“If you’re a Christian…you’re not supposed to drink.”
As I order a second glass of wine.
“If you’re a Christian…you’re not supposed to talk like that!”
As I cover my mouth after dropping the F-bomb.
“If you’re a Christian…where’s your Bible?”
As my husband and I enjoy a night out dancing with friends.
“If you’re a Christian…you hate gays.”
As I’m sadly reminded of my uncle who died of AIDs.
“If you’re a Christian…you think you’re perfect.”
As my poofy, frizzy hair won’t style and I question where I stand in this world.
“If you’re a Christian…I bet you only watch FOX News.”
As I flip the channel from CNN to BBC to MSNBC.
If you’re a Christian…
I am a Christian…I know I am broken,
but through Christ, I’m still loved unconditionally.
I am a Christian…I fall short every day,
but through Christ, I’m always forgiven.
I am a Christian…I question my worth,
but through Christ, my heart is redeemed.
I am a Christian…I have felt alone,
but Christ adopted me into His family.
I am a Christian…I have felt left out,
but through Christ, I found acceptance and purpose.
(Since I am a Christian…I’ll watch all those news channels,
and remember that Christ leads the way! )
My closest friends know how hesitant I am about going back to work. Some of them know, all too well, what I was like working fifty-sixty hours/week with an all or nothing perspective. (My husband and children especially know.)
I’ve learned so much, though, during the last four years since I’ve been at home for my family. In fact, my dear friend, Heather, coined a wonderful phrase years ago that would describe me as having some serious “frying pan moments”–those moments that take you so long to hear what God is trying to tell you, that when you finally do hear, it’s like a big ole frying pan whacking you upside the head!
Have you ever had one–or twenty of those?
Here’s the one that hit me upside the head the hardest, and as I slowly take steps back into that “working” space again, I don’t ever want to forget it!
For God has not given us a spirit of fear. 2 Timothy 1:7
Why is it then, God, that we are so prone to going there…to the worst-case scenarios, the terrible conclusions, to hopeless visions of what may or may not happen? Is it because tragedies inundate us on TV and social media, so our minds just automatically go there? Are we trying to do life in our own strength and have lost sight of what your will is for us? Or maybe we just don’t fully understand or we forget that your will doesn’t include that spirit of fear? Maybe it’s all three…
All I know for certain, God, is that time and time again, you have shown me during my darkest hours and most challenging times that when I finally STOP and release my clenching fists enough to let you take my hand, I begin to see that most of those horrible worst-case scenarios were all in my head. More importantly, though, when I had to face real difficulties, you gave me a strength and a peace that I could never muster on my own.
Thank you for being consistent. Thank you for not expecting me to be.
(Thank you to retired Pastor, Harry Kennon, for giving me the title to this post over 12 years ago when he shared a sermon that has resonated ever since.)
Wow! Over the past few days, I’ve been readjusting my blog theme and prior posts. One thing has become very clear to me…three years ago, I had a plethora of words just waiting to find the page–a cathartic exercise, if you will, after some very trying years. As I have looked at the length of some of the posts, all I can think of now is, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
What I do have time for, though, is to bluntly write down my inner conversations with God about our world, my community, and my home. You may agree with some of my thoughts and you may occasionally think I’m a nut job, but you’ll never have to doubt my sincerity.
By Christy Mactavish
You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. Exodus 20:4 (NLT)
These last few days I have been conducting a very interesting experiment that I believe affects many families and relationships. The teacher in me feels inclined to use the Scientific Method to explain:
Ask a Question
1) Why do I feel compelled to check my “smart” phone every few minutes throughout the day?
2) Are there any true benefits found in constantly checking it?
3) If not, what effects does it have on my day, my family, my relationship with God, etc…?
All of my blog stats are available on my phone. So is Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as every app under the sun! It takes just seconds to look and check the progress of any of these via this phone. If I receive a comment on the blog, I can respond promptly. If someone “Likes” the Facebook page, I can be sure to lift them up in prayer and give thanks to God ASAP. Yet, as I constantly check, I am distracted from what’s before me, whether that’s dinner, my children asking me a question, conversations with them, etc…
Construct a Hypothesis
Smart phones can become an idol that detracts from our relationship with God, and instead can reinforce only our own efforts. It can also take us away from engaging in real relationships with others.
1) For three straight days, just use your phone as a PHONE, not a computer.
2) Track how many times you feel compelled to just take a “quick” glance at it, and reflect on why you think you need to check it. Is it to just fill time? Is it to do real work? Is it because you think you’ll be able to actually will things to happen if you just look at it?
3) Notice what is going on around you when you feel compelled to check it. Is there family in the room? Are your children needing you? Do you need to complete a simple, yet important task like making dinner?
Analyze Test Results
The first day I did this, I was SHOCKED by how often I moved toward my phone. In fact, I came to see that the phone had become an extension of my hand, and when it wasn’t there, I felt like I was missing something. All the reasons for wanting to check it were quite basic–looking at Facebook updates, checking Cross Moms stats, perusing Pinterest photos, etc…
As I became more aware of how often I was attached to the phone, I caught the number of times my children were right there in the room with me, sometimes asking a question I didn’t fully hear, or the laughing they shared with something I completely missed. I came to hear my youngest’s little voice say, “Mommy, are you almost done on that thing?” Then I noticed how my oldest has started following my lead and reaches for his phone first for his mode of “entertainment.” (And he doesn’t even have a smart phone with all the bells and whistles. His is just a regular flip phone, but it does have a few games, etc.)
Regarding Cross Moms, my phone checking compulsion was doing nothing to advance the ministry. Instead, it pulled me away from the very things I pray our readers will be blessed with–the clear understanding that God is in control, not us, and drawing near to Him through His Word is the most fulfilling thing there is! In some ways, “watching” via my phone to see if the there was progress on the blog was really quite the same as trying to watch water boil. No matter how hard we watch it, it’s still not going to boil until its proper time! I realized I had this false impression that the success of Cross Moms lay solely in my efforts to do all I can to push the cause…when really what I should be doing is seeking Him first, not my cell phone!
Flipping through a “smart” phone all the time is actually quite the opposite–dumb! It can rob us of those moments that God has put before us to nurture and build real relationships with our loved ones and with HIM!
I know I’m not the only one who has done this. Look around you. So many people are on their phones all the time! Are you one of them? Is God laying it on your heart to do a similar experiment?
I will shout this from the rooftops: THANK YOU for this struggle! Because without it, I would not have become aware of what you are continually teaching me–Trust in YOU with all my heart. Lean not on my own understanding (or my cell phone!) In all ways, acknowledge YOU. And you WILL direct my path!
Sharing at NOBH, The Better Mom, and Titus 2sdays