Apr 132015
 
We are about half way through our love attributes!  Way to go everyone for taking on/praying about/writing about these attributes each week! And also kudos to you if you are reading their descriptions and my experiences and are implementing them in your home, work and play!  Maybe you are praying through each attribute that comes up and have been able to write on some but not all.  Whatever your amount of investment in loving others for these weeks have been, well done!  I know our Father is pleased when we prioritise loving Him and loving others (mainly because we remember He says these are the 2 greatest commandments!)  So, keep it up!  Your work is not in vain!  You WILL bear fruit for the Kingdom when you bear the fruit of His Spirit and love others!  

In response to our featured love attribute, I am a tiny bit scared.  For some reason it has been one I have dreaded.  I probably dread it because I know God has some work to do on me in this selfishness area.  I can hear myself chalking up/rationalising MY way, MY need, and MY opinion for the sake of the good of the all.  But lets be honest, many time the ME monster attitude rears its ugly head and is simply for the sake of Me.  Getting what I want.  When I want it.

Our #7 1 Corinthians 13 “Love it up” attribute this week is:  “LOVE IS NOT SELF-SEEKING”.

Webster’s defines the word, “Self-Seeking”, for us:
  • Self-serving;  overly concerned with one’s own desires, needs, or interests                                                                                                                          Friends, here are some like minded words for “self-seeking”, to further expand our mission this week (In other words these are the DO NOT do’s for this week):.
And to follow up with some words opposite to “self-seeking” (which is what we want to be-in other words DO these this week!):
 altruisticbeneficentbenevolentcharitablegenerous,greatheartedhumanitarianmagnanimousphilanthropic (alsophilanthropical), self-denyingself-givingself-sacrificingother-directed;diffident, selfless; self-reflective

Of all the like minded words of “self-seeking”, the words, “thoughtless, inconsiderate, and self-absorbed”, were highlighted in my spirit.  Questions which beg for difficult answers are, “Do I need to own up to my areas of weakness in which I can’t seem to remember people’s birthday’s?  How can I work at being more thoughtful-intentional about actively remembering/recognising others’ BIG day’s rather than only my BIG day’s?  In what areas of my life am I too “self absorbed” and am like a horse with those blinders on either side-only seeing tunnel vision, not able to look up and around at others’ stuff?  When was the last time I shrugged off/defended my actions when I was inconsiderate to my spouse, child, or friend and didn’t apologise for it?”  To be BIG enough to notice when we are small and weak is to be BIG enough to do BIG things for the Kingdom!  If we want to be great in God’s Kingdom, learn to be the servant of all- “So Jesus told them again, “It’s terribly hard to get into God’s kingdom!  In fact, it’s …If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others.”  Mark 10:24-25

Of all the opposites to “self-seeking”, the word “selfless” jumped out to me.  Jesus performed the ultimate selfless act of all time-He died for us when we were in the most unkept, unknowing, underrepresented, underwhelming, unpleasant state.  Jesus is the epitome of selfless.  He is selfless at its best.

When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us.  Romans 5:6-8 (The Voice)

As we embark on this “Week of Selflessness”, may we allow our God to prune our “overgrowth areas”.  Areas of selfishness we have rationalised away, defended ourselves in, or even lived in unbenknonced to us.  May we say “Come Lord Jesus come” and do a work in us.  May we be open ourselves up to His Spirit revealing some ugly places in us.  Only to see how He will turn our ugly into beauty.  Christ like beauty.

It would do us good (and it is doing me some good even as I write this) to say the below prayer out loud.  If you are willing.  So find a space.  Right now.  And know I am speaking this right along with you, my friend (after I write it of course):

Jesus, more of You in my life.  Teach me how to be a servant of all.  To think of others before myself.  May the “ME monster” have no reign as YOU fill me with everything I would ever need.  Help me to be thoughtful in the BIG days of those around me.  Remind me to give all myself-and all my self issues.  self doubt.  self-esteem.  self insterests.  self reliance.  To.  You.  Take away my blinders so I can truly love on and SEE others.  In all their pain.  All their glory.  All their uniqueness.  All their weakness.  And enter in.  Deeply.  With.  Your.  Selfless.  Love.

