Friday, July 29, 2011

Worry Warts

Good morning, my friends! I apologize for the extended absence. I've not been feeling well this week. I've been battling a headache for several weeks that was beginning to take its toll on me this week. But, PRAISE THE LORD! I prayed through night before last, in desperation, and God answered my prayers for relief! My headache is not completely gone, but I can function again with minimal hindrance. Isn't God amazing?

In continuing with our quest for joy and peace, I'm still reading the "Living Above Worry and Stress" study. I have decided to do only 1 lesson a week, as intended, so that I can spend time applying each individual lesson to my life. This week's lesson is titled "Worry Warts". Have you ever thought about that term? Worry warts? What on earth is a worry wart? Did the term come about because worrying makes you ugly? *shrugs* Your guess is as good (probably better) as mine! This was a good one, because I have already been applying this topic in my life the past few days, or attempting to! I have continued to be so stressed out about our finances that I have really struggled with trusting God with it, and it was spilling over into my attitude towards myself and others. But I have been purposing to allow God to bear that burden for me these last few days. Of course, naturally, I go back and forth, riding the see-saw of worry and stress in my quest for peace and trust. But, through the points and scriptures that I picked up in the lesson, and those I was already using, it's slowly becoming easier. Only slowly because I allow myself to get in the way of progress.

In this week's lesson, we're reminded that worry isn't just stressing out about something. Worry comes in different forms, including busying yourself with menial tasks. Worrying yourself with unimportant things that distract you from spending time alone with God. How much time do you spend, in quiet, alone with God? If you said little or none, then I can promise you you're not alone. My time alone with God is minimal. I don't like that. I talk to Him and praise Him and read His Word all throughout the day, while my children are playing and I'm cooking, doing housework, etc. That's great, because we are supposed to never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17), but if we never spend QUIET time ALONE with God, we can't hear that still, small voice when He speaks to us. Not only that, but we miss out on moments of quiet rest in His arms and presence.

The author of the lesson uses the illustration of the sisters, Martha and Mary. Both women loved Jesus dearly, but only Mary took the time away from the hustle and bustle of her duties to sit at Jesus's feet and love Him (John 12:1-8). Martha was so busy worrying over the food, serving the guests, etc that she completely missed out on the joy of just being in the presence of her Messiah. Mary, on the other hand, recognized that Jesus would not be with them in the flesh much longer (because she was listening to Him), and left her other duties, or worries, and used her own hair to wash and perfume Jesus's feet. She did this with such love and adoration. When we serve God, do we do it with love and adoration and selflessness like Mary, or do we do it with worry and haste like Martha?

This week, let's slow down. Let's prioritize our "worries". What is it in your life that keeps you from spending time alone with the Messiah. What tasks on your list are preventing you from resting in the sweet presence of God? I worry over having a clean house. I am a lot more relaxed on this than I once was, but I still stress out way too much if the boys make a mess in the living room while playing with their toys or drawing pictures. Sometimes, we even busy ourselves too much with "ministry" work. Martha was simply preparing the meal for the Passover feast. But ministry work, things we do in the church, should never become so cumbersome that you're neglecting your own personal time alone with God. If you need to, simply make a list of all of the things you do each day. How many of those things can you scratch off the list all together in order to make more time for God? What on your list is so important that it can't be forgotten for some sweet rest in the Father's arms? We're living in a very fast paced world. But that doesn't mean we have to be fast paced. We aren't supposed to be like the world. We're supposed to be set apart, a HOLY people (1 Peter 2:9).

I'll close us out by sharing some of the scriptures and quotes from this week's lesson.

I loved this quote by Sheila Walsh:
My times of silence before God are very important to me.
When I'm quiet, life falls into perspective for me.
I have a very active mind and I'm a worrier, 
but in those moments when I choose to put that away,
I rest beside the Shepherd in still places.
~Sheila Walsh

1 Peter 5:7 NLT
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Philippians 4:6 NLT

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. 
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Worry says to God, "Lord, I don't trust You."
~Thelma Wells

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Jason Gray's music video for "Remind Me Who I Am"

I love Jason Gray. My hubby and I met him a few years ago when we volunteered at his booth at a Matthew West/Sanctus Real concert that he opened for. He and his wife, Taya, were so down to earth and warm. We fell in love with them instantly. We have closely followed Jason's career since that night, and he has, without a doubt, become one of our most beloved Christian music artists. This song, "Remind Me Who I Am" will be on his new album, releasing September 13. This song fits SO WELL with yesterday's post, that I wanted to share it with you. If you're not familiar with Jason (I shared another of his songs with you in a previous post) then please, look him up. His website is Jason Gray Music. Be sure to read his testimony. It is POWERFUL.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Dignity AND Humility?

Good afternoon my friends. I hope you all had a relaxing and SAFE weekend :) Hubby had to work all day Saturday, so we laid around and did NOTHING after church on Sunday! We needed the down time! I'm sorry today's post is a little later than usual. I had a low blood sugar episode last night around midnight, thought I had it managed and went to sleep, then woke up at 3:30 with my sheets soaked in sweat and my sugar desperately low. (I never checked it, I was too incoherent to do anything but grab for some candy on my nightstand from the hours prior.) By the time I was able to function, it was time to get up and cook for my hubby. Of course, he tried to convince me to go back to bed, but I was already up (getting something a little more lasting in me besides NERDS), so I wanted to take care of him while I was at it. Of course, right before we got up, my lil guy came to bed, so he ended up being up with us. So, I fed my honey, fed my baby, and then me and the baby went back to bed. I'm slow moving today. Bear with me!

