Monthly Archives: May 2012

Approval should be a four letter word.

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Approval is an idol for me.  I need it.  I worry when I don’t feel like I have it.  I crave it.  I desire it. 

I know I don’t really need it, but I want it nonetheless.  And it eats at me.  Destroys my confidence.  Weakens my resolve.

I’ve noticed lately that I worry way too much about what others think of me or my choices.  If I know I am doing what’s right, that is what matters.  But it’s still hard not to crave the acceptance of others.  I want people to think I have a cute outfit on today.  I want to make people laugh with a witty joke.  I want people to be impressed by my hard work or my accomplishments.  I want to be approved, to have that stamp that says “she’s cool.”

But Scripture says that is exactly the wrong idea; in fact, it gets in the way of our faith and our closeness to God:

 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from God alone. -John 5:44

When I spend so much time trying to gain the acceptance of other people, as a woman, a mother, a teacher, a friend, and so many other roles, I lose the time I could be working on a closer relationship with Christ.  When I worry how the world sees me, I lose sight of how He sees me.  When I crave the approval of friends, family members, students, and even people I do not know, I lose the ability to ensure my life meets His approval.  I know I can’t do anything to gain or lose His love, but I can do what I know He wants me to do. 

Approval is a nasty thing.  It sneaks into our subconscious and poisons our thinking.  When I crave the approval of those around me over the approval of God, my heart and my intentions are in the wrong place.  How can I truly call myself a follower when I don’t do what I know He asks me to?  

So my summer bucket list now includes seeking the right kind of approval.  This will not only encourage my heart and bless my life, but it will allow that poisonous thinking to leave me and give my mind rest.

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Prayer

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Pray.

People ask me to pray for them or someone they know pretty frequently. Most people know that I am a Christian, or that I believe prayer works. But I don’t know how to pray effectively.

Usually, when I pray, I feel like I am just asking God for whatever I want to happen. That doesn’t seem effective. I feel like prayer needs to be something more than that.

I like to write my prayers down. Maybe it’s just my type-A personality, but I have a hard time with the abstract “in my head” prayers. I think God knows what’s on my heart, but I also think it helps me to think through them. Then, I pray more consciously. I think about what I need to give thanks for, ask forgiveness for, what people or situations in my life need His grace or intervention, and where I need His help.

I’ve started looking at an e-book called Warrior Prayers: Praying the Word for Boys in the Areas they Need it Most. It guides mothers (or parents) in praying Scripture over their sons to help them become godly men. It is awesome, and was recommended by a church friend. It is available through http://www.warriorprayers.com for $4! I am sure I’ll go though it and then pull it out and refer back to it again and again.

A few weeks ago, I attended a retreat and went to a session about praying Scripture. I loved it!! It was one of the coolest things I’d ever heard of, and really seemed so easy! This is something I’m really going to try. Not only do I think it will help me to ground my prayer, but it will force me to get deeper into God’s Word. I’m so excited about this new adventure in prayer.

God is drawing me closer to Him in so many ways, and it is changing my life.

I know prayer is supposed to be easy. But for many people, I’d venture to bet it is not. That is why I am so thankful for people who love to help Christians through their writing, their blogs, their speaking, etc. It is such a blessing to have so many resources available to me.

A Simple Lesson

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I am seeing a counselor.

Wow, that was liberating to say.  I don’t know why I always felt like that was so humiliating to admit, or even to do.  Think how much I could have already worked through if I had done this years ago.  I used to think that counseling meant something was “wrong” with me, or I was “sick”.  Nothing’s wrong with me.  I have issues and things that I just need to talk through and learn some strategies to deal with.  And that’s okay.  Everyone needs this at times in their life.

Today, I learned something very simple and profound.  I learned that God knows everything about me.  He knows what I think, and what I feel, and when I sit and stand and move.  He knows what I’ve been through and what is to come for me. 

And somehow, He still wants me as his.

Through my counseling, I’m learning to turn to Him to deal with my issues and improve my life.   Because He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. -Isaiah 40:29 

So no matter how defeated I feel, I can take strength from my relationship with Him.

A Happy Heart

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

Life is busy.  I believe that Ferris Bueller said something about slowing down and paying attention, or else you might miss it.  I’ve found this idea has been weighing on my heart over the last few weeks.  When I find myself overwhelmed and looking at my to-do list, a quiet voice whispers in the back on my mind, “slow down…what’s most important?”  When I really step back and look at my day-to-day life, am I focused on what’s most important in the long run or on what “needs” to be done?

Sadly, I focus more on the list of things that need to be done than on the great plans that have been made for my life.

This conflict has been weighing heavily on my heart lately.  Tomorrow, my little boy will be three years old.  He’s grown and changed so much.  He’s really into spending time with Mommy when I have him.  He wants me to play cars, lay down and watch movies with him, and read books.  More often than I’d like, I find myself telling him, “Mommy’s working right now.”  Sometimes that’s enough.  But now, he tells me, “You’re not working, Mommy.  Let’s play cars.”  Or, even more heartbreaking, “I want to work too, Mommy.  I can help.”

I have been entrusted with a life.  God sent me this little angel baby.  And the best part of being a mom is making those spontaneous memories with him.  The hugs and the kisses and the cuddles.  And when he looks and me and says, “Mommy, you’re pretty,” my heart melts. 

That’s what my life is supposed to be all about.  Not about jobs and money and success and security.  God will take care of me, as long as I live with a happy heart.  As long as I do everything I do to His glory.

I’m still going to work two jobs, and coach volleyball, and have household responsibilities.  I’m still going to be busy with grading and planning and reading and laundry and errands.  But I’m not going to allow myself to be overwhelmed and stressed anymore.  I’m going to trust that He will provide and that everything will get done in the time that it is supposed to.  I’ve been given such opportunities just when I needed them.  And instead of seeing them as burdens, I need to see them as blessings.

I’m just going to do the best I can every day, and do it to the glory of the One who made me.  I don’t want to miss life; I want to enjoy the plans He’s made for me.

And I’m not going to miss out on time with my little monkey man.  He’s already three.  Soon he’ll be off to school and growing up and going off to college.  I won’t remember the grading or planning.  But I’ll remember kisses and cuddles and playing with the most amazing little boy I’ll ever know.  I’ll remember the soft sound of his snoring.  I’ll remember his beautiful little boy voice telling me “I love you.”

I can’t believe the last three years have gone by so quickly.  I can’t believe my little man is so grown up, so smart, so fun.  Happy birthday, Aidan.  Mommy loves you.