My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Posts tagged ‘growth’

Brand New…

Who doesn’t like something that’s brand new? Like a newborn baby or a puppy or even a new car? Things that are new and shiny and not yet spoiled tend to appeal to all of us. The problem is that no matter how well we take care of the new things we have, they always get that scratch or ding or just get spoiled.

If it’s a new situation or relationship we are talking about eventually we begin to take things for granted, we tend to start noticing the other person’s faults more. The intensity of our feelings tends to cool down.

This also happens with our relationship with God.  When we are new shiny Believers we are so excited. Just being around a new believer is energizing and fun. They want to tell the world about what Christ has done for them. Then after time the newness wears off.  They start to act like everybody else around them.  Or, they conform back to the world, instead of staying transformed.  Why is this?

I think in all these situations it is because of two reasons…everything breaks down in this world because of the sinful state we live in and because we insist on living in our own power instead through God’s power.  In other words the problems is us and sin.

The sinful world we live in and the curse that we are under seems to drag us down constantly. This is the reason everything decays and breaks down.  Just look at your car…is it as nice as the day you bought it…no.  Just look at your body…is your skin as clear and smooth as the day you were born? Again, no.  Decay and a downward trend are the natural order of things in our world.

Also, we try to live our lives and conduct our relationships in our own power. Clearly, this is a terrible idea as we seem to make a mess out of things every time.  We use our limited knowledge and wisdom instead of leaning on the One who knows everything and has perfect understanding and wisdom.

And we forget about the One who makes all things New. 

I find myself longing for the day when all this decay will be over.  Oh how I long for all things to be made new and shiny and away from this curse of sin. 

I long for the better country.  And I hope and trust that even the biggest messes I have made can be recreated and healed by the one who is perfection.

A Head (and Heart) Fix…

ImageAs some of you may know, the last few months I have been going through some big changes.  I have been in the process of getting healthier by eating better, exercising, and losing some weight.  I have good days and bad days but I have finally figured out that what really is  most important is my head rather than my body. 

I have been reading the best book by Lysa TerKeurst called Made to Crave.  I literally feel like the author has been peeking in my window and writing about me.  Through her I have really learned some great Biblical truths that relate to the sin of gluttony that I have been struggling with. 

I have realized that like the title of the book says, I was made to crave.  Only what I was made to crave was God…not food.  The fallen world has twisted a wonderful feeling placed inside of me into something that has led to defeat, shame, and guilt.  Only by realigning my thoughts and learning to crave what I was made to crave can I get off of the cycle of overeating and rationalizing it.

Thought for the Day:  My weight loss goal is not a number on the scale.  My real weight goal is peace.

Oh how I wish I had learned these truths years ago.  Maybe I wouldn’t have wasted so much time in this struggle without any success. 

And this doesn’t just apply to weight struggles.  It applies to whatever you are craving other than God.  There is so much in this world that we substitute for God.  That’s our enemy’s aim, isn’t it? 

1 John 2:15-16 says, “Do not love the world or anything of the world…For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world.

While I realize this will be a struggle for me (and everyone else too), until we are done with this world, I am so happy to know these truths and work on fixing my head (and my heart) and live a life that is pleasing to my Lord.

 

 

Becoming…

The other day I got back to our office from an appointment at work and discovered this big, green bug on my briefcase.  I was understandably upset and quite dismayed it had decided to hitch a ride.  Apparently, this is the time of year for these noisy cicada bugs to come out and play.  Uggg…not a fan, especially not hitching a ride with me.

Thinking about the bug I realized that maybe me and Mr. Bug had a little more in common then I would like to believe.  In what way could I possibly similar to a bug you ask?  I believe it is because we both doing the same thing right now…we are becoming.

Of course, he is becoming a better bug.  He is outgrowing his skin and coming out better than before.  That’s what he’s been made to do and that is what he is doing.

What then am I becoming?  I too am becoming better, just like I have been made to do.  Maybe you can’t always see my progress like Mr. Bug’s, but I’m hoping sometimes you can.  I admit that sometimes it’s a pretty slow process, and it can be said that sometimes my progress slides backwards a little bit, but hopefully it is mostly progress forward.

