What is My Legacy?

“Praise the Lord!  Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!  His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”  Psalms 112:1-2

Today, I was feeling sorry for myself (again).  I caught a cold over the weekend and my husband was away at a conference.  One of the appliances in the house overheated and every noise in the night woke me up and caused a sleepless night.  Wah…Wah…

I drove my daughter to school and walked her to class.  It was raining and cold and I felt like I was about to pass out.  A friend saw me and walked over towards me and I put my hand up and barked, “I’m sick and my husband has been out-of-town.”  She gave me a concerned look and said, “feel better!”.  I immediately felt guilt of not being able to force a smile.   She definitely didn’t see Jesus in me in that moment.

As I was driving home, I was listening to the radio.  There was a story of a 38-year-old woman who died of cancer.  She wrote her own obituary before she died.  In her obituary, she thanked the people in her life that she loved, she apologized to those who needed apologies and listed her joys and regrets.  The D.J. said that was an amazing legacy.

Legacy?  Isn’t that for Presidents, Warren Buffett or Bill Gates?   However, I realized we all have a legacy. But legacies can be good or bad, so what will mine be?  

My Legacy to be aligned with God’s will

For people to feel Jesus when they have an encounter with me

My writing to help people feel encouraged or at least not feel alone

 I want my husband and daughter to know how much I love them.  

So far…my legacy isn’t molding into what I want it to become.

When I came home from dropping off my daughter at school, I walked my dog and noticed my neighbors left their garage open.  I called her to ask if I had her permission to enter the garage to close it for her.  She said yes and said, “You truly are a God-send!  You always watch out for us and we appreciate you so much!”  I thanked her and continued on my walk.  I realized that simple action is apart of my legacy.  

My intent is not wanting to pat myself on the back for every little thing I do for someone.  You do want to make sure you are making a difference somehow.  During this election time, we see so many social injustices brought to light, like sexism, racism, and environmental disasters.  There is so much you want to stop or help, it is overwhelming.

This starfish story says it best…

poem-2-starfish

Lesson Learned:  Develop your legacy, even if it only affects a few or a lot of people.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for this life you have given me.  Forgive me for relenting in first world problems and not seeing the greater picture.  Help me discover, who you want me to reach in life.  Show me what causes you want me to spend my time and energy on.  Forgive me, when I get frustrated if I do not see the progress or appreciation in my legacy.  This is all for your glory.  Help me to realize that I don’t need to be wealthy or worldly powerful to make a difference.  Whether the difference I make is small or large, I give you all the glory.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

 

Looks are Deceiving

But behold the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on his height of his stature, because I have rejected him.  For the Lord sees not as man sees: but man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

 

I was in a church parking lot getting out of my car, when I saw this man.  He had tattoos everywhere-covering his arms, legs, neck and face.  Yes, his face.  He had some body piercings and some of those were also on his face.  He had dyed hair and a strange haircut.  I was a bit scared.

 

“Please do not come inside,”  I thought about the man to myself.  But no such luck, he came inside for the class.  I tried to sit as far away as possible from him, because honestly, I would be distracted and felt uneasy.  Just what the enemy wanted me to be.  He seemed to know some of the people in the class already.  I overheard him say, he went to a church near by.  So, I thought, okay, he found the Lord and I am very judgmental. <Cringe.>

 

This class was a 2 month course.  I found out his name was Larry.  He came every week.  This was an interactive class, so he would interject once in a while and have these very insightful thoughts.  One of these weeks, he shared about his upbringing.  He was in and out of foster homes his whole childhood.  He was abused, physically, mentally and sexually.  He was given dog food to eat by one foster home.  He abused alcohol and drugs, to escape the pain of it all.  It was heart wrenching to hear.  

 

He gave his life to Christ and now counsels people dealing with addictions.  He says, even if he is at a fast food place, he witnesses to people because many lost souls want to talk to him.  One night he stopped to use the restroom in a shady part of Los Angeles and when he walked out of the bathroom, a young woman held him up at knife point.  Twenty minutes later, he convinced her not to rob him and was telling her about Jesus.  He gave her an address of a church and told her to go.   A few weeks later, she told him, she gave her life to Jesus.

