Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sandpaper People...

It's after midnight and I'm having trouble sleeping.  I thought it was to do with the plates rubbing together causing an earthquake in my hometown but it's not.  It's another form of people rubbing me the wrong way....sandpaper people.

So here I am again, going through the motions of dealing with certain people in my life that tend to drive me nuts and in my weakest moment I let it all get to me.  So much so, that I tend to talk to my husband a lot about it.  That is usually a sign for me to deal with it, if I tend to talk about it a little more than I should.

I read this book years ago that helped me deal with people that rubbed me the wrong way and it was such a great resource.  So much that I gave it to a friend to read and.....haven't seen it since lol.  I'm sure it's helping someone as much as it has for me.

So this blog is to share with you another post I just read which will help me sleep tonight :)  I love that it talks about my very love language - serving and how I can use that to deal with those sandpaper people in my life right now :).  God is sooo good :)

Have a read. ....Good night Sandpaper people :P..kidding....goodnight xx

Serving Sandpaper People

Mary Southerland
Today’s Truth
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10, NIV).
Friend To Friend
We live in a problem-filled world. However, you will be thrilled to know I have discovered the biggest problem of all – people. In my opinion, if there were fewer people, there would be fewer problems. Every day, we face the daunting challenge of getting along with people. Some make it easy, and some don’t. Some are kind and encouraging, and replenishing, while others drive us to the brink of insanity and beyond.
One Sunday morning, a Sunday school teacher, in the process of teaching the Ten Commandments to her third-grade class, asked the question, “Last week we learned the commandment to honor your father and mother. Can anyone tell me if there is one that refers to brothers and sisters?” A little girl’s hand immediately shot up. When the teacher called on her to give an answer, the anxious youngster quickly responded, “Yes, there is a commandment just about brothers. The one that says, ‘Thou shalt not kill!’”
Let’s be honest – some people are simply more difficult to get along with than others. They “rub” us the wrong way. I call them “sandpaper people.” We try to change them, run from them, ignore them, and even take a stab at fixing them. But what would happen if we made the choice to serve them?
I know. The last thing I usually want to do is serve someone who is hard to get along with. In fact, shouldn’t these “sandpaper people” be serving me in order to make up for all of the grief they have caused? Sounds right, doesn’t it? God has a different plan – a higher plan that produces supernatural results. It is called service.
In his letter to the church in Rome the Apostle Paul defined true service when he said that we are to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love” and “honor one another” (Romans 12:10, NIV). In this verse, “devotion” indicates commitment and duty and carries the idea of a constant faithfulness that deliberately chooses repeatedly to serve. To “honor” someone means to “prefer” him or her or regard them as more important than ourselves. Honestly, most sandpaper people are used to people preferring that they disappear.
Sandpaper people are hard to serve and hard to help because they rarely, if ever, think of themselves as someone in need. The needs of others are not high on their priority list but control and power are. To manipulate is to succeed. Sandpaper people honestly believe that the world does or should revolve around them. It doesn’t seem to matter if the audience is applauding or jeering. Either way, they win. Why would God ask us to serve the very people who drive us crazy – the people who are so hard to love and seem to constantly wreak emotional havoc in our lives?
Choosing to serve a difficult person demands that we lay down our pride and our rights and deliberately choose to identify and meet a need in that person’s life. We then become a conduit through which His love can flow to reach and transform that hard-to-love person. When we dare to serve a sandpaper person, it rocks their world. They are accustomed to scratching and clawing their way to a false and shallow acceptance. Sandpaper people find it almost impossible to believe that anyone would ever be willing to serve them in any way. That kind of chosen love is foreign to them but it certainly grabs their attention. I wonder what our world would look like if we made the choice to love and serve the sandpaper people in our lives.
Let’s Pray
Father, when I let pride take up residence in my heart, I can be so blind to the needs of others, especially those who are more difficult to love. I am so thankful that You did not feel that way toward me, one of the most difficult people of all to love. I praise You for the grace and love You have given me. Help me to be an instrument of that love and grace in the lives of those around me.
In Jesus’ name,

Monday, July 2, 2012

3 months on...

It's been 3 months since my last post.  Ironically the heading of my last post is "Falling on Deaf Ears".  Wish right now I could say that things have changed.

I'm sitting at my dining table, feeling the chill creep up my legs and my eyes are burning and yet I still don't register the signs of a body that needs rest.  Not only that, I am sitting with a huge infection on my chin.  Which started out as a mere harmless pimple  (Are pimples really harmless?), has now grown into a huge infection that is making me look like that clown mask in SAW!!!....grrrrr!!! I feel like I've just been at the dentist.  I talk as if I have a lisp.

I know, I know......even I would be really put off by someone I love whom I tell time and time again to take a break and give their body a rest.  But I still don't get it.  Well looking back over the last 3 months, I have thrown myself into my work with youth.  My heart is always to give God my best and I know that I am running on an empty tank.  I feel though that if I set systems in place to a Kingdom standard then I can pass things onto others.  I don't feel that it's an issue of trust that I have with others but rather it's wanting to give my best and knowing the potential that our church, our youth has I can provide that right now.

