Hubby and I were recently talking about all things social media. I told him that back in April I was ready to delete all social media accounts because I was over it. Then I told him that I was going going to make it so it was just friends and family who lived really far away.
I was really struggling the fairness of social media. not saying thane in particular was behaving in that way…..I was struggling. And yet there was this sense that I needed to wait. On morning I woke up and did my bible study and as I began my day. I reached for my phone and opened facebook and there staring me in the face was the cutest little face……It was a video I had taken of our then 2 year old saying something adorable as always…..I scrolled a little further…….a post from a book that I was reading talking about our relationship with God……I scrolled aliyyle further a post I had written about something I was struggling with……Not about some one else…about me.
I told hubbyThat it hit me right then and there that’s why I have social media……memories. I know I know I said in the image that there were three reasons and there are but the overarching reason is the memories.
Memories- A Recounting of the kids
Man there is NOTHING better than seeing your 4 year old “preaching” or your two year old pulling back his commentary that all girls are duped” when he realizes him mama is a girl *Gasp*
Those memories bring back smiles and giggles from all involved. then there are the hard moments. this moments that might be about a struggle . It’s good for us to remember. God taught the Israelites to set up memorial stones and pillars to remind them of where they had come from.
Memories- the things we have learned
This one is big for me! I read A LOT. I have currently finished 35 books for the year and am working on books 36-41…..I have 4 more waiting in the wings the will jump on that list as soon as something comes off. I also have one book for a launch team that I am waiting to arrive and that will jump on as soon as it arrives. Now I NEVER have shared book numbers here before. It’s not really about how many books I read but I want someway for the info I am putting in to come back in the future.
Like I mentioned above, the memory specifically on facebook will show up every year on that day! and more than once I have needed to see what I’ve shared. It serves as an encouragement as to where I have been and where I am headed
BONUS benefit: When someone writes in the comments that what I have shared has met them where they are and that it was exactly what they needed! that is always a huge blessing to me because THAT means I am not alone in my struggles.
Memories: The things I have written.
One of my biggest regrets over the last few years is deleting the things I have written that have been misinterpreted because it is a reminder of where I have been and what I have struggled with. I have written about some those things here on my blog.
Writing is my outlet and it is for ME. If someone is helped along the way THAT’s fabulous. I always feel so blessed when someone has shared with me about how my writing has changed them.
I have made mistakes too….I have vented…..I have gotten frustrated……but as I have grown I have realized that intentionality is so important. (Stay tuned for another blog post coming up on being intentional). But even in those instances I have learned from those mistakes and grown leaps and bounds. I know that when I am finished with this blog post right now I will go and share it to my social media platforms.
And from there it will get stored in some memory bank and in a year…..and in 10 years and in 20 years this post will come up in my memories and it will serve as a reminder to me …..no one else can see my memories Just me.
Two more benefits of intentionally taming our social media usage:
When I started this blog post a few weeks ago there were only 3 points but since then I have come up with two more important points.
Prayer- on more than one occasion in the last few weeks I have seen urgent prayer requests of family/ friends who are going through major issues of some form or another. I hope that our words of encouragement lift them up and bless them and as we pray for them I pray that encourages them as well.
And lastly as a ministry family one of the things social media does for us is keep us connected to a) our ministry friends who are far away-even in other countries…..we have ministry friends in Italy, Brazil, Africa, Canada, Ecuador (just to name a few) and then there are those ministry friends all over the country….In many different states. With social media they are only one click away!
I want to challenge you to be intentional! In everything You do!
Have you ever heard someone say that we need to have a teachable spirit? As a kid I heard this a lot. from teachers both at school and church but as with so many things from childhood many people said lots of things that sounded great but they never explained what they meant.
A few months ago I was in a conversation with hubby and I said something that made me stop and think about what I said. I said , I really enjoy working with people who have teachable spirits.” and as the day went on I began to ask myself what does that mean? What makes someone have a teachable spirit and some don’t?
So that’s when I started to really evaluate what it means. it’s taken months. Much longer than I had ever thought it would take. But in the end I have come up with 5 areas of teachability. I want you to really prayerfully seek out what God has to say about these areas of your life. after all it’s not about what we think about our lives BUT what God thinks about them!
(1) Are you more interested in taking in as much information as you can or are you eager to take what you learn and apply it to your life?
It’s not about how much you know (or think you know). What really matters is what you do with what you know.
