Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Good Intentions

Sometimes I feel like a failure at life and pretty pathetic.  Not a glamorous picture for a child of God is it?  It’s true though.  In my dreams I am a very organized person.  I like the quote “A place for everything and everything in its place”. I always start out that way, I have wonderful plans, great objectives.  But, you know the saying: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”?                                                I’m the walking advertisement. 
Time; or a lack thereof, interferes with my good intentions and I fail yet again.  The laundry that needs to be folded sits in a basket in the living room.  The papers I need to file are all over my desk.  The checkbook I need to balance is in the middle of the papers I need to file.  The devotional I wanted to read is unread; the poem I wanted to write is unwritten.  You get the picture?  Anyway, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m neither a failure at life nor pathetic.  I’m simply a sinner saved by grace (which is good, because if it required good deeds I’d have to add them to my to-do list and I’m out of room!).  I am a busy woman just trying to figure it out.  So, if you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, pathetic or like a failure – I can relate.  I have good news for you; though it won’t solve your problems, it won’t clean the closet or magically give you more time.  The good news is: Jesus loves you and cares about all the things that frustrate you, intimidate you and make you feel inferior.  We are weak without Him, but with Him, we are strong enough to handle all these things…day by day.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.  1 Corinthians 1:25                       
Reminding you blesses outweigh stresses;

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Be Encouraged

Do you ever feel responsible for the world? I do. I feel that way ALL the time. (No, I’m not exaggerating.) I’ve often wondered why I feel the urge to lift up those who are down, why I have an insatiable need to stop people from beating themselves up. If a friend is in a bad mood, I cheer them up. If a family member is having a terrible day, I try to give them confidence. Someone I know is attempting something new/scary? I cheer them on. It may sound silly…but it really is my ‘duty’ to share blessings with them.

I believe the desire I have to encourage others is my gift from the Holy Spirit. The dictionary defines encouragement as; “somebody or something that gives somebody hope, confidence or courage”. That seems like a lot of responsibility and kind of scary. Who am I to be offering “hope, confidence or courage” to others? I’m a sinner, I fail and I’m overwhelmed too. The difference is; I know where to receive encouragement and I know where my hope comes from.

I have my down times too, but for the most part I’m a ‘glass half-full’ person. The fastest way for me to get out of my own “down” time is to lift someone else. - Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one man (woman) sharpens another. By encouraging others I am encouraged. God has gifted me with supporting others and I’m excited about this. I feel extra blessed because this gift requires me to keep the focus off myself and on Christ. I can’t encourage others without the knowledge of where my strength is found.

If you’re having a difficult time, if you need prayer or a scripture verse for your situation; please let me know and I’ll be happy to “lift you up”.

More Blessed than Stressed,

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

True Humility vs False Modesty

It has been my pleasure to be acquainted with a few people in my life who know what true humility is.
If you’ve ever met Tim, you know what I’m talking about.  Tim was my boss several years ago.  By just being around him you knew he was a loving husband, a doting father/grandfather, a dedicated, hard working leader as well as a great supervisor and now my forever brother-in-Christ.  His daily attitude spoke volumes about his character.  He never had to tell you his beliefs, everything he did or said was based on his faith in Christ.  I learned a lot about servant leadership by simply observing how he related to others.  To this day, he’ll tell you he should have worked harder, he could have done better, etc – and there is no false modesty there, he honestly doesn’t know the impact he has on others.
Also, if you’ve met Brian, you know what I mean.  Brian is my step-son; smart as a whip, kind, considerate, fun…and a walking advertisement for Christ.  I’ve never heard him say one negative or disparaging thing about someone else. (I’m not saying he’s never done it, just that I’ve never heard him do it.)  There is something very “genuine” about Brian.   He lives for and loves Christ.  He doesn’t hide his faith and he’s willing to talk to anyone about it at anytime.  When he talks to you or does something for you, there’s nothing ‘false’.
On the other hand:
I’ve witnessed my fair share of false modesty (I’m even guilty of it).
You know?  Those times when we make excuses or belittle a compliment instead of simply saying “thank you”.
-          Nice poem, I liked it.                    “Nothing special, anybody can do it.”
-          Great job on the report!                 “I put some data together, no big deal, it only took 3 days.”
-          Dinner was yummy!                      “It’s a new recipe, I’m sure I can do better.”
-          Thanks for babysitting!                  “It was nothing.”
I’d like to say I do this when I’m trying not to be vain, but in honesty I do it so I will hear “Yes it is a big deal” or “No, really, thanks so much”.  I stress a bit (OK, a lot) on what others think of me & tend to rely a bit too much on the accolades of others.  I always cringe inside when I catch myself doing this. I recently realized something; if God gives me an ability to share, a gift to use or time to benefit others and I downplay it, then I’m doing Him a disservice.  He deserves acknowledgement for anything and everything I’m capable of.  Just like the examples of Tim & Brian above.  I’ve been working on this and trying to do better by simply accepting a comment or compliment: 
-          Your poem was great, it really spoke to me.  “Thank you so much, I really felt the Holy Spirit moving me to write it.”

Still Stressed but mostly Blessed,