Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It's time...

It’s time for me to get “Mary’ed” up! 
 Yes, I’m already married… I’m talking about a whole other kind of Mary’ed. 

"As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”       (Luke 10:38-42) NLT

So wow. To be completely honest… I was dealing with some weird emotions. I recognized them as not normal and definitely not truth… as I was processing them aloud last night with Cole, "where did they come from" and "help me speak against these lies"…
I was feeling:
  -not needed, insecure
            -no value, no purpose

I realized (which I have many times before) that my life has always been and is continuously so “performance-based”…

I’m a busy-bee, productive-person, efficiency-engineer….. I get things done-- and I like to. It’s not all bad, it’s part of my giftings for sure… but I’ve been put in a season where that is all halted (at least in a position to where I can gain acknowledgements for it, accolades, a pat-on-the-back, a feeling of “they-couldn’t-get-by-without-me”, a hero of the moment). 

No, this was all halted… as I was knee-deep in diapers, discipline and all the chaos in-between. And it’s not like my baby boy is going to thank me for cleaning up his poop all over himself, me and the couch. My two-year-old is not going to tell the world that I just cleaned up his buckets of water all over our hardwood floor without freaking out on him. My dishes aren’t going to gain a voice and thank me for putting them away.  

Talk about for an “Audience of One"... and I'm reminded: 

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters..." (Colossians 3:23)

So here I am, embarking on summer camp. The camp where typically I had some performance-based role. Whether it was managing people, organizing registration, calculating rooming situations and numbers, speaking a message—always something. Now I was left feeling “purpose-less”, or I guess you could say “useless”. Why am I even going? Why are we having “babysitters”? I might as well just sit with the boys alone all day.

Then I heard/felt it clearly. It’s time for you to get Mary’ed up! I’ve been Martha for too long. And everytime I’ve recognized that fact and known I need to slow down and just sit at His feet and sit amongst others relationally…. I find an excuse, or better yet I find people that people “NEED” me to do something for them. Not this time.

This time I NEED to be with Him and do the basics-- 

Let’s face it, normally I’m “too busy for people.” How ridiculous does that sound? I know! Walking along… barely acknowledging the people who I’m “doing it all for”. Just to get ‘er done… and keep being productive.

Well now I have no excuse… and leave-it-to-me… I would’ve found one no doubt! But He’s clearly spoken…. PLEASE BE A MARY RIGHT NOW. SLOW DOWN. Stop performing and seriously CONNECT. 

"Connect with Me, connect with people. LOVE ME, LOVE PEOPLE."

So I’m ready, but I’m really uncomfortable. And as silly as this sounds I feel like I’m going into “uncharted territory”. And I’m putting this out there, for others who may be like me and need the encouragement to “Get Mary’ed up!!” and for accountability for myself. 

Allow no excuses to find busy-work to hide behind… 
it's time to CONNECT and LOVE. 

Please excuse the utter messiness of this entire post. It was written quickly in the midst of packing and cleaning. Everything in me wants to keep it to self. But I believe I'm supposed to post it. This is raw, this is quite frankly a bit embarrassing, but this is my "no turning back moment." Ready to obey whole-heartedly... all the while praying, "Lord, please just let no one read this." Eek. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

The (Comparison) Trap Door

The more I thought about this comparison trap.... and how easily it's talked about and owned by myself and many of us... I realized it's a really pretty label on something really ugly. I feel like it's easy for me to say, "Yes. I too struggle with comparison." But what is really behind the door of comparison? Jealousy, envy, bitterness, pride, and the list of nasty just goes on.

I have always agreed with the thought that, "recognizing the problem is half the battle." Well if this is true... then mis-labeling the problem, well that's an issue. I can say, "oh I just need to stop comparing." And move on with my day. But when I open the door of comparison... I must realize what's behind that door and in my heart is a whole lot of jealousy for what I don't have; envy of what other's have that I don't think they deserve (or if they do, then I definitely do); bitterness towards others or God for not "blessing" me with that; pride that I am so much better than someone who made that choice. I mean all kinds of evil really.

