This week in GMG I have been Intentionally Focused on My Mind. Now, intentionally focused sounds like using a lot of attention to do something well, but for me it means God showing me just how terrible I actually am … Continue reading
This week I started a new session with Good Morning Girls. We are studying the idea of being Intentionally Focused. So instead of giving my group a novel to read through everyday, I decided to try and put all my thoughts together here.
The main idea this week was on working toward the goal of being more like Christ. We talked about letting go of things that hold us back, what it means to imitate God, and how little time we actually have to do all that in our life. I wouldn’t consider myself much of a goal setter. I’m a little more of a ‘go with the flow’ type. Having said that, everyone is searching for purpose in life, so essentially that is a goal to work toward. As a Christian, my purpose here is to glorify God; seek his kingdom above all else. We bring God glory when we live the righteous life that he has planned for us. He’s given us plenty of examples of people who have followed that path, they’ve run the race. A lot of them fell on their face along the way, but ultimately they did good enough to make it into the Bible. There is one though, that did it perfectly. It was a short 30 something years, but he lived them well. He ran the race and nothing slowed him down, he persevered and endured more than we ever will in our lifetime and did not crack under pressure. So this is our example, the goal to work toward. Notice it is not something that we attain, just something we make progress in getting closer to. This is a hard concept for me. I like to win. I like to be the best. I usually don’t even attempt to do something unless I know I am pretty darn good at it. If you’ve read any of my other blogs though, you know that I am getting better with surrendering to this refining (perfecting) process. There are a lot of things I’m not good at, like joy, and peace, and patience, and self control…the list goes on, but God continues to put me in situations that give me the opportunity to grow in those areas. I know I won’t achieve these things fully, ever, but seeing the work of God and how he transform my heart to be more like Christ, it is humbling and truly a miracle.
Another part of this I struggle with is the idea of a race. When I compare life to a race and running I think it has to be fast and busy and full. I lived like that for many years in high school and beyond, many of the things being very good things, but it was like I was a sprinter in a marathon. I’d dash from one thing to the next and try to catch my breath in between. I’ve never run a marathon, wouldn’t be surprised if I never do, but from what I know, they pace themselves. Its not about speed, but longevity. This Christian life isn’t about cramming as much stuff into it as possible, but taking each day in stride. In a sprint you’ve got barely enough time to see anyone around you, but a marathon, there are crowds of people in the race together. So I need to remember that its OK to slow down sometimes, still moving forward of course and focused on the goal, but it will help me to be able to endure the miles ahead.
So what do I do now? I’ve got all this great knowledge of what my perspective should be and what my purpose (goal) is, so now I’ve got to apply it to my life. Currently I am a stay-at-home mom. When I think about living like Jesus, I think of him traveling around teaching and preaching and doing miracles and having great compassion. And then I think, “But I just stay at home all day.” Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but comparing it to the life of Jesus is kind of tough. Then I thought, what if Jesus was a stay-at-home mom? I know he didn’t have kids, but just go with it, OK?
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Jesus would get up early to spend time with his Heavenly Father. He wouldn’t wait until the kids wake up and then try to doze for a little while longer while they play with Daddy. (Yes, this is my life, and I have an amazing husband.) I am not an early riser, except for that time I worked at a coffee shop, it was awful. This has always been the case. As a child, I would lay in bed until the last minute asking my mom to pick out my clothes for school. I really like sleep, but I also really like being filled with the Spirit and knowing that he will sustain me for whatever the day brings. Lately God has been giving me opportunity in this by jolting me awake at about 5:30 am… everyday this week. I’ve been able to get through a few verses and some groggy thoughts about them, but it’s still a work in progress.
Matthew 6:26, 28
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.”
Jesus used familiar, everyday things to connect God’s love for us. I’ve got this sponge of a daughter just soaking up everything around her in this world and there is so much opportunity for me to show her God. Its hard to know how much she comprehends, but I just need to remember it is preparing the soil of her heart for the future. I’ll be seeking out these ways to weave God into our lives. You let me know if you have any ideas, OK?
‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Jesus talks in this parable of the great compassion he desires from his followers. He exemplified this is many instances by the miracles he performed. Now I don’t have the ability to do miracles (although that would be nice when it comes to laundry) but there are many ways I could show compassion to those around me. Friends, family, strangers even, they have need written all over them and it is my responsibility as a follower of Christ to seek these out and take action.
