I had one of those weekends.
I've been so crazy busy that I've been running around with my notebook and pen, checking one thing off my list and adding two more all in one brushstroke.
It's been tiresome.
Saturday was kinda my peak day with these feelings and I ended up getting hardly anything done because I sat around in my pajamas feeling sorry for myself and snapping at my kids all day.
Lovely. Yes. Would you like to be my friend? ;)
Well anyway, I went to church Sunday dragging my feet a little bit because I just felt so overwhelmed by the things I had to do that I felt like it was almost useless to worry about it because there was just no way I'd get it all done anyway.
I was feeling overwhelmed and angry. I was angry at myself for how snappy I had been with my kids lately. I mean really, how dare they beg for my attention, right? Blah.
So here I go into church and what does Pastor Gary start talking about?
Being discouraged. Oh good Lord.
A message completely and totally directed at me.
I could feel eyes burning holes in my head like everyone was staring at me, knowing that this was my personal struggle this week. Or maybe it was just Jess in the nursing room behind me staring at my uneven hair-do through the one way glass. ;)
Either way, it felt like Pastor Gary had just pulled up a chair and taken me by the hand and said "Listen up. Be ye encouraged!"
I couldn't believe it! Here I was just complaining and griping and moaning, feeling discouraged, tired and overwhelmed and Pastor Gary tells us how being discouraged is really rather insulting to our God.
God watches each of us and gives us no more than we can handle and tells us to simply trust Him. Me being discouraged just shows that I am looking in the mirror for strength and guidance and not to my Maker. It shows that I do not trust that He can handle it; that I think that perhaps things will go a little smoother if I just go ahead a take care of it.
Discouragement is when we've lost confidence and enthusiasm. As someone who loves and tries to follow God, this only means that I've lost confidence or enthusiasm in my God. How insulting and awful for me to walk around with a frown on my face and my arms crossed basically telling the world that I worship a God but obviously don't have any faith or confidence in Him.
Abraham Lincoln said "Let no feeling of discouragement come upon you and in the end you are sure to succeed."
God has told us to operate in faith and not in fear. Why? Because faith has its focus on what we do want to happen and fear has its focus on what we don't want to happen.
If God is for me then who can be against me?
How could ANYthing discourage me?
According to your faith let it be done to you!
If I an constantly worrying about what I can't finish, what will never happen, what I can't do, then I am setting my destiny. I am choosing my path. My thoughts should be prayers to God for strength, wisdom and guidance. That He would remind me that with Him all things are possible and that He is there beside me every step that I'll allow. I must stop pushing Him away! I must stop trying to do things in my own strength.
How arrogant of me and insulting to Him for me to say "No thank you, Lord. I got this."
But yet you better believe when one of the kids keeps waking up at night, He's the first one I'm running to: "Lord PLEASE let these children sleep all night! PLEASE!"
I need to pray for a strong and unwavering faith in Him.
Pastor Gary outlined ways to live a life of little discouragement. One of them was to unlimit our lives. He used an example of an ultra marathon runner named Dean Karnazes who ran a 100 mile race, a 200 mile race and then just for kicks ran as far as he could without stopping and ran 350 miles. He had bleeding feet and missing toenails on the 100 mile race. I don't even want to know what was missing and bleeding after the 350 mile race. Pastor Gary told this story with awe and a sense of admiration, pointing to Dean as an example of dreaming big and overcoming obstacles.
I had a hard time seeing it that way.
If body parts are falling off, I generally see that as communication from my body
asking me nicelybegging profusely to stop the abuse.
However, most people were shaking their heads in disbelief and absorbing
all of the obstacle overcoming vibes.
So I tried to focus on that.
And it's true. We do tend to put limits on ourselves. I mean, who can't run across a state or two without stopping for a snack or a nap? I may do that this weekend after I read the Sunday paper.
Could be a nice little family outing.
And we put limits on our lives and the people in our lives.
And most of all, we put limits on our God. We tend to decided what's too much for Him. When in reality, Christ says we can do ALL things THROUGH Him.
Not some things.
Not most things.
Not some things if you are in really good shape. ;)
He said Do not be discouraged nor dismayed because the Lord is with you wherever you go.
He's with us at work. On the road. At home with our kids.
When we're trying to potty train.
When our four year old takes her brother's train for the 95th time that day.
When the two year old throws a tantrum and the baby is cutting teeth at 3 in the morning.
When our husbands are working long hours.
When we need a break. When we need a cry. When we need a hug. He's there.
Wanting to help us, to strengthen us, to encourage us.
I think most people listening to this message were thinking about bigger things.
They were probably thinking about not being discouraged with life. Not giving up on marriage. Not quitting their job. Giving up bad habits. Making positive choices.
I just kept thinking about my kids. I just kept thinking that when I blow my lid at home and yell at my kids or throw my hands in the air and just give up on the day, that I'm giving up on my job, my role as their mother. And I'm letting them down, my husband down, myself down and letting God down.
I was thinking about when I yelled at them to talk nicely in the car and they yelled back for me to do the same. I was asking myself if I was showing them a godly woman, a mother who draws her strength from God? I was learning that when I only try to get strength and courage from myself that I'm really robbing my kids. If I just followed His commands to be strong and of good courage by looking to Him that I'd probably be a much better mother to my children.
That they'd probably end up being much better adults and parents themselves someday.
I want my children to look back and tell a story of their mother and what a strong woman she was. That she was this strong and courageous person because the
Almighty was within her and she allowed Him to take the lead.
It was exactly the message I needed to hear. And this week is going much better.
I'm trying to remember to not be discouraged for I have my God before me, beside me and within me.
And really, what could possibly get me down?