Saturday, January 14, 2012

Seek First the Kingdom

Matthew 6:31-33
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

This past year has been full of exercising, eating just right and worrying about how I'm going to lose this last bit of weight. Quite honestly, it consumed my life. And it showed. I lost all but the last 5lbs... Only to gain it back just months later because of a faulty thyroid.
This has been a struggle since my youngest was born. I just can't seem to get my body to cooperate with me. It's been exhausting, frustrating, and seemingly hopeless.
As I mentioned in my first entry, God gave me a scripture for this year. This scripture, tells me not to worry about what I'm going to eat, drink or wear. It tells me to seek God, His kingdom and His righteousness, and all those other things will be given to me as well.
As I read this verse, the conviction of the Holy Spirit met me. In this moment, I realized that my pursuit of the "right body" had become an idol. I desired that victory over my weight more than time with Jesus, more than quality time with my family. I wanted it more than anything.
You can imagine my dispair as the weight came bounding back. I felt betrayed. I gave my everything for months to my body. All my attention, dedication, even money for clothes to accentuate its positive atributes; how could it turn on me after all I've done?

Putting my happiness and my hope in anything but Jesus will always land me in a similar position.
Despair. Hopelessness. Wanting.

Matthew 6 says that people who don't know Jesus run after these things. Wow. Where does that put me?

The beauty of His conviction is the love that enfolds it.
He disciplines the ones he loves. :)

Notice that the verse ends with instructions.
"SEEK ME!" it seems to cry out to my spirit. "Come after me. I will give you all you need."
What hope! What love!
I can live without a perfect body. But a life focused on The Kingdom and God's beauty and His perfect love... that is something I am not willing to be without.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Remind Me

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." Psalm 42:5

Ever have one of those days where you just can't stop thinking about a troublesome situation? Today is such a day for me.
My friend made a poor choice that will have pretty intense consequences. The tough thing about it, is that I saw it coming. I did pray. I should have said something, asked questions, held her accountable as she asked me to. But I didn't ask the tough questions. I was afraid. I'm not blaming myself for her choices. I just hurt for her and wish I had been a better friend.

I know why my soul is downcast and disturbed. However, I'm not sure that is what this verse is really getting at. The more I read this scripture, the more I hear this as a rhetorical question. As if I needed to ask myself "what business have I to be so bummed out and down?!".

And then, it remindes me why I don't need to be so upset: Hey Juls! PUT YOUR TRUST IN GOD! He is in control. He really does have an uncanny knack for bring beauty from ashes, doesn't he? He can put things right! All is not lost.

And it calls me back to the radical truth that saved my soul to begin with: He is my Savior! HE is my hope! This is The One who called dry bones into a mighty army! This is The One whom has conquered death and hell! "Is anything to hard for Him?!?!"

Finally, it draws me back to an attitude of worship and humility as I praise Him for being all we will ever need. And I am left with an exhilarating expectation of what He's going to do next. :)

After-all, my hope isn't found in my righteous. My joy isn't contingent on things being "right." My hope, my joy and my life is found in the righteousness, the mercy, the forgiveness and the unconditional love of my Jesus.
He is our Deliverer and I will yet praise Him!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Destined for Greatness

My daughter and I read Akiane's story today. It's the story of a child prodigy of art and poetry; of a child who gives all glory to God for her unique giftings. It's pretty darn inspiring, to say the least. CaraBeth immediately headed to her easel where she began painting, and I was compelled to pursue all my giftings at once!

When I see the beauty others create, I want to take part. It's written in our DNA to be co-laborers with Jesus. (Think about Adam's first job!) The creative process, be it with paints, or words or numbers, is designed to bring us pleasure. Our pleasure gives our Papa God pleasure. It's really an incredible thing He's got going for us here!

Stories of greatness inspired us because we are all called to greatness. Wouldn't it be awesome if we chose to walk in that beauty instead of constantly reminding ourselves of our weakness and failures?! I challenge you to ask the Lord to show you your potential for greatness. Just remember, ALL beauty exists to bring Him glory!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Bear With One Another in Love

I blew it this morning. It may LOOK like every one around me messed up, but I know the truth. It's me.

I slept in today. It's Christmas vacation! Unfortunately I am the only person in my home who slept in. I can tell because I woke up to a house that was a wreck. The kids were in the middle of their fiftieth argument of the morning. Chores had not been done, and my sweet little artist had left a trail of abandoned supplies and masterpieces all over the house. To top it off, my husband is exiting the door for work... he was supposed to have the kids with him today. So I got snappy. I start barking out commands. I engage in a "discussion" with my husband about the plans I thought we made for the day. He leaves with everything still up in the air. My kids disappear to their rooms, and I am left alone to reflect on my first few moments of my new day. Ick.

The Bible says that the greatest commandments are to love GOD with every ounce of our being and to love everyone else just as much as we love ourselves. That's where I blew it. Had I been loving my husband and kids as much as I loved myself, the tension in my home would not be here. Dang it.

This brings me to a similar thought. Why do I treat people I don't even like better than my family? I NEVER would have insisted a friend make good on their plans to take my kids for the day if it ended up not working out for their schedule. If my kid's friends made that kind of mess in my house I wouldn't think of barking at them to clean it up! How is it okay for me to treat my family with this kind of disrespect?

The Bible describes love as patient, kind, not rude, not looking out for its own intrests, not easily angered. How can I say I love my family when my actions are so far from loving? Love isn't that squishy good feeling we have when we see how adorable they are as they sleep. Love is action! Love is right decisions. Love is sacrifice. Love is not demanding. Love is giving up my right to be upset for the opportunity to show God's love to my husband and my little disciples.

Colossians 3:12-14 "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony."

I guess it's time to teach my "little disciples" about the 70x7 principal of forgiveness!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Here I Gooooooooo!

I love a new year. It's like starting life with a clean slate. (now that I think about it, that's available to His Beloved every day... even several times in a day. NICE!)

This morning, upon awakening, the Holy Spirit gave me a scripture for this new year, and I was pretty jazzed. Matthew 6:31 says something like this: don't stress yourself out thinking 'What are we gonna eat?' or 'What are we gonna drink?' or 'What are we gonna wear?' People who don't trust God seek after these things, and your Heavenly Father already knows all that you need. Instead, spend your energy seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all those other things will be given to you while you enjoy your life, loving Him!

I love this concept. I LOVE this concept! It's all about Him. It's all about His righteousness, His provision, HIS LOVE. And yet, this has been a constant struggle for me to fulfill this scripture. Why is relying on Jesus so difficult for me?

Celebrate Recovery has a principle that says "Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ's care and control." Maybe that's what this year is all about... letting Him bear what I cannot. Exchanging my heavy burden of worry and (illusion of) control for the joy of seeking Him and knowing Him.

I'm in!