I am not ok…

I have a deep seated belief that in order for me to be ‘ok’ I must ‘do’ something.

For me to be lovable even likeable I must somehow be different to how I currently am or I must do more. I must earn acceptance both of God and other people in order to be accepted.

I tell myself that if I can just get control in this area or that, then I will be acceptable, if I can get these people to like me I will be ok, if I can be a Pinterest mummy then I will have a sense of self worth, of value, if I can look this way or act that way I will be good enough.

This is living under the Law, a system of Achieving (quoting LC). This is NOT what Jesus came to do in dying on the cross for me.

Philippians 3: 9-10 says ‘and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ’

Galatians 2:21 goes further by saying ‘for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose’

If I can earn it then Jesus came and died for nothing! I am still eating from the Tree of Good and Evil, putting myself in the place of God, making myself like God.

And yet this is how I live my life, if I can control my weight, what I eat, what people think of me, the parent or friend I can be, if people like me then my sense of self worth tells me I am ok. If I can’t control these things, and invariably I cannot, my sense of self worth tells me I, at the centre of my very being, are not ok!

I am not ok, because I place my value on things I believe I can control or affect and in actual truth I cannot do either.

But I cannot earn acceptance, I cannot do anything which will earn a sense of self worth a knowledge of OKness. That is God’s role. I can’t read my Bible more/pray more/meditate more in order to be more worthy of God loving me. IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY, as much as I would like it to it just doesn’t.

And I know that, I KNOW it, I KNOW IT, I KNOW IT!! I’ve been in Church my whole life, I know it, yet I don’t know it in my heart. It’s purely head knowledge, it hasn’t traveled the few inches down into my heart, it hasn’t taken root in my soul. It hasn’t made that difference in my life that that truth has the power to do.

I hold onto my truth that I can earn God’s love by ‘doing’ not just by ‘being’. But that is staying under the law not living in freedom.

Just because you believe something does not make it true!

So how do I move from head knowledge to personal knowledge of God’s love for me? I don’t know! That’s where I am right now, I don’t know what that looks like, and while I hate that (because I’m not in control) I have to accept that God knows what He is doing and I have to come to a point of trying to trust him. That he will bring restoration and healing and that I cannot do that for myself.

Ephesians 2:8-9 finishes it off for me “for by grace you have been saved through faith. And it is not by your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”.

I cannot increase my self worth, I cannot earn my salvation, that has already been done for me, not through anything I have done or could do but what Christ did for me.

My debt has been paid and I wasn’t even the one who had to pay it, I owe nothing!

So here’s to God being in the driver seat and to being the map reader and me being the passenger in the back.

Pressing on despite discomfort

Why is it so easy to talk myself out of pushing forward?

Why is it so tempting to reward myself for reaching a goal but not pushing past that goal?

Why do I believe that I have ‘done enough’ and not see the discipline of being focused and reaching just that bit further?

I was finally out this morning for my first run in few weeks (I will admit that I am a fair weather runner, I don’t like the cold it brings out the complainer in me). I wasn’t sure how this run would go, my fitness drops very quickly if I haven’t been out for a bit so I set myself the goal of 3miles/5k. I was actually surprised by how comfortable it felt, I had thought even that distance might be a struggle but it felt good, helped by the sunshine I’m sure.

And yet, as I neared my goal distance I could hear a little voice whispering in my ear (other than the music I was listening to) saying

Well done you, haven’t you done well, you have tots earned a little walk, you got your 3miles, let’s just stop now, no need to go any further.

So back to my question, why do I set a goal which when I reach I don’t push on just that bit further? Why don’t I press on to develop perseverance and stamina? (Not just in running but in other areas of my life). I do this in relation to food, if I’ve had a good day or a bad day I can justify pretty much anything.

You did so well not snacking today, and you didn’t lose it with the kids, as a little ‘well done’ you can have a hot cross bun (or 2) and 4 creme eggs when the kids are in bed, well done you!

I also do it in my spiritual life.

You’ve done so well reading your Bible and praying everyday, your tired, why keep going? you totally deserve a few days break, you’ve worked so hard, come back to it next week.

Philippians 3:13 says “but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”

The author of Philippians talks of forgetting what we have already done and straining to reach what is ahead of us, yet I often find it really unappealing to push beyond something, to allow myself to feel even just a little uncomfortable, I complain and moan at ‘having to be disciplined’ but if and when I do I can reap the fruit of my actions. Why then am I so unwilling to do it?

Romans 5:3-4 says “suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope” maybe not such a comfortable refining process but how often does change or growth come about without us being called out into a place of discomfort? James 1:2-4 says “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”.

I think for me this is summed up in the Fruits of the Spirit “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” Galatians 5:22-23. God does sometimes give these fruits simply by us asking for them but most of the time I believe they come about as a result of discipline, through our perseverance and commitment to working with God, by spending time with Him, through relationship with God, through reading our Bible and prayer, by keeping in step with the Spirit and being disciplined in these practises as He brings about change within us.

So next time I’m out for my run I will be more in tune with God rather than Strava (other running apps are available) and I will listen to when he tells me to stop not to the little voice that tries to rob me of the gift of perseverance.

Jog on!

Silence the doubts…

I don’t know about you, but I often find it is after the times I have stepped out and been obedient to God that I then face a torrent of self doubt.

This morning I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at a women’s breakfast at the Church of a lovely friend.

Now this alone would normally fill me with a vast range of doubts and fears. I have struggled with accepting I may have a calling to speak in public. I am left worrying…

  • You’ve only had a week to prepare
  • You don’t even know where your going
  • It’s snowing, you’ll get lost/stuck
  • You don’t know these ladies (as lovely as they may be)
  • What qualifies you to speak to others?
  • You haven’t properly practised
  • Your talk will not connect with them at all
  • No one will even turn up

Now that list could go on as on but as I drove over I managed to silence my fears and give them to God.

