Okay, grab your coffee or tea or water, whatever be your drink of choice and let's have a little 'come to Jesus' moment. "What's that?" you might ask. A moment of truth. A moment where all the cards are laid on the table and you're honest with yourself about yourself.
Since June 2018, my career status went from Senior Account Manager at a design agency to full time author to small business owner to (about a month ago) part time cashier. To say I've been STRUGGLING over the past month would be to say Godzilla was a little lizard. A bit of an understatement.
My husband and I have some goals in life. One of them being owning our own home once again. Since book sales have been low, finding a part-time job seemed like the route to take to stay on track with that goal. So far so good, right? Wrong! Since I got the job everything flipped sideways and spun around faster than a roller coaster at an amusement park. Not because the job is bad but because my ideas fell through.
I guess I walked into this with some magical idea that everything would just fall together. Then, when it didn't I felt overwhelmed. I realized that I needed to get back into routines. A time to write, a time to read, a time to hang with the family, a time to work, a time to workout. I had to fight for what was important to my schedule.
Last night, I watched a movie with the family, then watched a movie with my husband (Crawl-that could be a blog in itself), then I spent some time writing. I spent a good couple hours writing and I felt great about what I had accomplished. Then, this morning, I started feeling bad because the project I worked on last night wasn't anything that I had been working on recently. Which brings me to my title for this blog "discipline vs. dictatorship".
I'm SUPER bad about beating myself up when I don't measure up to my imaginary standards. Maybe I walk on the treadmill for thirty minutes and instead of celebrating my accomplishment I tell myself I could have jogged the whole time and it would have been better. Instead of being excited about working on a project that has been in the works for a few years now, I thought about another project I had recently started that I should have spent some time on.
Which got me thinking, do you ever have moments when you should be celebrating your accomplishments but instead rain on your own parade? It's one thing to be a humble person, it's an issue to be the one humbling ourselves. I am great at encouraging others and helping them pursue their goals. But I often find myself beating myself down as if nothing I do is enough. Well that's just crazy!I'm never going to get anywhere if I keep slashing my own tires.
God, help me walk today with a keen sense of discipline. Holy Spirit, guide me throughout my day to better prioritize and complete the task that are most important. God, help me end the dictatorship I have over my life and submit to your loving rule. This kind of life is hard and wearing on me. But the life you offer is light. Let me pick that pick and walk in it. Amen.
I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I had the “Mary, Mary, quite contrary” rhyme in my head only it was a little bit different. I kept seeing these two trees. One tree sprouted life and the other death, even though it had some appealing fruit.
We are given choices in life. We can decide to accept lies or we can discover truth.
When we discover truth, it is like a light illuminating us from the inside out. In this moment, we quickly discover we’re more like craved up Jack o’ lanterns than whole pumpkins. Life has cut us apart and the light exposes every area we’ve tried to patch up.
Rather than back down and dim the light, that is the moment to let it shine that much brighter.
In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (/jɪn/ and /jɑːŋ, jæŋ/; Chinese: 陰陽 yīnyáng, lit. "dark-bright", "negative-positive") is a concept of dualism in ancient Chinese philosophy, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. (reference link)
I pray for patience with my boys a lot. I pray because I don't want to turn into the Hulk the moment they get rowdy. It's no good for me and it certainly doesn't teach them anything. However, me being recognized as a patient person doesn't come by everything going good and grand every moment of my life. The times that people recognize my patience most are the times when Hulk is rising up just under my collar. Times when I recognize that I don't want people to see me, I want them to see God. Times when I don’t want to be like me, I want to be like Christ.
Praying for patience, joy, or self-control and thinking that stress, sadness, and temptation will not show up is like asking a trainer to help you build muscle and then standing in shook when they bust out the weights. Resistance builds muscle, conflict develops character.
As Christians, we should pray for patience as well as the other fruits of the spirit- love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What we shouldn't do is find ourselves caught off guard when the weights appear.
