Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Time Is Here

It's the most wonderful time of the year. It really is. Celebrating Jesus. Family. Friends. Caramel corn. Everything about Christmas is magical. I love it. Love it all.

We tend to get so caught up in the crazy, wonderful activities around the holidays. Dinners, parties, gifts, etc. It's easy to forget that it can be a hard time for some people.

While Christmas holds so much joy for many, it can be a reminder of loneliness for others. When I moved back to Montana, I had to spend the holidays without my family for the first time in years. I'll be honest. I spent those first two Christmas Eves getting drunk. It was a time in my life when I was re-establishing my faith in God, but when December hit, I was a tsunami of emotions. I was alone during a time that people normally spend with those they love. And I had no one. So I drank, and drank, and drank. Fantastic solution.

Things have changed, not to say it's easy to be approaching my fifth Christmas in a row 1200 miles away from my family, but I now have an amazing support system of friends...and a tiny, two-person family of my own.

I don't know how I would have made it these past years without the wonderful friends God has placed in my life.

I'd like to issue a challenge this Christmas. Be that person. The one who makes a difference in a lonely person's life. Go out of your way to invite someone to your holiday celebrations this year, or make them dinner sometime this month. You have no idea how a simple gesture can pull a grateful soul out of the pit of December depression. To know that someone cares, someone wants you around during such a special time, that goes a long way.

Now, don't get caught up on the semantics of this challenge. Lonely can describe so many people at this time of year. Don't look specifically for someone without family close by. Find someone who has recently been dumped, lost their job, had a loved one pass away, or someone who is just plain separated from Jesus. We all know a person that is going through something difficult during the holidays. Be the person that helps them get to their feet and carry on.

Always,

Jaci


2013 Pre-Christmas family time was great:




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A New Way Of Living

My lovely friend was in a car accident last week. Don't worry, she and her son are doing ok. But it got me thinking about how scary it must have been for them. Spinning across the road, not knowing what was coming next. It brought back memories of an accident my mother and I were in a long time go.

I tend have an over-active imagination. In my life, I've imagined myself in horrific car accidents many-a-time. These "daydreams" often involve me worrying about my own well-being and safety. I always freak out, wondering if I'm about to die in these scenarios. Here's the thing about our real life car accident...the entire time our vehicle was flipping across the ground, I didn't think about myself even once. The only thing I could think about was my mom. I was so terrified that something would happen to her, that I would be fine, and she wouldn't. When the Explorer stopped rolling, I remember screaming, "MOM, ARE YOU OK????"

By God's grace, we both escaped without a scratch.

Remembering that time in our lives made me realize I should live like that more often. Not that I should intentionally get in car accidents, but that I should focus less on myself more regularly. Philippians 2:3 tells me to make other people more important than myself. We're on this earth to do God's Will. To be an example of His grace every day.  Jesus is the ultimate role model for selflessness. We are supposed to live in His image, to follow His lead. We should make every effort to serve those around us with an attitude of love.

One way I can do this is at home. Instead of being a lazy-bones and expecting my husband to empty the dishwasher or take care of random things around the house, I could simply do these things myself with a happy heart. He spends so much time figuring out our budget and paying the bills, the least I can do is finish the household chores without grumbling.

So that's the plan. My first step toward a less selfish lifestyle. Serving my husband in our home, without a crabtastic attitude. We'll see what comes next, these sorts of commitments tend to start a domino effect in our lives. Hopefully this will get me started on a path to be more like Jesus.

Always,

Jaci

Monday, December 1, 2014

I Get Knocked Down...But I Get Up Again

I had this realization about a week ago: I've changed. Drastically, but not permanently. And I'm not talking a pleasant change. Not to go deep into detail, but I had someone close to me betray me. She was a friend one minute, a foe the next. She started talking behind my back, stealing friends, etc. It was unpleasant to say the least. People say that words can't hurt you, it's not true. Words can cut so deep. They can strip you of trust, break down your self-worth. I became suspicious, wary. Where I was once a goofy, fun person; I turned toward distrust and bitterness. I knew, just knew, that if someone I was so close to could be so cruel...every one of my other friends must be capable of the same betrayal.

