life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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To Further Emphasize the Point

After reading my last blog post, my mom pointed me to this video of Stephen Curtis Chapman explaining the meaning behind his song, “Do Everything”, which basically points to the fact that everything in our lives, even to the most mundane little details, is filled with God’s presence and power and meant for His glory.

I definitely thought it was worth a share:

I thought it was great when he alluded to our frequent struggle as Christians to avoid putting life into two categories: the meaningful God stuff vs. the meaningless life stuff. We tend to feel that if we aren’t constantly moving mountains for God, our lives don’t matter and that God isn’t really using us. Or that if we aren’t living in poverty, we’ve got it all wrong. God may call us to those “mountaintop experiences” or to serving Him in poor communities, but most of us will live most of our lives in the valleys, faithfully serving Him in the daily “muck”.

He mentions toward the end of that video that even trying to housebreak the family’s puppies was a lesson in patience. Life’s all about continually seeking out what God can teach you in the present moment, no matter where you are or how insignificant you may feel.

 

Here are the verses he mentions in the video:

1 Corinthians 10:31 – “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Peter 4:10 – “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
Colossians 3:23-24 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

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Things I Learned This Week…

1 ) I am an adult now. I cannot function at work on less than 7 hours of sleep. This means I’m not accomplishing what I’m capable of accomplishing, I’m not loving people the best I can, and I am not being fully available to God. I need to treat my body like a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), which starts with getting. enough. sleep.

2 ) Being picky about what I listen to on the way to work is a good thing. It’s one of the day’s most impressionable times, and what I listen to in the morning can set the tone for my whole day.

3 ) My co-workers are fun. I started taking lunch breaks with the women in the “lunch bunch” this week, and it is one of the best parts of my day. That 20 minutes is full of laughter and joy. I. love. it.

4 ) It’s not that hard to make new friends. All it requires is being around new people and putting yourself out there a little. I think I’m making new friends at work. This makes me incredibly happy.

5 ) Dayne is VERY helpful when I let him help. Note to self: let him help more often; you need breaks.

6 ) I should try to greet Dayne at the door everyday with a hug and a kiss to show appreciation for him. In other words: I should greet Dayne the way I want to be greeted.

7 ) I shouldn’t be afraid to ask for more work when I’ve run out of work to do. Getting more work done (even if it’s somebody else’s) is a better feeling than putzing. Putzing never helped anybody.

8 ) Meal planning is incredible as long as it’s realistic. So I should stay realistic and enjoy the freedom of not having to worry about weeknight meals! p.s. to myself: Don’t plan elaborate dinners for Friday nights unless friends are coming over. Friday nights can be pizza or take-out or date nights forever and ever, amen.

9 ) I’ve been reading the Bible and devotionals and Christian books for inspiration and motivation. It’s amazing what 5 minutes of reading can do for my whole day. Choose it.

10 ) Discussing faith with others opens up doors and encourages me and other people in our spiritual walks; I shouldn’t be afraid of it. Also, I should try to stay away from complaining. I need to be even more bold about giving people encouraging words when I sense that they need them! I shouldn’t worry about appearing lame. Who cares.

11 ) I need to be more open about my family’s spiritual needs (like last Sunday’s blog entry). It turns out that people do care and being open and vulnerable spiritually can lead you to the place where you need to be.

12 ) Know myself, my spouse, and our calendar well enough to know when it’s just better to stay in, pop in a DVD, light a candle or two, and snuggle under a blanket.

13 ) I need to pace myself… in all areas of life. Trying to rush or taking too much time out is detrimental. I need to seek a balance, be kind to myself, and try to always be open to interruptions. I should take time to really listen to people, even if it seems like a waste of time (i.e., don’t rush parents off the phone).

…Make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. – Colossians 4:5-6


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Making Time for Love.

I’ve realized that one of my biggest struggles since starting full-time work is looking outside myself and maintaining my relationships. At work, everything is me, me, me – what needs to get done, what deadlines do I have to meet, who do I have to greet, who do I need to transfer this call to, am I answering the phone fast enough, am I doing everything right, when do I get to eat, etc. — and I’m very isolated up at the front desk compared to most of my co-workers. Almost 100% of my job is independent work.

When I come home from work on the weekdays, literally all I want to do is eat a good meal and relax exactly the way I feel like relaxing. This could mean watching sitcoms, taking a short nap, catching up on emails and facebook, having a glass of wine, and/or immersing myself in Pinterest.

I hardly read anybody’s blogs anymore. I certainly don’t read anybody’s books anymore (just realized today I’m not in the middle of reading a book – a terrible tragedy that I’ve hardly ever experienced in the past). I try very hard not to make phone calls. It’s painful to write emails. The last thing I want to do is cook or clean dishes. I even hope most times that Dayne won’t be home right when I get home, but will come home when it’s convenient for me. Not too early and not too late.

I have become an utterly selfish, disgusting human being.

I’ve seen myself slipping into this, and my main excuse has been that I’m just so tired… which is TRUE, but this is the life I’ve got and the wonderful job I’ve got and I have to make a conscious effort to live life in the midst of it. And God’s greatest commandment to us is this:

LOVE.

I want to be present to my husband, my neighbors, my co-workers, my family, my friends, and – most importantly – to Jesus. How can I obey Jesus if all I think about is what would make me feel better in any given moment?

It’s time to stretch myself a bit and not make work an excuse. It may be a valid one, but a lazy, selfish life (even if it’s just Monday-Friday) is not the life any of us were called to live.

The tiniest sacrifices, such as making plans with friends on a weeknight instead of staying in and vegging on the couch until my eyes burn and it’s time for bed, are steps in the right direction.

I have to make time for people. Even when they’re not so nice, or they’re impatient, or they have nothing to offer me, or they’re yelling at me about their kids’ grades.

Jesus loved.

“When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd… So he began teaching them many things.” – Matthew 9:36, Mark 6:34 (emphasis mine)

“Meanwhile, [Jesus’] disciples urged him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’ Then his disciples said to each other, ‘Could someone have brought him food?’ ‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.'” – John 4:31-34 (emphasis mine)