We Must Ask For Guidance

ICDimage1Some time later, David inquired of the Lord: “Should I go to one of the towns of Judah?” The Lord answered him, “Go.” Then David asked, “Where should I go?” “To Hebron,” the Lord replied. (2 Samuel 2:1)

We must ask for guidance. We don’t have the answers, and there’s no reason for us to try to figure it all out by ourselves. God wants to help. He wants to direct us. When we have a posture of submission, we trust Him enough to ask. We don’t always get as clear and simple answers as David gets here, but when we fully trust God, His answers don’t need to fill our checkbox so we can quickly move on. What is more important, the question or answer? Consider submission and how it plays into both.

Today’s post is excerpted from the new book by Susan Lawrence, Pure Submission: Turning What You Think About Submission Right Side Up. Order your copy today.

A Sample of Pure Submission

Submission has become one of those words (and concept) we’d rather avoid. It brings up stories and experiences of mistreatment, disrespect, and abuse of power. The concept has been hijacked by authority who have only their own interests in mind and want everyone else to do it “my way.” We live in a culture and time of applauding “my way”—unless it bumps into our own way.

Or, we try to generalize what submission means, isolating Scripture to support our assumptions or preferences. We use the concordance, search for “submit,” then declare the limited results are all God has to say about it. In reality, submission is scattered throughout the Bible. We have to humbly search and change if we want to truly know and live well in submission.

I went on a search to see what the Bible (in its entirety) has to say about submission. Pure Submission: Turning What We Think About Submission Right Side Up is now available at Amazon and PurePurpose.org, but today, you can get a taste here to whet your appetite for pure submission. Set the junk aside!

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Then Solomon said: The Lord said He would dwell in thick darkness, but I have built an exalted temple for You, a place for Your residence forever. Then the king turned and blessed the entire congregation of Israel while they were standing. He said: May the Lord God of Israel be praised! He spoke directly to my father David, and He has fulfilled the promise by His power…Lord God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven or on earth, keeping His gracious covenant with Your servants who walk before You with their whole heart…Now, my God, please let Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to the prayer of this place. (2 Chronicles 6:1-4,14,40)

Submission involves acknowledging God’s authority, knowing God’s promises, and claiming their truth and fulfillment. Submission is a position, response, and approach. We can’t isolate any one of the three and declare our submissiveness. It’s more than one thing, one reaction, one moment, one choice. It is our mindset and heart-set. It is a choice but it becomes a pattern and flows well through and from us. How will you submissively approach and communicate with God today?

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Humanity is brought low, man is humbled, and haughty eyes are humbled. But the Lord of Hosts is exalted by His justice, and the holy God is distinguished by righteousness. (Isaiah 5:15-16)

Submission is a reflection of reality. It’s not punishment or oppression. It’s position. It’s attitude. It’s humility. It’s willingness. And it’s all in the context of God’s perspective and provision. Yes, we can submit in wrong ways to wrong people, but that’s not God’s intentions with submission. It’s not reality. What we live becomes reality to us, but there is a greater reality that we need to seek and begin to override our assumptions and experiences. When we go our own way—whether it’s a merry way or a really tough way—we don’t make room for and trust God to work. He stills does. He doesn’t abandon us, but we don’t get the full effect of His justice and righteousness. Why miss out on all the benefits of His reality? What will you need to give up order to submit to God well? Are you willing?

order today
Available at Amazon and PurePurpose.org

Mombarded by Expectations

expectationsToday’s post is excerpted from Mombarded: When Motherhood Bombards Your Heart, Mind, and Life: a devotional journey that gives you 52 devotionals (and space to journal) to encourage and challenge you to help you continually grow as a mom…through the mombardment of responsibilities, emotions, pressures, frustrations, and adventures. Preorder today and receive free shipping.

I sat across the table from another mom, and we shared our struggles. We realized just how similar we are and wondered how similar we are to other moms out there. We look around and see others’ lives and think they’re so much better or worse off than we are, but how can we really know that unless we take the time to get to know them, listen to them, share with them? Even then, we’re not going to be able to get to know everyone. So, the least we can do is not project our expectations onto them or assume they’re projecting their expectations onto us.

It hurts when someone doesn’t respect your choices as a mom, especially when it’s someone whose respect has value to you. Don’t be surprised when someone thinks your choice to be a stay-at-home mom means you don’t have much to do or that you are solely dependent on your husband or others. Maybe people think you’re too child-focused or not smart enough to get a “real job.” Perhaps they think you have it easy because you’re home all day. Also, don’t be surprised when someone things your choice to work full-time is a priority of money over caring for your kids, that you’re more interested in your position than your kids’ security. Maybe people think you’re shirking your parenting duties. Perhaps they think you have it easy, because you can do what you want instead of letting your kids’ schedules influence your choices (as if any parent really believes that’s a real option).

No matter what your choices—and sometimes a lifestyle you didn’t actually choose—people will stereotype. So will you. What do you assume about unmarried moms, divorced moms, older moms, teen moms, working moms, homeschool moms, work-from-home moms, adoptive moms, homeless moms, and the list goes on? In some cases, you might have an immediate positive response, but I imagine you also have some strong negative responses or assumptions. We think someone has it easier than we do, someone is slacking, or someone is doing the whole mom thing wrong.

Why do we do that?

