Proverbs 31- Enoughness.

So, we appear to be in a time in my life where this whole blogging thing is occasional at best… Between grad school, practicum, work, friendships, family, church, and a budding relationship, I haven’t really had time for the other things that keep me – uh, me?

I get so tired from everything that I find myself vegging out in front of my television rather than doing something that actually keeps me centered and brings me peace.

And, it’s begun to take a toll on my well-being.

I have recently been feeling extremely inadequate and insecure, feeling overwhelmed by the idea that I simply am just not enough. Not only that, but that I am not even capable of being enough… And this has been a big struggle through out my life, this

not enoughness.

It began with my job. Little thoughts:

I’m not good at this. I am so slow. Why do they keep me here? I never get enough hours, and that’s probably partially because I am not good at it…

An on and on.
Because I wasn’t keeping guard over my thoughts, the enemy used this as an opening. Speaking things aloud, he realized my life-long weakness was being revealed in an area that had as recently been untouched. So, he used that – he stepped in and began pulling the string.

From work, it went to school, from school to my practicum, from practicum to family relationships, from there to finances… Eventually, I was even feeling these insecurities creep into my new relationship.

Obviously, it’s a pattern in my life. God and I have been working on it for years. I have many blog posts about it, including two of my favorites (Letter to MeSpeak). 

But, I didn’t seek refuge from them, I let them take over, believing once again the lies I have heard since childhood:

You are not enough…

Then, last week, as I was at one of my worst days, I came to the end of my reading of Proverbs. Proverbs 31. Do you know it? It’s the chapter that describes the perfect woman… I mean, that’s what I always get out of it. An ideal that I can’t possibly live up to in my entire lifetime, here as an example of how God wants me to be (not to mention, what my future husband probably expects from me…) A vivid magnification of my not enoghness right in Scripture.

So, I began to break down this woman, looking into the meaning behind some of the words.

She is “noble” in the NIV or “virtuous” in the KJV. In their essence? She is valiant & strong. A warrior. This word is actually masculine and used to describe  a worthy force.

She has a high “price” – her value is beyond anything. Her husband has full confidence in her at the core of his being. Because she is in his life, he knows he lacks nothing. (interestingly, the word for lacking nothing of value literally means “spoil” or “booty”…so, basically, she’s a pirate :))

She literally does no harm to him in any time in her life: she never does anything that is evil or malicious, only what is beautiful or best or in fair favor. All.The.Days.Of.Her.Life… (I’m not sure if he’s in my life yet, and I’m sure I’ve already failed here…)

Then, she works…She cooks, she cleans, she takes care of the home & needs, she has a business, she makes sure her family runs smoothly. She gives to the needy and makes sure those around her are prepared for winter. But, the words used tell me she doesn’t just work: she is active in her work & it brings her pleasure.

This woman is confident; she knows what she wants, she makes it happen, & it brings her pleasure. This brings her husband confidence and makes others take note. She is a worthy force (no wonder she’s a rare find).

But, you know what I have missed all these years? Verse 17.

“She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms.” (NKJV)

It seems at first glance that she is just doing more work, but when I looked into the meaning, I found it this verse tells us something important. The key to why she can do everything else: The Proverbs 31 Woman takes care of herself, body & soul.

That’s the key to my enoughness.

By letting the thoughts take control & infiltrate every part of my life. By not taking the time to do what refreshes me mind, body, and soul. By letting the insecurities spread. By not turning to Christ in my weakness. By not taking care of my body.

I cannot become what I want to be if I am not attending to myself. I cannot take care of those around me if I do not take care of myself. I cannot pour into others if I am empty.

And, the answer was right there, in the chapter that brought me so much distress a week ago. I find my hope, my relief, and my inspiration.

I am already enough, because I was Crafted by God’s hand in His image for His purpose (Gen 1:27, Psalm 139, Eph 2:10).

In this chapter, I find the key is not to become enough, but to finally step into the enoughness that I already am.

Paint & Healing

It’s friday… As a matter of fact, it’s really only Friday for another 15 minutes. Today has been a long day, one that began hours before I am used to (who knew there was a 5:45 in the A.M.?)

Friday’s mean Five Minute Friday.  I got the prompt last night before bed & had it in my mind all day through.

Being at work so early meant I got off work early. Getting off work so early, though, gave me the opportunity to plan something for Friday night. What was intended to be a shopping trip, turned into an opportunity to experience God & witness Him working in a powerful way.

During the worship time at this event, I wrote my piece for Five Minute Friday.
This week’s theme is  PAINT:

Broken Pieces…
That’s all I feel I am these days.
Allowing secret sins to take over my life
Adding to anxiety and depression.
They Have taken up residence in my spirit
Separating me from my life-force.
Shattering my very existence.
Fragmented…
Broken…
Near Death.
I gasp for breath.
I cry out in desperation.
No air.
God, fill my lungs
Wash my heart.
Restore my broken pieces
Exert your healing power in my soul.
Redeem my shattered life.
Bring Your name Glory
From the new picture that 
You paint of my mess.

STOP

Now, let me tell you about how a shopping trip turned into such a wonderful time in God’s house…

I recently reconnected with a college friend, and he invited me to a healing conference at his church. In light of my Barns & Noble experience, I knew I could not turn down the opportunity be in God’s presence.

However, saying yes is always easier said than done. You think, “yes, a night in God’s presence with His people. Sounds great. And, the possibility of seeing an old friend, just makes it even better.”

But, going there, was not as easy.

There is still a war going on. You’re not wanted there. The whispers start. You won’t get anything out of it. The selfishness begins. You don’t deserve to be there. You’re still in the “wrong” place. The condemnation takes over.

