Monday, July 25, 2011

Think About These Things

The other day, I posed the question on facebook, "Why do people feel the need to make their life seem so perfect on facebook, or in general?"  What I was referring to mostly is the people who put on a front... are fake... make life seem so perfect in one instant, then in the next, be completely negative/cause strife with others, forcing their convictions on others, or are going through a really hard time and don't want to let anyone know.  Through talking with people who struggle with some things in life, that "fake-ness" has been a stumbling block in their lives...

I have always been a very "real" person... I am who I am online as I am in person, and sometimes that person isn't happy-go-lucky.

Anyway... the responses to my question were definitely interesting!  There were a wide range of opinions (each one I could see their point of view), and the one that stuck out to me the most was the verse, Philippians 4:8, "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think of these things." 

Those thoughts were really good for me to hear.  I can't say that I was expecting that, but I'm glad that she wrote it because I needed to hear it.  I'm not saying that it's bad to be real in all areas of life (because I will always be real!), but saying that maybe my being "real" needs to be focused on the good and not the imperfection. 
Since then, every time I have thought an anxious thought or started sinking into my normal feeling of depression (which is so easy for me to sink in when I'm home a lot), I forced myself to think positive thoughts.  It's not a "fix-all," but it does help :). 

Something else that I've gone through this past week has helped me to think about who I am (again)... who God has made me to be... and learning to be okay with it and not care what others think so much.  Friends/family either love me for who I am, or they don't :).  I can't be someone that I'm not to make others happy.  I've come to the conclusion that I am a passionate person (about everything)... I think deeply, love deeply, feel deeply, and hurt deeply.  I process everything out loud.  I struggle daily with anxiety, and I am learning to overcome it (day by day) with the Lord's help.  It is a my "thorn," forcing me to rely upon His power to overcome it.  I share my struggles because it helps me AND it may help others along the way.  In fact, I have been told by many that it HAS helped them... and if my story/struggles can help someone else, then they are worth it.  I try to always bring things back to glorifying God/sharing what God has taught me, but it may take a while as it sometimes takes a while to learn something ;).  And even when I have learned, I have to learn some things over and over again until I REALLY get it.  "Some people gotta learn the hard way..." (DC Talk). Hehe.

As far as my calling (teaching) and not allowing Satan's lies to affect me, it has taken me almost a year to overcome this!  But I can honestly say that I am truly content with this area in my life... and I'm thankful for the (almost) year that I had to process because it has truly refined my calling and has made it a deep desire and passion within.  I think if I hadn't spent time processing, then I wouldn't be to this point yet!  At this point, I can't imagine NOT teaching, and that's right where I need to be because that's the gifting that God has given me to serve and glorify Him!  I'm so thankful!  I looked back at some blog posts/journal writings that I did, and it is SO evident that I was trying to run away... and that the calling has been there all along.  Praise God for His peace in this area! 

Today, I'm choosing to think about things that are true and lovely :).  God has blessed me with a relationship with Him, an amazing (and supportive!) husband, beautiful children, parents that would do anything for our family, friends that would do anything for our family (and love us right where we are!), a job that is the perfect fit for me, a wonderful home in a great neighborhood, a wonderful church right down the street (as well as an awesome small group of families that we meet with!), and most importantly peace!  Many of these things we have prayed about for a long time... and God not only blessed us with them, but blessed us abundantly! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Take Every Thought Captive

I wrote this in my journal this past week and thought I would share. It's a good, constant reminder for me (as I will always struggle in this area).

Regardless of anything that is going on, there are only 2 things I can control: 1) attitude and 2) effort.

Take every thought captive.

I know in my life, I have a long way to go.

I allow my mind to wander, wish that things were different, and desire for circumstances to change... and because of that, my attitude becomes poor and my effort dies down.

God's plan isn't about me... it's not about my comfort, my desires, what I think should happen... but about bringing glory to Himself, period. I may not understand, I may not enjoy or agree, and things may be hard... but ultimately it doesn't matter.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It’s Been a While

As I wrote in my last post, I decided to take some time away from facebook and my blog.  And I have to say that it was really good for me and my family… but I’m back now! :)  I feel that I have learned some balance, and I’m excited about what that does for our family.  It’s been good.

