When you say that you are a Christian there is a huge pressure from a world that now expects perfection from you. There is a magnifying glass on your life because people are curious what this Jesus thing is about.
Yes we are ambassadors for God, here to shine a light that points to Him BUT, that pressure can have you put unrealistic expectations on yourself. As you are growing in God these sins will each peel off layer by layer like an onion. Though, as long as we’re on this earth we’ll never be sinless.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24
Sometimes when you feel like you keep messing up and you feel the pressure of a world who expects you to be perfect just because you’re a Christian, you can end up feeling like a failure who can’t face God, can’t open your Bible, can’t seem to pray like you once did before.
The perfection that the world is looking for can only be found in Jesus. God tells us that we ALL fall short, we ALL sin. But when we accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and begin a relationship with our creator, God doesn’t look down and see our mistakes or how many times we fell.
He looks down and sees the righteousness of Jesus. We are as white as snow to him because Jesus took all of our sin past and future and he took the punishment for us.
You don’t have to be perfect, you’re forgiven and free! Live in that freedom, people will see it, even when you aren’t perfect. Give yourself the grace that God abundantly gives.
Why does God say that this tiny bit of faith I have is enough to move mountains? It doesn’t feel like enough to move an ant hill, to be honest.
The Bible says,
“…Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
Do you ever wonder why it feels like that mustard seed faith just isn’t enough? Or why that other Christian has so much more faith than you? I know I’ve been there too, but I’m beginning to understand how this tiny mustard seed faith IS enough.
When Jesus told the parable about the mustard seed he mentioned this important piece of information:
“Although it is the smallest of all seeds,yet it grows into the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Matthew 13:32
Though Jesus was speaking of the Kingdom of heaven in this parable, it gives us more details on the mustard seed. Your mustard seed faith is enough because as you walk with God it will grow into a huge tree of faith! It doesn’t stay tiny. Through every trial and every testing of your faith it will grow bigger and bigger.
When you see another Christian who is doing things that would take HUGE faith, just remind yourself that maybe you have a mustard seed while they have a young tree or even a mature tree. If you stay on God’s path and allow each trial to refine you and give you perseverance, you will one day have that mature tree of faith also.
Then you’ll go from moving little ant hills to moving those monstrous mountains!
Have you noticed that the familiarity of your dysfunctional life is easier to stay in than to step out into the change that God has called you to?
You don’t necessarily like what is holding you but it’s comfortable. You know that God has greater things for your life but living it is scary and uncomfortable.
It took a 2 year affair for me to realize that the relationship with my husband was dysfunctional. While I knew that he couldn’t change overnight and that his empty promises were nothing more than EMPTY, I just couldn’t let go. We had been together for 13 years, so it was comfortable. I was frustrated, I was being hurt continually but still, I couldn’t let it go.
It took most of those two years for me to step out into the scary unknown world that God was calling me to. It took the most unbearable pain for me to finally decide that the unknown future was better than my comfortable dysfunction.
Once I stepped out in faith and let my marriage and my husband go into God’s hands, THAT is when the magic happened. That is when I realized that it was the best thing I could have ever done! I can trust God, he wants good for me and leaving that heavy weight on his shoulders made my life so much more bearable… enjoyable even!
No lie, blessing after blessing after blessing just started pouring down once I let it all go. A perfect job beyond my imagination came through, the perfect house IN my kids school district fell into my lap, a reliable car came through in the perfect timing… I felt joy again, my heart began to heal!
After a lot of bitterness, anger and hate, I was finally able to forgive my husband and his mistress. That was so freeing. I was no longer weighed down by those ugly feelings.
Now I look towards my future with joy and anticipation, knowing that God has good things for me. Yes, sometimes it’s scary but God didn’t give me a spirit of fear but of POWER, love and a sound mind.
So I can step out on those things that scare me, knowing that God is holding me through it all. And you know what? Those things are never as scary as they seemed in my mind and the sense of accomplishment after you step out and do them is beyond worth it.
