His Word, Random

Unacknowledged

Lewis Carroll said it best, “One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”

Have you ever done something for someone that you felt they really needed? That you felt you would appreciate if you were in the same circumstances?

Have you ever given them encouraging words when you knew times were tough for them?

These may have been things that weren’t really extraordinary for you, but you hoped that something you said or did made a difference in their life.

Recently, I offered encouraging, life-giving words to someone I knew was struggling. I could feel it in my soul, before they even shared what was going on, that they were going through a rough time. God laid them heavy on my heart. And I responded by lifting them up in prayer to Him.

I felt good about doing this. I felt like I had made a difference. I felt that they appreciated my uplifting words.

Until they weren’t acknowledged.

Then I began to feel all yucky inside. I began to feel inadequate…less than…not good enough…

This really made me start thinking about why we do things for others. And why others do things for us.

Recently, a friend of mine toted me and my kids to the ER when I was feeling terrible. I knew I couldn’t drive myself. I was in a position that I desperately needed her help. I think about how she had to rearrange her schedule to do this. I think about how she did it so selflessly and without complaint.

This same friend is picking up my son to take him to a 4-H meeting tonight because my daughter came home from school not feeling well.

I have another friend that has taken both of my kids on fun outings because she wants them to go. Or because I had something to do.

In turn, I’ve kept one of her kids for her because she had something to do.

My point is, this is what we do…we help each other out…we encourage and love and lift each other up in prayer and do for one another because God never intended us to live in solidarity. He made us to be relational beings. We were made to be in relationships with one another.

It takes a village, people. No matter if there are two adults in the household or just one – as in my case – we all need each other.

Proverbs 18:24 tells us that, “There are ‘friends’ who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”

We read in 1 John 4:21 that, “…Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.”

Jesus tells us in Luke 6:29 that if someone wants our coat, we are to offer them our shirt too. Meaning, we are to withhold nothing from our brothers and sisters.

Someone once said, “If you give and regret the giving, your heart will be as empty as your hands.”

I say all of this to come to this point…it’s not my responsibility how people react to what I do for them. Just like I tell my kids all of the time, you have no control over anything anyone else says or does. The only things you can control are your actions and your words.

God doesn’t expect me to concern myself with how the other person responds to how I treat them. God wants me to be concerned with obeying Him and stepping out in faith and love to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I’m to come when He calls. I’m to pray when He places a burden on my heart for someone. I’m to give when I’m led to give. That’s where my responsibility ends.

How I react when He calls me out is what I will have to give an account for. Nothing more. Nothing less. Was I obedient to Him when He called me?

His Word, Random, Series

Day 10 – Care

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Today’s post is the first Five Minute Friday prompt in the 31 Day writing challenge. Yes, I realize it’s not Friday…that it’s actually Tuesday, but hey, folks, I’m a work in progress.

Which is actually a good segue into the actual post. Today’s prompt is: Care.

There are days when I ask why I care. Why do I care how I’m viewed? Why do I care what other people think? The only One who really matters doesn’t even judge the same way as people.

See, I have a problem. There’s even a word to describe it…

per·fec·tion·ism noun \-shə-ˌni-zəm\

Definition of PERFECTIONISM

: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable
— per·fec·tion·ist noun or adjective
— per·fec·tion·is·tic adjective

And this is why I am embarking upon this book, “confessions of a raging perfectionist” by Amanda Jenkins. Perhaps this book, in conjunction with His Word will cure me of this deadly disease.

I was having a conversation with a fellow perfectionist just yesterday. We both remarked that we wanted things to be, {ahem} perfect in our relationships. Then we chuckled and began to feel badly for these men who have a tremendous amount of pressure placed upon them to join us in our quest for perfection. And they may not even realize it themselves.

I will tell you this much: I’m exhausted from caring so much about how others perceive me. And the thing is that it’s just that…their perception. And perceptions can be twisted by our life experiences, so it’s not factual and it’s different for everyone.

