25Jun

No Drama, Mama: Pray

No Drama Mama

Subscribers–so sorry if you got this twice and it was wonky the first time!  Had some technical difficulties in publishing.

Pray.

I know this is generally considered too obvious and not practical, but hear me out. I’m not going to tell you to pray about the situation (at least not directly). Too often, for me that Sounds something like this: “Lord, you know I don’t want to argue, but she is just so darn infuriating…” Not exactly, but you get the idea.

Sometimes it sounds a lot like a venting session and I end up even more frustrated than when I started.

So if praying directly about the disagreement doesn’t help me, what does?  Here are the more specific ways that I use prayer to help me in such situations.

1. Pray for peace.
When I feel the Holy Spirit convicting me about a situation, I immediately begin to pray for God’s perfect peace and love to fill my heart, and for that to be reflected in my words and actions.. I pray for Him to transform my heart to His and remove all anger and bitterness that resides there, and humble my spirit. Because I know that there is something in my heart that is not right. I have to recognize that the thing driving me to engage in these useless disputes is not from the Lord.

2. Pray for the other person involved.
A couple years ago, I was reading this great book with a group of ladies. It was called The Frazzled Female. There was one particular chapter that really resonated with me. The author recommended praying for a person you were frustrated with.  She was specifically talking about frustration caused by a long shopping line, a bad driver, etc.—but I have found it useful in all areas of disagreements. Nothing defeats anger and bitterness toward someone faster than praying God’s blessings over them!

It’s amazing the peace that fills MY heart when I can just stop the anger in it’s tracks—stop the enemy in his tracks, and instead start to pray for blessings in someone’s life! If you’re at a loss, Paul has many beautiful prayers that can apply to so many people and situations—use God’s word if you don’t know enough about the person or situation to pray specifically for them.

3. Pray for Wisdom and Discernment.

Allow me to rock your world for a minute…You’re not always right.

I know. It was a shocker to me, too, because apparently I’m not either.  God, however is always right.  He is perfect and His will is perfect. He is all-knowing, and He will provide you with wisdom if you seek it with an open heart. Pray for God to reveal His perfect will to all involved.

Ask Him to show you if there is anything about your own opinion that needs to be changed. PS—this is probably best done before you engage in an argument! Better to have yourself divinely enlightened before you open your mouth than to spill out ugly words that can’t be taken back…

4. Praise Him.

And when all else fails, just stop what you’re doing, take a breather.  And just praise God for His wonderful creation and who He is!

Chime In: What has helped you avoid drama?

24Jan

I would never do that

Today, I want to talk about a popular attitude that we Christians are known for. You may have uttered it yourself: “I would never do that.” Although the words themselves are harmless enough, they can come from a place of pride and judgment. With these words, we place ourselves up on a pedestal, look down our noses at others and declare that we are better than they are.

But God’s word tells us:

Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
-Proverbs 16:18

I was in high school, at the lunchroom table when a girl across from me said she wasn’t sure if her somewhat controlling boyfriend would let her do something that weekend. I don’t remember who she was talking to or what they were doing, but I remember my reaction clearly: I thought to myself, quite haughtily, I would never ask my boyfriend’s permission to do anything. No one is going to have that kind of control over me.

She must be weak. Why didn’t she just dump him? I was stronger. That would never happen to me.

A few years down the road, I spent almost 2 years in the midst of a destructive, controlling, abusive relationship. And then I understood how that could happen in someone’s life.

 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
-1 Corinthians 10:12

I remember my college roommate asking, “Would you rather have diarrhea or vomiting?” What kind of question is that?! It turns out she was studying eating disorders for a class. My answer? “Ugh. Neither! I would never do something like that to myself!”

A few years later, I found myself standing over a toilet doing exactly that. And I understood how a person could reach that point.

I wonder about adultery. How many husbands  and wives do you think have said at one time, “I would never do that.” And yet many of them do.

The point here is not to imply that you’ll end up doing everything you say you’d never do. Instead, I just want us to consider a couple of things behind this statement.

Pride. The attitude is that while others may fall into sin, we never could. God says “Pride goes before the fall” and there is a reason for that. Once we start to think that we are somehow so good that we are immune to sin, there is a temptation to stop actively avoiding it. It’s okay if I talk have a close friendship with that man, I would never cheat on my husband. We forget that sin doesn’t just happen…it starts with small steady steps. We have all fallen short. We are all depraved sinners in need of grace (Romans 3:23). And we need to remember that. The Bible tells us that Satan walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We cannot afford to get too comfortable. (1 Peter 5:8) (<–Tweet This)

Judgment. The other side of this coin is judgment. Since we would, of course, never do that thing, we give ourselves the freedom to judge harshly the person doing it.

