Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ineffective. . .

  Anyone else feel like they beat their head against the wall everyday?

Anyone else feel like nothing they say or do takes root anywhere?

Anyone else feel ineffective, like nothing you do matters?

There are seasons in all our lives where we feel more ineffective than others. I think that the season of small children and housework is one of those. . . yelling the same things to your kids every day, "Stop arguing!" "Pick up your room!" "Take your dishes to the sink!" "Stop arguing!" 
"Whyyyyyy, oh, whhhy, did you use so much toilet paper. . .again!!!"

Don't get me started on the laundry, the groceries, the kitchen. . .all things you do every day that will just need to be done again tomorrow. . or in five minutes. . .

I typed my word into an online thesaurus. . .this is some of what I got. . .

Ineffective- feeble, fruitless, futile, idle, impotent, inadequate, incompetent, indecisive, inefficient, inept, inferior, lame, limited, neutralized, null, powerless, spineless, unable, unavailable, unfruitful, unproductive, unprofitable, unsuccessful, void, withered, worthless

I was kinda surprised to see two more of my lies in the list. And there were others. . . new words for what I have been feeling about myself . .sooooo, are just dealing with more of the same stuff here? New words for the same concept?

Ineffective by definition is: a specific or definite failure to perform a task or accomplish a purpose.

I don't know about you, but I don't want to lead a life that is ineffective. I want what I do to matter. My housework will always be a lesson in futility, but I want to see progress in myself and in my children.

How do I go about changing this ineffectiveness?

2 Peter 1:5
Make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hmm. . .I think I see a recipe here. I like recipes! They are something that, if you follow it correctly, you will achieve the end result. So if I add to my faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love, then those things will keep me from being ineffective. Those sound like lofty ideals, but through the promises of Christ I know that He will use His power work out these things in me if I ask.

James 5:16
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

I am promised that if I remain in Him each day He will shape me and mold me so that I will bear even more fruit.

John 15:1-5
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener, He cuts off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes (cleans) so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

So, how do I remain in Him? By spending time in my Bible and in prayer. Spending time with other like minded people, that are going through the same struggles. We are able to encourage one another. Listening to and watching and reading things that are in line with Him.

But wait, it gets better! Remember that tree from yesterday? Well, here it is again, with another promise!

Psalm 1:1-3 
Blessed is the one. . . whose delight is in the law of the Lord, who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers.

If I meditate on His Word, I will bear fruit in season, will not wither (grow weary. . can I get an "Amen!"), and whatever I do will prosper! 

Colossians 1:9-12
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. 

If I want to live a life pleasing to Him; a life worthy; a life bearing fruit, then He has promised to give me the power to have great endurance and patience to see those things come to pass.

Ephesians 1:19 
And His incomparably great power for us who believe.

Ephesians 6:10
Finally be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

Lord, through You I have the power to be fruitful and effective. I can claim your promises to prune me to bear even more fruit. As I fill my heart with Your Word, give me endurance and patience to keep at it. Allow me to see Your fruit in my life each day. Make me into a powerful woman who is used by You, even in the mundane moments of my life that seem like they don't matter.

You will notice that there is nothing in these passages that says the kids will listen to me right away, or that the house work will do itself, but I do see a promise of endurance and patience.

By focusing myself on Him I can cross out my ineffective and claim His promise to be. . .


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wallflower. . .

Sigh. . .

There is something ironic about me tackling this one on my blog for anyone to see. You might think it is because I feel safe behind my computer screen, but you would be wrong. Each of these posts have been published with sweaty palms and a pounding heart. There is so much in me that really has no desire to bare my soul and my frailties to cyberspace, but here I am anyway. . .

I am the one sitting on the couch in a corner not saying anything. . .
I am the one at the party with my back pressed against the wall. . .
I am the one tucked away reading, "ignoring" those around me. . .
I am the one who is unapproachable and aloof . . .
I am the one just trying to blur into the crowd. . .


I have let that word define me for most of my life. For those of you that know me well, you might not say that about me. When you get to know me, you really can't shut me up. I am bossy and silly and a leader at home and at work, however, in certain social situations. . .aye yei yei!

It was in fact one of these situations that prompted all of this introspection in the first place.

It went something like this. . .
I walk into a room, happy to be there, excited to take part. . .
In walk several people I don't know. . .
I shrink a little. . .
In walk more people I don't know. . .
I am out numbered. . .
I start to observe those who are outgoing and confident. . .
I have nothing to offer. . .
I wither into myself like a morning glory on a hot summer afternoon. . .
I don't say another word all night.

On our way home, I turn to my husband and say, "Why did I do that? What is wrong with me? I literally felt it happen! I felt myself shut down."

As part of my preparation this morning I googled the word, wallflower. . . 
Here is one of the definitions that came up:

Wallflower- someone who chooses to observe, instead of experience life

Oh, dear. . .what have I been missing out on in life? 
I had to sit back for a minute and digest that.
While I was sitting there this verse came to mind.

John 10:10
The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy. 
I have come in order that you might have life- life in all it's fullness.

Have I been allowing myself to live a less full life because I have allowed my confidence to be stolen? What is at the root of this? Is it as simple as these words to myself:

You have nothing to offer in this situation, so sit there and keep your mouth shut. 
Let those who have something to offer take the stage.

Why have I believed this lie for so long?

1 John 3:19-21
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.

God is greater than our hearts, and if I am His child and He no longer condemns me, then my heart should not condemn me. I can stand with confidence before Him with my heart at rest.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

Isaiah 32:17 
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence forever.

Quite a different picture than my shriveled up morning glory, huh? 

I am a tree planted by The Water.
I am quiet and confident.
My roots are strong.
My leaves are green.
I have no fear of heat or drought.
I will not wither.
I will never fail to bear fruit.

Hebrews 10:35-39
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, "In just a little while He who is coming will come and not delay." And "By my righteousness one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in one who shrinks back." But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

So this confidence that I am promised; I need to cling to it with perseverance, knowing that while I am not perfect, He will continue this work in me until He calls me home.

But where do I find the strength to persevere?

Nehemiah 8:10
The joy of the Lord is your strength.

The Lord has loved me and saved me. He is in me and is working on me and changing me. What joy I have in knowing that! It is that joy that will give me strength. If He is in me and sees me as someone worth working on until completion, then don't I have something to offer, too?

Lord, I am your child. I am worthy. Do not allow the thief to steal my joy (the joy you gave me that is my strength), so that I may live a full life. You are doing a good work within me and I should feel confident before You and others. I have a lot  to offer to this world because You have given me so much by working in me. Let me be rooted in You so that I will not wither and shrink back. I exist to glorify You. Allow me to do that with boldness and confidence. 

Next time I am out of my comfort zone of family, close friends and work I don't have to shrivel up. My desire is to cross out the wallflower that I was and open myself to others. . .bold and. . .