Wednesday, August 8, 2012

a bug's life

In feeling overwhelmed and stressed out... my busy-body self has a list of to-do's during naptime. But then I stop and think of what is most important, rather than what is most urgent. I can't get on my computer because Caleb is displaced to napping in my bedroom [his is under construction from mold]. So automatically- I have to slow down. What is most important-- what do I need? I need truth, I need to know the way I should go, I need some answers for life. MORE than I need clean floors, laundry or dishes.

So I force myself to sit, read, listen. The simplest way I know. Read today's proverb. August 6th-- so Proverbs 6. Of course, it's spot on to what I need to hear today, in this moment. It's answering the exact thoughts I was pondering during my (way overdue) shower just minutes ago.

"...if you've locked yourself into a deal with a stranger, if you've impulsively promised the shirt off your back and now find yourself shivering out in the cold, friend, don't waste a minute, get yourself out of that mess. You're in that man's clutches! Go, put on a long face, act desperate. Don't procrastinate-- there's no time to lose." Proverbs 6:1-5 

Cait- don't waste another minute. Get out of this mess however you know how. There's no time to lose. Do what you gotta do. 

"You lazy fool, look at an ant. Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody has to tell it what to do. All summer is stores up good; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy-- do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life. Poverty your permanent houseguest." Proverbs 6:6-11

Funny that we just watched "A Bug's Life" this morning! Coincidence? I think not.

Learn from the ant Caitlin! Surely it's not wiser than you! 

Lord, I'm believing for a miracle for our finances. I'm having faith that this love offering will cover our tax debt and more. But we will learn from this. Trust. Learn to pray and ask You for guidance. I believe every step of ours was ordered by You! You promise that and we're grateful! Thank you for protecting our family. You are so much bigger than money and debt. But we will put ourselves to work- like the ant- to store up and stockpile. We will not procrastinate in getting out of this mess. We couldn't do it without you, thanks Dad! <3 


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Keeping up with the Kardashians

In a society where we’ve become all about “keeping up with the Kardashians” and the “American dream” we’ve lost touch with what matters most. Our daily lives are run by the urgent, rather than the important. And we so often waste our time trying to attain things that aren’t meant to be ours. We want to have what “they” have.  We begin to miss out on all that we’ve been given, everything we are truly blessed with.
Our opportunity to truly enjoy life as Jesus spoke of, has been stolen from us. I love the way the Amplified version words what He said:
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10 AMP
Who is this thief? Comparison. (The thief is the enemy, this is simply one of his many mechanisms.) When I heard this quote by Theodore Roosevelt, something inside of me clicked: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” So many of us fall victim to this. I know I for one, definitely do. I always look to what others have, whether it be my closest friends, a TV reality show, or an advertisement that looks so appealing. The grass isn’t always greener. We should not compare our lives to others, because we truly have no idea what their journey is all about.

Comparison kills. It can creep into our every thought, more often than not—it is very subtle. We don’t realize what we are succumbing to.
“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12 AMP

"For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another's load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceived and deludes and cheats himself. But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor." Galatians 6:3-4 AMP

As it is written in these two passages, it is not wise and it is not something we should resort to. There is only One who we should compare our trials with. That comparison should always lead to encouragement. 
“Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.” Hebrew 12:3 AMP
 So if this comparison game is robbing us, what is it that will restore this joy that has been stolen? I believe “thanksgiving” will.  Not the turkey, potatoes, parade, and football kind of Thanksgiving, but the daily act of giving thanks for what we have and truly appreciating our lives. The path of gratitude will lead us to the overflowing kind of abundance that Jesus is talking about. My life truly is full, it is overflowing… but I fail to realize this because my mind is stuck on what we don’t have, what we need money for, or worrying about tomorrow. I don’t want this abundance to be stolen from me. I want to truly enjoy my life.
For some, this practice of gratitude comes more natural than for others. I fall on the side of needing some help. The guilt I feel because of that fact alone could lead me to stop dead in my tracks, or I can stop for a moment, address the need to change, and take the initiative to do it. It takes effort. I’ve heard it said, “If you change nothing, nothing will change.” I had to literally post a note in my bathroom that says, “Find something to be grateful for today.”  Since embarking on this journey of giving thanks, I’m finding a whole new meaning to the age-old phrase, “Count your blessings.” They undeniably will outnumber your troubles.
So I encourage you to start this journey with your loved ones. Take the opportunity to truly give thanks for everyone and everything you have in your life. Be creative. Start a new tradition. Make a “thankful tree” with your kids, take time around the dinner table to express thanks, or start to post your blessings around the house. Start the practice of gratitude now.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough. And there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.