Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a little honesty...in a long post.

downtown :Minneapolis, Minnesota. 7.19.2008

We've all been through slumps in our spiritual walk, but recently I've felt the need to want and desire so much more than just to simply realize that I'm in a slump trying to get out of it on my own and trying to be more consistent in my daily devotions for a little while.
When I was at the Beth Moore conference a few weekends ago she mentioned how much we put on these fronts of who we are. We need to stop pretending. Tell people; " You know what I'm really only about 40% of what you think I am. There is a whole lot in my life that I'm too ashamed and embarrassed to reveal."
There is a lot of truth to that. Especially among women. We are tough critics, can be quick to judge, can be concerned what others will think of us, and although we are selfless in many ways to our family, friends, husbands, and children we also can be very selfish.
I think I'm guilty of being too envious of others. Their homes, their lives, their families, whatever. That woman has it together, she loves Jesus, has great kids, adorable taste, whatever, whatever. I care too much about that stuff rather than focusing on Christ.
I sometimes wonder if I'm giving readers to my blog the wrong impression of me. That I have it all together, my life is pretty well in order and whatever else. I know nobody thinks I'm perfect, but I certainly hope nobody thinks I have it somewhat figured out.

Because I don't.

I guess what I'm saying is, I hope to challenge myself more into being more honest with my struggles day to day, and that you ( my dear blogger sisters, family, and even blurkers) might be able to encourage me and point me to Christ.
Hebrews 10:24 challenges us to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
I think so often I become so consumed with myself, my home, my family, my looks, whatever it may be that I'm missing out on loving one another.
I've been realizing more and more the need for me take time from my own concerns to pray with my sister in Christ, to walk with her the way of the cross--with patience, selflessness, love and kindness. To encourage one another in the mundane of each week, how to keep a quiet heart that yearns for Christ and godliness.

I've been feeling really burdened lately about the kind of friend I am. The kind of friend I'm to my husband, to my family, and to my friends. That I've been a bad friend recently and well, always.
It's hard to narrow all of my feelings down, but when it comes down to it I just feel like I really don't know how to love people. Sure I care and show concern but I feel like I talk to much, overrule conversations with my obnoxiousness, and don't listen well enough or long enough. I want to be a person that my sisters in Christ (and my husband and family) know they can:

1. trust
2. depend on
3. count on to REALLY listen
4. (and most importantly) point them towards Christ and his word.

While I know these past few years Christ has really woken me up to the reality of life, and he has taught me so much, I've also been realizing how much more I have to learn.
God has been trying to get my attention focused on him.
It's hard for me to describe but I've been feeling really lazy. Yes, our days our full, we do have some sort of schedule we go be each day but I see that something is missing. I spend too much time at Target and the grocery store and not enough time in the word or even just at home.
While shopping is not bad in itself, it can be. It has become so for me. I'm an impulse spender and our finances have suffered because of it. Like many couples, it has been the biggest source of conflict in our marriage. Justin and I think very differently about money, and I've been too proud to admit my poor money management skills.
Yesterday, I talked at length with my best friend since birth, my cousin Nicole.
She and I have been experiencing a lot of the same feelings. We grew up very similarly, our Mom's have been very close (especially in recent years) and we have a good understanding of each other since we have known each other for so long.
She has been rising before her son and husband (if he hasn't left for work yet) to be alone with God and his word.
I soon realized this was something I desperately needed in my life.
Let me tell you that first of all I'm NOT a morning person. Since Justin and I've been married we've loved sleeping in. When we first married we had crazy schedules because we were both still in school. We spent a lot of time sleeping in. Today Justin has to get up really early for work but usually sleeps in on Fridays and Saturdays when he doesn't work. Our boys sleep until 8 or so each morning and I've gotten into the habit of just getting up when they do.
Today I set my alarm for 7:30 am. I got up headed downstairs and filled my coffee cup. I sat down to the word and heard pitter-patter down the stairs. Maxwell was up exceptionally early for him, but I didn't let it deter me. I got him a quick breakfast , drink and had him lay on the couch and promise to be quiet. He was wonderful. Evan slept until a beautiful 9:30 of which I had the time to read in the word, go over some studies I had recently been in, and spend a good amount of time in prayer and thought. I even had time to get dressed and ready for the day before he started calling out for me.

It was a glorious morning.

While I don't feel like anything super profound was revealed to me, and I know that often my time in the word may seem like I'm not getting anywhere or growing in leaps and bounds. That is to be expected. But, I want to remain diligent, and close to Christ, clinging to the cross with my eyes focused on him.
I ask you to pray for me as I learn to discipline myself with waking up each morning (hopefully earlier as time goes on) to meditate and focus on Christ, reflect on him, and glorify him as I begin my day.