A Quotes/Verses to say NO to the self-seeking spirit this week:

  • For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
    Romans 8:5
  • ““Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”
    ― Oscar Wilde
  • ““Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.”
    ― Daniel Goleman,
  • “Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. ”
    ― Stephen Kendrick,
  • “Selfishness is a bad habit. That’s why I always rationally think through my decisions to act without regard for others.”
    ― Bauvard,  
Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 082014
 

“And giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.”  Colossians 1:12-14

I began the run.  In the dark.  And I continued the run.  In the dark.  For an hour.  And this was not just slightly dark outside.  Dusk.  Or dark, but street lights all around.  No.  Not joking.  Pitch. Black.  And then here’s me.   With no other light than the dim glow from my phone. 

Alone.  Surrounded by darkness.  Unprepared.  Scary.  Dangerous.  All come to mind to describe the beginning of this run.

As I ran around my regular nature loop, continually turning my phone back on for the little light, I couldn’t think about the fact that I was alone.  My feet kept moving.  I couldn’t think about the slow, hesitant pace I was going due to fear of falling.  My feet kept moving.  I couldn’t think about the what seemed to be neverending darkness all around me.  My feet kept moving.

All I focused on.  Thought about.  With all my might.  Was my little light.  Keeping that light shining.  Keeping that light right in front of me.  All would be well if my little light didn’t go out.

It was the little light that kept my feet moving forward.  Helped me see the stick, rock and bump in the road.  Ushered me into the new day.  And in spite of the  surrounding front, behind, left and right sides of pitch darkness, it pierced through.

After I got back from my run, my family got ready and headed off to church.  I always am anxious to hear about what my girls learned about in their Sunday School time.  Can you guess what it was about?  And yes, I am sure you have an idea.  “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” was written on a glow stick bracelet as they walked out.

At this moment I had an overwhelming sense of God’s presence.  A thankfulness for the little light He had given me to run just hours earlier with.  A thankfulness for the little light I have inside of me, Jesus.  A thankfulness for His rescuing me from the dominion of darkness.

And my thankfulness turned to motivation.  To let my little light shine as I run the path He has set before me for today.  Others and myself have said, “There is no way the tiny, cell phone glow would make a difference in total darkness“, just like myself and others  say, “What difference will one smile make to the stranger?  What difference will giving away one clothing item to someone in need make?  What difference will loving an unkind person make?  What difference will saying I’m sorry make?  What difference will showing mercy when you were so wronged make?”  Well, it makes ALL the difference.

My little light showed how and where my feet should move along the path.  It also paved the way for anyone behind me.  So when we step out with our little lights of Jesus in this dark world, we end up seeing clearly the direction He has for us.  We stay on His narrow path.  We overcome Satan through Jesus’ Name.  We pull others out of darkness and into the Light.  Through our small selfless acts of love, generosity, compassion, and mercy, we bring the Kingdom of Light to this dark world.

So I have come to recognize Little Lights Do.  Make.  A. Difference.  You and I make a difference.  When we submit to God’s Word and be obedient to it.  When we say “Yes” to allowing Jesus, the Light of the World, guide our lives.  So will you join me today and act upon the Spirit’s leading, proclaiming, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 182013
 

I MARRIED SOMEONE WHO IS THE DEFINITION OF ACHIEVER. UNFORTUNATELY.  When my husband took a strengths/personality profile, the words to describe him were:  achievement, competition, leadership, strategic.  All this to say, if I want to beat my husband at ANY game, I have to pray for divine intervention.

We were enjoying a weekend at the lake with my family.  (My husband and I were dating at the time.)  Nature.  Reading.  Snuggling by the fire.  A perfect setting.  That is, until the games.

Connect Four was our undoing as a couple.  I was determined to win.  He won the first 3 games, but he couldn’t win 4, 5, 6, skip to 10 in a row, could he?  Oh, but he could.  And he did.  (At this point I was in desperate need of a hug, which I wrote on in the first post of this heart encouragement series.)

