Don’t Stay There

I know it’s been a while AGAIN!  April has been a crazy month, so there just has been so much going on.  One thing that I got to do this month that was a huge blessing is the mom’s conference I go to every year.  It’s called Hearts at Home, and I highly recommend it to you moms out there.  It’s just like other people who get to go and learn how to be better at their jobs, and boy do we need help with being a mom!  Well, at least I do!

So, at this conference, we learned about a book called The Kindness Challenge, by Shaunti Feldhahn.  She spoke there and pointed out that we are not as kind as we think we are.  She also said that just doing something kind for someone would change how they act towards us as well.  You may see some results right away, or you may see some pretty quickly.  It was really interesting to hear some of her research, and something I guess I hadn’t thought too much on.  I mean, I try to be kind every day, and I ask the Lord to help me be who He is asking me to be.  Some days that is super hard, and others days, not too bad.

The thing is, kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, which just kind of occurred to me.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.   Gal. 5:22-23  NIV

So, right there it is.  For me, that means that quality, kindness is not attainable without the Lord’s strength, without the Holy Spirit living inside of us!  Are you with me on this?  I am not naturally that kind of a person on my own, like in my flesh, you know?  I am kind of naturally nice, but kind is a whole ‘nother level people.  It’s Christlike.  It’s what we can’t do without His strength.  It shows other people around us, that we are truly His followers, and makes them feel loved.  When we are kind, it sticks out in this world.

I am doing the actual kindness challenge with some amazing ladies from my moms group that went to the conference as well.  We have been sharing what we are learning, and it’s blowing my mind.  It’s amazing to see how God works when we obey Him.  You choose a person, and you do a generous act for them, then say something nice to them, and about them to someone else.  Also, you may not say anything negative about them.  This is all for 30 days.  This ain’t for the faint of heart!  I chose my husband at first, but then God showed my that my daughter Olivia is someone I need to choose.  She is at a difficult stage right now, and it is very hard to be patient with her at times.  She can be illogical, and just super exhausting.  She has been hard to deal with since she turned three, three is a very bad stage in our home.  I don’t know why, I guess we are just blessed!  Since she turned four, it’s a whole new level of drama, disobeying, and overall rudeness.  Just note that this isn’t negative, I am just telling the truth!!

I started Tuesday, because, well, I forgot Monday.  I just started being more patient, being intentional about asking God for the strength, and praying for what I needed in that moment.  It just has made me more conscious of my actions and words.  I have held back critical and sarcastic comments, and have been able to stay calm with her.  I have not been perfect by any means, but knowing you have a whole group of ladies to keep you accountable, you sure don’t want to tell them how much you screwed up!  I have seen changes pretty quickly in Olivia.  She has obeyed me faster, said “thanks” without prompting.  She is quicker to compromise, and just has been kinder as well.  I have been trying to do the things she’d like to do, within reason.  I’m just seeing how selfish and lazy I can be with her.  I’m also becoming very aware of how much I still struggle with being in control.  Through this challenge, I have really let go of a lot of that, and it has been very freeing.

The thing that has been hard, is that watching how kind God is making me, it really makes how I have been lately seem really unkind.  I mean, it makes me feel really awful.  I feel so guilty for not being a better mom to my kids, and for the times I just have not been patient, or I just let my agenda trump them.  I am so bad at putting tasks first, and hurrying along the parenting stuff, because frankly, I don’t always know what to do.  It’s just hard dealing with two little, sinful humans.

My point is this, I can’t stay there in those feelings.  This fruit that God is cultivating in me is showing me how sinful and selfish I can be when I try to do things in my own power.  It’s showing me how far I have to go, and it is humbling me.  This is exactly where God wants us.  It takes courage to move forward, a lot of it.  We want to wallow sometimes in those bad feelings.  I feel like if I beat myself up enough, then I’ll beat others to it.  It know that’s dysfunctional, but I know I’m not alone in this.  I know sharing this with you will help at least one of you!

On the trip to the conference I had to drive, which isn’t my favorite.  I ended up going down a one way street with lovely ladies in my car, and another van followed me.  Thankfully, we are all just fine, and can laugh now about it.  It was so embarrassing for me.  I beat myself up and down, back and forth, and was having a hard time getting past it.  God showed me that if I didn’t move forward and let this go, I was really going to miss out on all He had for me that weekend.  I let it go right then, and it was so hard people.  I mean, really hard for me.  I don’t quite understand why, but I had to forgive myself.  I am really good with forgiving others, but myself, not so much.

There was a speaker there, Bob Goff.  He said something that really brought it all home for me.  He was sharing about how someone could be standing in front of a movie screen, that you can’t see the movie.  They are blocking it.  He said to not be like that, don’t block others from seeing Jesus.  I realized that by holding on to my past mistakes with my kids and with one ways, that I was blocking Jesus.  I was letting it block me, and others from seeing Jesus as well.  That’s why we can’t stay there.  Let the Lord convict your sweet heart, and let’s move on.  It takes so much bravery and courage, but that’s what Christ died for.  He doesn’t want you to stay like you are.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.    Phil. 3:13-14 NIV