Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

A New Perspective on Setbacks

Yesterday, as I was coming home from a good workout, I was feeling so thankful for some progress in regaining strength after my extended illness over Christmas Break. I was also proud of myself for getting exercise in every day this week so far.  I felt joy and hope like I haven’t felt for weeks!  Victory was mine!

Just as I reached our back door, I slipped on some ice, fell forward, and banged my knees on the cement step.  Fear gripped my heart as I relived the tail-bone-breaking incident of what we now call Buttkill Falls.  I feared a setback.

I picked myself up and took a few tentative steps. My right knee hurt the worst, but I could still walk.  It was scraped and already bruising. As I limped into the house, the internal monologue began… just like Adam and Eve, the original sinners, I wanted someone to blame, and my husband was the first victim. “I can’t believe he didn’t clear off this walk all the way!  Doesn’t he know that’s not safe?! What if one of the kids fell….” Yes, my poor husband. 🙂

But I didn’t stop there. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, free from the wrath of Egypt yet still not content, I began to question the Lord Himself. “Why, Lord? Are you really going to allow me to be injured again just when I’ve found a good rhythm with my health goals?  Why am I being punished for doing what is right? I’ve worked so hard. Why didn’t you help me, keep me from falling?”

Exodus 17:2-3

So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?” (empahsis mine)

As soon as the prideful thoughts entered my mind, I knew I was wrong – wrong to blame my husband, even more so, wrong to blame my Father God.  And wrong to think that my “good efforts” excused me from any sort of pain or suffering.

You see, fear took over for a few moments. I was afraid that another injury would keep me from meeting my health goals. I was afraid that another setback might discourage me to the point of giving up – a pattern that has repeated itself over and over again where my health is concerned. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid I would not be able to persevere!

Conviction stung my heart for my sinful thoughts, for my desire to lash out at someone else in my frustration.  “I just want God to help me,” I tried to reason within myself.

But maybe He already had…

Maybe His best help was to allow me to fall.

Yes, I mean it, truly. While it’s not wrong to be excited about the progress I saw, the Father gently showed me that, once again,  I was beginning to rely on self alone and not Him.  Perhaps I needed that fall to remind me that I will only conquer this battle with health and weight by His power and strength. I cannot do it on my own. Without even realizing it, I had slowly slipped back into my “can-do” attitude.

I can do it.

I’ve got this.

I don’t need You right now…

Does it sound familiar, friends?  How many times a day do I catch myself relying on my own efforts instead of Him? How many times do we deny the power of Christ in us, in favor of our own human strength? How often do we place our trust in self alone?

You think I would have learned the lesson by now. He’s only been trying to teach me for the last thirty-plus years! 🙂  It’s that work-in-progress that I’m always talking about – aiming toward progress, not perfection.

I’ll make mistakes.

You’ll make mistakes, too.

Sometimes the setback is a wake-up call to our own sin. And often the best help our Father God can offer is letting us fall, just as we have to allow our own children to fall at times.  It’s one of the most difficult, yet most loving things we can do as parents, yes?

A New Perspective on Setbacks, setbacks to your goals when you face a setback, dealing with setbacks

2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

He lets us fall, so that we might see Him, so that we might throw off self and run to His arms instead!

He lets us fall because He loves us too much not to.

It’s the best help He can give –

helping us turn from self to Savior!

Jen 🙂

Side note: My knees seem to be okay, Praise the Lord! One is a little swollen and bruised, but so far only injured externally, from what I can tell. I’m incredibly thankful for His mercy.

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

13 Comments »

One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals

I’ll admit, I tend to resist goals.

My perfectionist nature resists setting a standard for fear that I might fail. It’s one of the reasons I had such a hard time finding my “one word.”

I don’t like to be wrong.

I don’t like to fall short.

But the flip side of that is never stretching myself, never reaching for something more, never giving myself a chance to succeed.

It’s not that I don’t have any goals for myself at all for; it’s just that I don’t often claim them, don’t voice them aloud, don’t share them with others, don’t hold myself accountable.  I’m guilty of keeping my goals general rather than specific because that makes them easier to meet.

However, this year I recognize the need to risk a little more, step out in faith while trusting in the God who is at work in us and promises to complete that work (Phil. 1:6).  I recognize the need to put some of the goals I hold in my mind and heart into actual words and to share them here with you all.

So, here goes – goals for 2015. 🙂

One Simple Way to Meet Your Goals, setting goals for 2015, goals for the year, how to meet your goals

One of my goals for the year is to do my part in restoring my health. I need more sleep. I need more exercise. I need to eat more balanced meals and to take in less sugar. This past month or so of illness has been eye-opening. I need to do these things in order to be healthy, but more importantly to honor the Father with my body, to walk in obedience with Him.

I’m not sure how to make those goals specific other than to say I aim to eat the recommended daily values of fruits and veggies and to also limit myself to those daily values in other areas where I tend to eat as I wish. I started using My Fitness Pal to help me keep track of both my activity and my eating habits.  I also aim to be in bed by 11 p.m. at the latest! Pray for me, sisters!

one simple way to meet your goals, goal setting, goals for 2015, how to meet your goals for the New Year, resolutions

Another goal for the year is to use my time more wisely through better planning.  Time management affects so many areas of my life, but to be specific, I plan to spend at least two mornings a week writing and working on this blog. Previously, I’ve squeezed writing in here and there, but I’m finding lately that if I don’t plan time to write, it just doesn’t happen. And then I lay awake at night with all of these great ideas and phrases and sometimes whole sentences or paragraphs swirling around in my mind. Anyone else? 🙂

I want to obey the Lord in best using this gift of writing. I don’t want to put that on hold unless He asks that of me, and lately He seems to be asking more in this area. So, I want to be faithful even if it means saying a firm “no” to other things that occupy my time.

