Archive for the ‘Renew Your Spirit’ Category

Even More on Flylady and Finally Loving Yourself

June 7, 2010

Okay, so I started wondering if my hesitation to love myself (as explored yesterday), might have some of its roots in a misunderstanding of the definition of love. So, I did a little investigation of the word “love” used in the “love your neighbor as yourself” verses I referenced yesterday. And I kept in mind the application of loving oneself the whole time.

Of course, everyone knows that the “love” in these verses is “agapao” (it’s a verb, obviously). When I went to Strong’s Concordance online, The Blue Letter Bible Lexicon gave me this “outline of Biblical usage” of agapao:

1) of persons

a) to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly

2) of things

a) to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

Thayer’s Lexicon says it means “to love, to be full of good-will and exhibit the same” and “to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare” of a person. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says this about agapao:

Agape and agapao are used in the NT
(a) to describe the attitude of God toward His Son, John 17:26; the human race, generally, John 3:16; Rom 5:8; and to such as believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, particularly, John 14:21;
(b) to convey His will to His children concerning their attitude one toward another, John 13:34, and toward all men, 1 Thess 3:12; 1 Cor 16:14; 2 Pet 1:7;
(c) to express the essential nature of God, 1 John 4:8.

(I note that there is no reference to agapao being used to convey God’s will to His children concerning their attitude toward themselves.)

Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son, 1 John 4:9,10. But obviously this is not the love of complacency, or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects, Rom 5:8. It was an exercise of the Divine will in deliberate choice, made without assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself, Cp. Deut 7:7,8.

(Hmm…love can be known only from the actions it prompts. What are my actions toward myself? And love is not drawn out by any excellency in its objects. So, I don’t have to be perfect to love myself?!)

Love had its perfect expression among men in the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Cor 5:14; Eph 2:4; Eph 3:19; Eph 5:2; Christian love is the fruit of His Spirit in the Christian, Gal 5:22.

(Jesus loves me. If He loves me, what possible excuse could I have for not loving myself?)

Christian love has God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to His commandments, John 14:15,21,23; John 15:10; 1 John 2:5; 1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6. Self-will, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of love to God.

(Aha! See, here we go. Self-will, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of love to God. So…have I somehow mistakenly equated loving myself with being self-pleasing?)

Christian love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is not an impulse from the feelings, it does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is discovered. Love seeks the welfare of all, Rom 15:2, and works no ill to any, Rom 13:8-10; love seeks opportunity to do good to ‘all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,’ Gal 6:10. See further 1 Cor 13 and Col 3:12-14.” [ From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, p. 105.]

(Once, again, there is no mention of love being exercised toward self, but toward God and others. Is that never mentioned because it is assumed that people automatically love themselves? Yet, when agapao is used in the context of the sentence “love your neighbor as yourself,” Scripture seems to be saying, “because you do love yourself with this agape love, love your neighbor the same way.” Does that mean that there is an assumption that man automatically loves himself with this “good” and “right” and not-necessarily-selfish kind of love?)

In respect of agapao as used of God, it expresses the deep and constant “love” and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential “love” in them towards the Giver, and a practical “love” towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver. See BELOVED.

(Once, again, if I am deeply and constantly loved by my holy God, being entirely unworthy, how can I ever hesitate to love myself?)

Well, now I try to sort out what this means, practically, in my life. It seems to me that if the Bible repeatedly says to “love my neighbor as myself,” there is an assumption that I am loving myself with the agape love. Do I welcome, entertain, be fond of and love dearly myself? Do I love, be full of good-will and exhibit the same and have a preference for and wish well to and regard the welfare of myself? Do my actions show that I love myself?

I think the answers to that vary. Yes, in many ways, I show love of myself. I take care of myself physically by exercising faithfully and eating healthily. I do not, nor have I ever, used any harmful substance. I take care of myself spiritually by feeding on the Word every day. But, (AHA!!), I think I just realized the area of my life in which I might not show myself enough love. I think I could be showing myself a little more love by taking care of myself emotionally.

And taking care of myself emotionally is definitely related to my Flylady routine. I make time in my Flylady routine to exercise and prepare healthy food for myself and read the Bible, but I don’t necessarily make sure that I have time to do things that build me up emotionally. Things like being creative every day or reading or just being quiet and having time to think.

Hmm…lots to cogitate on and pray about. I’m grateful I’ve had the time to think this through. And, hopefully, apply what God has shown me about loving myself.

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More Thoughts on Flylady and Finally Loving Yourself

June 6, 2010

Finally Loving Yourself. FLYing. Loving yourself. Loving myself. What is challenging about this concept? I’ve had some time to think about that lately.

Have you read Matthew 19:19, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Mark 12:33, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9 and Galatians 5:14 recently? Here’s Mark 12:30-31 in the Amplified version:

30And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment.

