December 17, 2008
This year things are tight all the way around. Our budget is tight for gift giving and so are both my mom and dad's budgets, so it is abundantly clear that I truly need to live out what I've been preaching for years...it's not about the gifts. I've found that God has given me such a peace about it all already. I'm not as anxious that we can't do as many expensive gifts as we'd like and definitely not bummed that I won't be getting many either. I have first come to this conclusion in the last few months as God has been changing my perspective on material things of this world. I was challenged by a good friend in small group to memorize a scripture in 1John that we were studying. I found myself drawn to verses 15-16.
"Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love these things you show that you don't realy love God. For all these wordly things, these evil desires-the craze for sex, the AMBITION TO BUY EVERYTHING THAT APPEALS TO YOU, and the PRIDE THAT COMES FROM WEALTH AND IMPORTANCE- these are not from God. They are from this evil world itself."
I have thought, prayed, and applied this scripture to the best of my current ability ever since and so thankful for the challenge and God's grace to show me where I needed to work on things. I've found that I appreciate what I have much more and see that Grace only being 5 months old really doesn't care what brand or style of clothes she has on as long as she has her mommy and daddy who love her.
It's amazing what God can teach you through your children. They are amazing gifts but also amazing models of the relationship between Him and you. A great quote from "What's so Amazing About Grace?"..."there is nothing you can do to make God love you more and there is nothing you can do to make God love you less."
So between being thankful for what I have and not desiring the things of this world and realizing that God loves me so much no matter what, I have a lot of things to work on. One of which is how I view what people think of me. As I sent out our Christmas cards, I realized that they were "perfect" in my eyes and felt like they wouldn't be good enough and within about a minute had to really check myself and pray that God would take away those thoughts. I really struggle with what others think and trying to make things look nice so I appear to have it together....never works...there is always something "better" out there and putting my trust in things instead of the Lord gets me NOWHERE!!
I guess I say all this to challenge myself to continue to live by it and need my friends around me to challenge me on it as well. My cousin just blogged her Christmas story and it was a beautiful reminder of just how blessed we are. That we can count our blessings one by one, but really could count then TON by TON.