Last night I had a really good discussion with a dear friend of mine. It started out with discussing my discouragements about all the things I need to do, and though the topic didn't stay on my priorities, they were mentioned. As I was diving into something else, I said a few things that made me think deeper about how I am actually living my life. I said this: "What I want my goal to be now is to live my life as much as possible like it could be lived in heaven. Like Jesus only doing what He saw the Father do."
And it got me thinking more about my priorities--is this statement what I am doing?
Romans 7 and 8 really address my situation. Paul states that even though his heart loves God and His law, Paul's sinful nature continually prevails and he falls into sin and separation from what God desires. "I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't." (Romans 7:18, NLT) So often this is how I feel--weak and unable to do what I know I need to do...I repeatedly make the wrong choices. And I begin to get really sick of myself because of it. Paul can sympathize: "Oh, what a miserable person I am!" (Romans 7:24-25, NLT) But Paul doesn't stop there...he gets to the core, and this is so good: "Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin." I love that he uses the word "slave" here. This is how the verse is in the NKJV: "I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." The Greek word for "serve" is douleuō. Here's the definition:
1) to be a slave, serve, do service
a) of a nation in subjection to other nations
2)metaph. to obey, submit to
a) in a good sense, to yield obedience
b) in a bad sense, of those who become slaves to some base power, to yield to, give one's self up to
I think definition 2 b applies to being a slave to sin. A slave does not live the life they want. They do not make their own choices. Their actions are what their master dictates, not what they would have chosen. Their life is not their own. I think this is what Paul is talking about in verse 20: "But if I am doing what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it." (NLT)
So back to how this applies to my life--I am continually letting my sinful nature win out...be it laziness, busyness, or just plan hectic life events, I am not making all the best choices, and I am constantly stressed out about them and worrying about the next time I'll make a bad choice. I am left with this conclusion at the end of chapter 7: I cannot do it on my own. Depressing? Well, that's not how the story ends. The next chapter begins so strong! Romans 8:1-2:
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. " (NKJV)
But wait...I'm still struggling, and I know the Holy Spirit is in me. Let's keep reading...
"The law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours, except that ours are sinful. God destroyed sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit." (v. 3-4, NLT)
Wow. So the battle is already won? Why am I still stumbling then?
"If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace." (v. 6, NLT)
Apparently I need to give the Holy Spirit more control then, because it often feels like I'm in this downward spiral. Then I can truly walk in God's plan for me, the "life and peace" given by the Holy Spirit. I knew all this stuff in my head...but its so good to re-read and study this now. A serious refresher!
"But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them are not Christians at all.)" (v. 9, NLT) I know I have accepted Christ as my Savior and that He has put His Holy Spirit in me. "So, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation whatsoever to do what your sinful nature urges you to do." SCORE! I don't have to make the choice to fall back on my responsibilities or put things off. I can do as the Father does, and live my life in His peace. "So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God's very own children, adopted into his family--calling him 'Father, dear Father.'" I do not need to live a lifestyle of poverty by giving up everything I love and doing what I know does not please God. Instead, His Son has redeemed me and I am God's very own child! "For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures--for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering."
Check this out: the same word that is used for us being co-heirs, sygklēronomos, is used to explain how the gentiles get the same treatment as God's chosen people the Jews (Ephesians 3:6), is used to show how Abraham had the same promise as Issac and Jacob (Hebrews 11:9), and to explain how a husband and wife are "equal partner[s] in God's gift of new life" (1 Peter 3:7)
I would take that to mean these glories and trials are not something that will come later in life--I think it means in God's sight we are Christ's co-heirs NOW.
And that means I need to start living like one.
I need to go into every situation as Christ would. (The old, "What Would Jesus Do?" comes to mind here!) I need to approach my trials with the patience, endurance, and confident authority that Christ has. Through the right mindset--God's perspective--I can make the choices that will line me up with God and then I can receive the glories of living my life the the fullest here on earth. God has already paid the price for me and established me as His child, He is by my side and no struggle can break me when I walk in His ways. He is full of forgiveness and blessing and He will help me move forward and make the right decisions in every moment. I just need to be in constant communication with Him and remember to ask for His help and direction.
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
"Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks." Matthew 7:7-8
I can officially say I've become a part of the (good and blessing and encouraging) type of online forwards through blogging known as AWARDS! I definitely think they are way more fun than the "send this email to ten people with random things about you" stuff--because you get to put a little pciture on your page annnd link to your blog friends! Here's the award the wonderful Katie gave to me! So what you do when you get this award is tag people who you think deserve it for their honesty and...well, here, lets just show you the "rules:"
1. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. 2. Show the 7 winners' names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing then that they were prized with "Honest Scrap", the nifty icon they can display proudly on their blog.
3. List at least 10 honest things about yourself.
I don't actually follow that many blogs, so I don't think I have seven to tag, but I'll tag the ones that come to mind! And you ladies don't have to pass it on if you don't want to. I don't really mind.
1. Jennifer--Oh my goodness! I love this woman. Her steadfast faith even when her world crumbles is completely inspiring--not to mention her crazy-awesome kids, inner and outer beauty, and the mystery of "Haute Cakes Mystery Man!" You're marvelous, Jennifer!
