Hi guys. It’s been awhile.
Let me give you just a taste of what I’ve been thinking about in the last few months. I don’t anticipate this being in any particular order or making any kind of sense as a whole, but ohhhh well.
I have always struggled with legalism vs. free grace. It’s a concept I know well, considering how much I waffle between the two. I didn’t even know this was something I was dealing with until the last couple years. It has only been through talking with others about this that I have been shown my own struggle. Most days, I don’t read my Bible. Some days it’s not because I choose not to, it’s because I’m literally going all day, so my worst problem is not carving out time in the early morning to do it but instead sleeping off my late night (that’s horrible grammar, but whatever). Most days, if I actually slow down long enough to think about it, I feel foolish and sinful for not reading my Bible. I KNOW that spending that time in the Word is important to my day, but I don’t do it. On the flip side, I realize that allowing myself to feel condemned in the process is NOT what God would have for me…and God is not standing over me with a ruler, smacking my proverbial behind when I’m not diving into His Word. I mean, maybe He is allowing me to reap the consequences of not doing this, but He’s not straight out condemning me. He loves me and He knows my struggles.
So it’s the middle ground between these two stances that I have a heck of a time finding! I know I’m not alone in this struggle–don’t get me wrong–but it doesn’t change the day-to-day issues that arise from this brain battle. Friends and family could talk to me about this until they’re blue in the face but it always comes back down to me and God.
Also, I realize that not reading God’s Word is not the “worst” thing one could do, but that coupled with my time spent on the internet/reading about stupid stuff (like celebrities’ lives or anything else I stumble upon while surfing the web) equals a day ill-spent. I find myself repenting time and again for the foolish ways I spend my time. I know that I need to set some boundaries in these areas, and I can’t allow myself too much wiggle room or I will inevitably break…immediately. I need clearcut boundaries for internet time and I need to be diligent in doing the most important things in my day FIRST…work, then play. However, I don’t need to let Satan get into my heart and mind every day, beating me over the head with my own failures. I guess the only way to battle him is to be in the Word and in prayer! It’s a circular thing, but it should also not be a condemning thing. Does that make sense? Maybe.
I also want to find a good balance in my prayer life. I have always been that person who says, “I will pray for you!” but 90% of the time if I don’t pray for that person RIGHT THEN, I never will, and slowly their prayer requests will slip out of my mind. I need to write things down, I need to set aside time to pray during the day (although in-the-moment prayers are not out of the question) and I need to DO IT.
Out of this struggle comes judgmentalism about other’s media choices or life choices, and it’s the classic example of “speck in your eye, plank in my own.” I want to be the iron that sharpens iron in my friend’s lives, but I also want to learn how to love and care for them without feeling like I have to be the Holy Spirit in their life–and part of that is learning to let the Holy Spirit do His work in my own life! Sometimes I take this too far the OTHER way (there’s that legalism/free grace struggle again!) and don’t speak up to others when I should, but again–always being chipped on in this area. Chipping hurts sometimes!
My heart struggle rages on, and the days pass quickly. This year has flown by–I can’t believe it. I feel my life fleeting away.
“The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of our Lord will stand forever.” — Isaiah 40:8
I have yet to find more work, primarily for two reasons. Half of it is me just being lazy and doing other things with my time in the morning/early afternoon (some good things, some not). The other half is that I have been in prayer about it but I don’t feel called or led to a specific place. I mean, I have pursued 3 or 4 jobs but nothing has panned out. I was rather excited about at least 2 of those job options but when things didn’t work out, I got a bit depressed. It’s silly, really. I have people speaking into my life words of wisdom and encouragement. I have my parents wishing I had more of a “dream”, more a passion for something in life. My mom wishes I had a reason to go off to college and get a degree, but I don’t. I have no reason at this moment to get into a hunk of debt in return for a degree in something I just don’t care that much about. I have people telling me I’m bright and I’m capable of more, more, but….I don’t know where to go from here. A friend was telling me the other day,
“That’s a tough place to be. It’s like God has you in a holding pattern and you’re going, ‘Alright, Lord, anytime you want me to land….that would be good!’. But He’s just got you circling the runway, leaning on and trusting in Him, waiting for that day where He places you somewhere.”
Exactly. That’s where I’m at right now. So while it would appear that my not having more work hours is sheer laziness, that is only part of the picture! haha. I acutely feel and understand that maybe the Lord has me in a holding pattern and at just the right moment, He will land me in His will, in just the right place. I feel so much pressure to DO and BE something that I’m not ready to DO or BE, and it can lead to depressing thoughts. But currently, I’m trying to use the extra time that I have to do some good things too, and catch up on life. Simple things like organizing and getting things together a bit more in my personal life. As previously said, I’m failing at this quite a bit! But God is faithful in all circumstances. And I know that if I wasn’t living with my parents right now, my financial situation would be much worse. I’m trying to save and put aside as much as possible to replenish my drained savings account and be a good steward of the money He HAS blessed me with.
