9.04.2009

caffeinated randomness:: deny yourself


Before Wednesday night rolls around, John has usually shared his thoughts for the lesson he's going to give to the Youth. I listen, we discuss, and he finalizes his plans. That's what happened this week around Tuesday evening.

John was telling me about his plans to talk about the verses in Matthew 16:24 -25 " If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life must will it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it." The plan was to compare this verse with the one in chapter 11 that says "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my burden is easy and my yoke is light." The plan was to talk about how we all have a cross to bear, but that by taking Christ's yoke, it is an easy burden. I was really into it as John was telling me his thoughts and was excited to get into it with the Youth Group.

Then Wednesday night came and John started the lesson. Before I knew what was happening, God was knocking me upside the head with a different lesson ... one that was all for me. I would say I hate it when that happens - but I don't! After I get over feeling like a kid in school who just got busted, I LOVE IT!! It shows me how much God loves me and cares about my spiritual well being! If He didn't love me then He wouldn't worry about teaching and growing me. You're probably wondering what God had to teach me on Wednesday...

"If anyone would come after me he must deny himself..." I had been doing anything but that for the last few weeks. Sure, on the outside it might have looked like I was doing a fantastic job living the Christian life of sacrifice... but on the inside it was a different story. I was throwing myself a gigantic pity party. I was allowing myself to focus on all the changes we've been going through and the huge transition we're still trying to make. Poor Lauren. Moved from her home, got a full time job, husband starts school, husband also starts new job (in ministry no less), new house, no time to unpack, boohoohoohoohoo. Are you sick of me yet? I am! I can only imagine what God must have felt like as I was having my whine fest.

But here's the kicker... here's what I actually said out loud the other week to my husband. "I have to take care of me right now. You are so busy with school and work, which is fine, but I've got to look out for me and make sure I'm getting the rest I need and the me - time I need." I am ashamed to write that. I thought about not telling you ... but that was just my pride talking.

As I sat with the Youth Group the other night and listened to the conversation take an unexpected turn as the kids wanted to talk about what it meant to deny yourself I felt the weight of conviction on my heart. I am not here on this earth to "take care of me!" I am here to serve Jesus - whatever that means! No matter how tired I get, or how much "me - time" I end up sacrificing, my job is to serve others. I must serve Jesus by taking care of my husband and his needs, and helping minister to the Youth, and serving the people at work to the best of my ability. Because who's gaining when I look out for #1? Me. And "whoever wants to save his life will lose it."

That was my lesson - my stern warning from the Lord - my wake up call to my selfishness and pride. I'll probably have to learn it all over again someday... but I am thankful that Christ have me a heart that is receptive to His discipline and I pray that I will always listen to His corrective words.

Visit Andrea for more random posts this Friday!

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20 comments:

MomE said...

Hey, it's a good thing...but dang, even your randomness is er, painful! Thanks...it's much needed pain, eh? Thank you for being so open and honest...and challenging!

3 Blessings said...

I have been learning this lesson over and over lately. It is not about me....but instead all about HIM. Thank you for sharing your truth.
Blessings friend,
Amy

Andrea said...

Ouch. I need to hear that more often than I'd like to admit, too. Thank you, sweet Lauren!

He & Me + 3 said...

OUch is right. I start feeling sorry for myself often because of the demands of being a mom to 3 high maintenance children & a hubs who works from early morning to late night. No me time. God has spoken. Do all things as unto the Lord. Not for me but for HIM. That is why I am a Mom for HIS glory not mine.
Thanks for sharing. I needed to read this too.

SnoWhite said...

I'm with you right there. The world tells us all day, every day, that we need to look out for us, because no one else will. But, we know that's a lie. Thanks for sharing what you've learned.

Mel ~ said...

Ah, don't you love it when our ministers (pastors, mentors, HUSBANDs) are used by God to step all over our feet - in a good way?? :) I need reminding of that message myself - thank you for sharing!!!

Kari said...

