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Sunday, September 20, 2015

When I'm Wrong

It feels like in the last few months, I've been wrong more often than I've been right.  That can be really hard to admit, sometimes.  I don't know if I've always been this wrong, and I'm just now realizing and becoming more aware of my own faults and failures, or not.  Then there's the possibility that I've just been given so many more opportunities to mess up lately because we are involved with many different people and places and events that it makes it easy to screw up something with all the plates I'm trying to keep spinning.

What do you do when you're wrong? Do you recognize it? For me, it feels like this episode from "The Big Bang Theory" when poor Leonard agrees to some ridiculous bet with Sheldon and has to wear this itchy wool sweater:

You know, it's that internal, mental itch that says, "I am so uncomfortable and regretting this right now." It's the physical feeling of being a little nauseous, and hot. In my spirit it's the Holy Spirit saying, "Oh child, come and repent so we can fix this."

I've been wrong in little harmless ways, like the beginning of this pregnancy when I was so sick I thought it was twins, and then when I was sure it was a boy...and it's just one...girl. I didn't feel guilty or bad about those, just surprised at the lack of maternal instincts this time.  I am very excited about our surprise baby number three being Josie Faith! 
A good friend took this picture at the "Gender Reveal Party"
some sweet friends threw for us the week before we moved.
I've bought whole bean coffee at least FIVE times now, even though I only have a little cheap coffee maker and no grinder.  I mean WHY do I not read the label more carefully when buying something so important to brain function as coffee? I cannot answer this. I submit this exhibit and claim that it happens with two children and when pregnant:

Then I have been wrong in bigger ways, like a few months ago I caught a glimpse of Jonah with his hand in the air and someone hollered "Jonah!" and I thought he must have hit them, because he is so aggressive lately, and so I snatched him up and spanked him immediately. Then I found out two seconds later that he had not hit them after all. Sorry, kid, mommy fail. Physically embarrassed, emotionally guilty, spiritually wondering why I was given the enormous task of raising this strong willed boy when I obviously have far less patience than I used to think I possessed.  Or when I let the kids play alone for a few minutes while I sipped coffee and took deep breaths, and the clumsy little toddler fell and hurt herself.  Sorry, kid, mommy just needed one quiet moment and I was really hoping you would not fall over your own feet during that time. Then the Lord reminds me through lovely posts, things like this: 

Then I have been wrong in even bigger ways, like thinking that a social media post was directed to me, and feeling all hurt and offended, and just not being able to let it go, until I decided I needed to defend myself, and ended up hurting a friend. My goal was not to hurt, it was to defend myself. However, the result was still hurting to someone else. I feel like an epic failure when I hurt someone.  I tried to apologize, but the friendship was too broken.  I knew I had failed her, but more, I had failed the Lord because I did not trust the whole matter to Him in prayer.  I made a mistake because I could not let my identity be found so deeply in Christ, that it didn't matter what anyone else thought about me. I made a mistake because I thought I needed to defend myself, when the Lord so clearly tells us: 

So I just withdrew into my guilt and self-loathing 

But also feeling faithless, and frustrated. Then the Lord gently picks me back up with messages like these:

 It's a good thing God sees us through His son! Colossians 2:13-14 says this: 13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 

It's amazing that He forgave us. He forgave us for all the sin we used to commit, all the sin we struggle with in the present, and all the future things we would never imagine we'd have to overcome.  He nailed our record of charges of sin to the cross.  
He nailed the record of our charges of sin on His Son, so that I could have a chance at a relationship with the Creator of the Universe, because HE LOVES ME.  That blows my mind and brings me to my knees. 

Ephesians 1:7-8 says it this way: He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

He has showered his kindness on us - literally showers us! Wowza!

