Archive | November, 2010

Where’s the line?

30 Nov

This past weekend when we were with Travis’ family, he made some comments about me that I didn’t appreciate (nor did I think they were true). Since we drove back, I took the liberty of bringing the biggest suitcase we own – all of my big cozy sweaters take up a lot of room! And since I can’t wear them in Denver (it’s never cold enough), I figured that I might as well bring them back to Minnesota where it was cold enough.

Well, apparently this just proved to Travis something he had suspected all along – I am your typical woman packer. You’ve seen her at the airport. 5 suitcases and a tote bag that all match. She has to put them on the dolly because there are too many to carry. You wonder as she walks by “Why on earth does she need that much luggage? I hope she’s moving somewhere for several years.”

Ok, I can guarantee that I’m not that bad. I am actually able to carry on my suitcase for 99% of the flights we go on now (Mexico in January will be an exception). I leave my beauty products at home when they are bigger than 3 oz. I plan on wearing the same pair of pants more than once (gasp!). I bring one pair of shoes that will go with everything I packed (and usually try to keep all my clothes to either a goes-with-brown or a goes-with-black palette). I’m being creative so that I can carry on and please Travis. Do I not deserve some credit here?

[For the record, Travis does acknowledge and appreciate my efforts to carry on my luggage for flights. The comments he makes are playful in nature.]

Another comment that Travis made was when he was going through some clothes that no longer fit his younger (by 10 years!) brother, that his mom thought would fit Travis. “I need some more work shirts,” he said, “because Kathy keeps throwing mine away.” Now, that comment would probably irritate me even if it were true, but the thing is, it’s NOT! I have not thrown away even ONE of Travis’ work shirts and honestly, I have no idea where that comment even came from. Whatever, DEAR.

This blog is not a husband rant. Rather, these funny situations have highlighted a few things for me. One, I continue to struggle with the idea of being misunderstood. These comments that Travis makes are, from his perspective, all in good fun and aren’t intended to be criticizing, mean or derogatory. But I struggle with taking them in stride. Not because I think Travis really thinks that I’m materialistic or am on a warpath against his work shirts but because they are contradictory to who I think I am.

You see, I can’t handle being labeled materialistic. Mostly because I believe that I am not materialistic. Or at least I’m trying hard enough to not be materialistic that I think I’ve earned getting rid of that label. Ok, so maybe in contrast to Travis, I am slightly materialistic. But he drools over tools the same way I drool over new sweaters. Just saying…

Nonetheless, I have identified myself as “not materialistic.” I have also identified myself as supporting my husband’s ruggedness, which means dirty work shirts, tattered jeans, and shoes with holes in them. I just won’t support him in public. 😉

So Travis’ comments bother me because I feel like I’m being misunderstood. That’s not how I really am! I have to prove to you that I’m not like that! But that is not the way of Christ – He allowed people to form wrong impressions of Him. He knew who He was and didn’t need other people to understand Him.

His comments have also shown me another instance of where there is a fine line between an action being in faith and an action being a sin. Travis isn’t the only person who makes comments like that. I know someone else who likes to point out idiosyncrasies and quirky behaviors in front of other people… me.

I’ve been known to rib Travis about his attire selections or preferences. Or about something stupid he did. Or his hair. Or his hobo socks. Any of his quirks have been fair game.

But there is a line. I have to say that sometimes I make jokes at Travis’ expense because I’m actually a little bit mad or annoyed at him. Or I secretly hope that somehow, my comment will get him to change. Or I need other people to understand that I did NOT let my husband out of the house dressed that way. In short, those jokes often come out of lack of respect for Travis – and that is unacceptable.

I’ve often felt like my jokes go over the line – and I’ve asked Travis if it bothers him. He has repeatedly said no, that he actually thinks they’re kind of funny. But they just don’t sit right with me. And when I brought up my struggle with the comments that Travis made this past weekend about me, he seemed surprised that they bothered me so much (especially since I make those kind of jokes about him right back).