Proverbs 1:5 ?NIV
let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—
(2) Are You willing to Learn in every situation that comes your way? Are You willing to ask God to show You what He wants you to learn from your current circumstances before reacting to them?
When it comes right down to it it doesn’t matter what we think about our circumstances OR what others think bout them. God has a very specific plan and purpose for our circumstances. This goes from the very minute to the extreme
(3) Do You have a spirit of humility? Do You go into any teaching with an attitude of what can I learn from this. (HINT : YOU CAN ALWAYS LEARN SOMETHING BUT IT’S COMPLETELY UP TO YOU!!)
I know many people who will come away from a message or a Sunday school class saying they got nothing from it. OR they will say Oh I do hope so and so was listening to that. They really needed to hear that. the problem is we all need to really hear what is being said. I find it amazing that some people even feel the need to be insulting. This shows a severe lack of humility. Considering God has chosen that man to teach it shows a severe lack of wisdom as well.
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
In Bible College this was seen frequently in young cocky students who came in thinking they knew more that the professor who has been preaching and studying God’s word longer than those students had been alive. There was a vast difference from the students who sought to learn from the professor verses the ones who sought to distract and argue with the professors. One group enhanced the learning process and the others created disunity and frustration. It kept the others from learning where the others fostered deeper learning usually by asking helpful questions..
James 3:13-18 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
(4) Do I let my emotions, attitudes, or preferences get in the way me learning what God wants me to learn? Do these things distract me and others from focusing on the greatest purpose of our lives: reaching others for Jesus?
I can’t tell you the number of times I have watched people spout off in anger just to eat their words later when they realized someone unsaved or new was watching them when they “sweated over the small stuff”. In one moment of the person being upset they ruined their testimony? was it worth it? Probably not. the Bible tells us again and again to put away all kinds of anger…and to be slow to speak and quick to listen.
Proverbs 14:29 ESV
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Colossians 4:5-6 ESV
5 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. 6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
(5) Do we seek understanding in situations rather than jumping to conclusions?
So many times we fail to think or see that God is doing something far beyond ourselves. We get angry. We pound our fists on the table and we stomp our feet and we raise our voices and generally act like toddlers having a temper tantrum..
Many times if we just took the time to ask some well thought out questions AND then LISTEN to the answers and the heart that goes behind it. The reality is we are small minded people. To quote Mary Poppins “sometimes we can’t se past the end of our own noses. ” We become self absorbed by our rights and preferences that we forget that God tells us to lay them down and die to ourselves.
So How do I make a change? How do I become a teachable spirit?
Well if you are asking that question you are headed down the right path.
Here are three easy things you can do to change our attitude
Start asking questions AND listen with an open heart to the answers.
Start asking ourselves what can I learn from the person teaching me?
Ask God to show yo what He wants you to learn and then listen to HIM because He WILL answer.
James 1:5-8 NIV
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
One of the greatest things I have learned on this journey of becoming a teachable spirit is that this all comes down to a choice we need to make. Do we want to be used by God or. do we want to be used against God’s purposes. Satan doesn’t want us to be teachable. he wants us to be angry and stuck in our ways. When I think of a person who was transformed the most from t unteachable to teachable is the apostle Paul. He couldn’t see the truth because his eyes were blinded by anger and contempt for the “new way God wanted things to be done. He was angered so much by the gospel that he persecuted and murdered people because of their faith in Jesus..
It took Jesus striking him physically blind for his eyes to be opened and for his heart to be transformed to a teachable person. What’s it going to take fr you and I to be transformed to being teachable. It doesn’t have to be so hard. Will you choose> Or will God choose for you? OR will you go into eternity feeling angry , bitter and unfulfilled. The choice is ours to make.
A lesson I learned a long time ago was no matter what you are going through there are lessons to be learned. And that is kids how I have lived my life since late high school.
God really does want us to learn and grow even from the smallest things he brings into our lives. It’s called having a teachable spirit (And there is a blog post on that coming soon) but for now let’s check out some of the quirky lesson’s I have leaned I the last 4 days.
Lesson #1: Can You Guess It?
Let’s just get this lesson out of they first, because let’s be honest as soon as you saw the title this is what you thought. Lesson #1 is that we have reached a whole new level of CRAZY!
You know it and I know it. I live in NY and we get some decent snow amounts but even in the worst sense of the imagination, I have never expected to experience the mass amount of “preparedness” that has seemed to reach epic proportions, not just here in New York but across the entire country.
