Being OK with Me in this Culture

Being OK with Me.We want to Be OK with Me. We know we are sometimes, but maybe not as much as we’d like.

We know God loves us and designed us exactly how we are, yet we tend to forget or even not like how He designed us.

What gets us down? What distracts us from the truth? Why are we covered in grime?

There are many things, really, so we’ll be looking at them in the coming days. We’ll expose the dirt and start to brush it aside.

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We live in a culture that exalts the big names, the money, the stars. We can’t get enough of the fame and fortune.

Trends come and go like the flip of a switch. Technology is outdated before you purchase it.

“Reality” shows are staged. Stylists remodel a room on a home improvement show, and what took weeks or months to accomplish is presented in 22 minutes.

The person with the loudest voice is heard. The one with the most money gets her way.

Extreme is it. If you don’t go all out, you aren’t really living.

Our culture is in direct contrast to the Kingdom of God, where the last will be first and the meek receive a reward.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.  Matthew 5:5, The Message

Jesus ignored the pleas to pursue political power. He knew his role was different. He talked to women and children and lepers and the outsiders. He died for us so that we could truly live.

He has harsh words for those who put on a show, concerning themselves with their image or status. “Everything they do is for people to see …” Matthew 23:5

“Blessed is the one … who delights in the law of Lord … He is like a tree planted by streams of water …” Psalm 1

Trees do not grow in 22 minutes. Sure, you could film one growing and package it into a nice little TV show, but Oak trees don’t grow overnight.

(And because of the Internet, you can watch some trees grow in just a couple minutes. It’s absolutely fascinating how long it takes just for the acorn to break open in the first video. The second video shows a larger tree over 5 years. At first, it hardly looks like a tree. At times it looks completely dead, but it’s just dormant for a season.)

The only extreme living Jesus talked about was to deny ourselves and follow Him.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Luke 9:23-25

But, how can we deny ourselves and be OK with ourselves at the same time? The Message gives insight:

Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?” Luke 9:23-25 The Message

Don’t chase this world or our culture of fame, fortune and quick fixes. Don’t even chase God. Just dwell in Him. Delight in Him. Let God define how life is supposed to look and how you are supposed to be.

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Being OK with Me — A Quote

Today I have a quote for you from Rich Mullins, about Being OK with Me.

Well you know this whole ministry mumbo jumbo stuff – I don’t buy that. I think you are who you are, and you just live your life, and eventually we’ll all be dead, and it will probably matter very little that any of us actually lived except to God who made us. And the only way we can possibly do anything meaningful to God is to be who He made us to be. And the rest of this stuff about doing stuff for God and this and that I think is a bunch of hype. If I were going to be a good car, if Mr Ford had invented me, and I wanted to bring Mr Ford glory, what would I do? I wouldn’t go conquer countries. I wouldn’t plow fields. I would simply be a car, and so I think that God created me to simply be a person. And I think that God looks down and gets a big kick out of people, but what He finds are a bunch of heroes. And I think He is bored with heroism. And I think it’s just a matter of being who you are. The trick of the trade is letting go of your own ideas of yourself and letting God to define you as you go along, which is very hard to do because we like to think way more highly of ourselves than we ought to and at the same time we think far more angrily towards ourselves than we should. I think that God likes us awfully much more than we imagine that He does, but I don’t think He likes us because we are so very cool or so very useful or so very valuable. I think that God just is love, so He can’t help but like us.

Being OK with Me — Scrubbing the Deck

Being OK with Me.I am in the process of re-staining our front porch steps and our back deck. We’ve lived in our house for 10  years now. It’s my third time tackling this project, so I know what to expect. I can’t just buy some stain and slop it on and think everything will turn out OK. There is a process, and like any home improvement project, it always takes longer than you think it should.

It’s kind of like the process of Being OK with Me. I can’t just rub on some new cream or say some magic words to make everything OK. I thought I would start with talking about our identity in Christ — digging into God’s Word and proclaiming the truth found in Scripture. Then I started to stain my deck and realized that being OK with ourselves is much like the deck staining process. First, I must do the prep-work, otherwise the stain won’t stick.

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So, first we need to clear away the clutter, sweep a way the dirt and scrub away the grime. We might have to get on our hands and knees. Some areas will need extra scrubbing. It’s going to be hard work.

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I used an old bottle of deck cleaner to start my staining process, and it didn’t get very far. There is a distinct line where I’ve gotten some wood clean and others not. the areas that have been cleaned are already looking so much better. I hope the same happens as we explore the obstacles that keep us from Being OK with Me. We’ll take a look at the clutter and dirt and start to scrub away the grime. The bare wood will show through, and it will look so much better.