Which shows me that while I do believe Travis can make those jokes in faith (he is a chronic jokester, after all), I cannot. I want our marriage to faithfully represent the love of Christ for His church and am not sure that my witty comments about Trav’s mullet haircut serve that purpose. If Travis thinks joking about my need to match my shoes to my shirt can represent that love, more power to him (and more grace to me!). But, as with a lot of things in the Christian life, there’s a line between good, clean fun and sin masquerading as a joke.

So where is that line? What is ok to joke about, and what isn’t? How much time should you spend doing things for other people, and how much time should you spend on yourself? What about money – how much should you keep and how much should you give away? How much time should you spend at your job? How much time should you spend getting ready in the morning? What size of house should you have? How new of a car?

All of these are amoral things in and of themselves – and no matter how much I read and study, I cannot find any concrete criteria to answer these questions.

That’s because there is none. If the Christian life had rules, it would cease to be based in freedom. If God didn’t give us choices, we couldn’t choose to love Him over worldly things. The line between freedom and sin is a thin one, one wrought by the Spirit in our hearts. Sin is indicated by the Spirit’s conviction in our hearts. Freedom is characterized by joy. I keep looking for the line, asking God to just tell me already what He wants from me.

God is telling me what He wants. The absence of a concrete line is God’s way of telling me that He wants a relationship with me, instead of me just obeying a bunch of rules. Since there is no determined criteria, I have to stay in tune with the Spirit through an intimate relationship with God and let my heart and convictions indicate to me where the line is for me.

So, to stay on the freedom side of the line, I am going to respond to the Spirit’s conviction and try to stop poking fun at Travis in front of other people. I want to respect him and support him, no matter how ridiculous or silly I think he is! Like I mentioned in a recent blog post, I am also going to stop shopping for myself, since the Spirit has convicted me that I have an inordinate amount of clothing. I am also praying for the grace to respond to other convictions given by the Spirit.

Here’s to walking the line!


25 Nov

Travis and I made it to Minnesota, amazingly. The 16-hour drive to Nevis (where Travis grew up) was brutal. I hit a wall around hour 14. I had been driving but after encountering some icy roads in Fargo, I decided Travis should drive. I had planned to stay awake because I knew Travis was exhausted too but I literally could not. I felt drugged – I would wake up periodically to check on Travis but would fall back into my comatose state faster than he could respond.

Then, when we finality got to his parents’ house, I crawled into bed to take a nap. After 3 glorious hours of unconsciousness, I felt human again. I was so completely out of it that Travis said I was sawing logs like he never heard before and when he tried to poke, shake, clap, and yell at me to get me to stop, I wouldn’t respond. He resorted to pinching my nose shut, so I couldn’t breathe. Apparently, that was effective. Good to know my survival instinct still works.

This Thanksgiving is the first in the last 3 years we’ve been back to the good ole Minnesota. It’s a good feeling. I love the snow, the cold, seeing everything covered in white, people bundled in warm clothing. Up here in the sticks, you also see people wearing blaze orange and camo hunting gear, even though they’re not hunting. Ah… Minnesota. Good to be here.

I am very thankful to have inlaws that I really love. Travis’ family is great. Very laidback and down-to-earth, friendly, welcoming, supportive. I am so glad we came back to spend Thanksgiving with them.

Being here brings back a lot of good memories and fuzzy feelings. It makes me very excited at the thought of moving back in a few years. To live near family, enjoy snow all winter long, play on lakes all summer long. I didn’t realize how much I loved Minnesota until we moved away. But I’m still very glad we moved to Colorado, not only because we’ve made good friends and had great experiences, but also because we now know that if and when we move back, we will be choosing Minnesota because we love it, not just because we were born here.

I am thankful that God created this great state.

DIY Valance

23 Nov

Ever since starting to work at home back in March, I have been on the hunt for the perfect valance for my office. I love damask patterns, so I was really looking for one like that but couldn’t find one that would fit since the window itself is only 2′ tall.

So I made my own!

I had attempted to sew things before making this valance with the sewing machine I got from Travis’ grandma but the thread kept bunching up on the underside of the fabric and I couldn’t figure out why. Beth (my MIL) suggested adjusting the thread tension, which I did. And while I think that was part of the problem, I soon discovered the real reason I was having problems: I was forgetting to lower the foot where the thread comes out (excuse me if there’s a technical name for that). D’oh! So now, I just have to learn how to feed the fabric through in a straight line!