Lesson #2: A New way to Menu Plan
Let me just start off by saying that this is NOT my preferred method. This lesson kinda hot me yesterday (Sunday) as I sat down to prepare my menu and shopping List for the week. And I unsnapped my two month menu plan I use to make my weekly menus and I began to assess what I had in the pantry and what I needed fro the upcoming week. And as I began to plan I realized something.
For the first time I didn’t have confidence that the store might not have what I was going to need to basic meals.
In our family of 6 we have some dietary needs as well. AND as the afternoon went on I learned that we were going to be embarking on a “homeschooling adventure of sorts. Good thing we have experience in that. BUT it meant that two kids who usually eat 2 meals a day at school would now be eating them here at home.
HMMMM…..I usually start stocking the kitchen with kid food weeks prior to summer break and yet now I had zero planning time.
So I wrote out my list and told Hubby that the list was bigger than normal to deal with extra breakfasts and lunches AND there was stuff that in case you couldn’t find………You can get this instead. There were a bunch of things he couldn’t find
Have no fear we have plenty of food. we know we have a couple of cases of chicken we ordered a few weeks ago so no meat wasn’t really on the list and we have plenty in our freezers as well. I keep a pretty well stocked pantry but there were somethings that we were out of.
So this week for the first time ever I have made my menu based on what hubby COULD buy. (FYI I do NOT like or recommend this method)
Lesson #3 Speaking of Tissues……
So we are sick- 4 out of the 6 of us to be exact. I know I know Go ahead let the COVID -19 comments fly…..Are ya done ? Ok good Glad you got it out of your system :).
SO I have a 1/2 a box of tissues. So naturally that goes on the list. Well I put it there and NO luck. ANYWHERE. normally no big deal right? Just grab the roll of toilet paper….Except for that new level of crazy we talked about in Lesson 1 had lftf us in a TP shortage.. Never in my whole life have I had to second guess the usage of TP. It struck me as humorous.
Here we are living in a first world country and enough panic has been created that we have created a shortage on something EVERY single person in the=is country has probably taken for granted at one point or another.
And I thought about the question that has been circulating for a number of years “What if you only woke up with the things you thanked God for Yesterday?” HMMMMMM!!! Maybe we should be thanking God for the simple things we seemingly take for grated.
I must confess that I have learned many lessons in menu planning but this one has been the most difficult to wrap my brain around.
Lesson #4 Local Businesses
Today in our area restaurants were told to move to a take out only model. . Earlier in the day I had spoken with a friend of ours who drives our kids bus. She is not working because the schools are closed. Her hubby owns a local restaurant (one we love) and how they might be forced to close and the government was asking them to still pay their employees. THAT’s difficult if you aren’t making any money.
By lunch time we knew that they had to switch to take out only model. They rely heavily on college students until summer but the colleges have all closed as well. So today we supported our friends and even though we chose not to dine in because of the sickness we got take-out.
Out of all of these lessons, this one is probably the most serious.
Lesson #5 A New Use For My Planner
Ok this one got me a little today. Hubby and I were talking about how we keep taking things off our schedule because of COVID-19 and as two Introverts this is not a big deal. I told hubby I was really glad that I use erasable Pens (PILOT FRIXON PENS to be exact) in my planner.
Hubby told me not to erase everything but to just draw a line through it so we have an accurate depiction as to just how much our lives have changed. So that’s what I’ve done and you will see that in a later post.
That’s the monthly part but what about the weekly part. Each week I sit down and write the weeks appointments in. well I haven’t done that this week because there isn’t anything to really move over. So instead I have decided to use it as a daily journaling space to keep track of what’s going on.
Different for sure and I am sure t is going to take some getting used to.
So there you have it, 5 lessons I have learned so far in this new season of blank canvas. Tomorrow I hope to blog about some of the fun things we plan to do in the midst of this new season.
I am a firm believer that you only get out what you put into something so if you put in a bunch of negativity into life’s lessons that is what you are gonna reap more negativity So let’s keep a positive outlook.
Let’s talk about it : What lessons have you learned?
This is a positive space so comments in a negative complaining light will be deleted.. Thank you and Blessings
CoVID-19 (or the Coronovirus ) is here, whether we like it or not. I hear the echos of many people saying JUST WASH YOUR HANDS, NO BIG DEAL…… but for our family it kinda is. We hear it all the time “You guys are sick a lot……” Yep we know it. We clean and disinfect and clean some more. But our reality is we have someone within our home who has a compromised immune system and with that comes a lot of issues….
