They say confession is good for the soul, and I have found that to be the case. In light of that, there are a few things I would like to share.
First, at the beginning of this year I wrote a post about how I needed to get healthy, by changing my diet, drinking more water and exercising. Instead of doing any of that, I have actually gone in the opposite direction, consuming more junk, less water and barely exercising - outside of the everyday chasing and lifting of heavy children. Apparently that doesn't count for much.
In fact, I have generally not taken good care of myself at all. I frequently miss meals, and live on coffee. While it isn't politically correct to admit this, I can't really afford to miss meals, because while some struggle to lose weight, I have always struggled to keep my weight up to a healthy level. So, I need to work out some ways to have healthy snacks and lunches pre-made and easy to grab...and get back to the organic food aisle. I've consumed more Doritos this year alone than in my entire lifetime, I bet. Unfortunately, this is going to require planning. Not my strength.
Second, I also wrote a post about needing to get some things around my home in order. I took a break from leading small groups, so that later I could be more free to serve. Guess what...I am still in the same boat! Except now I don't just have an awareness that things need attention, I am completely overwhelmed. It's ridiculous, really, because people have been married, raising kids and caring for homes for centuries. It can't be that hard.
So, I have dropped everything again, because I have realized that I am not in any position to do ministry. If I am not physically and emotionally healthy, and if my home, and the relationships within it, aren't thriving, then I have nothing to offer. [Nobody's going anywhere or anything...we just need to work on some attitudes and discipline issues with the little kids and Dave and I need to make sure we are carving out time for ourselves. When you have four kids, it gets a little challenging ;)]
Here's one on another topic altogether. I am making it my goal to become a more encouraging person. A friend who I love dearly once told me that I am a "challenging" friend, and she was right to say it. I don't know exactly what all she meant, but I do know that I can be hard to love and I say things at times that may not need to be said at all, or that could stand a little "sugar-coating." The Bible talks about iron sharpening iron, and it does take sandpaper to wear down our rough edges, but honestly, I don't want to be somebody's sandpaper friend. When you are thinking about who you want call to come over, do you call your challenging friend or your encouraging one? That's a no-brainer. Not that there are never times to say hard things, but I don't want that to be what characterizes me.
Finally, for all the talk I do about caring for the poor and needy, I don't actually do a whole lot. I don't do nothing, but I don't think I do enough either. I feel a lot of emotion about all the need, and I can cry in a heartbeat just thinking about it, but what good is that? The danger of knowing all the right scriptures, and feeling all those feelings, is that I might end up deceiving myself.
The book of James talks about not just being a hearer of the word, but a doer. Also, knowledge puffs up our egos, but love builds people up. If I don't pay attention, I might end up believing, because I feel sorry for people and can quote scripture about why we should be giving to the poor and oppressed, that I am fulfilling the law of God. Mercy has to be active or it isn't mercy...it's sympathy. Sympathy never filled a belly, kept a body warm or set a captive free.
There, I think that's enough for now. I'm glad that's out there.