Man. Have I been mixed up lately.
It is so easy for me to get caught up in worry. I have so much in my life to be thankful for... so many blessings. It's like I would have to genuinely make an effort to ignore those blessings in order to have a bad day. Not really... I know that everyone has bad days. But I have a way of looking at myself... I can be unforgiving. I would never speak to a friend the way that I speak to myself sometimes. I'm not always sharp... I can actually be quite tender when speaking to myself. But I still sometimes dwell in hopelessness. How is this so?
Ugh. It's so... aggravating. I mean, repulsive even, sometimes.
I've been so worried about the teaching thing. I'm behind schedule... I wanted to be through with my classes two weeks ago. Didn't happen. So then I wanted to finish my classes this weekend. I even declined hanging out with Jennifer thinking that I would be finishing my classes. Well, I did do a class every night that I was home last week, as intended. But then I worked all day yesterday. Well, not all day. But I worked until 4. And then I did a few chores. And then we had dinner. And then we went to the grocery store. And then I filled out our meal plan for April. And then it was 11:30 and time to go to bed. Things just never seem to go according to plan. Why??? Because I PLAN TOO MUCH! Often times, when I decide to make a plan or a schedule, I'm doing so WEEKS after I should have. So the schedule that I make for myself is jam packed, and if something comes up to change those plans, it puts me way behind.
The problem is, too many times, I leave God out of the equation. In my heart, I want to follow the plans that He has designed for me. But in reality, I waste time designing my own plans, that never seem to work out. Of course. And then I look up and wonder why I am feeling lost.
And that's the word. I've been feeling so lost lately. Numb sometimes. Worried about the future and unfortunately, ignoring aspects of the present. This needs to stop.
Both Big Church and Sunday School were great today. Our pastor... man. He really brings the Word. He's one of those people whose faith is so... solid? It's like I can see his faith, like it's this separate appendage. He wields it like a limb. It's so incorporated into his makeup, it is a part of everything he does, just like my skin goes with me everywhere. And then there's my husband. There is just no denying that God has blessed this man with the gift of teaching. He taught our class this week and last week. A two part series on The Armor of God. (Have I already mentioned this? Forgive me if I'm repeating myself. I talk to myself so much, and have had so little time to blog, I can't distinguish the talking and blogging in my memory.) Everything that Brett teaches speaks to me. He just has a way of presenting things that is clear and easy to understand. He was a Bible major, he had great professors, and he has a long memory. So he is studied in the word, and then on top of that, has the teachings of these great men to compliment the scriptures. But what he adds to the Word and to those teachings is his transparency. It's not even something that he intentionally uses as a tool to gain people's trust... he's just naturally blunt and open. Brett is forgiven, and the lessons he has learned from his sin are something that he shares freely.
I've studied The Armor of God lots of times. If you're not familiar with it, it's a passage in Galations 6 written by Paul. What struck me most last week was the first verse. Galations 6:10. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might." I have a journaling Bible, which I love (hello, I'm a blogger), and it has lines on every page off to the side for you to make notes in. Last week, I drew a box around the words "be strong in the Lord" and I wrote next to it "My success in spiritual battle is not dependent on MY STRENGTH (yes I write in caps, even outside of my blog) but on the Lord's. God provides the power that strengthens the armor. Not me." Those words really changed my perspective last week. I have been dwelling on details lately. Trying to plan every inch of the journey, every minute of my days, thinking that if I did so, I would have success with my food and with my career. What a joke. If I could defeat my sins on my own, I would have done it years ago. Trust me. I've tried. But I am flawed. Born with a sinful nature. I will always look longingly on those sins, those temptations, if that is where my focus is centered. And just as I veer into the next lane when I spend too long looking at the golf course that I drive past on my way to work every day, when I stare at that sin for too long, I am going to veer into it.
Last week we were talking about our enemy, the devil, and why we need armor. Today we talked about the actual armor and it's function. Again, these are verses that I have read lots of times. But today, the thing that really resonated with me was the shield of faith. Verse 16 says "In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one...". First of all, it's a reminder that our enemy is real. He is real and he is out to get us. He wields flaming darts, and his goal is to destroy us. This verse says IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Why? Because our enemy is always there. Always looking for a whole... a way to get to us. It is my faith that shields me. And when I say faith, I am talking about faith in God. Not in myself. How many days do I leave the house without my shield? Thinking about what I need to do and how I need to act and forgetting that I have a Savior who is eager to defend me. It is my faith in that Savior that shields me. I wrote in my notes today "How big is your shield?" I know this to be true... the more I get to know my Savior, the more my faith grows. His majesty is undeniable. The whole earth reveals it. It is when I choose to ignore it that I falter. That the world becomes smaller and the consequences feel scarier. And the more I know Him, through reading the Word and applying it to my life, the more my faith grows.
I started reading my Bible again this week. I mean consistently. I read it in the mornings when I blow dry my hair. But I have days, that sometimes stretch to weeks, where I want my mornings to be own. Instead of sharing them consciously with my Lord, I would rather share them with my tiredness... my struggles, my worry. Ugh. I walk out the door without picking up my shield, and all day I am subject to my enemies arrows. I don't believe that my faith is something that I pick up and put down, but I do believe that it is meant to be active. How helpful is a shield that you carry in your purse?
Anyway... I have come to an understanding that by trying to direct myself, I have lost my way. There is a lot coming up in the next few months, and it's never too late to make the right choice. So right now, today, I am committing to seeking God every step of the way.