Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

#Courageous~~What Are You Called To Be?

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I think it’s fair to say just about everyone knows the story of the cowardly lion from the movie The Wizard of Oz.

Of course there are lots of characters from that movie, but, since I’m talking about courage, I’ll focus on the cowardly lion.  What I loved about the cowardly lion, is he was courageous all along, but it took a friend being in need for that courage to rise up inside. Plain and simple, in the short amount of time the cowardly lion knew Dorothy, he knew he loved her and would do whatever it took to save her.  He pushed aside his fear, and he let love rise up inside. It was so overpowering, it enabled him to forget the danger he was in.

Love is a powerful motivator.  God sent His only son to save us because of love.  Talk about some serious love!!  In Matthew 22: 37-39 “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”  To love another above yourself takes great courage.

But when we don’t have love, or we have been hurt by love, life takes on a whole new dimension. If you’ve been abused, in a bad relationship, been surrounded by dysfunction, then you know in order to keep on loving, to keep on giving of yourself takes great courage.  It takes courage to put yourself “out there” again. It takes courage to allow someone in. It takes courage to tell the truth when you want to lie.  It takes courage to love someone not like you. It takes courage to help someone in need. It takes courage to be vulnerable.  It takes courage to be needy.  It takes courage to put your own selfish desires behind another’s needs.  It takes courage to be a follower of Christ.

When I was a person of this world, I followed the flow, I complained about what’s wrong, but rarely did anything to change it.  I thought money would solve all my problems. I thought all my material possessions would make me happy. I thought it would be really great if someone, especially those rich celebrities would just shut-up already and feed the poor with their gazillion dollars and stop interrupting my awesome tv programs with their worthless commercials.  I thought it would be great if someone else did the stuff I might be called to do, because then I could go on living my complacent and oh so comfortable life.  But that’s not my purpose; that’s not why I was created.

God calls us to be not of this world.  He calls us to be the light and to be bold and courageous; to not have fear and to not be intimidated.  On my own, I could maybe do some of what He calls me to do, but eventually I would run out of my human strength and I will need to seek Him out for His strength, wisdom and truth.

Every day, I fail.  So every day, I get back up, I pray, and I persevere.  I could choose to go back to my life before Christ, but I know that road and that life led me to a pit I never want to revisit.  So, with courage, even though I know I will fail, I keep going.  And I’m totally cool with that, because I know no matter my performance God loves me.  He knows my heart and He sees me trying and He’s cheering me on.

He is love wrapped up in a gift, given to me no matter where I am.  Like that quote says, “I can’t brag about my love for God because I fail Him daily, but I can brag about His love for me because it never fails.” (unknown) I am called to be courageous because I choose to follow Christ. What are you called to be?

 

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#Beneficial~~no good, stinkin’ thinkin’ thoughts

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I’ve heard when God is really trying to get your attention; you will come across the same verse frequently and sometimes in various forms.  Well, He must really want my attention because He’s been bringing Philippians 4:8 in my daily devotionals, the on-line Bible Study (Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst) I’m doing and He’s been speaking in my head with the verse as well.  The verse says this: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

I don’t know about you, but my thoughts are not always noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or even praiseworthy.  In fact my thoughts can be pretty degrading and about as stinky as blue cheese.  I did a 3-day challenge where I wrote down my stinkin’ thinkin’ thoughts and my oh-so-lovely thoughts.  When I remembered to write them down, I noticed right off the bat, I had more stinkin’ thinkin’ thoughts.  Whew, this was not gonna be easy.   

Let’s go through one of my days.  I woke up, praised God for the day and thanked Him for all my blessings and walked into the bathroom where I took a look in the mirror where I proceeded to make a face at the face staring back at me in the mirror.  Check out that awesome bed hair, and is that a new wrinkle or a crease in my face from sleeping so hard?  Could my eyes have darker circles than these audacious circles today?  Good grief did I beat myself up or is the bottom half of my eye socket falling into my brain? Oh, is that white streak from the toothpaste I used or more likely a nice dried patch of drool?  Could I be any more attractive? Ughhh!!! 

