Tag Archives for " God’s love "
Written By: Amber Lawton
“Give your self a break,” a friend of mine said to me over lunch. “It’s okay that you don’t know how to do it all, just start somewhere,” a relative said at dinner. “Don’t worry if you don’t finish today, you will have time tomorrow,” another friend said to me days later. Sound familiar?
Heading into the halfway mark of the year I began recounting conversations of disappointment. Over the past few weeks I found myself sharing how little I felt I accomplished in the span of 6 months. With great persistence friends and family members reassured me I was right where I should be, while the perfectionist in me tended to disagree. These conversations made me realize I am in an abusive relationship with myself.
I don’t say this to diminish the reality for those who experience physical, emotional, or mental abuse from another individual. I do, however, see that the perfectly straight white line of a bar that I set for myself is extremely high and way too straight for me. Actually, instead of one bar I have two perfectly lined bars set in front of me as uneven bars to a gymnast. Every day I jump to the lower bar already thinking about the high bar. I don’t relish in the victory of completing a full grasp, or finding strength to propel my body upward to stand. No, I am hanging onto the lower bar staring at the high bar as if I am still on the mat. Thinking from this place of ‘perfection’ means I am not good enough, and my accomplishments pale in comparison to that very high bar.
To be perfect is to be without mistake or flaw. Perfection is the state of being perfect. Yet, when I personalize perfect the definition expands to a vision. Perfect would mean: never having an awkward moment, speaking and writing with expressive freedom, being in my best health (spirit, mind, and body), publishing a magazine, and making a salary that covers my needs and wants. I would be married to my athletic, God fearing, world traveling husband (who, by the way, is at the top of his career). We would be bicoastal, raising our 2 children together. Although my career is demanding, I expect I would be afforded time with said children to read bed time stories, bake cookies, make lunches, learn languages, attend games etc. Of course perfect wouldn’t be complete without me sharing all of these experiences through my blog and a fabulous Pintrest account.
This idea of perfection though is void of reality, and could use just a little more Jesus. In my mind, the type of perfection needed to achieve this list is built on pride and says it’s only achievable if “I can” do/succeed. The elaborate list of what a perfect life looks like is accompanied by an even longer list of accomplishments I must achieve flawlessly.
My perfect is covered in condemnation, and wrapped in fear. This kind of perfection can lead to rejection or ridicule (from self), depression, a feeling of worthlessness, or a victim mentality. Add to this a myriad of items that fall under the umbrella of fear (i.e. anxiety, shyness, etc.) that attempt to leave me powerless. Even now, this kind of perfect would have me believe I am wasting my time sharing with you friend.
As a Christian woman I know God did not give me fear or self doubt, but the struggle is real. How do I get up, put my big girl panties on and face the day? When will saying ‘thy will be done’ become easier than putting on my version of Sasha Fierce and attempting to slay the day? Instead of chasing caviar dreams and Oprah-esque mansions I should be giving all of myself to Him. Why does this feel so difficult to do?
My issues with being perfect go deeper than the inability to surrender all to Him. The continual feelings of not being good enough reflect how my interpretation of ‘perfect’ does not match with God’s. I try to start the day by asking “what are we doing today God?” God’s perfect is bonded by love Colossians 3:14 says But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. His perfecting is a process. I am complete and spiritually made mature in Him (2 Cor 12:9). I can only attain the final goal through Him (Heb 10:1-10), and as I do so love increases and fear diminishes (1 John 4:17-18).
God’s perfect isn’t about being flawless, or without error. My perfection is not contingent of what I think, how I feel, or respond. Nor will it ever be based on the criticism and pressure I place on myself. God’s perfect is what allows me to live a life after Him, finding new beginnings, and immense joy. Being perfected in Him is what allows me to live whole.
Written by: Lynn Waters
On New Year’s we make decisions to lose weight and make changes in our lives. In Spring we make plans and clean our homes thoroughly. I always can’t wait to do my Spring Cleaning. I make lists of things I need to do for each room, and then check them off when I have accomplished them. Some of us go through our clothes and get rid of things we can’t wear any more or don’t like. Some even rearrange their closets. We all have things we do to change our surroundings.
What if we did the same things with our lives? We can look at our lives and decide what we want to change. Do we like our job or do we dislike going there every day? If we don’t like it, what do we want to do to change it? Do we
need to take classes and get a degree? My nephew is doing that, online. He doesn’t even have to travel to attend class. He left the job that he no longer enjoyed because his wife was transferred, and he was happy to do this. Now that he is earning his degree, he is able to and then planning to look for a job in their new location. What other changes can we make to in our lives? Some of us have a lot of credit card debt because we spend more than we make. It would benefit us to look at why we spend this money and decide what we are going to do about it.