 

After he shared this story, I had this word from the Lord for him.  I told him, “no pain is ever wasted”.  I told him, I am so thankful that he survived his hard life but glad he is living for Jesus now.  He had tears in his eyes and told me, he wondered why did he go through all that and suffer so much.  I prayed that all of his pain would be redeemed and that emptiness would be restored in some way.  

 

The enemy knows what we like and don’t like.  He knows how judgemental we are by nature.  We get a bad first impression of people and decide to not give them another chance.  We write people off.  How many times have I had a bad day?  Would I want to be thought of in that way as my usual character or personality?  Never.  So, let us never forget that for others.

 

Lesson Learned:  People deserve more of chance than their first impression.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, Lord forgive me for being judgemental of people by their looks.  Let me see them as you see them.  Help me to treat people with love and dignity.  I am thankful that you see in us what we don’t see yet.  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

The (Dis)Connected World

“What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  Mark 10:9

 

I like technology.  Fast internet. Emailing.  On-line banking.  Streaming wirelessly through the Blu-ray player to watch Netflix.  Awesome.  But with the good comes the bad.  Our eyes are glued to our smart phones.  When I look around, I don’t see people’s faces.  I see the tops of their heads.  

 

What is so important on our phones, that we cannot give our attention to what is in front of us?

 

My family and I were at a restaurant.  I noticed a family across from us.  The mother was on her iPad, the husband was on his phone, their son was on his gaming device and their daughter was reading a book.  I glanced at them every few minutes to see if they ended up talking.  Sadly, they carried on through the entire meal as I first saw them, completely disconnected from each other and their surroundings.  My husband said to me, I know I don’t talk much, but let’s make sure, we don’t become that family.

 

Again, what is so important on our phones, that we cannot give our attention to what is in front of us?

 

The dangers of distracted driving and sadly, distracted walking are so obvious.  Yet, we still do it.  Are we willing to risk our lives and those around us for a status update?  Are we that scared to be in the moment anymore?  I saw this video called, “I forgot my phone” by Charlene deGuzman a few years ago.  It is a poignant realization of how ridiculous things have become.

 

There are countless times, my daughter asks me to watch her do a cartwheel and I am looking at Pinterest.  I hear, “Mommy, watch me!”  about 10 times before I look up annoyed.  Why am I so annoyed?  I would rather see her cartwheel, than what is on Pinterest.  Family and friend relationships are so important, especially to God.  There are many instructions in The Bible on building these relationships.  I can’t speak for God, but I wonder if this great disconnect is sad to Him?  Family and friend relationships are so important, especially to God.  There are many instructions in The Bible on building these relationships.  So, I am going to continue building my reality than social media’s reality.

 

Lesson Learned:  What is so important on my phone, that I cannot give my attention to what is in front of me?  Probably nothing.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for being distracted by mundane things.  Help me focus on what is important.  Strengthen families around this world and strengthen their bonds.  Bring to light all that needs to be forgiven and issues in our relationships.  Let there be a shift towards spending quality time and experiencing life together, than spending them alone with our phones or devices.  In Jesus’ Name.  AMEN!”  

 

 

It Doesn’t Have to be the Same

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:18-19

 

About fifteen years ago, a dear friend of mine told me about her new church.  I went for a visit and it was the first time I felt like I was a part of a church family.  So many wonderful experiences happened at this church.  I met my future husband there and were married by the pastor.  I participated in many church outreach programs.  I made wonderful friends and felt so loved.  But change happens…

 

One Sunday morning, about seven years ago, our pastor made an announcement.  He stood there, hand in hand with his wife and said they had been given a position to lead a new church congregation in Boston, Massachusetts.  He went on to say more things, but honestly, I don’t remember anything.  I was in shock.  I actually got up and left the sanctuary and began to cry.

