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I was thinking today - how we often berate ourselves. We are our "own worst critic." We look at the person in the mirror and we critique. We look at all our imperfections. We "beat ourselves up." Its time to stop. Its not conducive and it doesn't build you up. Sometimes we don't need anyone to tear us down because we are too busy doing it ourselves... Hmmmm anyone hearing me? (Winking at you). Take a look in the mirror and see the person who is "inside" that shell. The real you. Not the faults, but the strengths. Everyone has things about themselves that need changing. Sometimes ol' slewfoot has us so down on ourselves that we can't even "pick ourselves up." I don't see how God gets the victory in that do you? We cower. We shrink into the background. So put off by the faults and things that need to be worked on we can't see past that. I think its time we "change our minds." The Bible tells us to "fix our thoughts on what is true and honorable and right and pure and lovely, and admirable. Think of things that are excellent and worthy of praise." God wants us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. But how can we when so many of us haven't even "begun to love ourselves?"
Celebrate the small victories over things you are struggling with. God sees them - in celebrating the small things it makes us stronger to deal with the "bigger things." Getting back from a "prodigal" state is something that may take one step at a time. Its easy to feel discouraged. I have found that it really helps to be able to have a sister (or two) or a brother in Christ who you can confide in. Even your darkest fears. The Bible tells us that "Iron sharpens iron." This should be someone who won't "judge you" but will listen and allow God to use them to help restore you. GENTLY in love. I have heard close sister say "your standing on the brink of hell" - I gotta tell you THAT doesn't help. You can advise people firmly and gently in love without being judmental. Restoration in love and truth makes a big difference. Jesus did that and He's to be our example. I don't want to be the type of sister who makes someone want to walk away from the Lord because they feel they'll "never get it right." God doesn't work like that.
I've been amazed at how we truly only see in part and God sees in full. I have learned that when God says "no" there is a reason for that. Sometimes when we go ahead and "do what we think is right" - even when God says no. He allows us because we still have free will. Praise God for a merciful and loving God who allows us to make "mistakes" and uses those "mistakes" for His glory. Turns them around. Let me use an example. My family and I moved from Massachusetts to upstate New York three years ago. It was a decision made with a lot of prayer but also a lot of fear. We'd just gone through a very difficult time with one of our kids - and thought that we needed to get him to an environment that would be better for him. I thought God had given us the "okay" but it turns out He hadn't. (Never make a decision based on an emotional hardship - you'll be so tied up with your emotions you won't be able to quiet your spirit to hear from God correctly.) We moved and I can see now where we "missed" the mark. Not to say that God doesn't take our "lemon decisions" and "make lemonade." But sometimes He says no for a reason that we cannot see or foretell. We only know in part - He knows in full. If we had only ridden out the situation, waited and believed we would have saved ourselves so much more aggravation. I can clearly see it now. Instead of continuing to berrate myself I learned a lesson. The lesson was - God knows so much more than I do (Laughing). I really "don't" know it all. (I'm joking). The lesson I learned was that to think of it in a positive light when God says "no." Because its for our best. Someone remind me to re-read this blog next time I feel impatient (grinning).