Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yes To God Tuesday... or is it Thursday?

I feel like it has been ages since I have been on my blog... much less anyone else's. I have been doing something else... I am just not exactly sure what. I have also had a little bit of writer's block. I'm glad to be back.

This is part of a book study that Lelia from Write From the Heart is hosting. We are reading Lisa Whittle's book Behind Those Eyes. If you haven't read this book... it is great. You should run out and pick up a copy... after you read this post, of course.

Chapter 5 Ms. Spirituality

Now this chapter really spoke to me. I didn't want it to... but it did. Lisa started off with Ms. Spirituality's checklist. She has to make sure that she is all checked off.... Here is her list... with my check-marks....

Attends Church and Sunday School YEP!

Volunteers for non-profit and Christian organizations every chance she gets Do church "things" count?? Like Judgement House, Awana, and Decision Counselor?? If so, YEP!

Knows proper "Christanese" and uses it frequently YES! PRAISE THE LORD!

Collects money from others for the less fortunate opps.. I don't do this YET!

Listens to Christian Music, Radio, and only Christian TV YEP, YEP, and YEP if we had
Christian TV around here. That is if I watch TV at all.

Often wears Christian pin or T-shirt and has an emblem on her car YEP!

Attends at least one women's conference per year OF COURSE I DO!!

Prays for Missionary families.... Oh no... I have missed another one!!

If I (oops, I meant she) really needs to impress...

Attends midweek service and leads at least one church ministry YEP!

Journals or BLOGS... WHAT??? Even this???? YEP!

Gives money to the less fortunate Wonder if giving money to Life Today so that I can receive one of Beth Moore's resource counts??? If so, YEP!

Attends more than two women's conferences per year TRY TO!!!!

Well... after that little exercise... I had to stop and rest from the book a while and do some soul searching. I do many things on that list.... MANY things on that list... But the question is why do I do them??? Is it to make Lynn look better?? Probably more times than I would like to admit. If I do even one of them to make myself look better.... that is one too many.

I want my heart to be pure before the Lord. I want to do everything that I do for His glory... not mine. But it is so hard to kill this flesh that I live in.

As I continued on in the chapter, there were many things that Lisa said that stuck out to me...

"The point is not that Ms. Spirituality does these things, rather, why she does these things. Remember, it's all in the performance, not in the act itself."

That statement reminded me of what happened last Sunday. We have decision counselors at our church. They are available at the end of the service to provide needed counsel for anyone that responds to the invitation. That could either be for accepting Christ as their Savior, repentance, re-dedication, or anything else that God may has laid on their hearts during the service. Several weeks back, the church held a class for anyone interested in becoming one of these counselors... And you know that I signed up. There have been a few times that I have led someone to the Lord... but I figured that I could do it a lot better if I took a class on it. So after class, I came home... fixed myself a little Bible with underlined scripture, notes inside, and everything that I would need to be a decision counselor... and then I did nothing for the next couple weeks. This past Sunday we had such a powerful service... and I listened as the Pastor asked if anyone had prayed the prayer to receive Christ... one, two, three, four, five, six, maybe even more!! I knew that there would not be enough counselors down there.... so I reached in my bag and pulled out my "new" Bible with all the necessary stuff and went down front to wait to be called on..... And sure enough... The Pastor sent me a girl.

Well... I am horrified to tell you... that I have no idea what I said to her... no idea if she even got what I was telling her... and no idea what took place. I was so nervous. I was shaking. I was so worried about my performance that I couldn't even speak clearly. I am not sure that I even addressed her real need... which was to make sure that she had her eternity settled with the Father. Oh... I listened to her tell me that she remembered being saved as a child... I remember her telling me that she had not been living "right"... I remember spouting out a few verses about being saved... I remember rattling off a few more scriptures about assurance of salvation.... The whole time we could hear the Pastor announcing other decisions... I felt so rushed... I felt so much pressure... I thought that I would explode if church didn't end soon. Afterwards... I felt like a total failure. I was horrible at that. I couldn't believe that it was so hard. I was embarrassed that I had not done a better job. My "performance". Is that what that was??? I would have hoped not. But I can tell you that is all that I could think about for the rest of the day.... my performance.

