Tag Archives: Self-control

A Car Wreck and Possibly Alienating Coordinating Analogy

22 May

Just as the toddlers got settled in the basket outside our car at Kroger, we heard a car crash nearby.  Looking in the direction of the noise, I witnessed an SUV crash into a white car parked on the far end of the parking lot and then skid around before finally stopping.  I pushed the kids in that direction to get the license plate of the car that was making all the trouble, in case the person decided to hit and run.  The guy whose car got smashed up walked up and was wondering why the heck his new car was crushed in on one side.  I gave him my card as a witness.  Some lady had sped through the parking lot and a truck hit her before the part of the crash that I saw.

Corcovado jesus

Corcovado jesus (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I don’t know what was going on with that lady, but what struck me was that the car that was way off on the end of the lot, supposedly safe from being dinged by other car doors, is the one that got badly damaged.  It got me to thinking about how all of our plans to “play it safe” are subject to fail.  And there’s one area where I’ve noticed all my Christian life that people play it safe, and that’s in choosing not to get overly enthusiastic about Jesus.

If you think about it, usually only preachers and missionaries live sacrificially and are sincerely head-over-heels for Jesus.  Not many everyday Christians can be accused of being more excited about Jesus than anything else.  Truth is, the overall “church in America” has more of the world in it than it does devotion to Jesus Christ.

Never will forget the deacon at a Baptist church who spoke up one Wednesday night at church during a Bible discussion.  He outright and unashamedly admitted that he chooses to please man rather than God.  As a person who has been lopsided about maintaining a God-focus, I can say it really does create friction in relationships.  The easy-going road that invites everyone to roll out their welcome mats is not the one which follows hard after God.

The way I see it is that people like that deacon play it safe like that white car at the end of the parking lot.  But in the end, they’re the ones that weren’t as wise as they thought.  There will be great reward in heaven for people who live for the things above rather than the things below.  And there will be great loss of reward for those who didn’t; talk about an inconvenient truth!  Even more inconvenient that having to deal with all the hassle of a wrecked vehicle.

Here’s my disclaimer: This post may sound a bit like I’m feeling spiritually superior, but I don’t mean to.  I’m so far from a perfect Christian it’s ridiculous, but no one who knows me can deny that I have a heart after God and obviously not after the world. 

God Formed a New Ear on a Grown Woman

3 May

Maddie

Have you ever thought about the way life begins anew, with a fetus growing into a little one with hands, feet, and everything else?  It’s sort of mind-blowing, isn’t it?  Well, I discovered that God forms new creatures even outside of the womb.  The thing is, He answered prayers and sort of changed me into a new person as a result of a desperate plea for help.

If you read my last post, you know that I’ve been guilty of behaving badly when moving.  I moved this week, and my youngest daughter helped me.  She had pretty much dreaded being with me in my “moving mode.”  But instead of me getting all edgy and sharp, I was relaxed and generous and sweet and loving.  We actually enjoyed our hard work, and we worked as well together as two people possibly can.

Maddie said, on several occasions, that we were a good team and the move couldn’t have gone any more smoothly than it did.  She appreciated the Starbucks coffees I bought her and the lunch and the general willingness to bend over backwards for her because she was working like a mule for me.

But it was a miracle that I acted appropriately.  How did God do that?  I have a track record of allowing worries to affect me in high stress moves, though normally I’m a person who refuses to worry for more than a few minutes, consciously, anyway.  Faith is all about remembering that God has us in the palms of his hands.  He doesn’t cough and look away, not even for one millisecond.

I know what it is that’s bothering me during these moves.  I’ve had some really bad experiences in which movers went so far as to scare me with threatening behavior.  Don’t want to go into all that, but I ended up fearing what may happen and how I may be overcharged.

Everything in my life fits as part of God’s plan for my life.  There aren’t any particular days or events in which I need to take up the mantle of worry and stress.  Since I believe that all things are working together for my good, I can behave like a sincere follower of Jesus Christ at all times of the day and night.  And when it was that this sank in well enough to turn my behavior completely around is a mystery, like when God fashions an eyeball.