I know there are things each and every day that God is working on me with; growing me, changing me, making me shiny and new in His image.  And like Mr. Bug, I will one day emerge from my old, yucky, brown “skin” and leave it behind.  I will be new and bright and beautiful…and like Him!

Some days I think I can actually see it…just a little of the new me and less of the old me.  Some days I think it will never, ever happen and all I can see is the same old me.  And some days I seem to want to cling to the old me…sometimes it is so scary to change into something new.  I wonder if Mr. Bug feels the same?

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1 Corinthians 15 ~

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Sin and Security…

I am going to be really transparent in this post. If you don’t like transparency, or emotional outbursts, this is probably not the post for you.

I have been taking a class at church going through a book called, “The Peace Maker” by Ken Sande. I have to confess that at first I was drawn to this class because at times my marriage has needed some peacemaking. But when two sinners get married, what do you expect?

The first few chapters were good, but then I hit Chapter 5 – Conflict Starts in the Heart. Wow…I will have to say that is when God really opened my eyes. I started reading this chapter and all of a sudden everything was applying to me…not to my husband. And let me tell you something, it was heartbreaking.

God has really used this book, and another study I am doing in my quiet time about Prayer, to break me. He has shown me that I have made an idol out of the need for security. I have seen clearly for the first time how I will do anything, including putting a huge burden on my husband, to get the security I crave and think that I deserve.

Let me back up a bit. Most of you know that I was adopted as a baby. I had fantastic, wonderful parents who always told me how much I was loved and wanted, but there was always this deep seated insecurity inside of me. I always felt like I was different and somehow not good enough because my birth mother obviously did not want me and just gave me up. Of course, as I got older and (a little) wiser, I realized that this was not true at all. She did love me, enough to give me up to someone who could better care for me. But knowing that intellectually and living it emotionally are always two very different things.

So, little by little, I placed a huge burden on my husband of making me feel secure. And when he failed, and he did, because he is a human sinner, as am I, I blamed him for my insecurity. This caused me to build a wall in my heart to avoid the pain. Sin, sin, sin…

I have never seen this so clearly as I did today. Let me share a little of what I journalled for my homework in class:

What do I seek and desire? Love of my spouse and security in our relationship. This is my idol. When I do not feel the security I desire in our relationship, I punish him by becoming distant (justification = protect myself) or angry (threaten or blame shift), instead of finding the security I crave from the one True God.

Another entry says:
As you look back on how you have handled this conflict do you see a need to repent and for confession? Yes! I was placing my needs and expectations on Bud. I believe that most of this (a recent argument) stems back to placing my desire for security on his shoulders as a burden that he can not possibly fulfill or carry. Again, repentance is necessary on my part as I have placed this on him rather than on God who is the only one who can and will give me the security and love I desire. I have continually taken the desire for love of God He has placed in me and put it as a burden on my husband. This has brought about a lot of conflict in our marriage which I have then blamed on him. I now realize there is no way my husband could ever meet these needs because he was never meant to…only God was.

As you can see, this has been rather eye-opening for me. And wildly freeing to my heart.

I can see God’s goodness and mercy so clearly and how I was the one backing away not God.

Why am I sharing this in a public forum such as my blog? I think transparency is a good thing. I think it is a public confession. I also think when God shows you something this good and freeing, you need to share it so others can learn from it as well. But most of all, I wanted to share how GREAT our God is! How loving and merciful and tender. I want to praise Him for being so longsuffering with me when I do not deserve it, worm that I am.

Thank you for letting me be transparent and free with you, as well.

Confetti…

The thoughts in my mind lately have been swirling around like confetti, so I’m going to let it all come bursting forth:

* This morning I woke up to the news that Bud will not be coming home in the next few days as we thought but may be in Korea until sometime in November.  This was a huge disappointment for both of us.  And (as those who have read previous blog posts know) I’m not very good at waiting.  While Bud is still pretty irate about the whole lack of communication related to their trip home, I’m more trying to see this as an opportunity.  I am hoping this will give me a little more time to be firmly established in Weight Watchers and exercise before Mr. Betty Crocker comes home and gets to baking.  There are also several projects around the house I would like to tackle to jazz the place up before Bud comes home again.

