Character Study: Measuring Up

  I am a working girl, not a mommy blogger.  On Mondays it’s back to the trenches for me — fleshing out my faith in the middle of piles of paperwork and wondering when I am going to deal with that mass of laundry that keeps growing in the closet.  Will my house ever really be clean?  Will I ever see the bottom of my desk?  How do I find time for ministry in the midst of answering a million e-mails in my 9 to 5 and then coming home to feed my husband?

Questions like these cause me to wonder if I will ever “measure up.”  Do you know what I mean?  In my head, there is this woman — the one who has it all together.  I haven’t actually  met her, but I know she is out there — taunting me with her perfection.

To try to make sense of it all, I make myself stop self – obsessing by sitting down for a spell with my Bible and a journal.  This past Sunday, I slowed down my pace and dug into some Scripture for a much needed re-adjustment of my perspective.   In Acts 16, I read about a woman who “worked hard for the money.”  She was a single sister named Lydia. There are just five short verses devoted to her story in the pages of Scripture, but I gleaned so much that has helped encourage me to skip with a lighter step this week.

First off, this sister was diligent in business.  She worked hard with enthusiasm, singleness of purpose, and she had “smarts.”  Her work life was characterized by competence and character, which created influence.

And what was she doing with her hard earned success?  We see her in community with other women, using her powers of persuasion to point others to Christ.  Lydia was a woman who

  • worshiped God freely with abandon
  • understood the importance of setting aside time for her Savior in the midst of a demanding schedule
  • dedicated herself to intercession
  • acknowledged that her source of strength was her Savior
  • hungered for truth, listened attentively, and responded in obedience
  • opened up her heart and home to others and shared generously
  • lived and worked “in” the world, but was not “of” it

Lydia was a seeker — a passionate person who was others focused.  Her life gave me hope this week — work and faith can fuel each other if my heart is settled on the Savior first.  May my heart be prayerful and my desire to sit at His feet never wane.

How do you flesh out your faith in the midst of your crazy schedule?  What about Lydia’s story is an encouragement to you?  Do you know a “Lydia” whose walk has encouraged you?   I would love to hear your thoughts!   Let’s sit for a spell and strike up a conversation below.

Joining Sarah for Patron Saints and Spiritual Midwives.

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Do you feel it?  The air feels crisper, and color is bursting forth everywhere.  God, the designer of seasons, is beautifully transforming the canvas of our world right before our eyes. Just as He colors the leaves, He delights in creating a new portrait in our hearts.  Two years ago, a metamorphosis began for me.  A single gal for 42 years, I honestly had no hopes of marriage.  I had not had a date in 9 years.  Then, one day, God changed everything. What a joyous season! – flowers, invitations, and an outrageously expensive white dress filled my days.  The picture would have been perfect had it not been for one dark shadow.  Cancer.

… I am blogging over at (in) courage today.  Click here to hop over there for the rest of the story!

On Watch

  I must admit that I sometimes have a very short attention span.  Instead of watching the news, I would rather scan the headlines.   I am a channel surfer and a blog post skimmer.  Yep, I am confessing here for all the world to know.  And, sadly this problem plagues me not only when I am reading The Pioneer Woman, but also when I  sit down for my quiet time with an open Bible before me.  Sad, but true.

For the last few days, however, a phrase out of Proverbs 31 has grabbed my attention:  “She watches over the affairs of her household” (v. 27, NKJV).  My mind has been mulling over what God meant when he said that we Jesus chicks should be “on watch” for our families.  I did a little digging on the passage and was delighted to discover that the Hebrew word translated here as “watches” is the same one used to describe a “watchman” in the Old Testament.  The characteristics of a watchman that I gleaned paralleled qualities that I need to cultivate as a prayer warrior for my family:

  • A watchman stood in an elevated perspective to keep the landscape in view and sound a warning if danger drew near.   The guard volunteered to spend time isolated, alert, and faithful.
  • The watchman maintained his position with undistracted observation, calm reasoning, circumspect responses.
  • The watchman sacrificed personal freedom and exhibited self-control to sacrificially stand in the gap while others slept.
  • The watchman armed himself in order to safeguard those entrusted to him.

As I stand in the gap for my family, I must guard my heart (Prov 4:23)  The Apostle Paul challenges:  “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love (I Cor. 16:13-14).  Just as the watchman of old, we must wisely treasure our charges and wear our spiritual armor with vigilance.  If we persevere, God has promised:  “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told” (Hab. 1:5).  May God help me purposefully stay “on watch” in prayer.

How has God challenged you in this area?  Any tips on how to “stick to the stuff” spiritually?   I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

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