My Alienating Porcupine Quills May Come Out

1 May
A porcupine

A porcupine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a genuine knack for orchestrating excellent events.  When these occasions include my family, they hate being around me.  Moving is sort of an event, and tomorrow my youngest daughter will be helping me.  She dreads it because of the demeanor I take on during such activities.

Frankly, I don’t know what their problem is.  I’m simply focused on the task at hand and not in the mood to molly-coddle.  I guess I become like a drill sergeant without realizing how mechanical I become.  But I really need to be a different me tomorrow than I usually am during a move.

Here my daughter is planning to help me do one of the worst things for anyone to be involved with, and she’s dreading the time with me.  That’s just not good.

The question is, can I change?  Can I behave differently, after being pretty much the same all of my adult life in such situations?  Can I be sweet as a kitty, which is my usual demeanor, instead of as prickly as a porcupine?

If I don’t let pride get in the way, I know that God will answer my prayer to make tomorrow actually fun for all of us.  After all, I’m beautifully packed up with a minimal amount of work remaining.  The apartments I’m moving from have promised to pay for the move because of the situation I’ve had to put up in this toxic place.  So there’s no money pressure.

There’s simply no excuse for me to be terse tomorrow.  Lord, for my daughter’s sake, help me put on Christ instead of my prickly suit.

I’m In a Pickle Jar, And God’s Unscrewing the Lid

30 Apr
Barney, Andy, Aunt Bee, and Opie in "The ...

Barney, Andy, Aunt Bee, and Opie in "The Pickle Story" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I switched to a healthy eating regimen a few years back; and I still remember how exhilarated I was, as though I had been released from a mind control prison.  Energy returned to me, and my eyes and ears that had been dulled were sharper.  I was convinced that I had actually been in the captivity of my flesh, and it felt amazing to be free.

Here I sit in that same prison, but it’s worse this time.  I’m aware that I’ve been entrapped by the things I routinely put in my mouth.  In other words, I know how to get out.  So why don’t I?

Television is actually much like food for me in that it’s a mild addiction.  I can get caught up in the absolutely time-wasting activity of watching what Stephen King refers to as a “glass teat” in his book On Writing.  Every weekday morning I’m watching all the early episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, when Opie was a kindergartener.  And I don’t like to miss Columbo on Sunday nights or Monk on Fridays – and there’s more.  If you put together all those hours I waste in front of the television, I could have written the book series I dream of by now.

I’m tired of being comfortable with my complacency.  I want to be a better example to the little ones, too.  Life is so much better when I eat right and have a sense of health and well-being pumping through my body as a result of adequate exercise.  I feel like such an idiot, and rightly so.  Because what I wish for isn’t some lofty thing out of my reach, like getting to witness to Mel Gibson face-to-face.  I simply want to do the very best I can with this life and this body God gave me.

Again I ask:  So why don’t I?

It just came to me that focusing on these issues daily in fervent prayer will be the catalyst to turn all of this around.  I’ll do it, and I’m pretty excited about unexpectedly receiving this answer from the Lord.  And earlier today I had the idea that when I do start exercising, I could pray for friends I know who also need to get in shape for the sake of their health.  This makes so much sense.  It takes prayer to crucify the flesh and be free of its relentless demands.  Duh!  It’s a spiritual battle!

And all this time I thought it was about me acting stupid.

Not Caring is Like Falling Off a Log

29 Apr

My goal: Get back to glowing health.

Not caring is so easy. For instance, if I don’t really care that I’m overweight, I don’t have to go through all the bother, sweat, and sacrifice to lose weight.  However, I believe I do care; but apparently not enough to get started today or even first thing tomorrow with a proper diet and fat-burning exercises.

I was asking myself what in life I truly don’t mind bothering about.  What would I go to any lengths to do?  And I was relieved to discover that I had an answer.  There is one thing I will always go out of my way to do, and that is to ensure that my heart is free and open for communication with God.