2. Sandi--Even though I don't always agree with the way she does things, this woman is definitely honest and I respect that about her. The way she loves living with a huge, wild, but totally awesome family is also inspiring--especially how she sticks with them and makes sacrifices for her kids and her husband, even when things are rough. Thanks for being you, Sandi!
3. Caitlin--The girl who rarely updates her blog but changes her layout all the time. You're one of my best friends in real life, so I just had to give you an award too, especially one honoring honestly. Love you chica!
4. Linna--My bestest friend EVER, who also rarely updates her blog. (Her daily-song idea is sweet though!) But thats okay, she still gets the award too. Because not only does she give me honesty, she deals with my honesty, and that deserves way more than a lil' picture for a reward. Love you girlie! You rock!!
Okay--honest things about myself.
1. I'm fairly stubborn about my faith. I don't think there is anything that could remove it from me--I'm not saying I want to be tested, but I know every good thing in my life comes from Christ and that without Him I am nothing. He's provided for me in crazy ways and He's blessed my life unbelievably. So, if I offend you because I won't budge, I'm sorry to hurt you--but this is core to who I am and if you can't deal with that then it's going to be hard to be more than just surface-friends/acquaintances (AKA not deep kindred spirit friends).
2. I'm fairly certian I know who I'm going to marry...♥ but we're still waiting for God to give the "Go for it" cue.
3. I'm good at organizing people and events, and even good at making some things fit and look nice, but I can't seem to keep my room in order. Sigh....thats one of those life goals. Learn how to keep my room clean.
4. I've been best friends with my best friend since roughly....4th grade. And we're freshmen in college and still really close. It rocks! (♥ ya linna!)
5. I should be in bed so I can get up tomorrow and be productive.
6. I am a firm believer in boundaries in relationships and my 17 month monthaversary next tuesday is a good testiment that it really works and brings blessing! I love you Peter!! It's all for God's glory ♥
7. I wouldn't mind having more public followers of my blog, but I think that means I need to update a lot and I don't have time... :-( 8. I wish I had a better sense of style. I always go for the more classic look rather than the bold stuff--and usually because of money. I just need Stacy and Clinton to give me $5000 and give me a fresh start! 9. I'm sharing my cell phone plan with my boyfriend and it was probably one of the wisest money saving ways to go for the amount of minutes we use. (We split the bill and use roughly 7000 minutes a month. For about 45 dollars each. AMAZING. Alltel rocks my socks.)
10. I rarely ever do babysitting jobs but I'm doing one tomorrow for one of my fave kids. Yay :-)
OKAY time to hit the sack. I'm pooped. 6 am mornings are no fun! (But productive...sigh.)
Wow this month has gone fast! I can't believe these pictures have been sitting in my camera for a whole 30 days! And since I don't usually share pictures here, they can have special treatment and get a blog post all to themselves. Enjoy this rare non-verbal glimpse into my life!
My bro's chillin in our frigid world. One of the roses Peter got me for my birthday! The sign Peter made when I went with his family to Ohio for their family Christmas. Fam plus Peter watching a movie at my house on Christmas. Emily, my amazing adorable sister on the right with one of her best friends, Sarah. My bestest friend ever Linna! On our annual Christmas-present day that we do instead of buying each other gifts. Our fabulous olga snackers! Before: After:Of course I couldn't help another one of my hot man ♥
Hope you enjoyed them! Have a fabulous rest of the week!
Peter and I went to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on Saturday. I won't spoil the movie, so you can't have all the context, but one idea has remained with me and I've pondered it these past few days. There is a scene where this exchange takes place between benjamin and his love, when they are facing a difficult circumstance:
DAISY: "I’m going to make this work. This is what I want, and I want it with you." BENJAMIN:"You know, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you." DAISY: "...I know the consequences. I accepted that. Your love, loving you, is worth everything to me."
In the theatre Peter whispered to me, "Do you know the consequences of loving me?" Though I have been pondering those thoughts, and there are many consequences of loving Peter, I've realized I need to analyze the consequences of the greater love in my life-- Christ.
What are the consequences of loving Christ?
To Be Continued (Feel free to leave your own answers, however!)
It seems to be this blog has a recurring theme of time management. I am constantly looking for solutions to the time management problems and trying things and schedules and so far nothing has stuck.
But someone in my college group had a breakthrough in this last week and she prayed for me. And last saturday I prayed more than usual about learning to manage my time effectively. So, that is the goal (Again, but thats OK) this week. We're going to do well with managing my time.
Here's the plan (sorta a daily schedule? Maybe it'll work this time?) for today:
Write this blog Pray/Bible Eat Breakfast Shower Get HW together to take with me Plow Driveway Probably Help clean house Do HW: HUM 120 Search for ENG articles online (they didn't have the book in the store last week!) Review for ACC Quiz Work on BUS WPE (health) labs, too? Laundry? Perhaps get Peter to dig out the mailbox?
Yeah there's more I should do... I probably won't get all that homework done, but I just wrote it all down so I can remember. Thank goodness I had today off!