“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Taking Care of Yourself: Part 2

Here's the other trap: fear of rejection. For those in this trap, it may be hard to say "no." Overwhelmed by what is already bulging out of our day planners, we still find ourselves saying, "yes" to one more person. We may think, "How could I say no? They really need my help." On the other hand, others in this trap find themselves rejecting people. "If I reject you first, then I can't be hurt." Both types of people are driven by a desire to be accepted. Their acceptance of me means I have self-worth.

Just like the fear of failure, through Christ there is a freedom from this trap. In this case, through our acceptance of Christ, God has accepted us, just as we are. We are now free from accusation. Colossians 1:22 tells us through Christ's death on the cross, He settled the debt we owed for our sin. As a result, He has brought us into a His own presence, and we are holy and blameless as we stand before him without a single fault. The good news is that we don't have to keep striving to be accepted by other because the creator of the universe already accepts us. What more do we want or need?

Some of you may already know this information. You've known that Christ is more than enough. You already know that Acts 17:25 says, Christ gives life and breath to everything, and He will satisfy all of our needs. Yet, everyday we seem to fall right back into that burdensome trap. It's not about faith for you; it's about making a lifestyle change. For others, this is new information; it may take time for it to sink in. Whether this is new or something you have already known, today can be a new day for you. All you have to do is take the first step. James 1:22 tells us, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." In Part 3, in 4 steps I'll tell you to make the changes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Take Care of Yourself Part 1

Time. Whom do you give it to? At the end of the day, is there any left for you?

It didn't surprise me when I read that over 70% of women with children under 18 years of age are working or looking for work.  Most of my friends are busy, even those who are not working outside the home.  What drives us to keep pushing ourselves until we're on empty?  It feels like we are trapped on a hamster wheel with no way off.  Thankfully, in Christ there is freedom.  Yet, we can't live by faith alone.  It takes work to change.  

From my experience, many of us get into a performance trap that says, "I must perform to a certain standard to have worth and value."  If that trap doesn't get us, then it's this one:  "I must be liked and have approval to have self worth."  So, we keep on working and meeting everyone else's needs until at the end of the day there is no time left for ourselves.  Does either sound familiar to you?

Let's look at the first trap: the fear of failure.  It comes out in different ways for many of us.  One person relentlessly works at something until it is perfect.  Others are frozen, thinking, "If I never try, I can't fail."  We get encouraged to stay in this cycle when we receive recognition for a job well done.  It feels good to our self-esteem.  Then when the recognition doesn't come or even worse when our work is criticized we either push ourselves harder or quit.  This is because our performance is enmeshed with our self-worth.  

Do you know that you became pleasing to God the moment you were saved?  (Or can be by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior).  Romans 5:1 & 2 says, since by faith we've been made right in God's eyes, we should have peace with God because of Christ's work on the cross.  Our faith in Christ has brought us into a place where we can stand confidently and look forward joyfully to sharing God's glory.  We should now find our self-worth in a quiet acceptance of ourselves in Christ.  We no longer need to try to be perfect!