“Unglued” Chapter 5: The Key’s in the Cake

There’s a lot in this chapter, so I’ll just concentrate on the main things that stood out to me.  First, a verse I’d heard before – Proverbs 29:18:  “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint” or:  “Where there is no vision, the people perish”.  Because I’d always connected this verse with vision, I thought it meant:  “If you don’t have a clear idea of where you’re going, you’ll cast off restraint”, and that would make sense, but Lysa said the Hebrew word for revelation actually means ‘Divine communication’.  Yes!  Without divine communication, without that inner dialog between me and God in a difficult situation, I’ll cast off restraint, whether I want to or not.  I can’t do life without Him.

 

I wrote about the fruit of the Holy Spirit in my post on chapter 3, and I was pleased to see self-control mentioned here, but is it enough just to know that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is self-control?  I remember the first time God highlighted this verse to me after a bad reaction.  For a while, I hoped that having a strategy would be the key to complete change, but sadly, just knowing the verse hasn’t stopped me reacting badly to things sometimes.  So what is the key?  I think it’s here in this chapter … and it has to do with cake!  This sounds a familiar story.  Maybe it happens a lot to parents of young children – you know the one where they take the cake out too soon, and for a few minutes it looks great, then the outside caves in because the centre wasn’t properly cooked?  That’s just like me.  What goes on inside affects what people see on the outside.  I would say 100% of the time, bad reactions happen when something’s not right in my heart.  Maybe I spent too much time on negative thoughts like:  “I’m not good enough”, or maybe I believed the lie that God values me for my achievements instead of for who I am.  People might think this a very bold statement, but I’m going to make it anyway:  If I always really believed what the Bible said God thought about me, I’d never have another bad reaction.  I’d feel so secure, so satisfied in His love, that what would anything else matter?

 

So my one piece of advice from this chapter?  Seek God.  It was third on Lysa’s list of things to do in the quiet:  Give your thoughts to Jesus.  Let His truth shout down the lies that corrupt your centre.  Do you feel not good enough?  God’s chosen you and not rejected you (Isaiah 41:9).  Do you think your significance depends on what you can achieve?  Well, God announced from heaven that He was pleased with Jesus at Jesus’ baptism, before He’d even started His ministry; and the way God loves Jesus?  He feels that exact same love for us.

 

How about you?  Are there any favourite verses that help when you’re feeling unglued, and would you like to share them in the comments?

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This is a “Faith Without Borders” post.  It’s not too late to join and share your thoughts with us on Facebook, or you could just leave them here.  We’d love to hear from you, and remember to go to Jess’s blog on Tuesday for her post on chapter 6.

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“Unglued” Update

“Faith Without Borders” people, have you noticed we’re a teeny bit behind schedule?  We haven’t abandoned ship; Jess’s chapter 4 post is up now if you want to take a look, but I just thought I’d write and say would you keep us in your prayers?  I don’t know how Jess finds the time to do all that she does.  We really want to be there for you all and study this book together, so would you pray there’ll be time in the busyness for that, and also for our rest and our journeys with God?  We need Him to refresh us before we can refresh others.

 

Thank you for your prayers and please stick with us.  The group’s open till 2 December, so plenty of time to get through the book.

“Unglued” Chapter 3: Still on the Journey

In this chapter, Lysa talked about the negative labels she gave herself.  To be honest, I struggle more with the labels other people put on me.  I’ll give you an example.  When I was 15, I had Severe Reactive Depression.  I couldn’t see a future for myself, so doing my G.C.S.E.s seemed pointless.  When I told this to one of my classmates, she said:  “You’re just a dropout”.  Ouch!  That hurt.  It hurt then, and I still think about it 16 years later; and because I don’t have a paid job, sometimes on a bad day, it can feel like she was right.

 

Another time, I struggled with something being said on a regular basis.  After several months, I felt I had to step away from the situation.  The response I got?  “Maybe you’re unteachable.”  That stuck too, even though I’m fairly sure it wasn’t true, but Lysa’s right:  They can only stick if you let them, so let’s unglue them.  What are these labels actually saying?  Dropout – no hope of ever making anything of your life.  Unteachable – no hope of ever learning.  Hopelessness.  Is that what God offers us?

 

Lysa admitted she spoke to herself in a way she’d never let anyone else speak to her!  She obviously has a filter somewhere in her head – telling her what’s acceptable and what’s not, and I filter what’s said to me, too.  My filter is:  Would Jesus say that?  Sometimes I think:  No He wouldn’t, and other times:  Well, maybe He would, but He’d say it more gently, and He’d always offer an opportunity for change.