Regardless, here is the how the valance turned out:


Colors for the office are now pink, orange and teal

I had at first planned for it to be just a piece of fabric hanging across the window (like a flat valance) but even though I only made it 12″ long, it covered up 1/2 the window. And since my sewing job wasn’t the greatest, bunching it up and tying bows helped to make it shorter AND hid my poor seams. 😉


Closeup of the fabric and bows

Since I am proof that even a non-sewer can sew something and make it look decent, here is how I made this: I bought 2 yards of fabric (the window is about 4′ wide). I folded the fabric in 1/2 the long way and sewed shut all the open ends (top and 2 sides). I then folded the top down about 3 or 4 inches (depending on the size of your curtain rod) and sewed that, creating a pocket for the curtain rod. If you are creating a flat valance, you would probably also want to sew a seam along the bottom (about 3″ from the bottom), just for the visual.

Anyway, it’s not complicated or hard at all. It’s pretty much just using common sense. But not only was this cheaper than buying an actual valance (I think the fabric was less than $10), I got to choose the fabric I wanted AND make it the right length for our window (since it’s more of a midget window than a normal one).

Here is my office right now:


Where I have been spending my workin' days - see the cute pink lampshade?

I am planning on adding wooden letters painted pink and orange spelled HOPE right above my desk, to the left of my lamp. It’s on my To-Do List!

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone!


Doing My To-Do List

22 Nov

After a summer of accomplishing pretty much nothing except working, sleeping, eating and running, I find that there are way too many things I’ve been putting off for way too long. So instead of letting them overwhelm me and keep me from sleeping at night, I have started one ginormous To-Do List. If I think of something that should be done, but can’t do it as I’m thinking about it, I write it down. My goal is to do 1 thing on my To-Do List every day until my To-Do List is gone. I am also trying to do things as I think about them, if it’s possible, instead of seeing something that needs to be done and making a mental note to do it later. I figure I can avoid a lot of unnecessary brain clutter this way.

This has several benefits. First, it gets these thoughts of things to do out of my head so that I can fill my brain with more important thoughts. I don’t have to constantly be remembering the things I wanted to do.

Second, it has helped me balance work with rest. I can be productive and still have some free time. I am a person who swings from one extreme to the next. I can spend one day lying on the couch and doing nothing but watch bad movies or re-run marathons and then spend the next doing chores and errands from dawn until dusk. (More than once, I’ve wondered if I might be slightly manic-depressive.) The usual result of that whirlwind is that I’m exhausted the next day and feel like I spent my whole previous day doing things I didn’t want to do but “had” to do.

This list has helped me balance my 2 extremes out. After work or church, I look at my To-Do List and find 1 thing that I can (and want) to do. Some of them are small things like organizing the shoes in the closet by our front door. Or writing a letter to our Compassion child. Or finishing the painting that has been sitting in our living room unfinished since last Thanksgiving. Some of them are big things like painting our bedroom. Or writing and mailing our Christmas cards. Or transferring my 401(k) funds to my Roth IRA (ugh).

After I finish the task, I go scratch it off my list. If I feel like doing something else on my list, great. But if not, I have accomplished my goal of doing 1 productive thing. And then I have the rest of the day to spend as I wish. I CAN have both work and rest in the same day!

This past weekend, I succeeded at this. On Friday night, I wrote a letter to our Compassion child. On Saturday, I finished the painting in our living room (only took me a whole year!). Yesterday, I sorted out the enormous stack of magazines I had collected, ripping out articles I wanted to keep and recycling the rest.

Third, this list has helped me get things done that I want to get done without having to really rack my brain to remember what they were. When I have some free time, I can use it effectively instead of walking from room to room trying to think of something to do or just wasting the time by watching TV. I have been convicted lately that watching an inordinate amount of TV like I had been doing is just a huge waste of life. I feel just as relaxed when I read a book but I feel way more productive and more educated from reading. So I’m trying to only watch TV with Travis or when there’s really something good on (like Thursday nights with Bones and The Office).