I hope this all sort of makes some sense, it's what has been on my heart and on my mind lately. I know there is more, and I could go on but I'll stop for now. Thanks for listening. :)


Megan said...

great thoughts! i think we all have the same ones!

i worked my way into getting up earlier and earlier over the years. until a year or so ago, i got up at 7. it just evolves. it's just the one little choice that makes a huge difference, though! i see that in my life all the time! i think too many people think a qt has to be profound. mine is sometimes, but mostly it's a mix, and sometimes, i'm totally unfocused! that's life- but you're right- it's the day in and out practice that yeilds great results over a life!


Anonymous said...

Great post, Anne! I think we all can identify with you in some way! I know I too, want to be a friend like you describe. I've found different things to work at different times. Right now, I try to get up and dressed before the boys wake up (usually around 7 am) and then do devotions during the first nap. I haven't always done it that way and know it won't stay that way forever, but it IS important to find some time to focus on the Lord, usually early in the day. Thanks for your example in pursuing the Lord more!

Katie said...

Interesting how love and good deeds can even be twisted by the enemy, isn't it?

I think God LOVES honesty and transparency. I'm sure this is Him working in these thoughts and convictions... the great thing is that we don't ever have to pull ourselves out of slumps because He will do it for us, PHEW, huh? I am SO relieved for that, because man, have I had some real slump seasons!

Les said...

Very thought provoking Anne. I will be praying for you. I have let the quiet time w/ the Lord slide since being pregnant then having the new baby... I too need to get back with the Lord.

Connie said...

Thanks for the help in video loading.
I just wanted to say that I have walked the road of poor money management and the conflict it causes in a marriage. Troy and I have been together for almost 15 years and like you and Justin have pretty much grown up together. If you ever want any practical advice I would be more than happy to share with you some simple helpful practical tips. If your anything like me, odds are most conflict in our marriages come from our own pride and having to submit to our husbands authority. UGGGG, it will likely be something that the Lord will continue to grow us women in. Praise God for his patience. That's enough for now. If you ever want to chat let me know.
Walking through with you,

Mike, Torie and Boys said...

Great post Anne. I always love reading your blog. It always makes me want to be a better person.

I usually try to get up before my boys do too. I think it is so important to have some time to yourself. To think and to pray and just get your mind ready for the day. I know I have a better day when I do that.

Anonymous said...

I often feel like you do. What I've come to understand that it's not your personality that needs to change! You can still be a Christian, an awesome wife and mother, great friend but also be a blabbermouth and maybe not be the best listener and like to get out instead of always being at home. You can't force yourself to be someone that is not the person God created you to be. (if that makes sense). There are a lot of ways that getting out and being a loud mouth can work to your advantage :-) It's not bad to be a cool, hip and un-cookie cutter Christian woman. You CAN spend more time in the word and ask Him to change the things that don't please Him. You are HIS child and He loves you. It's so awesome that you feel the desire to spend more time with Him and change. That's Christ drawing you to Him! When I have my early morning devotions (you'd cry if you knew what time I got up for that)it's a totally different day for us all. I love you! We are so much alike and we need to chat more. God's been showing me a lot...if you can't tell.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry if I offended by calling you a blabbermouth and loud. Ha! I don't even know you well to say that, but I know that I am those things and you've complained about not being a good listener and such, so I'm sorry! What I was trying to say (ever so un-articulately) was that I am the same and God has taught me that it's not the "me" that needs to change it's the "Him in me" that needs to change. Loud mouthed chics are awesome witnesses for the gospel :-) Be encouraged.

Sarah said...

I just wanted to let you know that I, a single girl in college, was SO encouraged by your honesty. The part that most encouraged me was your humility in admitting you don't wake up early enough. Lately I've been thinking, "How can I get married when I love sleeping in so much? How can I be a godly wife if my husband leaves for work before my feet hit the floor? How can I serve him by making him a lunch and chatting with him before his day starts when I sleep in as long as I can until it leave me just enough time plus some wiggle room to get myself ready and out the door?" You have shown me that that's not something that is automatic when you get married (marriage does not equal waking up with the birds) but takes work and God's grace. But, in addition to that, knowing that if I get married and still have the same sleeping habits, it won't make me a "bad wife" because it's pretty evident you're an amazing wife despite sleeping in a little longer. Anyway, this whole comment just keeps going on and on without saying much, so I'm going to end it soon. Just know that I was super encouraged (especially to start now while I'm still single and don't have kids waking me up in the middle of the night) by your honesty and humility on something I am sure will be a struggle for me when I'm married unless I start now. (Okay, so maybe I didn't end it very soon, but I will now. I promise)