challenging lyrics

On the way to work this morning I was reminded of this song… it couldn’t be more appropriate for the topic at hand, struggling with the voices of inadequacy and learning to hush those voices.

So, I share with you another great reminder…

 

Matthew West brings to us Hello, My Name is <— click here to access YouTube video

 

 

 

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Not even a day goes by, and my 2014 focus has been tested…

As if to say “neener-neener” I believe the enemy is testing my desire to focus on my theme for 2014:  Psalm 139.

And so it goes…

For a quick synopsis:  after much prayer and petition of our loving Heavenly Father, it has been decided that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” is my focus verse of the year.  In an effort to move past the feelings of inadequacy, the self doubts and second guessing of my decisions, motivations, etc…  in 2014 I am focusing on the fact that I was created in God’s image.  Genesis 1:27 tells us “God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him.”

Needless to say, when we turn our focus to God the enemy is not happy about it.  Not one bit.

Over the past 18 hours I’ve been aware of the following events that might hinder my focus on Psalm 139 (some of them trivial, some a little more important).  But it’s not so much the actual event, but how I react to these events.  I look at these as ‘tests’.  Ready for these?

  • A bad hair day.  (I mean, come on!)

  • Forgetting to do something I do every day, in my morning routine.  (Yes, I remembered to brush my teeth.)

  • The desire to meet up to someone else’s expectations.  (Instead of God’s expectations.)

  • A nightmare in the form of a DREAM:   a friend of my husband’s knocked on our door to deliver condolences for my husband’s son’s death.  News flash – in REAL LIFE my husband does not have a son.  (Oh, the distrust the enemy is trying to plant in my heart towards my husband.)

  • The want to compare myself to someone else, intellectually.

  • The longing to point out someone else’s imperfections.  (Maybe I’ll feel better about my imperfections?)

I admit these things for a number of reasons.  First of all, I’m an open book.  Secondly, fessing up to this stuff help me moved past them.  Thirdly, I’m hoping my struggle will help someone else.

How did I respond?

  • I fretted over the bad hair day (a couple of times).  In fact, I gasped when I looked in the mirror at work.   I audibly said “Lookin’ good, Lori.  Lookin’ good!’  <—- enter sarcastic tone here
  • I shook my head when I remembered a very important step of the morning routine (especially in the winter):  lathering up with lotion.  I remember hearing one of the “hey dummy” tape recordings go off in my head.
  • I pondered how I could do something to meet this person’s expectations.
  • oh, the list goes on…

I admit it.  I reacted to each of those ‘tests’ in the wrong way, initially.

And then, after I had my coffee and completed my morning quiet time, I was reminded that my responses were bad habits.  And that those responses can be changed.  And I came back to the need for a renewed focus.  And I opened my Bible again to read Psalm 139.  And the focus quickly returned.

It’s amazing how quickly we can return to the right focus when we turn our eyes and hearts on His word, His grace, His unconditional love for us.  Nothing is more encouraging!

I’m convinced that more ‘tests’ will come before the day is over… and I may not necessarily respond the right way, initially.  But that’s why I’ve chosen to focus on Psalm 139 … in an effort to change those destructive habits.

Psalm 139:13-16 (translation:  The Message): “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb.  I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!  Body and soul, I am marvelously made!  I worship in adoration—what a creation!  You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.  Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”  

I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”

Before you read this post, please know that I write in an effort to be an open book.   I write with hopes of inspiring others to 1) learn from my mistakes/successes, 2) be authentic, and 3) live intentionally.  I do not write from the perspective of searching out reassurance or kudos or a pat on the back – and quite frankly, that all makes me very uncomfortable.  I write because I was meant to write.  I write for the purpose of writing…

That said, please refrain from posting a comment to tell me that my feelings of inadequacy are ridiculous or that I shouldn’t feel this way or that I’m crazy.  I already know these things.  But I still feel this way.  And this year is dedicated to letting the word of God remind me that my worth is in Him, that I am valued just the way I am and that God has something greater for me to believe about myself.  Telling someone they should FEEL different from how they feel doesn’t typically go over very well… they just have to figure it out in their own time.

 

Over the past several months I’ve gone through some inward and personally trying times… where I was faced with thoughts of inadequacy (“maybe this ISN’T a strength of yours after all”), low self-esteem (“there you go again, setting yourself up for failure”) and major doubt (“did i do that right?  or did i botch it up again?”).  I’ve been questioning why I am where I am.  I’ve been questioning why I am motivated to do what I do.  I’ve been doubting my decisions.  I’ve been second-guessing my stance, on just about everything.  I’ve recently become concerned about what certain individuals are thinking about me.   And all of these emotions and doubts feel so foreign to me.

And as year-end approached I did what I always do:  I started thinking through areas of my life that could improve.  I started contemplating what internal improvements I could/should make and what to focus on in 2014.   Because there’s always a theme, or a word or a verse… in place of a New Year’s resolution.

So when I stumbled upon Psalm 139 (for about the 100th time), which tells us that God knows us better than anyone else, I felt a twinge in my heart.  The passage states that He knows my innermost being… to me that means “the good, the bad and the ugly”.  He knows my thoughts, my fears, my concerns… my Heavenly Father knows me better than I think I know myself.

He also hears what I call the “tape recorders” that play in my head …berating me with messages like (and when you’re reading these don’t forget to add the snarky tone):  “OK dummy – why did you do that AGAIN?”, or “Really, Lori?!  THOSE are the words you chose to express that thought?!”, and “Why can’t you just focus on this until you finish it?”, or “It can’t be THAT difficult, why are you struggling with this concept?!”  Yes, it’s true.  I have one of THOSE tape recorders in my head.

So, in lieu of a New Year’s Resolution (and as I do every year), I vow to focus on Psalm 139 this year… and primarily verses 13-14.

I’d also like to share this challenging thought from Henri Nouwen…

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection.  Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

I will post a follow-up to this post at the end of 2014, or early 2015 (like I did this year).  And I am looking forward to sharing what I’ve learned through this process…

Do YOU make resolutions?  Care to share?  Or do you choose a word, or theme, or verse, or?  I’d love to know what you’re focusing on this year… leave a comment?