience the joy of leading from them?
I’m praying that God would awaken you to the beautiful, uniquely gifted individual that He has created you to be!
A BIG THANK YOU to Jenni for her guest appearance today at Connecting Women Ministries! You can follow Jenni’s thoughts, creativity, and inspiration via the following links!
I love how the Spirit of God works in His body of believers. Jenni Catron‘s blog yesterday had a very similar theme to mine. I thought I’d share her thought with you today, as well as, my response. May you take time today to retreat and dwell in His presence.
All that said, I still struggle with not feeling guilty for retreating from responsibilities and daily noise. God is faithful in reminding me that His Son modeled retreat. He demonstrated His need to be with the Father. How could I need anything less. I also confess that sometimes I wish those moments would never end and that I could stay wrapped up in His arms and stay quiet. But, Jesus also modeled reaching a multitude with the Father’s love, so back to the noise I go… patiently waiting for the world to stop again!
Let me encourage you today to take some time to pause, ponder, and praise God for the blessings in your life. Here’s a list of a few of my blessings; a fantastic husband who regularly teaches and reminds me of grace, patience, and unconditional love; three great kids who are normally the source by which I need to learn to administer thus learned grace, patience, and unconditional love; the very special people that God had brought into my life who far exceed friendship and have become my family; and even simple things like sunshine and a cool breeze on a hot day. I am blessed and I am certain you are as well. Give Him thanks today in your efforts to stay fully connected…never alone!
You know those people in your life that you can instantly reconnect with no matter how much time has gone by? I love those people! Last night I met with two women who, over many years, have inspired and encouraged me to be a better mom, wife, and Christ follower. We talked for hours, sharing the different journeys that God has had each of us on for the past few years. For me, it was proof that God is such a creative designer, but still, He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. There were so many similarities in each of our stories and in the lessons we’d each learned; however, the roads He’d taken each of us down were so different. Their lives have been such a vivid example of bearing fruit for Christ through obedience, challenges, and faithfulness. Thank you ladies for such great inspiration!
Do you have someone in your life that you are trying to influence? Why? My hope is that my intentions are pure when it comes to why I do what I do in general and why I want to influence people. I pray it is for the right reasons, for Christ’s benefit and not mine.
I have someone in particular that lately has made a bad decision – in my mind anyway. This decision goes against what I know God says not to do. However, my friend doesn’t claim to follow Him. She knows Him (which leads to a lot of my concern in the matter) but at this point and time, is making choices that are blatantly against what we know to be true to what God wants for us and from us.
So, what to do about this? Honestly, I’m in a good place with her. I’ve know her a really long time and when I met her I knew that this is where she is. Not only do I like her, I like being with her and have honestly grown to love her dearly. The more I know her, the more I want her to… well, quite simply I want her to be in heaven someday. But I don’t know what to do with this? This ‘thing’ has been the hardest to take in the time I’ve known her. My concern is that silence=agreement. When you say nothing, the person is left to assume that you agree. Obviously she knows me very well too and knows where I am coming from so why would she go about life, including me in the planning and process of this ‘bad decision’ and expect me to be happy for her?
I’ll tell you why. Because she expects me to continue to be the person I claim to be; the friend I claim to be. I claim to love people and accept them for who they are and where they are. I claim not to be the judge of her life and her decisions. I claim to love God and love others but in this case, what does that look like?
The most important piece here; she didn’t ask me what I think about it. She didn’t want to know from me whether she should do this or not. Who do I think I am that I should expect her to do what I think she should or should not do? That’s where pride comes in; thinking that because she knows that I would be against this thing that it would stop her from doing it! Wow, how arrogant does one have to be to think that! Sadly, I personally know the answer. Of course she’s not going to ask me what I think, she already knows what I would say.
I believe at this point in time my focus is showing her the love of Jesus Christ. And get over myself thinking that I am going to bring God to her. He’s with her. He’s doing His thing and I need to do mine. She will decide if/when/how/why she will follow God – not me. And that means actively seeking what He may want me to do in this situation – or not do. I need to be a person that my friend will come to when things get hard. And in the meantime, maybe take a look at my own life and see how what I may need to change. You see, it’s the times in our life that we look around and see what everybody else is doing ‘wrong’ that I believe we need to take a hard look at ourselves.