Something Beautiful In You

“Wow! God made you so very beautiful!”  

Usually I make more of an effort to point out more meaningful attributes in my 3 year old, but that moment just struck me.

 

“Yeah! He did!” When she responded to me the way she did, the Lutheran in me cringed! “Oh no! Vanity! Arrogance! Sinful PRIDE!!” But, no! Not at all. Because HE DID. Our loving Father’s hand created her beautifully.

norahsleeping We fight pride so, so hard. And we should fight it! C.S. Lewis has quite a bit to say about pride, including this:

 

“For pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense.”

Scary stuff, that pride. So scary that we sometimes find it difficult to admit that we have any strengths at all. There are so few people I know that know how to take a compliment.

 

We can get too caught up in humility, I think, that we miss the entire point of it.

C.S. Lewis also has a thing or two to say about humility:

"True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less."

We get to the point that we realize that we are nothing without God. We are powerless. We are deserving of death. We are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. It’s all true. But then we dwell there. Why would we stay there? In a place without God?? Why would we want to be anywhere without God? The point is that we DO have God, and He has given us incredible blessings in our lives, and created us with great care and greater purpose.

Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

 I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

 

It is not sinful pride to acknowledge that the Master and Creator of the universe has made something beautiful in you when you are acknowledging Him and thanking and glorifying Him with it! My husband and I lived in China for 2 years after I graduated from college. Our last year there we met a woman who had a huge impact on my life. She was incredible. She had so many talents and gifts. She could play just about any instrument, had a gorgeous singing voice, and was just a beautiful, giving, loving woman. She knew very, very little English. We met often in my last few months living there. Whenever I or someone else would compliment her or acknowledge her gifts or talents she always responded the exact same way, “God give me”. With exactly half of her whole English vocabulary, the thing I heard her say more than anything else was the beautiful distinction between pride and humility.  I know half of my vocabulary isn't currently dedicated exclusively to glorifying God. How wonderful it would be if the things people heard us say more than anything else pointed them directly to God.

Humility does not mean living in a way that denies any strengths or admirable qualities in ourselves. It is living in a way that sees those gifts, doesn’t compare them with the gifts of others, but gives 100% of the glory and credit to God. If someone tells you that you are beautiful or talented, rather than the awkward responses we usually have which direct as much attention away from ourselves and to our flaws, someone else’s strengths, or whatever else, we could try directing that attention toward God!

“Thank you! I am daily humbled that God made me the way He did or even made me at all! Believe me, I have countless flaws, but it is pretty incredible to be a work of creation made perfect in the eyes of God through Christ!” or maybe even just “Glory to God!”

Make it your own, of course. And don’t be prideful, but don’t downplay the beauty God has created, even when it is in you. What if someone else tells my daughter she’s beautiful? What do I want her to say? “No, I’m not”?? Of course not. What a beautiful thing it could be for someone to point out the beauty of my daughter and for her to point directly to God, with full confidence that He made her just the way she is, and she couldn’t be happier about it.

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It's none of your business... or is it?

Does anyone ever feel uncomfortable with the fact that the divorce rate among Christians is equal to the divorce rate of the world; that men (and women) inside the church are struggling with pornography just as much as those outside of it; gossip is known to be an issue throughout our women’s circles and our Christian high schools and colleges deal with drugs, alcohol and sexual abuse. I feel today like God wants me to write on a topic we don’t hear about very much in the church (or at least not in the one I attend): ACCOUNTABILITY.

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DSCN3902

Now, before I start, please know that I am not writing this blog post on how we are to interact with those not in the faith; those God has called us to witness to with love and grace. Rather, I’m writing to my fellow Christians. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? - 1 Corinthians 5:12

The Bible overflows with commands to love our enemies, our neighbors, and not to judge others. However, it can be misunderstood as we read these passages that we are to stay out of other Christians' problems; that we should lovingly understand where they are coming from and let them sort it out themselves. We don’t want to act like we are judging or treating them ungracefully so we just stay out of it.

It’s messy. It’s their problem. It’s really none of my business. Right?

Wrong.

It is our business. Yes, it is messy. Yet, God calls us there anyway.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. - Galatians 6:1-3

Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did? Didn’t he loving hold people to a higher standard? He healed people of sickness and forgave their sins and then encouraged them to “go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)

Too often we tell God our sins as if floating them up into a great unknown. It's easy, quick and we don’t have to do anything more about them. But that isn’t what the Bible teaches us to do. In fact, we are also to “confess our sins to one another that we may be healed” (James 5:15).

