A Self-Ish Prayer

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Lord,

I pray for my self today.  That my self, which is a bit unruly at times, would be a better self with your help.

I pray that my self would not react in its human nature to the actions or words from my spouse, children or co-workers that push my buttons. Even the angry driver on the road. Help my self to see the truth and heart in the situation, which is most always good-intentioned–even the angry driver just wants to stay alive.

I pray for my self today.  That it would be hard working at thankless jobs.  That my self would put in its best effort even when it goes unnoticed.  That it would not seek recognition for deeds, but serve and work for the glory of you, God.

I pray for my self.  That it would be grateful among all circumstances…even those that seem impossible to be thankful for.  May my self reflect a spirit of gratitude from the second its tired feet touch the soft rug in the morning to the last waking moment of the day.  For gratitude is the secret to peace and joy.

Lord, please forgive my self, which I am responsible for.  Forgive its self-ish ways, its seeking of personal Glory, its careless acknowledgement of abundance, its lack of compassion for those in need, its desire to take control away from you all the time and keep it balled up in its fist.  Open the fist.

I pray for patience for my self.  Not for others, which is important, but today, for this self alone.  Let me have grace for its mistakes, understand the incredible breadth of your forgiveness, and in turn, forgive my-self.  I pray that it can grasp the truth and power of second chances.  You are the God of second-chances.

I pray for my-self today.  Self, I am talking to you. Hear this prayer, store it inside, live it out,

for you are me.

Amen

Child Sex Trafficking–Will You Take A Moment to Learn About It?

Child sex trafficking–not something we usually ruminate on during our morning cup of coffee.  Yet, this is an important topic that I wanted to highlight in today’s blog.  A devotional I read helped me have some perspective as I lounged on our comfortable couch with spring flowers blooming outside our family room window.

There is great suffering in our world.

We can’t begin to imagine what this lifestyle is like for families and their precious children–all in the name of survival.  Please take a look at this full article click here that addresses the harsh reality of sex trafficking and it’s impact on families.  This is part of the Mother To Child Initiative for Maternal health which promotes stronger families and keeps oldest daughters out of the human trafficking world.  The video below shares the cause:

   To Watch This Video, Click HERE

            oWatch the Video

Devotional For Kids: It’s Okay to be Broken!

Do you ever get push back when you try to correct your children?  Defensiveness, resistance?  Do they ever act like they “know it all” when you try to teach them something?  Since we see this attitude crop up from time to time with our children, my heart was burdened to begin to peel back these layers of pride and show them God’s desire for our posture in relationships and toward Him (and why it’s ok to be broken!).

I wrote about brokenness here in a recent blog because it is something adults (me!) struggle with just as much as children. One of the things I have wanted to teach our children is the idea that we are all broken and need a redeemer.  We all fall short of the glory of God and who he created us to be.  But a closed heart and attitude toward correction highlights a need to work on having a teachable spirit.

I initially wanted to write a devotional about having a Teachable Spirit, but realized that I needed to teach about brokenness first.  It is difficult to be teachable if you think you’re perfect.  So this is a two part lesson. You can print the PDF from here: Devo–Brokenness (click here and again next page), and stay tuned for the next Kid’s Devo on having a teachable spirit.

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This devotional is geared for 5th graders and up, but you can easily adapt the lesson to younger ones!

Figuring Out Brokenness

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For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

 ~Psalms 51:16-17

I do not like the idea of brokenness, in fact, I try all day every day to be the opposite of broken–in my parenting, in my marriage, in my friendships, even in my walk with God.  Being broken means my messy parts in all of these areas are exposed, which means I might have to admit I have messy parts.  And I don’t like to do that.

The irony is that in my trying to be a “good Christian/mom/wife/friend” I am actually pushing God away.  Of course he wants me to strive after righteousness, but when I become prideful or self-sufficient in my pursuit of Godliness or the other roles in my life, I fall completely short of His delight in me.  Look at the scripture above.  He does not delight in my material sacrifice–pleasing him with good deeds, striving for perfection, or looking good in my life.  He actually delights in my brokenness and a contrite heart (realizing my need for atonement).  When I stop ignoring or hiding my messy parts–the fight I just had with my husband, the impatient way I snapped at my child, the gossip that slipped from my tongue, the bag of chocolate Hershey eggs that I just frantically consumed, I truly feel the pain of my brokenness.

And I experience the desperate need for a Savior.

It is the place where pride and brokenness meet that God can work His great grace and love in our lives.  There is not room for both, and a broken heart for God must push into that space with greater force.

Sometimes the reality of our sin is overwhelming and impossible to ignore.  We feel crushed and almost hopelessly distant from the love of a good God.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~Psalm 34:18

Yet, these God-breathed words can wash over us during this time.  He is so near in our complete weakness, because we have no pride to consume all the air we need him to breathe into us.

If we want to experience a deep relationship with God, where we feel his presence, his love and his mercy, then we can rejoice in our brokenness, for it draws Him near to us.  How wonderful to be messy.

