The best versions of ourselves…

So this morning I wasn’t able to go to church again because of sick children.  I was totally bummed about it but it honestly afforded me a little bit of time that I usually don’t have.  This morning everyone but me was still asleep at 9:30 (I love that) and I got many uninterrupted minutes in the book of Psalms.  Specifically Psalm 9 – 19.  Those are some super powerful passages.

I’ve been thinking on some things and today just confirmed them.  I LOVE my thirties.  I mean it – seriously.  I just feel like I am getting to know myself and the Lord more everyday – and getting more comfortable in my own skin.  I am mindful of the Lord most of the time these days, which is a gift. I haven’t always been there.  I know that you can’t make yourself love someone – and I have had times where I just wasn’t loving our God.  I wanted to love Him.  Wanted to have desire to know Him.  But I didn’t.  So I took the advice of a friend and prayed about it – asked the Lord to increase my love for Him.  And it worked.  I now can gratefully say that I live my days aware of His blessings, His commands, His presence more than ever.  I love Him.  I live with Him more now than ever.  I want to obey Him because I trust Him.  Not in a “He speaks to me all the time and I’m a holy rockstar way” – not at all – but just in a “God’s been good to me and I’m grateful” way.  I’ll be honest (that confession thing again) and tell you that Bible Study in the mornings has, for the past 6 years, been a hard thing for me to do.  For many many years I had this daily Bible study thing down, it was just natural and easy.  Almost everyday I read the Word and wrote prayers in a journal, basically from when I was 18 until 27 years old.  At 27 I was going through a really tough time and I was just TIRED of praying about the same heartache, tired of every verse seeming to speak to a situation that I knew wasn’t really the Lord speaking.  I knew my desperate mind was trying to make the Word fit a situation I wanted so badly, and I was heartbroken that my life wasn’t turning out the way I wanted.  So I stopped.  Totally.  After 9 years of daily Bible Study I stopped reading.  Stopped praying.  Stopped journaling.  I’ll tell you that my idea didn’t really work.  I still hurt.  I still prayed about this thing (I had to – I was heartbroken) and I still had to navigate through my mind seeing “signs” pointing towards this thing that I wanted (but was not supposed to have).   It didn’t help me at all, what it did, in fact, was hurt me to this day.  It broke the routine of daily Bible Study and journaling.  So since that time, the daily routine of Bible study and journalling has been really difficult.  I do it, but I don’t have the system or discipline down that I used to.  Now it’s hard.  There are weeks where I don’t get much done.  I used to approach the Word everyday with a plan for where to start and how to do it.  Now it is snatched moments and my Bible study is more random.  Sometimes I do my Bible Study on http://www.biblegateway.com and don’t journal at all.  I miss those days before – I want to get back there.  I guess, like anything else, it is a behavioral challenge.  You have to make it a habit and a routine and in my life, with a husband, a job, a business, 2 preschoolers and school I end up fitting it in my life instead of planning my life around it.  Not that ANY of that is an excuse.  I have more time in my day and I know it needs to be THE priority.  This is not the direction I thought this blog post would go, but hey, I do believe in confession and maybe in confessing this I will FINALLY get past the consequences of the decision I made 6 years ago to put my time with the Lord on the back burner.  I so regret that choice.

Girls who are younger and who are reading this – establish a habit.  Seriously.  And once you have it – stick with it.  Don’t think you can take a “break” and just pick it back up when you are ready. Sometimes life gets in the way of that.

Anyway – like I said, this isn’t the direction I thought this post would have – I wanted to share some of the jewels from Psalm 9 – 19.

Those who know Your Name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. (9:10)

But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand.  The victim commits himself to You; you are the helper of the fatherless…

You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted;  You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.  (Haiti, right?  10:14, 16-18)

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.  (13:5-6)

ALL of Psalm 16 is amazing.  Spend a second reading that if you have time.  Today I was reading it and especially thought of Psalm 16:4 “The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.”  If you’ve ever read the story of the Rich Young Ruler, he just always broke my heart.  I think there is nothing more sad than people who CHOOSE to run after other gods in their life.  It isn’t little clay idols these days, instead it is idols of  relationship, money, or self.  People who run after those things blindly.  I read once that “being self aware is a choice” and it breaks my heart (and infuriates me sometimes) to see Believers who are not self-aware.  They don’t even know that they are blindly chasing things God never intended them to chase.  I get it though.  I relate. Like I wrote earlier, I have been there.  I have tried to make the truth of God fit a truth I wanted to believe.  It doesn’t work. I guess my frustration is that I want better for people.  I want people at peace with themselves.  I want people who I love to be healthy and content.  I want them to avoid the increase of sorrows that this verse talks about.  I see their sorrow increase.  They think it is increasing because of their situation – I think it is increasing because of their FOCUS.  Regardless of our situation, the Bible talks about us being at peace when we focus on the Lord.  But here’s the trick – we have to want Him more.  We have to pursue Jesus and stop pursuing false idols.  We cannot be the best version of ourself until we do.  It is impossible.  So with these friends I see living in the sorrow of chasing false idols, my job is to pray they turn and trust the Lord to draw them to Himself and overcome, and try to be as self aware and as close to Jesus as possible to keep myself from being drawn away to chase things God never intended me to chase.

I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer.  Show the wonder of your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. (17:6-7)

And I – in righteousness I will see Your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. (17:15)

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me.  They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.  He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. (18:16-19)

Thank you Jesus.

Now that I see this post in its entirety, I think it went exactly the direction it was supposed to go.  I love that.  I’m telling you, some people write me and tell me I’m a good writer, I’m telling you it’s the grace of God that I have things to share.  I hope you all have a great day.

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