31 Days: Live Intentional {Day 10} Gobsmacked by Indulgence

by Lisa on October 10, 2011

“We learn to live differently BY LIVING DIFFERENTLY, not by thinking about living differently.”

My cheek is red. I can still feel the sting from the slap on my face. I hear, “Wake up, wake up. Open your eyes before it’s too late.” My hand rises to touch the spot where I’ve just been hit. “What’s going on?” I think. My eyes are beginning to open, and I don’t like what I see. “Help!” I cry.

My husband has always said you really never know what you think until you write. I believe it. Many a day I sit down at the computer with one thought, idea, or story in mind. As I begin to formulate my musings, the words on the screen seem to take on a life of their own. Like children’s building blocks, my words stack up one upon another. They sometimes teeter, and then fall. I begin again. The foundation may look the same, but the word stack takes on a new and different shape. In the end, the story often does not turn out how I thought it was going to—not necessarily what I originally thought I’d say or write. Strange how that happens.

I’ve taken some time to read and study my writings these last few days and weeks. I’m beginning to see a pattern. A style. A type of reflection. Find the humor in the everyday, the mundane, the ordinary. Isolate a particular incident, something that is happening in my life, and retell it.  Usually I chuckle to myself, revisiting ‘X’ scenario in my mind as I write. It’s funny, I tell myself. Other people will find it funny too.

I imagine people smiling when they read about a tired mom stumbling around migrating from room to room in the middle of the night. I believe other mothers will be able to relate to the difficulty of wanting a clean house but not really knowing why or how to do it. I think the mental image of  a kitty-fur tooth dangling by a spit-thread would put a grin on anyone’s face. Or, the imaginative picture of a child screaming to put back the sliver that her parents just removed while sitting on her would be funny to all.

That’s when I got gobsmacked. I didn’t see it coming.

Another pattern woven into all these stories. A different style. A reflection in the mirror of sort. And, it isn’t particularly funny. It’s more like down-right ugly.

It’s called indulgence. Self-indulgence. Self-pity. Self-gratification.

New Year’s Day a couple of years ago we sat down as a family and decided to make some resolutions. Simple, easy solutions—both for us and the kids. We opened the Bible and read the passage from Galatians 5:22-23 (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.). We each picked a “fruit” to pray about and to work on. My  “fruit” was self-control.

At the time, my temper would seem to easily flare when I was interrupted at the computer.  I would get flustered when we were late for an appointment and I couldn’t find my purse, or the kids didn’t know where their shoes were. I would over-react because one of the girls hadn’t listened to me as tried to help them with their violin lesson. I’d have a temper tantrum if David was late for dinner, or I’d rant because the children were fighting. I was always ready to plug my ears at one more tattle-tale. Yep, I concluded, I really did need a good dose of self-control.

Now flash forward a couple of years. Sitting at the computer tonight, I realized I’m still battling many of those same issues. What happened to working on my self-control? I did try. Sometimes it worked, but reading over some original thoughts/words I realized I’ve forgotten one important main ingredient: prayer. I have not been a woman of specific, unrelenting prayer. How can I expect God to answer my prayer if I don’t even bother to pray about it more than a few times? Gobsmacked, I say.

I can’t just wish my problems away. Can’t just hope things are gonna change. Can’t just wake up the next morning and things are suddenly magically delicious. No laundry fairy is going to enter my house while I’m sleeping and clean up my dirty piles. No little tiny mice will be scurrying around picking up my clutter and mess while I slumber. No one else is going to do my work, love my children, teach my kids, make my husband feel valued and loved. No one else is going to open the Bible for me, or say my prayers, or live “my” intentional life for me. I’ve got to get off my duff—today. Time is a wastin’.

In order to live intentional I have to do just that—live intentional. Die to self. Take up my cross and follow in His footsteps. Repent. Pray. Look to the heavens.

My ultimate example: Jesus. He faced difficulties. He faced demanding, childlike, tattle-tailers. He faced messes and flawed people. He faced rejection and trials. But what did he do? He didn’t wallow in it, or stay where He was, but He died to self. Prayed to the Father for help and strength. Trusted. Obeyed. And, then He prayed some more.

I am believing that this 31 day challenge will not turn out to be just a rant of what I’m not doing or what I should be doing, but more of a call to action. A honest examination. A death to self. A move forward. A step, however big or small, in the right direction.

So far I think it’s working. I’ve been praying more often again. I’ve been intentional about writing. I’ve been noticing the small things. I’ve been calmer, and more grateful in the day to day.

Lord, please continue to reveal to me areas where I need to grow and change. Please help me be a woman of steadfast prayer, and please do not leave me where I am today cause getting gobsmacked hurts.

*****

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Missional Mama October 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I can echo your prayer here. Thanks for your post today!

Amy

David October 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm

First of all, I can’t help but comment on a post with the word gobsmacked in the title. Sorry, I just can’t. The British accent dripping from that one gets me every time. Spoken without any attempt at humor, it’s priceless…well—I’ll-be-gobsmacked!

Seriously, you are digging deeper, and seeing farther along.

Keep going, love! You are a blessing and an encouragement to me (and others no doubt) as you advance, intentionally, in your life and faith in Christ. In the advancing is obedience, as obedience is where intentionality must lead to be of any value.

Wonder, but don’t worry. Don’t stop. Simply continue to believe and do. Where does Doing end and Being begin? It’s the same wheel turning. What you do, you become. But who you are, that is more important than what you do (or have done). Almost a conundrum—but the being comes along with the doing. Faith and works. Inextricably entwined. Without Christ, doing is simply pointless mind-over matter and strength of will behavior modification. With Him, it’s living in Victory. Just believe and do. And become who he’s made you to be in Him, not what your flesh still strives for. [romans 8:1]

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