Thursday, April 28, 2011

It’s NOT all about me....

I really try to live by those words.  Easier said than done!  When I read The Purpose Driven Life  I was drawn in right away at the 1stsentence….It’s not about you.  I want it not to be about me and yet there I am always in the way.  Being single I pretty much can do whatever I want whenever I want.  I can cook whatever I want, spend my time and money however I please, and basically I don’t have to check in with anyone.  It’s all about me! 
Of course if you have children they come 1st but even as a single parent with a split custody situation I’ve always had quite a bit of time away from my son. Every other weekend, split Christmas Break, Spring Break, etc….and when that happens, it’s all about me baby.  Time for mama to shop, go tanning or do whatever I want…because I can! 

One of the traps of singleness is selfishness.  It’s all about me…good or bad.  We can get stuck in the “Whoa is me” syndrome.  We feel like…no one really knows what being single is like….My life is hard if you only knew what I have to go through…..You have a partner, I’m all alone…..I have to raise my children by myself….I have the financial burden of my household on me.  The I’s just keep coming.    But God tells us in the Bible
in Luke 9:23 If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.    

God says we need to lose the I.  And that my friends is not an easy thing to do.  A couple of years back I had the privilege of going on a mission trip with my son to build houses in Mexico.  It sounds like a selfless act doesn't it?  But I ended up learning a lot about myself on that trip and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.  I came into it saying…It’s not about me!  But as soon as I came across some hardships on the trip, it became all about me fast! Let me explain;  So 1st off I had heard the stories of this trip from previous years.  The weather could make you or break you.  You are camping for 4 days in a big dirt pit.  And for the record, I don’t camp.  (That is a whole other topic that I won’t get into.  Let’s just say in my mind camping is the opposite of fun.  But hey, this isn’t about me…right?  No problem.  I got this camping thing. )

I had three big fears going into this trip.  A.  I would get or be sick.  B. That we would have horrible weather and   C.  That something would happen to my tent and the things in my tent.  Not likely these things would happen….right??? 

The day before we were to go I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed. (And yes I got my stinkin flu shot!)  I was miserable!  Once we got to Mexico it started to rain....hard.  You literally dig trenches around your tent for the water to go into in hopes it won’t go into your tent.  Our vans got stuck in the mud, we couldn’t even do a full day’s work the 1st day there because it was raining so hard.  So there I am sick, cold, and in the pouring down rain.  Not happy but trying to tell myself……It’s not about me. Then we go back to our campsites and that is when I get the news….There was a big wind gust while we were gone.  Not only did our tent blow down but our tent pole gouged it and there was a hole in the top of our tent roof. (Still raining mind you!)  Our stuff and sleeping bags were wet.   Thankfully before we left for our sites I had put black garbage sacks around our sleeping bags so it could have been a lot worse.  But still, we had to duct tape our tent back together, try to dry it out and I felt like my head weighed 100 pounds.  It was not going well.  The next day the weather was better but still a mess outside from the rain.  I still felt horrible, and the work was HARD Labor.  It involved a very rickety staircase (if you could call it that), heavy buckets of dirt mixed with concrete and poured out to make a slab.  I’m not gonna lie I was not used to that kind of work and by the end of the day I was worn out and done.  Done with everything and everybody.   I was having the BIGGEST gripe session ever in my head.  I was thinking…I hate this…this is not fun…I don’t want to be here…why did I think I would be able to do this.  I’m never coming back again…ever!  I don’t want to be here for two more days, I’d give anything to get out of here.  This is so NOT worth it! 

You get the ugly picture.  It was about me and I had enough.  I went into the gathering tent for dinner quite grumpy and put out when God exposed my selfish heart for what it was. 

There was a local pastor who had come to visit us.  He spoke only in Spanish and had to be interpreted.  He started out by saying how thankful they were that we were there.  That his church had been praying for us.  To them we were like angles.  That these 4 days we gave to them building houses will change their families’ lives forever.  I began to cry tears of shame.  I couldn’t believe how fast I went from it’s not about me…to It’s all about me.  I prayed right there for God to forgive me and to change my heart.  It was a very humbling experience for me.  The rest of the week did not go perfectly or smoothly but it did not matter.  I had decided to lose myself.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  I got to serve the Lord side by side with my son and grow in God’s grace.  It is a memory I cherish with all my heart.  I would not change one rotten circumstance for anything on that trip. 

