I think we can all agree that comparisons are not great for us. They can weigh unfairly on our hearts and minds and distract us from who God wants us to be, rather than who he created others to be.
Something even more dangerous than comparisons, though, but often related to them, is when we allow another's strengths, ideas, words, challenges, and methods to become a standard for our living, thinking, housekeeping, behaving, believing and being on a daily basis.
This is one of those things I realized recently and I cant believe I hadnt realized it before.
I realized that I have placed standards for methods or my consideration of things on myself, based on others.
It may be via example of friends who I see have mastery over an area (housekeeping, homeschooling, bible study, disciplining children), books I have read, inspiring blogs I follow, speakers I have heard, or the way my mom did it.
More than comparing myself to those things, I placed standards for doing those things on myself that were not necessarily a good thing. That is, because all of those basis for standards are human and sure to be imperfect. They are not always best for me, my family or my walk with God even when they often seem wonderful and inspiring. As such, I do myself such an injustice to measure me by those measures.
The areas I do this especially, are in the area of housekeeping. I know several gals in my circle, and follow several blogs and websites of woman to seem to have mastered this area I struggle with. I often hear the way they may do things, and thereby establish for myself that that is the "right" way to do it.
Whether its how often someone does laundry, when they do dishes, if they make their bed every day (not me!) ..whatever. When we allow them to be past the point of an example and make their way of doing it "the" way ..we take away from our own unique situation, strength, abilities and circumstances.
How about reading books, doing written bible studies? Do you ever do a bible study, read a godly book, listen to a christian speaker and walk away feeling challenged but also short of a standard of living for God? Certainly feeling challenged is a good thing, and there are many lessons to be learned from our brothers and sisters in Christ - but we should not let ourselves go so far as to allow those spirit-led words become scripture, and therefore worthy of basing a standard for living for God
Example, yes. Challenge, yes. Thought provoking, yes. Inspiring, yes. Encouragement, yes ...but taking the place of the only True Standard, we must resist.
As humans we are constantly learning, growing, changing, shifting, editing, adjusting, rewriting, reconsidering ...But, scripture and God do not.
Every writer, speaker, friend, blogger, mom/sister/mother-in-law or friend are human beings. Christian though they may be, even perhaps spirit-led in their guidance ...they are affected by their experiences, limited by their humanity. God, is not. Scripture, is not.
Even the most spirit-led person, can only be a supplement to the True Standard. The only standard we can count on being truly realistic, practical, timeless, truth-based ...is God's Word and the principles He sets up for us therein.
So, when you are chiding yourself for having dirty dishes in the sink ...remember that they didnt make the cut for the Ten Commandments :)
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Our bodies were created to depend on water. Fifty to eighty percent of our bodies are made up of water.
Seventy percent of our world is water.
Water has been from the beginning, "Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Genesis 1:2
Water is vital to our existence as human beings.
Our bodies let us know when we are short in this area, by giving us a thirst signal.
Interestingly, by the time you consciously feel thirsty, often you are already at 75% of your reserve hydration. If you ignore that signal, your body will eventually adjust. It will hold on to whatever water it can, through diet or otherwise. The thirst signal can fade into the distance of all the stimulation we receive everyday.
It is surprising though, that if you are someone who isnt a big water drinker and you decide to treat your body to a sip at some point, you find that your thirst signal that you may have ignored totally suddenly pushes itself to the forefront of your mind. Try it. You will find that, especially if you are not used to drinking alot of water, you will crave more water if you give yourself a little.
As you continue to treat your body to hydration, you will continue to thirst more and more. As your body gets used to getting water, it will spark that craving again, and the more water you drink the thirstier you may feel.
Our relationship with God is so similar.
I am sure that I am not alone in that often my heart and head desire a relationship with God more than my schedule shows. I often desire what I see others having, an intense relationship but peaceful relationship with God. I want to spend the time I know I need with God everyday, and yet I have a hard time finding the time to do it.
While on some level I feel motivated, I have a hard time making all my things to do fit the time and effort I need to put into my daily relationship with God.
Something that I have discovered, that God's word and the peace that comes with a love relationship with Him, has a thirsting affect on me.
Just like a sip of water to a parched body, when we offer God to our hearts, our hearts react with a primitive craving. The more time, effort and energy we give to that time with God, the more we want it.
Practically speaking, I have found that when I offer God the 15 minutes I can scrape together for the day, my spirit is sparked. I feel desirous for more. The next day, I find that it is not something I have to work for as much, but desire that 15 minutes and more. As I continue to feed my spirit with that Water which it was created for, my spirit feels motivated to continue to take in more.
Considering this, how well Jesus understands me ... "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John
If you are struggling with the desire and/or motivation to do what needs to be done to nurture that relationship with God, offer your spirit a sip. Just like your body in the very smallest cell, your spirit will begin to hunger for more.
Dont believe me? Try it.
Posted by Courtney at 10:40 PM
Saturday, September 5, 2009
How often can we relate our stresses, or lack of peace with the fact that we are not where we want to be?
Perhaps its because we have a long list of things to do, and the thing you are doing right now isnt on it. Maybe you are doing something that you deem important, but your mind is plagued with things that seem even more important. Its possible that you are simply uncomfortable, feel inadequate to the task at hand or because you are not where you pictured yourself to be at this point in time?
We can lose alot of peace, and add alot of stress to ourselves when we do not look around and accept that sometimes, THIS is where we need to be.
If, indeed, we are seeking to do God's will in all things, seeking to glorify God in everything we do ..then we should allow ourselves a degree of peace that we are where we need to be.
Often, we are where God needs us, but we are so distracted with other things that we miss the intention of the moment or fail the task entirely. For example, when we are sitting on the floor with the kids ..are we really there? True, we are giving them the moment but are our minds already onto the next thing we need to be doing? When we are spending time with our husbands, no matter what the activity may be ..are we present there? When we are taking the time to encourage a friend, talk to a sister or lend an ear to a hurting person ...are we there, or mentally onto the next item on the list?
Jesus was always where he was. He took the time to engage the children, connect with an adulterous woman, heal a blind man ...he was on alert for the task at hand, and some of his most potent lessons were taught while his disciples were already on to the next task. I see Jesus walking through a crowd, with the disciples clearing the way for him. They look back to find that he not behind them anymore ...because he has stopped to spit on the ground and bring sight to a man they had walked by without a glance.
Remember when he was teaching in the crowded house? He stopped midsentence (not like he had a ton of choice, what with roof falling on his head), took on the task that was presented and healed a crippled man. He was there, in the moment where he was.
Do you think he got irritated when a better task arouse? Doesnt seem like it based on the telling of the stories. When his disciples were done for the day, Jesus stayed in the moment and used their need for food to teach them about God's power and provision.
There is peace, in being here; in seeking for God's work in the right now. There is peace in accepting that you are where God needs you to be. That requires, of course, that we constantly seek for where we are to be and make sure that we living a life that is for the purpose of glorifying Him.
When we look around and see that we arent where God wants us, it does our spirits good to seek we where we augh to be. Even in that, we have to focus on what the next step from here is.
I pray that your here is full of peace, and that you find God there. I pray that you are able to rest in the moment as God has created it, and that you accept whatever task you have to do in that moment.
"For tomorrow has enough trouble of its own ..." Matt. 6:34 ..."but seek first his kingdom, and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." 6:33