Chapter three of Lysa's book is called "When I Feel Like I Don't Measure Up". Shall I just end my post here and now? Is there really anything else left to say? I am far from a bettin' woman but I'd bet we all struggle with this, even to some degree, if not deeper.
Lysa shares her dream of receiving the Really Good Mommy Award by making 100 individually wrapped brownies for a school fundraiser. That is, homemade from a box and no less the caramel turtle kind, not just the plain ones. Nope, plain ones would not be deserving of this fabulous award. Moments before loading the brownies into her unused, still price-tagged basket and heading to school, it happened. Lysa realized the homemade deliciousness had nuts in them. Yes, nuts. Nutted brownies for a nut-free school. Yes, a nut-free school. No nuts allowed. (I guess I wouldn't be allowed in the school then.☺) Needless (or nut-less) to say, Lysa received no award that day. But rather, I'm guessing a learning lesson she received. "The more I let my mind free-fall into the pit of negativity and shame, the more disabled I felt."
Oh how very true. Nothing comes from being in that pit of negativity and shame, except more guilt. More guilt and shame only disable us further. They do not enable us to conquer and achieve, but rather bind us in captivity and inadequacy. It is satan who wants us to stay right there, feeling inadequate. "He wants us to go to Bible study, learn deep truths of God, leave all encouraged, and then come home and have a complete meltdown over ninety-seven brownies that didn't make the bake sale cut." Oh how my past is filled with so much of that. Meltdowns. Major meltdowns. It didn't just melt down but melt away. My sanity. My clarity. My mercy. My reasoning. Melted.
In the middle of the inadequate feelings is satan causing us to then doubt God. Question God. Lose faith in God. Distance God. Like Lysa said, we ask why Jesus doesn't step in and tell us "no nuts" in the brownies. He is more than capable of that simple thing. He heals the sick. He raises the dead. He parts the sea. He moves mountains we can't even see. What a conniving scheme of satan's. "If satan can get us asking these kinds of questions, then we can easily justify distancing ourselves from God, once more reducing our relationship with Him to items on a checklist." As Lysa says, we need not ask the question "Why doesn't Jesus work for me?" when things don't happen as we think or ask. When we fall short we need to ask "How can I see Jesus even in this?" We do this by "pull[ing] back from whatever situation I'm facing and separate my circumstance from my identity." So often we erroneously identify with our circumstances. We place our identity in our circumstances.
I failed at baking cookies, so I am a terrible mom. I missed a deadline, so I'm a terrible employee. I overstepped my words, so I'm a terrible friend. I missed a moment to respect, so I'm a terrible wife.
"Becoming more than a good Bible study girl means I separate my shortcomings from my identity and let Jesus be the only measure of my worth." Doing this "allows me to see the circumstance for what it is - a mistake." Oh how hard that is. It takes purposeful effort to distinguish between a circumstance as a mistake and my identity as a failure. I can't help but to think that forgiveness is the bridge to properly connecting circumstances and identity. Could it be that forgiving one's self can give proper perspective of mistakes and failures? Would a dose of grace allow us to make mistakes without automatically equating that to a detriment of our identity?
For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity. Proverbs 24:16
"I feel bad for him. He had seven bake sale debacles. That comes out to 700 individually wrapped, homemade-from-the-box turtle brownies. Okay, I readily admit that maybe that wasn't his exact circumstance. I bet he made full-out peanut butter cookies."
Why in the world do I share that? Of all things to quote from this fabulous author and person who has so much wonderful knowledge to share? Well, there's no huge bang. No huge ah ha moment. No spectacular voa-la. Just to share her amazing and witty humor that I truly adore and enjoy tremendously.
I digress so let's carry on...The Proverbs man fell seven times and he rose seven times. He was not defeated. He did not give up or rather give in to satan's lies and tactics. He remained true to his identity by not allowing his mistakes to identify him.
Falling down--failing--should not cause us to stay down and defeated but it should call us to action, to change. Each failure is an opportunity to learn and grown. Each fall allows for a lesson, or two, or three.
"The reason failure hurts is because we are trying so stinkin' hard to measure up. But the way people measure each other can change frequently, based on feelings, performance, and often unrealistic expectations." And if I may add: mood. Mood can change how people measure each other. If our motive or purpose is to prove our worth, get compliments, or earn approval, we are bound to be disappointed.
"God never intended for us to rely on others for our sense of well-being. Only He is equipped to provide that."
As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:9-11
Remember His love.
Remain in His love.
Obey His commands.
His joy in me.
"Instead of resting my heart in the unrealistic hope that others will make my joy complete, I have to rest my heart with Jesus only."
To see what others are saying about this fabulous book and chapter, go to Lelia's.
Measured By Him Alone,
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