Thursday, January 24, 2013

Losing My Mind

It had been one of those days. You know...when you feel like you may be losing your mind. Nothing major. Just a thousand little things. Well, this is the scene in my house that evening:
Usually laundry gets done during the day but was one of those days. So, that evening the living room floor was full of the mountain of laundry I'd just folded and was getting ready to put away. Supper was late and it was getting closer to bedtime... and I'll admit...I was really looking forward to it. The boys were finishing up homework that had taken much longer than it should because they were less than motivated that evening. Jude was tired and had just had a little bit of a "come apart" because I didn't let her "match" all of the socks. She had a bunch folded and stacked VERY neatly and some were even matched.....she is a little OCD about some things. When it came to the dark dress socks, I just wanted to get done. So, I wouldn't let her have them. I tried to explain to her that even I have a hard time matching up daddy's socks. Let's just say she didn't agree with what I was telling her.  She finally got over it, though, and the dog came barrelling through and knocked over a big stack of neatly folded clothes. Ok. "What time is it? Can they eat a sandwich and go to bed at 6:30....and take the dogs with them??", is what was going through my mind. Yes, I guess I was a bit tired and crabby and feeling close to losing it.

I finally got the socks matched and began the joyous task of putting the clothes away. When I had an armful of clothes, Jude asked for some chocolate milk. To which I said, "In just a minute. I have my hands full right now." Well..."In a minute", I was back downstairs grabbing another armful. Jude belts out, "I SAID I want some chocolate milk".

My first thought was, "Oh no she didn't. She didn't just yell at me and bark orders at me with her little 3 year old self?!" So, I replied, "Listen missy....I SAID I'd get it for you in JUST a ask nicely when you want something....I am NOT a maid....I'm not here to serve you."

As soon as I said it I thought, "Yuck, I don't like the way that sounded. Not here to serve you?" True, I am not a maid and she needs to remember her manners. But, I immediately was convicted of that phrase, "not here to serve you". Jesus had a lot to say about "the least of these" as well as serving others during His time on earth. The phrase, "not here to serve you" should be excluded from my list of come-backs. It was just a little self-check moment that I needed. I told her I was sorry and explained to her that I would clear the living room floor and then I would be happy to fix her chocolate milk and even give her a snack if she wanted, but she had to wait for just a few minutes while I finished what I was doing. Of course, I also explained that we don't bark orders at people.....we need to ask nicely when we want something and be sure to tell them "thank you" when they get it for us. (Especially the "people" who get her chocolate milk 90% of the time!).

