Wednesday, March 23, 2011


So, who invented the word BLOG anyway?  I mean, it sounds like what it is: word vomit.  So was someone just writing a diary one day, then realized it was word vomit and decided to call it what it is?  a BL-AH-G?  I'm mostly just curious.  I would like to think that when I share my random thoughts with people, it's not just word vomit, but I read an e-mail from our pastor today that made me re-think how much I share, or overshare.  Below is a copy of the e-mail devotional, written by Jeff Wells, senior pastor of Woods Edge Community Church:

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise."
Proverbs 10:19

The more we talk, the more we sin. That ought to sober us and cause us to slow down our talking, but many of us talk on! 

There was a tombstone in an English churchyard. The faint etching read:

Beneath this stone, a lump of clay,
Lies Arabella Young,
Who, on the twenty-fourth of May,
Began to hold her tongue.

Far better if we heed Proverbs 10:19 and begin to hold our tongue while we live! The Bible says: That’s what wise people do. They are not incessant talkers. They talk, of course. But they are slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19).

Why do we talk too much? Maybe it’s nervousness. Maybe insecurity. But a big reason for excessive talking is pride. We are self-preoccupied, self-centered, self-enamored. Proverbs 18:2 says: "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions."

One of my heroes is Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a courageous, fearless President with many incredible traits. But like the rest of us, he was one flawed individual. Talking too much was one of those flaws. One biographer, Edmund Morris, comments:

"He delights like a schoolboy in parading his knowledge, and does so loudly, and at such length, that less vigorous talkers lapse into weary silence. John Hay once calculated that in a two-hour dinner at the White House, Roosevelt’s guests were responsible for only four and a half minutes of conversation; the rest was supplied by the President himself."

OK, maybe you’re not that bad! I hope not! But Theodore Roosevelt is not the standard! God calls us to be careful, to hold back, to go slow when it comes to talking. Be slow to speak, quick to listen. Most of us get that backwards: We are quick to speak, slow to listen.

Words are a great resource. We can do so much good with life-giving words. But words can be abused. One way we abuse words is to talk too much and listen too little. In a day of cell phones, e-mail and Facebook, perhaps the problem of excessive words is worse than ever.

Wise people hold their tongue. How are you doing at this rare discipline?

Ouch.  "A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions."  Yes, I, more than most, need guidance and discipline in this area.  More than anything, I need self control in my life and I always think that I can add to a conversation or maybe something I say can help or encourage someone.  But a long time ago, a wise friend told me (very lovingly) "Christi, you don't always have to say every thought that comes to mind."  And perhaps this wise friend was right.  I wonder if holding my tongue would give others an opportunity to encourage, to share, to help be iron for another friend (or, heaven forbid, for me!)  So here it is, my BL-AH-G for today... about having fewer words, listening more, and loving others more than I love the sound of my own voice.  No longer I.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Love Me

Perhaps I'm a little emotional today... perhaps. Or maybe I'm just tired, or just being a girl but I started thinking back to high school. I can remember being supremely insecure and not really confident in anything about myself. Even as a teenager, I was always looking for my niche- trying to find that group of friends who would accept me for who I was. The problem is that I didn't know who I was. I spent so much time trying to fit a mold that I thought people were looking for me to fill that I never really took time to find my own shape. And because I was so afraid of what people were thinking about me, I put on masks, facades, one at a time- removing each only for a millisecond to put on the next mask.

I wanted to fit in so badly, as most teenagers do, and I thought if I could just find the right mask, enough people would like me and I would be happy. But I never found that happiness. I only found more and more masks and before long I was so deep in my own masks that I had forgotten what the real me looked like altogether.

These insecurities have followed me into adulthood, unfortunately. I have recently noticed that the cliques from high school didn't end in high school. People are still people- all with deep seeded needs for security and acceptance. Thus, we find the cliques in our churches and neighborhoods. As of late, I have found myself looking for that happiness again- that acceptance- but I noticed to fit in to certain groups, you have to have money, or be funny, successful, or entertaining. You have to have the right job or the right look (none of which I have). So I have often found myself wondering if there will ever be a time when I really do fit in. I have tried wearing the masks, but it's exhausting.