So what’s on the docket for today? Scheduling dentist appointments. (Boo.)

A Shopping Hiatus

21 Nov

Yesterday, I went shopping at Old Navy. I have been on the hunt for a classic, slim jean skirt that I could wear in the winter with my boots. After a few unsuccessful attempts, I finally found exactly what I was looking for at Old Navy on the clearance rack for $8.50. Can’t beat that.

While I was there, I also found a tank top for $3.75, a sweater for $6.00, another sweater for $9.50, and a scarf for $12.50. In college, I never bought things off the sale rack – I felt like it was too much effort. Now, not only am I surprised by how often I find great deals, I am also surprised at how rewarding it is to save money!

All that aside, I left Old Navy feeling slightly guilty. Even though I had only bought things that were on sale (with the exception of the scarf), and only spent $44.34 on 5 items, something didn’t sit right. I went next door to Michael’s and bought some wooden letters to spell HOPE, which I am going to paint pink and orange, decorate with sequins and polka dots and hang up in my office, as well as a basket that I’m going to fill with lots of food and goodies for my friend D for Christmas. That was another $32.67.

As I pulled out of the parking lot with my purchases, an unsettling yet subtle feeling of guilt stole over me. The same feeling I have any time I buy clothes, accessories, or shoes for myself.  Frivolous things. Unnecessary things. Things I cannot justify needing in any way, shape or form. The feeling is then compounded by spending money on anything additional, even if they’re groceries.

At first, it was the needy, hungry kids over in Africa with their sad puppy dog eyes that gave me guilt over a new sweater. Then, it was the homeless in Denver who needed a Thanksgiving meal that cost the exact amount of a new pair of shoes. And just recently, it was the realization that I was shopping for myself during the holidays, when “everyone else” is shopping for other people.

Most forms of guilt are from the devil. I know this because the Bible explicitly disputes the things the devil tells me to feel guilty about. Like I’m not good enough. I can never change. I’m not a loving person. I only think about myself. In Christ, those things are utterly untrue.

But when it comes to clothes and the like, there are no Bible verses to back me up. In fact, the only verses I can find actually point to the opposite:

“Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5).

“For they gave according to their means…and beyond their means, of their own free will” (2 Corinthians 8:3).

“Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of hair, the wearing of gold, or the putting on of clothing…” (1 Peter 3:3).

“But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Timothy 6:8).

“But God said to [her], ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the [clothes] that you have [amassed], whose will they be?” (Luke 12:20, bracketed words changed for emphasis)

“If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21).

“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15).

All of these are very persuasive but none penetrated deeper into my heart than Romans 14:23, “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”

Even though I don’t believe that shopping or clothing are sins in and of themselves, and I do believe that many Christians can shop and buy clothes in faith and with thanksgiving, I cannot escape the fact that I, right now, am not one of them. My guilt cannot be rationalized away. Believe me – I’ve tried!

I’ve tried to tell myself that since we donate to our church, support 2 campus ministering couples, and sponsor a Compassion child, I can spend some money on myself. I tell myself that I don’t buy clothes very often – maybe once every couple months – and that I usually find the good deals. I analyze each purchase to make sure it’s exactly what I want and that I love it. I try not to buy things that look exactly like something else I already have in my closet. And hey, I’m a lot more financially responsible than I used to be!!

My heart doesn’t buy it.

Alas, I have come to accept that since I cannot buy clothes in the freedom of faith that I am pleasing God, buying clothes (or shoes, accessories, purses, etc) is, for me, right now, a sin. As I was driving home feeling guilty, God asked me, “So if you feel so guilty every time you shop, why do you keep shopping?” I paused… and then said, “Good point.”

The deep feelings in my heart about this are written very succinctly by Thomas Merton, “The more goods I  keep for my own enjoyment, the less there are for others. My pleasures and comforts are, in a certain sense, taken from someone else. And when my pleasures and comforts are inordinate, they are not only taken from another, but they are stolen. I must learn to deprive myself of good things in order to give them to others who have a greater need of them than I.”