COVID-19 and our family.
Hello My Name is Mary and I have a son with ASD- Autism Spectrum Disorder. And like most families with kids on the spectrum we live with A LOT of sickness. (And some families deal with weak bones)
That’s because our son with ASD picks up EVERYTHING. We wash hands, we disinfect, we use essential oils, we do vitamins, and supplements and we have a dishwasher. . And for the most part we as a family don’t catch the majority of what he gets. So when there is a major issue with something with the word contagious attached to it my ears perk up and I pay attention. COVID-19 is no different. Do we panic? NO but I now need to be aware and on guard.
When our not so little guy was first diagnosed 6 years ago he had some pretty interesting things that cued us into the fact that he might have ASD.
#1 HE LICKED E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G and E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E…No joke.
#2 He Had PICA- that means he would eat things that shouldn’t be eaten…Absolutely horrifying…and this took every mom trick I could think of…..(That clip from Mom’s Night Out- Sorry Mrs ________ you have called poison control too many times……Yep That was me!!) You can ave PICA without having ASD. it’s a form of anemia, but kids with autism can have it. Oh the stories I could tell! He hasn’t had PICA or licked anything weird in a LONG time, but in those moments I had no idea what was coming down the line. He was so much healthier that is until he got into school.
(There are a boat load of other symptoms but that is for another post entirely)
I Wish it was that easy.
I wish it was as easy as washing hands and disinfecting everything. Most people didn’t know the but we had to be super careful even clipping his nails. He was in Kindergarten and we clipped his nails. No breaks in the skin, not too close. To the normal parent it looked like a beautiful nail job but within a days time his finger was infected. it even baffled the Doctor.
He has had everything from strange viral infections, to skin infections,, psoriasis, and a very awful bout of athlete’s foot. He has become allergic to meds used to treat illnesses and had to be put on higher dosages or stronger meds. And even one time stripped his stomach lining to where he couldn’t eat anything an we had to start from a liquid diet, probiotics and then he grew stuff in his tummy that didn’t belong and that was a whole new set of OTC (over the counter) meds.
Today in New York State
Today here in New York State there are a bunch of really unhappy people and I get it it is a huge disruption to a lot of people’s lives. Our governor today shut down colleges as of Next week and they have become online school until this fall. I know this seems like an early reactionary move and it may be. But let’s be mindful of people who are on those campuses. Colleges are ready to head out on Spring break the end of this week. And there are big plans in the works for many students. Now I am not a promoter of these activities but in reality it’s a lot of people crammed into small areas and things spread like wildfire.
Now you may say Mary why do you care none of your kids are in college…..and for that you are right. My kids are not old enough to be at college however, everyweek my husband takes our youngest son to a college campus for therapy he doesn’t qualify for at his school.
Now that son could get germs and bring them home. He may not get a bad case of the COVD-19 but he has now shared this germs with the rest of our family including his older brother with the compromised immune system. He doesn’t seem to need to be around sneezing or coughing. He managed to pick up pneumonia this past summer while we were at camp. No one else was sick. He was around ZERO sick people….and then he shared it with me and I am super careful because as a person with Asthma getting the flu or pneumonia is dangerous.
(Let’s not get into the fact that my hubby is a pastor and visits and talks to people who are elderly, in the hospital and the like and I can cm into contact with pregnant women and babies where I volunteer). And of course we don’t go any of those places if we know we are sick.
So I gave you my take on our family but I have another question….
What should our response be as Christians?
Because you know the whole point of this blog is centered around our daily walk with Christ!!!
Response to the government officials? GRACE! They have to take am lot into consideration…..more than just how much it’s gonna be uncomfortable. They have to think ahead into scenarios that you and I might not even consider.
Here’s what the Bible has to say about this,
Romans 13:1-7 English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
God’s in control.
And then how about our response to families in these situations? How about caring, instead of passing judgement. My circle of friends have all experienced their fait share of illnesses this year and after talking with the various school nurses we can all rest in the fact that it’s hasn’t been as bad as some of the things floating around. At one point in one of our son’s schools there were five different BUGS traveling from kid to kid.
How about a little bit of understanding and love. How about a fist bump and a “Keep it up mama” instead of the “sick again?” comment.
