How often do you feel like you have to earn your relationships with other people? I do all of the time. I rationalize and plan, consider and hope that what I do will make up for times that I have failed, times that I have not measured up. I suppose I try to bank brownies points for those moments when I might not be the true person that I hope to be. It is exhausting. And, worse yet, it totally demeans the life that I should be leading.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Posted by Bethany at 5:33 PM
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
On a quest towards sanctification, I discovered self: self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, and maybe one other self along with way. While I was busy trying to be covered in the blood and walking in the spirit, I kept tripping on all of this junk, all of this baggage, all of this me. When I finally realized that it was me that was standing in between God and myself, I wanted, and still am trying to figure out, how to get out of the way.
I always have a plan, a back up plan, and another pretty sweet plan waiting in the wings of just-in-case. I consider myself an excellent multi-tasker. This very moment, I have two huge pots of spaghetti sauce and meatballs cooking, a chocolate cake cooling, icing whipping, coffee brewing, and a load of laundry washing. All of this while trying to articulate my need for a savior, as if it isn’t obvious. I rarely ask for help. I take pride in doing things well on my own. And while this keeps me busy enough that I don’t have time to be bored, I am realizing that there is a major issue permeating all areas of my life. Trust. I don’t trust people to do things well enough for me. I worry that I will have to do it all over again, anyways. While I pride myself for being self sufficient, I push those that I love away. I have hurt friends, my husband, and my God by trying to do life on my own. Not only do I need earthly and practical help of the people in my every day life, but I need my Savior in my everyday life. I can no longer fool myself into believing that I can do all things through me. I am pretty sure that isn’t what Philippians 4:13 says at all.
Following, I stumbled on the harsh words of self-righteousness. Me? Really? I love God. I want him in my life. I need God. But, the reality is that I don’t really know how much I need God. I don’t realize my need for a savior because I ignore and brush off a lot of my sin. My sins – anger, being judgmental, impatience, gluttony, lustfulness, etc.- are so everyday, so minute by minute that they are easy to brush off, easy to justify. However, I realize that this is a lie. No matter the human view of a sin and its depth, a sin is a sin. And, for that very reason, I need a savior. And while it is hard for me to do, I trust in Him for my forgiveness. I trust in Him to fill me with more of himself as I make room for Him. I trust in Him. I trust.
Trust. It isn’t easy for me. I want to do it all on my own. I want to be in control. I want to be the boss. But, if I am to be a follower of Christ, that isn’t possible. I have to surrender to Him. I have to be happy about the fact that God is in control. I want to find joy in that. I want to find peace in that. Really, I need to. I need to trust. And, as I want to be wholly committed, overwhelmingly joyful, and truly excited about following Christ, I have to keep working on getting rid of those ugly “self” words that keep getting in the way. Self-sufficiency and self-righteousness are a lie. The only self I want is self-awareness so that I can be sure that I am allowing God to work fully in my life, less of me and more of Him.
This was my third and last installment of my thoughts during my membership classes at church. This Sunday I will be baptized and made an official member.
Posted by Bethany at 6:53 AM
Monday, October 26, 2009
You know, when God has a call on your husband's life, in any area of employment, that means that God has a call the wife's life as well. In our house, we believe that Ryan has been called to help people who are hurting. Wrapping our heads around what that will exactly look like isn't any easy thing, especially for our kids.
Posted by Bethany at 11:54 AM
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I am joining a church. Gasp. I know. I have gone to church my whole life and have been a part of many great churches; however, I have never been an official member. So, huge deal for me. My homework for this week was to write a quick thing about faith in my life, how I have seen Christ working in my life. I had to make a chart of the ups and downs of my faith as well, which was an interesting assignment. Here is what I came up with. I feel that it is kind of weak, but I am not sure what I want to change yet. Gray matters may be popping up here again, but this is the first draft:
There isn’t a time that I can recall where Jesus wasn’t a part of my life. I was raised in a home where faith, hope, and love were the center of our being, where attending church was more important than sports, where we prayed together everyday, where we shared our issues, where we ate dinner as a family, and traipsed around town supporting one another in our various individual activities. My parents became radically saved, a term familiar to me as we attended an evangelical church, about a year before my birth. Prior to this new lifestyle with Christ, they had been sowing their wild oats and living a life of self that ended not working out as planned. My mother recalls how my dad was speaking in tongues and making sure that she was “really saved” during my birth. Not may people can say that they had an entrance like this. Out I popped into a world that looked fairly black and white.
While my father was quite loud about his faith, my mother was more reserved or reverent. Together I was raised by an oil and vinegar type of faith, both different, both unique, both good. For this most part, this was an awesome experience, but at times I wondered how I was to live out my faith. Like dad or like mom. Today, I am finding more and more that I need my own style and I am excited about that. And, so, from the early days of my life, God was present in my everyday life. I am thankful for this foundation. Like black and white, I was raised by two extreme styles of faith, and I sort of became gray.
As I grew into adolescence, I believed that the world was black and white: a sin was a sin. There seemed to be no middle ground. I prayed, mostly out of fear, for the salvation of everyone that I knew. I invited kids, who I now believe to be Christians, to my church because I wanted the to be “more saved”. While I know now that worship services might look and sound different, and what matters is who is being worshipped, I didn’t get that then. It was a faith lesson that I wish I had learned earlier. It was during this time that I realized that the Church was made up of man, not always a good thing. I had to get back to the fact that my identity needed to be in Christ, not in man.
It seems that soon enough I was at Grove City College, where I met Ryan and things started to really change for me. My world of black and white was starting to find hues of different shades. Ryan is a thinker. He challenges me to do the same. For good, he wrecked my world of neat and clean concepts. Out of his love of man and compassion for the hurting, he showed me that I needed to redefine a few things. Christ brought to me a partner in life who would not make me comfortable with the easy way out. To this day, we continue to work on a faith that is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Boy, it is difficult sometimes to be stretched this much.
Now, I wait for Christ. I wait to hear what he has for me today. This outlook of compassion and kindness helps me to focus on showing the love of Christ. I continue to need the reminder that my identity is in Christ, that my desire is to honor Him, that my every day needs to be about Him. I get dazed and stunned by the world at times. Out of balance I become, focusing on pleasing man, about being good enough, smart enough, and I have to be re-centered. Thankfully, as you might know, Christ welcomes me. So, here I am today, out of obedience, out of a desire to know Him and be known by Him, And, gray matters. That’s where people fall, in the cracks of life, needing love, needing Him. I’m excited about that.
Posted by Bethany at 12:57 PM
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Remember how I told you that this play group thing was a big deal? How it was more than about healthy play time for toddlers? How possibly it was about me needing to have some work done? Well, I was right. And, I haven't even scratched the surface of it.
Posted by Bethany at 7:09 AM
Saturday, October 17, 2009
I have been away trying to live out some of the things that I have been writing about, leaving much less time for typing. The blogs have been running through my mind, just not making it on to the screen.
Posted by Bethany at 11:40 AM
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
God, I often wonder what You are doing in my life. I wonder why you and how you are so careful with me. In my everydayness, you are present. I see you working right now and I know that it isn't just for today or just for me. Thank you for being present in my life, always. Amen.
Posted by Bethany at 11:36 AM