Internal Chatty Kathy

Thursday, October 25, 2012

For as long as I remember I've had this propensity to analyze and over analyze just about every conversation (written and spoken) I've had. I've been plagued by the phrase, "what did they mean by that?" And truth be known, I've been guilty of saving texts, emails, instant messages, and voice mails for months just so I can go back over them to make sure I know what they meant.

What an uplift  to my heart to read in Unglued that I'm not the only one. And not only do other women do it, but there is a way to put a stop to the negative Nelly inside my head. Praise God! Prior to this, I've never done an online bible study and I've never read a Lysa Terkeurst book. How perfect is God's timing? He readied my heart for what I needed to read, learn and apply to my life.

I've long struggled with accepting compliments. When someone compliments my work, my appearance, my attitude....anything, I'm compelled to point out my flaws to prove I'm not worthy of their praise. It is something God has been working through in me. And so now instead of pointing out the flaw, I'll smile and say "thank you." BUT inside, here comes the negative chatter. They're just being polite, they want something from you, they weren't paying attention, and on and on and on. So for me the two go hand in hand.

In His divine wisdom and love, God has blessed me with the perfect man for me. God has given him an insight into my very heart and soul....and mind. When he sees the wheels turning in my head about to attribute a hidden meaning to something he has said or done, he immediately calls me on it. I'll admit at first it irritated me because not only did it suck the wind out of my sails, it drew attention to my negative inside chatter.

In Unglued, Lysa suggests three questions to ask ourselves in order "to hold our runaway thoughts, assumptions, and misperceptions in check." Those questions include asking yourself if someone actually said this or are you making an assumption to their meaning, am I actively immersing myself in truth and are their situations/relationships that feed my insecurities? Over the last few days, I have been putting those questions into practice. And I can honestly say, they are working.

Last Saturday, my beloved and I were working outside putting tarps over a trailer full of hay and when we were done, he said, "You are beautiful in the moonlight." And my response was, "oh well, then I should always stay in the moonlight then." Because what I heard was I was only beautiful in the moonlight and what I assumed he meant was I wasn't beautiful any other time. (How quick are those runaway thoughts?!) Bless his heart, my perfect man said, "well that's the dumbest response I ever heard."

And he was right. It was a dumb because it attributed my negative inside chatter to him. And he didn't deserve that. That was before I read the chapter. That was before I had time to digest those three questions. And before I had time to pray and immerse myself in God's truth.

So last night, he's telling me about how he had been doing some work outside and there was a pile of sawdust in the yard from where he had shortened some boards. I didn't notice it and told him so. He said, "well, I wouldn't expect you to." And immediately I had all these negative thoughts about to runaway. But I paused before saying anything at all and let my mind process what he actually said vs. what he could have possibly meant by it. So instead of assuming he meant I lacked good observation skills, I asked why he wouldn't have expected me to see it. Turns out the pile was behind the shed. Needless to say, I never would have seen that unless I went behind the shed with a flashlight.

Addressing the issue of inside chatter will lead us to freedom. Freedom to pour out love on others, to think clearly, to obey God's call on our lives no matter what others think. Think on and live out truth and only truth! (Pg 149 Unglued).

I am making imperfect progress!!




The dreaded "J" word!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jealousy. Just the mention of the word can put people on the defensive. We instinctively know that it's not a "good" emotion. We want no part of it. Jealous? Me? No way.
But in all honesty, jealousy sometimes creeps in when we aren't looking. At times it masquerades as something else....doubt, insecurity, comparison, pride....but at the core, it's envy.
I've never been one to really be jealous of material possessions. I had taken to heart the belief that to be jealous of what another person had was equivalent to telling God that what He gave me wasn't good enough.
But then there came the time that I remained single while every one of my friends got married.  Don't get me wrong, I was ecstatic for my friends. They deserved happiness and it looked good on them. But suddenly that jealous spirit was alive and thriving within me.
It started with doubt and insecurity. What's wrong with me? Then comparison. What does she have that I don't? Then pride. I'm just as pretty/smart/talented as she is. I personified that wicked green eyed monster.
I'd love to tell you that it only took a matter of days to snap out of it. I'd like to tell you it took just a couple of weeks. I'd be ok with telling you it only took a couple of months. In reality, this gloomy despair went on for the better part of a year.
And when I say gloomy despair, it's not an exaggeration. Jealousy consumed me. I just didn't realize the core of what I was going through was jealousy. I never labeled it jealousy because I was too busy making it all about me.
I spent so much time in prayer seeking answers from God. What was wrong with me? Why did He want me to remain single? If He wanted me to live a single life, could He please make it bearable?
God didn't answer me in any way that I could have expected. He just showed me the beauty of the life I had in that moment. I know that it was a slow process but He finally got through to me.
"I'm not designed or assigned to carry someone else's load. When I wish for someone else's life, I waste the limited life energy  I've got to face my own challenges and opportunities. God has a beautiful plan for me - a creative best I can accomplish with my life." (page 136 Unglued) Ultimately, I couldn't compare my journey with Him to that of anyone else. He was still preparing me for what He had in store for my life. It's all about His timing.
And He has placed the perfect man for me in my life at the perfect time. A man that He hand picked for me. A man that He knows is who I need and who needs me. Those single years weren't wasted. That was time God used to prepare and polish me so that I could shine for Him.
I can't guarantee that jealousy won't rear it's ugly head again. But as Lysa says in her book Unglued, having a jealous or giving spirit is MY choice. I never want to lose sight of the magnificence of my reality in pursuit of what I perceive someone else has. I will give thanks for who I am, for what I have, for what I can do, and for Who I belong to!