My attitude was fairly stellar after the initial game.  I even kept my cool after the 3rd game.  I began to feel slightly antsy during the 5th game.  But after game 10, 6 Diet Cokes, and no pride to speak of, I was finished.  I couldn’t allow myself to fail one more time.

My husband and I haven’t played Connect Four to this day.  Eleven years of marriage later and the mere mention of  Connect Four causes my body to twitch with anxiety.  The only word that fills my mind is failure.

To fail:  To fall short of.  To be lacking.  To lose strength or vigor, become weak.  To stop functioning or operation.

Failure.  Hope lost.  Failure.  Self worth in questionFailure.  Mourning of loss.   Failure.  The reason I have lived life avoiding any risk.  Failure.  More about what others will think of me versus what God is asking of me.  Failure.  Being terrified to try again.  Failure.  Satan’s prime opportunity to steal my hope, purpose, and joy.

Jesus is my best friend, even when I label myself as a failure.  His plan and promises for me don’t change, even when the college ministry I helped start is shut down.  His extravagant grace doesn’t change, even when I respond in anger to my children and husband.  His lasting hope doesn’t change, even when I am crushed due to infertility.  His unconditional love for me doesn’t change, even when I look to sugar and caffeine for comfort instead of to Him.

My failures don’t change how Jesus sees me.  Jesus isn’t shaken by my past, present, or future failures.  I shouldn’t be either.  The song, “The Stand“, says, “He (Jesus) stood before my failures.  And carried the cross for my shame.”

Every man or woman who did something great in scripture, failed.  If they would have allowed their failures to cripple them, they never would have accomplished miraculous things for the Kingdom.

Instead of hiding from or being defeated by failure, Jesus says:

You are going to be ok, learn from it, and draw into Me.

I will use your failures to minister to others.

I don’t remember your shame, I don’t keep record of your failures. 

I will never leave you or turn away from you when you fail. 

Your failures do not define you. 

Take risks for My Kingdom in spite of the odds of success. 

Trust me and you will be equipped and strengthened to do what it is I am calling you to do.

Choose today to live life to the fullest.  Through His Spirit.  Failing, but learning from it.  Risking it all for the sake of His Kingdom.  Laying aside fears to stand in faith, love and hope.

1Peter 2:6b “…and the one who trusts in Him, will never be put to shame.”

Have you ever experienced failure that crippled you to try again?  What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?  

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 282013
 

I HAVEN’T BOUGHT NEW UNDERWEAR IN PROBABLY 11 YEARS.  BEFORE YOU BECOME COMPLETELY DISGUSTED, YOU MUST UNDERSTAND I HAVE RECEIVED SOME NEW PAIRS IN MY STOCKINGS AT CHRISTMAS AND SOME NEW TO ME PAIRS ON INFINITE LOAN FROM MY MOTHER.  So it’s not as if I ONLY wear my oldie but goodie’s.  But here is the truth:  my oldies are worn.  Worn out.

I knew it was time to buy some new undies when my husband said, “Wow, those are some nice underwear.  I think it’s time for those to go in the trash.”  He had been dropping some hints about them over the last 5 years, but for some reason it wasn’t until this comment that I was ready to take action.

You would be proud of me.  I used half of my JC Penny gift card to purchase brand spankin’ new undies last week.  And I threw away my oldies.  My family can rest easy now.  No worries of seeing me in the tattered and torn underwear I purchased 11 years ago for my wedding.  I have to admit it felt good to be out with the old and in with the new.

Last week I had multiple days where I felt worn out like my oldie undies.  But one day stands out in particular.

My Day of Worn

  1. I woke up to my girls were screaming at each other. I ran to tackle the issue at hand.  Completely undressed, Lucy and Sadie had poured cups of water, ALL the toys, and hundreds of stickers all over the room.  The cream of the crop: Lucy had peed the bed.  They were tugging back and forth over one sticker.  Worn.
  2. I sent both girls to time outs and began cleaning the huge mess.  Worn.
  3. I began the regular routine of breakfast, coffee, and cleaning up the kitchen, while taking extra vitamin C to fight off a sore throat.  Worn.
  4. I wasn’t able to go to Bible Study to be filled up spiritually and emotionally due to my girls being sick.  I hadn’t been out of the house in a couple days.  Worn.
  5. I was on my period.  I was grouchy.  My motivation to be the positive, patient mom was more than gone.  Worn.
  6. We were out of lunch meat, milk, and laundry hadn’t happened due to sickness.  Worn.
  7. I hadn’t had time over the past week to write, read my Bible, run, or spend time with friends.  Worn.
  8. Both girls had been up in the middle of the night=no restful sleep for me.  Worn.
  9. I broke down and cried.  Worn.