YOU’RE ALL ALONE! The anxiety screams.

When I left work after an 8 hour shift, my entire body ached and a migraine was beginning to form. I was tired, and then suddenly overwhelmed by the realization that I would be going into this unknown situation ALONE.

Because the shopping center & the conference were both so far from my house, I almost turned around several times, nearly foregoing the event & even the shopping that had been my original draw (and my shopping was successful, if I do say so myself :).

But, that church was exactly where I needed to be tonight.

A song played during worship reminded me that I wasn’t there alone at all. That God was listening to me. Yes, me. Though the room had hundreds of people in it, He heard my heart.

As a matter of fact, I was feeling so disengaged & somewhat anxious, I was contemplating leaving, when the band began the song “Oceans” (by Hillsong).

Lately, this has become one of those songs that God uses to remind me that He is with me; it’s a song that helps me feel wrapped in His love & covered in His grace. It’s currently “Our Song”, if you will.

And, it was during this song that something happened: peace filled me. My body no longer ached. The anxiety fled, and I was able to engage.

They had an artist on stage who was allowing God to use her gift to create a painting, an art piece of worship to Him while the worship portion of the evening was happening.

And, it was during this time that I got my piece for Five Minute Friday (above).

After worship, the service was focused on healing. It’s always an incredible thing to see people healed. To feel God’s presence. To experience Him moving.

To allow God to heal me, even through the resistance of the flesh & the enemy.

To know that the reason the enemy keeps attacking is because I keep getting up & won’t stay down.

To know that His Kingdom is still strong on this earth, even though we often allow ourselves to get detached or apathetic about it, in light of the pressures of this world.

When we say no to opportunities like this, we cut ourselves off from His life-giving power. We limit what He can do in our lives and what we will do for him.

It is in saying yes to these opportunities that we really open ourselves up to Him working in our lives, to use us to reach others, and to Glorify His name.

It is in saying yes to these opportunities that we find freedom, wholeness, and relationship.

Grit

It’s that time again, 5-minute Friday. I am starting to love these.

The rules are write for 5-minutes straight, no over thinking, no editing. You just see what comes. If you want to write your own, or just want to read others, head over to The Gypsy Mama.

Ready?

GO


Grit brought to mind two things, the dirt in life, and the ability to keep going through it all.

Grit is being able to stand in the face of opposition. When others say what you are doing are foolish, even if you know it’s right, and doing it anyway.

Grit is learning from mistakes, picking yourself up, and moving forward. In spite of feeling foolish, you just learn and move on.

Grit is allowing Christ to pick you up out of your filth and clean you off. It’s allowing Him to work in you and through you, reaching out to others in their filth.

Grit means digging down deep, reaching into your depression, anxiety, or other ailments, and realizing that you have the power to dig it up at the root before it kills you.

Grit means Loving fiercely, laughing often, and carrying your cross daily.

I’m still learning, but what’s more, I have it. Not on my own, but because Christ is working in me to overcome the world.

STOP

The Gecko Law

I was four, I think. My family was in Hawaii; and it was great, I think. I only have broken memories from the trip. One thing I do remember clearly is fear. Yes, I was in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and I was TERRIFIED! Of what, you ask…well, the geckos of course.

So, my aunt and my cousins-in an attempt to help me sleep in spite of the geckos on our ceiling-told me of the “Gecko Law.” This law states that the geckos are not allowed to come down off the ceiling…I am told that I bought this “law.”

Looking back, I am surprised I didn’t feel a need to know exactly what happened if they came down; but that’s an undeveloped frontal lobe for you. Children have faith-with few questions. The same thing that allowed me to believe the gecko law, allows children to be open to Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, a fairy prince in the flower garden, a monster in the closet, and any other infinite number of possibilities.

The same simple belief that allows them to believe anything is possible allows them to believe in Mommy and Daddy. Especially Daddy. He can do anything, fix anything, and most of all, not only can he, but he will. Perhaps, this is why Christ says that we must have childlike faith to enter the Kingdom (Mark 10:15).

Yet, somewhere along the way we lose this simple faith that allows us to believe that our Abba will be true to His word and take care of us. We doubt, we wonder, we question. Right now, that is where I am at this delicate age of 23. Surrounded by questions, walls that seem insurmountable, and geckos on my ceiling. I feel that familiar emotion, the fear I clearly remember from Hawaii. 

So, why is it so hard for me to believe my Abba when He promises: “Ask, seek, and knock” (Matthew 7:7-9); yet, it was so easy for me to innocently believe a white lie such as the “gecko law.” And, that I believed with no proof; yet He has shown over an over that He will supply my needs (and beyond, if I have enough faith); He will allow Himself to be found (as true, loving, gracious, and merciful); and He will open the doors of opportunity if I continue to knock.

The reason is: I have an enemy. An enemy who takes it upon himself to attack the very Kingdom of the One I love so much. His goal is to be as the thief:

“The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10


In my life, that seems to be an attempt from the enemy to:
     *STEAL:   My Peace
     *KILL:    My Dreams
     *DESTROY: My childlike faith and trust in my Abba

But, there is one thing he (and I) often forget: I am on the winning side. Christ brought me life – full, abundant life. (And, here, abundant means: superabundant, above others.) As long as I choose to ignore the voice of the enemy and run to follow the voice of my shepherd, I will be safe and secure in His care.

This is not to say that the road will be easy or without troubles, but I can ask, seek, and knock; and know that He will return with an answer. I will lead an abundant life, and I can sleep peacefully knowing my geckos will stay stuck to the ceiling-its the law.


A lizard I recently found on my kitchen counter…
19 years later, I am able to face that fear, only because of  GOD…
Knowing I am safe in His care.