In the last few weeks of moving and life inconsistency, I've been wrong again.  I've neglected a daily prayer and Bible time because our life has had no routine and I haven't set apart or time or space for this.  A daily time with the Lord is the KEY to apathetic faith, and one of the hardest routines to set into stone! Moving/vacations/changes in your daily schedule will throw this off, and it's sheer will power to set up a new meeting with God.  It is always so evident to me that the longer I go ignoring the Lord, the more dissatisfied I become with everything.  Then it hit me that I was so discontent because I was focusing on me, and this major truth I learned a few weeks ago and shared in an instagram post came flooding back: 

At the Send Conference, Louie Giglio said this: 

...the word and act of SIN always looks and focuses IN. When we focus on ourselves and the parts we dislike or feel that we lack, we aren't focusing one bit on reaching others for Christ. Having negative self image is just one more distraction the devil happily throws in our face to say 'You're not good enough. You can't make a difference. You're too ____.' We spend more time comparing ourselves to others than sharing Christ. Sin looks in through self-pity, selfishness, the desire to fulfill our own wants, and pride. However the GOSPEL always prompts us to GO. The Gospel, knowing that Jesus Christ has lived and died for our sin, and was resurrected just because God LOVES us and wants to restore relationship with us, that gospel says go and share that, share that message, share that love. 

 My frustration was all due to hyper focusing on all the negative parts of this transition - the SIN of looking IN.  I was frustrated because we don't have our own space yet, and its hard to live in another person's house, even very nice people! In a few weeks, though, a free house to live in will be open for our family to move! What a blessing that will be! For now our kids are getting valuable time with grandparents and we are not homeless. I was frustrated because we are now over 20 minutes from the church and we only have one vehicle. This distance and single vehicle, makes getting ready for church things very stressful and rushed as compared to living across the street, and John walking over whenever he needed to, so I could bring the kids when we were ready.  However, I know that if I plan more the night before, and wake up super early, and don't attempt to feed the kids something messy or hot, then I can make it out the door on time, and have more time to spend as a family in the car.  In order for John to be at church at 8am for leadership prayer time, the kids and I dropped him off, then went and ate breakfast at McDonald's today.  It was kind of nice! I was frustrated because we were sharing a phone, and then Karis pushed that one phone into the fountain and it had to sit in a bag of rice for 3 days. Thank God it worked! Instead of feeling so grouchy, I should have been drawing closer to the Lord and re-establishing a time every day where I pray and read my Bible.  The She Reads Truth app was about the only thing I looked at many days during this move, and when my phone went into the rice, I lost that, too, only due to my own laziness of not wanting to go to the website on my computer.  

 I realized that another part of my sadness was due to missing many friendships with ladies that I had built over the last year during our time in Tennessee, and was now spending most days just staying at home with my kids. Sin looks In.  The first week, this was good for us to rest and recover and deal with a lot of big emotions.  The second week, this became dull and idle and wallowing in self-pity.  I realized (again) that part of my calling as the wife of a man in ministry, is to also be doing ministry! I love building relationships and community! We've been here for 2 weeks, and I haven't made it a priority to reconnect with a few dear friends who live here or to reach out and begin building new friendships with ladies in our church.  The Gospel says GO - I am going to get out this week and spend time with some other people besides my ever so whiny children! 

When I'm wrong - it's almost always because at some level, I think I know more than God.  When it comes right down to it, it's me saying subconsciously "I know what's best here, Lord, so I'm not going to stop and pray, I'm just going to act in my flesh." Every time I submit, surrender, pray before acting, and obey, it is giving into His Lordship, submitting to him as Master, and acknowledging, "Oh God, you know far more than I ever could.  I surrender to your plan." 

Ephesians 2 is so encouraging to me right now: But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 

He is rich in mercy. He has given us life for a reason.  He has gifted us with this enormous amount of grace.  Nothing I do that is good, can balance or make up for what I do wrong, because it's all just by His grace and love that I get to know Him anyways. And then finally that passage ends with this promise, this challenge, this beautiful way of saying we are His kids and we need to be about his business in Ephesians 2:10:  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Being wrong hurts, because it means admitting sin. But we can get up, admit it, and move on to do the good things he planned for us long ago!  I'm so glad that God can take our broken messes and turn them into something beautiful like these suggest: 
Being wrong definitely teaches you what to do right.  I am learning to trust, surrender, and look more to Him. The longer you go not admitting you are wrong, the more a big wall of pride builds up between you and God and other people in your life. This great Ann Voskamp quote came across my newsfeed on Facebook or instagram in he last few days, and I was finally able to say, "Yes, Lord, yes. Help me look more at you and less at me. You must increase, and I must decrease." 

Have you been wrong lately? Can I get an amen?