We don’t know the circumstances behind sick kids. I can tell you that we don’t go around broadcasting our son has a compromised immune system, just like I don’t tell every person we meet that he has autism. It’s not easy having kids with Special needs We already feel like the world is judging us (and some of them are). AND we don’t really need a lesson in hand-washing , disinfecting and so on. We need people to see beyond all that and know we are fighting something beyond illness.
So just in closing here are a few other things we don’t do- Just in case you think that we are oblivious……
we don’t use drinking fountains
we don’t use hand dryers
we don’t do large family trips to grocery stores or any store for that matter
we disinfect shopping carts
we don’t use shopping carts unless necessary
So as a person who is a caregiver I get it and I am appreciative. I am sure it wasn’t an easy decision and even though I may not understand everything that goes into that decision I can rest in the verse up above. And I CAN have a good attitude about it because I CHOOSE to have a god attitude about it.
And yes I am aware this could happen at a school age level and yes I can choose to have a good attitude then.
I want to challenge you that with 1 in 8 kids having ASD what can you do in your sphere of influence to encourage a mama who is doing everything in her power to keep her family healthy? Let me know how you plan to encourage her in the comments below AND THEN DO IT!
Seeking to Grow. That’s the attitude my Hearts desire is to challenge myself and others to a right relationship with God. So Many times I have watched both my attitude and the attitudes of others stand in the way of effective ministry. I watch as kids witness poor attitudes of the “righteous” and they walk away. Somewhere along the line have lost focus of what our purpose is is and taken our eyes off the one who gave us HOPE beyond all hope and turned our eyes to ourselves.
Today I had a discussion with 6 kids in Junior Church about having an attitude of Gratitude. The catalyst BIBLE MAN- a kids program that really focuses on the Armor of God and this particular episode talked about when we keep Jesus in view our faith doesn’t falter. We keep things in check right where they should be. THEN after the faith they talked about gratitude. Those two episodes back to back got me thinking. When we actively practice our faith (not just going through the motions and putting on a front of false righteousness) we then find ourselves choosing to be grateful and our attitudes are radically different……
So here has been my thought process in working through this study of sorts over the last month or so:
A Little History
Attitudes- if you listen to parents at all MOST of them will admit that at some point in their child’s life they struggle with having an attitude. Toddlers have attitudes. School aged kids have attitudes, middle schoolers have attitudes, High schoolers have attitudes….AND HERES’s A NEWSFLASH FOR YOU: ADULTS HAVE ATTITUDES.
When I was in middles school my school was divided into two sections and it was divided by the cafeteria, a couple of classrooms and the Library. On one side was the 5th and 6th graders and on the other side was the 7th and 8th graders and on the rare occasion paths would cross for the two aged groups and it was not uncommon to hear the older group say to the unsuspecting younger kid “Duck, Your epidermis is showing”. Now in that setting the poor unsuspecting 5th grader does not know what an epidermis is (It’s the outer layer of shin- visible on your face arms and hands. ). But the poor little kiddo thinks something much worse and immediately covers their pants thinking their zipper is down! It’s mean es yes I know But in the same respect looking back it was kinda hilarious. I didn’t do it to the kids at school BUT you can sure bet I took it home and tested it on my little brothers. (Pssst….IT WORKED)
An Epidermis and an Attitude are similar
Outside of being a mummy- everyone can see some portion of your epidermis. It IS showing. When we left middle school and went to high school no one cared about playing that trick anymore. it was childish.. Attitude on the other hand we think is hidden we put on a good front. We whitewash our exterior and put on a phony mask. we act cheerful and say hi and maybe even get into people’s faces and MAKE them say hi and then when we THINK everyone one is gone we let loose our complaints.
-OR- There are those who don’t care and are downright obnoxious about their bad attitude because they are entitled to their bad attitude. They Might say “Oh I was just joking or kidding around” but the truth of the matter is :
Matthew 15:18-20 New International Version (NIV)
18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
Jesus was talking to the Pharisees. The Pharisees were upset because they were al worried about outward appearances and what is being done and how things are being done. They would spout off and didn’t’t really care about the purpose or reason behind something. They were revealing what was really in their hearts.