Have FAITH, this change is for GOOD and change doesn’t happen inside your comfort zone. Doing GREAT things for Christ doesn’t happen in your comfort zone. Step out of your comfort zone with the confidence of knowing that God has gone ahead of you and prepared the way!
Loving yourself seems to be a taboo subject in some Christian circles. I understand because when I first learned of the notion to love myself, I kind of scoffed, like, that isn’t godly. It’s because my eyes weren’t opened to the truth of it. All I could see was narcissistic love, being a lover of myself, selfish and only caring about what I could get from others.
This wasn’t the type of love God was trying to show me. He was telling me that self-love is necessary and it’s a completely different thing than being a lover of self. Romans 13:8-10 says:
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
I’ve spoken on this many times before but that one simple word has changed my life. Love your neighbor AS yourself. We’re supposed to love ourselves, it even goes on to say “Love does no wrong to a neighbor.” If you’re loving your neighbor as you love yourself that would mean that you would do no wrong to yourself.
Staying in an abusive relationship is loving the other person MORE than you love yourself. Abuse comes in many forms, physical, verbal and emotional, which includes serial cheaters. If no one has told you before, a man who cheats and lies over and over again IS abusing you!
Cutting yourself is NOT loving yourself, starving yourself is NOT loving yourself, taking on every commitment and never giving yourself time to refuel is NOT loving yourself, enabling abuse against yourself is NOT loving yourself.
Now I’ll cover the difference between self-love and being a lover of self.
- Sees how much you’re worth in God’s eyes
- Creates healthy boundaries with those who hurt you physically and emotionally
- Takes care of your body’s needs, physically, emotionally and spiritually
- Takes breaks when needed; Says “no” to good things to have time for the best things
- Seeks God’s wisdom
- Loves others equally, not treating them as less than yourself while not allowing mistreatment of yourself
LOVER OF SELF
- Puts your wants above the well being of those around you
- Overruns other people’s boundaries to benefit yourself
- Overindulges; No self-control
- Driven by money and the world’s definition of “success”
- Vain; Outer beauty is more important than inner
- Inflated ego
- Sees others as inferior
- Boasts in themselves
2 Timothy 3:1-17 says:
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people…”
At the end of the day being a “lover of self” isn’t really love at all. They aren’t loving themselves or anyone else around them. They have an emptiness inside that they’re trying to fill with all the wrong things.
But, self-love is a whole other thing. IT’S OK to love yourself! God see’s you as worthy of love and YOU ARE. So start seeing yourself in that light, God’s light.
Single Mama, I know it doesn’t seem fair and it can get lonely but I want you to know that you are not alone!
5:45 a.m. My alarm goes off, I need to get up because this is my only quiet time with God. Drag my feet into my office (on a good day when I don’t press “snooze” instead) open up my Bible and journal some prayers.
6:30 a.m. Time to wake the girls.
“Girls get up, get ready for school.”
“Shayla! Why are you still in bed? You need to get ready or we’re gonna be late!”
7:00 a.m. Time to get the boys up and ready. Change the baby’s diaper and dress him. Bring the 3 year old’s clothes and dress him too because he’s too tired to dress himself.
7:20 a.m. After mediating a couple fights between siblings it’s now time to get in the car.
“Everybody, line up at the door!” “Where is your sweater?” “Do you have your homework?” “Ok, everyone in the car…”
7:30 a.m. Drop off my oldest girls, 3rd and 4th grade. Practice anger management with the other parents in the parent drop off line.
“You’re not supposed to enter from there!” “Go! What are you waiting for?”
Don’t worry, I only say these things in my mind.
7:45 a.m. Arrive back at home. Get the baby and the 3 year-old out of the car. Make breakfast… Okay, okay, pour cereal.
