Friday, September 16, 2016

Sometimes, maybe it does matter

"It doesn't matter what people think of you!"

"Who cares if they think that about you! You just need to be comfortable with who you are in Christ."

These are thing I regularly say now that I have a tweenage daughter. She has fully entered the phase of life where her peers' opinions of her matter to her, where she feels the need to impress her peers. Curtis and I are seeking to parent Elizabeth in such a way that reminders her to WHOM she belongs, and that HIS opinion of her is the one that matters the most.

A few months ago I was talking with a friend. In our conversation, it came up that someone had mentioned the kind of wife I was and how he "couldn't handle a wife like that" and was "glad my wife isn't like that."

Confession: I'm a TOTAL Pharisee. I am quite good at making sure the outside of my "cup" is clean while often neglecting what's on the inside of my "cup". (see Matt. 23:25-26) I am full of pride. So when I heard that my cup wasn't thought well of, it bugged me. A lot. Probably more than it should have.

As Curtis and I talked about it, he reminded me that ultimately, it didn't matter what people thought of me. He loves me and thinks I'm a great wife. I'm not sinning or even being accused of sin. He spoke all these words of truth to me, even using the words that I use to Elizabeth!

But I couldn't shake the feelings of failure. Was it just my pride being hurt? Was it the Holy Spirit convicting me of some hidden sin in my life?  While I think each of those things is partially true, I was finally able to pinpoint where my hurt feelings were coming from.

Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,

    all the days of her life.

Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”

(Proverbs 31:11, 12, 23, 28 and 29)

My concern in the matter of what a couple people thought about the kind of wife I am is that I was reflecting poorly on Curtis.

So maybe it really does matter.

Before going into a store, doctor's office, Curtis's office, or out to eat during the middle of the school day, I give my kids the same lecture. I reminder them that they are representing themselves, our family, homeschooler, Christians and ultimately Christ. Are we shining the light of Jesus when we are unkind to one another?! Elizabeth, who is often too smart for her own good, will occasionally remind me of my own words, that it doesn't matter what other people think.

"Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." 2 Cor 5:20

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9

"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Eph 4:1-3

I could go on and on listing bible verses about living a godly life and walking in a manner worthy of the calling upon us as we represent Christ to a fallen world.

So where does that leave me? 

All this reminded me that I do represent Christ in my daily life. And part of that is being the kind of wife who brings her husband good all his days.  And though I don't like it, when it comes to some people not liking my personality, it really doesn't matter what they think of me. My calling is not to have everyone like me, be impressed by me or even think highly of me. My calling is to represent Christ in the way I live, to shine His light in a dark world. My calling is to be the kind of wife who brings her husband good and who encourages him in the leadership roles God has put him in.

That's when it matters.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

No thank you

When I was younger, my mom would pass me a plate or bowl of something I had no interest in eating. Thinking I was oh so clever, I would hand the plate or bowl to the person next to me, smile and sweetly say, "No thank you." My mom would smile sweetly back at me and give me a serving of whatever had been contained on the plate or in the bowl.

We called it the no thank you helping.

And recently in life, I've had to start saying it again.

I'm not the kind of person who likes to say no. I love being needed! I want to feel helpful and encouraging to the people around me. But in the past year, I've found myself saying yes to everything when in actuality, I needed to be saying no a bit more.

When I was asked to be on the board of our homeschool co-op, I was convinced that my husband would gently encourage me to pass on the opportunity. After all, we were up to our eyeballs in life. And frankly, I was half assing a lot of things. I was shocked when he gave me a resounding, "GO FOR IT!" He reminded me of how my passion is education, how I'm a natural teacher, how I love helping a child (especially my children!) learn. He reminded me of my vision for the co-op, which I had been sharing with the board for a couple years.

I thought he's gone nuts. Finally, I though, I had pushed him off the deep end. How on earth was I going to take on such a big task and responsibility when I was barley finishing so many things in front of me?! Then it dawned on me. I needed to say no thank you to other opportunities.

The first thing I said no to was being the kids' choir director at church for a 2nd year.

The first one wasn't too hard. My co-director was moving, no one else was interested in helping, the leadership at church encouraged me to not take one too much and even put my mind at ease when the choir dissolved.

But when I had to say no thank you this week, it made me sad. I had to remind myself that I was saying no so that I could say yes to doing other things with excellence.

I thought by 36 I would be through my growing pains.

Think again, Kierstyn.....