I sang out my fears along to the new Rend Collective cd which is still banging out from our car wherever we go and then I turned the music off and prayed – I kept my eyes open don’t worry!

I admitted to God that I was, again, going into this in my own strength not his and I asked for more of him and less of me. I allowed God back into his rightful place and I stepped back into mine.

And you know what, he totally delivered – was that ever in doubt? When does God ever not show up when we ask him too? I mean, he’s already there so doesn’t need to ‘show up’, he’s already done that.

So then it was just me stepping up, trusting that God has gone before me. I remembered the person God has and is making me to be and I didn’t hide that person, in all her craziness, away!

I find that when we speak from our experience we cannot get it wrong, it is speaking out our truth and the experience we have walked through.

And then I left and headed for home and surprise surprise, despite the lovely positive comments afterwards, back came the doubts and insecurities.

Well that wasn’t very good, no one could relate to that at all, no one even really listened, that was completely boring, you are a terrible speaker, they all just felt a bit sorry for you because you looked a bit pathetic!

NO!! I am not listening to that!! The more we look to other people for affirmation the more we will crave it and seek approval from others, the more we will need to ‘check’ that what we did was ok. But if I get my affirmation from God, that I did what was asked of me then I will not be so easily swayed by the lies that try to work their way in.

So I silenced the whispering doubts and trusted that I had been obedient to the call God had given me, that was all he had asked me to do, anything else was down to him and I’m ok with that partnership.

1% me and 99% God.

I worry that I’m worried I’m a worrier!

I might just put that out there and leave it at that, I’m worried what will come out if I keep typing.

It has come to the surface recently that one of our children is suffering with anxiety and this is displayed by outbursts of anger. To start with I just couldn’t understand what she had to be anxious about; she is loved, she has a safe place to live, is settled and secure. What has she got to be anxious about?

I was left frustrated and angry. She appears to be dealing with something which Carl and I didn’t seem to be able to help her with. We have now come to a stage where we are beginning play therapy to try to help her deal with her anger in more healthy ways. Why as her parents can we not fix this for her?

I feel like such a failure!

A few weeks back I began a parenting course and it has been really insightful. I just wish we’d both done it before we actually had children then I might not feel like I’m making such a hash of it all.

Tonight we talked about how children display needs and how that can trigger something in us as parents and make us feel uncomfortable, sometimes so uncomfortable that we are unable to meet their need. If that is the case then children express their needs in other ways.

For us that is ANGER and ANXIETY. Some need is not being met and the result of that is anger and worry.

So we’re back to the anxiety, where has that come from? You’ll be pleased to hear I finally spotted it this evening, It comes from me! Turns out I am extremely anxious although I try to bury it down and make light of it. I play it down and shrug it off.

I’m anxious about oh so many things. Let me give you just a few…

  • My children love daddy more than they love me
  • Terrible things happening to my children if I lose sight of them for a moment- kidnap, torture…
  • That I don’t spend enough time with my children
  • That I don’t know how to be around them
  • That I’m not as ‘fun’ as Carl
  • That I am failing them EVERY SINGLE MOMENT and have been since they were born
  • That I’m a failure because I couldn’t breast feed (because we all know that makes you a terrible person)
  • That I let my children cry as babies so I’m a monster and I’ve left them with abandonment issues
  • That actually no one really likes me because I just plan boring

I could go on but that will just turn into a pity party!

And right now I don’t think I have a nugget of wisdom about all of this but I do know that God hasn’t washed his hands of me. I know he has given me people who love me and my family and support us and I KNOW that he can bring good from the suffering we are going through! I KNOW THAT!

A great line that I am trying to take hold of from tonights parenting course is that blaming ourselves or our children is a dead end street. What good comes from blaming ourselves or myself?

Its my fault my daughter is anxious, I caused this, if only I had…

It just leads to pain, hurt and regret.

I am loving the new Rend Collective album and one song in particular really speaks to me right now.

Weep with me

Lord will You weep with me?

I don’t need answers, all I need

Is to know that You care for me

Hear my plea

Are You even listening?

Lord I will wrestle with Your heart

But I won’t let You go

You know I believe

Help my unbelief

Yet I will praise You

Yet I will sing of Your name

Here in the shadows

Here I will offer my praise

What’s true in the light

Is still true in the dark

You’re good and You’re kind

And You care for this heart

Lord I believe

You weep with me

Part the seas

Lord make a way for me

Here in the midst of my lament

I have faith, yes I still believe

That You love me

Your plans are to prosper me

You’re working everything for good

Even when I can’t see

You know I believe, yeah

Help my unbelief, oh

Yet I will praise You

Yet I will sing of Your name

Here in the shadows

Here I will offer my praise

What’s true in the light

Is still true in the dark

You’re good and You’re kind

And You care for this heart

Lord I believe

That you weep with me

Turn my lament into a love song

From this lament, raise up an anthem

Oh I’ll sing it in the darkness, oh

Turn my lament into a love song, ’cause I love You Lord

And from this lament, raise up an anthem, oh

Oh I’ll sing it in the darkness

Yet I will praise You

Yet I will sing of Your name

Right here in the shadows

Right here I will offer my praise

What was true in the light

Is still true in the dark

You’re good and You’re kind

And You care for this heart

Lord I believe

That you weep with me

It’s a beautifully honest account of being real with God and acknowledging that we can be going through that toughest of times but that even in those times, and it may be really hard to do so, we can still praise God.

So that is what I choose to do, pour out my anguish to God because he’s big enough to take it and to keep worshipping him.