To be honest, this is the second time in my life this has happened to me. I just don't understand some humans. But I don't need to understand them. I need to understand myself. They're clearly hurting, and hopefully someone will come beside them in life and help them find healing. In the mean time, I need to seek God's help in my own healing. I want to be fun again. I want to be that silly, goofy girl that people are drawn to. I'm so thankful for the amazing friends, family, and husband who have stood by my side while it's taken me so much time to realize what is happening inside of myself.

I don't want to spend every minute of my day wondering who is going to hurt me next and how they're going to do it. I want to experience beauty in each moment. I want to find joy in every experience. I want to love those around me. I want to be a light.

My focus needs to be on Jesus and His love for me in everything, not what the next person could do to me. If I live my life focused on those around me, I shove God out of it. I only have the capacity to make one thing the focus of my time and energy. If it's not God, then I'm not living up to my potential.

This world is an amazing place, there is so much beauty surrounding us. There are so many things to find joy in, to cherish. Worrying about things beyond our control is simply a waste. I want to be the recipient of Romans 15:13: "May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Once I realized how much I had changed, I knew that something needed to be done. I decided to be my old self again. I asked God to fill me with joy. Several days later, during a night of worship at our church, I could feel a tangible release of the frustration and entrance of the peace of the Holy Spirit. It was pure. While I continue to struggle with distrust and insecurity, the reminder of that night keeps bringing me back to a place of contentment.

God is faithful.

"When we put God into the details of our lives, life fills with beauty." -Chris Tomlin

Always,

Jackelyn

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dirty Deeds (Of The Heart)

de·file - to corrupt the purity or perfection of

Doesn't sound pretty. Defilement. And yet we live in a constant state of it. We're always sullying ourselves and creating a mess out of things in our lives. True defilement comes straight from the heart. Our hearts are the manufacturers of all things evil: murder, adultery, theft, etc (Matthew 15:18-19). The Bible tells us in Jeremiah 17:9 that the heart is the most deceitful thing in this world. Most of the time, our hearts are straight-up rotten to the core. We allow so much to build up in them—resentment, aggression, arrogance—we leave no room for the love of each other that they are meant to hold (Mark 12:31).

It seems as if some people think that they can fake having a pure heart. We all know someone like this, someone that pretends they are the most humble, genuine Christian out there; when in reality they have more bitterness stored up than a whole box of grapefruits. The problem with secret sin is this: it's really not a secret. God knows the hearts of men (1 Samuel 16:7). Nobody can sneak anything past Him. There's no wool over His eyes.

The worst thing about this sin of the heart is that God can not endure having anything so defiled in His presence. Only those with a pure heart may enter the Kingdom of God (Revelation 21:27). The good news is that Jesus can wash our hearts so that they are white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). But afterward we need to be careful. Careful not to allow evil thoughts to continue to control our hearts. These things will only serve to hurt us in the long run. I mean, really. Having a vendetta against someone who rained on your parade years ago is doing no harm to them. It is only hardening and suffocating your own heart.

Constantly surrendering yourself to the Will of God and pursuing His desires is the best bet for keeping away from a dirty, stinky heart. In Matthew 5, those with a pure heart are called blessed. I don't know about you, but I'd like to be blessed in the eyes of the Lord of the universe!

Psalm 51:10 needs to be my daily prayer: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Always,

Jackelyn Stange

Had to try out the new tag, woot! ;-P

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Are You Afraid Of The Dark?

The thing about fear is that it haunts you. Once it has you in its grip, it holds tight and won't let you go. It is so easy to fall into a spirit of fear. And so desperately hard to remove yourself from fear's grasp. It strangles you, suffocates you,until there is nothing left of you but a whimpering, cowering pool of pain.

