Living in Chair 2

(This post is inspired by a sermon from my church, which was based off the book Experiencing Spiritual Breakthroughs by Bruce Wilkerson).

I’m a “Chair 2” Christian, though I don’t say that with any pride, but rather sober admission. As a “Chair 2” Christian, my life is full of compromise, inner turmoil, and constant failings.

Like the church in Revelations 3:15-16, I am “lukewarm” in my faith and don’t have the courage or conviction to stand up when I should; I remain seated in my chair. I depend more on my job than Jesus and go with the status quo in fear of not being able to help provide for my family. I feel that the compromises I have made leave me in turmoil almost constantly, as the inner battle plays out daily in my mind.

I am too busy, distracted, or just plain tired, so my prayer life is truly non-existent. There are the quick “help!” prayers and occasionally I do pray for others, but there is no true connection to God and though I’m sure he hears me, I only get silence in return.

My Chair 2 life is reflected back to me in my kid’s faith. They have both accepted Christ, but how will they fare during the college years and into adulthood? I don’t see them read their Bibles or pray, but then they don’t see that from me, so what should I expect? As with so many other parts of their upbringing, I just continue to feel like a failure and can only hope for the best as we stumble through the teenage years.

I wear so many layers of masks daily that the weight of them leaves me exhausted, but I put them on each day to protect myself and without them I couldn’t survive. Sometimes, like in this post, I’ll lift up a corner to give others a peek, but everything goes back into place just as quickly. There are times I’m not sure who the real me might be, so I just plod along a worn out path my “wheels” to stuck in the ruts they’ve made to do anything else.

I live in Chair 2 and the fears that keep me there will always remain.

Chair 2

Perfect Love for a Broken World

Easter is always a time to reflect upon love. For it was a perfect love that compelled one who lived a perfect life to be sacrificed for all of us to inherit eternal life.

This is a broken and cursed world and we are all sinners. Even so, Christ Jesus loved us so much that he gave his life for us. He didn’t wait for us to come to Him or to get our act together. He takes us all as we are and, through His love, we are changed and renewed.

As I reflect upon everything that goes on in this broken world, I am thankful for the perfect love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Cross on Stage

Where’s the door?

So many Christians refer to “doors” that God opens or closes in their lives as a way to lead them to opportunities suited for their talents or lead them away from the things that are not His best for them.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I’m in a room where there are no doors or windows. I can’t see or move beyond the four walls around me.

Am I stuck because I can’t see the door placed before me or is it because there’s something I still need to address before I move on? Am I stuck because I’m too stubborn to follow, too busy to stop and listen, or just plain blind to what God is trying to show me?

Commit your future to the Lord ! Trust in him, and he will act on your behalf. -Psalms 37:5

I was reading today and came across this verse. Maybe I just need to slow down, be patient (easier said than done), and allow God to lead the way. If God could lead Abraham, Moses, and numerous others to the Promised Land, why do I doubt he can do the same for me?

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Lord, help me to stop doubting he plans you have for me and lead my way into the future that you planned for me long ago. Amen.

Another year comes to a close

As another year comes to a close, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year. I feel like I let the whole year slip away without really accomplishing much in my life; like I’m just watching it pass by, rather than really living it. The things that should be most important always seem to take the back seat.

I’ve enjoyed watching both my children grow, seeing my daughter get her first pointe shoes, and watching my son’s hair grow into an uncontrollable curly mass (he says he’ll get it cut in February). I’ve assisted my husband through his usual duties of Bible study leadership and Mexico mission trips, as well as giving moral support as he works his way through college courses. I even tried oil painting!

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I’m hoping that in the new year I’ll be able to spend some time on myself to grow spiritually and physically healthier. I really want this to be the year that I get into the good habits of reading my Bible and exercising daily. I’d like to possibly start a journal. I definitely want to make this blog more of a priority and try to post more regularly.

Happy New Year to all my fellow WordPressers. May God bless you and your families this coming year.

Worn

I’m tired, I’m worn…”

With my husband taking college online and all the other family commitments, I’m finding myself tired and worn down most of the time. Most of the household chores and family responsibilities have come crashing down on me these days. Plus, we’ve taken in a preteen girl from my daughter’s school, which has only increased the stress and drama in the house.

My heart is heavy…”

When we took this girl in, we were trying to do what we thought God would want – to take care of those in need. But I have found that I am not capable of giving the help and support she needs. My heart is heavy with failure: failure to her, failure to still be able to give my own family, especially my daughter, the love and attention they need, and failure to my faith that this task of love feels more like a burden. 😦

Life just won’t let up…”

I’m so overwhelmed with everything that I can barely see past the moment. Things keep coming my way and piling on higher and higher. I’m trying to keep up, but it’s getting harder to keep going.

And I know that you can give me rest…”

But I’m so crushed, I can’t even cry out. My heart aches, but my voice can’t find the words to speak. I know that God will see me through this short season, even though it currently feels like it may never end. He always hears prayers, even weak or silent ones, and will answer in His perfect time.

An Inspiring Faith

My daughter’s faith continues to surprise and inspire me. Even though life is tough in our family right now, she still has her heart pointed in the right direction. This is a picture she drew recently and put up in her room.

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I can’t wait to see how her faith will blossom as she gets older and wiser. I know that she’ll do great things in the Kingdom and continue to inspire me through the years.