 

I realized, I can’t be selfish now.  I had to pour my heart out into prayer for their new calling and for the new pastor and staff that would enter into this church.  I still felt stung, but knew this is no time to bail as many would and did.  My husband and I decided when the new pastor was chosen to give the process 6 months before we decided to stay committed to the church or go somewhere else.

 

Over the next month, we had potential pastors come in a give a sermons every Sunday.  We had an interim pastor overseeing the process too, since our original pastor and family had to move across country.  One Sunday, there was a man who came and I knew this is who will be our new pastor.  He was charismatic and friendly.  Sure enough, the decision was made to make him the new pastor.  He had a church already, down in another city about 30 miles south, and his church would merge with our church.  This is where our little church’s world turned upside down.

 

Let’s just say, things did not go as well as we hoped for.  A lot of changes were made, as we knew there would, but it was done with an iron fist and not with love.  Instead of a church merger, it was a church take over.  We made it to month 5 of 6 of our goal when we both said, I think we need to leave.   As for the church we left, it end up changing pastors again. It was truly a confusing time.  Why Lord did this happen?

 

We decided to seek a church that our old church had a good relationship with.  I set foot in the church six years ago and knew from day 1, this was our new church home.  About 3 years after our move to the new church, this pastor made an announcement.  He said, I have been asked by a neighboring church if I could become their new pastor.  He agreed and said we would be merging with them in about 6 months.  I could feel my heart sink and a lump in my throat.  

 

I felt all of these emotions well up.  Here were my thoughts, “Not again….Are you kidding me, I have to look for a new church?…That was such a horrible time and so many people were devastated?…Why Lord?”  I began to pray to help me understand.  Then I heard the Lord say, “It doesn’t have to be the same.”  I felt this immediate peace.  I knew again, I would need to pray my heart out during this transition.  I knew that if anyone could lead this merger, it could be our pastor.  He said, we will consider this process as if we were looking for a spouse.  Take steps as courtship, engagement and marriage.  We won’t call it a merger.

 

I realized, yes people would get mad and leave, there would be staff changes.  But I prayed, as did the entire church, that the transition would be smooth.  Honestly, to my surprise, the church remains!  It has been two years since the marriage and the church is going strong.

 

There were still people hurt by the original church take over.  Some people stopped going to church altogether.  Some staff aren’t even in ministry anymore.  I saw a couple at church that went to the original church.  He was a part of the decision to go with the pastor that didn’t end up working out.  He said, he still felt guilt for the decision.  He was so heart-broken how many people were hurt by the change.  I told him, you can free yourself from that burden because if the takeover didn’t happen, I would never have come to this church and have an even deeper relationship with God.  I said God can restore any bad situation. And we have the wonderful memories of the last church and I am so thankful that I experienced them.   I gave him a hug and he looked like he felt a sense of relief.  Thank God, it doesn’t have to be the same!

 

Lesson Learned:  Change is scary but expect God to still do an amazing work.

 

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I realize change is inevitable and scary!  I thank you that you are our safe harbor and guide.  Anytime, I encounter change, may your hand be upon the situation.  Holy Spirit remind me to call on you when I feel unsure.  Even if situations do not work out, may we see your glory!  In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

It is never too late

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:21

I love being in church when there is an altar call. When I hear the pastor acknowledge a person accepting Christ, I am filled with joy. Another soul saved. Most times leading a person to Christ is never that easy. We ask people if they have been saved and it becomes an argument about religion and hypocrisy.

My grandpa was an agnostic. He came to America from escaping Germany at age 4 during the World War I and ultimately settled in California. The only time he seemed to have any sort of religion in his life was because of his wife, my grandma. He went along with the Jewish religion because of her roots, but never committed to anything. When his son (who is my father) became a Christian, my grandfather was skeptical. We would invite him to church and he would go, but mainly to have lunch with us afterwards. I remember him questioning everything he heard in the sermon. This happened over the next 15 years.

