10.28.2013

ITS NOT ABOUT ME

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen a picture I posted this morning of the first few lines of the book "Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren

It's not about me

Yesterday I was quietly, but annoyingly, plagued by a nagging feeling of self-doubt and/or general insecurity.  It honestly really wasn't a big deal or over anything that "mattered" but I was still bothered by it.  As I was going to sleep it was still bothering me so I prayed "God PLEASE take this from me.  Help me to feel your peace and get over how I am feeling...-" and BOOM - all I could think was

"It's not about me."
"It's not about me."
"It's not about me."

Over and over again that thought ran through my head and just like that... my heart was filled and the peace of the Holy Spirit {the peace that you know ONLY comes from Him} swept over me.  I could have sworn the wind was blowing and the sun was shining.  I don't know why it was so powerful - that simple thought - but I continued to pray it over and over again and by the end of it I was ready to run a marathon...or just go peacefully, unburden-ly, to sleep :).

I woke up this morning and read Jesus Calling, which was really good by the way, and then went over to the bookshelves in our living room and pulled out Purpose Driven Life.  I haven't touched that book in over five years.  But I opened it up and the first words I read

"It's not about you."

It's NOT about me - it's all about HIM.

What am I doing every day?  I am raising my children, tending to the home, running errands, working on my few remaining Design jobs {I keep telling myself I'm going to take a break from work...}, watching my TV shows after the kids have gone to bed, mindlessly clicking away on Instagram throughout the day, occasionally hitting the gym, talking to friends and family on the phone, going to BSF every Thursday, and packing to go out of town on every weekend we are able {we like to GO}.  And sometimes, I write a blog post or read those few favorite bloggers still writing their blogs {there aren't many}.

All of these things are good, purposeful {so what if I can find purpose in Instagram, I do}, real things.  And a few to some extent are part of my God-given purpose - which I believe is to raise children who know and love Christ and serve my family {and those around me} in a way that reflects God's love and furthers His kingdom.

But I know good and well that most of those daily tasks of mine are NOT exactly fulfilling this purpose - the Lord commands women, among oh so many other things, to "to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God." - Titus 2:5

So, as so many of us are, most of the time I am really, REALLY busy.  But I can admit that maybe I wouldn't be as pointlessly busy if only I kept Him at the center of my business.

Let me explain.  Usually, when the kids are at school and I am not working, I have a list of things I need to get done.  I order my errands in a way that allows little to no backtracking and efficient time management.  I make a grocery list and I write it in out in order of how things are arranged in that actual grocery store.

This past week when Stephen was out of town I had a babysitter Friday afternoon, since I was working Friday morning and needed some "run around" errand time before the weekend.  I did not make a list, not even in my head. I just knew I had "stuff" to do.  And so I proceeded to drive up and down nearly every road in Mobile, backtrack, turn around THREE times, and laugh at myself the whole time.  Why?  I hadn't taken the time to organize my time.  I just went out there, kinda blind.  And while I did get my errands run, I didn't exactly feel "accomplished" at the end of it.  Just jumbled and worn out.

It's that way in our daily lives.  When we go about our daily business, nothing centering it or giving it purpose, we finish the day feeling jumbled and worn out and unfulfilled.  And all of a sudden it is Monday again.

As it is written in Ecclesiastes 3:1, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."  A little further along in that chapter, it also says, "I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.  That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil - this is the gift of God." {Ecclesiastes 3:15}  How wonderful that we have a God who wants us not to just live life - but ENJOY it!  Find happiness in the small things.  Work and play hard and enjoy that sunset and that stupid dumb show on TV we love so much.  Balance our lives and enjoy the world he created "for us," yes, but created for us FOR HIS SATISFACTION.

And where do we find our "satisfaction?"  Is it in wealth or material things?  Is it in notoriety or public approval?  Is it based on our health at the moment or the general health of our loved ones?  Is it in the happiness with your {momentarily} well-behaved children or {as of today} doting husband/wife?

YES we can find happiness in all these things.  We can be graciously thankful for healthy families.  We can look at our children and feel purpose and joy and love.  We can feel secure and blessed by wealth or material things.  We can feel {dare I say falsely} loved/appreciated/better-than-the-next-guy through being "liked" or "popular" or "well known."  But does any of it bring satisfaction?

NO! Really, I really say NO!  There are so many times I wish for {and/or pray for} any one of these things - health for my loved ones, successful careers, patience, a spirit that is "quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger" {James 1:19}, security when it comes to the future of my children and the next twenty years of their {expensive} schooling, grateful peaceful quiet children, a prettier this, a nicer that.

