Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hello Mornings - A Month In

There is one song that I did not include in my last update about this challenge. I am glad, though.  The experiences that I have had over the last few weeks have confirmed some of the things that this song made me realize about this challenge. Here is the update I posted on the day I listened to this song:

My favorite Song today:

Definition of Me - Steven Curtis Chapman
(The link above goes to a video, though I don't like the version.  The link I included at the time on Facebook was much better, but has been removed from YouTube.)

"Here come those little thoughts
of all I ought to be but I'm not
I try talking to myself
but I'm still not convinced
I'm good, I'm bad, I'm everything in between
I'm this, I'm that, but really God we both know

It is Your love that defines me
and Your love that reminds me
it's not what I do"

When I was listening to this, I knew it was "Your love that reminds me," but I kept hearing it, "Your love that REFINES me, it's not what I do."

This whole process is a refinement, and it was such a comfort to realize that it is not MY EFFORTS that are refining me, but the power of JESUS and the HOLY SPIRIT'S work in my life that are making any change possible.

I have come to the realization that I can, by sheer willpower, make changes in my everyday schedule. The real reason I am doing this, though, is not just to have more order in my life, but to put Jesus first. I want to look at Him, my husband and my children as being more important than myself. The reason I thought, "I don't want to live like this" in the past was not just because I was tired but because I was spiritually weary. I was not receiving strength from my times with God and therefore was walking through life on my strength alone. It takes it's toll on my patience, on my level of self-discipline, on my energy - every area of my life. Kat, from Inspired to Action where the Hello Mornings Challenge originated, visited our Facebook group and posted something that worded it perfectly for me.
"But this isn't about trying harder, really. This is simply about putting ourselves in a position to hear Him and receive His grace to be the best moms we can be." 

Here are some thoughts I have jotted down at random times over the last few weeks:

John 15:5 - "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
This verse confirmed to me my feelings on willpower. Yes, I can power through this challenge; but it will not change my heart. If I remain in Christ, not only will my schedule change, but I will change. The week after I heard this verse at church, my Pastor said something like this, "Happy thoughts will not help you...they may get you through the moment, but they won't change you.  But hope - that changes us." My hope is not just for my mornings, it is that I will be transformed by the power of God into someone who is more like Jesus.  My hope is that when I step into Heaven, I will really have done everything I can to hear the words, "Well done my good and faithful servant."
2 Peter 1:5-9 - "For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins."
 I need to "make every effort" to make the changes that I feel God is asking me to, so there is discipline involved. I want this to be a life change, but that doesn't mean I just want to get up at 6am for the rest of my life.  I want the commitment of obedience to Christ to be my life change.
As I was considering these areas of change , I ran across an article about an amazing story about an Olympic athlete. I was impressed and wanted to learn more about him personally. It was very sad for me to learn that this person's marriage had ended because of their infidelity.  Why is it that people of such strong discipline in some areas - physical, professional, etc - can be so very lacking in the disciplines of character?  I think it is because we can have self discipline without relying on God to change us from the inside out.  I want Him to change my character, my values, my heart - until I want what He wants.  This journey, for me, began long before I can remember and it will continue probably for the rest of my life.

Philippians 1:6 "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus."

I am still impatient with my kids.  I am still not getting enough rest.  I am still not so great at getting up.  I worry about facing the times I am sick or I am traveling.  Will I even have the desire to obey at those times?  I don't know.  What I do know is that He has begun a good work in my life, and I trust Him to finish it.

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