 

A lot of the time, when we pin negative labels on ourselves or they’re forced on us by others, we lose sight of what Lysa alluded to at the end of the chapter:  We’re unfinished Masterpieces.  When we read about God sanctifying us through and through (1 Thessalonians 5:23), that literally means making us holy and blameless.  Why would we need to be made holy, if as soon as we became Christians we were there already?  The Christian life is a journey.  “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience” …  Fruit grows; it doesn’t appear overnight.

 

If you’ve read this chapter and struggled with negativity, that’s the thought I want to leave with you:  You’re still on the journey.  You’re unfinished pieces of art, being crafted by the Master, so don’t give up on yourself.  Be confident that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” – Philippians 1:6.

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This is a “Faith Without Borders” post.  It’s not too late to join and share your thoughts with us on Facebook, or you can leave them here in the comments.  We’d love to hear from you, and remember to go to Jess’s blog on Friday for her post on chapter 4.

A Note to Compassion-sponsors

2 Corinthians 9:12, 14 (CEV) – “What you are doing is much more than a service that supplies God’s people with what they need.  It is something that will make many others thank God. …  Now they are praying for you and want to see you, because God used you to bless them so very much.”

 

Have your sponsored children said they want to meet you?  Where are they and do you think you’ll visit?  I’d love to visit the Philippines, but although I sponsor a boy in Haiti, I don’t seem to want to go there.  Not sure why that is.

“Unglued” Chapter 1: Afraid to Make a Change?

In case you’re wondering, you don’t need a book to follow these posts and talk to us about them, but if you would like a taste of what we’re studying, you can download the first 2 chapters for free here.

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Chapter 1 is about how, through an incident in Lysa’s home, God brought to light her bad attitude to the people around her.  She looked at herself, and she knew she needed to change; she could see the consequences of not changing.  “God help me,” she says, “if I don’t get a handle on this.”

 

I found I could relate to Lysa in this chapter – firstly, that the bad reaction seemed to have been triggered by something so small.  I’ve reacted badly before, and later I’ve thought:  Why did I get annoyed so easily?  But there was a reason.  In Lysa’s case, it was that the same thing had happened over and over again, and this time was the last straw.  For me when I’ve reacted badly, there have been things in the past I’ve held onto, long after I should have let them go – feelings of jealousy or insecurity; things I thought I was over, until I flew off the handle and discovered otherwise.

 

When we’re faced with flaws in our characters, I think it’s good to examine ourselves and get to the root of them, but that brings me to the second way I can relate:  Regret.  I haven’t done any research on this, but I would think regret is much greater in Christians than in people who don’t believe.  We’re told in the Bible that we’re Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20).  That’s a very high calling, and it hurts my heart deeply to know someone just saw me at my worst when they should have seen Jesus in me, but God’s more interested in our futures than in our past failures.  How can any good come out of a situation if we stop at regret?

 

The third and final thing I relate to is her attitude to change.  Lysa would put off change because of the fear of not doing it perfectly; but, as she says, we need to draw lines again and again.  It’s just a case of making sure those lines are moving forwards, not backwards.  That helps me so much too – to think of where I’ve come from.  When I think of me 8 years ago, then 3 years ago, and then I think of myself now, I can see an improvement.  You might say:  “But people didn’t know me 3 years ago” – well, maybe not … but God did.  When you love someone, you always see the best in them, don’t you?  So, as God loves you more than any human being ever could, why wouldn’t God see the best in you?

 

Are you afraid to make a change?  Why, or why not?  Are you still struggling to get past the regret?

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This is a “Faith Without Borders” post.  It’s not too late to join and share your thoughts with us on Facebook, or you can leave them here in the comments.  We’d love to hear from you, and remember to go to Jess’s blog on Friday for her post on chapter 2.

Prayers and Sweets

I just wanted to tell you about this lovely idea someone had for church today.  They gave out different-coloured sweets, and each colour represented something:  Orange was family; yellow was friends; silver was food etc.  We weren’t allowed to eat our sweet until we’d thanked God out-loud for that particular thing.  It’s a great way of prompting praise.  It could become very stilted if you let it, or you could just use it as a starting-point.

 

How about saying thank You and then, as you eat your orange sweet, praying for members of your family – the ones who don’t yet know that God loves them and don’t tell their problems to Him?  As you chew on your yellow sweet, why not list the things you love about your friends (I love that I have friends of different ages and different races), or bring a friend to God who’s going through an especially rough time?  And as you savour your silver sweet, think about the food you have.  We celebrated harvest this morning, so there were tins and packets of food decorating the church, as well as plenty of lunch afterwards.  Someone said at the end we must’ve had about 30 baked potatoes left-over – we had more than enough!  Surely that’s something to thank God for, and how about asking Him if there’s a way you could provide for someone who doesn’t have enough?

 

What do you think of this idea?  Could you try it at home?  What would you have the colours represent?

