Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Slow Down and Smell the Pot Roast

Hello my wonderful (and neglected) friends! I am sorry I've not been posting regularly! Been busy caring for my precious little family and running neglected errands :) I pray that you are all doing well, and that you're still walking on your journey to joy, peace, strength, and dignity! I had a BAD time last week with the dignity. I was doing great, embracing the gifts that God has given me, but then I had an incident that crushed what little dignity I had found. But, slowly and STEADILY God is rebuilding it. He's reminding me that to Him I am beautiful, and wonderfully made :) I know more than one of my precious friends and readers are going through a very difficult time right now, and I just want you to know that my heart and prayers are with you in these storms!

I'm having a good week so far ;) Bills are caught up, a little money is tucked back for emergencies (not much, but more than I had!), there's food in the pantry, I had a DATE (for the first time in a year!) with my awesome man this past weekend, we have been informed there will be a raise come this next paycheck,  and my cup is just overflowing ;) God really is so much better to us than we deserve! This morning I fed my hot hubby and sent him on his merry way to work another 12+ hour day, got a beef roast in the crock pot with an insanely aromatic au jus sauce, laundry going, coffee, study, and now I'm spending some time with you :) Then I'll get my shower and fix myself up for my friend who's coming over in a bit to hang out. What did I do to earn so much favor from God? I am so blessed!

I read the next devotion in the "Living Above Worry and Stress" study today. This week's lesson was entitled "Stressed Out!". It's funny that I read it today, when God has eased my tension. Maybe it's because had I read it before He calmed my fears, then I probably wouldn't have taken a bit of it in! But what was specifically talked about in this lesson is that stress in our lives typically comes from putting too much on our plate. She used the example of a mother telling a child "Your eyes were bigger than your stomach" when bringing a plate still half full to the kitchen sink. I believe this week's lesson is very relevant to today's women. Whether you're married without children, a new mom or a seasoned mom, a widow, or someone who has spent your life without a husband and children, it is so important not to overfill our days with "things", even ministry work. I know more than one woman, most of them older with their children grown, who tend to pour themselves completely out into multiple ministries within the church, until they reach the point that there is no room left for family or rest. God WANTS us to receive rest. Do I really need to quote you scripture on that? I mean, He created an ENTIRE DAY of rest for us. Most of us don't utilize it. We're too busy running to this church function and that small group study etc. All of those things are important, yes, but not critical to how close we walk with our Father. What things in your life are unnecessarily causing you great stress simply because you think you need to do it in order to prove how much you love God, or feel like it's your responsibility to do it, even though it causes you to stress out over getting it done?

God has promised us that His mercies are new every.single.morning (Lamentations 3:23) and that He will give us rest (Matthew 11:28-30). He also tells us in Psalm 39:6 that all of our busy rushing ends in nothing. The old saying of "it's about quality, not quantity" really applies here. It's not about how many things you can get accomplished in one day, but about the affect that things you do has on others. Are you running around carelessly stressing over getting things done, and in the process putting off those who need you most? Does your husband know, without a doubt, that next to God, he is first in your life? Or are you too busy baking for the ladies group, organizing events for the church, or getting to your "responsibilities" outside your home to make him feel like the important figure he is in your home? Do your children know that they are your most important ministry? Or are you too busy organizing Awana schedules and nursery schedules, and youth events to make them the priority that God has commanded of you? As a wife and mother, your NUMBER ONE MINISTRY is within the walls of your own home. Even if your children are grown, your children and grandchildren should take priority over every other ministry.

Slow down... smell the roast cooking in the crockpot. Enjoy the things you're doing for others. If you're not doing them with a cheerful heart, then you're completely missing the mark on ministry. Ministry is about LOVING others. Not doing it out of responsibility.

I love this quote from this week's lesson:

Don't let your life speed out of control. Live intentionally. Do something today that will last beyond your lifetime.

~Barbara Johnson

Is your life spinning out of control? If so, then you need to get out your comb. The author used the example of how when she was a little girl, she had short hair, because when she had long hair, her mother grew tired of the tears and stress that came from combing out the "rat's nests" and tangles. She now allows her daughter to have long hair, but promises her daughter that although the tangles are painful, the end result of the combing and brushing will be beautiful. We need to take a comb to our lives. We need to straighten out the tangles and messes that we have created by filling our time with too many things. Slow down. Be still, and know the love that God has for you. 

Psalm 107:30 NLT
What a blessing was that stillness
as he brought them safely into harbor!

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