Everyone's fears are different. Some of us have silly fears, some of us have very real fears of legitimate danger. Some of us (like myself) have a broad assortment of fears that range from the silly fear of drive thrus to the breath-constricting fear of heights to the immobilizing and life-shattering fear of losing my family. Those certainly aren't the extent of my fears, they're simply the ones that stand out in my mind. Some days I feel as if I'm afraid of everything‒spiders, failure, poverty‒just to name a few more that are close to my heart.

Here's the thing. Fear should never guide you. It should never determine the pattern of your days. Fear can be a good thing. It is meant to keep us from making stupid, life-threatening choices, but it was never meant to rule us.

We are God's warriors. We're fighting a spiritual battle every day of our lives. When we let fear overtake us, we are allowing Satan to win. God's Will for us is to be courageous and to dwell in His power and love, not in fear (2 Timothy 1:7).

Something I've heard several times lately that's really struck me is this: What is the worst that can happen to us? We could die. And then we would be in Heaven. Which is the BEST thing that can happen to us!

Too true. Too many of us live day to day in fear of losing this world we live in now. But this world is a mere shadow of what is to come. Jesus will establish His kingdom in a perfected world. It will be so much BETTER than anything we've ever known or seen on this perishing planet.

God is with us. He will never leave us (Deuteronomy 31:6). We needn’t be afraid. If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)? What can mere men do to us when we have the Almighty by our side (Psalm 118:6)?

I love this quote from the book I'm reading. Outlaw by Ted Dekker:

“I knew that my Father was perfect and that nothing imperfect could have come from that perfection, much less threaten it in any way. I was safe. Saved. Now.
Weeping with gratitude and relief, I became aware that I had dropped to my knees and was shaking as unending waves of power and peace coursed through my body. Fear was as foreign to me as the sky might be to a deep-sea fish; I was swimming in a lake of raw love, pulsing with light and ecstasy.”

Always,

Jaci

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Don't Push Me

So here's the thing. I don't like to be shoved around. It drives me insane when someone thinks they have the right to bully me and make me follow their whims. Some people believe that their place in life gives them the authority to force their will on others. Being the stubborn person that I am, I have a problem with this. I get a really bad attitude when someone bosses me around.

Funny, I thought this kind of thing ended after elementary school. You remember? The kids that made you eat their gross pudding just to watch you cringe...The ones that told you to sit still while they whipped you with a metal object, just because.

Nowadays bullies have different objectives. They make you do the exact same thing twice because the first time wasn't good enough. They make sure you have to work twice as hard to do something so that it takes double the amount of time. That kind of thing.

Why?

Who knows...

My problem? My response. I do not react well to this kind of treatment. I get angry and hissy and throw a mini fit. I'm not saying what they are doing is right, but neither is my response. But what am I supposed to do? Honestly, I have no idea. I'm not really that good at fixing my behavior. I sometimes have good ideas, but I don't always follow through like I should. Leviticus 19:18 tells me not to hold a grudge. The question is, how? I need to learn self control. God gave me a spirit of self control (2 Timothy 1:7), not a spirit of crabbiness. 

Matthew 5:11 says that we will be blessed when we are persecuted. So every time someone pushes me around, they're really doing me a favor. They're storing up treasures for me in Heaven. So long as I respond appropriately, that is. I'm learning to take the negativity swirling around in my head and transform it into something positive. It's not easy, but I'm trying. And I've got some great women standing by my side the whole way to keep me on track.

That's the key to developing any new behavior. It's having someone to watch you stumble and pick you up when you fall. To have some trustworthy Christ-followers to keep you accountable in your desire to change.

I don't have any really profound advice, this is it for now. I'll let you know if I discover anything brilliant in my daily struggle.

Always,

Jaci

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Finding Meaning

I used to be THAT person. The one that people sought out when they had questions or something that needed to be taken care of. I was the organized one, the reliable one, the knowledgeable one. Somewhere along the way, unbeknownst to me, that all disappeared. In the blink of an eye, with no warning, the things that made me feel important and necessary vanished. I'm in a place in my life where I feel forgotten, unnecessary, useless. The people that used to seek me out for advice or support have moved on. I'm wallowing in worthlessness. Ever feel that way?

