Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dispelling the Myth

I am not SuperMom.

I mean...I am super and I am a mom, but I am not SuperMom.  You know, the woman who flies around with a cape, does everything with a smile and has boundless energy.

Most days, I concentrate on what is the next thing I need to do and how I'm going to get there with the least amount of energy spent so that I can fall into bed at night, wondering how I got so little done.  I do try to do it all with a smile and a kind word to all those around me, but ... well, sometimes I don't do so well with that.  My buttons get pushed.  I forget to be thankful.  I have so many small interruptions that frequently I feel so scattered and discombobulated I can't even move the muscles on my face into anything other than a look of sheer frustration.

And while I am working on that and I'm learning to do things from a thankful heart rather than an overwhelmed-by-life attitude, I am still not SuperMom.

It doesn't happen as often as it used to now that we got rid of "the punisher" (subject for another post), but I have yelled at my kids.  And interestingly enough, since we got rid of that same thing, my house has gotten messier. 

But here's the deal, I hear a lot from other women: "I don't know how you do all that you do."

I don't either, but I do know that it's not because I am SuperMom.  Truth be told, I don't know how you do all that you do either.  Know why?  Because I am not supposed to know.  I'm only supposed to be able to do what God has told me to do, not what you are doing.

And there's this jealousy and comparison thing that is rampant among women, Christian or not, and it is eating our lunch.  It keeps us from connecting deeply and keeps us in a constant state of self-examination/self-deprecation that's neither healthy nor godly.

You see, God says to each of us: "Who have I called you to be today?" but if we're so busy looking at others to try to figure out who/what/why about ourselves, we are going to miss out on the greatest, most glorious, most fulfilling adventure on this planet: bringing God the most glory by being fully alive, fully engaged, fully the individual that God has created each of us to be.

I've suffered from this.  I still suffer from it, less than I used to, but it still crops it's ugly head up.

But I'm determined to fight this thing off.  I've decided that when jealousy whispers in my ear I'm going to ask Papa God what is it I'm lacking confidence in that He's wanting to speak to me about.  I've decided that when I see someone gifted and talented in something where I feel I lack I'm going to bless that image-of-God-shining-through moment in her and quit wondering why I can't be more like that.

It is good to have role models, and it is good to look up to people and desire to emulate virtuous traits we see.  It is not ok, though, to feel less-than or less-gifted or less-talented or less-amazing when we see the glory of God shining in someone's life.

You know that's what it is, right?  Those things you admire in other women are glimpses into who God is as revealed in each one's unique expression.  So when we walk in jealousy and comparison, we are missing opportunities to worship God for His goodness, His beauty and creativity, displayed through His creation.


Next time you see another woman (or, if you're a man reading this, apply it to your own issues with other men or encourage your wife or girl friends in this) and feel the urge to criticize her or yourself for not being more like her ask God these questions: "God, how is Your glory being displayed in her life?  What characteristic of Yourself are You revealing to me through her?" and then worship.  Worship God for Who He is and how He's created her to display His glory in this moment and time.  Then ask Him, "God, how do I display Your glory best?  What characteristic of Yourself are you revealing to others through me?"

I can't wait to hear what He tells you.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

How am I going to make it in the busy days ahead?

That is, essentially, what I asked God this morning.  And this was His reply:

Thanksgiving is going to be the key to staying in close connection with Me.  Thanksgiving positions you to hear My voice and to receive My direction in every situation.  Remembering past exploits and giving thanks bring your thoughts, that stray so easily, into alignment with Me.  

Give thanks. And again I say, Give thanks!

For your light and momentary troubles are working for you a righteousness that outshines the s-u-n and releases in you the brilliance of the S-O-N.

Thanksgiving paves the way to a life continually lived out in My presence.  Enter My gates with thanksgiving and My courts with praise. Thanksgiving gets you in the gate and helps you get in touch with the greater reality of Who I am in your situation.  

Thank Me for the air you breath.  Thank Me for the song you sing.  Thank Me for the clothes you wear and the shoes on your feet and the food on your table and the abundance of My blessing that you have not seen yet.

