Mar 012017
 

So, I set out with a strategic plan, that’s right people.  My spontaneous, right brained self was in a giving mood-it was time for the dormant logical, mathematical left brain (in which my husband uses every minute of the day) to have a turn in the driver’s seat.  Although this activity felt strange, I pushed through.  And I did have to verbally process it with someone or I am pretty sure my brain would explode.  And I digress.  All this to say, I came up with a Lenten season plan-No sugar or carbs (oh the joys of fasting-or as I call it, Getting rid of the thing which, if someone asked you to not incorporate this in your day or week, you get a little eye twitch because it doesn’t feel real fun or even possible.)  Ouch.  Since pretty much most of what I eat involves one of these (not really, but you get the point).

But in all seriousness, fasting is a spiritual discipline which only benefits us as it draws us closer to looking more like Jesus-submitting to the Father’s will and way and not our own in our day to day (and this ultimately is true life and freedom). I want to eat healthier, I want to “go to” my God for direction and comfort in the day and not have a looming donut dancing in my mind’s thoughts.

And now we get to today.  Today, some celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.  6 weeks of preparation/a season of grief in remembering Christ’s death on the cross in anticipation of the end-the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter.  I have to admit, having not grown up in a church which partook in the Lenten season, or held an Ash Wednesday service for that matter, I was not quite sure what this day entailed.  So, I got pulled out all the spiritual stops and googled it (sorry to the Lenten scholars out there who are cringing and finding some flaws in my below summary) and here’s what I found:

The distinctive activity of Ash Wednesday services is the “imposition of ashes.” Ashes in the shape of a cross are placed on people’s foreheads as a reminder of our mortality and sinfulness.  The primary purpose of Ash Wednesday entails the biblical roots involving creation, sin, mortality, death, grace, and salvation.  It is also centered around the scriptures, “weep with those who weep” and  “confess your sins to one another.”

Pastor Mark D. Roberts says:

What I value most about Ash Wednesday is the chance for us all to openly acknowledge our frailty and sinfulness. In a world that often expects us to be perfect, Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to freely confess our imperfections. We can let down our pretenses and be truly honest with each other about who we are.  

So, in light of Pastor Roberts words, I confess to you my imperfections, on this Ash Wednesday: Because in spite of all my left brained efforts of carefully strategizing my no sugar/carbs fasting plan beginning today, I am drinking a Pumpkin Spice latte as I write this post.

You got it, a sugary sugar drink with extra sugar is what I ordered this morning at my favorite local coffee shop.  What a way to kick off the Lenten season as I forgot and failed right from day. 1.  Wow.  Pretty sure this 6 weeks is going.  to.  be.  long.  But I tell you this because our God is not up in heaven shaking His finger at me at this moment, because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, He is extending grace, grace and more grace mixed with some of His crazy love.

And so I encourage you to join me for the next 6 weeks and prayerfully consider something you could “let go of” in order to focus more on what God has for you in this season/year.  And if you aren’t perfect or you forget or you fail or fall to temptation, will you remember my  “failure from day 1”?  You are not alone and His promises of “His grace is sufficient for you” and “His mercies are new every morning” and “His love never fails” are for you, as they are for me today.  

And no matter whether you choose to incorporate a strategized fasting plan or not this Lenten season, will you promise me one thing?  Bask in the grace of our loving Father God and listen to this song by Hawk Nelson and “live like you’re loved” today-  Because we have life in His death.  No shame, no guilt, we are only more than enough as we walk in the freedom and love and identity as a child of God.  

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share
May 062013
 

“It really is too bad that some women get so moody and mean for one week each month.  Thank the Lord I don’t have that problem”, were my thoughts up until recently. Then my pride fell over my head like a ton of bricks.

It was that time again.  My ears heard my ugliness clearly.  My blatantly critical, angry, and short replies.  Unfortunately, my daughters had to succumb to my morning madness.

Lucy repeatedly asked for fruit snacks, my replies being,  “Why do you keep asking that?  I said no!”  Sadie tugged on me to come see her pillow rocket ship, “Don’t pull on me.  IN A MINUTE!”  Impatience at its finest.