As I was laying in bed, reading my Chronological One Year Bible last night, God began to pour something into my heart about what I've been lacking in my journey thus far. I've been concentrating on verse 25 still:

Proverbs 31:25 NLT
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
      and she laughs without fear of the future.

But as I was thinking on strength and dignity, I guess in a sense I was ignoring "dignity". I'm a VERY humble person by nature. But then, last night, God revealed to me that my humility isn't really humility, it's insecurity. There's a difference. Let's compare the two. defines the two as such:


  [huhm-buhl, uhm-]  Show IPA adjective, -bler, -blest, verb, -bled, -bling.
not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble althoughsuccessful.
having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience,etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers Ifelt very humble.
low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: ofhumble origin; a humble home.
courteously respectful: In my humble opinion you arewrong.
low in height, level, etc.; small in size: a humble member ofthe galaxy.
verb (used with object)
to lower in condition, importance, or dignity; abase.
to destroy the independence, power, or will of.
to make meek: to humble one's heart.


  [in-si-kyoor]  Show IPA
subject to fears, doubts, etc.; not self-confident or assured:an insecure person.
not confident or certain; uneasy; anxious: He was insecureabout the examination.
not secure; exposed or liable to risk, loss, or danger: aninsecure stock portfolio.
not firmly or reliably placed or fastened: an insecure ladder.

Notice the tone change? We go from not proud and modest to uneasy and anxious. Those who are humble recognize their self worth, but CHOOSE to be lower in importance, status, rank, etc. Those who are insecure simply are. They do not choose to be that way, they feel that way. It's a fear, a doubt, a constant nagging telling you you're not worthy. God doesn't want us to feel that way. He values us above all else.

Psalm 36:7 NLT
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
   All humanity finds shelter
      in the shadow of your wings.

Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
For the Lord your God is living among you.
      He is a mighty savior.
   He will take delight in you with gladness.
      With his love, he will calm all your fears.
      He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Matthew 10:31 NLT
So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Now that we have determined the difference between humility and insecurity, and briefly touched on what God says about our value, our self worth, let's take a closer look at the "dignity" word there in Proverbs 31:25. Please, do a google search on God's love and value if you're not convinced that you are valuable to Him.

What is dignity? Really? Is it pride? I mean, the Bible is constantly telling us throughout the proverbs, and in Jesus's own words, how much more God loves the humble. So if dignity is pride, why is Solomon crediting the model woman with dignity? Let's see what the definition of the word is:


  [dig-ni-tee]  Show IPA
noun, plural -ties.
bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
nobility or elevation of character; worthiness: dignity of sentiments.
elevated rank, office, station, etc.
relative standing; rank.
a sign or token of respect: an impertinent question unworthy of the dignity of an answer.
Archaic .
person of high rank or title.
such persons collectively.

Well, if what we've established before is true, that God values us, then shouldn't we value ourselves? Should we not have self-respect? But I like the second part of that definition.
nobility or elevation of character; worthiness
Notice that key word? Character. What is character?


  [kar-ik-ter]  Show IPA
the aggregate of features and traits that form the individualnature of some person or thing.
one such feature or trait; characteristic.
moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.
qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takescharacter to face up to a bully.
reputation: a stain on one's character.
good repute.
an account of the qualities or peculiarities of a person orthing.
a person, especially with reference to behavior orpersonality: a suspicious character.
Informal an odd, eccentric, or unusual person.
a person represented in a drama, story, etc.
a part or role, as in a play or film.
a symbol as used in a writing system, as a letter of thealphabet.
the symbols of a writing system collectively.
a significant visual mark or symbol.
status or capacity: the character of a justice of the peace.
a written statement from an employer concerning thequalities of a former employee.
Literature (especially in 17th- and 18th-century England) aformal character sketch or descriptive analysis of a particularhuman virtue or vice as represented in a person or type.Compare character sketch.
Genetics any trait, function, structure, or substance of anorganism resulting from the effect of one or more genes asmodified by the environment.
Computers .
any symbol, as a number, letter, punctuation mark, etc.,that represents data and that, when encoded, is usableby a machine.
one of a set of basic symbols that singly or in a series oftwo or more represents data and, when encoded, isusable in a computer.
a style of writing or printing.
Roman Catholic Theology the ineffaceable imprint receivedon the soul through the sacraments of baptism, confirmation,and ordination.
(formerly) a cipher or cipher message.

That one has a pretty long and diverse definition! Here, however, we're concentrating on numbers 3-7. Let's just stick with numbers 3 and 4. Moral or ethical quality. Qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity. So someone with dignity, in essence, has high moral and ethical qualities that include honesty, courage, and integrity. Integrity is defined as adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. 

Wow, we've really covered a lot of ground today. A humble woman understands her self-worth, but excludes pride from entering her heart. An insecure woman feels she's worthless. And God has made it clear to us that we are not worthless. He loved us enough to sacrifice His own son to spend eternity with us. Why would He do that for someone He considers worthless? But a woman who encompasses dignity holds characters of honesty, courage, and integrity. And most likely I would dare to guess God includes humility in there. Paul tells us what the fruit, the characteristics, of living a life controlled by God looks like:

Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

A woman with dignity should possess ALL of those traits. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Those are the outward evidence of the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. 

So, are you a woman of dignity? Or are you a woman of insecurity? Dignity does involve humility, but humility and insecurity are not the same. Please pray for me, will you? I have a LONG WAY to go in allowing God to rid my heart of the insecurities I've allowed Satan to grow there. I will pray for you, as well. 

Love you all! I pray that this week is a week of growth, strength, encouragement, and success for us all!