Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Upside-Down

Back in my college days, after the arrival of my firstborn, I could often be heard speaking these words, "Oh, I could never be a stay at home mom! I'm just not wired that way. I'll be a better mom if I've got something for me."

Add a few years and two more babies. My story changed to, "One day I'll go back to work...when they're in school. I just can't afford to work right now. Childcare would eat up my whole pay cheque."

Add a couple more babies, more years, and a closer relationship with Jesus. "I'm not sure if I'll ever work again. Somewhere along the way, I learned not only to be content in my role as a homemaker, but to find joy in it. If we can afford for me to stay home forever, volunteering in ministry, that's what I'll do."

As a young, idealistic, opinionated twenty-year-old, I was certain that my life would be dull and lifeless if I were home with my kids 24/7. As a slightly older, slightly less opinionated, and just as idealistic thirty-year-old, I was convinced that being home 24/7 would be best for my family.

Today, I am a thirty-three (and a half) year old working mom. Here are three lessons God has been teaching me about His upside-down Kingdom over the years.

1. Never say never.

God's plan doesn't usually fit within our ideals. While sometimes our ideals are formed based on God speaking to us and teaching us, it's important to remember that the plan He has for each of us is not a "one and only" thing. God's plan (and our lives) cycle through seasons.

There will be years of quiet, times of service, days of stretching, and moments of storms. And we do not get to dictate the ebb and flow - God Almighty is the commander of the seasons of life.

2. Comfortable doesn't last.

We all enjoy times of peace, quiet, and routine. There is something wonderful about feeling "settled." The thing is, as we are settling in we can also begin settling for. We settle for a faith journey that is mediocre, at best.

God knows, though, that we can serve Him better, our lives can give Him more glory, our families can better reflect His love in our communities, when we are stretched outside that little comfort bubble we live in.

3. It's not about me.

Of course I believe that God has a special purpose and plan that is specific to me and my life. But sometimes, His plan for my life is not necessarily specifically for my benefit.

God created us to serve Him, to worship Him, and to share His Good News throughout the world. He did not create us to be happy and content. (I'm sorry if that comes as a disappointment to anyone.) God is far more concerned with the salvation of the world than he is with our happiness.

The great thing is, if we embrace His plan with abandon, He will overflow our lives with joy and blessings! So the less we think of "me, me, me" the more likely we are to actually experience joy and satisfaction in this life.

I'd love to hear your stories! Here are a few prompting questions to help dig those stories out of you. Feel free to answer one or all...or something totally different, for that matter.

Have you ever said "never" to something only to have God change your plans?
Has He been asking you to let go of your comfortable so that your life can better reflect His glory?
What ways are you learning that it's not about you?

6 comments:

  1. Hi there!!! I got here through another blog that I absolutely adore, Kingdom Twindom and i also absolutely adore your blog!!! I'm originally from Brazil and I was not raise in a Christina family, although we never denied Jesus. When I come to USA, after graduating form college (guess what? Psychology!!!) I said to myself that I would never be here illegally.... Don't worry, I'm not, lol, but I was for almost three years, not because I wanted too, but because it was simply hard to get the paperwork done. Anyway, my excuse to come to USA was to learn English. Little did I know about GOD's plan for me. How grateful I am for HIM!!! I've been here for 8 years now and He is definitely working on me. And lately, I'm thinking exactly what you wrote today... I was like that, and still am to a point, so GOD has been changing me slowly, and I know HE has been asking me to let go "my idea of comfortable life", to completely letting go and trust HIM. I'm not going to tell you that I'm not struggling... I am... But He is faithful and thanks to Him I have you and Kingdom Mama!!! Love!!!

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  2. That is exactly what I have been thinking about lately....and being obedient to what God calls us to do in each season and living in the present does bring so much fulfillment! I would never have thought that when I was younger either....but when God shows His faithfulness in the regular things of life..it becomes an exciting adventure. It is truly in the uncomfortable things that I have seen God move in my life in the most profound ways!
    Bless you Tyler!

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  3. Welcome to my new friend! I'm so glad you connected through Kingdom Mama. She is a huge source of encouragement to me, too. Thank you for sharing your "never say never" story. I just love how God works in us!

    Jen, it's so true that the Christian walk is a huge adventure! And people think Christianity is dull... ;-)

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  4. Have you ever said "never" to something only to have God change your plans?
    --Many times. I can remember being a little girl in church thinking, "I could never preach in front of this big of a group" then in high school, He asked me to do just that. I tag teamed it with a couple other people, but it was still something I never thought I'd do.

    Has He been asking you to let go of your comfortable so that your life can better reflect His glory?
    --Many times-mostly with friendships, including ones I felt were helping me learn about Him.

    What ways are you learning that it's not about you?
    --In almost every aspect of my life. I'm in a job right now that I thought I'd love because I'd done similar work in the past (voluntarily) and now I don't get the same joy out of it.


    Thanks for your willingness to join me in prayer over my struggle with depression. It's getting slightly better. I started a journal entry that goes all the way back to January of this year, I wrote out all the things that may have lead up to the break into it, and although I'm not completely out of it, I'm definitely able to see the light coming back.

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  5. I've been thinking a lot about this lately Tyler, these plans that we often have for ourselves and how when we let God orchestrate our lives they often turn into the exact opposite of what we had thought they would. When I was younger I always imagined myself getting married in my early 20's and being a stay at home Mum to lots of kids... well now that I'm in my upper 20's, still not married, no kids, and currently working 4 different jobs so that I can pay the bills, oh yeah, and all of this while living in Ghana... LOL! Needless to say, not exactly the life I thought I'd be living right now. While there are moments when I think "my" plan may have been better, I do have a sense of peace and trust that God does know what he is doing and that if I was more settled, I'd probably just be a really bored and therefore, boring person. Thanks for the encouragement that our own plans and ideas aren't necessarily the best!

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  6. You would think that by now, I would know better enough than to say "never" to anything! God has a way of ensuring that all my "never"s happen! It reminds me of that expression about if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans! But God's plan is always so much better than mine and maybe eventually, the lesson will truly sink in and I will stop saying "never"!

    (from someone who was NEVER going to have seven kids!)

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