My grandpa said he wanted to live forever. He was healthy, both body and mind. He took care of himself by eating right and exercising every day. He could out walk anybody. However, Grandpa seemed scared to die because he was unsure of his eternity. My dad would ask him every once in a while if he wanted to accept Jesus into his heart but he would say no. When my grandpa turned 92, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. He didn’t want to eat and stopped exercising. I remember, he called our home crying because he was so scared of how he was feeling. We took him to the hospital and it was decided he needed round the clock care.

My dad went to visit him often. The facility was telling my dad, the end was coming soon for his dad’s life. My dad took the opportunity to talk to him about giving his life to Christ. He told my grandpa, “You have lived a full life. But you can make it complete and give your heart to the Lord.” My grandpa finally said yes to Jesus! He was 93 years old. He died a few days later.

It is truly never to late. But we cannot take up the burden if our friends or family members do not accept Christ. It is the Holy Spirit that changes the hearts of people. We need to continue the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21). We be the example, the hands and feet of Jesus. We live our lives so others see Christ.

Please do not be discouraged when people we love, live their lives in the world. Keep planting seeds and love them continually. You just never know when or how someone will give their life to Christ. But celebrate and praise the Lord, when they do!

Lesson Learned: Keep planting the love of God into others and await the change of the heart, no matter how little or long it takes.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for every soul that isn’t saved. Show me who needs to experience God’s love and forgiveness. Help me give encouragement and continue the ministry of reconciliation. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Showing that You Care

“And as for you, brothers and sisters, never grow weary of doing good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13

I consider myself a “do good-er”. I try to be a good citizen and help out in ways that I can. Whether it is reporting things to city or my association, picking up trash or volunteering at my child’s school, I try to do something. I don’t usually receive much appreciation, but I know I won’t stop because it is just in me. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t care but I do.

When I was in college, I commuted to school. But during my last semester, my parents paid rent for me to live closer in a family’s home. I thought I was living with a traditional family but that wasn’t the case. The mom lied about the situation. I ended up living with her college aged son and another male roommate and she would live with her boyfriend at his home.   The one guy worked the night shift at his job and slept most of the day. Her son, Jon, was my age and attended another college. At first, I kept to myself but still had simple conversations with him. I let him know right away that I was a Christian. He let me know that he never went to church and used to have a drug problem. I got a lock for my door.

The living situation wasn’t ideal for me, but when I did see him, I would ask him how his life was as he would with me. I found out he played football for the school and he was interested in the same degree I was studying, Kinesiology. He seemed to want to do better with his life.

One night I woke up about 2 a.m. and heard a strange noise. I knew the one roommate was at work and thought it was Jon. I looked down the hallway and noticed he wasn’t home. It ended up being the dog drinking out of the toilet. (I never thought it was true but I know it is now!)  Jon came home shortly after I inspected the house and he saw me.   I told him I was worried he wasn’t home and hoped nothing happened to him. He has a weird look on his face and said, he was fine. I walked back to my room (locked the door, of course) and fell back asleep.

The next morning Jon told me how nice it felt to hear someone say they were worried about him. He said his mother nor his father ever cared where he was growing up. I told him that I have a problem of being a worrier and always kept tab of everyone in the house. He said he was happy for once someone cared.  I moved out shortly after because I still felt a little weird being alone in a house with men. But always hoped Jon would stay clean and in school.

Everyone says they are busy but I believe people really do want others to show they care in some way. If someone has a baby, surgery, suffers a death or divorce…whatever the situation people need a kind word, a good meal or prayer. Sometimes, we just don’t know what to do, but something is better than nothing. It always makes me feel better, when someone calls me and asks if everything is okay if they haven’t seen me in a while. I appreciate the friends that I have that take that time to do that out of their busyness. I am guilty of wasting time like nobody’s business: looking at Instagram or watching, actually binge watching Netflix. However, I am looking to change this behavior and make more time for better things to keep up my “do good-er” status and be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Lesson Learned: Invest wisely in the caring of people, whether you receive appreciation or not.

