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Shutting the Door on Unnecessary Guilt

I was recently explaining to my husband why I had spent money on a purchase for our home “just because” in a tone that screamed “I KNOW I SHOULDN’T SPEND THIS MONEY!”. My husband shook his head, clearly upset that I felt like I had to justify why I would splurge on myself.  I think what he heard me saying was “we don’t have the money for me to spend on something fun like this”.  A clear jab at his ability to provide (some may call us old-fashioned, but that’s just how we roll).

 

But, that’s not even the real story here. We have plenty of money.  We both work hard.  We both want the other one to enjoy the fruits of our hard work.  He celebrates when I buy myself something.  He TELLS me to spend on myself because I usually won’t do it!

 

Occasionally, I suffer from unwarranted, unmerited, unreasonable…guilt.

 

I used to call it “mommy guilt”, but you don’t have to be a mommy to experience it.  Women from all walks of life can suffer from it, and it can be crippling.

 

I’m just wondering, do you ever feel that way too?

 

I’ve admitted that this is still an occasional struggle  (I’m much better now than I used to be with this), now let me tell you what I’ve learned thus far about this “mommy guilt”.

 

*It’s quite common among mothers, especially moms of littles.

*It’s a mind game more than something you would see outwardly.

*It’s a joy killer.

*It’s a stealer of our self confidence.

*It presses us down.

*It’s unhealthy…and our children are learning from our example.

*It’s NOT God’s plan for women to think this way.

*It IS something the devil loves.

 

I believe the devil knows our worth better than we do sometimes and he does whatever he can to try and keep it hidden from us.  I think he uses guilt as a tool to pry us away from God’s promises and the power that the Holy Spirit gives us.

 

But God…

 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:10

 

Life to the full!! That is good news!

 

A full life will involve helping others and our work and taking care of our responsibilities, but part of that puzzle is taking care of ourselves. Nurturing our souls.  If we don’t do it, then who will?

 

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Genesis 5:14

 

Most of us are familiar with this scripture and we hear the “love your neighbor” part, but do you see where it says “as yourself”?

 

That. Is.  Powerful.

 

Would you want your neighbor feeling downcast after they’ve just gotten a pedicure? Would you want your neighbor feeling guilty if while their baby napped, they exercised for 30 minutes instead of going right to the laundry pile?  Would you want your neighbor, your friend, your relative, to put off spending time in God’s word because they felt that was time spent selfishly?

 

 

I’m talking about turning off your phone for 30 minutes and taking a cat nap, putting in your ear buds and walking laps around your subdivision, giving yourself time to read through a good book. Maybe for you it’s painting, writing, giving yourself a manicure, calling a friend on the phone while you’re on your porch alone.  Maybe it’s splurging and buying yourself a rooster for your kitchen (isn’t he handsome?)

 

rooster2 (2)

 

If you had 30 minutes a day to yourself, what would you do? Take a minute and let yourself go there…without guilt.

 

“The wise woman builds her house,
    but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”

Proverbs 14:1

Part of building a home is filling it with love, is it not?  How can we love others if we do not first love ourselves?

Let’s choose to be wise and build something strong in our homes.

Women are the thermostats at home, not the thermometers.  We have the ability and privilege to set the tone. Let’s make it one of confidence and strength and value.

Let’s be intentional.  Mind.  Body.  Soul.

*Schedule that yearly check-up

*Check out that library book

*Paint that picture

*Snap that photograph

*Join that Bible study

No.  More.  Guilt.

You are important and so is the task before you.  Be the best that you can be and let God fill in the spaces you are unable to fill on your own.  He will meet you right where you are.

And on the days that we blow it, we are still important and so is the task before us.

Especially on the days that we blow it, let’s be on guard for the guilt that will try to slip in.  Let’s love ourselves first so that we can then love our neighbor, our children, our spouses, our friends and our enemies.

Think of this…when our children are beating themselves up over something, whether it is warranted or not, don’t we try to encourage them and lift them up?  Don’t we desire to see them come out on top of that attitude and see the value in themselves?

This is what God desires for us.  We are His children.  We are precious in His sight.  Let’s remember our worth in His eyes.

And in the words of Ms. Aibileen Clark, remember this too…

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Fasten Your Seatbelt!

When my children were young, and we were in parking lots, I had them hold my hand as we walked. It’s just what a parent does.  But, on occasion, one of my children (who shall remain nameless but has the initials ttj) would wriggle his hand out of mine and bolt across the lane.  As he would attempt his escape, I would yell (yes, this is an appropriate time to yell at your children!) for him to stop and catch up to him real quick.  I’d place his hand back into mine and off we’d go.  He was safer with me, he just didn’t know it yet.

Some things in life take the passing of time and the gaining of wisdom to realize that there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about things. There’s a way that may look more enjoyable, maybe easier or more exciting in the temporary, but in the end is truly not in our best interest.

