Note to Self: You don’t need to finish

Somewhere along the way, I picked up the idea that if I’ve started something, I might as well finish it.

As in, “I resisted the temptation to eat my emotions for a while, but now that the bag of potato chips is open, I might as well finish the whole thing.” Or “I know I’m not supposed to yell at my children, but now that I’ve got the TIRZAH MAE!!!!! out, I might as well finish my tirade.”

Sure, I feel guilty afterward. I swear that I’m NOT going to do it again. But then the staccato (and much too loud) “LOU-IS!” springs forth from between my clenched teeth and there we are again. I started, so I might as well finish.

Tirzah Mae

But I’m coming to realize that’s not at all true.

In fact, if I want to have any success at not starting, I need to start by not finishing.

The “BETH-ELLEN!!” bursts out. I feel immediately guilty – and I stop. I take a breath, check my tone: “I’m sorry. Mama shouldn’t have yelled. Beth-Ellen, you may not…”

The more practice I get at stopping and repenting, the sooner I remember to stop. The sooner I remember to stop, the less frequently I start. I get into the habit of obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit instead of ignoring him.

And my home becomes more and more peaceful, reflecting the fruits of the Spirit: peace, patience… gentleness, and self-control.

Mental note: just because you started, you don’t need to finish. In fact, it’s much better that you don’t.

WiW: A Lovely Song

The Week in Words

I am surrounded by the Word of God.

My Bible goes with me, tucked into my purse.

My MP3 player is loaded with sermons and podcasts to listen to as I drive.

My bookshelves are full of books expositing the Word of God.

My Google Reader fills every day. Homemakers reflecting on how the word of God impacts their lives. Mothers praying the word of God over their children. Men discussing the nuances of one doctrine or another.

The Word of God. My life is saturated with it.

And it is beautiful.

But the Word of God is not merely a song to be heard and applauded.

Last night, I read these words–and they cut me to the heart:

“Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.”
~Ezekiel 33:32

Surrounded by the Word of God, I revel in its beauty. I delight to hear how the gospel has impacted others. I delight to read of the intricacies of the gospel. It is a lovely song. The speakers, the bloggers, the writers play their instruments well with pleasant voices.

But it is not enough to consider the Word of God a lovely song.

I must do it.

The Word of God must enter my soul and transform me.

I pray that Jeremiah’s cry might become mine.

“Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me
the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.”
~Jeremiah 15:16

Oh that the Word of God might become for me more than just a lovely song. Oh that it would become as the very sustenance of my soul. That I might eat the Word of God–and that by it I might be transformed.

This is my prayer.

Collect more quotes from throughout the week with Barbara H’s meme “The Week in Words”.

Scared if I do

I’m scared if I do and I’m scared if I don’t. Last November, I knew exactly what to do this summer. I was going to Jacksonville. There was no doubt in my mind that that was the right thing to do. And then I got back to work at home and everything became muddled. I went back to thinking that the church needed me–I couldn’t leave. (Hello, Rebekah! Even our Pastor has gone on sabbatical! Why can’t you?) And I started to think that since my scholarship is on the way out the door, I can’t afford to give my summer to God. (Hello, Rebekah! Didn’t God promise to provide for you if you put Him first? He always has in the past.) And I started to think that if I went to Jacksonville, I’d have to grow. And I wondered if that was really what I wanted.

I’d convinced myself that I couldn’t do STP during the month of December. And then came January. I realized with startling awareness that all those excuses were the same excuses I’d been telling God before November–when everything became so clear. God had already roundly refuted those excuses. So why was I going back to them again? And so I knew that I must go to STP. I flirted with the application, thought about putting filling it out on my to-do list. I wavered, then my resolution grew. It was God’s plan. Just as I’d known in November, I knew now. I was supposed to apply for STP.

I hadn’t yet filled out the application when Jackie approached me tonight. She asked me to think about being a team leader. And all the questions that filled my mind threatened to make me rip up the application and say to heck with it. Can I really lead? Can I lead my peers? I don’t think they know what they’re asking. I’m not really that spiritual. I’m not sure that I’m really that good of a Christian. Can I really do it? Or have I just been really good at faking in the past? And what about leading anyway? I’ve never actually led anything at Navs before. Ever. Not really. I mean, I’ve given my testimony, served. I talk to people and participate in discussion and stuff. But I’m not a leader here. How do they even know that I have any potential–if I have any potential?

And what about getting away from a performance mentality? Would this put me right back into it? would this destroy my chances of taking time to spend with the Lord and with fellow believers instead of trying to be super-Christian and hold the church on my shoulders? And what about only being able to work a part time job? Lord, do You really provide? But I want to do it so much. Do you know how I’ve longed to lead? How frustrated I have been at having so many opportunities to serve–which I love–but never having the opportunity to truly lead. I want so badly to be able to live life with another person and help them to grow. I want so badly to learn to lead others into the Word. I want so badly to learn to empathize
for others–to weep when they’re weeping and laugh when they’re laughing. I want to be a leader. I want to learn it. I want to teach and be trained to do so. I want to lead and be trained to do so. I want to disciple and be trained to do so. But I’m scared to death to even try.

Are You really sufficient
When my cup can’t hold any more?
Are You really enough
When I’m empty?
When I sin
Are You still the One
Who ransoms?
When I’m lost
Are You still
the Good Shepherd?
And when I long
for a husband
Are you still my bridegroom?
Jesus are you?
Are you really enough?
How can I do this?
I’m dying inside?
Are you still my life?
I don’t feel it
Are you still interceding?
How I need it
Jesus, my Saviour
Jesus, my Lord
Jesus, my Lover
Jesus, my Life
I need it, I need You