I’ll probably be going into some of these things deeper as the weeks go by since they are topics for our study. I’m looking forward to seeing the work God does in each of these areas. How do you feel about this race you are on?
I recently went through an incredibly busy, exciting several weeks of parties and planning and more parties and an absolutely beautiful wedding. Once it was all said and done, I kind of didn’t know what to do with myself. I had been consumed with these responsibilities for so long that when it was over my mind was just blank. It took me a while to get back into life as usual. Well, life as usual has turned into the holiday season which gives me many more things to get wrapped up in. So this Christmas season I am making a concerted effort to keep the focus in our home on Christ. My daughter is just old enough to be enamored with lights and trees and the wonder of Christmas but not quite understanding the gifts and toys and the jolly old elf. I know it is only a matter of time before those ideas try to take over, so I want to instill some better foundations for Christmas while we still can. I am going through an Advent study with Good Morning Girls and have decided to do an Advent wreath with our family. I’m pretty sure we’re not doing it right, but this is our first year, I’m sure we’ll figure it out. Miss Love is more interested with the lighter we use for the candles than the actual readings and devotional, but we will take what we can get from a toddler.
These last two weeks have been talking about Hope and Love. I am using whatever means I can to connect these thoughts and help explain them to my daughter. I mentioned that she loves Christmas lights, like, LOVES them. Every time we pass a house with lights on she says “Woooooah” even if the house we just saw two feet before had lights, the next house gets a “Woooooah”. And then when those houses are out of sight and there are no lights on the horizon I hear “More, more!” from the back seat. So are you ready for my simple, childlike, hope and love connection for all these things? I tell my sweet girl, “You see all these beautiful lights on the houses? They are just like Jesus. God sent him to earth to be the light and hope of the world because he loves us so much and that is why we celebrate Christmas.” I’m not sure what all she is comprehending from this, but if I can use Christmas lights as a away to keep the focus on Jesus this season then that’s what I’m going to do!
Its not only shaping her idea of Christmas but its redirecting my thoughts as well. I think of these houses with lights, some are simple, some extravagant, some are perfectly polished and some are everything but the kitchen sink. It makes me wonder what the light of Jesus looks like in me? Is it shining bright or dimly lit? Is it only the pristine pulled together thoughts that I share on this blog or is it in the everyday moments of my life? There are some people, like these houses, that just put everything out on the front lawn. Its hanging from the roof tops, its draped across the windows and there’s all kinds of stuff strewn about shining lights all over. Jesus covers every inch of them and people come from all over to see. Then there are the many more that display a solid string trimming the boarders yet still proclaiming the same bold message. Now I’m not exactly an over-the-top kind of girl so I imagine that the light of Jesus in me is a little more like the latter. But what really speaks to me is the thought of all the other houses in between. In the midst of all these glowing abodes there are many that are completely dark, no light or hope in them. We forget about them, we drive by without another glance because they don’t have anything to offer us. They are not joining in the holiday spirit. And just as these forgotten houses are dark, so many during this season are broken and hurting and searching for a glimpse of hope.
This year we have a simple strand of lights that adorn our home. Now this is a big step up, for the first five years we were married we didn’t have the time or energy to put anything up. There’s something about having a child though that changes your priorities. Now, instead of adding extra clients to the books or working all hours of the night, we’re spending weekends decorating a tree and stringing lights on the house. We’re driving around for no apparent reason other than to see the wonder in a child’s eyes as she “woooooah”s and “more, more”s at the decor of the season. We are having discussions of how do we ‘do Santa’ if even at all. We are concerned that our daughter learns more about Jesus than snowmen, reindeer and elves. We have this responsibility as light bearers of the hope that Christ brings.
Jesus was here for a short time on this earth. He brought light and hope to many lives but he also left us with a flickering flame holding onto the hope that he will return one day and we will live in his light forever. That hope is available to all because of the baby born in a manger who lived a sinless life and died in my place. Then he defeated death and proclaimed his victory over darkness. Don’t you want to share that with all the dark homes you see? So whatever that means to you, a note or a card, cookies or treats, a thoughtful gift or just quality time spent with someone in need, use this season to shine a little brighter the hope and love of Jesus Christ. I know that’s what I will be doing.