Welcome

A lovely post from a fellow-(In)Courager. What do you think of it? Have you ever felt this kind of welcome?

Beauty out of dust

They didn’t question why we were there.

No grilling me to to see if I my life was in order.

Just openness and honesty.

A willingness to go deep when I broke the norm of chitchat

A taking me aside to really listen

To say “I understand” and mean it.

To cry with me.

To listen and not shy away or run away from me in my rawness.

Instead, embracing all that I was right there and then.

How thankful I am that they did that!

I found myself unfolding.

Relaxing and coming alive again.

It’s what happens when one truly welcomes another.

 

 

This has been a “Five Minute Friday” entry.

Writing for five minutes flat without editing, backtracking, or over thinking.

Joining Lisa-Jo and all the rest in the growing and very Welcoming crowd this Friday.

(Ok, so it’s the end of Friday, but I’m still joining…

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“Unglued” Schedule and a Little About the Author

Do you remember the other day I told you about the group I was co-leading and the book we were studying?  Well, here’s a little update:  How exciting is this?  By the end of launch day, we had 20 members!  I really didn’t want the day to end.  Can I say a huge thank-you if you’ve joined us?  It’s been fun getting to know people, and a little overwhelming too (in a good way) to read some of your comments.  I’m glad you feel so at-home in our Facebook community.

 

If you’re starting to feel like you’re missing out on all the fun, you can come and join us here.  We now have 35 women, ready and waiting to start a study of “Unglued:  Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions” by Lysa TerKeurst.  Lysa is a bestselling author.  She helps everyday women (that’ll be me then, and the ones who’ve joined our group) to live out their faith, but she doesn’t just talk about it:  She puts her faith into action.  Lysa and her husband have adopted 2 boys from Liberia, inspiring their community to adopt 45 children from the same orphanage.

 

Have I lost anybody yet?  I’ll be honest.  If I was reading this written by someone else, I might be switching off now and wondering how someone like me could identify with someone like her who’s done so much.  But I’ve read the start of “Unglued”, and she actually comes across as very approachable – a woman with similar struggles to mine, and with the same passion – to glorify God in the way she reacts to them; to make wise choices, even when her raw emotions come to the surface.

 

If that’s wetted your appetite, here’s our plan for the next 2 months (you’ll find Jess’s posts here on her blog):

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9 Oct:   Chapter 1, Sarah.

12 Oct:  Chapter 2, Jess.

16 Oct:  Chapter 3, Sarah.

19 Oct:  Chapter 4, Jess.

23 Oct:  Recap posts from both of us.

 

26 Oct:  Chapter 5, Sarah.

30 Oct:  Chapter 6, Jess.

2 Nov:  Chapter 7, Sarah.

6 Nov:   Chapter 8, Jess.

9 Nov:   Recap posts from both of us.

 

13 Nov:  Chapter 9, Sarah.

16 Nov:  Chapter 10, Jess.

20 Nov:  Chapter 11, Sarah.

23 Nov:  Chapter 12, Jess.

27 Nov:  Closing posts from both of us.

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So that’s what your Tuesdays and Fridays might look like, and if you’re in the Facebook group, you can chat with us in between times too.  What do you think?

Today’s the Day!

Have I told you about my favourite website, www.incourage.me?  You’ll see a link to it on my profile.  It’s a place where women write posts on a daily basis to inspire courage in their readers.  Well, back in August, the owners of (In)Courage had an idea.  Their heart has always been to connect people with one another, and they wanted some of their readers to take a bigger part in that.  They’d call them InCouragers.

 

I applied, and I’m honoured to have been accepted.  As one of my friends would say, I’m ‘Super-excited’, and I’ve had to keep super-quiet about it … until today.  Today’s the day all the (In)Courage communities are launched.  Feel free to go to the (In)Couragers’ page and take a look.  There are lots of different topics to choose from – marriage, motherhood etc.

 

I’m partnering with Jess to lead a group on everyday faith.  We’re calling it “Faith Without Borders” because I’m one side of the Atlantic ocean, she’s the other … but we can (In)Courage wherever we are.  We’ll study a book and take turns posting about the chapters, so you can read along with us and share what you get out of it.  If you decide to join and you’re not on Facebook; that’s ok; just subscribe to our blogs and leave your thoughts in the comments.

 

Our book for this 2-months’ session is “Unglued:  Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions” by Lysa TerKeurst, so please come and join us.  We’d love to have you.

Thank You

Status

On 31/08, I had an E-mail from Compassion.  September was blog month, they said, and their goal was to see 3,108 child-sponsorships.  Today, I had another E-mail:  3,159 children were sponsored!  All those they’d hoped for, + 51!  I won’t ask you to leave a comment; how you spend your money is none of my business, but if you played any part in the sponsoring of those 3,159 children, I just wanted to say thank you.