Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Benchmarks

In my last blog, I talked about Scott’s sermon on God’s love. Towards the end, I mentioned how he encouraged us to set a “benchmark.“ Where will we be in our walks with God in a year or more from now? Personally, I pray that I can only go “up” from here! Though, growth can be painful and unpleasant (as I have found out more than ever this year) but it’s worth it!! As Kent always says: “Feel the heat, face the fire, find the gold!”

Recently, I was privileged to see evidence of my growth as I read a particular e-mail. Oddly enough, it was an e-mail from myself!! This particular e-mail was a result of a project Yahoo had had; it was a “time capsule” thing. You could compose an e-mail to yourself and they would save it and deliver it to you in a few years. Well, I had been thinking about that e-mail recently, and wondered when I might be receiving it. Though, I couldn’t remember what I wrote or what year it was supposed to be delivered. Then, wouldn’t you know, it happened!! Here is the note I wrote to myself in 2005:

Dear Self,

You wrote this message to yourself in 2005. At that time, Casey was 2 and a half and Gianna was almost 2 months old. Oh how time flies!!

What have you done since then? Have you finished your book yet? That is the main thing you should have been doing. If it isn't finished by now and on its way to print, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? GET R DONE!!!

You should be very proud of your accomplishments, assuming you have any. Live for God and not yourself and enjoy life!!

Sincerely,

Yourself


You know, I never expected a letter from myself to have such an impact!! LOL You want to know why? It’s because of the fact I can see who I was then and who I am now. I was always consumed with the idea of having to finish a book that I felt that God wanted me to write (which I have started and have been working on here and there for years). I had set a sort of “time table” for myself when I wrote that. Though, I often forget that God’s timing isn’t my own! I also didn’t realize how time-consuming motherhood would be with two little ones, or all the other God given tasks that would come into play over the past three years.

The thing that struck me most was when I read the accusing judgments that I had written to myself. “What is wrong with you?” and remarks that inflicted doubt as to whether I would have any accomplishments to be proud of (as if parenting two children wasn’t an accomplishment in itself!). I was a little stung by my own words, and was amazed to see how nasty I used to be not too long ago! How could I have used words like that to myself when I wouldn’t even say something like that to a friend? If I wouldn’t utter them to someone I loved, why should I be using them on myself? We’re supposed to love others as we do ourselves (Matthew 22:39) aren‘t we? Yet, for a long time, I didn’t love myself very much because I didn’t know my true worth. I used to be extremely harsh on myself and I had a very narrow minded view of success (among other things). Thankfully, however, I have learned to treat myself with the same kind of kindness and acceptance as I do to others. I’m a loved and accepted child of God, and I don’t need to be accepting judgment and condemnation from Satan, or other people (including myself!). So, yes….I DO have accomplishments to be proud of!! I may not have finished and printed a book, but I have come a long way spiritually in three years! Three years ago, I wouldn’t have recognized that rude, criticizing, and judgmental spirit in me. It was “fact” and I accepted it. Though, when I read that TODAY, I just want to say, “Hey! You can’t talk to yourself like that! It’s not nice and it’s not true!” I just wanted to rebuke myself!! LOL

The one good thing that I did write to myself was this line (which REALLY woke me up!): “Live for God and not yourself and enjoy life!!” HOW TRUE IS THAT?! If I am living for GOD and not myself, I WILL enjoy life! I can’t truly enjoy life if I’m am inward focused. Yes, it is great that I have learned to love and accept myself, but that can be a delicate boundary too. Also within the past three years, I have lost weight and have been working on my physical health as well as the spiritual. It has had its benefits, but also its drawbacks. As much as I love dropping the extra pounds that weigh me down, it’s hard to get used to all those changes. One of them being the attention. Sometimes, I feel as though people just see the “outer beauty” before the “inner beauty”. I just want the entire me to be seen and valued. I don’t just want to be another “pretty face.” And, I don’t want to become vain either. Blessings can sometimes be a double-edged sword.

Other people have noticed positive changes in me as well. I get feedback from people (online and offline) about the growth that they have seen, and that is such valuable and positive encouragement/affirmation to me! It only helps to spur me onward to continuing growth as I strive to work on my weaker areas that I have yet to mature in (still working on food issues, self-discipline, prayer, and so much more!).

In the upcoming months and years, I hope to be at a healthy weight and have a greater respect for my body and for food. I hope to rely on God for all my needs and not replace Him with food, people, or things. Hopefully, this will be a blog I will look back on in a few years and say, “Yes, I do have even more accomplishments to be proud of!”

I am also proud of the fact that so many of you are such good friends of mine and that you are so kind and supportive of me! So, to all those that adhere to and practice 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Hebrews 10:25, I THANK YOU FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY HEART!! I am thankful for you all and I enjoy fellowshipping with you and ministering to each other through blogging, e-mail, etc.!!

May the grace and peace of God be with you all as you strive for your own benchmarks (and you don‘t have to wait until New Year‘s to start setting goals)!! God bless you!!

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