A spirit of self-discipline

Last night I attended a womens’ Bible study.  My emotions were all over the place.  I wasn’t sure if I  should go since I don’t attend the same church as the ladies in the Bible study, or ANY church currently, for that matter.  Also, it wasn’t like I was actually invited.  They asked Ash to babysit for the women who had young children, and that’s how I got the invitation.  So it felt kind of like a second hand invitation,  you know.  An afterthought.

I was torn.  But I know that if I’m going to build relationship with people in this new town, I need to leave my house.  I need to put myself out there.  I need to be bold and confident.   Plus, I do love a good Bible study as much as the next gal, so I went.    I am so glad that I did.  The study was on fear and worry.  I don’t consider myself a fearful person or a worry wort.  So naturally I didn’t think I would gain much from it.  However I did.  I gained more than I could have imagined.  It was so weird because being the introverted person that I am, especially around people I don’t know, I usually clam up, smile sweetly, answer if spoken to and retreat as fast as possible.   Not last night.  It was like I had diarrhea of the mouth.  I answered every question, at the same time constantly worrying that I was dominating the conversation and not making any sense at all.  I added to other’s comments, and then later worried that I offended them, that I didn’t express myself good enough and they took it the wrong way.   I tell you, I’m one of those people who can’t even talk half the time, and if I do, then afterwards I play the conversation over and over and realize how utterly stupid I must have sounded.  Making first impressions is so hard.  For me.

I’ve learned since the Bible study, that yes, I am a worry wort.  Not in the aspect that I worry the house will catch on fire or the world will end, but I worry what people think of me.  I worry if I’m good enough for them, if I’m likable, if I’ll measure up as friend-worthy.  I find myself worrying about this a lot more now that I’m in a new place, trying to make new connections. In my hometown where I lived all my life, those relationships and connections were well established before I had to worry about it.  I mean, I made it out of junior high and then high school.  I’m nearly 40 years old, so figuring out who I am and worrying if people will like the person that I am, should be long gone and over with.  Well, it’s not.

As we sat in a semi-circle in a lady’s home, our Bibles opened on our laps, sharing our deepest fears and worry and getting all down and personal, I began to feel so refreshed and renewed.  It has been a very long time since I participated in a small group and I left there feeling filled up to the measure with God and fellowship.  It was a good feeling.  I just love how GOD knows exactly what we need and meets that need in ways we don’t expect.

The leader touched on many scriptures, but the one that spoke to me in so many ways was 2 Timothy 1:7.

I heard Beth Moore teach on this scripture before and so I know a  different version.  The version I’ve always recited is from the KJV that reads:  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (emphasis mine)

But the scripture read aloud at the Bible study was a different version than I know.  The NIV reads:  For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (emphasis mine)

EUREKA!!

Self-discipline is something I struggle with on a daily basis.  I can get lazy.  I can procrastinate.  There are so many things I want to accomplish and yet I lack the self-discipline.  I beat myself up each night for not doing what I need to because of the self-discipline it requires.    After hearing this version of the verse, it was an epiphany.  GOD gives me self-discipline.  It is from Him.  Which means I can accomplish all that I desire with self-discipline.  If He gives self-discipline, then it makes sense to me that the lazy, procrastinating spirit is from Satan.  Of course it is.  He doesn’t want me to succeed, he wants to steal my joy.  He came in fact, to steal, kill and destroy.  Destroy my dreams, destroy my hope, destroy my family, my health, and ultimately my life.  Satan wants me to live in defeat and to go to bed every night disappointed in myself.

On a second note, that scripture also speaks to my timidity around new people and new situations.  My lack of self confidence, my worry of first impressions and if people will like me.  Timidity does not come from God.  I know who I am in Him and I need to hold my head up and walk proudly knowing that if He is for me, who can be against me, right?

I’m refreshed by this.  Which is exactly what the Word of God will do, refresh.  I am uplifted.  I am hopeful.  I am smiling.  My joy is abundant.

Now when I’m faced with my lazy, procrastinating spirit, or my weaknesses want to override my strengths, or I want to give in and not work toward goals I have set for myself, then I recite 2 Timothy 1:7.

God has given me self-discipline.

 

 

Change

It seems my life stays in a constant state of adjustment.

Change happens.  There’s no stopping it.

Some changes we create, and some changes just happen and we have no choice but to  hold on with a white knuckle grip.

Although I’d like to be in charge of the change in my life, sometimes I prefer the latter.  That way I can call it God or Fate or Providence or Destiny and in turn I can take no responsibility for the failures or disappointments that may come from it.

We all experience it, and change is not necessarily a bad thing.  It’s perceived as such most of the time, but we must ask ourselves:  really do we want to always remain the same person– in the same situations –working the same job –living in the same house– doing the same old things?

Yes!! Yes this girl screams!  We do!  I do!  It’s much safer there and it doesn’t hurt.

But life just doesn’t work that way.

Over the past two years I’ve come face to face and heart to heart with

  • the death of my dad (grief, tears, sadness, longing)
  • a move to the little trailer house on the prairie (snakes, wind, dust, mice, trains, and yes even Jehovah Witnesses still visit)
  • pregnancy and the birth of my child (joy, tears, pain, guilt, fear)
  • job change for my husband (worry)
  • quitting my job of 12 years to stay home with my baby (dependence, budget, purpose, freedom, happiness)
  • learning how to be a mother ( sleeplessness, selflessness, worry, guilt, time management, joy, exhaustion)

And now, now, another biggie is heading my way.  Another move.  But this time to another town.  In another state.  I haven’t really talked about it because when I talk about it, that makes it real.  I don’t talk about it, not because I’m not excited or I don’t want it to happen, but because I’m afraid.  I don’t talk about it because doing my ostrich impersonation is much easier than recognizing that it really is happening.

But change–it is a comin’.

Soon and very soon, we will be packing up our cares and woe, tossed in with a little happiness and excitement and heading to a new destination.

My husband’s dream is to live in the mountains.  And I guess we aren’t getting any younger.   We’ve sold our little place here in the country, chickens too, and as soon as the buyers little ducklings are in a row, we will know when our last night here will be.

So on this eve of Thanksgiving, with my heart and my head filled with so much worry, trepidation, and fear, that it’s hard to find the excitement, I give thanks to God my Father, the Almighty, Who knows every breath I’ll ever take, Who numbers every hair on my head, Who knows my thoughts before I think them, and my blog posts before I type them, Who did not give me a spirit of fear, but of strength and power; I thank Him for his sovereignty and grace, for His love and providence, for His son and my salvation.  I thank Him for my daughter and my husband, my family and my friends, my health and my freedom to just pick up and move whenever and wherever we choose.  I thank Him for my past and my future, for my hurts and my sorrows, for my joy and my elation, for opportunities granted and doors closed.  For all He has done and for all He is going to do.

Dear friends, please hold me and my family in your prayers as we begin again.