* I walked/ran my first 5K ever last Saturday!!!  I was SO excited because I really wasn’t sure this was something I would be able to do.  I was extremely nervous before the race began.  I did pretty good until right after mile 1 and then I had a few moments of the “I can’t possibly do this”‘s before I decided that I just needed to ask God to help me endure and persevere.  I figured that is a big theme in the Bible (although it’s mostly related to our faith), so I figured learning to persevere may be something He would be willing to help me with.  I’ll have to say that crossing the finish line was amazing.  I was so thrilled to have made it, I even forgot to look at the time.  Thank goodness someone did and told me I was right around the 48 minute timeframe.  I know I still have a long ways to go, but I’m so jazzed about this now.

* This fall feeling weather tonight is really getting me in the mood to decorate with some nice fall colors.  I’ve also decided that now that I’ve broken in my new sewing machine helping Bella make her Star Trek uniform shirt, I’m ready to really get going on some pillow slip covers and curtains for my living room.  I’m so excited to have the machine because I’ve always wanted to make things for my house and was severely lacking without a sewing machine.  I also just discovered a cool pattern to make reusable pads for your Swiffer Wet Jet, and everyone knows I’m all about saving some money on stuff like this.  As soon as I can find some old cloth diapers, or buy some new cloth diapers, I’m going to be whipping up some of those.  I’m sure I will be putting some project pictures up on my blog as soon as I get some done.

* I am really loving my new job!  It is a great job for me because it deals with patients (which I love), is new and different and exciting every day, and requires a lot of organization which is “my thing”.  I have met so many really great people and learned so much in just six short months.  It’s wonderful to look back and see all the jobs I have had before now and the skills I learned in them being used for this job.  I am so thankful that God has put me here at this time in my life.

* The new mattress that I bought a month or so ago…I LOVE IT!  It is possibly the most comfortable mattress I’ve slept on in who knows how long.  And the best part – I can now leave my bedroom door open during the day because my bed is high enough that my little short-legged furry friends can’t jump on my bed.  I used to have to always keep my bedroom door closed as they would get up and were getting my bedspread dirty all the time.  This resulted in a somewhat stuffy/non-aired-out room.  I love being able to keep the door open.  I also love having to invite help up a dog if I want them up there.  If I don’t want them up there, they stay down. 

* Oh, and by the way…War Eagle!!!

All About Clouds…

I was looking at my tag cloud on my blog last night and I found that my top tags are as follows (in no particular order):

This makes me feel like at least I have my blog posting’s priorities in line.  I want to strive to make sure my life is in line and focusing on the MOST important things, not the mundane.

With Bud being gone for an extended period and changing jobs and training someone to replace me, I feel like my priorities are all skewed.

I have started using something called the Read Through the Bible Program for Shirkers and Slackers which seems to work well for me.   It is a reading plan but it’s not as structured so I don’t feel so freaked out if I miss a day or only read half of what I was supposed to that day.  I have been much more consistent with my daily Bible reading since starting this.  http://www.ransomfellowship.org/publications/notes_biblereadingprogram.pdf

I am still struggling with praying like I should.  I’m being really transparent here…I am truthfully praying around 4-5 times a week instead of every day.  This is something I am working on, though.  I am hoping once I change jobs and have an extra hour in the morning, I can institute a real consistent quiet time with praying every morning.  I am keeping a prayer list and am doing much better than in the past.  Prayer is really something I struggle with the most.

I am trying to be reading a good non-fiction Christian book at all times.  Sometimes I am reading fun reads (mostly Christian fiction) as well, but I’m trying to consistently read something meaty too.  Right now I am in the Holiness MIT class so my meaty Christian book is “Holiness” by JC Ryles.  This book has helped me greatly in this endeavor, as JC Ryles is an excellent read and has totally smashed my misconceptions about non-contemporary Christian writers.  This is good stuff and it’s making me want to branch out to more classic Christian writers.  I was, however, always a fan of CS Lewis.