That’s a lot of stinkin’ thinkin’ in less than 60 seconds!!  Thankfully, my thoughts didn’t stay focused on myself all day.  There were the telemarketers that called that I had less than praiseworthy words for, the folks in the grocery store who seem to think parking their cart in the middle of the aisle is absolute best spot for their cart, and don’t get me started on the people that clear their throats and then spit on the sidewalk.  Then there’s the posts on Face book where I wonder….what would possess a person to post their most personal drama for all to witness. 

See…all stinkin’ thinkin’ thoughts.  At the end of the 3 day challenge I wrote 58 stinkin’ thinkin’ thoughts and 23 lovely thoughts.  Mind you that was 3 days of about 8 hours and the ones I remembered to write down. Hmmmm…is it any wonder God says to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things? 

It’s in no way #beneficial for me to stinkin’ think.  It doesn’t make me happy, it doesn’t put a smile on my face nor bring joy to my heart.  I’m sure if I voiced my stinkin’ thinkin’ thoughts out loud, it wouldn’t make the receiver happy.  In fact as I type this, I’m actually scowling.

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As I reviewed my stinkin’ thinkin’ thoughts, I wondered how I could be so cruel to myself.  I would in no way say the things I said about myself to anyone else.  In fact the things I thought about myself, I would go out of my way to assure another those things were not true, that there was much more to that person that what they were seeing.  And then it hit me.  While I am busy beating myself up with my own words, God is telling me I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  He’s telling me I am precious in His sight.  He’s telling me to stop the stinkin’ thinkin’ and “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  That right there is some #beneficial soul food that I can fill my mind and spirit with.  

 

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#Truth~~Can you handle it

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The truth is I am in love with my Jesus.  The truth is most days I want…no…scratch that…I need to wallow in all the Glory that is Him.  But some days, I just don’t get it.  I don’t see the purpose and I don’t understand why I even bother.  I have soooo much to be thankful for and yet there I go throwing myself a pity party.  And some days, I invite others over for my party and we fill up our whine glasses and cheer to complaining!!  The truth is there are days I just wanna throw in the towel and say, it’s just not worth it.  I’m done.

I had to seriously look inside and see what it was that still brought me to these parties.  They weren’t fun.  They weren’t uplifting. They most certainly weren’t encouraging.  They were just the opposite of anything celebratory.  There were no balloons, no streamers, no party hats, and no cake. There was no rejoicing in the day the Lord gave me, because I could have cared less about the day the Lord gave me.  I questioned “why” He even gave it to me since I was so intent on not seizing the day….I instead seized the mood and chased after it like a child running down the ice cream truck.  I took my focus off God, and I put it all on me.  I stopped thanking and I started self-absorbing faster than a Bounty “quicker picker upper” paper towel.  

And there it was…I was tired of having faith.  I was tired of trusting and I was tired that He was not doing things in my way and in my time.  It wasn’t fair that I wasn’t where I thought I would be at 50 years old.  It wasn’t fair that my position at work got cut and my plans for when I wanted to retire didn’t pan out.  It wasn’t fair that I was a single mom even though it was my own selfishness that brought that to pass.  It wasn’t fair that my girlfriends were scattered all over the world instead of close by.  It wasn’t fair……

I started looking at all the things I didn’t have instead of being thankful for all that I do have. How easy is that to do?  And sometimes when I did have all that I thought that I wanted, I wanted more and looked over in that proverbial neighbor’s yard and started comparing and wanting and that too wasn’t fair. I wanted what I thought they had.   

When I take my eyes, my focus off God and focus on me, the truth gets blurred; like trying to look at your own nose, blurred. It becomes FEAR…False Evidence Appearing Real. It becomes dispassionate and it becomes destructive. It becomes the life our Savior is desperately trying to keep me from, and yet, I still find myself in that place.  But God, will not leave me there. He calls out and I look up and cry Jesus, take this from me.  And He says, I’m trying but you won’t let me.  Ouch!!  It’s in that moment, I realize my faith, my trust is not in the Vine.  I have not given Him my whole heart.  I’ve only given Him pieces. He offered His life, so why can’t…why won’t I offer Him my whole heart?  