Over the years, I’ve learned something tough about myself: I no longer know what I am capable of doing. It’s a humbling realization, but it reminds me every day that I need God to help me. And it has taught me to try harder to extend grace and compassion to others.

27Sep

My audience of one…

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In Matthew 18:12-14, and Luke 15:3-7, Jesus tells a story.  It’s a story of hope and redemption.  It’s a story to remind us all how very important we are to God.  It’s easy for me to say He rejoices over His people.  And He does.

But the truth is, He rejoices over me. He rejoices over you.  It’s such a beautiful thing.  

And sometimes, I’m afraid that in our quest to live out a grander purpose, we’re missing the oneThe one that Christ deemed worth searching for.  I firmly believe that if I get thousands of followers, or have a blog bringing in the big bucks, but miss the one person He had for me to reach…then I will have failed.  Because success in God’s eyes has nothing to do with numbers.  It has nothing to do with stats. It has everything to do with following his still soft voice.

We live in a society that has long ago forsaken the one. We decided that one person just doesn’t matter.  Only the multitudes matter, but to God every single person matters.

Yes, it’s awesome when God does BIG things.  And He can…cause He is a BIG God.  But it’s just as awesome when he moves for one.little.person.  Because he cares for each of us that much.

And as His child, as His follower, I am His mouthpiece to a world of hurting, searching people (and so are YOU, fellow Christians!).  As His child, I am called to care about the one hurting soul.

I’ll be honest and tell you that I struggle with this.  I get discouraged if my posts don’t get comments, or if my “stats” go down.  Is it because I want fame and fortune?  No, it’s because I’m insecure, and I crave something to validate me as being worthy.  But the truth is, Christ already did that. 

But sometimes, that little voice comes in.  The one that says “what are you doing anyway?  No one’s reading your words…You’re nobody, and your words are useless.” He makes me look at lagging pageviews and see that I’m not as good as ______________.  the-one-who-gets-no-glory-here wants me to overlook the “few” visits and see only the lack.  he wants me to determine that the one isn’t enough after all.

But God’s word speaks truth in the face of lies.  His word calls me to follow Him, His purpose, His calling.  Even if I never see the reward.  God’s word calls me to do everything to the name of the Lord Jesus–you know, the one who said that ONE person—or sheep—is worth it. (Col. 3:17).  God’s word says, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord…” (Col 3:23).  Sometimes, it’s tempting to do this blogging thing halfheartedly.  When the enemy is whispering in my ear that no one’s watching, no one’s reading and no one cares.  But the truth is that God has called me to do this, and He cares, and He sees…the good and the bad.  He sees when I falter, and He wonders why I won’t serve Him fully.  And He sees when I give it my whole heart even if no one else seems to be listening.  He is there…my audience of one.

And that has to be enough.  I pray that my heart will move beyond a need for validation, and that I will live to hear only the voice of my savior saying “Well done, good and faithful servant.”  That is worth more than a million followers.

 

05Sep

My time is not my own

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Sometimes, I find myself overwhelmed by my to-do list.  Housework is a neverending cycle.  I’m trying to finish up this degree I’ve invested so much in. My kids need me. My husband needs me.   And I need to be the woman God calls me to be.

Sometimes, all that stuff gets in the way of me. I’m an introvert by nature and “need” quiet time.  Read a book.  Surf the web…pinterest, Christian blogs, facebook…there are MANY things online to distract me.

I could find countless online articles right now that talk about the importance of MY time.

But, the truth is, I don’t have any time.  If I am in Christ, my life is not my own.  My time is not my own.

Philippians 2:5 tells us, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”  What mind was in Christ Jesus when it came to HIS time?  It was as in everything else—humility, always putting other people and the will of His Father above everything else.

We can find this in Mark 6:27-34.  John the Baptist was beheaded.  The disciples told Jesus about it and Jesus said, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”  The verse (31) goes on to say “For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.”  They were tired, hungry and needed a rest.  They were seeking solitude.  To wind down.  As a stay-at-home mom, how often do I seek solitude, some time to wind down?  I know what I do when that solitude is interrupted.  I get frustrated.  What did Jesus do when His solitude was interrupted?