But if the Pharisees had remembered and taken to heart their teaching they would have remembered “
Proverbs 15:28 New International Version (NIV)
28 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
But I can hear it now you are saying “but Mary me and my buds aren’t asking for something evil.” My response would be:
Colossians 3:8 NIV
But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
So then what should our response be? Well In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV: we are COMMANDED to :
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Did you catch that?????? If you are NOT thankful in all things YOU ARE OUT OF THE WILL OF GOD! WHOA! This is an AHA! moment for me!. But we are also COMMANDED to have the Fruit of the Spirit which is found in :
Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
And the Bible ALSO says :
Matthew 7:16-20 New International Version (NIV)
16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
So are you full of wrath, anger, malice, bitterness? OR are you full of gentleness, kindness and patience? Earlier this evening as I was looking over some verses a thought popped into my head and I decided to share it to Facebook. I have been in more than one situation where someone walks into a room with the explicit purpose to set people strait or to raise a stink, or cause problems. The problem is it rarely if ever does anything positive when that approach is taken . Here’s what I wrote:
Studying out passages for my blog post I’m writing and here is my question…..As believers we teach our kids and believe That God is everywhere so where do we get off walking into a room proclaiming we are going to create problems? Do we really think the King of Kings is impressed with our attitudes and behavior? (That is downright hypocrisy- to teach one ay and live another) So not only did we just lose our testimony before those in the room but we also disappointed the Savior of our souls. Our words and attitudes hold far greater weight than getting across our own opinions-rights-desires- False joy/ happiness is spotted a million mile away when there are words of disunity to follow.
Let’s be honest when we are in these moments of “making people see I’m right and choosing to stir up trouble” we believe we have righteous intentions but here is what Proverbs 1528 NIV has to say about the righteous person and their words:
8 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.
Yep I already shared that verse above but it really does need to be repeated and committed to memory!
I know I know but you say “Mary but I…..” We as believers REALLY need to give up our personal pronouns. We…..I…….You……Us……and we REALLY need to stat our arguments with “BUT GOD…….” and if you cannot finish that statement with a biblical principle or truth from God’s word – and not some phone baloney garbage that fits what you want it to say- than we need to recognize that I and we as it is. Selfish ambition. Luke 14:33 NIV says it best
In the same way, those of you who do NOT give up EVERYTHING you have CANNOT be my disciples.
OUCH! We cannot let our “stuff” get in the way of being disciples of Christ. This means attachments in physical, relational, emotional and mental. This means our selfish ambitions. YOUR RIGHTS. OUR STINKY ATTITUDES. This is hard to swallow but this is the principle of dying to self.
When we hold onto the anger, the wrath, and the malice we are letting evil into our lives. It changes our focus we lose sight of the purpose God has called us to and it distracts us from being useful in His work.
And yet we think ourselves righteous and religious and we think it’s our duty to spout off for whatever reason.
James 1:26 New International Version (NIV)
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
Now over the last few months I have been camped in the end of the New Testament and the idea of being deceived is a recurrent one. We can be deceived by smooth talkers. Ones who “make a good point” and we allow ourselves to lose sight of the greater purpose. To Love God and serve others. We get wrapped up in a feeling of feeling bitter. it’s kinda like the flu. one person get’s it and it spreads like wildfire if people aren’t awake and paying attention to what’s REALLY going on around them
I think one of the most frustrating events happened when I was 17 wish. It was in a church business meeting and our church had just completed a church building project. And a family in our church were foster parents and they had a daughter who was wheel chair ridden. Each week I watched her foster dad and other men from our church carry that girl up and down the stairs to where her Sunday school class was. It was dangerous to say the least. our church began investigating safer options that would accommodate this family. As a teen with a disability( though this did not directly apply to me ) Was proud that my church wanted to meet this need and couldn’t wait to vote to help this family. It came time for the meeting ad all of the findings were shared and the church had decided to go with an external elevator to be added to the outside of the new addition and it was almost time for the vote when someone from the back piped up in a very angry voice. This person saw no need for an elevator and it was a waste of money……the kicker in all of this was that this person too was in a wheelchair Her husband had carried her up the front steps of the church for years until a ramp was built which they happily used. She was the only one who voted no for the elevator. To this day this account breaks my heart. It left a lasting impression on my heart for what bitterness and anger will do to a person.
It was THAT dissension and disunity that affected me as a teen freshly given what I thought was a life sentence. I COULD have caught her bitterness……
As I have processed all of this “attitude” thoughts this week I have bounced from one thing to the next. I have had to re-evaluate my own hurt feelings God’s word is convicting. It’s supposed to be. Here are just dome of my thoughts I shared on social media as I hashed this out in my head….