So while I think I may get heavenly kudos for caring about my relationship with God above all else, I’m starting as of now to pray desperately for help in desiring to be fit.  I need the kind of desire that motivates me to take action.

I’ve posted a photo of me when I was at my top physical shape, and I don’t believe I’ve ever looked better in my life.  That has sparked a bit of motivation to lose weight.  And then some female friends from the neighborhood I grew up in contacted me recently, wanting to get together.  I don’t want them to see me like this; in my opinion, I look like a hot mess, in a bad way.

It’s time to rouse myself with daily pep talks about establishing new eating and exercising habits.  Before it happens, God’s going to have to answer my prayer and inject me with a mind that sincerely gives a care.

 

How to Be Beautiful Via Meditation

17 Apr
Mirror

Mirror (Photo credit: Chapendra)

I follow a beauty regimen which involves moisturizer, eye cream, and now a primer to put under my foundation (something I couldn’t recommend highly enough), and more.  Day after day, I don’t miss the routine which keeps me looking young for my age.  But there are other mirrors I need to be looking in besides my makeup mirror:  a full-length mirror to remind me that I’m overweight and, chiefly, scriptures about how to be more like Jesus.  Specifically, 1 Corinthians 13:4-13.

No matter how unwrinkled my skin is, what good is it if I’m impatient with grocery store checkers?  How lovely is it when I speak harshly to Logan, even if he has been a holy terror?  My hormone pills don’t control my irritability when life gets especially stressful, and you know that when momma’s not happy ain’t nobody happy.

In short, I’ve been an ugly lady for a while.  Yes, I’ve been in a bit of a pressure-cooker situation; but that’s no excuse.  All this time I could have gone through the exact same things with love and grace.  What’s been missing?  I haven’t been meditating on God’s Truth in an effective way.  I also haven’t been praying enough.

So yesterday I started out meditating on the love scriptures.  I want to tell you, it was like taking a powerful vitamin supplement!  I felt like a different person as my mind was not on myself all day.  My thoughts were on others, and love leaked out of me instead of tetchiness.

I think I’ll add something new to my makeup bag.  I’ll put these powerful scriptures in a frame or something and put them in front of me.  This way, I’ll erase my self-centeredness while I’m erasing signs of age.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Don’t Pry the Clutter From My Cold, Dead Hands

14 Apr
office supply barrette

office supply barrette (Photo credit: jamelah)

Gifts come in all forms, and one gift I want to leave my children is a lack of clutter to deal with when I change my residence to heaven.  I’ve been working on getting rid of stuff for years now.  It’s most difficult for me to let go of anything related to writing or office supplies.  I discovered today that I also hang onto the children’s toys.  They have boxes of things to play with, yet all they usually want to play with is their DS.  I’ve put the multiple pieces of various toys together.  But what I really need to do is donate more than the one box I’ve got ready to give away right now.

When I move (again!) soon, my goal is to have gotten rid of the approximately 10 or 12 boxes that were in a storage unit.  Now everything will be in one apartment while at the same time not crowding us out of our closets.  Amen.

Why is it so dang hard for me to let go of these little things that, put together, add up to boxes of clutter?  I absolutely love feng shui, the minimal environment that promotes inner peace (I don’t pay attention to the parts of feng shui that could be considered a form of worship of other gods.)

In my clutter devotional called Devotional for Clutterers by Melody Carlson, today I read the thing that I believe most about this entire struggle.  Carlson says, “As we become more orderly and less cluttered, we focus less on surviving and more on actual living.”

The Lord is good and is helping me through a lot.  But He doesn’t mind that in the midst of it all, I’m asking Him to help me eliminate all the clutter I possibly can before we move into our new home.  Nothing is too hard for God!

I just know I’ll sleep more peacefully knowing that when I ultimately fall asleep for the last time, my children can deal with their grief without having to deal with my clutter.

In case you’re wondering why I’ve got my own death on my mind, it’s because I secretly wonder if moving twice in one month is going to kill me!  lol