I cannot escape the conviction that I should not be buying more things that I don’t need, at the expense of giving those resources to someone who could really use them. I have been fighting this feeling while continuing to shop because I wanted to know WHY I felt this way. It’s not a sin to shop – so why can’t I shop? But this morning, when I stopped and asked myself why this fight continued and I didn’t just yield to the conviction that shopping was a selfish desire and repent, I realized I hadn’t conceded because deep down, I want happiness in the forms of clothes. I wanted that more than I wanted to obey.

“Surely God isn’t asking me to give up buying new clothes,” I thought.

“But what if He is asking that?”

“Then I guess I have to give it up.”

So here I am, still not understanding exactly why this is a conviction of mine, but out of love for God and a desire to be obedient, I am going to stop buying clothes. I figure I have about 7 years before I’d literally need anything new. (Good motivation to workout I guess!) And I will only start again when I can do it in faith. Sans nagging voice in the back of my head telling me my money would be better spent elsewhere. Maybe this is the beginning of something big.

Changing “I can’t” to “I can”

19 Nov

The title to this blog post might sound like some self-help mumbo jumbo but let me assure you it’s not. I rejoice that this is a real spiritual truth. The statement might be the same in either case but the basis behind the idea is completely different. With self-help, you chant this mantra to yourself, trying to change the way you approach life without any solid reason to expect life to be any different. Nothing guarantees things will change once you start to “look on the bright side of things.” (Optimism only gets you so far.)

But with God, this is a profound life-changing realization.

Let me explain:

This past Wednesday, I had my job interview at our church (I’m applying to work in the office). I learned that they are going to announce the open positions at the church meeting this Sunday to see if anyone else is interested and are hoping to make a decision in time for the new person to start at the beginning of the year. Which means I am going to have to keep working my current job for potentially the next month and a half.

My first reaction upon learning this was no different than my reaction when I first heard that YCS was willing to keep me on until the end of December: “I can’t handle another 2 months of this job! I need out NOW!”

In the past few weeks, I have noticed that I think this kind of thing a lot. When presented with a task that I’d rather not do, whether it be cleaning the house or making dinner, I think, “I just can’t do that right now. I don’t have the energy for it. I’m so tired.” When confronted with my own sin, and feeling like a failure yet again, I think, “I can’t be a good Christian. I can’t be loving and selfless. I’m never going to be the kind of person I want to be.”

This defeatist mentality is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more I feel like a failure, the more I fail – because I don’t believe that I have the power to change. I am just a victim of myself. And if God doesn’t magically change me, I’m doomed to being this way the rest of my life.

But that was not the way the Apostle Paul approached things. He had the same frustration with his flesh – “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out” (Romans 7:18). Paul was frustrated at his inability to do what he wanted to do, but he recognized that there was a separation between his true self and his flesh. His true self delighted in the law of God but his flesh was waging war against his spirit and making him captive to the law of sin.

I have been trapped there. The sins and failures of my flesh have been making me a captive, robbing me of my understanding of God and the gospel. I have fallen prey to the lie that it is not just my flesh committing those sins – it’s me. I am the bad person, the failure, the hopeless sinner. There is nothing good in me, period. These lies pull me down into a dark pit, the light of God’s glory and love growing continually dimmer and smaller. “Who will rescue me, liberate me, free me from this body of death?”

The glorious answer is, Christ! Christ rescues me, liberates me, frees me from myself. From my sins, my failures, and my mistakes. Moreover, He not only forgives me and wipes my slate clean, He also gives me a new spirit and a new heart, enabling me to conquer my sin and live a victorious life. Now, in Christ, I can say that I am not a constant failure. I don’t have to question my every motive and intention – because I am redeemed, I have good desires. I love God. I delight in the law of God. I am a godly woman. I am a loving person. I am selfless and sacrificing. I, the chosen and beloved, am being conformed to the image of Christ.

I learned recently that because these things are all God’s will for me, I can pray for them with authority – meaning, I can ask in prayer and believe that I have received them (James 1:5). God will not withhold His love, His patience, His wisdom from me. “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11).

