"I DON'T WANT TO FEEL DEPRIVED"
It's funny-- the way we think sometimes. It's like we need to re-write the book in our head. Because sometimes we just get it backwards.
True story. A lady came into a Weight Watchers last week. The leader (whom I know) asked her why today was the day she had chosen to join. The woman explained that her knees were really bothering her; she had begun to avoid social situations- including being too embarrassed to go to her high school reunion; her clothes didn't fit and she had no energy left to do things with her family.
After speaking a bit more, this new member said she was afraid to join; however, because she didn't want to feel deprived.
Wasn't she already deprived? The leader sought to encourage her-- weren't the sore knees, the desire to avoid social situations and not having energy to do things with her family deprivations?
Now, I don't always make the right choices, but from the outside looking in it seems there are more painful deprivations facing this dear woman than just choosing carrots over potato chips. But we all do this, right? We somehow get it backwards. Rarely do we count eating healthy or exercise as "treats" we give ourselves.
And couldn't you see this applying to so many things? For example, it feels good in the moment to speak our mind, but God says it is better to rule our spirit (Proverbs 16:32). It feels good to sow in various ways to please our sinful nature, but God says we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).
WHAT WAS I THINKING?
I guess we all have areas in our brain that need to be re-written (Romans 12:2). I know I do! I had personal experience with this just last week. Last week was busy... but it didn't have to be terrible. And, sadly, it was.
In fact, after a couple days of "terrible" I felt totally at a loss! The terrible was in me and it had begun eeking out! Sure, at times it was just inside (I'm sure no one could feel the under the surface vibe...), but other times it was in the form of a sigh, an impatient remark or a raised voice. I was crabby and instead of reforming my ways, each day got a little worse.
I began to look for something to blame- something at arms length. You know, I thought, this could be the change of life! Maybe hormones are to blame for my crabbiness. Oh yikes- it couldn't be that. I might be crabby for a decade! No. It's not that.
I sought out my husband and began to pour out my confession to him. I had been snappy. Easily frustrated. And a couple times I felt plain not nice!
He began to ask about my Bible time, my exercise routine, what I was meditating on... boy does he knows me. The fog began to lift. Oh- this wasn't a huge mystery after all. I was trying to make poor choices and expect there to be no consequence from my actions.
With my busy schedule, I had reduced my Bible reading time. In the evening I was so tired that I had decided I was a bit "deprived" and chose to play on the internet or watch a documentary rather than catch up on reading God's Word. Exercise had stopped completely. I was too tired from staying up late. And as the week went on, I began meditating on problems, rather than on the truth of God's Word. It didn't take long before I was a whole new person- a person I didn't want to be!
I wanted peace, but I wasn't doing what brings true peace.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
I know better. What was I thinking?
Of course, no sooner had I repented to the Lord, than our thirteen year old came to me and said, "Isn't it so weird Mama, what the people recorded in Numbers did?" She was referring to Numbers 14:39-45 and what happened after certain men who had brought a bad report of the Promised Land were judged.
Those who had listened to those wicked and unbelieving bunch were told they would not enter the Promised Land. But the next morning, they "rose early," climbed the mountain to Moses and basically said, 'Yes, we sinned but now we are going to take the land.'
Moses warned them that God would not be with them, but they went anyway and were defeated.
"It's like they thought they could do things their own way and still receive God's blessing- weird" she said.It cut me to the heart. That is what I had been doing. I was meditating on whatever I wanted to-- and expecting the God of Peace to be with me. Weird indeed.
How many times do we do that-- chose our own way and expect the blessing of God? Or at least no consequence?
LEARNING -- AGAIN
I had reasoned that I was "deprived" and in need of entertainment and so I began to feed the flesh and starve the Spirit. But in doing so, I had deprived myself of peace and many fruits of the Spirit. I confessed to my daughter that this was exactly what God had been showing me that morning.
Good thing she had spent some solid time in the Word.
"Two are better than one because they have good return for their labor.For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up."~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Here I am learning again (um... how many times is that now?) that I am not deprived by choosing God's way. Quite the opposite is true.
I am realizing that the things I was gravitating toward to fill that "deprived" feeling were really quite costly. And this week, my faithful little disciples, were beginning to struggle with some of the same attitudes I was.
Thankfully, we can come to the Father through Christ; confess our sin and receive forgiveness. We are in it together.
"He that covers his sins shall not prosper; but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy."~Proverbs 28:13
Blessings to you!
Photos: Back to School cupcakes made with chocolate covered graham cracker "chalk boards" and red M&M apples. In hindsight- I'd use smaller graham crackers. These were so big they would fall over at times! Of course, the girls didn't mind- they thought they were great. And new school year shots of the girls-- love those punkins!