Prayer:

“Dear Heavenly Father, help me to see when someone needs encouragement or help. Give me balance to do these things. Help me be the hands and feet of Jesus. Fill me with your love to show love to others. I pray that I be a “do good-er” for you Lord, not for my satisfaction or reputation. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Shame doesn’t create lasting change

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17

Shame…what a hurtful emotion. One of the cultures in my family love to use shame to try to make one change their ways. When someone doesn’t turn out the way they hoped for, they tell you how they are bringing dishonor to the family. When I was in my early 20’s and dealing with an eating disorder, some people in my family would tell me in their first language that my pants were crying because I was in their eyes, fat. If they hadn’t seen me in awhile and I was heavier, they would say things like, “what happened? you used to be pretty.” They would then blame my mother and she would be mad at me because she didn’t like the shame on her. Vicious cycle.

The pressure from family, friends and society can be very heavy with shame. We feel if we tell them how horrible of a person they are, it would get them to change and they would become a new person. We know it doesn’t work. If it did, there wouldn’t be overweight people, abusers, addicts, criminals. Shaming doesn’t work.

When the horrible terrorist attack occurred in Orlando, Florida at Pulse Nightclub, I was sad and hurt. I knew that certain people would be saying this was the judgment of the Lord on gays. And so it happened. I was reading an article about one of the people who survived the attack. She said, she was so shocked by what happened that she walked into a church for the first time in her life. I am not sure if she was gay or straight as both were present in that nightclub. Now, if anyone at church who condemns the gay lifestyle told her she was a horrible person for going to a nightclub, would she have an idea of who Jesus was? I don’t know what actually happened in her experience, but I sure hope she was hugged and loved on in that church she set foot in.

There is a great series of Christian documentaries by Darren Wilson. There are four in total: Finger of God, Furious Love, Father of Lights and Holy Ghost. All of which have the theme of showing the love of God to everyone. In several of the documentaries, they run into people who are shaming sinners. They have signs that they are going to spend eternity burning in hell, for various things unless they stop living in the world and give their lives to Jesus. Darren asked one of them, how many people have they converted to Christianity and he said none. He said he has been protesting sinners for years. Is it me or do they need a new method? I know we want people to give their hearts to Christ and change their sinful ways. But when shame is involved, it shuts people down and turns them the wrong way. Jesus spoke truth in love, but never in a shameful way to change the person. God can change anyone’s heart. We are to continue to love with boundaries until that day comes.

When I had family telling me to lose weight because I needed to find a man, their words did not make me want to do it. I wanted to bury my face into a gallon of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. My friends spoke life into me and loved me no matter what my size was because they didn’t care. They just encouraged me to take walks with them and make healthier meals. I began to lose the weight, met my husband and lost more. Love has a funny way of doing that.

When we see people sinning and living lives that we know are harmful, it is both difficult and sad. But we need to continue to show love and be the example that Jesus would want us to be. Would you want anyone telling you are doing something wrong by demeaning or belittling you? I know I would want to see the example and receive encouragement. I have made the mistake with my daughter where I said something shameful regarding her doing something incorrectly. She was in tears and said, “Mommy, you never showed me how to do it, I am only 5 years old.” That was a shot through my heart. My lesson learned: discipline through love, not shameful punishment.

Lesson learned: Shame no more, change to love and encourage.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for trying to encourage change through shame. I am thankful that you love us, not shame us that we want to change. Break the chains of shame in my life. Let me see people the way you see them as valuable. I believe that you have the power to change any person. Thank you for your love, grace, mercy and forgiveness when we make mistakes. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!

Does the Jesus sticker on your car match your behavior?

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20

How do you react when things don’t go your way? Are you calm or do you implode like a detonated building? We live in a very over reactive society. It seems like the more drama you show, the more likely you get what you want. It is very sad and teaches children the wrong way to handle things. It seems like most people want to be civil with each other. Unfortunately, when some over reacts, your first impulse is to do the same thing.

There was one night our family ordered pizza. I called and placed my order for carry out. I could tell it was a busy night for them because I was placed on hold the first time for over 10 minutes to be disconnected. Then waited again to place my order. When I got there, I told them my order and they said it would be just a little longer. The place has only carry out or delivery. There were 10 of us crammed into the little waiting area. We all began to notice that we were waiting longer than we wanted. The staff seemed short-handed too. The people I was waiting with all began receiving their orders. I was starting to get impatient.