"For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind." (James 3:16 NLT)

What a word of truth. So if the comparison in my life is stirring up jealousy, envy and selfish ambition... I can know what will follow. Disorder, confusion, every kind of evil. No wonder it can "seep into every area" of my life or seem to consume my thoughts at times. It's a disorder I don't want to dive into. I picture a trap door in the floor; the trap being comparison. And once I fall into the trap, I'm swimming in the mess of pride, jealousy, envy, bitterness, and more.

"Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. (Hebrews 12:15 NLT)
 "A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones." (Proverbs 14:30 NLT)

Let's look after each other. Let's refuse to live this way. I refuse to go another day living in this without recognition and repentance for doing so. God made us for so much more. So I have to recognize what is really going on in my heart and mind, acknowledge the error of my ways and pursue peace and love (and "The Art of Celebration"-- see previous post.)

God, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry for living like this for so long and writing it off as no big deal. I know you have designed life to be so much sweeter than living with this disorder. Thank you for showing me this truth. Let it come alive in me in such a way that I can't turn back. I don't want to be "okay" with this. I want to truly celebrate others and be grateful for the amazing life I have. Thank you for rescuing me from this trap. Help pull us out, one by one, day by day, moment by moment and look to You for wisdom on how to celebrate & love others... give us Your thoughts, show us Your ways. I love you. Thank you for grace.... again. 

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth so my ways are higher than your way and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Art of Celebration

Our household seems to be in a state of constant competition. We have been amazed at how young our boys are, yet how instinctive competition and comparison seem. It seeps into every area of life. The dinner table, "my strawberry is bigger than yours." The parking lot, "I'm beating you." The car, "no this is my song, not your song!" And the list goes on...

I've found myself thinking back on my life and how it's not much different. I am an only child, but the closest thing I have to a sister is my friend Katie. We were born on the same day, in the same room-- with moms who were best friends. I found myself always competing and comparing, but in a very dangerous way, silently. It started with things like, who had more toys, or got the newest Barbie. To who had the bigger house, who had more friends, who was prettier, who got better grades. I mean it is endless. It seeps into every area of many of our lives.

From the time we are young it seems ingrained in us to envy, to compare, to compete.... rather than to celebrate. Comparison is always a trap because it either causes us to feel better about ourselves and get puffed up (while looking down on how bad others are) or it causes us to feel awful about ourselves and life (while reflecting on how much better other people have it.) Comparison is a nasty trap, that I will be on the look out for and strive to not get caught up in.

Rather than be in a state of constant competition... 
We need to discover the art of celebration.  

That is celebrating others. What does it truly mean to celebrate others achievements, happiness, etc. Is it possible to celebrate when your friend gets that new gadget you've been eyeing, when they get a new car and you're driving a clunker, when they get publicly praised and you feel invisible, when they get promoted and you just lost your job, when they have their fourth child and you can't seem to conceive, when they get their dream home and you just lost yours.

There is never a formula for life (although I always try to make one up to solve my world problems.) So if I took my best shot at it-- I think a good recipe to avoid becoming a burnt-out competitor is a mixture of gratitude, grace, and celebration. Learning to be grateful for what we've been given. The good, the bad, the ugly. All of it. Fixing our eyes on Jesus as the One who holds it all. Living with grace towards others and ourselves. Forgiving faults & failures. And learning the art of celebration. I think it truly is an art. It's a masterpiece and in these times, it's rare and I think very valuable.

"Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them." (Philippians 4:4-5)

Lord, teach me to celebrate others well. To become less centered on myself and put my eyes onto You and to those you've given me to walk this beautiful life out with. I am sorry for the times that I've let envy take up space in my heart. Lead me to grace and gratitude. Clean me out of my constant competitive nature. Help us to create a culture of celebration. Celebrating with each other, for each other. I want to live this life to the fullest with You and with them. Thank You for Your grace and for second (and 55th) chances!