And sometimes, it happens.
The health is good, the bills are paid, I buy a new lamp.
And I pray, and the Holy Spirit fills me.

But, slowly, eventually, those ever familiar old feelings creep back in.  Feeling of - it's not enough.  I want more.  I want what SHE has.  I wish MY car was that clean.  I wish dinner was cooked {and of photographical quality} at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I wish my work was in a magazine like THEIRS is.  I wish I looked like THAT in a pair of jeans.  I wish this or that person would stop being this or that way.  I wish I could be a fabulous Interior Designer AND still keep my kids at home with me AND cook dinner every night AND have a clean house AND get dressed out of a JCrew catalog every morning AND be a Proverbs 31 wife AND not feel like I'm going to shrivel up and die from trying.

Or maybe, maybe just four out of seven ;)?

But there is this funny thing that happens when we depend on these things to fulfill us, or give us purpose or happiness beyond the daily dose.

We fail.  They fail us.  They always do.

Work gets slow and the paycheck isn't what you hoped.
Someone you love gets really sick.
Or you get really sick.
Your words are misunderstood and someone gets hurt.
Or you are quick to speak and your words are not misunderstood and someone gets hurt.
You clean up your house in time for Daddy to get home just to turn around and see five closets worth of shoes scattered around the den and three children "eating snacks" they dug out of the pantry themselves {aka crushing them into the rug} and throwing legos at each other down the hall.
Your husband {or wife, or child, or friend} does something that really hurts or disappoints you.
An important relationship turns sour or ends unexpectedly.
Your kids look like something out of a bloody slasher movie as they gnaw each others arms and legs off fighting over the steering wheels in the Publix grocery cart. {You pretend it's normal and ignore them, parking the buggy in the produce section while you shop the area on foot - smiling at onlookers like "Barbaric children?  What cannibalistic heathens?  Oh those?  Those aren't mine.  Someone better take care of that."}

The world will disappoint us.  If we place our foundation on this world, or yes even on those closest to us who we love the most, our foundation will crumble.

Christ is the rock.  God is our great protector.  The Holy Spirit is our comfort.
Together HE is our foundation.
The satisfaction in the midst of our toil.

Even Christians who know this fact {including myself} sometimes {OK lots of times} need a reminder.

Last night, I was filled by the love of a God who doesn't always slap you in the face with His Word {even though everyone needs a good slappin' every now and then}.
He whispered to me in my prayers, vanquished my selfish insecurities, and quietly lead me back to the only place I can ever find true rest and satisfaction:

It is not about you Natalie.  It is ALL about me.

And in Him, only Him, can I find my peace.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." - 1 Corinthians 3:10-11


14 comments:

  1. Amen...and well said! :-) Love ya! La

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  2. beautifully written! thank you. i too need frequent reminders. xo

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    1. thanks Tessa! whether you know it or not you are a reminder to ME to make the simple dailies of life special and work to perfect your God-given craft/talent instead of spreading yourself too thin. so thank YOU!

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  3. You said so many things I needed to hear. I too read my Jesus Calling this morning and it truly spoke to me. I am so glad God put the words I need in front if me just when I need to see them.

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    1. Don't you love how He does that? Love you!

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  4. Love this, and love how God SPEAKS (if we just listen!!)

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  5. Thank you for this. I stumbled across this through another blog and I really need to read this for I have been so absorbed by the daily/weekly/monthly-to-dos that I've become lost. I feel like it was a meant to be moment. I need to get my hands on those books you mention. I can't thank you enough.

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    1. You are welcome but all credit goes to the Man upstairs! He is ever constant and always present - sometimes we just get too busy to notice :) Thanks for stopping by and I hope you find some peace in the midst of your "to-dos" - I'm right there with ya!

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  6. This was exactly what I needed to hear! Thank you! It was beautifully written. Lately, I have been ending each day jumbled and worn out. It has to change :-)

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  7. I LOVE this! Thank you. really needed to read today and everyday.

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  8. Natalie, I'm Elizabeth Wood and I went to Auburn a year behind your sister Erin. Thank you for your encouraging post as these verses are so true and remind us that we can be at peace because of HIM! Thank you for being an inspiration to me as I find wisdom in your words.
    Elizabeth Wood Rodgers

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  9. OH, I'm so guilty of busying up my time, and then stressing myself through it all. Reading Jesus Calling too, and learning to lean on Him, and listen for His guidance instead of my running the show. Thanks for your reflections; it speaks!

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