Monday, July 27, 2015

Letting My Light Shine

"Let your light shine in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in Heaven." Matthew 5:16

After a long and awesome vacation, tagging along with my hubby on a work deal, it's back to the daily grind early this morning. I try hard to get up and spend some real time with Jesus before the littles start moving around + making noise upstairs. There's a real difference in the quality of my day when I do and when I don't. When I can make it happen, it sometimes ends in bible study, sometimes it's sitting still and praying through some worship music and sometimes it looks like this - thinking outloud in His presence and feeling the freedom to share my words with you.

Today my thoughts after reading this passage led me here ::

Have you ever noticed that, as women, we often feel like we're in competition with each other? I mean, really - stop and think about it. No matter how unbelievably awesome you are - and you know you are - we can most likely count on the fact that someone is awesome-er at whatever we might be awesome at.

Some competition is healthy, for sure. The kind that spurs you on - like when I was training {YEARS ago} for a half marathon with two of my besties. Without them I would not have made it. I wanted to keep up with them. To finish with them. To be beside them -not necessarily ahead of them - when we crossed that line. It was the spirit of competition that kept me going on those icy and cold mornings when I'd much rather be in my bed.

Other competition is silly and fun. For example, Friday, the hubbs and I went deep sea fishing {or off shore fishing? not sure which one} with several people he works with in the legislature. I joked that I was going to catch a marlin and mount it on my wall. As much as I was joking, I was very much wanting to catch the most impressive fish... and wanting to catch more than my hubby for sure. Nothing's wrong with a little healthy competition, right? {For the record, I didn't catch a marlin. My line got bitten off three times after some fighting and I ended up catching a little barracuda that they swore could bite my fingers off if I wasn't careful. But I did catch more than Jeff. Just sayin'.}

But then there's this atmosphere of competition that seems to be underneath the surface of social media posts, gossip at girl's night and prayer requests in sunday school class. I wouldn't dare say that it is intentional, but I would dare to say that it's a thought that enters into the minds of the ones on the receiving end of the information more than once.

I've never wanted to be in competition with anyone, however I've found myself there several times. In my own mind and in the minds of others. If I let my thoughts go there, it's easy for me to see the millions of people now making hand made signs, writing awesome blog posts, creating beautiful homes and leading in ministry way greater than I ever could imagine. It's enough to make me want to throw my hands up and say 'forget it'. It's enough that I can often find myself saying, I'll never be as good as 'x' so I'm not even going to try. Enuogh to say to that person who finds themselves feeling like they're competing with me, "you win." And if I'm being real honest, I find myself fighting both sides of the battle almost every day. And that sucks. It's exhausting and it drains me of any and all creative momentum I might find myself in. It's not what God intended - for us to look to the right and left and what she is doing. 

Here's the deal. God has told me that He is doing something new with me. With Little Branches. But it's going to be hard work. I might not get there fast - and I wish I knew what there was, but I don't. There are going to be people who are cheaper than me, who work faster than me - who flat out do it better than me. And that's okay. It has to be okay, or I could not continue on. It's easy to get bogged down by the haters, the ones who turn their nose up at what I do - who think it's insignificant or that anyone could do it. It's so easy, y'all. But I must press on. Because, just as He told me this morning - I must let my light shine for all to see. And so must you.

Let me encourage you this morning to stay in your lane + press on with the assignment that He's given you. Even if you feel like He gave it to you and seemingly left to do something else, continue on. He's giving me freedom in your assignment to trust Him and make decisions. He might be doing that same thing for you.That's what is so awesome about our God. He doesn't make all the choices for us - then it would be super easy to have faith. Instead, I am finding that He often simply leads us and asks us to stay in tune with Him.

Encourage another maker or doer today. Encourage another woman who is walking in her lane. Don't let her accomplishments, or lack of accomplishments, make you feel anything other than love for her. Pray for a genuine heart when you feel the struggle of competition start to flare up. I have found myself in a deep pit before, completely unaware that it was happening - and it's tough to get out. Pray against it. It is our greatest weapon. Pray that people would see your heart in what you do - and don't do. Pray they wouldn't read into it. Pray you wouldn't read into others words or pictures either. Pray that the sinful kind of competition wouldn't interject itself into your friendships, relationship or church experience. Pray for purity of heart. For all.

And in the meantime, keep up that healthy kind of competition. I bet I can drink more cups of coffee than you can today. *wink*

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