I am still learning to lose myself.  It is not an easy act to do.  How about you?  Is your life all about you?  Are you constantly comparing your life to others and griping about it?  Or are you serving, growing, and giving to others?  It is what God has called us to do single or not.  Put yourself in situations where you have the opportunity to lose yourself for God.  Start serving others in your community, church, go on mission trips, or where ever God leads you.  And trust me if you ask Him…he will lead you to serve him.  Don’t be afraid!  It really is time to say and show….It’s not about me. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Let’s Get Intimate…

SO…  The main reason I am doing this blog is to reach out to other singles and let them know they are not alone.  I love that God is speaking to others besides singles through this blog.  You never know what God will do with something when he calls you to it.  But I have to say….it is hard for me to spill my guts.  I have spent a lot of time and years doing the opposite.  I have put up a wall and acted like everything was fine and I wasn’t struggling at
all and life is peachy keen, don’t you know!  But that was not the case.  And God has REALLY laid it on my heart that I need to be real and authentic and spill the dirt on myself.  I was in a bad marriage for years but pretended everything was fine to my friends and family.  At times I have felt alone, rejected, and so incredibly insecure being single.  I’ve only let a few of my true inner circle friends know the “real” me. 

I once read a definition of intimacy as into-me-see.  When you are truly intimate with someone you let them see the real you.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  And I think that is
how we grow.  We let our guard down and
let God in.  And a big part of that is fellowship with other like minded Christians.  God has REALLY been working on me in this area and I’d like to share how, but some of these details seem a bit intimate to me (and seriously embarrassing) but I have a feeling I am not alone in some of these areas. 

I think in every singles walk there comes a time when you start to do the ring check.  You know what I mean….you see or meet someone randomly, maybe at the local coffee shop, grocery store, church, where ever and you think Hmmmmm…I wonder and then you look.    You know…. for the ring….the ring that is on the left hand….the hand that will state…… taken or available.  The ring check can become sort of an obsession.  Always looking. Always
wondering.  Always on the prowl.  Your day can rise and set with a ring check.(Ooohhh he’s single!  Dang…He’s married!) 

But the thing I have been most guilty of is freaking out or being a complete weirdo when I meet someone who is single.  All of a sudden I make it really complicated and my wall comes up.  (And let me tell you the Great Wall of China has nothing on the wall I can put up!)  Let me explain.  I meet someone through a friend or at church or whatever….these are the thoughts that would run through my head.  Oh my gosh…What if he thinks I like him?  What is he likes me?  What if people start talking?  What if he likes me and I don’t like him?  What if I like him and he doesn’t like me?  What if, What if, What if….WHOOOOP….wall of China in place.  I would probably avoid them at all costs and I would not talk to them, definitely never get to know them, and probably act quite rude around them by giving them the cold shoulder. (Defense mechanism)  I would never see them as a person to get to know and be friends with; I’d only see them as possible mate material.  That is the only way I could relate to them because they were single and so was I.  It wasn’t until I read Michael Cavanaugh’s book The Power and purpose of Singleness that my heart was stirred to change.  He talked about God convicting his heart that he needed to see single women as his Sisters in Christ first.  This REALLY spoke to my heart.  I rated every single guy I ever met as marriage material not as a brother in Christ. 


In my Life Group right now we are reading 1&2 Peter.  I came across a verse that really spoke to me.  In 1 Peter 1:22 it says….Now that you have made your souls pure by obeying the truth, you can have true love for your Christian brothers and sisters.  So love each other deeply with all your heart. 


This is what I have decided to do.  Obey God’s truth and love on my Christian Brothers and Sisters with all my heart.  I am seeing them through God’s eyes, not sizing them up.  I can’t tell you how this has freed me!  I am waiting on the Lord for his plan and purpose and loving everyone God puts in my path.  I’m not looking for that ring anymore.  I’m just looking at the person and letting God dictate how they fit into my life.  And in the mean time I am getting to know some amazing people and growing in fellowship and God’s grace with them.  I have so much more joy and peace in my life because of it. 

Ask yourself:  Are you obeying God’s truth?  Are you sizing up people or getting to know them as brothers and sisters in Christ?  Are you being real and authentic with others?  Are you plugged into other like minded singles?  If not we’ve got to talk! Pronto! J  Ask God for help in this area.  Ask Him to show you the way.