I mean, it's not true. I'm not useless. I just feel that way because I'm a weak human and I put too much stock into the respect and love of other humans. God has a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11). Even if I'm not necessarily being used to my full potential at this moment, He is preparing me for the future He has in store for me. He'll take care of me (Luke 12:28). He wants me to flourish, but He knows what experiences I need to go through in order to truly understand His Will. He cherishes me and loves me, more than any human ever could. I matter to Him, so much. It doesn't matter to Him if I have all of the answers, what matters is my heart. As long as my heart is for Him, who can stand in my way?

I may be going through a slow season, but when God decides it is my time to shine, the only person that can stand in my way...is myself. I need to trust that His Ways are better than my own, and that the moments of heartache are opening me up for the opportunities He has in store for my future. Wherever this path might take me. He'll be with me, guiding me...so what do I have to fear? (Psalm 23).

And besides, everything is going to change in 3 weeks anyway. Hoofta. Marriage. Those blogs could get interesting ;-P

Always,

Jaci

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Wiles of the Devil

Have you ever had something in your life that you've truly believed in? Something you've poured yourself into because you were certain it was God's plan, His Will? That this thing would serve to further God's Kingdom and do great things for Him? That thing...has Satan attacked the heart of it? Has he tried to viciously tear apart your plans from the inside out? 

Do you know what that means? You're a threat. Whatever you doing, it's scaring him. He's out to get you, and he's throwing everything he can into tearing you down.

Sometimes withstanding Satan's attacks can be so frightening. It can feel like you're standing completely alone in a raging hurricane. He gets into your head, manipulates you, makes you question yourself and those in the race with you. He does everything he can to make you feel like a failure, to feel worthless.

You're not. The simple fact that Satan is trying to squelch your passion signifies that you're not worthless, that you have more power than you realize. He wouldn't waste his time on a nobody. Keep pushing on, keep fighting. Giving up only serves to hand the victory to Satan.

What if you're not the one to give up, but someone else does? What if God's plan for your life is abandoned by the other people in the plan with you? The only thing you can do is pick up your sword and your shield and keep marching. There will be other faithful that will join you sooner or later. As a child of God, you're never completely alone. Keep up the good fight.

Always,
Jaci

Monday, July 7, 2014

Finding The Nerve

I'm afraid of so many things. I'm scared of heights, fractured bones, road rash. I'm afraid of car accidents, failure, brokenness. I'm petrified of losing those I love, having a house fire, being mugged. My life is a mess of fear.

There are people in this world who aren't afraid of anything, and there are people in this world who are afraid of everything.

It would be nice to live in a world without crippling fear. It would be glorious. That's just not always the way it works.

Here's the thing. I'm afraid of heights, so I want to go skydiving. Road rash and broken bones terrify me, so I've learned to longboard. Though I am afraid of so many things, I can't let those things control me. I won't. The only way to get over your fear is to conquer it. To never give up.

We can't just live in seclusion, hoping the things that haunt our dreams will leave us alone. We can't keep our families at a distance because we're afraid of losing them. We can't avoid roadways for fear of getting hit by a car.

It takes so much courage to venture out and face your fear. People think that those without fear are the brave ones. Not so. The most courageous people in this world are the people that stand up to their fears, look them in the face and say, "Try me."

God did not create us to be scaredy cats (it's in the Bible, I swear- 2 Tim 1:7). He made us to trust Him in everything, including the things that frighten us. He is with us, even when we struggle through the darkest moments of our lives (Psalm 23:4).

Don't hide from the things that are attacking you. Embrace boldness, fearlessness, valor. Become the warrior God intends you to be. Stand strong.

"Don't let the fear of striking out hold you back." -An old baseball player.

