Some might be blinking at that statement.
"What do you mean? Of COURSE my life is MINE to live!"
I used to think that. Actually, I STILL think that on occasion.
See, because I wake up, I take a breath, I get out of bed and I am faced with decisions on a daily basis, I call that my life. And since those breaths and decisions are mine, I take for granted that this life I live is also mine.
I swear this isn't a riddle. And I haven't been drinking.
Sleep deprived, yes.
But never more aware.
I have a wonderful online friend named Natalie. She lives over at Mommy on Fire.
She and I began blogging at about the same time a few years ago. We both had a lot in common. We are both moms. We are both Christians. We both love writing. We "clicked" and followed one another's blogs for a while.
And then, as with all things, we got involved in our own stuff...blogging communities, life activities, writing...and we lost touch.
As her blog took a decided turn toward the spiritual and she focused more on Jesus in her life, I blatantly shied away from those areas and chose instead to focus on the humorous and mundane of life with kids. Chiefly because I was too darn afraid of how others would receive me talking so openly about my faith and my beliefs. And I didn't want to entertain negative comments about those things that I hold most dear.
And blogging like that bored myself to tears.
And I lost the passion I used to have for blogging.
As I felt convicted more and more to return to my roots, I felt the old flame reignite. It is exciting and terrifying all at once.
Along with blogging more openly here about my faith and my family, I launched a new women's ministry called Deliberate Women. I joined forces with 4 other beautiful women to write about and share the love of Jesus and how that looks in 21st century America with husbands, kids, jobs, and other demands. I want to dispel the June Cleaver notion and the false belief that Christian women don't have bad days, don't yell, don't make mistakes, hate others because of their sexual orientation, race, beliefs, religion, blah blah blah...
We are ALL imperfect. And I know far too many women who are led to believe that they cannot be imperfect if they claim to be Christian.
And I also know far too many people who believe that this life is theirs, it's their one-and-only and let's enjoy it while we can...
This pin caught my eye today on Pinterest:
and this one:
I don't think trying to avoid making bad decisions is trying to be "the coolest kid around." I think it's prudent.
And yes, I did just have a Dana Carvey/SNL flashback.
And now you did too.
I don't subscribe to the "If it feels good do it to me" way of thinking nor do I think that I should have cart blanch to do as I wish.
Our actions affect others. Whether we see the effects or not.
But more importantly, we were given these lives for a purpose.
And it wasn't to live by the seat of our pants or make choices on a whim.
It was to glorify God. Share the Good News. And prepare to live with Him for all of eternity.
Now God was very gracious as to provide us with the ability to feel pleasure.
From small things like enjoying a yummy caramel frappucino and on to the "biggees" like...well...let's keep this PG 13, shall we?
You get what I mean.
God could have programmed us to lay eggs like chickens or copulate like dogs and cats, but He didn't. There's intimacy, enjoyment.
And now I'm making myself blush because I NEVER anticipated getting into all that.
But I hope you can see what I mean.
We aren't robots. We have feelings and emotions and experiences that can be happy and pleasurable. God did that. Just read one chapter of Song of Solomon and you'll see that to be the case.
But getting back to why I mentioned Natalie in the first place...we also have feelings and experiences that can totally suck. They can hurt, damage and discourage. But it isn't all for nothing. Natalie talked about that today on her blog. Click HERE to read more.
God did that too.
And He uses those things for His purpose. For His glory.
Now, you could go off on a tangent and say that means He wants us to do bad things and make crappy decisions.
But He can and will work all things together for good. (Romans 8:28).
I have made some DOOZY bad choices, yo.
Like ending that last sentence with "yo".
I've tried to keep many of them as my dirty little secrets for many years.
I got brave once and wrote another blog detailing my life and some of the reeeeeaaaallly shady things I've done in my 35 years. And then I hid it so it can never be found again. *Cue evil laughter.*
But I am learning that while God is not proud of the rotten things we do or the horrible choices we make, He knows we are flawed and He knew we were going to do those things even before we did. And He chose to forgive us anyway.
I don't usually greet people at parties with, "Hi, I'm Mandy. I'm Joe's wife, mom of 6. I've been married 3 times. I got pregnant before I was married. I've had affairs. I say the "F" word and I tend to gossip."
That would be a buzz kill.
But I am slowly learning that I no longer should have to hide my past for shame of being judged for it. I also know that my story...in all of it's awful, deceitful "glory" can and has been used to help others overcome theirs.
And that's the thesis of this post, everyone.
If you have hung with me long enough to get to it, congratulations.
Our life is used to praise God, share the Good News that we are forgiven, and minister to others.
"Ministering" to someone does not mean you have to stand at a pulpit.
"Ministering" means attending to the needs of others.
And God made it easy for us to do that by allowing us to use what we know better than anyone else; ourselves.
So knowing that, tends to make me more careful with my choices, my words, my actions, my time management...
If you ever have any questions about God or about knowing ow He can use you, please feel free to drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll be happy to offer answers (or be honest and tell you I don't know but I'll try to find out) and listen.
I'm off now...I'm questioning if using this time to blog was wise as I look around at the dirty dinner plates all over the kitchen and my half dressed 2 year old. (When DID she figure out how to take off her own pajamas?!) But it's all worth a few ketchup-covered plates and half nekked kids if my feeble words mean something to you. ;)