“But the multitudes…arrived before them and came together to Him” He didn’t even get a moment of solitude in this passage because there was a throng of people waiting for Him when He got there.  What did He do?  “Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them.”

Wow.  When my family interrupts what I think should be my quiet time, my solitary time, my few minutes away from everything…I get frustrated.  When Jesus was interrupted, he was moved with compassion.

In a similar instance in Mark 1:32-38, we see Jesus retreat to a solitary place to pray.  Jesus had been ministering to people the whole day.  We are told in verse 33 that the whole city was gathered together at the door, and He healed many.  The next morning he woke up extra early to pray in solitude.  Jesus had a very busy day.  He was looking to refresh Himself!  How many times do I feel like I’ve had a busy day and deserve the right to refresh myself with some quiet time?

But, Simon and others came looking for Jesus and said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

The life of a mom means that there is always someone looking for us, someone needing something.  And I get frustrated. I want to be able to read my Bible, fold the laundry, even do chores without interruption, and a little time to wind down at the end of the day.  Jesus could have said the same thing…Just give me a few minutes to pray in peace, people!  Leave me alone.  But, he didn’t.  Instead, He replied, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.”

Jesus knew that His purpose was to carry out the will of His Father.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  I pray that I could grasp that same understanding.  My life is not my own.  My time is not my own.  My purpose is to carry out the will of my Father.  Nothing more (despite my own ambitions), and certainly nothing less.

08Aug

Life in the Rearview Mirror (Philippians 3:12-16)

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Read: Philippians 3:12-16

Key Verse: “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
–Philippians 3:13-14

Dig Deeper:  After these words, Paul goes on to say that all who are mature in Christ should have this mindset, and if not, God will reveal it to them.  So, all of us should have this mindset, but what exactly is Paul talking about here?  What things are (or at least should be) left behind and forgotten?  Anything that gets in the way of our moving forward in Christ.

Here are some things I think we should leave behind.

1. Worldly Pursuits

God’s word tells us that once we are in Christ, we are a “new creation.”  We are new in Him.  Jesus says to follow Him, we should deny ourselves.  When we accept Christ, we become a servant to Him.  Worldly pursuits should be behind us and we should have a focused goal of following Christ.  Worldly pursuits could look different for different people, but I don’t believe they are just sinful activities.  Instead, I believe it encompasses anything we strive for that takes away from or goes against God’s purpose in our lives.  Striving for worldly goals will only result in discontent, and distract us from the ultimate goal that Paul is speaking of here.

2. Regret and Condemnation

We’ve all made mistakes in life, whether you were a drug addict or a goody two-shoes.  We all have regrets, past sins, failures, etc. I fail as a wife.  I fail as a mother.  I fail as a friend, daughter, and child of God.  Every.single.day, I fall short of who God has called me to be and who my family needs me to be.

Yes, I need to learn from my mistakes and strive continually to be the woman that God created me to be.  But, I cannot live in a place of self-condemnation.  God inspires us with conviction.  Satan disables us with condemnation.  Regret wastes too much energy.  Instead, past mistakes should be forgotten, so that we can move on and move forward in Him.

3. Grievances and Wrongs against us.

God’s word talks many times about forgiving those who wrong us.  There is a great quote, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”  Holding onto a grudge eats away at a person’s peace, and allows bitterness to take root in one’s heart.  God requires forgiveness from us, just as he offers forgiveness to us.  In addition to that, He realizes the harmful effects of bitterness and holding a grudge.  It will hold you back and prevent you from giving yourself fully to Him and His purpose.

Remember Lot’s Wife…

In the midst of discussing the second coming, Jesus says this simple statement in Luke 17:32, “Remember Lot’s wife.”  We can find her story in Genesis 19:1-26.  I challenge you to read it.  There are so many disturbing aspects to this story, but mostly it shows the dangers of holding on to worldly pursuits.  Lot was so caught up in the sinful world in which he was leaving that he had to be physically pulled away from the city (Genesis 19:16), even after being told that it would be destroyed.  In Lot’s wife, we see the dangers of looking back to such a life.

If there is something in your life that needs to be left behind and forgotten, I pray that God will help you release it so that you can do as Paul, and forget those things that are behind and press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!

What other things do you think we should forget and leave behind?

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