Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day One: It All Starts with God

Point to Ponder: It's not about me.

Verse to Remember: Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him - Colossians 1:16b (Msg)

Question to Consider: In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?

This isn't pretty. But it's been sitting in my draft tray for 2 days while I deal with sleepless nites that I owe to my children and some wicked overtime that Jeremiah is working. Better to get it out here than to wait until it's pretty.

So how's this going to work? Not sure. But I can tell you one thing: you should read this book if you'd like to know what it's about, because I won't be providing blow-by-blow summaries of the chapters. I'll be using these entries to expound on the the daily point, verse, and/or question, and how they apply to my life and my relationship with God. So I suppose that, more than anything, you will sort of be peeking into my journal.

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm deactivating my Facebook account until July 1. I have every intention of returning to FB, unless I get to the end of this time, and I feel that it's better that I don't. I don't decry FB or any other social networking tool; it certainly has wonderful value for keeping in touch, for communicating information, for entertainment. But I personally was spending so much time reading about the lives of the 300+ people that I'm friends with that I was neglecting my own life, and my family as well. Time for some balance. So time to unplug.

I'm on a 40 day journey. To wrest the doubts and demons. To find my purpose and be at peace with it. To settle the struggle to trust. To renew. To refocus. To accomplish this, I'm going to let Rick Warren will be my guide. I commit to completing this book and to discovering a greater understanding of my purpose.

For too long, I've struggled with feelings of inferiority. I think that would surprise a lot of people...I believe I project confidence. But inside, I always feel like I'm being lazy, that I'm not doing enough, that I'm not living up to my potential. This could be true; on the other hand, this could be, by and large, a deception of the enemy, who would have us focus on ourselves to the exclusion of what we should be trying to accomplish. I've always believed that, whether you are focused on yourself because you think you're fabulous, or you're completely self-absorbed because you think you're worthless, the end result is the same: you are spending WAY too much time on yourself. I am spending WAY too much time on myself.

So, time to settle it. Time to go all out. Time to stop living short of my potential. OR - time to find out that I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. Either way, I believe that peace will be the by-product of the journey.

So back to today's message. Today, I focus on "it all starts with God." In reading this chapter, and in considering the point, scripture, and question at the end, these were my thoughts.

I am not an accident. I am significant in Him. I was born by and for His purpose. And I'm here for a reason, not randomly.

I heard Jonny Diaz's song "More Beautiful You" this morning while taking Elle to school. The song brings tears to my eyes, and fit perfectly with God's message to me for today. Here are the lyrics, in case you aren't familiar with it. It's appropriate for women of any age, to understand their worth. Heck, its core message of "you are valuable to God just the way you are" should resonate with everyone.

More Beautiful You

Little girl fourteen flipping through a magazine
Says she wants to look that way
But her hair isn’t straight her body isn’t fake
And she’s always felt overweight
Well little girl fourteen

I wish that you could see
That beauty is within your heart
And you were made with such care your skin your body and your hair
Are perfect just the way they are

There could never be a more beautiful you
Don’t buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you

Little girl twenty-one the things that you’ve already done
Anything to get ahead And you say you’ve got a man but he’s got another plan
Only wants what you will do instead

Well little girl twenty-one you never thought that this would come
You starve yourself to play the part
But I can promise you there’s a man whose love is true
And he’ll treat you like the jewel you are

So turn around you’re not too far
To back away be who you are
To change your path go another way
It’s not too late you can be saved
If you feel depressed with past regrets
The shameful nights hope to forget
Can disappear they can all be washed away
By the one who’s strong can right your wrongs
Can rid your fears dry all your tears
And change the way you look at this big world
He will take your dark distorted view
And with His light He will show you truth
And again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl

Some Purpose stream of consciousness

  • Focusing on myself will never, ever lead me to my purpose. It is only in GOD that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end. It's only when we sacrifice our life that we find it (Matt 16:25.)

  • We have two choices to determine meaning for our lives: speculation or revelation.

  • God isn't just the starting point, the square marked GO. He is the source. He's the creator of the board and all the pieces.

  • To discover purpose, turn to the Word, shut out (and up!) the world!

Regarding today's question

In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself - and teach my family - that life is really about living for God, not myself?

We are immersed in the messages of the world. We don't even have to seek these messages actively; they're everywhere we turn: on TV, on our computers, in our papers, magazines, music, and shopping experiences. To combat these constant messages, this bombardment of the philosophy that it's all about me and getting for me and mine, we must seek to immerse ourselves in the Word and in Kingdom influences. It is imperative to the successful Christian walk that our focus be on Christ first thing. When my eyes open in the morning,my first thoughts should be toward praise and prayer. It is ONLY by focusing solely on Christ that everything else in our lives comes into sharp clarity. It is with our peripheral vision that we see most clearly.

As silly as this is going to sound - and I sounds very, very silly - thinking about keeping focus reminded me of the movie The Runaway Bride. In the movie, Maggie keeps leaving fiances at the altar - and, of course, breaking their hearts in the process. I won't bore you with all the details, but when she's just about to make it successfully down the aisle, it's because she maintains eye contact with her groom - almost. When she loses eye contact, she loses focus. When she loses focus - on him, on the future, on their life together - she becomes distracted by doubts, by fear, by those around her who have told her she'll never succeed. Light-weight chick flick...with some profound meaning. When we take our eyes off of Jesus, even for a second, what happens? We start to focus on all the reasons this can't possibly work. By the shiny things. By needs that seem overwhelming. By distractions and temptations.

Keeping my focus on God is mandatory. Everything falls into place, and priorities and self-restraint become the rule, not the exception.

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