Unglued in Action

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The past couple of weeks have had me so busy. There has been a flurry of activity everywhere and it seems the days disappeared right before my eyes.
With all the business of being busy, I fell behind in the Unglued bible study. I started off right on track and was actually proud of myself for sticking with it. I have a history of starting lots of projects with gusto and then fizzling out to nothingness rather quickly. So when this week started and I was barely into reading chapter 5, I began to fret and feel a tad bit....unglued.
As I struggled to finish  Chapter 5 and  get started on Chapter 6, I began to hear those whispers. The ones who reminded me that I do have a "quitter" history. Voices that alternately fought to make me give me up or to skip over 5 and go directly to 6 (or better yet to skip both those chapters and move on to 7 to be with everyone else). I felt the weight of guilt and shame try to settle upon me as Chapter 5 seemed to grow in length every time I picked it up.
But because I've been reading Unglued, and  been using it in a practical way everyday rather than storing up the info for when I "really" need it, I shut out those voices with God's word. "We must spend time with God. letting His truths become part of who we are and how we live." (pg 76 Unglued). With each turn of the page, I felt God's presence cheering me on and I'm not going to lie...I felt victorious. And I'm so glad I read Chapters 5 & 6. There was so much powerful good in those chapters!
Today I finished Chapter 7 and knew in my heart and soul that this chapter is the one Satan was trying to keep me from reading. Two sentences in that chapter at first glance were powerful, " Remember who you are. I am a child of God, holy and dearly loved, whom God has set apart for a mighty plan." And they brought to mind the scripture in Isaiah 54:
 “Behold, I have created the blacksmith
Who blows the coals in the fire,
Who brings forth an instrument for his work;
And I have created the spoiler to destroy.
 No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord."
I put down the book to take care of some tasks and started to somewhat casually say a prayer of thanks to God that I am His child. And that's when the Holy Spirit settled upon me so heavily and I felt from head to toe how significant those sentences are...how significant it is to be the child of the Most High God...how significant to be holy and dearly loved and oh how magnificent to be be set apart by God for a mighty plan! And I wept for joy.
Thank you Lysa TerKeurst for being an obedient servant of God and for sharing so much of your glorious imperfect progress. You have profoundly touched my heart and given me practical tools to keep me on the road to imperfect progress myself. And thank you so much for those words that reminded me how precious it is to be a child of the Holy One. 
 

Can I Call It Grace?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

While reading Chapter 3 of Unglued by Lysa Terkeurst, I reflected on all the labels I've attached to myself as well as those placed upon me by others. Some I can remember shedding, while others were just covered up by a new one. Emotional, introverted, dreamer, procrastinator, needy, impatient, fatalistic, out of control, perfectionist....sinner.
It's hard to shed a label once you've accepted it as truth and incorporated it into your character. It becomes one of the buzz words you use to describe yourself while trying to put a positive spin on it. I'm impatient but I get the job done quickly or I'm a perfectionist so you know the job will be done right. And then it becomes like a security blanket that you can't part with.
A couple of years ago I did the Beth Moore Believing God bible study. Part of the study was to say a 5 statement affirmation several times a day. One of those statements was "I am who God says I am." That was the hardest thing for me to say. I had always taken that "work in progress" phrase to heart so to say I am who God says I am rather than I am becoming who God says I am was very difficult. All through that study I said those words but never really accepted them as true.....shh...don't tell Beth.
Then about a year ago, God finally convinced me that who I am at this given moment is who He says I am. He is chiseling me and He is transforming me. But it's on His time not mine. So at any given moment I am His masterpiece being revealed.
-For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
As this scripture says, as Lysa expounds on, I am His workmanship and He has prepared a work for me as well as prepared me to do that work. He is fine tuning me. He is chiseling away the hard places that don't reflect His vision. Those labels attached to me are no match for the Father's chisel.
And as He chisels....Grace. I will see it. I will feel it. I will call it grace.