Don't turn your gaze from Me.  Keep words of thanksgiving in your heart.  And on your lips...thanksgiving.  When you focus on your lack or on what I have not done yet, you throw up a wall around your heart that keeps you from receiving the strength I have for you in trying times and  severely limits your ability to see the truth of Who I am in your life.

Knowing who I am will give you renewed perspective on the wind and waves in your life.  You will no longer fear them or shrink into self-pity and victimization.  No - through the discipline of a lifestyle of thanksgiving, you will rise above every circumstance in your life. 

You will stand on top of every wall of defeat and despair and discouragement and depression, and you will see My hope rising on you, and you will know the hope to which I have called you.  You will bask in the light of My glorious presence, of My Son, and you will rest, and you will know that I am God and that your problems are nothing compared to the Solution that you already carry within you: My precious and powerful Holy Spirit.

That same power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive and active in you to bring you to a place of hope where there is no hope, a place of peace where there is no peace, a place of dwelling continually in My Presence through a life lived in perpetual thanksgiving which keeps you always aware of Who I am, what I have done, what I am doing and builds strength and faith in you to wait patiently and expectantly for the things I have yet to do.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Cold. Windy. Leaves dance over lawn of stately, majestic, academic stone buildings. Aged window panes reflect retreating light.

I enter the prayer labyrinth, my hands tucked deep into pockets, and I begin to pray, to center myself as I walk to find The Center.

Others join me in silence, spaced out along the path, each one entering his/her own secret place with God. We crunch leaves beneath our feet.

I glance around, wondering if I'm doing this right. I remind myself that maybe there is no "right" way and continue on. Clumps of leaves obscure the path boundaries, so I kick at them, looking for embedded bricks that shape the way.

Pausing, I attempt to empty thoughts except to remember, to thank. Continuing on, the path turns outwards instead of inwards as I am expecting. A sliver of doubt pierces the peace within. I turn around, thinking perhaps I've missed the path somehow. But, no, there the bricks that shape the way mark the path, an outward turn.

A deep breath.

Another pause.

Steps to continue on this path that is taking me to The Center in unexpected turns in then out.

Each time the turn goes inward, I breath an inward sigh of relief. I know the point is to go deeper in, and assurance that I'm led aright strengthens in my heart. With each outward turn, the doubt returns. This feels somehow incorrect. It's deeper in, not farther out, I need to go to find The Center.

Insecurities rise.

I look around at others on the path, hoping to gain some insight into how to do this right.

And then a whispered word to me, "Why do you doubt the path before you?"

"I doubt because it's not right. I'm supposed to be going further in, not further out. I must've done something wrong. I think I missed a turn back there or crossed a boundary line obscured by leaves and grass," I reason.

"Who says going out is not also going in?" the gentle reply comes.

And then I see the doubt and worry, energy squandered when trust was required.

The revelation of the labyrinth of life that wanders in and wanders out and each inward pass I perceive as "right" and each outward one is perhaps erroneously marked as "wrong."

I start to smile; this analogy of life comes unexpected. All this time the outward turns have brought fear and doubt of something wrong. I've turned back, retraced steps to find the place where I belong. And usually, with time and toil, another inward turn arrives. 

I think, "Ah, I've found the way again" but maybe, just maybe the path was beneath my feet all along. I just thought out was bad and in was good.

A shift in thinking now occurs.

The inward times are equipping times, new tools released and strategies defined for coming seasons in my life.

The outward times are for walking out, for one must pass outward again to use and strengthen new tools in hands.

And then my feet reach the center of prayer labyrinth and  I smile to find The Center. I breathe a sigh of relief. Unexpected lesson in this short journey brings words of praise and thanksgiving to my lips.

I stand and marvel, now freer, now bursting, now more peace, now more resting.

How thankful am I to have this story, a rock of remembrance in my heart. This spiritual journey of mine mirrored in this ancient design. I hope to remember in this life-long journey to The Center to trust the steps leading out are bringing me inward just like the ones leading in.

Scarritt Bennet Labyrinth