The difference between adulthood and childhood for me, is that now I am able to recognize what I am looking for. We are all designed with a God-shaped hole and are trying to fill it with different things. We all want to be accepted and loved unconditionally. Because the enemy knows this, He attacks this part of each of us, whispering lies like these:

"If you can just lose this weight, then you'll have the look you need."
"If you can just become successful at something... at anything, THEN you'll be accepted."
"Maybe if you were just a bit funnier, or smarter, or knew more people..."
"Maybe if you sang better or wrote better or were more talented in this area..."
"If you can just be friends with these people, THEN you will be happy."

But all of these are just lies, meant to keep us filled with an unquenchable thirst. I struggle with these thoughts when I stop making time to read my Bible and pray. Recognizing this, I opened up my Bible and found this in John 4:13- 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Jesus wants to fill the void in our hearts. He wants to be the one we turn to for acceptance and love. He wants to quench this insatiable thirst so we can all stop trying so hard, stop pretending to be who we are not.

I continued reading and found this in Psalm 139:

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
They cannot be numbered!
18 I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
you are still with me!

Thank you Jesus for loving me so! Thank you for being the one who loves and accepts me just as I am. Thank you for quenching this thirst in me and loving me with your never ending, indescribable love! Thank you for making me, uniquely me- and then finding delight in this creation! In you, and you alone do I put my trust. No longer I.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Truth Hurts... And Then It Heals

Yo Momma. Thank you very much Will Smith for creating that timeless line of wit. I remember sitting in a dorm room with an old friend of mine trading 'yo momma' jokes. I never in a million years dreamed I'd be the butt of any of those jokes, (no pun intended, but now that I think about it... run with the pun) but here we are, some years later, and it has happened. My little girl came home from school the other day and told me she was upset because a neighbor friend was teasing her and calling her names. Then she dropped the bomb, "And mom, he kept saying you were fat, like really fat." Ouch. No, really... OUCH.

I never imagined my weight would affect my children. I always thought it was my issue to deal with. I mean, they are practically stick people- blessed with my hot husband's genes rather than mine. But now my daughter is being teased because of my choices. So I took some serious time to reflect and to think about exactly how badly I wanted to make these changes.

I am the queen of starting things and not finishing them. I have started countless books and never finished them. And diets? Don't even get me started! If it has a name, I have tried it. I start projects all of the time and life gets in the way in one form or another, so I put them on the back burner insisting "one day" I will get to them. So what if "one day" never comes and I never finish these projects? What if that "one day" I have started my one millionth diet and never completed it? Will my family still be suffering because of my choices?

If you get a chance, read through 1 Corinthians 10. There is so much meat in this chapter alone but I have hand picked a few verses to share with you:

12 If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 14 So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols...

Here I see that God is faithful and will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can stand. So maybe this journey is one I can successfully complete after all. Maybe I won't have to look back and wonder what ever happened to "one day".

Then He says:

23 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. 24 Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others...

Wow. And there it is- in black and white. "don't be concerned for your own good, but for the good of others." What kind of example have I been setting for my children? Have I been setting an example of self control? Not even close. What about my kids? What are they seeing? I have been far too concerned with living for my own desires that I haven't even considered the long term effects on my family. I'm setting them up for failure, teaching them that selfishness and greed are not just okay, but they are a way of life, eventually leading to a horrible, painful, sickening death.

Verse 31 says:

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

That was probably the most life altering verse in this chapter for me. I've been living for my self for so long, I'd forgotten why I was put here in the first place. I wasn't put on this planet to do whatever I want. I wasn't put here to enjoy everything the earth has to offer. I was put here to bring glory to God. So I choose to die to myself. I choose to live for Him. This momma is no ordinary momma. If there is one thing I want to leave to my children, it's the legacy of a life lived to bring glory to God. No longer I.