Thursday, May 31, 2012

I can't do anything!

Ever felt like that?  Ever had "one of those days"?  A day when nothing works out, you have too much month left at the end of the money, or even just a bad hair day.  We've all been there, right?

I have a lot of  "I can't"s in my life.  I can't eat healthy today because it's a special occasion.  I can't have my quiet time in prayer because there's a movie on that I have to see.  I can't resist buying this purse.  (Yes, I hear the giggles over that last one!)

When I have those days or those moments, my mind tries to help out by bringing up my favorite Bible verse, Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."  And yes, that is encouraging.  But what my mind fails to do is emphasize the last 6 words of that verse.  I am still powerless on my own, but with Christ I CAN do anything. 

I have this verse on an InspiRing that I bought a few weeks ago.  I wear it 24-7 to keep it close at hand (no pun intended!).
But today I was thinking about that verse and something our pastor tells us to do - read the verses immediately before and/or after to get the full meaning of a single verse that could be taken out of context.  Hmmm....

The book of Philippians is a letter from the apostle Paul to believers in Philippi.  It is an uplifting letter because he and Timothy are praising that congregation for their love, their obedience, and their prayers for him in his troubles.  But I notice that he doesn't just praise them, he reminds them to KEEP doing the good things they are already doing.

By the time I get to "my" verse, I realize that there really is more to it than meets the eye.  Here's what Paul says in verses 11 and 12:
     "...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." 

THEN he says that he can do everything through Christ.  

So it isn't just that I can do amazing things through the strength I get from Christ (although that is part of it), but that word "content" puts a new spin on things.  Content...whatever the circumstances; any and every situation; need and in plenty; Content...whether well-fed or hungry.  I can be CONTENT in anything with Christ's strength to empower me!

Another thing I notice is that Paul never says he is HAPPY in any of those verses.  Happy and Content are two totally different states.  Happy depends on outside "stuff"; Content depends on what is INSIDE.  

So if I take that realization and apply it to those gripes I listed at the beginning of this post, here's what I find out:
I can be CONTENT to make healthier food choices at this special occasion, or simply eat less of the foods that I do choose.
I can be CONTENT to miss the first part of that movie (which is usually just credits anyway) to make sure I get my time with God.
And a real toughie for me - I can be CONTENT with the purse I have and use my money for something that is a need and not a want.  (Most of you know how much this one hurts me to say!)

There is a warning in Revelation that we are not to change, remove, or add to the words of the Bible, but if I could just tweak this one verse, I'd have it say "I can be CONTENT in everything through Christ who gives me strength."

Tomorrow is Friday, and most of us are just naturally in a better mood because the weekend is right around the corner.  But even if things don't go exactly like I'd prefer them to, I will try to be CONTENT for one day, no matter what!  

'Til next time...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A little introduction ...  I live in Northeast Mississippi with my hubby of 17 years, Donnie.  We belong to a small, non-denominational church that we love with all our hearts.  We also love to ride our motorcycle, and we often ride with fellow church members. 

We met when we were both working at a hazardous waste facility in a local cement plant.  Yeah, I know, not the most romantic way to start off, but hey, it worked!  Now I work for a software company, and Donnie is Manager of the Fuels Department on the Air Force Base here.

We are both animal lovers.  Last August, we lost our vibrant 8-year-old mutt Spike very suddenly.  Summers in this part of the country are brutal, and even though there was plenty of access to cool water and shade, our vet felt that Spike suffered either heat stroke or a heart attack.  We'd had him since he was abandoned in my mom's back yard as a month-old pup, so we were devastated. 

As for me, I'm a walking contradiction most of the time.  My car is decorated with Hello Kitty stickers and plushies, but I'm a sucker for a good horror movie.  I love girly pinks and purples, but accented with black or kooky jewelry.  My iPod holds everything from Newsboys to The Cure, Johnny Cash to Frank Sinatra, Ozzy Osbourne to Pink.

On the other hand, things are I'm NOT contradictory about are my love and devotion to my family, my desire to learn more about God and His plans for my life, and my off-beat sense of humor that has kept me out of the psych ward more times than I can count!

I have never written a blog in my life (no, really!), but I've kept a diary off and on since I was 14, so I'm used to being transparent and open.  The reason I've started this blog is that I am at a point in my life where I am ready to make some big changes; a few of them are:

-  I recently went through a medical diet program and lost 34 pounds.  I still have a long way to go, but I'm equipped now to maintain the changes that got rid of those first pounds.  I feel like God led me to that program to give me a kick-start to taking better care of the Temple that He gave me.

-  I have a house full of "stuff" that needs to be ruthlessly sorted through and pared down.  When we moved into this house 12 years ago, I swore I wouldn't junk it up.  Well, in 12 years, I've accumulated a bunch of things I don't need or want, and as a result, my house is junked up! 

-  We have been made stewards of two comfortable incomes, but we have NOT lived up to our responsibilities of handling our money and resources well.  We have far too much credit card debt, and we both make too many impulse purchases.  Scripture says in Matthew 25:23 "You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things."  I don't need to be fantastically wealthy, but I want to get us to a point where our finances aren't a problem or a source of worry.

I know these and other changes are going to be a lot of work, and probably the hardest things I've ever done in my life.  But I'm excited about starting; it's like the first leg of a vacation, when you've got the whole trip to look forward to. 

Here is where I'll spill out my successes, my stumbles, my change-of-plans, and all the other stuff that I find on this trip.  So without further ado, I'm about to take that first step in my journey of a thousand miles!  Care to join me?