Lisa then said,
"All of our good deeds and actions depend completely on the motive of our hearts."

I thought that my motives were pure. I am almost positive that they started out pure. But somewhere along the line... my performance became more important than her confession and her realization that she needed to surrender her life to Christ and allow Him to the the Ruler of her life. How did that happen???

Lisa said,

"There are many people sitting in church pews, attending visitation, teaching a Sunday School class, and volunteering for a mission project who are actually lacking spiritual depth in their relationship with Christ."

I think that was my problem. I will tell you the truth.... my quiet times over the last week or two just haven't been all they should be. I haven't felt intimate with my Heavenly Father for the last couple weeks. Now... I know that He is still in the same place... it is me that has moved. And I am working on that. But, I wasn't where I needed to be in my walk with Him to rest in his provision. I was worried about my performance... not looking for His power. I wonder if that is where Ms. Spirituality jumps in. You still know what is "right".... you are just not "right". Your body goes into automatic pilot... and you go through the motions. Your focus leaves the Father.... and you are just trying to keep doing what you know is "right". The problem is that if we don't come back into intimate fellowship with the Father... we may just become Ms. Spirituality all the time.

Then Lisa tells a story about a visitor in her Sunday School class. After class the women comes up and admits that she was concerned about bringing her husband to this class... because he is an alcoholic... but how excited she was when she started talking to the man sitting beside her and he shared that he was an alcoholic too. The visitor then said,
"Now I feel like someone here may be able to relate to him , after all."

Well... isn't that all of us??? We just want to know that we aren't alone in our struggles. We are just waiting on the next person to speak up and say that they are struggling so that we can spill our guts and know that we really do "fit in".

By the time that I ended that chapter... I was so relieved to find Lisa's statement,
"Fortunately for all of us, spiritual perfection is not a requirement to faith in Jesus Christ."

and then,

"Though we seek it, our lack of spiritual perfection may be the best thing in the world for us since it reminds us that we are absolutely nothing without Christ."

Now looking back... I know exactly why my first experience being a decision counselor needed to be a failure... Sorry Shelly.... I am praying for you.... otherwise... I may have continued to try to do it in my strength. My performance can never measure up to God's power. I know now that unless my walk is where it needs to be... I will stay in my seat . Or, instead, I will probably just crawl up to the alter myself and seek God's forgiveness for not being ready when He desired to use me.

I knew at the beginning of this study that the church is full of people being fake. The song that Lisa quoted is one of my favorites. I had hoped that I wouldn't find myself so guilty of being in the charade... but there again... I needed to see my failures so that God's power can be displayed.

I can't wait to finish this study. Next week we will be reading and discussing chapters six and seven. Join us back then... If you are interested in seeing if Ms. Spirituality stepped on anyone else's toes, just click here.

Also... if you are wondering about the situation from two of my last three post... well... we are still in the throws of it. I have done as much as I possibly can to prevent any communication between the two of them... which means canceling texting on our phones. There are some moments (very few) when she is thankful for what I am trying to do... but most moments she is angry at me for "butting" in. Don't you just hate that as her mother, I have had to "butt" in. Oh well. Thanks so much for your prayers. Keep them coming. I do not believe this is over yet.

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Regina said...

Great Post!! This chapter also spoke VOLUMES to me. I too could check off most of the things on Lisa's list. AND if I could not check it off then I can assure you that I live under a cloak of guilt because I can't.

Maybe I can post on this chapter before next week. I'm not doing to good on this post every week thing, but this is one week that I sure hope I can find the time to blog on.

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Lynn, I just love so many of the things you said. I feel I could hear your Spiritual sarcasm in some of your replies to the checkoff list. You made me chuckle here:

"Knows proper "Christanese" and uses it frequently YES! PRAISE THE LORD!"
and here:"Gives money to the less fortunate Wonder if giving money to Life Today so that I can receive one of Beth Moore's resource counts??? If so, YEP!"