Thoughts on Attitudes
We can stand and stomp our foot , yelling and demanding our own way like a two year old seeking our own preferences. We will be held accountable! but only when standing before our God will we be found shameful because we have wasted valuable time and energy for not seeking God’s will instead of our own. When He asks you why did you make that an issue how do you think he will react to “because I wanted it! “. There are people hurting who need a Savior. There are people dying. There are defenseless being harmed and we lose sight of those that Jesus died for because “I wanted it my way”
As I re-read this tonight I got to thinking about something, when we are fighting for God’s way instead of our own we will never have a bad attitude. We won’t lose our testimony. People may talk smack about us behind our backs (By the way that’s gossip and yeah that’s evil in the sight of God too). but in the end their testimony is ruined and we are still in the fight for God’s way. God’s way= right motives. Our way= selfish ambition.
Even if a million people decided to go against a principle in God’s word- it’s still sin. I don’t care what it is. We live in a country and a culture where our desires are more important than God’s principles. On the day he was crucified Jesus stood alone. Because people chose their comfort over the one who was about to die for them. AND YET HE STILL DID! He took his comfort and nailed it to a cross. He died to self in the most literal way! We as believers forget that we WILL have to answer to God too. Are we prepared to defend our choices and attitudes against Jesus’ sacrifice. Because that SHOULD be our driving force!
There is a lot that goes behind this statement. Most of which is my experience as a an extended short term missionary in a place that hates Christians. I have little to no tolerance for crazy church behavior and neither would you if you met people who went against their government to worship God We waste our time on foolish things.
I would rather know my life was spent: fighting for unborn babies, teaching moms to care for their children so they don’t lose them to CPS, care for teenagers who don’t know what real love is ,
I want to listen too the mom who is losing a loved one.
I want to hug the one who realizes her child is in danger and she can’t do a blessed thing about it,
I want to encourage those who are seeking to follow God with everything they’ve got and yet their world sees to be falling apart,
I want to care for kids who are not understood and are cast aside.
I want to bring joy and peace and growth into peoples lives.
I want to minister to the homeless man in the park after 9/11 and gets saved,
I want to hold someones hand who fears that their faith will lead to their imprisonment.
I want to hug that little red-headed boy who just saved his baby sister from dying as his drunk father sleeps in the chair next to him.
I want to see people come to Jesus and wipe away tears of pain as I share what HOPE really looks like.
I WANT to be doing God’s work NOT Satans destructive plans.
I don’t want to be a apart of silly useless arguments about elevators, carpet colors or whatever other stupid useless arguments churches find themselves in. What’s happening is SATAN is using those things to distract us from what’s most important PEOPLE. People who are hurt, broken and alone. (This isn’t about being a pastor’s wife- a lot of these things happened before I ever thought I would be a pastors wife and if tomorrow I was no longer a pastors wife I would still want to do these things).
I know we have spent a bunch of time talking about the negative Side of attitude. BUT there is hope and it is in YOU! You have the power to change a situation. We all have a choice to have a bad attitude, an attitude of indifference, an attitude that fosters a bad attitude or an attitude that points people back to TRUTH (in love of course because if it isn’t than it’s just a bad attitude wrapped in Scripture).
So I told those 6 kiddos in Junior church that they had the power to choose a Good attitude. and they were dumfounded. You wanna know why? I believe it is because it hasn’t’t been modeled for them. AND this is NOT necessarily a parenting issue. Remember back to all of my POWER of YOUR INFLUENCE blog posts. If you live and breathe you are an influence The choice is whether it’s a positive or negative one. And let’s be honest the very first influence you are with any person but especially kids is your speech and how you talk to them. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to answer “why doesn’t so and so like me?” and it was based all around what was said and how it was said.
We need to start making our choice to have a positive attitude. We have that power to change. and if we all actively choose to have attitudes based in the Fruit of the Spirit -We will change. And when we change our families will change. And when our families change, Our churches will change. And when your churches change our communities will change. And when communities change our country starts to look different. And THAT my friends is how one person can change the world!
We can have all the Bible Studies and prayer meetings and church services in the world but if gossip and bitterness pride and discord are allowed to enter, then they will always be fruitless.
I want to leave you with perspective from Matthew 12:33-37.
33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
We take our words and our attitudes lightly. I challenge all of us to move past what we want in our attitudes and change them to a godly perspective.
So won’t you join me this week as I seek to let my attitude be changed !