31The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.

What Believer would hesitate to agree with Mark 12:30? I wholeheartedly love the Lord my God with all of my heart and with all of my soul (my life!) and with all of my mind and with all of my strength, by God’s grace. And what Believer would hesitate to agree with loving my neighbor? Not I. My daily desire is to love my neighbor with God’s love.

Yet, I seem to kind of mentally minimize the significance of Mark 12:31 that describes the command to love my neighbor AS MYSELF. I am to love my neighbor AS MYSELF. As I LOVE MYSELF. There is no greater commandment than these two commandments. No greater. I am to love my neighbor AS MYSELF. Doesn’t that pretty clearly indicate that I am to LOVE MYSELF?

Why, then, is it so challenging to wholeheartedly agree to love myself? Why does it feel selfish or self-focused? I know I’ve asked these very questions earlier in this blog. But, I think that today, the significance of the way that the command to love God and love my neighbor is directly tied to loving myself really hit home with me. Now, Lord, how do You want me to practically apply this revelation in my life?

And, thank You for leading me to Flylady who provokes my thinking and urges me to love myself.

Musical Family Fun + Spiritual Renewal = Church Music Night

May 30, 2010

Some of my favorite Family Fun involves playing music together and tonight we had a delightful opportunity to play at the church music night. It was so fun to hear everyone else’s contributions, too! Afterward, we had fun chatting and just generally being encouraged before the week starts all over again.

It was some Family Fun in the broader sense of the word “family.”

Flylady and Daily Manna

May 21, 2010

Since I’ve been used to Joey’s working for a predictable salary that arrives at a specific time every month, it’s been quite a change to be in such a financially unpredictable situation, now. But, you know, I’ve been seeing God’s provision in such amazing ways lately. Even when I haven’t been able to look into the future, even the immediate future, and see how financial needs could possibly be met, God has been reminding me over and over and over that He has provided (through family and friends and amazing circumstances) so far and that I can just trust Him to keep on providing.

It’s really been like daily manna. Just when there is another need, the provision is made. It’s amazing to watch.

And I started thinking about how I could apply what I was learning about God’s provision to my Flylady chores. Sometimes, I want to look into the future and see some kind of guarantee that when I need the energy to complete my homemaking chores, I will have that energy and focus. Really, though, I what I am guaranteed is that God is the Provider of everything and when I need energy and focus and motivation and whatever else I need to be a good steward of this household, He will provide that for me. If, right now, I am really tired and ready for bed and I can’t really fathom doing any chores, that doesn’t mean that I won’t have renewed energy the next time I have a chore to complete.

He has provided energy and focus and Flylady for me already, so I should be able to trust that He will continue to provide.

Flylady When Life Just Keeps Happening

May 20, 2010

Yesterday, I mentioned that Flylady was not especially foremost in my mind. Today has really been no different in that respect. You know how sometimes stuff just keeps on happening and keeps on happening? Now, Joey is having a complicated dental problem. Since our finances have been so dicey these days, this issue could send me into a snit. But, I am looking back over the last several months at how God has pretty much miraculously provided, both through our family and friends and sometimes just by amazing provision. So, I am not going to be in a snit over this unexpected problem. Because:

Psalm 146:3 (New International Version)

3 Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortal men, who cannot save.

Psalm 20:7 (New International Version)

7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

By trusting in God for everything–for salvation and breath and food and money–I can avoid being in a snit. He even provides the energy and focus when there logically shouldn’t be any to keep working on my Flylady chores. I am given endurance and encouragement. And with my heart and my mouth I glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 15:5-6).

Creativity on the Fly

May 18, 2010

Even though I haven’t been making the time to work on my embroidery lately, God has been providing the opportunity to be creative. Today, I got to work some more on one of the signs for the bakery. Plus, due to one of the kids having a doctor’s appointment, Joey and I got to spend some quality time in the car. So, overall, I had the opportunity to be re-charged a bit today.

But, alas, now Mt. Washmore is rearing its ugly head. “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another,” she said whiningly. (With a smile and a wink.)

How Does Flylady Do It?

May 17, 2010

Did you read Flylady’s post on Emotional Bankruptcy? How about the one on Spiritual Renewal? Or this one on Spiritual Renewal?

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all three of these have been posted in the last three days. Do I get the message? Yes. Do I fully acknowledge that I must make time to take a breath and re-gain a perspective? Yes. Do I know how I am going to do that? No.

When we were on a “regular” schedule (aka when Joey had a job), I could plan to take time out from my typical responsibilities to do something crafty or just sit and think in a quiet place with no one pulling on my shirt asking me for something. I could let my brain rest and kind of push the re-start button without feeling guilty that someone else was taking care of my responsibilities.