But I sit at home on what was to be my first day of working full-time again and what looks to be another few days at home because of this hideous chin.  I am doubling up on antibiotics which I know is actually doing worse to my system but yes I know that I do need to rest.

Last night was our 4th Encounter which is an english service that the youth leads.  It has been a blessing with these encounters as our youth has grown to 30 as well as 16 souls saved and many souls recommitted.  I have dedicated a lot of time.  Well both my husband and I ...and yes I think my children also have dedicated a lot of time to working with our youth.  At times I do feel tired but am always thinking...I will rest tomorrow.  And yet tomorrow comes and it's another busy day.  But the response from last night's Encounter makes it all worth it.

The message last night was based on 2 Timothy 1: 6.  Fanning into the flame the gift that God has given me.  I do believe that I am fulfilling God's purpose in my life.  But at what cost.  My Health for sure!!!!!  I caught up with a good friend who looks absolutely great and she told me about how my blog has interested her and that she would check in from time to time.  This blog has not been far from my mind as there are so many things that fills this space between my eyes :).

The message last night cemented God's purpose in my life.  I love my life and where I am at with my family, my friends, my church, my youth, my workplace and basically everything.  What will it take for me to take care of myself.  I have so many loving friends and family who remind me time and time again that I need to take care of myself.  I feel loved when they share their concern for me.  But as quickly and as easy as their words enter through my ears they quickly exit stage left.  As if I push those words to the side to make room for the next event, the next day, the next activity to be organised.

I went for an hour walk with my sister blister last week.  It was good to be pounding the foot path again.  It had been a long time since my running shoes saw the soles of my feet and the face of the pavement.  It was good to be able to just set aside everything and clear my mind.  And once I got back into the car to return home it was straight into fulfilling a productive day. *sigh*.

Last night's encouragement was about igniting the passion within.  I have no problem there.  I have the passion to continue to do what I do.  My problem is learning to control my passion to allow for the rest of ME to catch up so that I can continue to serve.

Control & Passion.  Sounds like contrasting words.  And yet saying it over and over in my head only reminds me of what my husband has said to me "Do what I can within my capacity".

I am blessed with such a loving husband and surrounded by my loving family.  I am forever grateful.

And with this said...I will take the next couple of days to just relax.......and take my meds :) xxx

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Falling on Deaf Ears...

It took for my husband to plead with me to take things slow for me to finally realise that I'm still taking on too much.

It has been almost 2 years since I was diagnosed with a spinal infection that would've left me paralysed from the waist down or at its worst, no longer be here and yet it still did not register with me what the impact on my family would've been.

I was talking with my husband about wanting to do something mid-year at church and working with young people.  While mindful that I still have my assignment to do that is due on Monday (already extended), photo jobs to finish (well overdue), commitments at work as well as family and church commitments.  It was beginning to bother me that in sharing some ideas for church with him I was not receiving any kind of support from him but instead listened to his frustration about taking so much on.  When he talked about my health, in my mind and my heart I felt like "oh health, schmealth.  What is health?" and feeling that my health was getting in the way of wanting to serve my great GOD.

Now I fully understand the importance of taking care of oneself so that I can serve God longer but it just was not in my list of priorities right now.  I know that sounds so silly but I'm the kind of person that when I set my mind to doing something especially when I feel strongly about it, I will do my best to see it through.  But it was all at a cost - my health!

Our heated conversation quickly came to a stop despite trying to seek further clarification from him about what he was feeling.  And in that awkward silence I was trying to understand what it was about me that wasn't taking the messages, the warnings from my husband, my family and friends to take it easy.  Had this been happening to someone else, of course I would feel a little frustrated in telling them to take it easy but instead they did the opposite and did almost everything under the sun on their list.  But the message just wasn't sinking in with me.

And then it dawned on me.  I love my GOD and absolutely believe in what He can do for me and my family.  Referring to the 5 Love Languages, my love language is Service.  I feel that my way of expressing my love to God is by serving Him by any means.  For my husband or anyone for that matter to tell me to take it easy especially when it comes to doing things at church (in my mind serving God) I felt like I was being told to not express my love for Him.

I do so much for my God because I absolutely love Him and He has given me no reason to believe that my life can be better without Him.  And so I serve Him with every ounce of energy in my body.  And yet as I am of the flesh, I do not realise how much of a strain it is taking on my body.  My husband felt that I was being selfish in doing so much and not thinking about our family in the sense that I was driving myself into the ground.  When he said that I couldn't understand how serving God was being selfish when I'm thinking that what I do are acts of selflessness instead.  He felt that I always do above and beyond and again I was confused because I felt like ..."well isn't that how it should be?".

In previous blogs I wrote about feeling that I did not deserve to rest and that I should always be working hard.  I know that what I'm feeling is definitely not about that.  I am confident that what I do at church and in my service to God is not to please others but to only please my God.  But the message/advice my husband gave me was to serve within my capacity.  Even in the bible it talks of the great men of God having to delegate to others.  I am of the mindset that if nobody does it then who will?.  And yet I always...ALWAYS feel that... well if nobody does it then I will.

