There is a battle I face every day. The older I get, the more aware of it I become. The difficulties, the triumphs I have always absorbed as my own. I use the term oxymoronic SO much these days. I am an earthly vessel full of opposing forces.
Social media has made me more aware of the difficulties and the triumphs in so many people's lives. I have taken this information and found myself lacking, thankful - and even prideful. Once again - absorbing it all as my own.
But by God's grace this summer, my thought processes have taken a new direction.
I have grieved over children sleeping on dirt floors and their little tummies clenching in hunger. I have also been grateful that my own are not in such a place. I have been jealous of people and their amazing ability to go and do and see. And a little perplexed at my own inability to. I have been proud of my abilities and my children's abilities and have bragged ad nauseum. Sometimes it was subtle...sometimes not so much.
But what has been going through my head consistently lately is this verse:
Matthew 5: 43-45 (NIV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy'.44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
These verses come from The Sermon on the Mount - the famous Beatitudes.
It is nothing that these children have done that have placed them in need; it is nothing that I have done that has placed me in a better situation than them. It is nothing my friends have done that have placed them in a better situation than me. It is neither because I am deserving or undeserving that I have more than some - less than others. It is a world condition.
My response to this will be productive - or unproductive.
By the Holy Spirit's guidance, I have come to the conclusion that there are things in my reach that I can do to find a balance between all of these things. Will it solve my pride, my jealousy, my envy, my less than lovely ways? No...those things will be a fight for the rest of the time I have on this earth. I will always have to reposition myself before God and confess these icks. But instead of wallering (that's wallowing y'all) I will focus on what I can do each day to serve God and others well. I have to break it down because I get easily overwhelmed but I see things that need to be done to serve where I am. And it keeps me balanced.
Simplified the list is:
Stay in the Word.
Pray without ceasing.
Actively seek to serve others before myself
Separate from negative influences - that's people, media, or things, peeps
Make a plan
I am aware that my acronym spells out spasm...which is unfortunate in some respects....but maybe by practicing these things I can make it like a spasm eventually...something that occurs involuntarily.
Over the next few weeks, I hope to visit each one of the above practices in depth to flesh out what they will look like in my life.
I have been working to create a brand this summer: several streams of income that will serve my family while we are in these expensive college years, while also allowing me to pursue what I feel God has called me to. I love to write. I love to create. I love to help others. PajamaMama has been the kernel of an idea that - God willing - will grow to serve God, my family and others well. I am constantly having to find a balance between the now and not yet, the why's and why nots, God's will or not. It can be a little confusing.
I suppose the one thing I can take from this is that nothing is firm save Jesus. He is the foundation on which I will SEEK to lay each one of the blocks of my efforts. My dependence is on Christ alone. And I will constantly have to give my own independence over to HIM. This is another thing that has been part of this summer. Learning that it is not all on me. It is a blessed safe haven to be relieved of the burdens I have placed upon myself. I will just keep walking and placing my foot through the door that is open to me. My security lies in the fact that if I stay in the Word and prayer, that anything that happens will lead me closer to God. This is indeed an exciting journey!