The best thing that has happened these past few weeks is going to Colorado with junior high kids at the church where Robert works (Stonebriar Community Church).  It was an amazing experience, and I’m not finished processing through it, so I’ll probably have several posts about it over the next few weeks. 

We stayed at an outfitter called Noah’s Ark… a Christian outfitter located between two amazing mountains towns, Salida and Buena Vista.  In fact, Salida has an awesome coffee shop for sale, and Robert and I joked about buying the business (not that we could, but it was fun to dream).  That town was so us.  We felt like we fit right in.  It actually reminded us a lot of the area that we live in, but even cooler, and in the mountains :).  We camped in some “perma-tents” (basically a LARGE tent with a wooden floor), and we had a fairly true camping experience (complete with out houses and nasty showers, minus regular tents).  In fact, the boys camped down the road and their bathrooms were fancy… so I say we had more of a camping experience than they did!  For most of the girls that I was with, this was their first camping experience.  The girls did rock climbing, horse back riding, and white water rafting.  I didn’t end up rock climbing (I wasn’t feeling well), and I stayed back during horse back riding (because I was still not feeling well).  BUT, I did the white water rafting.  It was one of those things that I wasn’t really excited about, but now I could do it once a week and be happy.  It was amazing.  The Arkansas River was the highest (this time of year) than it has been since the ‘60s.  It was at about 3700 cubic meters per second, and typically this time of year it’s at about 800 cubic meters per second.  So, we moved very quickly, and we went through some amazing rapids.  If you know anything about rapids, we went through a few class 4 rapids and a LOT of class 3 rapids.  I honestly put white water rafting just under my wedding and the birth of my children as far as amazingness :).  Robert and I loved it so much that we are going to possibly invest in a raft for our family and start rafting on a regular basis.  We’ll see.  I do know that this trip to Colorado changed my view of the outdoors and I am passionate about “outdoor adventures” now!  This is what Robert has been hoping for! :)  Next on my list of things to try is kayaking and canoeing, as well as rock climbing (since I wasn’t able to do it on this trip).  I also want to do more hiking.  Robert and I are now in search of places to camp, hike, and kayak with-in a good range of the area that we live in so we can do it more often.  With the anxiety that I have, I’ve realized that the best thing I can do is be outside more (which, if you know me, that is a HUGE realization).  

On the spiritual side, I got to spend more time with Jesus on this trip than I have in a long time and it was so needed.  I spent a lot of time talking to Him, reflecting on these past few years, and I listened a lot.  I am at peace with some things that I have been fighting for a long time.  The whole working versus staying home thing has still been “haunting me” through the summer.  I have been listening to Satan scream lies in my ear (that my kids would be better off if I stayed home, that I am a bad mom for working and wanting to work, that all moms should stay home, etc), and I’ve been taking those lies and thinking that they were truth.  I was trying so hard to control it on my own instead of allowing Jesus to take over in that area, and I was so torn (so much that I couldn’t think of anything else).  I have been allowing lies to rule my life for too long… it’s time to live in the truth of knowing that Jesus has our family right where we’re supposed to be, doing right what we’re supposed to be doing, and I am called to teach right where I’m teaching.  The more my calling is refined, the more passionate I become about it, and the more clearly I think about it.  I have spent my summer almost scared of the fall because of starting a new position, etc, but now I’m more excited than anything. 

I also spent quite a bit of time processing some of the difficulty of the past 18-19 months.  Every-time I have some quiet time, I begin thinking about my brother.  The reality of his death, the way he died, and the fact that I will never see him again hits me like a ton of bricks.  I have to always process through it again, realize that there’s nothing that can be done, be thankful that I have amazing memories of our childhood, and decide to make those memories with my family.  The reality of the fact that life is just hard hit too, and I’m thankful for my relationship with Jesus and that He has a plan, because I’m not sure if I could go on without that.  I’m thankful that He knows me better than I know myself, He knows what I need, and He has the power (that raised Him from the dead) to get me through whatever difficult situation I am going through. 

I can’t say that I am thankful for the difficult 18 months (because I will never be glad that my brother isn’t here), but I am thankful that God used a difficult time to teach me about Himself, myself, and His plan for our family.  I have a long way to go, but I trust that He will continue teaching and growing me, and that He will continue using us for His glory.  I’m so thankful to be a part of His plan.