Sometimes going to bible college seems like a faraway dream. I don’t know if and when He will lead me to that spot, but it is always in the back of my mind and I am always a few steps away from being properly registered and/or in the school system. Every semester that approaches, I consider it and pray about it but have not felt peace about signing up for classes thus far. I still have hope. 🙂
Being a nanny is tough, guys. It’s far from being the toughest job in the world, but it still takes stamina and the ability to be on your toes at all times. I am working so few hours now compared to the 10 hour days in the summer, so I’m not complaining. However, these little girls stretch me in spiritual and emotional ways that both frustrate and encourage me. I KNOW I’m being stretched and I KNOW it’s good for me, but in the moment, I feel like smacking their little behinds and yelling into a pillow for a few minutes!…Neither would be a good idea.
I see how much these little girls need Jesus in their lives and the pseudo-faith at least one of them has constructed to feel good about herself. Yet I hear the words that come out of my mouth sometimes, words that are far from loving and arise from frustration about their behavior or sadness about the way they are living. So not only am I sad about their heart condition, but I’m sad about my own. If I have the love of Jesus, why can’t I show it? God has been gracious to me, why can’t I show the same grace? I have a huge mission field here and I blow it often. Thank You, Lord, for Your tender mercy and forgiveness! I have done my share of asking for forgiveness with my girls, letting them know that the way in which I responded was unkind and inappropriate. Every day brings new challenges…and more than anything, I want to honor God with my lips AND my actions.
I know that my time with them is not useless…and I also know it’s great preparation for being a mom. 🙂
Speaking of being a mom, I have had at least one passion in life–to be a wife and mother. Unfortunately, this appears to be another far off dream. I have no idea what God is doing here, but I also realize that I’ve been coming at it from an entirely inappropriate perspective. A friend of mine was talking about the attitude that many of us have–that we are “owed” a husband and children. I didn’t think that was where my heart was hanging out at all, but upon further reflection, God has shown me that that is a part of it. I’ve always been known to say,
“Well, I would really like to be a wife and mom one day, but I know God may not have that in store for me. Right now, I’m just waiting for Him to maybe bring someone into my life, but I’m aware that I’m not currently ‘out there’ and until I get more involved with co-ed young adult groups, I may not meet someone anyway. I hope to do that soon but otherwise I’m just waiting.”
Is there anything wrong with that statement? Well…a little. While it’s not wrong for me to desire to be a wife and mom and it’s not wrong to want to be with other young men and women my age, the expectation that doing so will magically provide a husband for me is inappropriate. I’m realistic but at the same time I’m a little bit hopeful that MY efforts will produce the outcome I’ve been praying for. That’s totally bogus.
Women (and men!) have been known to pray that the Lord will totally take away their desire for a significant other if He doesn’t have that in their future…and I have been guilty of this too. But I know it’s not the taking away of the desire that will be glorifying and honoring to Him. It’s the way we live our lives in that middle space–the holding pattern in which He has us–that will honor our Heavenly Father, and I pray He will help me learn how to do that. THAT is my prayer.
I need to remember those who are struggling in various areas of life–I’m so selfish. With all this being said, I have:
- A mommy who is struggling with getting used to a CPAP being on her face for better sleep at night, medication amounts going up and down as her body reacts to them, wearing a prosthesis multiple hours a day and feeling discouraged about all of this and the lack of progress in her remaining leg.
- A young friend who is teaching 8th graders in Honduras and is struggling with fever and feeling very unwell at the moment.
- A friend who recently lost her son to a battle with heart disease.
- A daddy who is dealing with the loss of a good friend and coworker who was shot and killed in a strange series of events last week.
- A little girl in Uganda who is dealing with God knows what on a daily basis and has an uncertain future ahead of her…she might even be waiting to hear from her sponsor who writes to her only 2 or 3 times a year.
I know I am far from being in the worst position here but I realize we all have our struggles and God knows each and every one of them and how to meet us right where we are. I want to be in constant, vigilant prayer for these needs and the needs of others in my church family, group of friends, positions of power (governmentally or otherwise), etc.
I have no clearcut way to end this post, but I do have something really cool that I still have yet to write about. I think I will dedicate another post to that though and move on with my day.
In the end,
GOD IS SOVEREIGN.
GOD MEETS OUR NEEDS, NOT OUR WANTS.
OUR LIVES ARE TO GLORIFY GOD, NOT TO PLEASE OURSELVES OR OTHERS.
THE BEST THING WE CAN DO IN LIFE IS SERVE HIM AND TELL OTHERS ABOUT HIS LOVE.
NO MATTER WHERE WE ARE IN LIFE, IT IS NOT THE END– IT’S JUST THE HOLDING PATTERN GOD HAS US IN UNTIL HE BRINGS US HOME.