Thursday, October 4, 2012

Unglued Blog Hop, Week 2

Welcome, friends! This study (for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, visit Melissa Taylor's Online Bible Studies for a glimpse of our Unglued Study by Lysa Terkeurst) has officially jolted me out of my blogging slumber. My last post was in July! My how time flies when you're having a blast with your kids in the summer :)

This is week two of our study and man, oh, man.

God is speaking to me.

I'm so thankful He loves us enough to not leave us where we are, but gives us the opportunity to change and grow and start over again and again.

And again.

In Chapter One, imperfect progress gives me hope. "Slow steps of progress wrapped in grace..." I have a bucket full of unrealistic expectations I'm throwing out the back door. I'll never be perfect but I can keep moving forward.

In Chapter Two, I'm (still) learning to "rest in the fact that God is in control." As Joshua did, I have at times felt the weight of the impossible. I love how Lysa talks about Joshua having asked the wrong question. In preparation for battle and the impossible feat before him, the question should have been not whose side was God on, but whose side was Joshua on. If our focus is wrong and our eyes are on ourselves or our circumstances, our impossible situation will remain impossible. But with God ALL things.... So, whose side am I on? Do I trust God enough? "If we ground ourselves in the reality that we trust God, we can face circumstances that are out of our control without acting out of control. We can't always fix our circumstances, but we can fix our minds on God." LT

As I was preparing for our first face-to-face group meeting in my home yesterday morning (that was supposed to be at Starbucks but that's another story), I felt a tad overwhelmed. I had to take my son to the doctor at 9:00 and our study was at 10:30. I had dreams of a perfect house smelling like baked goods fresh from the oven (that I would serve to my guests on an unchipped Fall platter), worship music playing softly in the background, and my wood floor shining. But instead, reality smacked me in the face. Dishes in the sink, kids/guest bathroom a mess, unswept floor, and dirty clothes crawling out of the laundry room.

Thirty minutes and counting.

It was the perfect opportunity to release my freak out woman (and she was desperately trying to free herself).

As I ran through the house like a crazy person, wiping this and sweeping that (and hiding everything else), God gently asked, "Are you more concerned with your house being clean than your heart being prepared?"

Conviction poured over me like a warm blanket and melted through walls of pride in my heart.

And then I saw a parallel. Just as I want my house to appear perfect (please don't open the laundry room door) I sometimes try to make my life appear perfect. Remember the stuffer busy building barriers? "I'm fine." "It's all good." I often wear myself out trying to keep my Super (Spiritual) Woman cape pressed.

The truth is sometimes I'm a big ol' mess. Sometimes my thoughts need dusting, my attitude needs an adjusting, and my heart needs a round in the washer.

So as I put my broom away, my study buddy arrived and was welcomed by my beautiful new Fall wreath I made for my front door and about twenty pair of muddy rubber boots my kids left on the front porch. My house wasn't perfect, but the presence of God was so sweet during our time together (as worship music played softly in the background). We shared hard truths and spilled honesty and God met us there.

With Grace.

As we shared stories and experiences, we realized the seeds we planted last week were already producing good fruit in our day to day happenings. Our thoughts are being transformed, our minds are being renewed. We are making imperfect progress.

And...God continues to chisel.

"God is chiseling us, making us new, releasing us from our hard places - those places that make us feel so stinkin' defeated -- so we can do good works. Works God has prepared for us, which means He knows best how to prepare in us the character we need to fulfill our calling." ~LT

And we pray...

"Oh, that we might hear the purposeful clink of the Master's chisel and call it grace." LT

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

(Anyone else remember Lysa's message -Chapter 3 from She Speaks 2011? I'm looking for my key chain...)

Joining the blog hop today on Melissa's page. Meet us there?" target="_blank">

**For my local friends, if you would like to join our face-to-face meetings every two weeks, please send me a private email for details.**

4 friends had this to say:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading your blog this morning Shelly. I can relate to so many things you said here. I have been in those shoes when I felt overwhelmed and ran around like a mad woman trying to make things look nice. That is a hang up of mine. I can be falling apart on the inside but the outside looks pretty good. What is it that makes us feel that we have to impress people? As I age, I am getting more relaxed and I know in my heart that I only have to please two people. God and myself. He loves us unconditionally and I thank Him for that. As humans we tend to put to much pressure on ourselves and others. Thank you for your post!!

Shelly said...

Yes, way too much pressure on ourselves! Thank God for grace and learning to live there... blessings to you today! :)

Ellen Brown said...

I enjoyed reading your blog today! As I was reading about how you were trying to frantically prepare your house for your meeting, I was both nodding and cringing because just a few hours before I am typing these very words, I was doing the same thing. I only had an hour (by the time I picked up dinner) to get everything ready. I sadly didn't give getting my heart focused on God any time...I was too focused on trying to make the atmosphere distraction-free (which I believe the only person that would really be distracted by anything being out of place is me). Thank you for sharing these words! This has reminded me that preparing my heart for God to move is more important than preparing every single detail of my home.

Shelly said...

Thank you, Ellen! So glad you stopped by. I enjoyed my visit at your place, too :) Isn't it amazing how our lives parallel so many other women? I'm so thankful for companions and support God allows on our very similar journeys. Looking forward to the next few week together!