Work in Progress

As I am reading through the Bible, trying to learn how to be the best leader I can, I am stuck on 1 Timothy. In Chapter 3 Paul talks about how an overseer must be temperate and self-controlled among other things.

Those two ways of being are both VERY hard for a passionate, impulsive person like me!

Now I can use the cop-out of, that is how God made me…OR I can understand that I want to obtain maturity be being able to be temperate and self-controlled.

Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean subdue and a passive doormat. It just means there is a time and a place.

What I learned today…To remember that the Fruits of the Spirit show Maturity in Christ. I can say I am following the Bible…but in less I am growing in each of these areas, I’m not growing in my maturity as a believer.

Fruits of the Spirit

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Whining or Winning?

I have decided to turn the whining of my family in to a win. For example, when I say we are going to a museum for a family activity, all of my boys tend to start whining. As their mom, I know that one of the best things I can do for my family is open their eyes to new experiences. I can take them places they wouldn’t normally choose to go, to learn things they wouldn’t learn otherwise.

Now, my husband is NOT thrilled when I suggest these things, but thankfully I do the same thing with him that I do with my kids…

I replace their whining words with my own.

For example if my kids say, ” I can’t believe you’d MAKE us go do something so stupid! You obviously hate me if you don’t let me stay home and hang out with my friends!!”.

I translate that in to a winning response and reply, “What I just heard you say was, Thank you, mom, SO MUCH, for broadening my horizons and taking me places I might not have thought to go!”.

Then my husband will say something like, “I can’t believe you are forcing them to go with you. Just let them stay home and do whatever they want.”.

What that translates into is, “I am so thankful you allow us to do things with you. That you have the strength to push through all of our whining and be a great mom to our kids. I love you and your determination.”.

At this point, you might be thinking this is craziness. Or you might think it won’t work for me and that is okay. This works for ME.

When I verbalize the things above, and other ways of responding in a way I wish happened, it changes the feel of the conversation.

I remember that this won’t last forever.

I remember that I only have my family for a limited amount of time.

I remember I am their mom and they love me, even if they aren’t showing it in the moment.

I remember, these are memory making times.

I remember the days are long and the years are short.

How can you protect your heart when you KNOW you are doing the best thing for your family.

What I learned today…Look for the best in all situations. You can find good, or push through knowing, the negative will end. Be patient and do your best to be the best YOU you can be.

You are not responsible for what they say….but how you react to it.

Chad vs Julie

Okay, so my husband and I are both very competitive. What helps? HUMOR.

Back when I was doing everything I could to work on our relationship, I read a book called The Five Love Languages.

It basically talks about how we all have a different view of what love looks like. Some feel loved by affirmation, some by receiving gifts, physical touch, time spent, and acts of service.

I talked about it with Chad, way back when, and realized, his love language is absolutely physical touch. That mixed with time spent. UGH. Mine are the opposite. I’m more of an affirmation and gifts type of person.

When I realized how different we are, and how I was doing to him what I like, I realized I needed to make a change. I started touching him more. Yes, I did hope that meant he’d start working on showing me he loved me the way I feel it, but that isn’t how it works.

I started touching his back more. Grabbing his hand. Holding his arm. Sitting close. It wasn’t something I was used to doing, it was something I was made aware he needed.

As I started to purposefully touch him more when I was around him…and be around him more, I noticed, he became happier! Isn’t that funny how it works.

He wasn’t even aware I was purposefully doing it, until a funny interaction happened today.

The conversation went like this…

I walked by while he was shaving and I started scratching his back lightly.

He said, “Thank you. I love when you do that.”

I said, “I know. I do it purposefully.  You told me you liked it so I do it.”

He said, “That is so nice!”

I said, “I had to learn to do it…kinda like I was hoping you’d learn to affirm me and give me gifts. Ha Ha”.

He responded with, “Wow. That must mean I’m a much better teacher”.

BWHAHAHAHAH

I couldn’t stuck on what I wasn’t getting, but look at that humor. I love the man. It could’ve gone south, but his response was perfect!

What is something you do for your roommate, sibling, parent, spouse, etc… that you do because you know they like it, not because you get something out of it?

What I learned today…Remember what makes my people happy and do it. The joy I can find in their happiness is priceless. AND continue to remind them what makes me happy. Especially if they aren’t natural inclined to do it.

 

So Very Discouraged

I have been going through a difficult season. So much that I can’t remember the last time I have felt so discouraged.
When I read Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always.”, I want to yell at God, “HOW?!?! I want to, but don’t feel like I can!”.

Have you ever been there? Are you in the middle of feeling that now?

This is the perfect time of year to stop…and remember all Jesus did for us. How He took on more than we can even begin to imagine…all for us.

He was ridiculed.
He was doubted.
He was laughed at.
He was persecuted.
He was ignored.
He was beaten.
He was put to death.
All in front of friends, who denied Him!

