Category Archives: Southern Belle Baptist

A life un-Pinteresting

I struggle with comparisons, and I would venture a guess and say that most women have compared themselves with another at some point in the past week… maybe even the last hour. Social media is a huge perpetrator in the comparison game- we’re bombarded with pictures of “perfection” anywhere we look. We have to realize, though, that a picture is just that: a snapshot of what we’re expected to see.

Being surrounded with images of everyone else’s picture-perfect lives can be a real soul-crusher. Why don’t my nightly dinners look like that? Why isn’t my living room filled with DIY wonders and beautiful “found” treasures? Why doesn’t my blog have as many followers as that one? Why doesn’t my hair look that way? Why haven’t I made homemade play-doh for my children? Why can’t my kid recite the alphabet in French or Spanish or whatever other language preschoolers are learning these days? Why didn’t I think of that? Why doesn’t my life hold up to theirs? Why aren’t I worthy of approval and acceptance? Why am I left lacking? Why am I always lacking?

You’re not. There is so much more to life than a Pinteresting existence. Jesus wants more for us that to compare ourselves to other people. Our focus should be on the Cross, not on worldly things. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in the insignificant- that’s the battle we fight daily. We’re supposed to be living out our lives in a way that would glorify Him- are you glorifying God with your life? I’m not sure I am. Every twinge of jealousy or envy I feel is like telling Him that I don’t believe He has a better plan for me. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 says it as plainly as possible: God has a plan for YOU. And it’s a really, really good one. If you believe that God is who He says He is and that His word is infallible, then guess what? You have to believe that He has a plan for your life that is yours and yours alone. And that plan is the best one for you. Despite what you may think you want, God knows you better, and He thinks you’re worthy of the ultimate gift: His son. What else do you need to know?

Maybe He didn’t gift you with the same talents as someone else. That is OKAY! It’s okay if we’re not all great bakers, seamstresses, hostesses or crafty artists. You have strengths, even if you can’t recognize them for yourself. Seek it out, pray over it, ask God to reveal your strengths to you and then dwell in those. Honor Him through those- serve Him through those. Realize that you were created for a unique purpose- and you were perfectly formed for your life.

Don’t get me wrong- it’s totally okay to look to other people for inspiration. But it’s not okay to beat yourself up for not being “as good” as someone else. Your journey is not their journey. I’m having to come to terms with the fact that my perfect may not be your perfect, but it doesn’t matter! We’re all different, so what is beautiful and lovely to me may not be all that great to you. My life is beautiful to me, and my focus to make sure that it’s beautiful to God, too.

As much as I love to seek ideas and inspiration from Pinterest and blogs, there’s a part of me that rates myself next to every beautiful image and blog post. Where am I lacking? There and there and there. Check, check, check. No more. This comparison culture is sucking the joy out of so many of us that feel like we will never measure up. But guess what? You DO measure up- God loves you and created you perfectly just as you are, and I’d rather be beautiful and interesting to Him than Pinteresting to someone else.

I’m praying this verse over my life today, “Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3-4, ESV). My greatest desire is for a gentle and quiet spirit. Because that is what is beautiful and precious in the sight of God- and it’s imperishable! We aren’t called to be enviable or good at everything- what matters to God is what’s within you and how you love and serve Him. That’s all. You may not be able to Pin that, but you can surely live it.

let your adorning

Merry Christmas

I pray that each and every one of you has a wonderfully blessed Christmas this year, full of joy, laughter and happiness with your family and friends. We had a great weekend, full of Santa visits, time spent together and dreams of our future house. We are so looking forward to what this week will bring.

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(I guess Santa was hot because they had a huge fan blowing on him… hence the wind-blown look!)IMG_9785

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“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!'”

(Luke 2:8-14)

Merry Christmas, my friends!

 

 

I’m a mess

I work in a church, and as part of my job, I craft a weekly email devotional. Some weeks, I get super into it and feel so inspired to write. I’ll look back at my computer screen and think “Man, that is really good! Where did that come from?!” Other times, I throw something together at the last minute (because I totally forgot to write it the day before) and think “Man, that’s lame. I’ll probably get fired tomorrow.” (Okay, not really, but still).

You know what? I usually get more positive comments and “thank you” emails on the days where I think it’s lame.

That tells me something important: that God works through me, even when I don’t feel like being a vessel for His work.

Whether I’m “in the mood” to witness and encourage doesn’t mean much to Him. If I’m willing, He is able. Thank goodness for that! I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m a great big mess- my hamper is overflowing, I have horrible road rage and I’m pretty sure I’m not on time to anything ever, but I am trying to live my life for Him and that’s what really matters. Some days are hard and some days are easy, but every day offers up a choice: a chance to say “yes.” Our pastor says that a huge part of belief is choice. You have to choose to believe, and you have to choose to follow the will of God. I’m so thankful that God has an amazing (sometimes confusing and crazy, but always amazing) plan for my life, and I am more than ready to see where it takes me. I say “yes” every day, even when it doesn’t make any sense.