And, more importantly, the bare wood will be ready for the stain. It will soak it in. It will look beautiful.

Being OK with Me: A Disclaimer

You write about the thing that sank its teeth into you and wouldn’t let go.

— Paul West

My one word for the year is Enough. I’ve been wrestling with it for nine months now. It turns out I really needed four words for this year: Being OK with Me. I still wrestle around with Grace and Dance, too. I never wrote much about those words, which might explain why they still pin me down on the wrestling mat on a regular basis.

Being OK with Me.Early on in the year I thought I should write a series around the word Enough. It’s evolved into four words, and really a whole mindset of figuring out why it is so hard to just be OK with who I am. Maybe God is the one who said, “Enough!” It was time to finally deal with this illness that seems to develop in my brain and leak down into my heart.

Other people are writing about it, too. I have bookmarked dozens of blog posts and articles, often written by other women, describing this same illness. We seem to have similar symptoms.

I finally bought the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge.

I know I’m not alone in this nagging sense of failing to measure up, a feeling of not being good enough as a woman. Every woman I’ve ever met feels it — something deeper than just the sense of failing at what she does. And underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and I am too much at the same time.

— Stasi Eldredge, Captivating page 6-7

Stasi wrote a new book called Becoming Myself: Embracing God’s Dream of You. Just the words “becoming myself” were like music to my ears.

I haven’t read either of those books, and they are already speaking to me. Part of me wishes I could tell you I’ve read all the books, and I have all the answers, and I’ll lay them all out neatly in a 12-step program. It’s just not the case. I don’t have answers, but I want to keep wrestling.

I tried to convince myself that I didn’t need to write this series. After all, there are all those other blog posts and books. But, I decided I must make the time. For when I write, I gain strength and wrestle well. I might not have a lot of answers, but I’ll still be asking the questions.

Being OK with Me

Being OK with Me Banner

I’m OK with myself. Really, I am. The title up there might indicate I don’t like myself very much. Most of the time, I’m OK with me. I see my strengths and weaknesses. I see how I’ve changed and grown over the years. I generally feel contentment about who I am, where I am and what I do.

But.

But, there is also this nagging feeling that I am not enough. I should be more or do more. I should fix something. I should try harder. There is a shadow following me around whispering, “I should. I should. I should.”

I know I’m not alone. I sense you feel it, too. I hear it when you talk about how you’re failing. I see it when you stand on the edge, wondering if you fit.  I know because, well, me too. I lay in my bed wondering what you think of me after our conversation earlier in the day. I cringe when you compare yourself to me, yet turn around and compare myself to you.

I read about it almost weekly on the internet. On a recent day, I came across two such posts. They were published on different days, but I stumbled upon them the same day.

I read these words and shout, “Amen!” Phrases that never come out of my mouth start popping into my head. “Preach it, Sista!” “You go, Girl!” You get the idea. The words of those posts are full of truth. They sooth and encourage, and I embrace them. I’m OK with me. For a few hours. Or maybe even a whole day.

But the shadow catches up to me again. I grasp for the truth, but it slips through my fingers.

My husband is leading a couple groups through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University this fall. At the end of the first DVD session, Dave says, “What would happen to the kingdom of God if the people of God were out of debt? How much of this world could we, as believers, change?”

I wonder the same about women. What could the women of God — the daughters of Christ — do for the kingdom of God if we were all OK with ourselves? How could God use us if I was OK with me and you were OK with you?

I want to recognize areas for growth and change in my life without a sense of shame.

I want to celebrate your gifts and successes without feeling like I’m not enough.

I want to lay in my bed praying for you, not worrying about what I said to you earlier in the day.

I want to compare my “right now” to my “used to be” and not some unrealistic idea of perfection.

You, too? Let’s wrestle with this for 31 days.*

*I originally intended to participate in the 31 Days series, but I was unable to complete the series in 31 days. It is an on-going series here. Thank you for grace as I work to complete it.

31 Days: Being OK with Me

Being OK with Me.

I linked up at The Nesting Place for the annual 31 Days series. I attempted two 31 Days series, which was a very unrealistic goal. I’ve turned this into an on-going series I will contribute to for several months. Thank you for your grace.

Being OK with Me. (The introduction.)

A Disclaimer

Scrubbing the Deck

A Quote

A Theme Song

Being OK in this Culture