 

 

 

A Checklist For People Pleasing

 

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This morning I went to return an item at a store, and the woman behind the counter asked me to enter my email on the credit card scanner. This simple request always poses a dilemma for me because I don’t want them to have my email– but it makes me uncomfortable to say “no.”  Being the recovering people pleaser that I am, I mustered up the courage to politely say, “No thank you.” This felt awkward for me, because I just said these three words, instead of my normal, “I’m really sorry, but if you don’t mind I would rather not give out my email because I am trying to stop cluttering up my inbox…” yada yada, (yuck).  I then realized I was saying “no” to a fellow people pleaser because she went on and on about how it’s no problem but they need to ask for it to send coupons and for me to get a duplicate receipt in my email, yada yada.

I’ve about had it with the sorry’s and yada yada’s–especially from me.

There is a great book on the shelves right now, called “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkheurst.  We are working through it, chapter by chapter in our Monday night bible study.  I love it because I believe Lysa speaks to so many of us who struggle with saying a simple “no”, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, then finding ourselves weary and worn, and annoyed that we have spammy emails showing up in our inbox from retail stores.

PEOPLE PLEASING

This last week our discussion centered around people-pleasing.  In the workbook was a checklist of people-pleasing traits:

Here they are:

___   I’d rather say yes than have a confrontation

___   I don’t want people to think I’m selfish

___   I don’t want this person to be mad at me (or have ill feelings toward me).

___   If I say yes, this person will like me, accept me, approve of me, etc.

___   I want to be a nice person, and nice people don’t say no.

___  I’d rather overextend myself than disappoint someone whose opinion matters to me.

___  If I say yes, this person is more likely to be there for me in the future if I want or need something.

___  I want to be loving, and saying no does not seem loving.

p. 134 The Best Yes Workbook

How did you do? 

I checked every single one (except one).   I should probably start a People Pleasers Anonymous group.  All of these behaviors can be summed up in 4 prevalent traps of people pleasing, says Lysa:

1. THE FEAR OF REJECTION

2. THE FEAR OF DISAPPOINTING PEOPLE

3. THE NEED TO MANAGE PERCEPTIONS

4. THE NEED FOR APPROVAL

p. 134

Do any of those stand out to you?  Number three jumped out at the page and slapped me right across the face.  I constantly feel like I need to explain myself, give more detail than necessary, apologize, give the back story, etc to manage people’s perceptions.  Not to mention, how annoying is that for others? Sorry everyone.  So, I am working on the following mindset.

TRUSTING PEOPLE

Here is my new mantra:  I trust that people in my life know and love me, and if I mess up, they will see all of me and not just the messy part.  I will trust them to forgive me, to talk to me if there is an issue, and to still like me even if I am not perfect,  or need to be honest with them,  or say “no” to something they are asking.  I trust that people I don’t know will appreciate honest, respectful responses from me.

I believe that people-pleasing is born out of a lack of trust that others:

1.  Are capable to extend grace

2. Will handle and work through any temporary disappointment they may have in me

3.  Will respect the “no” or whatever else I am presenting them and still like me in the future

In short, when we people please, we do not give people in our life the credit they are due.  Here are some examples of where we don’t trust people:

~ You need to tell you boss that you need time off.  You are afraid they will be mad.  Trust that this is part of their job–managing employee absences, and they will handle it professionally.

~ You have to let a friend know that you bit off more than you could chew by volunteering to watch their children two mornings a week.  You worry you will disappoint them. You may disappoint her, but trust that she will work it out another way, and both of you will be happier in the end.

~ You plan a vacation after telling a few close people you are watching your pennies.  You feel you need to manage perceptions by explaining you travel on points, fly free, and go all-inclusive so it costs next to nothing every time you talk about your upcoming trip (totally guilty of this).  You don’t need to do this.  It’s no one’s business, and you need to trust that probably no one cares~in fact they are most likely happy for you!

GOOD ROLE MODELS

I have a couple of close friends in my life who are excellent at kindly setting boundaries, expressing their feelings, and not tripping over themselves to make everyone else around them happy. Guess what?  I RESPECT those friends immensely! For example, I just had a friend yesterday nicely but directly share that she was disappointed in the customer service she received from a company I work for.  While that is always a little disconcerting or uncomfortable to hear, I was so glad she shared that with me so I could explain and correct the situation.  If the situation were reversed, I would tend not to say anything for fear of hurting my friend’s feelings–how helpful is that to both parties?

My friend trusted ME enough to be honest.

I look to these friends as examples of how I can grow in this area of my life.

WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT PEOPLE PLEASING?

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Galatians 1:10 NIV

Wow. That’s convicting.

In fact, if there is one thing that will cure me of people-pleasing it’s knowing that God is not pleased when I do this!  If He is to be my “audience of one” than pleasing Him releases me from winning approval of everyone else around me.

Friends, let’s let go of managing other’s reactions. Let’s be kind an respectful, but honest in our communication.  We cannot please everyone all the time, that is okay–we will all survive!

Instead, let’s focus all our energy on pleasing God, since His opinion of us is the only one that truly matters–and will always be full of love and grace.

There is so much more to be said on this topic, so I will write more later.  Now, I have to spend some time unsubscribing to emails I signed up for that I didn’t want in the first place.

Yada yada.

 

 

 

 

 

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