Friday, January 2, 2015

It's a new year!

I am so excited that it is 2015. Last year was amazing, and I am expecting God to do even bigger things this year in both our personal lives and our ministry. Things have steadily improved from the time I got saved in 2008 until now. Each year is better than the last, and God never ceases to amaze me with how much better his plans are than my own! I am not really a "resolutions" person, but there are some things I really want to work on this year. I try and take a daily inventory, and pray about things in my life that God wouldn't be happy with and would want me to change. I am a flawed person to say the least, and I am not afraid to admit it. I embrace the fact that I know I am messed up, because realizing I need to change things is the first step to actually changing them. God has been convicting me of some things ("character defects" if you will), and I hope I can make progress in these areas this year:

1) Letting God have COMPLETE control.
Bless my husband's heart, he has the most positive outlook on life of any one I know. His answer to everything is "don't worry about it, God has it under control", "trust God", or "it will be okay no matter what." He trusts God with his entire being, regardless of how crazy the circumstances may be. I, on the other hand, am a freaker-outer and a bit of a control freak. I feel like I need to take action and try and control the situation in order for it to work out. I NEED to DO SOMETHING! But when I look at it, this attitude shows a lack of faith in God. Who am I to think that I can somehow "fix" the situation better than God? Does he really need my help? Of course not. And I know this. I have seen God do miraculous, unbelievable things and turn situations around in seconds. He has always provided, and never failed me. I know that he will come through for me.  I do trust that he is in control when it comes to the big stuff. So why do I freak out? I think sometimes that I believe the lie that my everyday life stuff is too insignificant for God to care about, and I let my emotions get in the way. I let fear, or anxiety, or worry creep in, and it slowly pushes my faith out. This is a hard one for me, because for so many years I drowned my emotions in booze of numbed them with drugs, and I didn't really feel. When I got saved, all of those emotions came flooding back. The first few years I was saved I was a complete wreck, and cried at the drop of a hat. I was learning coping skills and how to manage emotions that I hadn't felt in a long time. Now, I am still very emotional. I view it as a gift in regards to the fact that it allows me to have crazy levels of empathy for people, but it is a burden when I let negative emotions hinder my walk with God. There really is no middle ground with me- I'm extremist, and I feel that I either have tons of emotions or no emotions at all.  I am trying to find middle ground. Emotions are good, and healthy, but not when they cause you to act in ways you don't want to. I know God cares about EVERY aspect of my life, but sometimes the world can drown that out. I am planning this year to really truly fix my eyes on Jesus, and not look to the left or to the right. I am saturating my mind with bible verses about fear, anxiety, and God's plans for my life. So when thoughts of worry or fear or doubt do come, I am equipped to battle them with God's word- I will fight lies from the enemy with the truth of scripture. I will continue to focus on my identity in Christ, and what HE says about me. And instead of acting on emotions,I will pray and wait for God to direct my steps (another thing my husband is awesome at- his faith is something I truly admire!).

2) Letting go of perfectionism.
Again, this is a hard one for me. It goes along with the control freak thing. And it drives my husband absolutely bonkers. I know that nothing will ever be perfect. I know that I may get a less than stellar grade on a test once in awhile. I know that I can clean the house a million times and put things in their place, but with a two year old they won't stay that way for long. And I know that I am very flawed human being and that no one is perfect except for Jesus Christ himself. But something in me strives for that perfectionism anyway. I think, subconsciously, that I want my environment to be controlled because for 2/3 of my life I had absolutely no control over anything. My life was a chaotic, unstable, drug fueled disaster. Now that it's not, I want to keep it that way, and I think I feel that somehow I will help accomplish that by having everything in my environment kept in strict order. Logically I know this isn't true, but sub-consciously I believe it. The problem is, nothing will ever be perfect. Not my house and surely not me! I give grace so freely to others, and Jesus gives me such grace, yet I have such a hard time giving grace to myself. I think this is true of most wives and mothers. We are so hard on ourselves. We are told that we need to be Super Woman, and if we fail at some aspect of it, we feel like we have failed in the role that God has entrusted us with. The media tells us we should be able to work full time, have a spotless house, perfectly well behaved kids, and keep our husbands happy every second of the day- all while looking flawless (and I won't even get into the consumerism push to "keep us with the Jonses"- that's a whole other post!). God knows we are not perfect, and he loves us for it anyway. My husband and my children know I am not perfect, but they love me anyway. I just need to learn to love myself anyway! One thing I have realized is that my perfectionism has shown me just how desperately I need Jesus. It points out how UNperfect I am, and points me to the one who is.   I am not going to worry or stress out about my house being messy anymore. It accomplishes nothing besides putting the hold household in a bad mood with my complaining. My husband is happy-go-lucky, and my complaining about the house not being in order can suck the joy right out of him. I don't want to be THAT wife.  I am done with that bondage! I plan on doing a daily gratitude list, so I can remind myself how truly blessed I am, and that in the grand scheme of things, my kitchen being a little messy is not a huge deal. There is so much more to life. I am going to walk in the freedom that Jesus gave me, focus on what is important, have an attitude of gratitude, and enjoy my precious 2 year old little boy- mess and all!

Most importantly, I am going to give myself permission to mess up. I am sure that I will fail at both of these "resolutions" numerous times. I will still freak out from time to time, and still long for the house to be in perfect order once in awhile. But as long as I keep striving to live better- the way Jesus would want me to- I am making progress. I will prayfully keep trying, and I will do what I can do- and God will do the rest.