 

When the laws changed in Georgia requiring drivers to wear their seat belts, I felt the rebel in me puff up. I’m a rule follower, but I don’t always like being told what to do (who really does?).  There were times, and as much as I don’t like admitting it, there still are, that I would purposely not put it on because it was “stupid”.  Some people have actually been trapped by those belts in an accident and it didn’t end well!  Those stories are few and far between, but I held onto them when the law passed.

As I grew older, and more mature, I realized that if I was going down the interstate at 80 mph and was in an accident, my belt had better be on. It would not end pretty if it was not!  I realized over time, that I would be safer following the law, and so I began to obey it.

It’s only by God’s grace and mercy that I was given chance after chance to follow the law.

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If there are instructions and guidance available before we make a decision, why wouldn’t we consult that?  Why wouldn’t we want to find out what the best way to proceed would be and do that thing which is more likely to bring success?

 

“23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.”

Jeremiah 7:23

Go well with you…Go well with me…hhmmmmm.

Accepted, alright, fine, good, nicely, respectably, satisfactory, sufficiently…these are all synonyms to the word well.
So if we do things God’s way, we will be His people and it will go well with us?  Yes.
There will be trouble in this life, but if we have a heart that follows after God, the thread that will weave through our story will be one of goodness..satisfaction…acceptance…it will be well.  It will be ok.
Wearing my seatbelt will not prevent me from ever being in a car accident, but having it on will lessen the chances of serious injury or even death in the event of one.
Holding my hand as a child didn’t fully prevent my son from falling down or being injured, but it lessened his chances of getting hurt.
Obedience to God will not take away our temptation to do things our own way or follow after someone else who seems to have it all together, but He has our best interest in mind when He tells us to do things His way.
He makes a promise to us, and He is a promise keeper.
His mercies are new every single day.
Let’s hit the restart button if we’ve started down a road based on our own agenda.
Make a U-turn.
With our head held high and a smile on our face knowing that we serve a God who is loving, kind, merciful, forgiving and has our best interest in mind, let’s dial it back.
And when we are at a cross road, let’s seek His direction before we act, not using Him as a last resort, but as our authority on what’s best to begin with.
Seek His wisdom through His word.
Ask Him for understanding.
Follow His lead.
It will go well for you…not my words…but His.
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Where There’s a Problem, There’s A Solution

“Don’t complain unless you have a solution!”

Have you ever heard this before?

 

I have. I heard it growing up at home.  I heard it in the work place.  I’ve spoken it to my own children.

 

Don’t you hate it when someone has used up their energy griping and complaining about someone or something, and once they vent it, they have no solution. No possible resolution in mind?  There are only negative words just lingering in the air.  Stale.

 

What should be done about it? What can we do?

 

Unfortunately, we can’t control what someone else will do or say. As much as that would satisfy our human nature to grab hold of someone’s tongue…we just can’t go there.

 

What we can do is look in the mirror, and start with ourselves.

 

Fortunately, our God didn’t just tell us what not to do in His word, He instructed us in what to do.

 

For instance…

 

“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Phil. 4: 6-7 NIV

 

Do not…but instead…and as a result…

 

 

No need to break it down, read it again, it’s self explanatory!

 

However, personally, that whole “do not be anxious about anything” part is much easier said than done. Much.  That’s why we can’t stop there.  We have to keep reading.

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 Do you see it? How cool is God that when He tells us not to do something, he wraps it up with telling us what to do instead?

 

When I catch myself worrying, like habitually worrying,…honestly, I might put on a little Michael Jackson and distract myself with a little dance party.  I can get in my car, roll down the windows, crank up the tunes…music is good for the soul.

In between songs, I can direct my thoughts with something like this:

 

Truth…God loves me unconditionally, He wants what’s best for me

Noble…My husband is well respected, and I’m blessed to call him “mine”

Right…God is just, I can trust Him, it’s not what He does, it’s who He is

Pure…falling snow, newborn babies 🙂

Lovely…It’s springtime, the flowers are blooming with magnificent color

Admirable…Who do I admire right now? What are they inspiring me to do?

I’ve been guilty of telling others “stop worrying”, “stop stressing”, “you can’t think that way”…and I’ve been there myself (and I’m sure will be there again). Sometimes bad things just happen and it can be overwhelming.

 

But God…

 

He gives us a way out. A child can do this.  It is attainable.  But, it does require some discipline on our part.  It’s that whole “take captive every thought” thing.

 

Since we can’t control those around us, let’s ask ourselves, do we enjoy sleepless nights? Headaches?  Body aches?  Ulcers?  Do we enjoy having people ask us how we are?  Are we alright? What’s wrong?

 

These are hard questions, but I think we have to go there.

 

Then go to His word.

 

Then put it into practice.

 

Then put on a little MJ (or whatever gets you moving).

 

Then go and be a blessing to someone else!

 

It would be one thing if we were racked with worry and anxiety and there was no way to move past it.  It’s another when we are given such clear instructions on how to deal with it.