Oh, and just a quick mention about adoption.  I saw Third Day’s new video for the song, “Children of God” and can I say that I’m amazed.  The song is already fantastic but the video blew me away.  Check it out if you haven’t seen it.

Third Day, Children of God

As an adopted child myself, by earthly parents as well as God my father, this is a subject near and dear to my heart.


Casper in the Bottle…

When I was fairly young, we had a lava lamp in our living room.  It was a really funky-looking lava lamp with a pale green light and white lava in it.  Remember, this was the early 1970’s and a lava lamp went well with our early 70’s decor.   Anyway, I was convinced that the lava in the lamp was actually Casper the Friendly Ghost [before you say it, yes, I realize I was a very strange kid].

I loved Casper-in-the-bottle.  He was always there and I loved to turn the lamp on and watch him fly around.  I also loved to talk to him.  I think at first my parents probably thought it was really strange.  But after a while, I think they just found it amusing.  My love affair with Casper lasted only a little while but eventually, sadly, I grew up and moved on from my friend Casper.

It’s really funny to me how we just love certain things as kids and then as we grow we outgrow them and leave them behind.

When I was twelve, I decided that I was madly in love with, and going to marry, Shawn Cassidy.  The minute I laid eyes on him I was totally smitten as only a 12-year old can be with someone complete unrealistic and unattainable.  I loved all of his gumball pop music.  I knew every song by heart and pretended he was singing them to me.  I watched the Hardy Boys Mysteries show religiously the whole time it ran from January 1977 – January 1979.  I remember that I cried when it went off the air. 

One time there was a massive fire in the canyons above where we lived in California.  Everyone in the neighborhood was walking up the road to get closer and see the wildfire.  I remember being so upset with my dad because he wouldn’t let me walk back down the hill to our house and the Hardy Boys was about to come on.  Oh, for that to be my only worry now!

Well, twelve came and went and all of a sudden I was giving away my Shawn Cassidy t-shirt and was definitely too cool to listen to his music anymore.  However, the boy-bug had definitely hit so it was off to cooler guys to adore.

It’s funny to me that we are so fickle.  I mean, I realize it is really good to move on to more mature things but sometimes my interests come and go quicker than the wind. 

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13:11, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

We are to grow up and give up our childish ideas and things.  I admit that when I thought back about Casper, the Lava Lamp Ghost and my Shawn Cassidy crush, I giggled.  But I also thought about how silly and childish both of those ideas were. 

So it is with Christianity.  There is something so very sweet about a brand-new “baby” Christian.  They are excited, exuberant, and want to tell everybody about what they are learning.  And we can definitely learn a lot about our first love and retaining that exuberance and excitement.  But baby Christians only know a little bit about God’s character.  They only know a little bit about a lot of Biblical things.  And that’s fine because they are babies.  What isn’t fine is when you see a person who has been a Christian for years and years and they still only know a little bit about a lot of Biblical things.

The Bible tells us we are to “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 3:18   We are not to stay the same as the day we were saved we are to learn more about our Lord.  We are to strive and struggle and study and in doing so, we know more and more about the character of God.  We grow in faith and become mature Christians.  

 As we start out we “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” (1 Peter 2:2)  But see the what the Bible has to say about the danger of staying with only milk.  Hebrews 5:12-14, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

So those who are of full age or Mature Christians, should be eating the meat of God’s Word not just the milk.  They should be studying God’s Word, digging into it, meditating on it, discussion it with their friends, listening to preachers who rightly discern the Word of God.  And like a person who is eating meat, you should be growing strong and healthy.

Open up that Bible.  Start reading and knowing God more.  Just like exercise, the more you do it, the stronger you will become! 

And don’t worry, I still think of my friend Casper everytime I see a lava lamp and it makes me smile!