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perfection

trusting God to be God

Posted in faith

Do you ever wear a garment of worry over loved ones and their decisions?

Have you ever found yourself carrying burdens of someone else’s life that aren’t yours to carry? Do you tend to live anxious about someone else’s opinion of you?

A truth that comes around now and again since I became a follower of Jesus is this: You are not someone else’s Holy Spirit.

Meaning: you are not meant to be God in someone’s life. You are human, and you have limits. But like Matthew 19:26 says, God has none (hallelujah, thank you, all praise to You, God).

“My over-caring shows up when I try to fix everything for everyone. I want to take away everyone’s pain. It is as if I want to be their savior. Recently I realized that when I try too hard to make it all just right, I’m really attempting to play God. It wears me out and sends me into overload. At the same time, it robs those I love from learning the lessons God wants to teach them. I might even stand in the way of them coming to know Him personally. That thought makes me sad. I understand what perfectionistic-overload means for me: It’s when I try to go beyond my human limitations and do what only God and the other person can do together. It is then that I experience exhaustion and self-doubt. Changing the way I relate to the people around me puts me squarely into unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory.” Joan Webb

There was something going on at work, a serious Holy Spirit heart tug, and I was on the fence about being obedient. A few days later I decided to trust, and walking out a conversation feeling nauseas I felt God impress, Trust Me with other people’s opinion of you.

Then, with some family stuff going on, my husband insightfully said, “You never know what God is teaching them.” I’m thankful he said that, because I’m the type to run around in circles, wanting to cry at the stress or brokenness of a situation, word vomit until people are confused, and then regret multiple things and go to sleep asking God to forgive me. Just being honest. There’s no way for me to know God’s agenda for someone else’s spiritual growth or how God plans to show His power in their life.

I was catching up with a good friend who was sharing something similar she is learning with her 4 year old. She said something like, “I can instruct, love, guide, discipline, but I can’t change her heart. It might someday create waves in our family, but God is going to have to meet her, and she with Him, to change and be made new.”

It’s like Joan says above, “I understand what perfectionistic overload means for me: it’s when I try to go beyond my human limitations and do what only God and the other person can do together.”

And I realize, isn’t that better?

God is infinitely better and enough for each of us. He knows exactly what we need precisely when we need it.

Man, have I been seriously getting this wrong. Over-caring, over-reaching into a place that only God can go.

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finding my joy in the joy of my husband

Posted in him

It was middle of the work day.

I was hit with a big thought, “J shared something with me he was working through the other day, and I haven’t asked him about it.”

I confess, I was saddened by my selfishness. I felt guilty, and a little heartbroken at my lack of attention to what’s going on in my husband’s heart.

I surrendered it to Holy Spirit because it was a weight I needed help working through. My own self-absorption. I may not be malicious self-centered, but focusing on what’s going on in my life only when I am one with this sweet, strong, but also human man of God.

I am his partner, his helper, his wife. I pray for him daily, but only occasionally do I ask how I can specifically pray for him on a particular day.

It hit me then: just because we’re married now, and we see each other daily and know the big things happening in our lives, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ask the common questions of curiosity.

He’s my person. He is the man that God created to be my husband, the man I get to watch continue to grow in Christlikeness and husband-dom, and eventually fatherhood. He is only mine! He is my #1.

I know and believe and love all of these things with my entire being, but my daily choices haven’t truly been reflecting that.

God made me his wife, to support and love and pray for and be present with. This is a beautiful and powerful and important role; I never want to take it for granted or not value it as I should.

So I’ve been thinking… how can I better love my person? The one I am called to love as best as I possibly can?

Spiritually

I can ask more regularly what J is learning about God, lessons from studying the Bible, concerns and joys happening in his heart. I can be a true, real accountability for him by lovingly prodding when I see him choosing self over Christ, or prioritizing worldly pleasures over godly ones. We’re a team, and this life can be difficult. I can get down in the trenches with him and fight apathy and sin and lukewarmness.

Physically

I think of intimacy, but also efforts around our home. I can love him well, by prioritize him over myself. I can do my best to make him laugh, to bring joy to our home by playing our favorite games or watching a great movie. J doesn’t like doing laundry, so I can continue to do majority of the laundry, happily, knowing I am loving him in a particularly important way. I can help keep our home a pleasant, clean, and comfortable place (which happens to make me happy also), so he exhale at the end of a long workday.

Emotionally

I can flirt with him, leave him notes that tell of how much I care for him, make him feel special. I can join him in activities I know he loves. I can remind him how I am on his side always, and cheer him on when he is discouraged. I can share my feelings more honestly, giving him the chance to learn something new about me. I can give him my undivided attention when he is talking, instead of multitasking.