8:00 a.m. Turn on the tablet for the 3 year old… At least they’re educational apps right? Get the baby cleaned up from the cereal that didn’t seem to make it in his mouth… he’s almost a year and a half but still, my baby. Get on my computer and start my work for the day.
The baby climbs up into my arms, “No! Don’t press buttons, I’m working.” Continue working and typing one handed.
*Sniff* *Sniff* Something smells… I put my computer down and change the baby’s diaper. Give him a toy,
“this should keep him occupied for a few minutes.”
8:20 a.m. Remember that I need to start a load of laundry, otherwise it’ll pile up into the monstrous mountain I have in my room right now.
8:30 a.m. Get back on my computer and continue working. Try to concentrate with the two little guys playing, talking and fighting. Remind myself that I’m blessed.
“How many single moms get to stay home with their babies?” “You are blessed.”
9:45 a.m. “Hurry, hurry, we need to get ready to get to the gym.” We’re meeting my friend at 10 a.m… Accountability.
“Eli, where did you take your shoes off at??” “What do you mean you don’t know? You were just wearing them!”
10:05 a.m. Arrive at the gym, drop the kids off at the child watch. Show up 10 minutes late, my friend is used to it anyways. Workout for an hour because I’m single, in my 30’s… This wasn’t the plan. I should feel like I “still got it” right? Or maybe I just come for me, to feel good about myself when I look in the mirror.
Ugh, rejection and insecurity. Maybe I’m just trying to love myself because I’ve never done that before.
11:10 a.m. Arrive back at home, quick shower, mom bun, make the boys sandwiches because that’s easy. Protein, I need protein, otherwise the weight lifting was for nothing. Tuna and crackers… That’ll do.
11:30 a.m. Get back on my computer and back to work. Type and eat; multitasking. Tell the 3 year-old to clean up his mess. Tell the baby not to throw his food on the floor.
12:30 p.m. Need more food. Greek yogurt, honey and granola it is. Can’t eat on my own because the boys want some of my food too. So I share and don’t mention that I’m still hungry.
12:45 p.m. Try and clean up the disaster that the boys left while I was working. The baby is the worst, it looks like a tornado went through my house.
1:30 p.m. Time to pick up the girls. The rest of this mess will just have to wait.
“Eli, you took off your shoes again??” “Where are they, we have to go!”
1:45 p.m. Wait in the parent pick up line. Practice more anger management…
“Do you read any of the newsletters?? You can’t enter that way!” “You’re cutting in front of everyone.” “No, I’m not letting you in.”
Once again, these things only go through my mind.
2:05 p.m. Arrive at home. Try to lay the baby in bed without him waking up. Tell the girls to get a snack and start their homework. Help with homework.
3:30 p.m. Figure out what to make for dinner because I never plan ahead, though that’s a great idea. Defrost the meat in the microwave (is that healthy?) Clean, multitask, hold the baby when he wants to be held, break up fights between children, listen to the girls talk a million miles an hour about their day.
Mom is tired…
5:00 p.m. Eat dinner, try to listen and show interest in what the kids want to talk about. Make them eat their vegetables. Fight over eating vegetables.
“You at least need to try it, how can you not like something you never tried?”
5:30 p.m. Direct the kids on how to clean up their mess (mostly the 3 year old.) Put the food away, if I don’t forget. Clean up the baby and change more diapers, mediate more arguments, redirect more attitudes.
5:45 p.m. Remember that I never put the clothes in the dryer. Start the wash again.
6:00 p.m. Open my computer, get back to work. Let the kids watch TV so I can finish my work for the day. Hold the baby in one arm and type with the other. Ask the girls to help out with the boys after they take a shower.
7:45 p.m. Bedtime routine. Make sure everyone is in their pajamas, teeth are brushed and baby’s diaper is changed. Family meeting in the girls room. Lets all go around and say something we like about each family member, even daddy. Now let’s go around and each say a prayer. AMEN.
8:00 p.m. In a perfect world the kids would all be sound asleep and I would get a couple hours of “me time.”