I look at myself some days and wonder how such a mess of a person wound up with this amazing career in a leadership role at a church, and then it hits me: because that is where God wants me to be. This is so far outside the realm of things I could have made happen on my own- it is all God.

God is known for using messy people to do His work… makes you kind of glad to be a mess, doesn’t it?

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It’s getting real.

That whole taking my kid to work thing? Yeah. About that. It’s getting pretty real around here… as in, I am losing my mind. I can no longer use a desk chair at work. Yes, that’s right. Picture me, sitting kneeling at my desk, sans chair. Why? Because my child is part spider monkey and climbs up my legs, then falls down. Then cries. And whines. And cries. And whines. One thousand times per day. He wants to be held. So I pick him up. He wants to eat staples. I put him down. He cries. He wants to be held. So I pick him up. He arches his back in fury because I dared to pick him up. So I put him down. He screams. He wants to be held. So I pick him up. He presses “delete” and erases everything I just typed. Rinse and repeat. See my dilemma?

The good news is that my second interview went fantastic this week, and it looks like I’ll be getting an offer here in the next few days, according to my interviewer. I am so, so excited about this! Also, next week, I have an interview with my church for a communications position (both are part time… though the first offered me full-time if I want it). In a perfect world, I’d get both of these part time jobs and life would be just dandy. The church job is one that I have been seeking out and praying over for months, now, and it just feels right. The other job came like a whirlwind and feels equally amazing, so I think this may have been the point of the months of stress and job anxiety. God’s plan is coming into view, and let me just say, that I am pumped! His design is a thousand times better than I could have done on my own. Faith is a beautiful thing, guys. Praying that everything comes to fruition in the next few weeks. Then, my spider monkey will be staying at home with his big brother and Daddy… I give that a week, tops, before Trevor commits himself and we have to find alternative child care for our children! The combination of these two boys is akin to a whirling dervish of destruction and chaos. Ah, little boys… they’re the cutest little messes you could ever hope for having.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

Last night, I had my third meeting with my women’s group. I absolutely love it! Our church just started up a women’s ministry and had a huge response by women interested in joining a small group. We were divided up into groups of 6-8 women, and my group meets every two weeks at our leader’s gorgeous home. It’s such a fun time of fellowship and closeness- even though we just met, it feels like such a safe place to really reveal your heart and open up. I’d highly recommend joining a women’s group through your church if you’re looking to make new friends! Last night, we talked about husbands. Everyone in the group is happily (most of the time!) married, so it’s something we have in common. Our main topic of discussion was respecting our husbands.

I don’t know about you, but showing respect and “submission” is not something I just know how to do. I was raised by a single mom who had the attitude of “if you want something done right, do it yourself” and really raised me to be independent and self-sufficient apart from a man. Those are all great things, but when you find yourself in a good relationship, those are things that can hinder the growth of that relationship. So, here I am, trying to learn how to be a Biblically “good” wife. Now, showing respect to our spouses is something we should all do- men and women alike. We were discussing ways in which to do that. Things like asking (and actually taking) your husbands opinion, letting him have the last word, always praying for him, letting him feel like (and be) the spiritual leader in your home, etc.

I know some of you are seriously shaking your heads right now, thinking “my husband is NOT the boss of me, and he’s certainly not my leader!” Well, you’re not alone. This is something completely out of my realm of understand, but I think it is important to learn how to be the kind of wife God wants me to be, so I am trying to learn more. I am someone that takes charge of every situation, hates to ask for help and is generally quite a control freak. Dare I say, I may be overly honest with you guys! Anyway, it’s really hard for me to let Trevor be the head of the household. I guess I feel a sense of competition, needing to be in charge and in control. I blame that on my brother who is the most competitive person alive and brought me down with him in our childhood death matches board game playing (thanks, Austin). It’s such a foreign concept to me that I am having to take baby steps in this process. Being a strong woman sometimes makes it hard for me to be a strong wife.

I have finally learned to ask for, and accept, help from Trevor. He may not fold the towels exactly like I do (the way Martha Stewart says you should… I know, I have problems) or put the dishes away in the exact right spot, but you know what? Who cares?! That towel is just going to get unfolded and that dish is just going to get dirtied up again. It does not matter. So, with that change underway, I think the next thing I need to learn to do is hold my tongue. I’m getting better, but I still have a ways to go. I don’t always have to have the last word. I don’t always have to “win” an argument. I can let him be right sometimes- compromise is a GOOD thing!! He’s a man, and I should let him be that. Most men have a natural desire to lead and be in control- I really need to learn to relinquish some of my desire to lead to him as a way of showing love and respect for him. I have to realize that
being respectful of someone isn’t losing- it’s just a new way of winning, and our relationship is the winner.

Next step? Learning how to be a Biblically “submissive” wife (not a doormat, mind you, God’s got rules for the men, too!). Yeah, that’s a topic for another day because I’m pretty sure I may need intensive therapy to learn that one.

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5: 21-33)

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