Monday, December 16, 2013

No room at the inn for selfishness this Christmas

There is a wonderful MOMS {Mastering Our Mothering Skills} group at my church.  I have been attending for years and they asked me to share a devotion at our December meeting.  I wrote out some notes to help prompt me so I figured I could expand on them and make it into a blog post.  Here is the gist of what I said!  {It’s long so grab a drink!}

Photo by Pamela M.
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Happy December!  It is an exciting time but a stressful time.  We as moms have so much to do to get ready!  Before I even flipped my calendar to November, I talked to my husband about running away and possibly spending Christmas in Vermont or New Hampshire. I really didn’t want to deal with aaalll that I had to do!  Ugh… First, I would have to bug my husband to get the thousands of bins down from the attic.  {Why do I have so many bins for just 1 month?!}  Then I’d have to oversee getting the tree up and decorating and shopping and wrapping and cleaning and baking and giving out gifts.. oh and the cards!   
I was just so tired evening thinking about it.  How could I enjoy the holidays when I am the one who has to do it all?

I I I I… I said that a lot didn’t I? 
As I was sitting on my couch during my quiet time, I looked around my livingroom and heard God speak to my heart.  “It’s not about you.” 
Um. Wow. Ya…
The kids love the tree and the ornaments.  Time goes by much slower for kids and this time of year is pure JOY to them! 
My eyes also rested on an image I have in my livingroom.  




I saw this at Cornerstone when I first came to faith years ago and my husband ended up buying it for me.  This picture depicts what’s happening in John 13.  Peter asked Jesus… “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
This sits in my living room and I can not tell you how many times I have come back to this image…. Jesus is the example to live by.

And He is why I wanted to talk about there not being any room at the inn for selfishness this Christmas.  {And also because that is what God is teaching me right now.  I focus on ME far too much!!} 
As Christians we always talk about salvation and how important that is and what Jesus dying on the cross means to us.  We have hope and we have eternal life and that is awesome.  But most of us are just trying to figure out this earthly life right now!  This time of year we are celebrating his birth and essentially his life.  And so we need to look to Him.

Jesus didn’t ask:  Who will cook for me?  Who will help me?  Who will wash my feet?  He deserved being waited on more than anyone but instead He was the example for us.  He was a servant and He served.  And the sooner we get out of our pity party moods {well I get out of mine}, the sooner we’ll ooze more joy and live better, especially with our families!


But how do we transition from the pity party mode to really being inspired by Jesus?  And applying His ways to our lives?  How do we really live as joyful Christians??
Part of Isaiah 41:10 reads: Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.
And God knows how much help I need!  I am on a journey to get to know God and learn more about this Christian living thing.  And the answers are found in one place… the bible.
Do I know what the bible really says about living?  Do I know how Jesus lived His life and what His example really was?

I recently read an amazing book called Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph.  Here is an excerpt from the back:  “Women desire to live well. However, living well in this modern world is a challenge. The pace of life, along with the new front porch of social media, has changed the landscape of our lives. Women have been told for far too long that being on the go and accumulating more things will make their lives full. As a result, we grasp for the wrong things in life and come up empty.”



I highly recommend this book to all moms who are trying to figure things out.  She ties it all back to scripture and it’s so so so good.   


This time of year is so busy and I think we take less time to slow down and meditate on God’s word more than any other time because there’s just so much to do!  And that’s an area that Courtney really stresses.

We must reconnect to God.  I like how Courtney words it in her book on page 10:

“I charge my cell phone daily because without power it goes dead.  Similarly, we need to plug into God’s power daily.  We need to be recharged by His words and His strength daily.  Reading God’s Word every day will change the entire course of our lives. 

Just as we cannot charge our cell phone only once a week, being recharged in God’s Word is not a once-a-week assignment.  The Bible is not something we read in church on Sunday and then close and tuck away on a shelf until the following Sunday.  God wants us to drink deeply of His living water every day.  He wants us to find refreshment, comfort, and satisfaction through His Word.”

