Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dear Self...

I found this blog post under my draft folder from last winter and thought I'd post it today because I had a big ol' Costco chocolate cake on my counter yesterday. Do you even know how HUGE these cakes are? It is seriously surprising that my kitchen island doesn't collapse under the weight of this monster. (It's surprising I don't collapse after I eat a half  a piece a forkful .)
It kept talking to me when I would walk by."Diane....Diane....just have a teensy little taste....It'll be okay..." The fork laying right next to it DID NOT help the situation. Who on earth would put a fork RIGHT THERE anyway?
Why can't Rod like chocolate cake? He should eat it.
Truth:Costco chocolate cake is my kryptonite.
 Well, it is NOT okay and that chocolate cake has sung it's last siren song. I shoved that entire sweet talking dessert down the garbage disposal. I did that yesterday and it's almost as if I can still smell it. Still taste it.....Oh. That's the frosting still of my  lip. Adios, sweet delicious cake. Adios.
 (I miss you...) 
Anyway, here is the post:

I know you've been under pressure lately. So, what's new? 

Finding peace by watching a sitcom? Or Grey's Anatomy? Or a season or two of "Breaking Bad" or "Parenthood.?" Scootch over. I'll watch with you.

Looking for comfort in the middle of an All-American chocolate cake from Costco?

Venting bygossiping talking it out with friends?

Relaxing by reading a crime novel? Or the newest Food Network magazine "The Bacon Issue." (I am not making this up. It is the Bacon Issue.And....I'm back to food.)

Drinking a bottle glass of vodka wine?

Shopping and buying more mascara because it is a new brand and a fantastic new technologically advanced formula which is proven with studies to actually grow your baby lashes to indescribable lengths? Because we all need that.

Spend meaningful hours on Facebook looking at  duck-face selfies, pictures of their dogs in the snow, wild animal videos and their freshest grandbabies making spit bubbles.

Finally pass that freaking level 142 on Candy Crush? (PS. Please send me a life. I'm stuck again.)

These are all just hypothetical scenarios. Just so ya know.

But, honestly? Sometimes the pain/fear/whatever is so horribly overwhelming that I will try to do all these things at once. This is not pretty. Or practical. It ends with me having to clean chocolate cake crumbs off the keyboard and/or phone.

Why do all these things I do have to be so bad for me? Why couldn't I go run a half-mary or clean my hall closet with a vengence?

I am not saying these things are wrong at all. I'm saying that sometimes when I am crushed but not destroyed, I will turn to the fast-food ease of one of these band-aid solutions rather than to the actual healer of my soul.

Because sometimes I want to avoid pain and so I will muffle it with Candy Crush or..candy.
Do you do this, too?

 I know if I go to God with it, I will have to open up and spill it all, my pain my anxiety my worry my fear my anger my bitterness my sadness my aloneness. And it's SO BIG.

That's right. He wants it all.
And then he'll walk through it with you.
Holding you.
Encouraging you.
Reminding you.
 Loving you.
Reshaping you.
(And, yes. By "you" I do mean "me.")

 So that is what I choose to do.

Pursue the Lord by spending time with him. Walking in the winter woods with only the dogs and Jesus for my companions. Praying unceasingly when I wake up and can't sleep again because of worry and anxiety.
 Let HIS words wash over me..........

Turn on music that points me to true joy.

Listening to sermons by theologians that admonish me, teach me and direct me to search out God and live for him.

Reading bible study books that help me unravel the mysteries of God and show my how to wrestle out my salvation.

Go and serve God's people at church in whatever capacity. Serve the community and be Jesus with skin on to people who don't know him yet. What greater happiness than sharing the Good News? Uh, none.

Being still and knowing he is God. Relaxing in the knowledge that he has EVERY.THING in his hands...hands that have my name engraved on them. Ahhhhh.



All these things earthly, fleshly things promise me peace and happiness. They deliver moments of forgetfulness and numbness. A few minutes of fleeting pleasure. Then I need to watch more, buy more, eat more, drink more.

Actual joy and contentment are found when I drink from the source of joy and contentment. All the other things are just distracting me from what I really want and need.

 Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Colossians 3:1-4 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
And finally, this song is running through my mind and heart this morning...  Go ahead; sing with me. I won't judge you.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus 
  1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
    No light in the darkness you see?
    There’s light for a look at the Savior,
    And life more abundant and free!
    • Refrain:
      Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
      Look full in His wonderful face,
      And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
      In the light of His glory and grace.
  2. Through death into life everlasting
    He passed, and we follow Him there;
    O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
    For more than conqu’rors we are!
  3. His Word shall not fail you—He promised;
    Believe Him, and all will be well:
    Then go to a world that is dying,
    His perfect salvation to tell!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Shame on you

I have been doing pre-Easter dinner cleaning at my house today.I'll be honest; deep cleaning is not my spiritual gifting. We have animals who really seem to delight in bringing in their dirt and their fur. Bits of their kibble are spread here and there like canine confetti all over the floor and carpets.(I won't tell you who the main culprit is, but his initials start with COOPER.)

Combine that, all the horse dirt, the smells and my lack of deep cleaning and you have one of the reasons  I hardly ever have anyone over for dinner or coffee.
Embarrassment.
Feelings of inadequacy.
People will judge me.
(Well, that and I am a natural hermit.)

Don't we all have this to some degree? Maybe not over your cleaning ability (or lack thereof) but something else?
Has it been a long time since you've come to church to worship with your family in Christ? Are you worried about how people will view you? Is it easier to just stay where you are?

Feeling that you are not good enough can freeze you in place.
The thing is, our embarrassment keep us from doing good things. Our shame paralyzes us and we don't invite people in. We don't want to go anywhere, even church, because of our fear of being seen and found wanting.

 I personally, cannot relate to this at all. But I've heard other people talk of it.

Only kidding.


Some of our shame is really guilt. Deserved guilt. I get that.
But, you do know, don't you, that is exactly why Jesus died. To pay for that thing you are guilty about.
Some of it is stuff Satan makes up and whispers to us, over and over again, in order to keep us chained up. (You are bad, you are ugly, you are a loser, you are a failure, just give up...etc.)

But here is the thing: This is why we celebrate Easter. He came to bear our shame and sinfulness himself. That is the Good News!
When I look at that truth, I will tend to open up my home and invite people in, pull on clothes that don't fit so great and go to church anyway. He gives us freedom from constantly judging ourselves.

So, quit looking at your imperfections. Don't listen to the voice that says you are not enough.

We all need to look at him and quit studying ourselves. (I preach loudly to myself.)
I read this today from "Jesus Over Shame" by Jen Smidt.:

"If you are carrying the weight of shame, Jesus is calling you to give that burden to him and rest in the new identity he has given you. Because of shame, you may feel unqualified to speak truth into areas where you have influence. Whether you’re a Bible teacher, a neighbor, an employee, or a stay-at-home mom, you lead others. Don’t allow shame to silence you, but instead live in the freedom of Jesus’ grace, which eradicates shame. Don’t use shame to motivate yourself or those you lead. Point people to Jesus, who conquered shame.
Christian, from this day forward, choose Jesus over shame, every time."
Isn't that perfect? Choose Jesus over shame. Every time.
Love that.

This song makes me celebrate every time I hear it. How can we not just sing along and celebrate Jesus this weekend? Remember, take your eyes off yourself and look at Jesus.
Now go to church!

"Greater" Mercy Me
Bring your tired
And bring your shame
Bring your guilt
And bring your pain

Don't you know that's not you're name
You will always be much more to me
Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I'm not right
But that's alright

'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
Bring your doubts
And bring your fears
Bring your hurt
And bring your tears
There'll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed
Every time I fall
There'll be those who will call me
A mistake
Well that's OK
'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
(He's Greater, He's Greater)
There'll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn't matter
'Cause the cross already won the war
He's Greater, He's Greater
I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He's Greater, He's Greater
There'll be days I lose the battle
Grace says that it doesn't matter
'Cause the cross already won the war
He's Greater, He's Greater
I am learning to run freely
Understanding just how He sees me
And it makes me love Him more and more
He's Greater, He's Greater
'Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I'll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world
In the world
In the world
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world


Read more: Mercy Me - Greater Lyrics | MetroLyrics 
 
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