Mom is tired…
Shayla wants a drink of water, Jayd is throwing things from her bed at her sister, Eli wants a back “assage” (massage) and Nehemiah won’t stay in his bed. The boys want to sleep in Mama’s bed.
“No, you can’t sleep in Mama’s bed. There isn’t enough room, you’ll push me to the edge and I JUST. WANT. TO. SLEEP.”
9:30 p.m. After getting the girls to stop talking, putting Nehemiah back in his bed 50 times and getting Eli to sleep, I get into my bed with my computer. “Ah, now I can get some writing done in this peaceful, quiet house.” Though, I can hardly keep my eyes open. Close my computer and remind myself that I am blessed.
“I have a house to live in, a good car to drive, I can stay home with my babies… I am blessed.”
I go to sleep because this all begins all over again in the morning…. Then I remember that I never put the clothes in the dryer… “Eh, I’ll wash them again tomorrow…”
Our days may look a little different and our situations may be a little different but the understanding is the same. This isn’t easy but you’ll get through it Mama. Look around you, we’re here, you are not alone.
Most importantly, God sees you and knows your struggle the best. He will give you power on your weak days and endurance when you feel like giving up. You are not alone.
I feel like there is an epidemic in lukewarm love. I know it comes from women as well but I can only speak of my experience in loving a man who wasn’t loving me the way he should have.
When people began to learn of the heartbreaking affair I was going through in my marriage, hurting women started coming from the woodwork. The saddest part about it was that these women were in Christian families… These men were supposed to be followers of God.
Yet here they were… dealing with affairs, abuse, secrets and dating sights. My heart broke knowing all too well the pain they were going through. My eyes were opened to this lukewarm love that was being given from so many men! It’s like they all read the same playbook. The similarities were sickening.
This is nothing short of abuse… it comes in different degrees but it’s abuse nonetheless. Verbal abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse. Whatever degree it may be, abuse isn’t love.
The physical is easy to spot and anyone can see that this is NOT right! Physical abuse is never to be blamed on the victim. You cannot change that man or love him into changing. Change is something he needs to find on his own. Get out of that relationship now!
Verbal abuse becomes a little trickier. They could hide it well from close family and friends. Or they could jokingly say the meanest things and then make you feel crazy for getting hurt over their “joke.” At home it could be as clear as day, constantly being called a h**, tramp, b****… There is no excuse for this man.
Emotional abuse, this can be the hardest to spot and the hardest to explain. They can be serial cheaters, controlling under the guise of trying to “protect you”, they play mind games, constantly lie, make you question your own reality, make you feel crazy and flip the script on you when they’re obviously in the wrong. This is not love!
This heartbreak I went through made me realize why God doesn’t want lukewarm Christians. Because he wants our love and our heart and when you genuinely love someone there is nothing lukewarm about it. You put that person first, you look for ways to make them happy, you want to be there for them even to the point of forsaking yourself. You will sacrifice selfish ambitions for them.
So when you’re doing all the above for the one you love and they’re lukewarm, not willing to sacrifice anything, just there when it’s comfortable and easy for them…. It’s a slap in the face. Either be on fire or be cold but don’t play the middle ground because lukewarm will be spit from the mouth of God.
Ladies, you shouldn’t have to settle for lukewarm love either. A true man of God will bring you closer to God, will pursue you in a godly way not a thirsty way. There will be no verbal, emotional or physical abuse. His love should be on fire! Willing to be selfless for you. As you should be with him.
Why settle for anything less?
How many times will you be broken before realizing you deserve more? Dear sister, you’re worth more! Get out of your feelings, follow God and know that HE is enough! You don’t NEED that man. Your heart has been through enough, now lock the door and give God the keys!
You can trust God with your heart. Seek him and he’ll show you what real love is. Then, when you’re healed and whole, a man who goes through God and is trusted with the keys to your heart is worth the wait.