Why is that? As soon as we tell another Christian our sins and our struggles, all of a sudden we are in a place where we have to do something about it. There is now accountability. What has been hidden in darkness is being brought to light.

Once we drop our perfect facades and are honest with each other, Satan loses his power to keep us struggling alone; feeling isolated and overwhelmed. God never intended for us to run this race by ourselves, secretly struggling with our sins; incapable of freedom.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. ­- Hebrews 12:1

We need to start confessing to one another, praying for each other and taking steps to overcome by the power of Jesus - together!

If gossip has a grip on your life, talk to someone who will hold you accountable and start doing something about it. If you, your spouse our your child, is struggling with pornography, start with confession and let God start the healing. He is the ultimate healer and not only gave us the power of his Word, but also the partnership of those in the Church.

Let’s resist the temptation to let our pride keep us from the blessing of community and accountability. God didn’t just come to offer us forgiveness from the chains that bind us. He came to bring us freedom from them.

  1. Pray for the courage to confess your sins to a trusted Christian friend or mentor.
  2. Ask that mentor to then pray with you and continue to follow-up and encourage you as God leads you to freedom.
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Katy Signature

Making the Burden Light(er)

The last few weeks have been rather interesting at our house. Between recent illness and “boundary testing” among the girls, I’ve been finding it difficult to keep up with the housework, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and life itself.

Whether it is an issue of pride, a need for control, or something slightly resembling martyrdom, I rarely ask for help. After all, if I send my husband to do the grocery shopping, he might (heaven forbid!) choose the wrong brand of ketchup or purchase the bananas too green or too ripe. If I ask him to throw in a load of laundry during his next trip down to the basement, perhaps he’ll wash the clothes using too warm of water, resulting in some minor shrinkage of a few precious articles of clothing. And how can I be assured that he’ll remember to disinfect the doorknobs and light switches adequately if he tackles the bathroom cleaning this week instead of me?

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 However, in light of recent circumstances, I’ve had no choice but allow him to help me.

For instance, we’ve recently settled on a plan that he will be in charge of dinner every Tuesday evening. Tuesdays end up being one of my longest days since it is a day I spend at work and then pick up the girls from the sitter’s afterward. This means he gets to decide what we’re having (only fair since he’s the one making it!) and even if that means spaghetti three weeks in a row, I’m okay with it.

Last Sunday, I actually wrote him a list, entrusting him with the complicated task of picking up a few items from the grocery store. That same afternoon, he cleaned the bathroom while I took care of changing the sheets on the beds.

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And guess what? The world did not end. The food he brought home from the store was completely edible. The bathroom sparkled. We didn’t go hungry on Tuesday night. Even more importantly, I was a bit more rested and my husband felt good for contributing.

So again, I ask myself (and you, if this happens to sound familiar): why is this so difficult? Is not one of the blessings of close relationships (such as marriage) not only companionship but also the sharing of each others' load?

Are not my husband and I components of the very same household, working for common goals, such as daily sustenance, cleanliness, and the Christian upbringing of our children?

When I really take a step back and analyze this situation, I think I would have to say that the main reason I don’t ask for help more often is largely due to the fear of inconveniencing anyone else. I figure that it would be far better if I would simply proceed in completing the task at hand myself, even if it means added stress and exhaustion – ultimately leading to a mother and wife who is too spent at the end of the day to even think about engaging in any enjoyable activity or meaningful conversation.

What I’ve failed to realize is that by allowing my husband (and others, for that matter) to support me and lighten my burden, I’m actually giving him a blessing, too: the feeling of being needed and relied upon. I often find myself feeling “recharged” and inspired after serving someone else. Denying my husband the opportunity to help me has resulted in him missing out on that same feeling from the person he loves the most.

I have to admit, it’s been frustrating lately not being able to successfully keep up on things in my own mind. But I truly believe that God has brought this time to our family for a number of reasons, one being to teach me that it’s not a bad thing to have to rely on my husband for support – both physically and emotionally. In fact, it’s really quite a wonderful thing and something He actually instructed us to do.

 Carry each others' burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. ~Galatians 6:2

I find it rather ironic that in my first post this month regarding our relationships I focused on becoming a “more suitable helper” to my husband. But over the course of these few weeks, God has also been showing me the importance of allowing my husband to be the same for me.

 How much easier would life be if I simply allowed my husband to help carry my burdens as God intended?

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