That is so funny! You are funny.
Love it.

Now, seriously, I love how you said we go on auto pilot and we are just trying to keep doing what we know is "right".

You are so right that God allowed you to mess up on that first counseling bit so that you would recognize your need of His strength in those times; otherwise, as we all do, you would just rely on your own ability.

I think we think we are being noble when we try to do things on our own. I know living alone, I like to try to do as much as I can without having to call on my stepdad for those manly things. God is not that way. He wants us to lean on Him and call on Him in EVERYTHING. We aren't to do anything alone. I believe we are to call upon Him for it all even down to missing keys. Ask Him; it honors Him.

Thanks for sharing your insighs.

Tracy said...

What an awesome post! My toes are feeling stepped on and that's a good thing. Wow. I was feeling so bad for you about how things seemed to go as you prayed with that girl. Then, I continued reading what you spoke (with much wisdom, I might add) that your first experienced NEEDED to be a failure, otherwise, you could have thought it was somehow of your own strength. Wow. Great stuff, girl. This study is one I'm going to HAVE to check into.

Thank you for sharing and thank you for your sweet words today on my blog. You're a blessing to me!


Beverly said...

Thanks for stepping on my big girl "pride panties". WE do all those things don't we.....but I'm praying for God to show me other places to go.....and not be the typical Ms. Spirituality.

I'm praying for ya

Tammy R said...

Your post was so real and thought provoking.

I did the same thing with the counseling at our church. In the end I knew,for myslef, it was all about the performance.

Between this book and everyone's open hearts...I've been blessed.

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful that you shared what you did. It was awesome to see you be so real about being a decision counselor... and that the first time had to be a failure so that you would learn your lesson.

I prayed in my post that God would break me and humble me when my motives have started to be more about me and less about Him... one prayer that I KNOW He will be answering!!! :)
God bless you!
And praying for you and your family!

Leebird said...

Hi Lynn,

Thanks for your comments on my blog. We'll be the late posters together. Life gets so insane sometimes! I'm so sorry about your girl's broken heart. I have all boys, and if I discovered that one of them did something to tear the heart of a sweet girl, I'd just die!

Of course...breakups happen...but to be lied to and deceived...that's just so hard for a young girl trying to find her way.

Praying for her heart to mend and her joy to return...and for her to realize what sweet momma she has.

Lisa said...

Wow...loved the "decision counselor" story you shared -- what a powerful reminder that desire for performance so often gets in the way of what God wants to use us to do. Thank you for being so open, something Ms. Spirituality would likely NOT be able to do. You are walking in truth, Lynn, about this, and I loved hearing it.

Let's keep running toward truth, friend! It changes our hearts and keeps us from the "performance."
Lisa :)

jcdisciple said...


Your honesty reveals a great deal to me about your heart. If you haven't been over to my site and you get some time, please stop by and watch the video by Paul Washer at the top of my blog. He was at the "Deeper" conference and he completely shook my entire world with questions about "examining" yourself to be sure you are of the faith. It really gave me a new outlook on not only my own assurance, but how I deal with others who aren't sure!!

I think of you you often. I trust the Lord continues to provide for you and your husband. You and Regina are both blessings to me.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

Holymoses Lynn,
This is an incredible post! I really loved it!
I didnt post about the book this week, but I did do the lesson.
It was really good, and it's hard not to just go on and finish the book. I'm trying to just do the week at a time thing.
It's great to visit you tonight! Hope you had a good sabbath.

BethAnne said...

The point is not that Ms. Spirituality does these things, rather, why she does these things. Remember, it's all in the performance, not in the act itself."

I have been thinking about this alot lately and have a post brewing in my head about it......sometimes I soooo struggle with doing thing for the wrong reason...instead of for His glory, I sometimes do things out of obligation or for my glory....