But, ever since we’ve been trying to open the bakery, nothing has really been “regular.” Joey is working so hard to get the bakery open that there’s no way that I feel I can say, “Hey, how about taking a day off and watching all of the kids so I can sit around and think in the quiet?” That would just be inappropriate at this time.

So, I’ve been kind of counting on my daily time in the Word for my re-fueling, but it is obvious that I really need quiet time away from people and responsibilities to totally get recharged. Responsibilities. A mother of a lot of children has a lot of them. How weird to remember a time when, if I wanted to, I could walk out the door and go do something rejuvenating. I wouldn’t trade places with my old, pre-children self for anything. I’m glad and grateful to have these children and responsibilities.

I think I’m just ready for the bakery to be open and life to resume some “regularity.”

Too Tired for Flylady

May 16, 2010

I’m not totally sure why (although I suspect that my morning jogs might have something to do with it), but I am really tired today. I really didn’t have much to say to anyone at church. And at Bible study, I felt like I couldn’t keep up with the conversation very well, either. So, I find that I don’t have much to say here in my blog as well.

Except, “Good night!”

Flylady, Perfectionism and All-or-Nothingness

May 4, 2010

Of course, when I started reading Flylady’s encouraging words many, many months ago, I easily recognized in myself how perfectionism was keeping me from maintaining a tidy and peaceful home. What’s fascinating to me is how this theme of perfectionism–and its negative consequences–continues to be a source of new insights for me. Want to hear my latest insight? I thought you would.

Now, this is rather a glimmering insight, so I’ll probably have more revelation about it later on, but here’s a start, anyway. I can see how the all-or-nothingness associated with perfectionism has manifested itself in my life for most of my life, even in “good” areas of my life. For example, right now I am enjoying getting acquainted (online) with other gals who will be attending a creative weekend in the fall with me. I find myself, however, wanting to plunge whole-heartedly into this creative side of myself. It’s an urge I’ve always had to give my all to a specific area of my life, to whole-heartedly embrace a project, a denomination, an organization, a concept.

The glimmer of revelation I had today was that when I whole-heartedly embrace, I am usually somehow disappointed because I have gone to the emotional effort of putting all of my eggs in that one basket. Then I find that the project/denomination/ organization/concept actually involves real people, like me, and has its own weaknesses. It doesn’t live up to my expectations. Ah! The double-whammy of perfectionism: all-or-nothing PLUS impossible expectations.

And today I kept thinking about how I am a multi-faceted person, uniquely made by God with a unique combination of strengths and gifts and bents. If I hyper-focus my multi-faceted self on ONE of those interests, I also neglect the other areas of my personality. Is any of this making sense?

Well, the basic conclusion to which I came in my glimmering revelation is that God designed me to have a lot of different interests and abilities AND responsibilities and I am to healthily balance all of them and keep them in perspective. I am not to hyper-focus on my Flylady chores to the neglect of my creative side. I am not to hyper-focus on my new MOPS responsibilities to the neglect of my family’s quality time, etc., etc., etc.

And the BIG reminder that I had today was that God is the only person to which I can give myself whole-heartedly without any chance of disappointment. He alone is perfect. And HE keeps me balanced within the multi-faceted personality he has given me.

Flylady and Encouraging Words

April 30, 2010

Today I am a little tired, probably partially due to being out of the house a lot this week and probably partially due to 6am Friday Bible study. So…I was allowing myself some “rest” time on the internet and stumbled upon a couple of blogs. While there wasn’t anything blatantly offensive about these blogs, one, in particular, left me with a negative taste in my mouth. The writer’s words dragged me down and now I feel even more tired instead of refreshed.

One thing I like about Flylady is how encouraging she is. Her words lift me up. Her words contribute positively to my life.

So, I am a bit more aware of how my words might be impacting people today. I hope that this blog is encouraging to someone, as well as being realistic. I mean, the blogs that are simply sugary sweet cotton candy aren’t realistic enough to encourage me in my real-life world, either. I hope the words that come out of my mouth and into the ears of the people in my real-life world are encouraging, too.

One way I hope to keep my words encouraging is to be in THE Word enough. We read in our Bible study* this morning:

The Spirit-filled life does not come through mystical or ecstatic experiences, but from studying and submitting oneself to Scripture. As a believer faithfully and submissively saturates his mind and heart with God’s truth, his Spirit-controlled behavior will follow as surely as night follows day. When we are filled with God’s truth and led by His Spirit, even our involuntary reactions–those that happen when we don’t have time to consciously decide what to do or say–will be godly.

I put six stars, six exclamation points two big arrows and a large “YES” beside this quote. When my involuntary reactions are godly, that is the fruit of the Spirit. When my reactions (my words!) are loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled, God is glorified. This is my hope.

*John MacArthur’s Romans: Grace, Truth and Redemption.