I started reading Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst recently, as part of Proverbs 31 Ministries’ latest online Bible study. (If you haven’t done a study with them before, you should consider it! Click here for more information.) It was the subtitle that caught my attention: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Raw Emotions. Is there a mama alive who doesn’t need some wisdom in the middle of the mess of daily life?
A passage in chapter two hit me right where I’m living. (Doesn’t God often do that when we pick up something to read or study?)
If we determine that, no matter what, we’re on God’s side, it settles the trust issue in our hearts. And if we ground ourselves in the reality that we trust God, we can face circumstances that are out of our control without acting out of control. We can’t always fix our circumstances, but we can fix our minds on God. We can do that.
Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued
I have so much facing me right now. There are giants in my life that are staring me down, threatening to take me down. I’m determined to make it through to the other side with God’s help, victorious. The only way I’m going to do that is to quit looking at my circumstances, at the very things in my life that are trying to take me down into the pit of discouragement and despair, and look up. I have to make the decision, once and for all, that I’m on God’s side and I trust Him, no matter what. Only then can I come through the fires of adversity unscathed.
What do you think, mamas? Let’s quit looking at everything that we’re frustrated or disappointed about, everything we’re worrying and fretting about, the fear that lurks in the pit of our bellies every moment of every day. Instead of focusing on all of that, let’s spend time in the Word, praying with each breath, playing praise music and singing (and dancing!) our way through our days, confident that our Father has everything under control and we can trust Him. He is faithful, and He is good.
I’m going to do it. I’m going to follow the instructions in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 10:5 and work on my thought life. I’m going to remember who’s in charge here and choose to live a faith-filled life. I won’t perfect this walk overnight, but I’m willing to try.
Are you with me?
Spring is definitely here. The grass and trees are green (and so is the air – pollen!), and the birds are singing songs of joy with the rest of us that the long, cold days of winter are over. We’re not the only ones who have noticed the increase in activity among the birds. A little cat next door has managed to catch two or three birds in the past thirty-six hours. We’ve been watching out our kitchen window as she engages in this barbaric activity.
But really, she’s just doing what she was made to do. She was created to stalk, catch, and kill prey. It’s a job she does well.
We have two cats. The difference between ours and the little bird-catcher is that ours live inside. They only leave the house to make their annual trip to the vet, and that excursion makes them very unhappy. They chase each other around the house, wrestling, jumping, and running to their hearts’ content, but the only hunting they do involves torturing the occasional spider that makes its way into the house.
Our cats have the same abilities that the little cat next door does, but they don’t use theirs to full potential. They have limited opportunities to use them, that’s true, but they could definitely hone them to the point that the spiders don’t get so far into my house!
God has given me abilities that may not be exactly the same but are definitely as potentially powerful as the ones He has given to the people I admire and want to be like. The question is: Am I using my abilities to their full potential?
Unfortunately, the answer is probably not. When I start dreaming big, I bring myself down to earth all too quickly with excuses and reasons why I can’t. I forget that God has given me abilities to do whatever He plants in my heart to do—with His help. I just need to follow His plans and use the gifts and talents He has given me. I have the tools I need, but I have to use them, just like my cats could do a better job of using their hunting abilities.
So, mama, my question to you is: Are you using what you have?
I understand that you have dishes to wash, clothes to fold, meals to prepare, diapers to change, homework to help with, and a husband to stay connected to, all while managing the chaos that is your household with children. But God has plans for you, and you have something to offer the world. Use what God has given you to further His kingdom.
Pray about it. God is just waiting for you to ask Him how He wants you to use what you have.
I’ve been gluten-free since last summer. I went dairy-free the first of this year. I recently started getting back into the routine of exercising four to five times a week, and I’m making every effort to read and crochet each day. In addition to my daily quiet time, I’ve started taking a “time out” several times a day to read some Psalms and pray. In the past few weeks, I’ve drastically reduced my sugar consumption.
Yes, my life looks much different from many people’s. Some of these decisions I made for my physical health. Some of these decisions I made for my mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Following the culture hasn’t worked for me. I needed a change.
The thing about change is that it’s uncomfortable. It’s hard to learn a new way of eating, to rearrange your schedule to accommodate exercise, to stop throughout the day to pause and remember that God is in your day with you and you’re not alone. It makes me uncomfortable to have to ask for the manager every time I enter a restaurant (in addition to being dairy- and gluten-free, I also have a life-threatening allergy to another food) and to demand (nicely, of course) that they take appropriate steps to keep me safe. I don’t particularly appreciate the discomfort involved in exercise and the soreness that accompanies working out.
I do, however, like the results of all of these changes. That’s why I continue to press forward with my plans.
The longer I do these things, the more they become habits, part of the dailiness of my life, the more I embrace them because they’re good for me and because I feel better when I do them.
They become my “new normal.” After a while, they don’t feel new anymore. They just feel normal. Explaining why I do what I do seems less embarrassing and more matter of course. It’s just what I do.
If you’re trying to make big changes in your life, start with one thing at a time. Don’t try to make all of them at once. When one change begins to feel normal, start another one.
There’s no way to tell exactly how long it will take for you to feel “normal” about the changes you’re making. It depends on your personality and the magnitude of the change you’re making. Give yourself grace. Embrace the change, knowing that it will eventually feel normal.
I’m the queen of keeping things comfortable and familiar. Change is difficult and scary for me. If I can do this, you can too. As a wise friend told me last week, “Just do the next right thing.” That’s how you change your life.