Well, the scene with Jude immediately called to mind what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10:5
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
I knew the thought that I allowed to come out of my mouth was not in line with Christ in me.  He immediately convicted me of that, and I'm thankful. I know some of you may be thinking, "so she spouted off to her kid....what's the big deal?" The big deal is that it's a much bigger issue for me in that I pray often about my disposition with the kids. Here's the thing....this is the scenario that I do not want played out at the end of my life: I don't want people coming up to them at the funeral and saying, "Your mom was one of the sweetest people I've ever met, she loved the Lord, helped me so much, etc, etc.", UNLESS they can agree with them. When they hear, "Your mom was so sweet", I don't want them thinking, "Are we talking about the same woman? She was crabby to me most of the time and couldn't wait to get us out of her hair!"
So, when the Holy Spirit brought that verse to mind, it was an "Ah-ha" moment for me. I need to take those thoughts that come to mind captive to Christ (and preferably before they spew out of my mouth). The way I am going to have to do that is by examining the attitude I'm it a worldly attitude or a godly one? Again, you may be thinking, "why so deep over a simple run in with a 3 yr old?"
Well, this little run in was just a symptom of an attitude I had assumed. A worldly attitude. Or if you want to get American attitude. This very easily falls into Paul's category of "pretenses". The argument or pretense here is that "I've served enough for one day". That's what our little corner of the world teaches isn't it? Score keeping and caring for self. Like there is a limit to how much we should be expected to serve others.....even our families. Our corner of the world tells us that "no one barks orders at me!" The idea of serving others is actually a limited to-do list rather than a way of life or attitude of the heart: "Helped with the kids at, I'm done for a while."; "Helped with the soup kitchen so, I'm caught up on serving for a while."; "Spent an hour on homework with they need to cut me some slack the rest of the evening."; or "Oh no she didn't just bark an order at me....I'm not her servant!"  See my point? It's an attitude that is deep, deep rooted in our hearts and if you or I want to overcome these tendencies that cause us guilt and do nothing to build up those around us....we're going to have to stop thinking of it as no big deal. Then, we're going to have to see those pretenses and attitudes for what they are. Because, for believers, they are false realities. We have to weigh what our world pushes for against what we know to be true about God....and then bring every thought captive to Christ. Let's face it, as much as we want and vow to do better....lasting change is not something we can just "think up" for ourselves. Too much time spent trying to do that would likely cause us to lose our minds altogether!
Fortunately, Paul also reminds us that those who have the Spirit of God also have the mind of Christ. The person without the Spirit only has the world view.
1 Corinthians 2:8-16
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived” —
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit- taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
We absolutely can think like Christ.....and therefore respond like Him. What I've come to realize is that we first have to admit we don't have the servant's heart that we're called to have in Christ. We're indoctrinated with all manner of selfish tendencies any day of week. We would do well to admit we're not where we need to be sometimes. That's ok. We are all a work in progress. I'm blatantly aware that I am still woefully lacking myself. However, we still have to ask ourselves..."what do I really know to be true about God?" We may find the answer to that question, even for believers in Jesus, is shockingly little. What do we know to be true about the Character of God and the love of Christ? If when answering this question, we fill ill-equipped to "demolish any arguments", we need not fret or beat ourselves up. We simply need to commit to getting to know Him through His Word and through daily prayer. That is in large part, how He changes us and gives us a heart like His and the mind of Christ. That is how we experience Him and come to discern spiritual things as Paul mentioned. This is how I, as a mom, will be able to respond in the ways I always wish I could (or stop responding in ways I wish I didn't). Because, those things won't stir the same feelings in me because I will have the proper perspective;  A spiritual resolve...not a fragile world view.  

I definitely need that spiritual resolve in my present season of wife and mom. In my mom's group one day, we were on the topic of not stopping with our mile long to-do list we're working on to spend time with the serve them. We get so frazzled and frustrated with the laundry, homework, cooking, demanding toddlers, etc.  One of the moms shared how she had to remind herself that she chose to quit her job so she could do all of those things. She's right. What she was saying really, is that we took on a 24/7 servant position, by choice. Then, we get frustrated when we actually have to be of service so much of the time. I definitely need her reminder several times a week. I chose this...and it's an amazing privilege that I don't want to waste. So, I'm going to have to seek hard after Christ if I want to truly be successful in this season as a wife and mom; caring for and building up those around me and pointing them to Christ, too.

I remember hearing Beth Moore explain one time about her busy schedule. I've wondered about it, too....the time it takes for her to study, write, travel, and still do the wife/mom/grandma thing. I can only imagine how tired and frazzled I would be in her shoes and can picture how it would play itself out at home when I'm "done serving for the day." But, when asked how she did it all, she simply said, "I've gotta have my quiet time with God. Every day. I've gotta have it."
"I've gotta have my quiet time with God. Every day. I've gotta have it."
You may not be a frazzled mother, but there may be some area you have just wished you could not be It may be something else entirely different that brings out the worst in you and you wish you could get a handle on it; a work situation, a habit, a person.....all kinds of tendencies. Whatever it may be that you are having a hard time reigning in, know that there is no tendency, no attitude, no thought or behavior pattern that can't be brought captive to obedience in Christ. Not only that, it's not solely on our shoulders for that change to take place. We simply must make the commitment to grow in Him. As we make the effort to get to know Him, the Spirit within us teaches us and addresses the roots of these tendencies, thereby changing our whole perspective and therefore....our behavior.  This is a beautiful benefit only available to those who are in Christ. What's really beautiful is that the more we know Him, the more we will love Him and the taming of some tendency of ours is just the beginning. As Paul quoted, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived"  - these things God has prepared for those who love Him.  Talk about perspective!

Yes, if I can have the mind of Christ, I think I (as well as the members of my household) would be much better off if I just go ahead and lose MY mind.


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