I both love and am continually convicted by this passage from John Piper,

Husbands and wives, recognize that in marriage you have become one flesh. If you live for your private pleasure at the expense of your spouse, you are living against yourself and destroying your joy. But if you devote yourself with all your heart to the holy joy of your spouse, you will also be living for your joy and making a marriage after the image of Christ and His church.

Even once you’re married (I’m generalizing here), it can be easy to still think you’re on an island by yourself. You do things that make you particularly happy, you make choices to benefit you, you meditate about how you’re doing — not at all bad things! But as I learned our first month being married, and so often since then, that my happiness is hinged to J’s happiness. We are one.

On my own, in Christ, I have a capacity for joy and love and abundant life. And it’s a great capacity, because God is great.

But, J and I together? Our potential joy and love and abundant life together blows my alone possibility out of the water by a long shot. It makes my life much richer with J by my side, sacrificially and unconditionally loving him, putting him before myself.

In God is where we are both completely satisfied. In Christ we have all the love we could ever desire or need or dream of. This enables us to not require perfection from each other; it gives us the confidence and ability to work with God to make each other more like Jesus.

Lord, help me seek my joy in the joy of my husband. 

 


 

“I no longer believe love works like a fairy tale but like farming. Most of it is just getting up early and tilling the soil and then praying for rain. But if we do the work, we might just wake up one day to find an endless field of crops rolling into the horizon. In my opinion, that’s even better than a miracle.” Don Miller

If You Don’t Want To Be Lovely….

Posted in inspiration
(This one is close to home, friends. This comes from a heart triumphant from weary years of fighting perfectionism and a distorted self-image. I want you to read this as though we were sitting across from each other in rocking chairs or comfy couch. I want you to hear this as if I was a good friend, with a bear hug and lots of love.)

Question your value constantly.

Insecurity is unattractive. And it doesn’t feel good. Fight against the self-hatred, the discouragement. Fight against grumbling over what you aren’t and pride about what you are. If you want to lack in real beauty, never stand in your true identity. You are valuable. In Jesus we are fully known and always loved, exposed yet never rejected. Jesus declares his affection for us when we are at our very worst as well as at our very best. Is God the most important person in your life? If He is, you are treasured always. He has made you His own. Because of Jesus, everything that is true about Him is true about you in God’s eyes. You are valuable in a way that cannot be changed because you are His. 

“Start being brave about everything. Drive out darkness and spread light. Don’t look at your weaknesses. Realize instead that in Christ crucified you can do everything.” St. Catherine of Siena

See strangers and even friends as competition.

You’ve heard the words of Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” If you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, there’s no room for contentment. If there is no contentment, there’s hardly a chance for strong beauty. If you don’t want to be lovely, in appearance or attitude, see your peers as threats. Your beauty is not supposed to be the same as someone else’s.

God designed us for supporting and connecting and cheering, not competing. Please know that someone else’s success and beauty and growth doesn’t have the power to diminish your own.

“Our riches are the kind that free us from having to be affluent or thin, or intelligent or networked or famous or anything else that the world says we must be in order to matter. Our riches are the kind that assure and reassure us that we have nothing left to hide, nothing left to fear, and nothing left to prove. Because Jesus took on himself the full freight of our shame, we are no longer under pressure to exhaust ourselves with endless and futile efforts to make something of ourselves. We now have an inner resource that can liberate us from preoccupation with self. We now have an inner resource than frees us to treat all people as our equals. We now have an inner resource that endearingly and compellingly invites us to join God in his mission to love.” Scott Sauls

Build life around your external appearance.

You are not your physical features. Be a woman of substance — physical beauty is continually fading. Your physical features can do little to genuinely help someone or the world, but your heart, soul, and your mind? With the Spirit of God in you, you can do incredible things. Build your life around strengthening your inner person.

“When God and His glory are made our end, we shall find a silent likeness pass in upon us; the beauty of God will, by degrees, enter upon our soul.” Stephen Charnock

Put your worth into bubbles that burst.

A sure way to lose your true beauty is to build your life on shifting sand: talents, looks, accomplishments and possessions. These things are temporary, and can change at any moment. Real beauty transcends time. If you seek your worth in anything but God and His unchanging love and pursuit of you, you will be up and down constantly. If you anchor your worth to being well-read, handsome or pretty, wealthy, funny, smart, or even religious, instead of in the smile of God over you, those things will eventually destroy what’s truly good in your life. You’ll be unsteady, probably a little miserable, and easily discouraged. God created you for more.

“Get alone with God and preach His Word into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.” John Piper