I know that I am not perfect, and I know that I do push myself really hard.  But I think on this occasion I really need to take things at a slower pace.  There's a reason why our journey with Jesus is called a "walk".

One Step at a Time.


Monday, April 2, 2012

When the feeling of failure settles in...

Now I know better to allow any feeling of failure settle into my mind and heart after such an awesome weekend of servitude and blessings!  But at the moment the feelings are settling in.

So this weekend past was my first Sunday preaching.  Not that it should matter what day of the week you preach, because the day of the week is irrelevant.  I preached a message about "Becoming a ChangeThinker" at our first BUILD UP service which our youth group Bless'Em organised.  It has been such a full-on week which has definitely led me to over-exert myself.  Not because I wouldn't delegate to others and share the load.  But because I had a standard, and expectation of how the first service should be and so I did my best to see that through.  Evaluating the weeks leading up to the service and the service itself, I think miscalculated the importance of certain things among others.

I am trying to develop a style of preaching that allows me to be frank, honest and relate-able.  Developing this new style has helped me to control my emotions when I preach.  It's so difficult to do when I talk about how great my God is.  What triggers my emotions is the desperation to convince people that a life with God is so good, and that they are really missing out.

I received a lot of positive feedback but I couldn't help but feel surprised because I doubted myself straight away.  Now I know that is really stupid and I'm not writing this to get sympathy comments from people.  But I am putting it out there and wonder whether other preachers feel the same.  The feeling of..."Did I do a good job?".

Now knowing that if this was someone else sharing this with me, I would say to not doubt yourself.  If you feel that the message you received is one that you felt God wanted to share then there is no room for doubt.  The result was that there were 9 souls saved.  Not that it was due solely to the Word, but a collective ministering by the youth....well actually only God will really know what part of the service really touched these 9 souls.

I know I'm being really silly.  I did not fail.  I set out to do my best.  My aim was to set the standard/expectation on organising a service that reflects the perspective of Kingdom residents.  I believe I achieved that.  My hope is that it really has encouraged our congregation to widen their perspective in serving God with a renewed mind.

My encouragement from last night's service was based on Romans 12:2 NLT.  It will take time to come to understand God fully.  For some of us it will take a lifetime, for others much sooner.  But once we make the decision, once we change our minds to allow Him to make a dramatic change in our lives, we will see in His timing how GOOD and PLEASING and PERFECT our life can be with Him.  And it will be so great that we will want to tell others about it.

My life is good right now.  It is a journey that I'm taking.  And I'm prepared to put in the hard work.  I have done what I can in my service.  Now it's time to do things for myself, and get my personal goals back into perspective.  The next time I preach....I aim to be smaller physically, bigger spiritually and mentally!!!

Be encouraged xxxxx

Friday, March 23, 2012

What Happens in a Month??

How rude!! It's been over a month since I've last written....

So many things have happened over the past month.  But in saying that...there are so many things that have not...One in particular is to do with my health.  Now I k now I live a very busy life and a lot of that is self inflicted, and I am now feeling in the pit of my stomach borderline hypocritical.  I think it hit me when I was having coffee with one of my clients who is getting married in June.  We ordered dinner, and she said to me..."What happened to the "New Me"?"....exactly! She was right!!!

The Old Me is finding it's comfy seat within me...and is about to settle.  I have so many things I want to do and with my obligations at church and with my family picking up again...I know that I am putting myself in the back seat again.  If you could see the inside of my mind write now I'm pretty should you would be standing at the edge of a motorway with everyone rushing to wear they need to go at 200km/hr.

I am now feeling like I have made promises to myself....and I am breaking them.  Though at the same time I'm feeling like...I'll just dedicate this time to what I need to do for God and for my family...and then I'll make some time for myself.  With my first Sunday preaching fast approaching I know that it will be a true testament to even myself to be up on stage at the size that I am...and thinking...this has got to stop.  I cannot continue to serve God in this thick shell I have right now!!!  I need to get myself right....physically.

Spiritually I am feeling really blessed with the awesome messages I have been listening to, and the messages that I feel God is giving me for this preaching.  I have so many things I feel I need to say but trying to say it in a way that will reach as many people as possible is a little difficult.  But I know that relying on the Holy Spirit to help put together the right words will do the trick :)

I feel like sometimes I need a massive whiteboard in my mind to help me prioritise things but I think it's really to waste time writing lists.  I'm a huge lists person and I love to write lists for the sake of writing them.  Doesn't necessarily mean I'll get everything done, but it does feel good to cross things out.

I will try to write more as it does give me some relief.  Especially over the next couple of weeks leading up to our 10th wedding anniversary night away.  I'm really looking forward to it 'cause I do miss my love.  But I know the trip will be worth it :)

Okay.....I need to get onto my domestic duties.  If anything writing today has helped me to get things back into perspective.  Which ironically is what my preaching is about  :)....Learning to Change our perspective :) xxxx