 

She also says: “While I think spa days are a wonderful treat, I believe that what we need even more as women is solitude with Jesus.” {Page 8}

Does that sound hokey to you?  Alone time with Jesus?  Think about it… we all love our time alone.  I even have a friend who lives for her bi-annual dental checkups just for that time without kids!  But God can really refresh our attitudes and hearts in a way that nothing else can.  Shopping, food, even the internet..They all pacify us for a while but there is only one thing that can satisfy our souls!  But how?!

So thinking of the life of Jesus… He had a lot to do and He always made time to get alone with the heavenly Father. 
Jesus often withdrew and prayed as mentioned in Luke 5:16.
And he told his disciples to go to a quiet place and rest in Mark 6. 

 

This was a big lesson for me this year.  Back in March I signed up with a direct sales company, Clever Container.  I felt that as a homeschooling mom, I DESERVED to have something that was all mine.  I needed to get out of the house regularly and get those breaks.  



And don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy those gatherings but what ended up happening was that I became selfish with my time at the expense of my family and I wasn’t getting fulfilled by my business.  I decided to put it on the back burner for now as I go through whatever this is that God is teaching me!

I am still learning but I know I still have to learn to turn the focus away from myself to serving others, starting with my family.  I am so selfish and I constantly have to work at changing my attitude!  I can only do that through God’s strength.

So here are some ways that help me get my mind on Him through the day.
I play Christian music all the time!  Pandora, a free internet radio is a great resource.
Yelling at kids is harder {or at least more convicting} when songs like Mandisa’s “Overcomer” come on the radio!

Also when I have a specific issue to work on, I write verses and put them around my house.  I have “A gentle answer turns away wrath” on my fridge right now as I deal with my anger issues!


I really try to read the bible daily.  I confess this is not something I ever enjoyed before.  My husband can pick up his bible and just read it.  But I never did that on my own.  I did however always enjoy books about Christian living that have scripture in them like Women Living Well.  And I went to bible studies to hold me accountable.  I am not currently attending the study at my church because of my schedule BUT I have been doing an online study called Good Morning Girls for two years!  It has absolutely changed the way I appreciate scripture.  It sinks into my head and stays with me much more than reading whole chapters.  And my group connects on Facebook.  Easy to do any time of day.  I highly recommend that too!


We DO make time for what we enjoy so if you say you don’t have time, then think about what you really want to do!  Or if you feel you literally have no time then there is another idea…  I had a friend come over to give me some practical advice on time management as I started my homeschool journey.  I ended up making this week at glance printable.  I plugged in everything that was fixed and did not change.  meals, preschool, karate, bedtimes, etc and then I visually saw where I had chunks of time. You will be surprised where you have time when you see it down on paper like this!



Ladies, we are social creatures and we need to find women to draw strength from and for encouragement. 

Again found in the Women Living Well book, Sally Clarkson was quoted as saying: “I have always said that a woman alone in her own home with her own limited self, sinful children, and a house that is subject to falling apart, is a target for Satan. Joining hands with other woman, having a prayer partner, starting a small group is a defense against vulnerability.” P.143

We need to plug in.  Going to church and attending meetings like this are so important and I realize our meetings are just once a month but we do have a Facebook group where anyone can post play dates or get-togethers so get on there and connect with one another!

MOMS… These are our longest days but our shortest years.  Our time will come.  These aren’t the years to be selfish.  Soon enough our children will be running out the door to hang out with their friends!  We as moms have little Jesus-lovin’ babies to raise. We need to be good examples for them.  They aren’t going to remember if you made paper snowflakes or made a ginger bread house this year with them but looking back, they will remember if you loved Jesus and that love with naturally overflow to other areas of your life.

Colossians 3:23 says to work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  But I would challenge you, as I challenge myself, to work LIKE the Lord.  Try to live out His example and learn what that example is by getting to know Him.

I pray that we all find joy in this season!  Thank you have a very merry Christmas!



1 comment:

Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Thank you SO much for your sweet words about the book Women Living Well - this was such a JOY to read ;)!

Keep walking with the King,
Courtney