Women everywhere understand this pull to be involved in ALL of the good things, but often in our attempts to do so, we miss out on the best things. Especially as a pastor’s wife, I’m learning that over-scheduling is rampant in our world and creates unnecessary stress. If I want the best for me and for my family, I have to learn to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and not man’s wisdom. I make it my goal to please Christ.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Gal. 1:10

A final goal is to love my husband as Christ does.  It’s been a really tough year for both of us. The trials have been nearly constant and there is always the temptation to withdraw into oneself in order to survive the refining fires. But we cannot! For the sake of our marriage and our family, we must learn to suffer together, to support one another even when we already feel the weight of our own burdens. I see already how the Father is working that understanding into us, teaching us a better way. I know He will be faithful to complete the work in our marriage, as well.

he makes all things beautiful verse, goals in marriage, setting goals for the year

One practical way I can love my husband better is to consistently reach out to him, whether through words or actions or touch. I can hug and kiss him when he leaves for the day and when he comes home. I can look at him and ask him how his day was even if I’m busy when he comes in the door. My goal is to intentionally seek connection with him, to encourage him, and to help him feel loved – every day.

Whew!

When I read all of the words above, I am easily overwhelmed!  I see all of the flaws, the areas that need work. There are so many and I…I am only one. Do you feel that same lacking, sisters?  That same inadequacy?

However, the Father reminds me that I can accomplish these goals by doing one simple thing: abide in Him.

It’s true! If I focus on abiding in Him, I will be sensitive to His leading and these other areas of life will fall into place so much easier than if I try to work towards these goals all on my own.  If I get up with this long list of “must do’s” each day, I’ll be worn out and discouraged before lunchtime. But if I get up with the goal of abiding in Him and following His leading, I can be at peace. You can too!

It comes back to that work-in-progress truth, my sisters in Christ.

He promises.

And I believe Him.

Jen 🙂

Sharing with: The Loft, Grace and Truth,

15 Comments »

A Fond Farewell ~ #TheLoft

Hello, faithful readers and my favorite Lofters! 🙂

It’s with mixed feelings that I type these words for The Loft this week.  This space has been good to me and good for me. The Loft came along at a time when I needed the push to get back to regular writing and blogging. After spending the summer with my children, I found it hard to get back into the swing of things here at Being Confident of This. Then, when I was asked to co-host here, I almost said no!

I suppose I feared the responsibility some and the commitment. I also feared technology because I’m still a newbie in so many ways.  But I have learned so much in these past months and grown in several areas, not just spiritually, not just technologically, but more than that. Along the way, I’ve made new friends, too.

So, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the weekly topics, the small yet friendly community, and the many encouraging words I’ve read both here in the comments and from our fellow Lofters on their various blogs.

And I think what we are all experiencing now is some growth pains. Just as the transition to the Loft took time and many adjustments, I know the birth of what we are heading into now will be the same – uncomfortable at times, yet necessary for growth.

The best thing about growth, about new birth? It’s exciting and filled with opportunity! So, I hope you will all come with us on this new journey!

Jen 🙂

The Loft is open, come on up!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

 

Before we get to this week’s topic, we have an important and exciting announcement to make!

After this week, #The Loft is merging with another brand new link up for Christian bloggers.

It has been a pleasure to open The Loft and connect with you all since we started back in August. At that time, we wanted a place to connect, converse, and grow.

I am proud to say that we have done all of those things well. Many linkups are “link and leaves.” The Loft is not by design. I have heard this sob story from multitudes of hosts: they end up having so little interaction that the hosts either call it quits or spend hours upon hours each week trying to maintain it.

We have never had those problems… because you all are the best, hands down! As far as click throughs go, we are one of the best out there.

Now we want to serve you all even more. We want to focus on the “network” part of our goal. We want to open the doors even wider and get our linkers even more exposure.

So after much prayer and discussion, The Loft hosts have decided to merge with Grace and Truth Linkup, a brand new linkup that will launch later this week. YOU have the opportunity to be part of this from the beginning!

 

Here are the main differences and reasons why we are merging:

Grace and Truth will be a Christian Living linkup. Having a weekly topic has been great. It has defined us and for those who love it, well, we love it! But it does greatly restrict participation. We know that many of you would link more often if you could choose your own post. At this point in our growth we believe this change, although significant, will serve our community of bloggers best.

Grace and Truth will have a few more hosts. Links will appear on nine different blogs. That is EXCELLENT exposure for a blogger. A no-brainer there!

Grace and Truth will do “featured posts.” That means if selected, your post will be a shared on social media and featured on the following week’s link-y. More great exposure!

Grace and Truth will be on Fridays. Bloggers can link up any post from their week (or their archives!)

Also, there will be a $100 gift card giveaway this week for the kick off of Grace and Truth so you don’t want to miss it! Go ahead and link up your Loft post today (we’ll still be visiting and reading!) and then come back here Friday at 6am and link up any Christian living post.

Grace&Truth Christian Living Link-up on Fridays

 

We are committed to you and your growth as a Christian blogger and are so thankful for this community. We hope you continue to connect, converse, grow and network with us!

 

This Week’s Topic: “Goals” (Share a goal you have for 2015 or about your goal setting process? Anything to do with goals!)

 

About #TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

 

While there are many link and leave blog hops out there, we are different in that we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic. This fosters community and conversation. It also helps us practice “topic” writing as bloggers. Please mention The Loft in your post so we can find each other. Thank you so much!


Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the linky goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic 🙂

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find and share with each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 4 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are: Jen, Rebekah, Leah, Arabah

 

 

Now it’s time to link your posts up!

This Week’s Topic: “Goals” 

 

2 Comments »