The truth is, I’m afraid to give Him my whole heart. There, I said it.  I said it out loud and there’s no hiding from it any more. The truth is I’m afraid I won’t do what He might ask. Notice I didn’t say I’m afraid I can’t do what He might ask.  Because I know that “whatever” He asks of me, He will provide all that I would need to accomplish “it.”  But, it’s the “whatever” He might ask, it’s the “it” of the unknown that stops me. 

It’s time to fully embrace the heart truth that Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well…”Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.””~~ John 4:13-14 (NIV) “This water” Jesus offers is the absolute truth, the life and the way!!  And while I’m on my journey to give Him my whole heart, the awesome thing is, He’s still meeting me right where I am, showing me the way. 

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This is the 4th week of our On-line Bible Study over on the Proverbs 31 site, Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.  Our word for the week is #Truth and one of the topics for our blog hop is “#Truth– What truth are living by? Whose truth are you believing?”  It actually comes down to 1 truth—it’s either God’s truth or the enemy’s lies. 

Whose truth will you believe?

 

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#Peace~~Getcha some!!

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“#Peace– Is it possible to make #peace with the realities of our bodies?  How?” 

This is one of the topics over at Proverbs 31 Blog Hop for our on-line Bible study Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.  There were more, topics but this one reached out to me as soon as I read it. My first thought was a snide….yea, right, sure..let me get right on that #peace with my body train. Mmm hmmm.  Pure disdain in that first thought.  But then I switched gears and thought positively, yea, right, sure…let me get right on that #peace with my body train!! Cuz this is one mentally tired girl from the constant battle in my own head that my body is not good enough!!

When I think of the word battle, I think of a fight between opposing opponents.  My only opponent is my mind.  I’m literally beating myself up.  It’s like when my brother would take my arm in his hand and proceed to hit me in the face with my own hand, saying “stop hitting yourself.”  If you’ve ever had that happen, you know what I’m talking about and no doubt just got a little annoyed.

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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been losing my own battle because of what?  Numbers on a scale that don’t reflect what I want?  Societal standards of skinny, curvy, fat, or obese…pretty, beautiful, gorgeous or that horrible word ugly?  And those are just general areas.  I could totally dig deeper and start picking on features…like cellulite for example.  Every single one of those things is superficial.  And seriously, who gets to make those standards and then label me anything less than who I am?  

Maybe it was my mom, who to this day, beats herself up and passed it down onto me. Maybe it was the boys who didn’t choose me or the girls who laughed and talked behind my back.  Unfortunately, that’s the type of stuff that can take up permanent residency in a place where it doesn’t belong and in reality, no one but me has the power to make myself feel less than who I am.   

Lysa wrote in her book “I don’t know a woman alive who is completely happy with her body.”  I thought about that and like her, I can honestly say, in my circle of friends not one of them has ever said…I love the way I look!!  That’s so sad..isn’t that just so very sad?  Sadder still, even when I was “skinny,” I called myself “fat.”  Now that I’m bigger, I wish I was as skinny as when I thought I was fat.  My brain is tired of this insanity!! 

The mean girl in me that mentally abuses myself has lived with me for far too long.  It’s time I looked her straight in the face and told her get out!!  You’re being evicted and there’s no other space for rent!!  There’s a new landlord in town and she’s at #peace with the body God so very graciously and lovingly gave to her. 

You see, God is all that and a bag of chips!!  He calls me by name, and says “My Grace is sufficient for you.  For my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-NIV)   So any weakness I have, I’m covered by His power.  That power by the way, raises the dead to life.  Just sayin’  So now I can answer that question of how I can be at #peace with the realities of my body. 

In my own strength, I will never have peace, but given His strength, His wisdom, His love, and His truth, I have all the #peace I want.  I know that if #peace is gone, then I moved.  And I know if I moved, He is still there…always and forever….there!!  Go getcha some #peace and while you’re at it, grab onto the Love and share Him with everyone you can….including yourself!! 

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