Friday, September 23, 2011

You Don't Always Get A Choice

This idea popped into my head while discussing some biblical issues with my daughter yesterday. Her non-Christian friend commented that since God gave us free will then we are free to make a choice and it's 'all good' - with a controversial topic being discussed. Perplexed as my daughter was, she couldn't think of a response at that moment so she asked me later. I told her that yes & no regarding the whole issue of free will and choice. We are given free will to choose. We can choose what's right or wrong, truth or untruth, God or the world. but when it comes down to God's word and how we are to live, there are many instances where we DON'T get a choice! Period! No gray area! You believe or you don't! We can't pick some things out of the bible to follow and then discard the rest. As Mark Driscoll quoted on his Facebook page:
"If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself." - Augustine

There are so many instances in life and what we see daily that counter this idea such as. . . .
I can't say I believe in God's blessings of wealth, prosperity and then discard where he says we are to look after the poor - Matthew 19:20-24

I can't say I believe in the sanctity of marriage and then bail when we hit a rocky path (note today's approx. 50% divorce rate) - Matthew 5:31-32

I can't say I believe that children are a blessing but then say that the kids I have are enough, don't bless me anymore God! - Psalm 127: 3-5

I can't say I believe that Jesus was persecuted and died for me yet I don't think as a Christian I am subject to any level of discomfort for my faith - Mark 8:34-38

And this one being the hardest for me . . . . I can't say that I believe God has forgiven me yet I don't feel someone else is worthy of forgiveness - Luke 17:3, Matthew 6:14-15

Yes, we are to rebuke out of love hoping to achieve repentance so we can forgive but we live in a broken world. Evil exists and it's real as it manifests in the hearts of so many. I honestly am not waiting for an "I'm sorry" from my NM or EF. I've struggled with what forgiveness is supposed to look like then if I don't get repentance? Max Lucado, in his book 'Cast of Characters', had an idea. . . .
"To forgive someone is to admit our limitations. We've been given only one piece of life's jigsaw puzzle. Only God has the cover of the box. To forgive someone is to display reverence. Forgiveness is not saying the one who hurt you was right. Forgivenss is stating that God is fair and he will do what is right. After all, don't we have enough things to do without trying to do God's work too?"

So do I have a choice to forgive or not? Yes. No. I don't get a choice. I am to forgive. Then let God do the rest with the other party involved. Forgiving someone who's wronged me is for me; not always them. It's saying I forgive for the past while also saying that from this point forward I'm a new person. What was done before will not be acceptable now. A chasm in the relationship with a new beginning. No longer allowing abuse. Yes. Forgiveness is for me. It's not approving, diminishing the sin done against me, it's not enabling those who keep doing wrong, it's not denying what was done, it doesn't need an apology back, it's not about forgetting or ceasing to feel the pain, it may not be a one-time occurence, it leaves room for justice, it doesn't automatically extend trust back to those who damaged our trust, and most importantly. . . . forgiveness is NOT always about reconciliation.

*Thnx to Mark Driscoll's blog posting on Forgiveness at Mars Hill*

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sticks and stones

"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!" . . . .

That famous old adage from childhood. *Sigh* If only I knew then what I know now. Words do hurt and it's in those words that so many of us hide. Hide from being shamed. Hide from feeling 'less than'. Hide from being a disappointment. Hide from low self-esteem. Hide from hurt, anger, resentment, sadness. But in reflection I realize that those words belonged to someone else. Those feelings weren't mine. They were the negative thoughts born out of someone else's dysfunction, spoken from their lips and thrust into my heart to make me become less so they can become, in their eyes, more. I have been sacrificed for the benefit of someone else. . . . my welfare a total unconcern. Those meant to help were only in place to harm. Because I wasn't with them, I am automatically deemed 'against them'.

It wasn't until I realized my own self-worth, separate from those words, that I could rise above the labels & demands put on me. I no longer had to play that 'role'. I used to feel bad for myself, sorry for what I endured while blindly believing they would change. But I don't as much anymore. Now I feel bad for them. Sad that those negative words in their own heart are all that their life will amount to. Pitiful. On a mission searching endlessly for someone else to 'dump' their thoughts on . . . . those negative,toxic words that truly describe the wickedness in their own core.

Friday, September 16, 2011

How Much is Too Much????

Ugh! It's been a LONG and rough week for some reason. This is already week 2 of back to school so our routine is actually going quite smoothly. Maybe it's the cooler weather? Baby Natalie is only waking about once a night but I still can't sleep well. Who knows. I just feel so tired and sluggish. Not matter how early I hit the sack, that morning wake-up around 6am-ish is a pain in the arse. :( Maybe it's a combination of things in my life right now that is just wearing me out??? . . . . . Was thinking this morning and trying to narrow down my routine during the day but it's such a fine line between deciding what is too much and what isn't.

How much is too much TV time? . . . . sometimes an extra episode of Dora gives me 30 min. of sanity!
How much is too much computer time? . . . . again, some sanity time and communicating w/hothers.
How much is too much coffee? . . . . is there such a thing as this??
How much is too much of saying "No" or redirecting little ones? . . . . gosh, will he EVER just do it the first time, lol!
How much is too much doing and not getting much back? . . . . . I'm supposed to serve joyfully w/out resentment, right?!
How much is too much housework to worry about? . . . . . the trinity of laundry, dishes & vacuuming are sapping my creative side, really!
How much is too much yelling, craziness around the house when I really just want to lie down? . . . . . is it Mommy's naptime yet????
How much is too much with a pet that no one seems to want to take care of? . . . . can add said responsibilities into my housework question - blah!
How much is too much with tight budgeting? . . . . will there EVER be relief??
How much is too much with monthly bills? . . . . . seriously, what more can we go w/out to save $$$??
How much is too much time between date nights? Alone time with different kids? . . . . . ALWAYS a balancing act with this
How much is too much volunteering/serving? . . . . . want to help, but lately I just feel burned out on teaching kids - I'm sure that sounds awful. :(
How much is too much planning, organizing, rearranging when it all ends up looking the same w/in a week? . . . . nothing else to say here!
How much is too much missing that moment to say what you really feel? . . . . either good or constructive criticism?
How much is too much pushing, hinting for me to 'make nice' with emotionally abusive people because 'they are who they are'? . . . . can't people just live their own life?!
How much is too much in regards to forgiveness, repentance, and reconcilation? . . . . . I know God wants us to forgive, but he doesn't mean to let others continually harm us like a doormat does he??

I'm sure there are millions more that I, and others, could post. Just really in a crux with things lately wondering how much it too much trying to be everything to everyone while still trying to figure out who I am???