Thursday, August 29, 2013

Why do we care?

A conversation today got me thinking: Why do we care so much about what other people think of us? On the other hand, shouldn't we care since, as believers, we are His representative?
It's a tough balance to strike and I'll be honest, it is one of my toughest daily struggles. If I am doing the right thing and it bothers someone else, I should have the confidence in the One who gives me conviction to stand in assurance, regardless of others' opinions. Similarly, if I am striving to please people, I am most likely missing the mark. Isn't that the real issue? Much of my time and emotional energy is spent on pleasing people-wondering if someone approves of me or likes me. If I took that same time and energy and invested it in reading my bible and spending time with God, wouldn't that replace my need to please people?

So, I went in search of a verse that might apply.

Am I now trying to win human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10

Well, alrighty then. That pretty much clears things up. I can't try to win the approval of people and God simultaneously.In fact, if I am trying to please people, I am not serving Christ. Impossible to do both? I guess so. But didn't I already know that? I know that when I am so concerned about an opinion of me, then I am not focused at all on Christ and His instant approval of me. He approves of me just because I am His. And because He is the great I AM. I don't have to understand why He loves and approves of me even when I am completely in my flesh-selfish and consumed with my needs only. He loves and approves of me simply because I am His adopted child. And when I am walking in that, I am always going to be a representative of Jesus. Amen and amen.

Much to think about and much love to you!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Waiting for a season of singing

"See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come." Song of Songs 2:11

     So,  I was blessed with an opportunity to have some downtime this weekend at a women's retreat in gorgeous Asheville, NC. The company was great, the speaker insightful, and the view was spectacular. But here's the most important thing: I heard God this weekend. I heard Him through His word.
     I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I am waiting for a "season of singing". When I began to reflect on this, my heart cried out to God. Why, when crisis has passed, do we still struggle? I began to think on this and talk to God about this. And the very next scripture he brought to me was in Ecclesiastes 3, vs 1-8.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to  uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stories and a time to gather,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

     I have heard that scripture read many times before. I heard it sung as a child (For every season, turn turn turn...) but I've never dwelled on it before. You know what, friend? Whatever season you are in is just that. A season. Seasons don't last forever but even when a long winter is ending, the frozen land has to thaw bit by bit. And when we've had a winter-type season of loss or pain, and the freeze has been deep, it takes much warmth and time to get to the deepest layers of ice. When our hurts run very deep, it takes longer to heal those wounds.
     Why do we expect ourselves to blossom as soon as winter is over? I feel often times we have a self-imposed pressure to produce flowers as soon as a crisis is "over". We think that people expect us to move on, work through, get over things as quickly as possible. That may be true. Let's face it. Crisis generally makes people uncomfortable. We don't like to see someone we love struggle. Never knowing what to say, what to do.
    I do, however, believe we shouldn't linger in a valley when God is providing us hope, healing and restoration. But I know that we have to allow ourselves to heal completely from the deepest of wounds, whether the wound is emotional, physical, or spiritual. And your dearest of friends will give you the grace to do that. More importantly, our God gives us the grace.
     So, I know my season of singing is coming. I do. I feel like God is preparing me for it. But for now, I will rest in His arms where He gives me the time and grace to heal and strengthen. For now, I know that He is taking delight in me and singing over me.

The Lord your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you in singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

Dear friend, give yourself the time to heal that God himself gives us. There is a season for it. Allow Him to sing over you and so you can rest in His delight. You don't have to earn it. You just have to rest in it. There will be a season of singing soon. Hold on!