As I mentioned in my last post, the sermon impacted me to a great extent this week. I talked about my hardest struggle, power and control. In a close second place, people and perception are another struggle I deal with.
Thinking about others perception of you is a constant factor in most of our lives. We are continuosly thinking about what others think of us. This is also a heightened trait in my personality. As a child, I felt like I was constantly being judged and percieved negatively. I always had to give a reason for how I acted, good or bad. I also do not like conflict. I stray as far as I can from any drama or conflict.
Why do we define our worth from anyone other than God? God is the Supreme Power and is the only one truly worthy of this title. Giving someone the power of your worth places much pressure on that person. I know several people that place their life in the hands of what others do. This places a lot of pressure on those people to make that person happy. It is very exhausting.
Ephesians 2: 8-9 come to mind. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. Not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
We are not here to impress others or even impress God. We are saved through faith, not our works. This is something that I need to keep in mind everyday.
Sunday at church, the sermon really impacted me. The questions our pastor asked were remarkably close to what I have been feeling this week.
As you know, I struggle with a constant battle or should I say war. Anxiety and stress are my worst enemy. Thinking and analyzing our at the core of my existence. Down time and reflection are a need in my life. This need is what keeps me sane. It keeps me from drowning in the sea of emotion I feel. When I haven’t taken time to relax and unwind, the pressure starts to build. It is like a pipe that holds to much, then finally burst open revealing all the gunk that was inside. I feel my anxiety building. It releases into panic attacks, obsession and stress. The slightest trigger can lead me into a state of emergency.
The sermon was about “What controls us?” Unfortunately, I can’t speak of how well I handle this topic. God is supposed to be the Supreme Ruler of my life. My life does not display this everlasting concept. He hit three points: Comfort and Convenience, Power and Control, People and Perception. I struggle with all of these notions, but power and control are a constant fight. I have been called a “control freak” more times then I would like to admit. If a situation happens and it is not planned, I get highly agitated. I can’t think clearly and become discombobulated. Control and perfectionism are closely related traits. Perfectionism takes a hold of me and becomes an obsession. The conditions have to be perfect for me to thrive or have a good time. If something is “off kilter” I can’t focus or let is go. Control and perfectionism is a hard battle to fight alone. It drains your sense of self and who you are.
The pastor used the analogy of a human and an ant. A human is vast and mighty compared to an ant. A human can squish an ant in a matter of a second. Let’s take a different perspective on this analogy. It places us as the ant and God as the human. It is so demeaning to God to think we have all control and power. God can do anything He wants to do in our lives. He has the power to change us, He has the power to mold us and He has the power to make us.
I do not need to fight this battle alone. God can take away my controlling tendencies and perfectionist traits. He can heal me of my anxiety.
Do you ever feel like you are in a movie? I am listening to “indie classical.” I didn’t know this genre even existed until a couple days ago. Classical music is beautiful. You get to hear instruments at their very essence. The strum of a guitar or the key of the piano. My personal favorite is the violin. The gentleness and power the bow of a violin resonates overwhelms my soul. I feel like my senses are heightened. My touch is soft and delicate, but still hard enough to bring my thoughts onto this page. I am looking at the computer screen reflecting on how beautiful life is and how blessed I am. I look outside, it quit raining but the world still has that sense of eeriness. The sky is cloudy, but a beautiful reflection of colors. Deep blue, pink and orange fill the sky with dusk about to take over the day. I feel like the stress and anxiety are slipping away into these simple parts of life. It is easy to forget and disregard the effortless attributes everyday brings. Thankfully, at this instance I am appreciating those very attributes I forgot. The calmness and tranquility it brings me are quite astounding compared to how I have been handling my hectic life lately. We all need to stop and breathe the simplicity life hands you.
In a world full of satisfaction guaranteed, why do we all feel so unsatisfied? Everyone wants more money, more clothes, more technology and the list goes one. The thing is the more we receive, the more we want. That “new” item we purchased is exciting and new. After a couple weeks an “improved” version comes out then we want that. We think our life will be complete once we make enough money or get that new car. It might not even be a material item. It could be I won’t be satisfied until I have that job or I have children. All these things will definitley improve our mood for awhile and make us happy to an extent, but it will never fill the void of full satisfaction.
I have been reading Ecclesiastes this week. It has opened by eyes to how unsatisifed we all can be in life. Nothing can fill that void except God. God will completely satisfy you in all aspects of your life. Those small dissatisfactions will seem pointless compared to God. The author of King Solomon should know about life and material satisfaction. God gave him what we all desire, wisdom and riches. He was one of the richest men to ever live, even by today’s standards. He not only had anything he desired, King Solomon was smart and wise. He built houses, he planted vineyards and he had servants at all hours of the day. King Solomon had huge parties and every food that was imaganable at that time. He had all these things and he was still unsatisfied. The common theme of Ecclesiastes is exactly this, God equals true satisfaction. The most popular and second verse of this book is, “vanity of vanities! all is vanity.” Most things in life are all about us, what we want and what we feel. What purpose does all wisdom, riches or work have in the end? At the end of your life, will all those things matter. What really matters is your relationship with God and the relationships you build with other people. I am not saying and God is definitley not saying be a lazy bum and not care about anything. You still need to work and it is okay to have things. I think the point King Solomon is trying to get across to us, is that look at the big picture and keep your priorities straight. If you keep God first, He will truly satisfy you and all those other things won’t matter as much.
The last couple months have been a little crazy and it seems like they have went by so fast! I feel like mine and my husbands priorities have been a out of line. I have been busy with school and a new job. My husband has been busy with work, family and studying for the GMAT. This week we had a long talk and both agreed that we need to shift our focus back to God. We haven’t been really involved in church like we should. We haven’t been studying the Bible as much as we should. We have been focusing on the busyness of life too much.
We started going to a church we both love, but we haven’t stuck our foot in serving just quite yet. We did have some reason not to jump right in. At the last church we went to we jumped right in, but it was too soon. We didn’t fully agree with the church 100% and it caused us to leave the church within a year. We made many good friends, but it is not fair to a church family to jump in and then change your mind not too long after. The past couple weeks, we have made more of an effort to get to know people more in our small group and at our church. The past couple weeks have been a blessing. As soon as we shift our focus on what is important, God truly opens our eyes to His possibilities.
We are going to start getting our priorities back in line. Praying and reading the Bible together. Taking more time for each other and having date nights. That is what is important in life. Sometimes you need to step back and appreciate it!
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27
God’s peace is like nothing I have ever felt in my life. My life can be chaotic and messy, but I can sense the peace throughout it. I have mentioned before about the importance of morning prayer. For me, I receive much inner peace throughout the day when I start my day off with God. I love to run and do yoga, but even those things cannot calm me down like God does. It’s such a unique feeling, its hard to explain. I pray that everyone finds God’s peace in their life.
so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?” Hebrews 13:6
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Jesus is always the same. He never changes. People change, seasons change and society changes-but God never changes. Jesus is the most stable thing in our lives. We should recognize that power and be in awe of it. Whenever you are feeling down about this life, remember God’s wonderful power and the blessings He has given to you.