Always,

Jaci

Monday, June 30, 2014

But A Breath

In the words of one of my favorite songs from high school: "Life is but a breath, don't waste it." In the grand scheme of things, our lives are so very short. Compared to the span of eternity, this time on earth is nothing. We are given such a short span of minutes to make a difference, let's do everything we can to take advantage of that. What are you being called to do? For me, it's simple. I'm called to write. Nothing special, really. I have this blog, I utilize what I'm given. How about you? Don't turn your back on what God's will for your life is! Perhaps it is not convenient, maybe you are uncomfortable with what you're meant to do. The longer you push away the plans He has for you, the easier it is to never follow His will.

There are so many things we could do with our lives, and too often we shy away from these things. We don't like to step out of our comfort zones. We hate to be inconvenienced. What's more important here? What we want? Or what God wants?

Be audacious. Step out in faith. Wake up at 5am on Sundays to help your church prepare for the weekend message. Lead a small group on your normal night off. Give to those in your community. Get out there. Do it.

As for myself, there are so many things I could be doing, things I need to be doing. Sure, I have my little blog, I volunteer in the community occasionally, I help at church. But sometimes it is so easy to forget to appreciate the opportunity to do these things. I'm alive! I can serve others! I should be grateful, not grumbly! I should do more, I shouldn't do as little as possible and see where I can cut corners. God wants us to put our best effort into everything that we do.

Not only are we going to make a difference in this world, but every moment we choose to serve Christ can mean a swelling in the population of Heaven.

One shot is all you've got
To make a mark, to make your difference
One chance, but you don't understand this
Cause your time is limited
All you have is the breath already exiting your lungs
If you won't live, you might as well die
You can't afford to lead that life
Hands down, no regrets
Life has its hands around my neck
Fight back, no regrets
Life has its hands around our necks
Life is but a breath
Don't waste it

-But A Breath -The Wedding

Always,

Jaci

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Good, The Bad, The Habits

Habits. We all have them. Some of us have weird habits, some gross, some hygienic.  Until we started dating, my fiancĂ© used to bite his nails. I can't leave a room without having my cell phone on my person. He always remembers to balance his checkbook. I always put toilet paper on properly. The list could go on, our daily routines are made up of habits.

Those unconscious tendencies make up the fabric of our lives. They build us into the people that we are. We so desperately need to keep a close eye on the things that we allow to be a daily part of our lives. Some things are simply normal: brushing your teeth daily, doing the dishes after dinner. Other things can be harmful: drinking until you can't see straight, cutting yourself, gambling regularly. Still more habits can be life savers: reading your Bible daily, praying fervently, meeting with other believers. What we choose to do with our time is a vivid picture of what matters to us and what our eternities will look like.

Sure, you can be a Christian and make "bad" choices. You're only hurting yourself. Your rewards will reflect what you've invested your time in. If your time is spent loitering around and not accomplishing anything but feeding your own selfish desires, you simply won't receive the dividends that you could. Someone who actively pursues the Will of God and seeks to follow His desires will go into eternity blessed beyond belief.

The problem is, good habits are so very hard to form. It takes time and effort to remind yourself to read the Bible every day, to sacrificially give your hard earned money to further God's Kingdom. These things won't happen in a night. On the converse, bad habits are so easy to fall into. They take very little time and effort. Simply saying, "Oh, I'll just skip my Bible reading tonight" leads to skipping it the following night. Allowing yourself one night of binge drinking makes it harder to say "No" the next time you're invited out.

"It's so easy to drop off the radar from coming to your Fresh Life group, or even being here on the weekend. When you've taken that bait, you're doing that because the Enemy rushes in to condemn you. 'You can't go back.' He's trying to trick you though, because he's trying to keep you from the only thing that can help you! God's people." -Pastor Levi Lusko, Man Overboard-Six Ships Part 3

How do we form good habits and keep ourselves away from the bad ones? One of the things I like to do is write out a Post-It Note with a Bible verse relating to my particular problem, then keep it somewhere that I'm likely to see it on a regular basis. I also have close friends that I can trust to call me out when I'm doing something I shouldn't be. It's hard to face the music when you're doing something that could lead to a bad habit. When someone calls you out on your actions, it's so easy to get defensive and condone your behavior. That's the guilt talking. We love to have reasons for our misjudgment. Those reasons are usually nothing more than poorly formed excuses. Myself, I need to learn to man up and take the criticism with grace. I know that my friends love me and are only looking out for my own good. And I hope that they know the same of me. I may come off as abrasive when I call people out, but to me, it's simply tough love.