One lady made a comment to me that it seemed I was waiting longer than anyone else. I decided to say something. I asked about the pizza and he said, he will check. He came back with a frightened look on his face. He said that my pizza was never made. I exhaled slowly and loudly and asked for a refund. He told me that he wasn’t allowed too and all he could do was give me a credit for another pizza. So now I am “hangry” (hungry and angry). I asked politely for his manager. She looked frazzled and tired. I also noticed everyone was watching me in how I was about to respond to her. I made a decision to give her grace. In calm manner, I told her that it seems to have been a mix up and I didn’t get my order and how I would like to still get a pizza. She apologized profusely and said she was short-staffed and they were experiencing many technically issues with their ordering system. She offered to make the pizza personally and told me she would give me credit towards 2 pizzas. She told me how long it would take and I said I would wait. She walked in the back to make the pizza. I sat back down and the people waiting were smiling at me. One man said, “Wow, you were so nice and patient, I probably would have blown my top.” I smiled and said, “I could have done that too, but with all the problems in the world, I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal.” I got my pizza quickly. Both the guy and the manager thanked me for my patience and even offered to carry the pizza to my car. The pizza seemed better than usual too.

People do watch how you react to things, especially of one claims to be a Christian. There is nothing wrong in expressing your feelings or dismay, it is how you do it that can be a blessing or a hindrance. It seems like a super power to be patient with others. I struggle with it all the time. But God reminds me of that situation all the time, when I feel like I am about to go off on someone.

Lesson Learned: How would God want me to react in difficult situations? With His love and kindness.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to remember to give grace freely. Remind me what truly matters. Mistakes happen, whether we give them or receive them. Let your heavenly love flow through this earth. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN!”

Fraud Protection

Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.” James 4:10

I am so thankful that banks began fraud protection features on credit cards and bank accounts. I love how they notify me right away of suspicious behavior. During one December, I received a phone call asking if I was at a department store charging hundreds of dollars on my credit card. I was at home which was about 40 miles away from that particular store . Thankfully, they flagged the card as stolen and I was not responsible for any charges. But I still felt violated that my personal information was stolen and used for their frivolous activity. I wish I could receive a fraud alert every time the enemy tries its fraudulent ways against me.

I grew up in a home where everything was neat and tidy. If my room was messy, I could not do anything else until it was back in order. I began to not just tidy my room, but my friends’ rooms too. While I was shopping, I would be at a store and would put the messy display back in order. (Yes, that is ridiculous.) It would be pointed out to me that if someone had a messy home, something was wrong with them. I wasn’t allowed to be a messy kid. What kid is not messy?

Fast forward almost 25 years when our child was 3 years old. My husband doesn’t care about a tidy home nor did our then 3-year-old child. I would kill myself tidying up and putting things away because ironically, it gave me peace to see a clean home. One evening, we were invited to go meet some friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant. The house was a disaster because of toys scattered and laundry everywhere. My husband pleaded for me to leave it for later. I did not want to leave it for later but we were meeting our friends in 10 minutes. As the dinner ended, one of my friends said, I want to see your new home. Usually, I don’t mind having people over, because the house is usually clean. I forgot about the mess and agreed. When we walked to the parking lot, I realized the disaster our home was in and screamed, “start the car and go home NOW!!!” When my husband was about to pull into the garage, I jumped out of the car and ran into the house to start cleaning. You would have thought the Queen of England or The President was coming with the way I was running around. It reminded me of “I Love Lucy” in the chocolate factory when she was trying to wrap the chocolate. I was throwing stuff into closets and throwing trash away. When those friends arrived, I began apologizing for the messy home. They didn’t seem to care, they said, it was better than their house on a good day.

I couldn’t believe that I was so afraid of what they would have thought. I want to be at my best at all times and when I am not, I feel like a big failure. The enemy uses patterns in our lives and creates a lie we believe. These are some of the things I have believed about myself:

I don’t feel I am good at anything.”