If we have bad habits that are not good for us we can look at them and decide which healthy habits we want develop, while we do away with the bad habits. Myself, I decided to eat healthier and to lose weight. Not just go on a diet, because most dieters regain the weight. I decided to change my eating habits. This is harder, but I know by doing this I will lose weight, probably slower, but I will keep off the weight because of these healthier eating habits. I also decided to a spend time reading the Bible daily, and to pray more. Maybe you have a lot of clothes, but nothing to wear. Look at what people around you are wearing. It used to be that you never wore black and brown together, but people are doing that today. Also, people wear things that don’t exactly match. I’ve noticed women that wear a big necklace that doesn’t match anything they have on. I have expanded my wardrobe by wearing different items and scarves, which are very in right now. If you go through your wardrobe you will find out that with 10 items of clothing you can create a month’s worth of wardrobe.
I went on a trip and planned my clothes so that I could wear most of them with each other. I had the smallest suitcase of everyone on the trip and they didn’t see how I could do it. But I had planned. I had a pair of pants and a skirt that were the same color. Then I had tops that were different, but went with the skirt and the pants. Plus I had some clothes that were not paired with these so I looked like I had more in my wardrobe. I spent three weeks wearing these clothes and felt quite well dressed. Many of us have a large wardrobe, but only wear a small part of it. Look at the items you don’t wear and decide what you can wear with it. If nothing works, get rid of it. We can look at our lives, just like we look at our closet, and decide what stays and what goes. It is good to look at our lives and make changes.
Written By: Yvonne Galindo
When I began to write this blog, I thought about how shoes have always played a role in history and culture. Shoe design can indicate a person’s wealth and social position, as reflected in the quality of material or the complexity of workmanship used to make shoes. Many cultures and belief systems do not allow women to have a say in their circumstances. We are so fortunate and blessed to have the freedom to make choices through our journey in life.
The photo of the shoe in this blog shows a memorial of a shoe worn by un-known women who died during the Holocaust. These women had been violated, dehumanized, tortured and forced to walk to their death. The pain and heartache these women felt knowing that their dreams for the future had been shattered is unfathomable.
I began to think about the women in the bible and their shoes/sandals. These women were the un-notable women of the bible who struggled through their journey and walked a path that I could not fathom.
Let’s begin with Hagar who was a slave girl then a mistress. Hagar was rejected and disregarded. She was sent away to wander in the wilderness. Hagar was alone, full of hopelessness, and crying in the desert. Genesis 16:1-16 Imagine walking in her sandals; a single mom walking through the hot desert, feeling rejected, thirsty and abandoned.
Gomer is another example of a woman violated from her youth coming from a life of prostitution. She is dirty, broken by sin and the subject of slander and gossip. (Hosea 1:1-11)
One of my favorite stories is of the Samaritan woman, who probably was ostracized by other women in her village because of her checkered past. (John 4:1-27)
In these stories these women were walled by religion gender, race, and moral values.
So what do Hagar, Gomer and the Samaritan women have in common? Hagar, Gomer and the Samaritan are the champions of the hidden, the helpless, the betrayed and the needy. These women weren’t looking for Jesus; they were thirsty, feeling empty and all they wanted was water. Our God found them … and they found him.
God used Hosea to rescue Gomer from her life style; of course this was not an easy task. How many of us have had trouble letting go of past relationships or a lifestyle that we know is not the best choice.
Hagar went from bottled water to a well of water; God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water, and both she and her boy were saved from death. And finally the Samaritan women who encountered Jesus who I am quite sure in all her curiosity talked his ear off searching for truth and found it. I am sure we have all been there.
During my struggles with feeling emotional distress, wondering where the next meal would come from or where we would lay our heads for the night. I thought about my mother and realized these were the same struggles she went through raising our family. I did not want that life for my children and me. Like the Samaritan women, I sought men for provision. I realize now those relationships left my spirit wounded and blinded to Gods plan for my life. Christ provided a way out; He provided a spring of water for me- it was up to me to drink of it. All I needed was a sip, a small taste; Faith of a mustard seed and found He would turn my pain to passion; I now know my purpose. Yes! I have to say there are bumps along the road; Have I stumbled? Yes! However I have to say God smoothed out the path and I learned that no past sins can bar my acceptance with him. Not one! I stand grounded and find strength, comfort and encouragement with my Faith in Christ. I choose not to walk any other way.