 

Now that is what I would call excellent and praiseworthy, wouldn’t you?

 

Over the next few weeks, I’ll come to you with a few more examples in the Word where we are instructed to not do this but instead do that.  A problem partnered with a solution.

 

Where do you feel stuck?  I’d love some feedback (either here or privately) and I’ll see what I can find.   I’m not the expert, He is.

 

What scripture do you go to when you need help moving past a situation?  Comment below and you just might be a blessing to someone else reading.

 

Blessings to you all,

Kellie

 

 

 

 

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Come…Drink Up

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“Lord, I feel like a wash cloth that has been soaked in vinegar and wrung out and twisted in an attempt to dry me completely and after being wrung out, I feel like I’ve been tossed to the side to dry up stiff as a board.”

 

This was my journal entry recently.  My first words in my prayer journal weren’t “thank you” or “forgive me” or I love you” but, a complaint…honestly, that’s all I felt I had to offer at that time.

 

Life is sometimes hard.  Just.  Hard.

Although scripture says “do not be anxious about anything…” that’s sometimes always (at least for me lol) easier said than done, can I get an “Amen”?!

 

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters…”

Isaiah 55:1a

 

 He is our source of hydration and He calls us to drink up.

As I was digging in to scripture for some encouragement and help with this dry, crusty, stiff, depleted body (and mind) of mine, I found just what I needed.

 

Hydration.

 

“The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Isaiah 58:11

 

Following Him leads to satisfaction, strength and healthy growth.

 

Maybe I had not tapped into the source of this strength as I knew I should be doing.  Perhaps I’d let anxiety and worry overtake my mind so much that I’d left no room for even a small stream to flow through and offer me a cupped hand full of fresh water.

 

I was allowing my thoughts and these hard things in life to crowd out the only nourishment I needed.

 

Like throwing dirt onto the slightest trickle of water, I was creating a barrier between myself and my only hope during this time of hurt and heartache.  I was letting my circumstances and thought life stand between me and a gushing, continuous flow of living water.

 

Have you ever let life just pick you up and toss you around?  Ever let your circumstances push you here and there…even the good ones?

 

A deadline at work or school

An event that needs planning

A drive towards success that pushes you somewhere you shouldn’t be

Pressure you place on yourself that you shouldn’t

Burdens you sincerely carry for others that overwhelm you

 

What’s overtaking you now, drying you up, sucking the moisture out of your mind, body and soul?

 

There’s a story in John chapter 4 that is told.  A woman goes to the well to draw water for her family and encounters Jesus there.  She is drawing tangible water from below to quench her thirst, but Jesus offers a different kind of refreshment.  If ingested, it creates a never ending source of water for her.

 

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

 

Inviting Jesus Christ into our lives creates a continual flow of refreshing hydration even beyond our earthly existence.

 

Although I felt a little guilty that I had let myself get so dry…so wrung out…I was encouraged when I read the scriptures.  God is so full of grace, He wasn’t interested in laying a guilt trip on me, He was interested in rehydrating me.  In pointing me back to His direction.  In reminding me of the resource that I have inside of my own spirit.  I sensed that He was eager to dip me back into the living waters that only He can offer.  These waters don’t offer temporary relief or refreshment.  They are permanent.  Eternal.

 

17 “For the Lamb at the center of the throne
    will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
    ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 7

 

Even if we feel we’ve lost touch with the living water, He is waiting to lead us back to it.

They say when we are down, or struggling with our own circumstances, one of the best ways to get out of that funk is to go and be a blessing to someone else.

 

I think it’s so easy to get caught up in ourselves that we can lose sight of those around us who may need us.  Or, it can cause us to simply forget how it feels when someone encourages us.  Everyone can use a pat on the back or an uplifting word.

 

Maybe it’s not that, maybe it’s preparing a meal for someone or baking a cake and delivering it over.  Buy someone a meal.  Surprise a friend with their favorite coffee (DD small, cream & sugar with a vanilla swirl would be my suggestion, if you’re clueless about that sorta thing!).  Put a note on someone’s windshield at school, at work, or even at home.

 

I read a book years ago called “Splash the Living Water”.  It was a call to take the streams of living water that live inside of believers and share!

 

Our stream will never dry up, it is eternal, and it continually flows.  Not my words, but His.

 

Ever felt like a worn, wrung out rag that’s dried out stiff?  We don’t have to wait on someone to throw us in the wash.  We have the resource inside of us to rehydrate.  To become so soaked that we are literally dripping with a water that refreshes and quenches thirst in a way that tangible streams never can.

 

Let’s don’t be selfish with that.  If you’re dry, tap into the scriptures, remind yourself what God has placed inside of you if you are a believer.  Once you’re rehydrated, go and bless someone else.

 

You will come back to life…you will feel refreshed…you will witness what it’s like to offer someone who is parched a glass of cold water.  You never know who is dry on the inside.

 

Go…splash!!