My husband got a wonderful greeting as I yelled upstairs, “Do you think I could get some help?  I can’t do it all!”  When he didn’t come immediately I added, “Did you hear me?  What exactly are you doing?”

As I returned to browsing Facebook updates, I felt remorse for my unkind words.  But I was like an angry volcano.  The lava bubbling within me was ready to erupt on the next poor soul who dared approach me.

What could I do?  Everything within me screamed to get out of the house!  Burn off some steam.  So I did.

I was supposed to meet a friend for a play date, but instead said,  I will be late.  Due to my inability to function.  Trust me.  You don’t want to be around me right now.

I carouled the girls into the stroller, buckled them up and was off to my regular routine.  But as soon as I stepped out, a fierce wind pushed against me and my stroller.

It was a battle to even go walking speed.  The wind pushed.  I fell back.  I leaned my body forward and kept moving.  I covered small amounts of ground at a time, but eventually finished.

I didn’t break any time records.  But I didn’t give up.  And I am better because of it.

If I we were on a covert mission to be discrete, I could say to you, “I had difficulty “Pushing My Stroller” last week”, and we could smile understanding it was that time again.

Sometimes it’s easier to not try.  To allow the emotions to overtake me.  Or continue to excuse my behavior because I am a slave to my hormones.

The fierce “wind” of anger, is not impossible to overcome.  But I have to fight it.  Consistently.

Only with the Spirit’s help can I practice self-control, speaking kindly and respsonding patiently.  But I am not perfect.  The “wind” pushes me back and I yell at my husband and kids.

I want to push against the “wind” of anger.  I know with the help of the Spirit I can be victorious.  Not necessarily perfect.  But willing to say “I’m sorry” when the “wind” pushes me backwards.  Willing to be in the Word and offer up regular prayer for help to fight these feelings.  Prioritizing exercise to burn off some steam.

Not giving up, but giving in to responding differently.  To a new way of living.  “Pushing My Stroller” is an area of weakness that draws me to the One who gives miraculous strength.

“In your anger do not sin.” Ps 4:4

Have you had a difficult week of “Pushing Your Stroller?”  Will you ask for God’s help to fight the “wind” of anger in order to practice self control, patience and kindness? 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share
Apr 242013
 

Two weeks ago I shared how I have been trapped by perfectionism ever since I was a young child. Up until a few years ago I was convinced that perfection did exist and could be attained, if only I tried hard enough.

It was not until walking through the Beth Moore Bible study “Breaking Free” did I realize the strong hold fear and perfectionism had on my life.

I entered into the Bible study with the mind set of “I don’t have a strong hold. I don’t suffer from an addiction.” Boy was I wrong! Much to my surprise, I discovered my strong hold was fear. Fear is a close friend of perfectionism.

My tendency towards perfection has not disappeared, but instead of being controlled by it, I am learning to have better control of it.

The Lord is gracious and teaches me, if I am open to it.

Here is what I have learned:

1) Perfection does not exist. This one took me a long time to grasp. It does exist in a Pottery Barn catalog, but not in reality.

2) I am not perfect nor will I ever be. The only human who was ever perfect is Christ.

3) It is ok to be good enough. This one is still hard for me to accept. God loves me despite my faults and His opinion is the only one that matters. If I endeavor to give each day my all, that is good enough.

4) Striving for perfection as a mother, wife or in my home robs me of joy. Learning to hold my expectations loosely allows me the freedom to enjoy life more fully. Life is about relationship with others and experiencing Christ’s joy. It is not about the perfect birthday party or having the best dressed child.

5) Daily living only allows for some things to be accomplished and that is ok. This is something I am currently working on. Setting my mind to spend an hour accomplishing a task and being ok when I have to stop. Believe it or not perfectionists are often procrastinators because we think the time has to be perfect and the project has to be done perfectly. Unless that can happen, why start?

6) Stop waiting for the “moment of arrival” when life will be perfect. Life will never be perfect. Each day and every moment is a time for learning. The “moment of arrival” will occur only when I am with my Savior.

I still have much more to learn but am already feeling some freedom from perfectionism. And to be honest, it feels good!

Do you feel captive by perfectionism? What is one step you can take today to start your journey to freedom? 

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share