Creative Curations

YEP, GO AHEAD, TRY TO BE THE BOSS

This has been one of my toughest life lessons. I still struggle with it to this very day. Trying to be sure that I am in control, making sure I am never outpaced, outthought, or outright wrong. The weight of carrying your entire life on your own shoulders is just like you would imagine when you gaze upon sculptures of “Atlas” trying to hoist up the weight of the world on his back. It is crushing. Add onto that the weight of being a good Spouse, Parent, Christian, a good friend/coworker/citizen.... the weight piles on and on...... and on. And it will continue to press us down, perhaps so far down into the earth that we enter an early grave. If we try to support this weight alone, on our own, it will eventually destroy the very things we are trying to carry. Being the “Boss” of your own life sounds impressive. We are lured into believing that this is real power. But ultimately, we will come face-to-face with REAL POWER, and trust me, it isn’t going to be our reflection in the mirror that we see. It will be HIS feet as we kneel before His Throne! Remember this.... "We can gather our thoughts, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives. Commit your work to the LORD, and then your plans will succeed. The LORD has made everything for His own purposes, even the wicked for punishment. The LORD despises pride; be assured that the proud will be punished. Unfailing love and faithfulness cover sin; evil is avoided by fear of the LORD. When the ways of people please the LORD, He makes even their enemies live at peace with them. It is better to be poor and godly than rich and dishonest. We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps." Proverbs 16:1-9
Just relinquish control to Him.... its a whole lot easier this way, trust me! His way is better and His burden is lite. (I speak directly to my inner self in this post.)

SIN=SELFISHNESS

No one likes to be called “selfish.” It is a word that causes us to directly focus on what is wrong with us personally. Yet ALL sin points back to one thing, a selfish tendency to do what feels right, gets me through, or gains me what I want right here, right now. The problem is what happens afterwards. Alienation from our family, maybe our friends, and most importantly from God. And this will confuse us. We thought we were getting or doing what we wanted for our own benefit, but in the end we are left feeling empty, lost, maybe alone and definitely deceived. “For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” James 3:16 The remedy? Give up on giving in to your self. Instead, give yourself to God and serve Him. Choose His ways over your own. Allow Him to be the supplier of your needs and stop trying to serve yourself. You can’t have it both ways. You cannot serve self and serve God. That mindset is called doublemindedness: “… purify your hearts, you double-minded;” James 4:8, or God will not give His blessing to such people.” (Revelation 3:16)
How often do we have to “purify”? DAILY! Trust me, you will become selfish again. And again.... And AGAIN! “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23 How often? DAILY!! Not once. Not twice. But all the time and every day. Die to self. Carry your cross. “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” Luke 9:24

When we give up our life for God’s way of life – our own opinions, desires, the selfish tendencies in our minds and bodies – we get the most rewarding, happy, and fulfilling life possible here on earth, while getting to partake of HIS divine nature. Our relationship with the Creator is restored. We also get back our relationship with others. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 When we overcome selfishness in our own lives, we are saving ourselves, AND we are also helping those around us. “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16 We don’t put others first only when we feel like it, or when we feel people deserve it. We act in love always, for Jesus’s sake, because we love Him, so we want to follow Him always, doing as He would do, and loving others that He also created.
The opposite of sin. SELFLESSNESS.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW?

“Faithfulness to God, 
it’s not what you know about the Bible that changes you... 
it’s what you obey.”
—Jim Culpepper

DON’T ACCEPT DELIVERY

This will be a tough one to hear. Not only because we are guilty of shipping off our emotional packages to others, but because we are also guilty of accepting packages from others and then forming an even worse response to what was given to us. Someone else’s “Guilt Trip” is on a trip to our front door. Do I bring it into my home, open it and accept responsibility for the contents? Or do I refuse delivery? The choice is not always straight forward. Consider that accepting this package is like getting something from Amazon.com that you did not order. There it is, left at your door, and now you have a choice. If you didn’t order up this emotional response, then don’t sign for it. But, if you choose to accept it, then own it and don’t be tempted to return it back to the sender. If this package of guilt doesn’t belong to you, then it is the ownership of the sender to deal with, not your responsibility to figure out how to get this package back to them safe and sound. Don’t try to fix this for them. They need to alter the “address” themselves and address their own emotional response by pointing it to the correct place instead of shipping it off to someone else for them to deal with. The blame game for how someone else forms an emotional response does no good to the sender or the receiver of their emotional package. The sender renders themselves powerless to the receiver as they state it is the fault of the recipient for ordering up this package of emotions. Friends, no one has control over your emotions, but you do. How you choose to send out those packages is up to you, not others. How you choose to accept these same packages from others is ALSO UP TO YOU! You are in control, even if the delivery guy is trying their hardest to send things your way. How and when you choose to accept it is up to you. But be prepared to accept the consequences for the guilt trips you choose to lead, or follow along on. This quote perhaps states it best, “Blaming others may work in the short-term—but it is powerfully disempowering.” (Bernard Golden, Ph.D.)

GO AHEAD, JUDGE ME!

You have probably heard someone say that the Bible teaches us not to judge others. Yet, we judge others constantly. Every jury is judging the plaintiff and defendant presented before them. Every candidate running for office is judged by their voting peers. Every commander going into battle judges the strength of the opposition. Yes, we judge a lot. And the misconception that we are Biblically bound not to judge simply is not true. 

Jesus knew humans would struggle with the whole judgment thing, and He put out a disclaimer/warning for us: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5

This verse does not mean that we should never make judgments. We obviously make judgments all the time. We judge between right and wrong, between dangerous and safe choices, where to go eat due to how the restaurant help looks when they serve our food, the condition of the Taxi/Uber/Lyft car and driver that we are trusting our lives with when we travel, etc. Jesus is telling us to not judge others in a hypocritical way. He is saying to examine myself first, take the log out of my own eye so that I can then see clearly how to best help the other person, likely because I now have experience dealing with the same thing and can now help show that person how to be an overcomer. This is important... we are not called to overlook sin. But we should also NOT make it a habit to be super critical of someone when our own selfish sin in the same area needs correcting as well. If we do, we, too, will be judged for overlooking the same issue that we are trying to point out. 

All this being said, if you ever see me out doing something or struggling with something that you have already struggled with, something you know how to get the victory over and can help me find my way out of the jungle and into the fruit-filled fields of freedom, please, PLEASE, PLEASE.... JUDGE ME!!!