Be careful, little hands, what you do.

"Attempting to run from God's will is like fleeing from light; you just end up in darkness. It's like trading wealth for poverty or wisdom for ignorance or joy for sorrow or peace for chaos or usefulness for uselessness or fruit for leaves or reward for punishment. It's a silly exchange." -William Banks

Always,

Jaci

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bittersweet

A close friend asked me something the other day. She wanted to know how, as a Christian, I would respond to a non-Christian who is going through a family death and questioning how God could let bad things happen. It's a tough question, a very tough question. I had to think about it for a while. How do you explain God's unending goodness to someone who is in pain?

The best word I can find to describe the particular pain associated with heartache is this: bittersweet. These difficulties are something like a Warhead candy. Sour, painful, and hard to handle at first. But after a while the bitterness gives way to a sweet, sugary, refreshing bite.


I'm not saying the pain can ever truly disappear, the sensors in our brains are just designed to send a less-excruciating signal after time. The hurt gives way to healing, the difficulties mold us into the person we are meant to become.


Think about it. If not for the last year and a half, I would not be the person I am today. If not for Tanner, I would never have gained compassion for murderers. If not for Uncle Dave, I wouldn't remember as often to cherish the time I have with my family. If not for the loss of baby Zeke, I would never know about the amazing people in our community dedicated to blessing parents who lose their infants. Each of the moments of heartache in these last 21 months has shaped my life. I'd like to think that I'll be a better wife, daughter, mother, friend, and person because of these things. I would not say that losing 8 people in just over a year was easy, sometimes it was a struggle just to get up in the morning and find the strength to get through another day without them. And if I could have grown and changed for the better without all of the tragedy, I certainly would have! But I know that God used those times to make me better, stronger. He's preparing me to fight in His war. The loss of those I love has given me a constantly burning passion to reach those I have left with His love.


God is love, He is not death. Death is a result of the sin we choose every day. Sin has been a thorn in the side of mankind since the beginning, and the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). God loves us and hates death, hates sin. That's why He sent His Son to pay the ultimate penalty for our sin, He died so that we don't have to. We'll still die a physical death here on earth, but we have the promise of eternity. Our last breath on Earth will be our first breath in Heaven. He doesn't want us to die, He wants us to live forever with Him. He is good, unconditionally good. We simply allow ourselves to be blinded by our own sin and selfishness.


To those who believe God can't possibly be good if He allows death, I beg of you, look at what He did to SAVE us from death. Look at what He has in store for us when our short time on this planet is over (Romans 8:18). He can be nothing BUT good!


All I hear is what they're selling me
That God is love, He isn't suffering
And what you need's a little faith and prosperity
But, oh my God, I know there's more than this
If you promise pain, it can't be meaningless
So make me poor if that's the price for freedom

Don't stop the madness
Don't stop the chaos
Don't stop the pain surrounding me
Don't be afraid, love, to break my heart
If it brings me down to my knees

-Tenth Avenue North, Don't Stop The Madness

Always,

Jaci

Friday, June 6, 2014

Hold Your Tongue, Dear

I had this big, fiery blog all set to be typed up about some people in my life who have been extremely selfish as of late and have been purposely sabotaging some things that are important to me. I was going to vent about the problem in order to make myself feel a little better. Then the devotional I'm reading on my YouVersion app (For King & Country-The Overflow Devo...SO GOOD) pointed out the flaws in this plan.

