My Grandma often scolds me that I do not take time “to stop and smell the roses”. She’s right. I don’t. I like to keep busy and do as much as possible. Even when I’m spending time with the people that I love, I like to squeeze in the memories and “maximize” the time. Thankfully, I'm married to a man who knows how to slow down.
We fail a lot. In fact, you could say it’s human nature to fail and to do so frequently. So how can we fail and be "perfect just the way we are" at the same time? Something seems off about that...
As a kid, I thought God wanted me to do His bidding, almost like I was His little robot of good works. As a robot, I thought I should be programmed perfectly, and perceived that any flaw in my circuitry would cause me be to cast aside and rejected. However, God is so much bigger than that. He longs to have us be with Him, to seek His wisdom, and to encounter His loving heart.
If I’m honest, I sometimes feel like I have to keep up appearances with God. I can fall into thinking that I have to get my act together because He is so holy. But God already knows me fully and completely. So who am I trying to impress?
As Christians, we are all stretched to grow and mature in our faith, but we aren't meant do it alone. We need Christian community to encourage and challenge us.
I have realized recently that the gift of hospitality looks different than I have imagined in my head. My gift of hospitality can’t wait to be used until I live in a house. Or on my own. Or until I’m married or have kids or have the time or money. God has given me the spiritual gifts I have now to be used right now. I need to learn how to use all my gifts in my current season, location, and state of being.
When I reflect on high school and college and all the ways I worried, I now see so clearly the peace worry robbed from me. I became a slave to my worry. That's not what God wants for us. He desires for us to walk in freedom from worry.
Running isn’t easy. You can’t run a marathon and expect it to be smooth and easy sailing. There will be blood, sweat, and tears. Likewise, the Christian life isn’t easy. There are many obstacles in life, and we must be conditioned for the task set before us like a runner is conditioned for his task.
It’s wise to treat yourself kindly, to speak to yourself like you would a friend, and to love who God made you to be. You are stuck with yourself after all. However, so many young women’s ministries tell girls it’s imperative to love yourself. Tell yourself, "You are beautiful. You are worth it." Learn to love yourself! But, is loving yourself really the answer?
At the same time I was raiding the candy store with my friend, there were two significant life lessons my parents were emphasizing back home: eat food that is good for you, and pray about everything. I did not enjoy either lesson at the time. You see sugar was delicious, vegetables were disgusting, and prayer was a boring waste of time, but I felt constant guilt to do it.