Friday, October 29, 2010

My Thoughts on So Much More

About 5 years ago I read the book So Much More by Anna Sofia Botkin and Elizabeth Botkin Let's just say I embraced it completely. I loved being a girl. I loved homemaking. I wanted to get married, have lots of children, be a full-time homemaker, and home school. I didn't want to go to college. I felt like the "world" pressured girls (and me) to go to college. I thought it was pointless. I didn't want to be a "career women" nor did I want to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on a degree I didn't want and thought I would never get my money's worth from. Well....those desires somewhat clouded my discernment.

When I found Vision Forum, I thought, "At last! I finally found a circle where it was okay to stay at home, where the first thing that popped out of people's mouth wasn't 'What college are you going to?' " At last I had moral backing to pursue what I wanted to do! After all, how can you argue with this way of life so "clearly" shown in Scripture? I felt like I finally had the approval I needed to do what I wanted. How can one argue with God?

The problem was I didn't realize that I didn't need any "authority" to do those things. I really do believe they were God given desires (enjoying the fact God made me a girl, loving kids, homemaking, having a desire to get married) That they were okay to pursue and I didn't need to twist Scripture to win someone else's approval and permission (or at the very least to feel like their disapproval of my choices wasn't validated.)

Well.....years later I really began to question if I had just put on myself a bunch of rules God didn't intend for me to follow. Don't get me wrong, I still wanted to be a homemaker, get married, have a bunch of kids, home school, etc. But after this many years, well....I'm still single. Life didn't go exactly as planned. (Does it ever??? Thank God!!!) I still wanted to pursue those things (homemaking etc) but now I was starting to have other things I wanted to do but couldn't. I couldn't because I couldn't leave the "protection of my father's roof". I couldn't because even though I had a home-based business it didn't generate anywhere near enough income to be able to have a car and pursue those other interests. I was getting frustrated because I wanted to live a life of service to others but I wanted it to come from me. I was feeling bad that my dad was always footing the bill and that they never had their own car because I always wanted to use it. Don't get me wrong my dad wanted me to serve others. He was okay with it. He wanted me to follow God's leading and he was willing to let me use the car and use up his gas. But the thing is, he never told me I couldn't leave "the protection of his roof", that I couldn't get a job outside the home, that I couldn't get my own car. They were my convictions not his. So I felt bad, I had myself living under all these rules and in a lot of ways my dad was paying for those beliefs even though they weren't his. Paying for things when I was perfectly capable of getting a part-time job so I could pay for those things myself. I was perfectly capable of having a part-time job and still having enough time to serve others.
My views are really changing. I've learned that living a "christian life" isn't about how you live but Who is your center. If Christ is your center than the how you live should naturally follow without any of the rules. That's like going back to the law. I don't know about you, but I didn't think that worked out too well for the Israelites.
So with a little bit of trepidation I'm going to read So Much More again but this time with my eyes open. I'm praying God will show me the truth and the error. I want to be free of the shackles. I don't want to feel guilt for getting a job with a boss other than my father. I want the freedom and joy promised me in Christ.
Please pray for me! I want God's wisdom, discernment, and guidance. I'll be posting about each chapter and my thoughts on it. (probably starting next week) If God gives you any insights on the chapters I write about please feel free to make a comment!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's All about Jesus

"The gospel isn’t about how well we perform or how we avoid sin. The gospel is about Jesus – who He is and what He has done." Quote from Grace for my Heart

I really enjoyed his last post. You can read it for yourself here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

If Jesus is Not Enough

I really appreciated this from Grace for My Heart
If Jesus in us is not enough to please God, then God will never be pleased with us. It’s all about Jesus or none of it matters.  The goal of the Christian life is not to try to please God, nor to deserve His gifts.  The goal of the Christian life is to know Him.  Spend your time just basking in the love of Jesus. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gratefulness Journal

I was out for a walk today in the beautiful sunshine and fresh air when I happened upon this tree that had turned an absolutely gorgeous orange. The leaves were falling and gracing the ground around it and the sunshine illuminated the tree as if in a perfect picture. The entire scene was one of peace and serenity. It made me smile.

I was so delighted my immediate response was "Thank you Jesus!" Then I smiled..... I realized I hadn't said "thank you Jesus" because of anything but a grateful heart. Not duty. Not trying to "be good" but because I was truly thankful.

Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness! Thank you for giving me a truly grateful heart. <3

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gratefulness as Duty

     How pathetically short I fall when it comes to gratefulness. It doesn't flow out of a sincere heart.     
     The parable of Jesus healing the 10 lepers (Luke 17:12-19) is a great story about gratefulness...or the lack thereof. Jesus healed 10 lepers yet only one came back to thank Jesus. How sad.

     I don't want to be like the 9 lepers. They got a negative report. They didn't get the praise from Jesus. I want the praise from Christ. I want to hear "Well done good and faithful servant" I don't want anything negative said about me. Besides, we all know people like to give to grateful people. Maybe if I'm not grateful, God won't bless me or He will take away the blessings He has already given me??? So my thinking went. And so I purposed to be grateful and always thank Him.

     I don't think that's the lesson Christ wanted me to get out of the parable. I realized for so long I was being "grateful" out of duty and fear instead of a thankful heart.

     Looking at the heart of the matter probably would have been a better idea. Why did only one leper come back? What was different about him compared to the others? I'm not sure. But one thing I do know is I want to be more like the one who did come back. Yet I know I can't force it to happen. It has to be Christ working in me.

    I'm sure of this though, I definitely don't want to give thanks out of fear or duty or "trying to do the right thing". I want to do it because its genuine and its who I am, because it's from the heart.

     I'm going to "attempt" to keep a Gratefulness Journal and record the things I am really and truly thankful for. Not because I have to, but because I want to. My only rule: I can only write what I'm truly grateful for and I can't write anything I'm not ;-) I will not write anything on the list I feel it is my "christian duty" to be thankful for :-P

      First on my list: Christ has shown me that my Christian walk is about Him and a relationship with Him. Not standards. Not rules. But Him. What a difference it has made in my life. What Joy it has given me! What a burden Christ has lifted. Hallelujah!!! :-) :-) :-)