It has helped me immensely to see the power available to me through the Spirit because of Christ’s resurrection. His death provided salvation – His resurrection now provides the power for sanctification. Instead of being riddled with thoughts about how “I can’t” be the person I want to be, I now live in the power that I CAN change, I CAN be the person God has called me to be, I CAN live for His glory and make Him proud. I have the same power living in me that raised Christ from the dead!!

While I still believe that God doesn’t want us to feel good about ourselves apart from Christ (because we would be deceiving ourselves into thinking we don’t need a Savior), I do believe that as redeemed children of God, we are called to feel positive, hopeful and encouraged about who we are in Christ. After all, it doesn’t seem right that we should constantly loathe and despise the temple of the Holy Spirit. If God loves us as He sees us in Christ, we should love ourselves in Christ.

Christ Himself uses victory as motivation for perseverance: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Just like Christ’s triumph over evil should give us hope despite evil in the world, our new natures in Christ should give us hope despite our sinful flesh. Because we are guaranteed progress in the Christian life if we so desire it, because we have the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit aiding our efforts, we should be all the more motivated to strive after godliness and holiness.

“And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord'” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Life lately

12 Nov

It’s been longer than I’d like since I posted last. I keep thinking of things that would be great to post about but this week has been so busy that I haven’t had the time.

But it’s been great! After my last post about discovering the lies I was believing, I got to have coffee with my good friend Cathy Kellerman. She has helped me immensely to see truth and understand how to hold on to hope instead of drown in my failures. That has been a huge blessing and enabled me to appreciate my job situation for right now.

Here’s what else I have been up to: Last Friday, our friends Amy and Michael Leon stayed with us as they were moving from Yellowstone to San Antonio, Texas, for their next seasonal position as a park ranger and wife.

On Saturday, D and I went up to Boulder to finally get massages (I also got a manicure) with our gift certificates from our bosses. It was a VERY nice spa and an excellent massage – very relaxing. Saturday night, we had some friends over for dinner and played Scrabble.

Sunday, we went to church and then to a chili cook-off. We made chili as a kind of after-though – I looked up a recipe for elk chili online on Saturday and made it Sunday morning – and we won by a landslide! I have to admit it was pretty darn good chili. Sometime this coming week I’ll post the recipe for all of you (and you don’t have to use elk to make it!) Then Sunday afternoon, I helped Travis rake our front yard (8 trash bags full of leaves and pine needles!), took Katy on a walk, made our hotel and car reservations for this weekend (more on that shortly), and read Jane Eyre – definitely a page-turner!

Though the weekend was full, it was very enjoyable. This week has been the same. Monday, I worked and then volunteered at the church. Tuesday, I worked, volunteered at the church and then had a women’s book study at our church. Wednesday, I worked, made more of the Elk Chili Sensation and went to care group. Yesterday, I had coffee with Cathy, worked, then we had some friends over for dinner and played Scrabble again (different friends but I won both times!). And then today, I ran 2 miles, packed, did the dishes, watered the plants and cleaned out the fridge, am currently in the process of buying some new running songs and putting them on my iPod (among them are Lady Gaga’s Deluxe Fame Album, as well as Sexy Bitch by David Guetta – don’t judge me; it’s a great song to run to!)

Wow, I am exhausted just typing all of this. It feels like this is the busiest I’ve been in a long time but it’s with fun stuff! And it’s amazing how being joyful in the Lord can make all these things, even the cooking and cleaning, enjoyable and pleasant. So it’s been a great week overall.

I did find out last Saturday, however, that my job position with the race company is being eliminated at the end of December. I am not in the least disappointed – except perhaps by the fact that I am not being eliminated right away. 🙂 I see this news instead as God’s indication to me that I am indeed supposed to move on to a new season of life, which I will gladly do. I am meeting with the pastor at our church next week about working in the office as the administrator. So I’m still hoping and praying that I get that job. But if not, God still has a plan. It might just take a bit longer to discover. In the meantime, I’m still working at home with the race company, designing the shirts and medals and stuff for next year.