I won’t try new things because I don’t want to fail at it.”

No one will love you when you are overweight.”

You are invisible.”

My beautiful, dear friend’s daughter, who is my daughter’s best friend, told me how her mommy was going to talk about Perfectionism at her MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. I asked if I could come to it. I thought how could my friend, who looks like Princess Kate, has a beautiful home, dresses cute and has a great family be suffering from this. I went to the tea and there she stood talking about her life. She talked about how her mom made she and her sister vacuum so it made straight lines and how she didn’t want to try hard things because she didn’t want to fail. I cried and cried. I realized how I was passing this ridiculousness on to my daughter. I want my daughter to remember me as loving, kind and encouraging mom, then a mom that wanted a spotless home. Somehow, we see photo shopped Instagram posts, cooking shows where there is no mess, and Martha Stewart uses glitter and it all remains glued on the Christmas ornament. This is not real life.

Recently, pop star Meghan Trainor had her music video photo shopped by the production company that made her video. She thought it was a joke and realized it was from her staff. She couldn’t believe that someone decided she would be okay with that. She wants the message clear, she is okay that she is not a size 2 and that she can still be beautiful being herself. Our confidence should be in Christ, but He wants us to have a confidence that we are valuable and beautiful.

God wants me to see how valuable I am to Him. He wants me to use my gifts to advance His Kingdom. I cannot have this fear of failing or waiting for everything to be perfect to be used by Him.

Lesson Learned: Perfectionism has no place when I am serving the Lord well.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive me for believing the lies of the enemy that I am not good enough. I thank you that you will use me when you believe that I am ready than when I am in a perfect place. Help me to give grace to myself and to others and to recognize the lies of the enemy. In Jesus’ Name., AMEN!”

Why am I even doing that?

Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.” Matthew 6:1

I want God to use me through writing. I do desire that. I also desire that I get discovered by a publisher and write a bunch of best selling books and get lots of attention. I admit it now, because God convicted me. I wanted to be the next Ann Voskamp or Sarah Young. I couldn’t hold a candle to them, not just in the ability to write but in how hard they work at being a writer. How could I go from asking God to use me, to I wanting to make a bunch of money and being famous? Easy, living in the current state of social media: how many likes, views and followers do you have-the more the better and that equals success.

My husband ruined The Oscars for me. I used to love watching them. Now, I watch the highlights the next morning in hiding. (I was happy this year for Leonardo di Caprio though.) Early in our marriage, I was watching the show and my husband asked why I wanted to watch a popularity contest. He said how Hollywood loves to reward themselves and in doing so, make large amounts of undeserved money. Thanks honey for ripping the veil on that one! He is right. I believe we all want appreciation. I do want to be told I am doing a great job. Encouragement and appreciation are necessary. But my goal should be to do things for the glory of God, not mine.

Recently, I started picking up trash in our neighborhood because some people think the ground is their trash can. I also began putting a roll of dog poop bags in certain people’s mailboxes, where I know they do not pick up after their dogs, so they will get the hint. I was complaining about the situation but doing nothing about it. I really do not want to pick up trash, but I was trying to be helpful. A few neighbors saw me doing that and thanked me. I got all full of myself again. A quick conviction came over me. I thought, “great, I am doing it again-wanting to be noticed.” I decided if I can’t stop thinking selfishly about this, I better start praying for the neighborhood, so I don’t need to pick up trash every week.

All of these situations were examples of how being recognized for the wrong reasons will get one no where. We will keep striving for more fame and notoriety. I do hope I can write for a living someday, but until then, I write no matter how small my readership is presently. I will use this opportunity to glorify God and be a light to this world. I will observe and listen to people. I will encourage. I will be real. Most importantly, I will listen to the Lord.

Lesson Learned: If I am thanked for my service, I glorify God and look for my contentment in Him.

Prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, please remove the desire to be noticed and applauded. When it comes to serving you, fill me with your love when I am craving appreciation. Let my desire to be to serve you wholeheartedly. In Jesus’ Name. AMEN!”