You Matter Too

you matter too

When I was much (MUCH) younger I used a yellow hair brush as a microphone and sang to my reflection in the mirror hanging on my bedroom wall. I won’t tell you my favorite group at the time only to spare more giggles, but I will admit it was a popular 80’s band.  I would sing those songs to myself and have a great time, glancing every so often at my door to make sure my brother wasn’t trying to take a peek to gather ammunition for a later date.

Ahem. Moving right along past that embarrassing image to a lesson God has been teaching me recently: sometimes we need to look into the mirror.  I’m not talking about serenading ourselves or admiring how cool we look when we lip sync our favorite tunes with all the facial expressions we can muster to give a great performance. And I’m not referring to spending hours working on fussy hair or applying layers of makeup.

Sometimes we need to look in the mirror simply to remind ourselves that we matter too.

This isn’t putting ourselves in the #1 slot of our priority list (not hardly), it’s simply making sure we make it on the list. It’s acknowledging we have physical bodies that need attention. (Note to self: Stop eating all those chocolate eggs and have a decent lunch…no, that cold piece of pizza doesn’t count.) We have emotions that are like fragile bottles full of different colors of sand; delicate and in balance until too much shaking (not enough sleep, not eating right) can mix them all up, even bring them crashing and spilling on the floor. When that happens, we also come crashing down in a heap on the floor in tears, wondering why we feel all out of sorts. And we each have a spirit that needs rejuvenated by sitting at the feet of Christ like Mary (Martha’s sister) did, ignoring a pressing to-do list. Time with our Lord is like fresh air when the world is trying to suffocate us.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the oxygen masks on airplanes, that you’re instructed to slip on your own mask before assisting others.

If you’re running around all stressed out and doing your best to help everyone you know strap on their “oxygen masks” without making sure yours is on, well, how long can you operate on that stale air, those leftover fumes burning in your lungs before you collapse?

So take a moment and look into that mirror. Take a deep breath and a good, hard look at yourself. Perhaps you’ll notice the dark flesh under your eyes and those smile lines just sitting there on your face, unused. Maybe you’ve got a few hives on your cheeks from eating too much dairy-infused chocolate (or maybe that’s just me!). Or perhaps you’ll notice a deep well of sadness in your eyes, one you’ve been pretty good at hiding from nearly everyone around you.

But you’re not hiding any of it from God. You can’t hide it from Him. And He doesn’t like seeing you run-down, worn-out, and exhausted.  He sees how you’re treating yourself, and He never intended for you to be at the bottom of some list.  He knows you have people counting on you, those you care for.  He wants to help you take care of them.

You may feel alone like the weight is all yours to carry and no one understands what you must do on a daily basis just to get by. Perhaps there are some days you feel like you’re sinking in mud up to your eyeballs, totally stuck, helpless. And you can barely breathe.

My friend, God knows, and He will help you in ways you can’t even imagine. Call out to Him and ask. He knows you don’t like to ask for help.  He knows why, too.  But if you will just trust Him, let Him lift some of that weight off of your shoulders, let Him check off some of those tasks on your list, you’ll be able to breathe a lot easier.  (Note to self and YOU: Don’t turn away God’s help because it isn’t what you expected.)

No, things won’t be perfect on this side of eternity. But you will be able to smile again and be a little more tender with those God placed in your life to love. Who knows, you may even be able to breathe so much easier that you’ll have enough oxygen left over to dance in the living room when no one is looking.  No lip syncing, hairbrush, or mirror required. Just your loving Father who knows how badly you need to understand that you, His precious and one-of-a-kind child, matter too.

Especially to Him.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7 ESV.)

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 1:2 NIV.)

“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT.) [Emphasis my own.]

“The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught. Jesus said, ‘Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.’ For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.” (Mark 6:30-45 MSG.)

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT.)

 

 

 

 

 

A Distracting Itch

Autumn

Have you ever been so eager to do something or desperate for change that you feel antsy, even itchy in your own skin?  It’s enough to drive you crazy.

Or enough to distract you.

Distract you from what?

Well if God has called you to do something but you’ve been pulled away by the “itch,” then perhaps you’re distracted from God and His will for your life.

Let me give you an example:

Like so many bloggers out there, I’ve written a book.  Correction: God and I have written a book.  It’s in the final revision process and it’s not going to go anywhere until I submit it, which I can’t do until it’s ready.  So I need to get to work.

Along comes fall, an extremely antsy time of year for me, and I’m ready to start something new and I want it to be big.  I’m ready to start a business, ready to find a job, ready to have an income to help my husband who’s been carrying the load for far too long.

So I look online at jobs and inquire about an opening I stumbled on while out running errands. I go to the library and search for hours for the right “business.”  I research online sales, craft, and baking ideas.

Why?  Because the itch to “do” is constant and won’t go away.

Meanwhile, the book lies dormant within my laptop.

And God is waiting on me.

I have a choice to make.  I can either abandon the task God has given me for a quick fix or I can go the long haul and finish what He and I have started.  Perhaps a blessing will come from the finished book.  Or perhaps the blessing will simply come from obeying Him.  Either way, I have to ignore that antsy feeling, forget about going my own way, and finish the book.

Satan would love it if you and I would never finish our God-given tasks because we’re too focused on the itch of our flesh.  The enemy will use whatever he can to distract us and lead us astray (read The Monster in the Closet ).  Remember, he’s at the head of the line when it comes to rebelling against God.

Are you feeling antsy, impatient in your spirt because the task God has given you is taking way too long?  Is your flesh itching to do something else and you’re not sure what to do about it?

Friend, pray about those antsy feelings and hold on tight to God’s hand.

It would be a real shame for you to let go of Him now just to scratch that annoying itch.  You may just miss what you’ve been praying for.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16 NASB.)

Toddler or Grownup?

toddler or grownup

Life can be like an all-you-can-eat buffet with lots of choices.  You can fill your plate with that baked fish and vitamin packed spinach or you can give in to that little temper-tantrum-throwing toddler in your brain; arms folded and boo-boo lip out while crying, “I don’t want a salad.  I want ice cream!”

It’s like the grownup “need” in our spirit has to tell that toddler “want” in our flesh to take a time-out.

But what if you give in to the toddler?

You’ll suffer the consequences.  Trust me.  I know.

I listened to my “toddler” when a literal all-you-can-eat buffet stretched before me.

Need:  I’m allergic to wheat and dairy, so I should probably eat…

Want:  But I want hushpuppies and chocolate cake!

So I totally ignored the grownup in me that needed to get over to the salads and instead ate all sorts of things I have no business eating.  And now, days later, I still feel like garbage.

Thanks a lot, bratty self.

The point is we all have choices to make, and if we base our decision-making solely on what we want, there may be some pretty unpleasant consequences; like brain fog, stomachache, and backache in my case.

What choice do you need to make?  Is there something your toddler-self is stomping about, demanding, but the grownup in you knows better?

Let me ask you this:  If you give in to what you want, are you going to miss out on an opportunity God has coming your way?  If the spoiled kid in you wins and drags you over to the dessert table, you may never see the surprise entrée God wanted you to pick up.

And maybe this will come as a surprise, but God doesn’t need you to pick it up.   He can find someone else.  He just wanted to bless you.  But that’s okay.  He can give that blessing to someone else who isn’t letting a toddler call the shots.

So maybe you and I should just tell our toddler-selves it’s time for a nap, and we’ll wake them when it’s time to go outside to blow bubbles and roll down the hill.  That way we can have a little grownup time with God, and we can learn to follow His lead instead.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”  (Matthew 26:41 NIV.)