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Friday, December 28, 2012

30 Days. Going Dark .

If I believed in "karma" I would say that's exactly what I experienced last night.

I was in a crabby mood and trying, unsuccessfully, to get the kids in bed quickly. I opened a new pack of diapers and carefully stacked them on the shelf. As I turned away to answer yet another question from inquiring little minds, I heard the slap of diapers hitting the floor. Annoyed--or rather even more annoyed--I turned back to see a tidy stack of them now on the floor. I felt my anger rising as I stomped over to pick them up. As I was bending I knew I was about to swear in rage. I tried to talk myself out of it because I'm really trying to clean up my language. 

Instead, I let her rip--and I'm not talking about any old swear word, either. It was the big daddy as I scolded the diapers and told them to "STAY WHERE I PUT YOU!" No sooner had I the big daddy curse word come out of my mouth as I was snatching the offending diapers off the floor than I felt a sliver from our hardwoods stab me under the fingernail of my right index finger. 

I saw stars.

It took me about 5 actual minutes before I had enough guts to look at my finger to assess the damage. Sure enough, that chunk of 70 year old wood was completely under my finger nail. And it was starting to bleed. 

Yes. I deserved that. It was a GREAT reminder (albeit painful) that I need to clean up my foul mouth. 

Ephesians 4:29 says, "Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift." (The Message)

I'm pretty sure Big Daddy Curse Word is not considered a gift. 

So...that little scenario served to underscore what I have been toying with lately...an idea that has taken shape out of current events.

I have been....um, let's just say obsessed...lately with current events and scrutinizing our government and our nation.

It's uh-mazing what you can find on youtube if you look close enough. I have been beside myself with worry about where we are headed as a country, as a world, as a people. It doesn't look anywhere good from my vantage point. 

And I have become fearful. Anxious. And almost frantic at times wondering how I prepare for what may lie ahead. 

I keep falling back on the scriptures that talk about fear:

1 John 4:18 tells me that if I live a fearful life, Love has not yet become fully mature in me. 

Isaiah 35:3-4 tells me not to fear. God is on His way to make things right.

Luke 12:4-5 is especially important to me: "I’m speaking to you as dear friends. Don’t be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do? There’s nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands."

I'll admit that last one offers only a MEASURE of comfort since I consider it a pretty big deal to be "killed". But I get it. If I believe my life is really somewhere other than this earth--that this world is not my home--and I DO--then there are worse things than my body dying. True I don't delight in the idea of pain, but I do believe it will only be temporary. 

So I have decided to handle this sometimes paralyzing fear that I have been having. 

January is right around the corner. With it comes a new year which signifies a fresh start. I have never been one who is big on making New Year's Resolutions because I always thought it was silly to wait until Jan 1 to try to change myself into a 'perfect person.'

But I have decided that I am going to make January 1 a starting point for me as far as transforming my mind. And my body.

I had a thought a few months ago that I shared with Joe. What if each person really lived as close to how they should as possible? Like......just imagine if I ate right, avoided processed stuff, ate lots of healthy fruits and veggies, exercised, read the Word and really studied it?? I mean, I consider the Bible to be the infallible Word of God. A direct message to ME from the Lord Almighty....so why is it I flip through it on occasion or as I am drifting off to sleep at night or in church? If I truly believe that it is from God's mouth to my ear, why WOULDN'T I be poring over it? Studying it? Living it?

Amazing concept. 

Also, what if I limited 'time sucks' like Facebook, Twitter, Internet creeping? The news? Gossip? Hearsay?

Imagine if I was only filling both my mind and body with good things. Healthy things.

How amazing would I feel? How much closer to God could I get? Would it be easier to hear Him without all the background noise and static that comes from all this other crap that I let take precedence in my life?

What if I didn't watch shows that portrayed God in a negative light or that outright mock Him? Unfortunately, I LOVE me some shows that are definitely NOT on God's "Must Watch" list. 

What if I was very careful what I was putting in my head as far as the songs I listened to? Songs that glorify or talk about things that I definitely don't agree with, and in such a way as to make them seem normal and not so bad? But because they're set to a catchy tune, I sing along and say "I love that song! It's not how I live, so it's not that big of a deal."

I had a good friend point out to me the importance of protecting our minds and the minds of our children. And I was taken back to a verse I had to memorize at camp when I was a teenager: 

Romans 12:2 (The Message)-"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

So that's just what I'm going to do. I'm going to take my ordinary, everyday life and place it before God as an offering. True, it's kind of like buying a box of chocolates for Bill Gates, but it's ALL I have to give...my life. The mundane things of my everyday. It's all I have to offer so I will. 

I think I fit pretty comfortably into my culture without thinking. That's not something I think I should be proud of. 

So for the entire month of January I plan to:
*Cut out most sweets, sugar, caffeine, and soda. 
*I plan to walk at least 3 days a week.
*Read the Word and actually study it. Not just peruse it randomly.
*Stay away from Facebook and Twitter. Completely.
*No trolling the Internet to feed my fears about the fiscal cliff, the end of the world, conspiracies, etc.
*Actual prayers with a beginning, middle, and end...not just quick phrases thrown out here and there or as long as I can stay awake. 
*Sit-down play time with my kids without an iPhone, iPad, or laptop in the mix.
*Establish a routine of rising early and starting my day refreshed and not rushed and late. 
*Getting  to bed no later than 11 pm each night.
*Focus on the household things that seem to "get away from me" because I'm too "busy" (READ: Facebook creeping).
*Prepare thoughtful and healthy meals for my family. Not just something on the fly that has little to no nutritional value.
*Spend some quality time with my husband that does NOT include sitting at opposite ends of the sectional watching the T.V.
*And most importantly...really, really pray for our country, our administration, our future, and what my part is in all of that. 

I think we're in a scary place as a nation. But I believe it's never too late as long as we are on this green earth to pray for change. As Todd, one of my favorite characters in the Christy Miller Series, once said, "We don't run out of chances. We just run out of time."

While I'm here and there is still some time left on my dance card, I plan to use it a little differently. 

30 days. 

January 1-January 31. 

Mind, body and soul. 

Care to join me? You don't even have to tell me. Or anyone for that matter. 

But I'll be encouraged if any of you do decide to take part. This next verse gets me really excited:

Matthew 18:20 (The Message): 
“Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

Did you see that? "My father in Heaven goes into action."

Isn't that freakin' awesome?! I'm ready to spur Him into action for our nation. 


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