Sunday, April 24, 2011

What About Your Now Moment?

What are you doing with your now moment? This is the main question of "The Party Chick" chapter of God Chicks by Holly Wagner. I have been reading this book as part of my Thursday night small group Bible study. Wagner says, "We are given the moment called now. And this moment will not come again. We are to live each moment." I am so guilty of always thinking forward, planning ahead, worrying about the future, etc. Rarely do I stop to think about my now moment: the place I am at right now. Usually, I am so busy trying to plan every last second, trying to take control of my life so there will be no surprises. Then, not only do I plan every second, I then worry about the plan and that it may not go the way I want (it's a sickness, I KNOW!!!) It is alright for me to look forward to something, but I cannot ignore my now moment as a result! Henry David Thoreau said, "You can't kill time without injuring eternity." As a Christian, it is my task to live every moment, using each moment to fulfill my mission (God's purpose for me). In the good now moments? Praise God! In the now moments where I have met goals or had victories? Celebrate! In my now moments of difficulties? Seek Joy! Lord, may I always be aware of my "now". Help me not to get so focused on the future (or the past) so that I may be useful to You. Amen

Thursday, April 14, 2011

How Do I Look?

Like most people (women especially!) I'm concerned with how I look. I love to shop and spend time seeking out the cutest outfits, matching shoes, trendy accessories.... the total package! Even though I'll never be a skinny gal, I still want to look my best. I'm the type of girly girl that has to wear jewelry and perfume EVERYWHERE I go, even to the gym! I want to wear the latest fashions (just in a slightly larger size), have my nails/toes done, get my hair done, all the things to help me look my best. In short, I want to look the best that I possibly can! And, if people should happen to notice; well, that's just a bonus! However, I often am too focused on my outward appearance and what people think of me. The Bible says, "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'" I Samuel 16:7 (NIV) Wow! I should focus more on my inward self.... my kindness, my self-control, my patience (ouch, that's a tough one!), my gentleness.... all the fruits of the Spirit. I should focus on my relationship with God.... do I spend time with Him daily? Worshipping? Reading the Bible? Talking (Praying) to Him? Imagine the relationship I would have with Him if I spent as much time on these things instead of shopping, getting pampered, fixing my hair/makeup, etc. That's not to say that it is wrong to look your best, how we look can impact our witness! However, I will be judged more strongly on my actions than my appearance. Proverbs 31:30 tells us, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting (vain); but a woman who fears (reveres) the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Do my works for God deserve praise? Sadly, not always. All of the compliments I receive for my outward appearance mean nothing. The better question is not, "How Do I Look?" but rather, "How is my heart?" Lord, help me to be always mindful that you do not judge me by my looks, rather, you see my heart. You see the true me that no one else knows. You know my thoughts, feelings, and motives. Help me to always seek to please You in these ways. Amen.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Invisible Woman