Does anyone else want to join me in this journey? Is anyone else thinking it might be time to focus on The One whose opinion matters the most? Is anyone else tired of trying to be ‘just so’?

If you’re thinking that maybe it’s time, let me leave you with this snippet from the Introduction to Amanda’s book:

“My problem, I’ve recently realized, is the significance I attach to the list–that if I lose five pounds and spend twenty minutes reading my Bible, I’ll be a better, more spiritual, more loving, more lovable person. When I fail to live up to my own expectations, I feel inadequate. Or more specifically (and as my stats frequently read), overweight, lazy, disorganized, and unworthy of the approval I seek.”

Kids/Parenting, My 'Farm', Random, Series

Day 9 – Join

I have to say that this writing challenge has truly challenged me in some really great ways. I’ve stretched myself to a place I’ve not been before. To a place where I’m forcing myself to write just for the sake of writing.

The prompt for day 9 is: Join.

It catches me by surprise this morning when I step outside that fall has joined us. As I make the trek to the chicken coop, I traipse through damp leaves that have fallen softly from the trees.

I feel the cool, crisp air tenderly touch my cheeks, and as I exhale, I can see my warm breath.

Where has the year gone that fall has made it’s arrival so silently? Like a thief in the night steals, summer has been snatched from our grasp.

And just as the days and the years quickly tick by, the fall of my children’s lives joins me.

How one day, I open the door to my life and it shocks my system to find I have a 9-year old and a 7-year old. She has less than 2 years left in her elementary school days.

Less than 2 years and she will join the ranks of middle-schoolers where life takes on a new level of complexity.

And him…my baby…is not a baby any more. He has joined the thousands of boys that have gone before him into the land of no more hugs and kisses for their mamas.

Oh dear, sweet children…how can I slow time down? How can I learn to join you in this moment?

Help me to appreciate the cool, crisp air of the fall now; before the cold, sharp air of the winter blasts me in the face and chills me to the bone. Because it will be here all too soon.

Random, Series

Day 3 – New

If you’re here for the third day this month, I applaud you! I thank you! And I graciously ask that you return daily during the month of October…I ask that you return to see how this month carries out and how I can grow as a writer during this 31 day challenge.

Today’s topic is: New.

I’m struggling with this new blog post. I am not typically one to schedule my posts ahead of time. I generally write a blog post when I’m feeling inspired or when I feel I have something particularly witty or important to share with you fine people.

I can say this…I can say that I’m going through a season in my life right now. And it’s a season that’s completely new and foreign to me.

On a daily basis, I’m questioning what I’m here for. Is what I’m doing making a difference? Am I making a difference in the lives of those around me?

Am I saying the right things and doing the right things to leave a lasting impression on those I love?

Am I demonstrating ways to be brave to my children? Am I showing Christ’s love toward others?

In this season, my thoughts keep coming back to…when will waiting for the one finally be…done?

That one job, that one financial shift, that partner or spouse you’re waiting for…

His Word, Random, Series

Day 1 – Move

So, here we are, on October 1. The first day of the ‘five minute free writes’ writing challenge. Today’s prompt is: move.

Move. I’ve heard it said that if you can’t sense God’s presence in your life, you can be assured that He is not the one who has moved; you have.

Try as I might, I can’t understand why anyone would move away from God. Yet, we do it everyday in the choices we make. In the small choices and the big ones.

It’s the same in any relationship. If you’re not consciously moving TOWARD someone, you’re moving away from them. I suppose that we are always constantly moving. Either toward someone or away from someone.

It’s all up to you which way you chose to move.

I know that I want to be consciously moving toward those people who love me and want what’s best for me. This includes God.

I want to draw nearer to those who cherish me and our relationship. Those who also have a desire to move toward me. Those who can take one look at the worn expression on my face or hear my exasperated voice on the other end of the line and know that I need a hug. Or some positive words of encouragement.

These are the people that I need to surround myself with. This includes God. He knows all and sees all.

And I have to remember these words…

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Until tomorrow for day #2…blessings to you in His name.