A seed becomes a sapling

My daughter, who is inherently a planner, dreamer, and organizer, was home sick from school today. After she had rested for a while and was feeling a bit better, she was reading her Bible and underlining stuff in it. She later came and told me that because she’s always trying to decide what to do about money, she decided to see what her Bible had to say about money (she’s a preteen and always trying to decide what to spend her allowance on). I loved to hear that she made the choice to go to her Bible for instruction. It shows that the small seed that’s been planted by my husband and I is become a sapling that will one day grow into a strong tree of faith.

It is my prayer that as the teen and college years come and go, she continues to seek first God’s instruction and wisdom. I know that if she can keep on that path, she can avoid many of the pitfalls and heartaches that the world’s advice will give her.

Craving Philippians 1:27

Our church is doing a Bible study, we’re calling Crave. One of the verses we’re studying this week is Philippians 1:27 and I just wanted to share my thoughts about this verse.

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27

My translation of this verse: In all circumstances (good, bad, neutral), control my behavior in a way that’s appropriate to my citizenship of heaven and that will serve to spread the good news of my savior.

For me, this is one of those verses that reminds me of how much more our actions, than our words, can speak for us. If our behavior stays constant even through oppression or attack, it is a larger message about the gospel of our salvation and how we portray our “king” to others.

It can, definitely, be a convicting verse if – like me – you find yourself doing things contrary to what you know to be right (gossiping, for example). I can, so easily, fall prey to my circumstances and become bitter and angry or speak with a venomous tongue about something I don’t like, especially if I feel it’s some kind of injustice.

This is not to say that our actions do all our “preaching” for us. I think, though, when people see either the changes in us from the Holy Spirit or see us handle all circumstances with a strong faith and remain joyful, they will want to know our “secret.” This is one of the ways that doors can open for us to spread the gospel to those around us and to share where our hope and joy comes from. Even if they don’t choose God immediately, I believe our actions can have a lasting effect on people and that, in time, they may also choose to accept salvation.

We are not daughters and sons of a pauper, we are daughters and sons of a king and as we move through his kingdom, we should portray the love, grace, forgiveness, and compassion that our king extends to us. In so doing, we can be the light that we’re called to be.

Stained Glass CrossDear Lord,

I know I fall short, many times, and do not conduct myself in a manner worthy of Your gospel. Please help me to slow down and consider not only my actions, but my words, and how they can affect those around me, for good or bad. Let the words that fall from my mouth be as sweet as honey and no longer bitter as vinegar. Touch my heart each day, as I awake, to remind me that I’m a daughter of an almighty king, so that I may carry myself as such throughout the day and shine Your light into this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

A Child’s Wisdom

Do you really have a life? If you do what does it have that is important to you? God says he will give us that life. All we have to do is accept Jesus into our life. Our lives are nothing without Jesus. We can pray to God but never have Jesus with us. People say all we need is money to provide for us. No, Jesus is our money he will provide for us. Jesus died on the cross for us. He can save us. If we accept Jesus in our life we will go to heaven and be free of sin. John 3:16 says God loved the world so much he gave his one and only son and any one who believed in him will not die but have eternal life. God has a plan for us, and part of that plan is to accept Jesus and go to heaven.

My daughter, age 11, wrote this recently while we played a game of Monopoly. It is amazing, at times, the depth of understanding that children can have on a particular subject. As Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,” (Matthew 19:21). Their minds are not filled with the garbage and baggage that fills our adult heads and I always think that’s what can make it easier for children to accept Jesus on faith and to grow faster in their faith than some of us adults. Jesus also said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children,” (Matthew 11:25). Sometimes, our children are wiser than us in matters of faith.

Contemplating Conformity

When did I start blending in? I know when I was in school, I never cared to fit in. I enjoyed being different from everyone else, even though it meant that I had few friends.

Somewhere along the way of getting into the work world, getting married, and having kids, I now find myself stuck in a river of people, all going and doing the same things.

I find myself contemplating my conformity after reading Radical by David Platt. I’ve gotten sucked into the subtly dangerous American Dream. As he puts it, “While the goal of the American Dream is to make much of us, the goal of the gospel is to make much of God.” (pg. 47) Even as Christians, we can all get so caught up in our accomplishments, wealth, and delusions of self-importance that we forget what our true mission is and we forget to include God in any of our planning. We blend in with the rest of society and dilute the true message of the Bible to make it more palatable to others.

I see how I am especially prone to conformity at work, where I find that I value a steady paycheck more than my faith; an unfortunate truth I loathe to admit. I’m so worried about taking care of myself and my family that I leave no room for God’s provision in my life. I don’t stand up for things I know aren’t right because I don’t fully trust in the God that I say I believe in.

Do I not trust God because I am fearful, stubborn, or ignorant? Perhaps it’s a bit of them all. I am fearful to trust because human sinfulness has broken my trust in the past. Because I’m afraid, I am stubborn about releasing control of my life to another, even to a good and loving God. Perhaps my ignorance of all that the Bible says God is causes me to be fearful and stubborn. And so, the deadly cycle goes on.

I need to break this cycle by first tackling the ignorance. I need to earnestly seek after the Lord, through His Word. As I begin to learn and understand more about the nature of God, the fear to trust will subside. As the fear subsides, the stubbornness to let go will melt away. It is my hope that with a correct trust in God, I will be free to be the radical, true Christian He calls us all to be.

What about you?

If, like me, you have God trust issues, I invite you to find a Bible reading plan (plenty to be found online) and read through the Bible with me. Post a comment to let me know you’re joining in.

If you’re now in a place where you trust God, I invite you to share a bit of your journey in the comments section.

God bless!