Uncomfortably Honest

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, if they will pray and seek me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.” (NCV)

I read these verses the other day and immediately my heart turned to someone in my life with whom I am currently struggling. “Oh Lord,” I prayed, “please speak to this person and let them humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways and return to you.”

But halfway through this prayer for this person to “turn from their wicked ways”, another thought popped into my head. Should I be focusing this prayer on myself instead?

In this situation where I believe I am being wronged, and I truly believe I am following God’s ways in this particular situation, shouldn’t I be praying for the other person’s eyes to be opened to the situation at hand? Shouldn’t I be praying for them to turn from their ways and turn towards God?

Maybe not.

Maybe what God is trying to tell me with this verse is that I need to not focus so hard on the other person, but instead turn that spotlight inward, towards myself. Matthew 7:3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (NIV) What wicked ways do I need to turn from? What are those black spots in my mind and on my heart that I need to confess to God and allow Him to clean me up from the inside out? What are the areas in my own life where I need to humble myself to God and pray and seek His face?

Anger/Resentment: my feelings of being wronged and feeling like I am the victim will not only turn to anger if I don’t confront and confess them, but eventually could turn to resentment, hurting nobody but myself

Doubt: doubting God’s plan for my life

Envy: I’ve struggled with various forms of envy my entire life

Fear: instead of trusting in God, I’ve found myself crippled with fear over all the things that COULD happen, instead of focusing on what GOD will make happen and trusting that whatever that is will be what’s best for me

Looks like I have enough of my own things to confess to God, to humble myself before Him, to seek His face and to pray and to turn from these wicked thoughts which are not from God.

Dear Lord, I come to you humbled and broken, a sinner in need of redemption. Please help me to turn from my sins and turn from the things that are not from you. Please forgive me and help me to remember that you are perfect and you are in control. Forgive me for my anger, my doubt, my envy and my fear. Please fill me with your peace and your love and help me to live as an example of you. Thank you for these words and this reminder. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

uncomfortably honest

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Let’s (not) Compare

So the other day my husband and I were sitting on the couch and out of the blue my husband turns to me and says, “do you ever think that Facebook is just a place where people…” he started to trail off and so I helpfully inserted, “post only the good things about their lives and never any bad?” To which he responded very emphatically, “YES”.

Um…only all the time.

This isn’t to call anyone out, or to knock Facebook. Social media can be and usually is a good thing – you can catch up with people from your past you’d otherwise never see or talk to, you can get accurate information on a nearby restaurant recommendation, you can share pictures and videos with friends and family…heck, one of my friends used Facebook Live to stream a birthday party for her son! Which was great, considering she lives like twelve states away. There are lots of good applications. But my husband hit on one of the more negative sides of social media: jealousy. How easy is it to check out your old high school rival’s facebook page and compare yourself to everything you see? How many times have you scrolled through your newsfeed, picking out all the things you wish you were doing, or that baby you wish was growing inside your belly, or that wedding you wish you were planning, or that house you wish you could afford? How many times does it make you feel like your life doesn’t compare?

I do it. All the time.

To be honest – there was one point where I had to take a social media hiatus because I was working myself into a fit every time I got online. But as my husband puts it, “you are comparing someone else’s highlights reel to your blooper reel.” Isn’t that the truth? (FYI: my husband is wicked smart.)

What does God tell us about jealousy?

James 3:16 says, “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” (ESV)

Adding to that, Proverbs 14:30 tells us that, “A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.” (ESV)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be in the midst of “disorder and every vile practice”, and I certainly don’t want to participate in anything that “makes bones rot”! Unfortunately, we know that jealous, envy, etc are bi-products of our sinful human nature. Fortunately, God loves us and forgives us when we ask for it, and if we live our lives for Him, He will helps us with these struggles.

When I start to feel jealousy, or when I begin to compare my life to other people’s, I fall back on the words of David in Psalms 139:

“You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother’s body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for meĀ  were written in your book before I was one day old.” Psalm 139:13-16 (NCV)

God made me to be exactly who He wants me to be. He planned my days and He knows what I am going to do, when I am going to do it, and what I’m going to have. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, in His image. How could I compare myself then to anyone else?

I’m not saying it’s easy – some days are much harder than others. But it also helps me to think about all the blessings I have in my life – God has blessed me with a loving husband, a beautiful stepson, a house, a job, a car, a family. God crafted me to be exactly who He wants and needs me to be – and I can rest in the promises of His love.

And to God – we are all his highlights.

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