Through my tears, God comforted me through His Word.  Come to me, all you who are burdened and I will give you rest.  Mt.  11:28

I don’t replay my Day of Worn in order for you to feel bad for me.  Reality is: I know you could tell me a similar but unique to you Day of Worn you had once, twice or many times this month.  I write about my worn to say I am with you, sister.

The Day of Worn is when we must cry out to Jesus.  Because it is in the worn that we can so easily draw into ourselves and forget to even ask for help.  But I have found He meets me so deeply in the worn.  He provides exactly what I need to continue on.  To get beyond me.  To praise Him in it. 

Just like I got rid of my worn out undies to bring in the new ones, we also can say goodbye to our worn self to embrace the new.  Our situation won’t necessarily change, but when we fix our eyes on Jesus we bring Him into our worn.  And through the power of His Holy Spirit we can find rest, help, strength, hope, joy and peace.  Jesus makes ALL things new.

“Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God.”  Author unknown.

Ps.  42:5  “Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

If you are experiencing a Day of Worn allow this song “Worn”  to minister to you.

What was one part of your Day(s) of Worn?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 052012
 

I WAS EAVESDROPPING ON A CONVERSATION IN THE COFFEE SHOP.  I love to people watch.  There is a lot to be enjoyed when I force myself into other people’s lives.  And, quite frankly, listening to their story beats my current boredom.

“It’s pretty hot outside, are you sure you want to have HOT tea?” voiced the barista. “Are you kidding?”  Bellowed the middle aged man.  “My grandmother always said hot tea is the right choice.  If it’s cold or hot outside, hot tea.  With the good and the bad, hot tea.  If it’s morning, afternoon, or night, hot tea.  You can never go wrong with hot tea.  Hot tea is THE answer.”

The conversation brought a smile to my face.  Not because I agreed with the man’s viewpoint, but because he was so passionate about it.  I don’t even like tea, but I kind of wanted to after that.  With hot tea, life seemed so simple.  With hot tea, all my problems could go away.

In my boredom, I wanted to see if this man’s theory of hot tea solving life’s problems was true.  I even came up with a couple Mathematical equations.  (And yes, for those of you who are currently fearful that I am doing Math, I did confer with my Mathematical expert husband.  I won’t lead you astray.)

Jillian’s Magnificent Math Formula’s

  • Problem (insert here)+ Hot tea=Solution
  • Unhappiness+ Hot tea=joy
  • Discontentment + Hot tea=contentment
  • Fear + Hot tea=peace
  • Feeling meaningless + Hot tea=a life of purpose

To all questions, fears, hopes, trials, the answer is Hot tea?  True for you?  Maybe for the man in the coffee shop.  Not so much for me.

What one change could make this formula true?  In the above formulas where we had hot tea, just insert coffee instead.  There’s my dollar joke people.  Learn to love them.  But for real.  How about insert Jesus instead?

I say, “Jesus is the right choice.  Whether cold or hot, good or bad, morning or night, you can never go wrong with Jesus.”

When I am depressed or celebrating, I have items that are first on my “go to” list.  In my case this would either be a pumpkin pie latte or birthday cake ice cream.  I begin to have an “I deserve this thing” attitude.

Reality is that I “don’t deserve” anything.  All that I have and all that I am is because of Jesus.  These earthly things are temporary.  Jesus is eternal.  I want to include Jesus in my goods and bads.  I believe that Jesus really is THE answer no matter what the situation.  (other than hot tea that is).

A verse to ponder:  Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

SHARE YOUR STORY.  CONNECT WITH OTHERS.  What are your “go to’s” when depressed or celebrating?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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