God, help us understand the difference between praying our will and your will. Help us to understand forgiveness and grace did not come from a beautiful rose with droplets of morning dew but from the slaughtered blood of a sacrificial lamb you called Your Son. You make beautiful things. Diamonds don't come without extreme pressure. Remind us of your love. Remind us of your promises as we face trials. Remind us that you are God and break us free from religious lies that say, "God is good so everything should be good always." That is not what your Word tells us. We are told that there will be sorrows and trials and heartache this side of heaven but not to lose hope because you are God. We are told that the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked alike. We are bound to experience the same things that happen to all of mankind but as Christians we are no longer slaves to sin. We no longer have to respond the same as we did before we knew Christ. There is a new way to live. Thank you, God. Amen.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
Freedom. What does that word truly mean?
freedom noun free·dom | \ ˈfrē-dəm: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous
When you see the picture of the shattered window what is the first thought to cross your mind? "Oh that sucks"? Expensive? Anger? Frustration? This was the window of my Jeep two days ago. My husband came in to tell me that while he was edging the lawn, a rock must have hit the window.
I was a little bit at a loss for words. In fact, the only thing spinning through my mind was 'don't get angry it was an accident'. Manly because I would have felt bad in his shoes.
- I told my husband to finish edging the yard. The yard wasn't going to finish edging itself.
- I began vacuuming up the glass. I recognized that if I was in his shoes I would continue to beat myself up over the mistake while I cleaned it up. I didn't want him doing that. I wanted him to refocus.
- I called insurance. I realize that the first thing that we saw was money flying out of our bank account. That was a silly thing to worry about because we pay a monthly fee (car insurance) to cover things like this.
What's the point?
What shattered windows are popping up in your life to distract you from the freedom God has for you? In case you didn't get the metaphor, how are you handling the issues that arise in your life? Are you returning to default mode (sinful self) and trying to figure out everything on your own or switching things to freedom mode and putting your trust in God?
If your mode is not reflecting the fruit of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22&23 you can know that you've switched to default mode and rejected the freedom you should be living in.
God, this was one time that I turned to you and knew that things would go well. But there are so many, many, many times that I switch to default mode. Holy Spirit guide me. I don't want to live in default mode, never experiencing true freedom. I want to rejoice in the freedom that Jesus provided for me through His sacrifice. Remind me to approach situations in a new light. Approach situations with the example that Jesus set. Approach them in a way to make God's kingdom real and tangible to those watching. That onlookers would see a new way of living. Amen
"But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit." Galatians 5:22-25 NCV
Yesterday, I blogged about focusing in on our problems so much that they become bigger than God in our sight. The reality is that problems are not the only thing that grab our attention. There are many things this side of Heaven that cry out, "Look at me, hear me, taste me, feel me, smell me, think about me, love me."
Everything wants our attention, how do we focus on God amongst that?
Let us live in a right way, like people who belong to the day. We should not have wild parties or get drunk. There should be no sexual sins of any kind, no fighting or jealousy. But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and forget about satisfying your sinful self." Romans 13:12-14 NCV
And when he did that, he broke our bondage to sin. Unfortunately, since all we've ever know is sin we have to be taught a new way to live now that we are free. Jesus set that example for us.
While he was here on earth he didn't focus on earth, he focused on God. That is what set him apart. He wasn't trying to get ahead, stressing over his legacy, fretting about his family. His focus was on God and the kingdom to come. Christians, that is where our focus must be also.
I get it, there are days when everything is going crazy. There are days when you're tired or depressed. There are days when your anxiety is through the roof. On those days, God isn't your focus.
There are days when you're hitting the daily grind and getting things done. There are days when the sun is shining and life is good. There are days that you're relaxing. On those days, God isn't your focus.
If we call ourselves Christians, Christ is our example. Every part, good or bad, every moment of every day- God is to be our focus. Not my will but Yours be done.
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14 NKJV
A New Identity
What is this blog about? You mean, I'm supposed to have a purpose? Ok, if that's required then my purpose is life.
This is my life...Searching for truth, one day at a time.
I enjoy writing so sometimes that truth comes through storytelling.
Better with age...