Here's something I'm learning–the hard way. I'm learning when it's right to say what I'm thinking. Sometimes my opinions and desires are really unnecessary for me to express. Actually, that is probably the case more often than not. In my selfishness, I want to whine. To yell out, "That's not fair!" "You copied me!" "I know better than you!" "Mooom, she hurt my feelers!" etc. Guess what? Life ISN'T fair. People will copy you, will be smarter than you, will hurt your feelings. We're all imperfect, selfish human beings. And whining isn't going to fix anything. The Bible says in Psalms to "keep your tongue from evil." In Proverbs it says "a harsh word stirs up anger." The last thing I want is for these already difficult situations to get more explosive. I need to learn to guard my emotions of anger and resentment and focus on "soft answers" and a "wholesome tongue." Do I want people to look at me and see the girl that gets an attitude when someone does something wrong? No! I want my actions to point them to Christ, not my inherited anger issues.

The hardest thing to overcome is the irritation that I feel when someone purposely does something to set me up for failure. How anyone can be so bitter and miserable that they would intentionally do things to hurt someone else, and then revel in it, is beyond me. I admit, it makes my blood boil. How dare you treat me like a second rate citizen? Who do you think you are? I mean, REALLY!

But wait.

How did the Pharisees treat Jesus? Well, like a criminal. How did Jesus treat those who persecuted them? Crap...He loved them.

While their actions might be entirely wrongeven sinfulit's my job to continue to love them (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Maybe their own guilt will catch up to them, eventually. But it's not my place to retaliate. God will point out the error of their ways, He is faithful to protect His children (Psalm 121:7)

My first step to recovery?
I'm going to try to memorize the first half of Proverbs 15, as a reminder of the type of responses I should have in my limited grammatical storehouses.

Wish me luck!

Always,

Jaci

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Let’s Talk About Pride, Baby

It gets in the way. It skews our idea of ourselves and others. It’s a problem that so many of us face. We get so caught up in ourselves, our own problems, our lives – that we forget about everyone else. We think that we are the only people on the planet worth anyone’s time. I remember when I was a teenager my mom would always tell me, “The world doesn’t revolve around you, Jaci.” My response? “My world does!” Hmm. Mature.

Years have passed, things have changed. But I still catch myself having prideful hissy fits over and over and over and over. Some things never change. In my mind, I deserve more praise than I get, more money than I earn, more responsibility than I am given. In my pride-induced state, I am queen of the world. Reality check. What good do my moments of enraged pride do? Does this behavior do anything besides harm? I think not. This pride problem causes division in church, work and home. I think I know more than everyone else, so when they question my ideas, I lash out bitterly. That’s not ok. Who am I to think that I might be better than ANYONE else on this planet? God created us all equal. He loves each and every one of us. Nothing about me is any more amazing than anyone else. I simply have different skill sets than others. Just because I’m a unique individual does not mean I am a superior individual.

Take King Nebuchadnezzar, for instance, the man had everything. I mean EVERYTHING. Everything that our society tells us is what we “need”. He had the most money, the swankest parties, the biggest tv, the classiest beach house, etc. He let his pride get in the way. He basically considered himself a god, and let everyone know. So he was brought down. He lived like an animal, he lost his mind. (For more on this guy, read the first four chapters of Daniel – they’re as intense as a Lord of the Rings marathon.)

I don’t want to be like Neb. I want to learn my lesson from his experiences, rather than having to go through the crazy myself. I need to learn balance. How to be reliable and dependable, without getting an ego when people start to rely and depend on me. How to realize that other people have other skills and serve in other ways. How to know that someone else is more qualified than me, and not get bitter about it. How to acknowledge that everything I have, everything I am is a gift from God and has nothing to do with my own abilities.

Kanye’s doctrine might be:
I just talked to Jesus
He said, “What up Yeezus?”
I said, “S*** I’m chilling
Trying to stack these millions.”
I know he the most high
But I am a close high
I am a god

But mine is:
I just talked to Jesus
He said, “Be my witness.”
I said, “I’m just a Christian
Trying to reach these millions.”
He is the most high,
And I can’t deny
You are my God.

Decided to have a little fun with that! J

Always,
Jaci