But I’m not thinking about that this weekend – I’m going to have fun and relax, enjoying being with my parents and hubby in Malibu, California! The marathon is this weekend – I was going to run the full but switched to the half after all the issue with my knee and IT band. Which is just as well because I really don’t think I would’ve had the time to train for the full anyway. Plus, this way I can still do stuff on Sunday after the race instead of needing to be wheeled around in a wheelchair!

What’s better is that I finally get some time off – I took today completely off and I’m taking Monday completely off. I’ll be working again on Tuesday, though not full-time. I added up all the hours I worked for the past 9 weeks and found that I averaged 44 hours a week. Since I am not going to be with this job at least by the beginning of January (if not sooner), I figure I can take that extra 36 hours I worked and spread it out over the next couple weeks, so I really only have to work about 25-30 hours every week. (This past week I only worked 22 though!) Oh well. I’ll buckle down if I find out I’m not getting the church job. Otherwise, I am really enjoying being able to have some free time again.

Life is good right now – thanks be to God!

Seeing through the lies

5 Nov

This week started off rough. I was still struggling with not liking my job and feeling too disinterested and exhausted to do anything besides eke out some work and then read or watch TV. Naturally, I felt guilty at this lack of productivity – “just one more way I suck,” I thought.

After women’s group on Wednesday, I drove home crying. I just couldn’t understand why I felt so tired and lethargic. Why I couldn’t even muster up the strength to hope in God or have faith that things would get better. I had hit rock bottom and couldn’t do anything but stay there, calling out to God for Him to rescue me.

Well, no surprise, He did. Yesterday morning, I read Philippians 3:12-14 where Paul talks about not being perfect but pressing on, forgetting what lies behind and straining toward what lies ahead. I realized that I have been drowning in discouragement and despair because I have been focusing on my failures, resulting in either feelings of defeat or self-pity.

I have been believing lies in pretty much every area of my life:

When I see something I haven’t done, Satan takes that failure and says “See? You’ll never change. You just suck too much.”

He uses my stress to say “See? You can’t handle this. It’d be easier to just give up and watch TV all day instead.”

Satan takes my desire for rest and relaxation, turns it into feelings of laziness and says  “See? This is all you’re good at. Look at how much other people accomplish – you’re pathetic.”

Satan takes my spirit’s desire for Christ-likeness and says “Don’t even try. It’ll never happen. You’re incapable of living that way.”

Satan takes any glimmer of hope or joy and snuffs it out saying “That doesn’t make any difference – look at all the other areas in your life right now that suck. You have absolutely no reason to be happy or hopeful.”

And even after recognizing this yesterday morning, and feeling hopeful that I can finally combat these negative emotions because I know the root and cause of them, Satan says “You can’t fight this. You’re too weak, too tired, too pathetic. You disgust me.”

These lies are so subtle because they’re based in truth. I am incapable of changing and being like Christ in and of myself. I have failed to live the life I feel God has called me to. But I can’t stay there and focus on that. I have to move on, to focus on what I can now be in Christ, what He makes me capable of.

These are some of the truths I am using to combat these lies:

1. I am not hopeless or without hope – GOD is my hope.

2. I am indeed powerless to change myself but GOD IS NOT – He is for me and is working in me according to His perfect will.

3. My past failures have nothing to say about my present worth or future potential – only the CROSS of Christ does.

4. I am free to enjoy life and find joy in God and His blessings because I am freed from my sin and failures. “The glory of God is man fully alive.”

These truths have helped me see that when I snap at Travis, instead of beating myself up and lamenting that I’ll never be a good wife, I need to turn to God in prayer, acknowledge that I sinned and ask Him to give me grace to be a better wife.  I need to have faith in God to make me be who He says I can be in His Son, and not dwell on all the ways I don’t measure up. I can find motivation and energy to fight against sin and for joy in the victory that Christ has already won against sin and death. I am fighting a winning battle. There is guaranteed victory, and even guaranteed progress.

I am still working through the implications of these truths and I’m sure I won’t be completely free from the temptation to believe the lies for a while. They had pervaded practically every facet of my life. But Christ dwells in my heart through faith so I have confidence that He will give me the grace to believe His truths and to fight for joy.