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Put off, Put on

Most people are surprised to learn that I’m an introvert. But really, I am. I can choose to be extroverted and I recognize the value of that, but on the inside, I’m very introverted. On the other hand, I’m also very opinionated and can be outspoken (no wonder everyone is confused) so this week has been really convicting for me. Keep reading….

My small group is working through The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges. Which is a great book by the way! I read it in high school but I really don’t remember much from it so this is a good refresher. Last week’s chapter was on having Holiness in Spirit because we all know that you can’t just change outward behavior and be holy. It all begins in our hearts. I was cruising through the chapter when I suddenly hit this line:

“One of the most difficult defilements of spirit to deal with is the critical spirit. A critical spirit is rooted in pride. Because of the “plank” of pride in our own eye we are not capable of dealing with the “speck” of need in someone else.” pg 110

The paragraph goes on but I wrote in my book in large letters: STRUGGLE! I really struggle with a critical spirit! I can be very opinionated (no really?) and quick to point out the flaws in others without regard to their needs. All rooted in pride.

Which brings me to my second punch in the gut for the week. The sermon on Sunday was on Ephesians 4:25-32 and he outlined loving ways of communication. I just wanted to cover up my head and hide. I’m terrible at good communication! It takes me a long time to figure out what I’m actually feeling and by then I think it’s too long to bring it back up but it’s still bugging me and so I sit in silence and brood. Anyone else have this issue? No? Just me? Okay.

Anyway, one of his points really his home with me (ALL of his points were very practical and useful!) He said to ask yourself if YOUR attitude is right before approaching another person AND to ask if this is what the OTHER person needs.

Many times I approach people to get things off my chest. It’s weighing me down, driving me nuts, and so I bring something up (usually from weeks ago because I couldn’t gather my thoughts) so we can talk through it. But maybe that’s just what I selfishly need, not what is most loving towards that person. If it’s not sinful or harmful for our relationship, I should really cover it in love. (1 Peter 4:8, Proverbs 17:9) SO hard to do when you’ve got a prideful, critical spirit to deal with! But that’s loving my neighbor as myself.

Over all, a pretty convicting and challenging week for this outspoken girl. However, just keeping my negative thoughts to myself isn’t enough. That’s not what the Bible calls us to. God has loftier things in mind for his children. Not only am I to put off my critical self, but I’m to put on gentleness, compassion, and encouragement for others. (Col. 3) It’s not enough to just empty myself of a sinful habit if I’m not also filling my soul with a righteous one.

The beauty of it is that the more I fill myself up with God’s Word and I practically apply what it says, the less negative thoughts even come to mind. What a blessing the Holy Spirit is! Reliance on him is the key to overcoming any sin habit.

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2019 in encouragment

 

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Thoughts About Late People

I am a punctual person by nature. To. A. Fault. Seriously the best way to put me in a bad mood is to make me late for something. But I also don’t like rushing to get places. I’m one of those weird people that picks out her clothes for work the night before and lays them out, puts coffee in the pot so all I have to do is push the button in the morning, and leaves my house 5 minutes before I know the time it will take to drive to work just in case of…anything…

God really had to grow me in this area when I couldn’t drive and was dependent on others to get around. Suddenly, my schedule was at the mercy of other peoples’ schedules! It was a big adjustment and I have to say I’m very thankful to be able to drive again.

All that being said, I don’t understand late people. The person you can always count on to be late, who is always held up by something or other, who you tell a different starting time to help them get there earlier, etc. If I’m honest, I can get really prideful and judgmental about it. “Why can’t you ever be on time??” “Can’t you just PLAN to leave ten minutes earlier for church and then you will get here when we start?”

But I read something a few weeks ago that totally changed my perspective on this. And I truly don’t remember what book it was in so sorry, no credit is given but this certainly wasn’t my thinking.

The illustration was about a person who is an alcoholic and attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. This person also attends church. He says that whenever he is late for church, he always gets disapproving looks from people already there. But if he is late for an AA meeting, the meeting stops and people jump up to welcome him because they realize that him being late might mean that he almost didn’t make it at all.

I have studied and thought on this story for weeks. And it has really changed me. I don’t want to be that person teasing others for being late anymore and I apologize if I’ve done that to you before! I want to be the one that sees someone come in late and realize that it’s a blessing they are here at all! Especially at church of all places! Praise God for whoever wrote that story and for bringing it to me- I needed to hear it!

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2019 in growing

 

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Hardworking Pride

I’m going to back track here for a moment. A couple posts back I was re-reading Crazy Busy, right? And then my life got crazy busy and I haven’t posted in a while. But there is another lesson from that book that I wanted to write about because it came up again this week.

As we all know, I may have a tendency to say yes to everyone and everything. Hence the busyness. This week I had a really hard time saying no to people. All good things and all things I love but by the end of the week I was feeling overwhelmed and burdened and I knew it was my own darn fault.

And finally I remembered something from Crazy Busy:

“We are busy because we try to do too many things. We do too many things because we say yes to too many people. We say yes to all these people because we want them to like us and we fear their disapproval. It’s not wrong to be kind. In fact, it’s the mark of a Christian to be a servant. But people pleasing is something else. Doing the cookie drive so you can love others is one thing. Doing the cookie drive so that others might love you is quite another. So much of our busyness comes down to meeting people’s expectations. You may have a reputation for being the nicest person in the world because the operating principle in your heart is to have the reputation for being the nicest person in the world. Not only is that a manifestation of pride and therefore a sin; it also makes our lives miserable (living and dying by the approval of others), and it usually hurts those who are closest to us (who get what’s left over of our time and energy after we try to please everyone else). People often call it low self-esteem, but people-pleasing is actually a form of pride and narcissism.” Crazy Busy pg. 35

So if reading that didn’t kick you down several notches like it did me, then maybe you don’t need to be reading this post at all. As for me, I believe I felt my blood pressure spike as I read a thorough description of myself in a stranger’s book.

Pride can be very sneaky and sometimes imperceptible because it worms itself into our good intentions. I found that while I’ve been busy, so has my prideful spirit. I realized this week that I need to really evaluate and pray over my motivations for why I’m involved in things. I need to go back to my “Before I say Yes” List and make sure I’m using it.

But I’m also thankful that I’m not flying blind by myself here. I have the Holy Spirit living in me to convict and guide. And I have friends who will help hold me accountable. What a blessing those two things are!

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2019 in encouragment

 

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