Friday, January 18, 2008

This Journey

I have been very hesitant to post lately. Not sure what to share and what not to share. This journey I'm on is a very personal one, yet I've promised God that I will share what I'm learning so that someone might be able to receive some encouragement from the bumps in the road I'm encountering. A comment I received today prompted me to go ahead and share some things God is doing in my life right now. And I want those of you who have been praying to see some of the fruit that is resulting from your faithfulness.

First of all, I continue to be amazed at the way God has worked through my blog. After posting about my battle with depression, I have received comments from bloggers that I've never received comments from before, never knew they read my blog, never read their blogs before, yet they leave me a comment to let me know they are praying for me. That is very humbling.

I have told a couple of people in the last few days that God is literally changing my life. Change is never easy, but when God is involved, what comes out on the other side of that change is so much better than what He started with.

On this journey, I've come to realize that perfectionism--something that has been a part of me for almost as long as I can remember--is very self-centered and shows a lack of trust in God. This was a hard realization to come to--one of those kick-you-in-the-gut kind of realizations. But yet the more I've processed this, the more I realize it is true. Who am I to think I can get everything "just right"? Who am I to think I know what "just right" is? What freedom there is in knowing I'm not always going to get it right, and that is okay. In fact, more often than not, no one is expecting me to get it just right except me.

On this journey, I am enjoying being a mommy so much more than I have been in past months. Not that I have been neglecting my kids or anything like that. But all too often, I would allow my to-do list--what I thought needed to be done, like keeping all the laundry washed, keeping the ironing caught up, keeping the kitchen floor clean, doing a little extra work with my business, etc.--get in the way of just sitting down to play a game. Or getting out a fun recipe and cooking up something fun together. Or sitting down to watch a movie with them and cuddling under a blanket. I am determined not to be a mom that looks back with regret because of what she didn't do with her kids when they were little. God is assuring me that no one else seems to be bothered by the crumbs under the table; no one is running around my house naked for lack of clean clothes to wear (they may be running around naked, but it's not because they don't have something to wear--not to mention any names, but she happens to be 2 1/2); no one is picking apart my wardrobe when I leave the house, so putting on that pair of jeans without ironing them will not cause the world to end; and going to bed because I'm tired and leaving the other 57 things left on my to do list undone is more than okay. (Not only am I enjoying being a mommy more, truth be told, my kids are probably enjoying being my kids more now, too.)

On this journey, I'm learning that taking time to take care of me is not just a good suggestion--it is imperative. I've given lip service to the importance of caring for yourself, but I haven't done a good job of actually doing it. And my body has been letting me know. If I want to live the life God has for me, I must take care of this temple and quit running it into the ground every day.

This journey is not over--actually never will be. I've got lots more progress to make. But I praise God for what he is doing in my life, and as He brought to my mind last night, "He that began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

When the New Year began, God laid a scripture on my heart that I have been clinging to ever since then. I've never had what some people call a "life verse" or even a verse for the year. But until God gives me another one, I will continue living with this one in my heart during this season of my life:

"Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you." Joshua 3.5

Each day I try to ask myself what I need to do in order to more fully consecrate myself to God's service. What kind of junk needs to be cleaned out. What kind of attitude needs to change. What kind of thought pattern needs to be reversed.

Because one thing is certain--I do not want to miss the amazing things the Lord is doing.


His Doorkeeper said...

So happy to see you back on your blog. I just know God is working on you as He is on all of us and our times of not feeling worthy.

My kids are grown now and I was exactly like you when mine were little. I struggled so much with wanting everything just "right". And I still do to some extent. Perfectionism is a hard chain to break!

However, when your kids are grown, they will not remember everything being in its place but they will remember your attitude and loving ways! You are doing great and Joshua 3:5 is a great life verse!
Blessings to you!

Bev said...

I cannot tell you how good it feels to hear from you again. You've so been on my heart and mind, often when you come to mind I just stop and pray for you. I thought of you so many times through the holidays, just praying that you were doing well, and look how gracious God was in answering that prayer! Certainly the prayer of many no doubt. I hope with your post, and my post today, that there will be those out there who will not be ashamed to take medication if that is what is needed, and to run to Christian counseling also. God heals us in many ways, but often I believe it's through the hands and feet of those he put here on earth alongside us.

BTW, you look really beautiful in your christmas photos - I especially loved the one of you and your daughter in the matching sweaters, I'd be framing that one to put in some special spot of your home! xoxoxo Bev

Woman in the Tent said...

Hi Karen,
I hope you don't mind me posting here again. I just wanted to say I am still praying for you.

I had a hard time last spring. I was fighting a surrender to ministry and had major spiritual warfare. It was so hard. I constantly quoted Scripture I had memorized for several months. There were two weeks out of that time that seemed almost unbearable.

I clung to:
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind."

So there we have three weapons that fight fear. (I found that my fear stemmed from a life of perfectionism that was steeped in control. I hit rock bottom when I found I could not be perfect enough and that "I" had no control.)

1. Power - this word is dunimis (from where we get our word "dynamite"). We get that power from the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:8 and everywhere else the work of the Holy Spirit is mentioned.

2. Love - perfect love casts out fear according to 1 John 4:18

3. Sound Mind - notice that is what God gives us, a sound mind. That is a mind that is under control. There's that word again - control. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 tells us we do that by casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. A high thing is an idol - fear, control, perfectionism, etc. Notice it is against the knowledge of God. Also notice He said it would be warfare. Warfare is never easy.

Where do we find that knowledge? In God's Word. Cling to Isaiah 33:6. His faithfulness will be the stability of your days sweet lady.

I'm sorry this is so long. I hope you don't take offense to my post. There is no much I don't understand myself. I just know that this is what got me through. I had never been to your blog before I posted last time. You have been heavy on my heart. Bless you!

Love, Laura

Sandy said...

Hi Karen - wow, thanks for sharing your heart. As you know, perfectionism is something I talk a lot about on my blog (but in a different seeting than depression) - but it's so common with women. I'll check back on you and your journey.
BTW, I have a GIVEAWAY going on!

Mayhem And Miracles said...

I came to check your blog because I had not seen a new post in so long. What a blessing to drop by again. I for one am blessed and encouraged to learn this little "secret" about you. I too was completely ruled by the need for perfectionism and just knowing that others who appear to have it all together do not is reassuring. I know that is selfish, but it is true. ESPECIALLY from a pastor's wife because Satan will tell us layman that we were not chosen for that post because we lack the proper spirituality. (Just as I'm sure he probably threatens you with feeling like every soul hinges on your being the "perfect" example.) God has, however, done a TREMENDOUS work in my heart the past 4 years by utterly removing every bit of organization and order that I had. Basically, He had to swing the pendulum to the entirely opposite end to get it through to me. And I mean COMPLETEY. He removed any and ALL order from our home in order to force my trust in Him in this area. And I completely understand those hopeless feelings that come with feeling constantly disappointed in yourself for not being better as a wife/mom/Christian. Or at least I did. I have lived too much of my life in fear of the failure that God actually intended as a vital part of my education. This post spoke so many memories to my heart. And while God has changed me so much, you are right that it will probably be ongoing, just to lesser and lesser degrees I hope. Thank you for writing this. Your honesty and humility challenge me to new areas of reflection. Your heart is beautiful.