He has gone through more than we can ever comprehend.

Let’s remember Colossians 1:15 – 23 (I know it’s long, but READ IT!!!)

The Supremacy of the Son of God
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior.
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—
if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

This has changed my attitude from all self-consumed to being able to truly REJOICE in this beautiful season.

Take time to Thank God for sending us Jesus and thank Jesus for putting up with so much so that we have eternal life with Him.

I am praying that God reminds you that this is not the season to survive or get through…it’s the season of true, unconditional love. Praying that we all feel His love in big and small ways and thank Him for creating us to be a part of His family.

What I learned today…though I felt these things and wrote this down in December, I am glad that what it says is still true today. The more we write down and document what we go through, the more we can look back to see how God works in ALL that we go through. I am content.

Rotten to Healthy Fruit Part 2

Okay, lets get back to the fruit of the Spirit.

So far we know –

Love – what we need to do all the time, even to the people who we don’t quite like.

Joy – is a choice. Don’t fake it, but do your best to choose it.

Peace – in relationships, at work, in your own mind, is key. Always strive to keep peace in all you do. It’s not a weakness, it takes determination and strength.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”     Galatians 5: 22-23

4. Patience -The thing we are taught not to pray for. Why? Because when we pray for patience, God will give us the opportunity to practice it until we really get it! I love what Matthew Henry has to say, “Cast not away your confidence because God defers his performances. That which does not come in your time, will be hastened in his time, which is always the more convenient season. God will work when he pleases, how he pleases, and by what means he pleases. He is not bound to keep our time, but he will perform his word, honor our faith, and reward them that diligently seek him.”
It’s all about God’s timing. Though, as we wait, we have a hard time seeing why God would make us wait so long, HE is in control. We also have a hard time believing He could ever want better for us than we can plan, but He DOES. When I need to remember to be patient, I look to Romans 8:28 “And we know in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” If you believe in Him, you need to believe He does want good for YOU. The one who loves Him, who He loves. Remember this….

waiting

5. Kindness – This is a challenge for people. Kindness means “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself,” Philippians 2:3 IF you are thinking of others, you are opening doors, helping carry items, stopping to talk AND listen, writing notes of encouragement, etc…etc… Sometimes it can be as small as a look, word and touch. Our pastor calls that ministry. Look someone that might be having a bad day, IN THE EYES. Say a word of hello, encouragement, SOMETHING. Then touch their arm, hand, back – NOT IN A CREEPY WAY, but in a “I SEE you” way. How can you be kinder EVERY DAY?

6. Goodness – How to define goodness? I always thought if you were good that meant boring. However in “The Goodness of God ” Tim Temple writes “theological definition of the goodness of God is the collective perfections of His nature and the benevolence of His acts.” As I think of the words ruthless and determined, I can understand those them. When I think of the word goodness, I think I get thrown. Good…lacking bad. Just good. I forget who at work, but someone just brought up the fact that God used the word good when he was finished with creating the earth. He didn’t say “great”. The Bible reads, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…” Genesis 1:31a In this way, I can strive to be good in every way. I know God already looks and me and sees who I am through His eyes. I can only pray I can become better at being good each day and show goodness to those around me. How can you be better at being good?

7. Faithfulness. – Okay, faithfulness I get. I am an extremely loyal person to those I believe in and I have the upmost faith in God. Though I may whine, I am faithful and know God has everything under control. Currently we are in a difficult season, and I am thankful I have yet to feel fear as I know He has something better for the situation planned. I just need to show faithfulness to Him. How can you show faithfulness to God today?

8. Gentleness – There seems to be quite a lot of these that I have trouble with! We are in a society where being ruthless wins. The harder you are the more you will receive. That is counter to the culture Jesus teaches. He teaches the first will be last and the last will be first (Matthew 19:30). We need show gentleness to all. In words as well as spirit. Sometimes, even with our family, we forget to be gentle. We subconsciously thing they HAVE to put up with us. Well, the people around you don’t have to. They do because you are loved. If you have anger issues…make a conscious decision to be nicer today. To be gentle with those God has put around you. Even if it’s hard. Call on the Spirit to help you!

9. Self control – This says it all for me…

Lord keep your hand onWhat area of your life do you need help with self-control? Substances? Porn? (Ladies, that is not just for Playboy, Romance novels count too). Anger? Eating? (That is eating too much or needing to eat). Self-control is needed when you are too controlling, too.

Sometimes you have to have self-control to NOT control everything. I’m working on going to God with EVERYTHING so I make sure He is in control of all, not trying to take it on myself.

What I learned today…There is SO much in the Bible I need to read and re-read. I also learned that I need to pray for the Fruit of the Spirit in my life. For God to help me remember fruit is GOOD for me.