Did you ever wish for a super power? I used to love watching super hero cartoons when I was growning up.... Superman, Batman, The Justice League.... and like any child, I imagined "what if". Wouldn't it be cool to be able to fly, or have super strength? Well, I have a super power... I am the invisible woman! I have the ability to stand in a crowd of people and NEVER be noticed.... sometimes that's a blessing; other times? a curse. I have wondered many times, "Would people miss me if I was gone? Would people even realize I wasn't there?" Lies of the devil, I know, but still a consequence of feeling invisible. I have always been an overly cautious person.... never one to reach out and make friends easily. As a result, I tend to "blend in" to my surroundings, standing back, taking it all in. I can't complain too much... I have developed great "people watching" skills and have good intuition about other people. However, when I feel lonely or sad because I don't think people notice me, I have no one to blame except myself. In my nightly reading, I am reading "God Chicks" by Holly Wagner. In her book, she speaks to women about different things we should be (warrior chick, friend chick, etc.). In the chapter, 'Friend Chick' Wagner writes how our different personalities can impact our friendships. She focuses on Hippocrates's 4 different personality types. She writes that Hippocrates came up with the types so that we can understand why people react the way they do. Wagner says that we are a combination of the 4 types, but that we have a more dominant type. I (of course!) am the melancholy type. In reading the description, there is no way I could deny that. I am a deep thinker, creative and artistic, like things in order (can you say OCD?), but I also tend to be pessimistic and can become depressed when other people don't measure up to what is wanted or expected. That spoke to me. I am so quick to get irritated at friends when they don't do/say things that I want them to. Then I use my irritation as an excuse to not "get involved" or to try and distance myself from people. I've screwed up some friendships in the past because I would get irritated that people didn't live up to my unrealistic standards. I need to work on that. I can't always rely on other people to notice me, cater to me, do what I want..... I have to reach out to others and be their friend, notice them, cater to them. In "God Chicks", Wagner also talks about loyalty in friendships and how no relationship (friendship or otherwise) won't always be 50/50. She says, "In every relationship, there are times when one person is doing most of the giving." I cannot always be the one who does all the getting, I must also give. I can give my loyalty to my friends when they are having a tough time. I can give my loyalty and support to my friends when they are having good times. I can even give support to my friends when great things are happening to them that I want for my life! (That's the hardest one!) I have to take my eyes off myself and focus in on others. When I do that, I step out.... I no longer am invisible! "A friend loves at ALL times" Proverbs 17:17a

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lonely in a Crowd?

I've struggled most of my life with occasional depression and feelings of worthlessness. I've been battling one of those "seasons of depression" recently and I can't seem to shake it. My life has not turned out the way I had always imagined. By this time of my life, I always thought that I would be married, have the 2.5 kids, nice picket fence, drive a mom van, have a wonderfully successful career...... somehow I also imagined myself skinny and stunningly beautiful (but that's another story!) As I've gotten older, I've found myself "shrinking away" from others, letting my FEAR of not being good enough get in the way of developing true relationships with others. Sadly, I've also shrunk away from my relationship with God. I became a Christian when I was in 8th grade. I remember my leaders and mentors while I was a teenager and college student. They helped me to grow as a Christian and helped me learn what to do to serve God. I was involved with a group of Christians who were my support system, encouraging me. At the same time, I encouraged them. I miss that fellowship with other believers. I've grown up now (at least age-wise) and have to accept the fact that the same fellowship and relationships that I had in college aren't necessarily going to be the same that I have now as an adult. I'm single, no kids.... I don't have the same responsibilities that my friends with children have. I have the freedom to do as I please, not having to necessarily think of anyone else. At the same time, that freedom is also a curse. People develop friendships with people they have things in common with...... young families befriend other young families, single parents befriend other single parents, married couples befriend other married couples, and so on..... I desperately want to find others in a similar situation as me, but let's be honest..... there aren't that many of us out there! I've recently been attending a new church and while I like it, it is still hard not to feel like there is a not a "place" for me there. (Not having a place to belong was one of the reasons I started attending a different church.) It has been so difficult to trust God in His plan for my life. For years, I have had the same prayer, yet it has not been answered. Psalm 27:4 tells me that "God will give me the desires of my heart".... my prayer has been that if my desires aren't His desires for me, that He would change those desires..... yet they remain a large part of me. Is that God's way of telling me to wait? Or am I refusing to change my desires? Is there an area in my life that I need to examine before I'm ready for His plan? I have found, in my experiences, that I have felt overwhelmingly lonely, even (especially in!) in a crowd of people. I have almost began having panic attacks when around others. I let FEAR defeat me. Why am I afraid? I have things to offer! I'm smart, funny (witty, even!), creative, an encourager, hard worker, good problem solver, insightful, and above all, I AM A CHILD OF GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What others think of me, what I think of myself, should not matter! I cannot allow the devil to beat me down by causing me to doubt myself, my relationship with God, and the work that I can do for the Kingdom! God's Word tells me, " Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27) My prayer is that I will have peace about finding where I fit in. Dear Lord, help me to become the person that you desire for me to be. Help me to overcome my fear so that I may be an example of You to those I know. Amen