Well said. And I am with my equal blogging friend He & Me + 3 and that everything we do, we do it as unto the Lord. So that means being a mom. Cleaning the toilets. Folding the laundry. Feeding the kids. It's about what we can do for others - not about focusing on ourselves. Very good post today.

Laurie said...

What a great post Lauren. Thanks for your honesty! I love how you coupled the Scriptures. We do all have a cross to bear.. but God somehow helps make it light and easy... eventually:) I struggle with me, my, and I too! And yet, I press on to decrease... that He might increase! Blessings sister, Laurie

Kelly said...

This is such an encouraging/challenging post for me. It's a daily lesson for me to put God and others (namely my hubby) before my self. Thanks for sharing this today!

Amber said...

So convicting... it's way too often that I get so caught up in me and what I'm feeling... thanks for the reminder!

Debbie said...

I too have had my own pity parties and often they are just in my own head. But the Lord sees and knows all! I'm so glad you shared openly and honestly with us. At least I know I'm not alone. This was convicting for me too. I appreciate the lessons you learned and that you shared them with us.

Alicia said...

Lauren..I love how God does that. When I think a particular message would be great for someone else, it actually starts ministering to ME!! How prideful for me to even think that!

But, what you wrote really spoke to me too (about "me"). Because there are many times I'll tell my husband I need a break, or I need quiet time. That is so not a servants heart or attitude. Granted, we all need a breather once in awhile, but my attitude about it was all wrong.

Denise @ A Sacred Longing said...

I see I am not alone in the "ouch". This was timely and so very targeted to my heart...not random at all!

Thank you for sharing this, really!

Shalom,
Denise

alihsee said...

Wow, what a lesson! A lesson I should be learning as well! How do you get to be so randomly deep on a Friday?! :)

Jesus is the defender of mankind - I LOVE IT!! Blessings chicka!

Brookie said...

Praise God, Lauren!

Thanks for sharing.

I'm repeatedly amazed at how fulfilled I am in Christ when I'm exhausted and on the verge of frenzied!

Miss you.

Anne L.B. said...

I stopped over here from Shark Bait's place and am glad I did.

This post is a good reminder that I live for the Lord, and He takes care of me. EVERYTHING. Whatever I think my life lacks at the moment, if I truly need it and trust Him for it, all will be taken care of, whether the need is for body, mind, heart, or soul.

Shark Bait said...

I linked to this post from one of my own today, called it's all about me. Just thought you should know.

<-SB><

Franchesca Cox said...

Thank you for sharing this and just being honest. It helps to remind us that it is about making our Lord look good, not ourselves. I enjoy reading your blog.

xx

"Rachel" said...

I'm going to write something that will make you feel a little better (hopefully). We've been going through the same thing - my hubby gone all the time for school and work. I have been so afraid of what this semester would do to our marriage. I had warned him I might pull away a little because I have to "protect me" emotionally during this time. I'm so used to him being there and being around for me, to have him suddenly disappear has been hard and so I went into survival mode - for myself.

Needless to say, it's had a gigantic effect on our marriage. We finally sat down and talked about it this week and I realized in my selfishness (because there's no other word for it) of wanting to emotionally protect myself, I had robbed him of a wife, something he desperately needs right now during this very difficult time in his life.

We talked a lot and worked through it and God dosed out a whole heap of humility on me, but I saw with eyes wide open how destructive pride is, not only to myself, but especially to others. Even the others who mean the most to me, and those whom I would never want to hurt.

I will be praying for you guys and your marriage while you are at seminary. We've been here 3 years and let me tell you, it's taken its toll. Sometimes you just have to go through the day reminding yourself over and over and over why you are here. You guys WILL be stronger for it in the end, but you might have to jump some high hurdles to get there. Good thing we serve a God who can give us wings when you need them. :)

Tabitha@ichoosebliss.net said...

This spoke to my heart. I believe in serving others, but sometimes I need a swift kick to remind me of my job here on earth.