While it might not be true all the time, the main reason is: we’re threatened. We don’t understand why someone would choose the way we didn’t choose. We want to justify ourselves. But it’s not all about choices. And even when a choice was involved, who are we to say that person didn’t choose the best option for herself and her child as they faced their specific situation? Even when she didn’t choose the best option, shouldn’t we be a bit more understanding? After all, I certainly haven’t made the best decisions every step of the way.

Be more compassionate and understanding. You can encourage someone even if you don’t completely understand or agree with how she’s parenting. Maybe a little patience and compassion is just what she needs to take the next best step. Judgment certainly isn’t going to help.

Meanwhile, lighten up on yourself a bit, too. When someone judges you, extend compassion and patience…to her and to yourself. Someone else’s expectations of you don’t define you. Neither do your own.

Who have you recently judged?
Identify the assumptions you’ve made, then extend an apology, patience, or mercy.

Click on Mombarded and order today.
Click on Mombarded and order today.

Mombarded by Helplessness

pandaToday’s post is excerpted from Mombarded: When Motherhood Bombards Your Heart, Mind, and Life: a devotional journey that gives you 52 devotionals (and space to journal) to encourage and challenge you to help you continually grow as a mom…through the mombardment of responsibilities, emotions, pressures, frustrations, and adventures. Preorder today and receive free shipping.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do.
How can I get my baby to stop crying?
How can I help my baby fall asleep?
How can I help my little one learn?
How can I help my teen get over rejection and judgment?
How can I help my nearly adult child make those important life-guiding decisions?

Every time we face a new problem, we’re reminded that even though we’re older, more experienced, and perhaps wiser than our children, we still go through things for the first time with them. Even as we have younger children go through similar circumstances, we continue to learn, because our children are different. We’re not completely confident in everything we do. Our children sometimes see us as having it all together, and that might give us a boost of confidence, but we know better.

We’re just trying our best.
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he more humble we get, the more we realize that it’s actually okay to not know it all. It doesn’t let us off the hook. We still have responsibility. But it relieves some pressure. We get to move forward with uncertainty but with determination. We have a confidence, not in what we are capable of doing, but in the assurance that God gives us as we follow Him.

We’re not as helpless as we feel, because we always have God’s help.

It doesn’t mean we are always fully confident we’re following well or that He’s completely invested in what we’re doing—even if we deeply believe that but situationally doubt it. Our confidence doesn’t rely on the outcome as much of the process, the relationship of our dependence on God. It means we trust Him. We know Him. We go to Him.

When God is our help, we are never helpless. We may be incapable at times, but He isn’t. We may not have the wisdom and perspective we know we need, but He does. We may not have the strength to persevere, but

He does.

He doesn’t always give us a specific answer to a problem. Our baby still cries. Our toddler still struggles. Our teen still gets overwhelmed. But we persevere toward God through the variety of situations. We know that our response is important, not just because we need a quick solution but because we have a reliable God. Honoring Him becomes more important than getting the solution we want.

Helpless doesn’t mean hopeless.

How do you need to have hope?
How much do you trust God to help you?

Click on Mombarded and order today.
Click on Mombarded and order today.

 

Mombarded by Limits

fenceToday’s post is excerpted from Mombarded: When Motherhood Bombards Your Heart, Mind, and Life: a devotional journey that gives you 52 devotionals (and space to journal) to encourage and challenge you to help you continually grow as a mom…through the mombardment of responsibilities, emotions, pressures, frustrations, and adventures. Preorder today and receive free shipping.

We can’t do it all.

Our children can’t do it all.

We’re limited.

And you know what? I’m glad! We put enough pressure on ourselves. We fill every nook and cranny of time. We push the limits. Which assumes there are limits.

God didn’t create us to do it all. I don’t even know what “doing it all” entails. Do you? We each have assumptions of what it might entail, but isn’t it just that: our own assumptions? We all know we can’t actually do it all, but we want to be able to do the all that we think is most important.

We really can’t even do that. Even for those moms who are pretty laid back and take things as they come, let go of things easily, and find contentment in everyday reality, there are times when they go to bed with something undone they would have preferred to have done. They have moments of “I probably should have” or “I probably shouldn’t have.” They might be less wracked with guilt than other moms, but limits press in on them just the same.

Then there are the moms who try to live nearly every detail of their lives within limits. They usually set most of those limits by themselves, and if they’re really honest, many of the limits are unrealistic. Instead of looking at the realistic possibilities, they focus on dreams and ideals. They often underestimate the time, money, or organization something is going to take, so they end up feeling pressed for time, money, or organization. Sometimes they rely on organization too heavily, so that if you were to pull one thing out of place, the whole day might cave in…along with the family’s sanity.

But most of us fall somewhere in between. We might teeter toward one end of the spectrum or the other, but we have moments of needing to define and live by limits and moments of tossing them aside to be spontaneous. We can’t live with either extreme, because limits exist, and we are indeed limited. Once we recognize that, life gets (a little) easier.

God puts limits in our lives, not to restrain us as much as to give us boundaries to fully enjoy the freedom of the lives He has given us. Limits give us the boundaries to know that we can step on every single inch of ground within the limits and savor, explore, claim, nourish, and enjoy. There will be enough challenges within those limits. We don’t need to constantly run to the fence and climb it to long and reach for what is on the other side. When we do, we miss out on what’s on our side.

Yes, time, energy, relationships, opportunities, and abilities are all limited. But the possibilities within those limits contain way more opportunities than we’re taking. Focus. Not for busyness sake but for intentional attention’s sake.

What really needs your attention today?

Click on Mombarded and order today.
Click on Mombarded and order today.