Thursday, July 28, 2011

RevivingHomemaking is now on Facebook

      RevivingHomemaking blog is now on Facebook! This is a great medium for quickly sharing bits of information and encouragement. Plus, it allows greater interaction via wall posts. I'm excited to begin using the blog and facebook page together!

     If you follow the blog here & have a Facebook, then please also follow the link above and become a fan on Facebook!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Content with Self

          Perhaps greater than the challenge to learn to be content with circumstances is to be content with oneself. I must admit that this is a daily struggle for me. I know that I must come to define myself through my Creator, however, it still remains a learning process. I recall that in all things contentment comes through learning (Phil. 4:11 ref), and it appears that sometimes that learning must include a curve. So, while I still struggle at times to reconcile who I am in Christ and who I am in this world, I proceed to explore the concept of contentment with self.

13For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

-Psalm 139: 13-16

                God is given complete credit for the creation of me, and yet I am struck by how little “I praise you.” He has created my personality, abilities, and physical shape according to his design. Yet, I am often far too preoccupied with being discontent with these areas of being that I abandon focus on declaring his works wonderful to such an extent that “my soul knows it well (vs. 14)”. Am I honestly prepared to accept the journey to discover a definition of self entirely through the Creator? I must come to realize and live by his design of me was meant to glorify Him.


I find 1 Samuel 16:7 to be of an encouragement when it says “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” And so, it is one’s heart or character that is of greater value. How am I focusing on this? Am I so busy with activities that I must push aside the development of my inner being? At times in my life, I have knowingly denied myself for the sake of maintaining a full schedule of activities. My situation has changed quite a bit from those times, and I aim to take advantage of this opportunity to properly place my focus on matters beyond a resumé.

                What is my attitude regarding my personality? I must confess this is a tough matter of acceptance for me. Even though we are created by and for God, we must still interact within this world. If your personality stands out more than conforms, then you will run into the exploratory and doubting question of “why would you create me this way?”. As for me, I am a rather quiet and sensitive person. I love big and believe in the best in all persons, and am easily hurt and dismayed. I am creative and truly come alive when I can create. One of my greatest struggles has been trying to reconcile my deep desire for home & family with a world which pressures worth in a career. I completed my assigned tasks when employed, but my heart was always elsewhere. I’ve considered reentering school or work (yet still out of obligation), but I’m blatantly aware that my heart is far from those entities. In fact, my entire experiences in those pursuits were entirely about trying to fit my personality into those molds. When we must deny who God created us to be and work towards assuming who he didn’t create us to be, then it is a pretty clear indicator we are not relying on him and are traveling in the wrong direction. I recall when I was first introduced to the homemaking world. For the first time I didn’t hate my personality, interests, or abilities but able to praise God for them. Is this not what is written in the psalm? Is this not the point at which we are to arrive at in live- finding our niche within God’s carefully crafted design?


                “If you could name one thing you would change about your looks, what would it be and why?” It sounds like some kind of cruel game that dares us to reveal our deepest insecurity of our physical appearance. Yet, this “game” is often one we voluntarily play each day when we examine ourselves.  I wonder if when we are displeased with our bodies or features if God would respond by saying, “Are you questioning me? I knitted you together as I wished you to be.”  Perhaps when I am searching for beauty in all the wrong ways I should give that concern or doubt to God and in turn thank him for so lovingly creating me as he saw fit. (Similar to giving our discontent with our circumstances to Him in prayer and thanksgiving mentioned in the last post).  Acceptance of our appearance, though, doesn’t allow us to neglect maintaining ourselves. We ought to take care in maintaining the body he has given us within which to serve. Even with a pure intent, we must be on guard against nutrition, exercise, or health from becoming an idol. Ultimately God is sovereign and his will will be done, but that does not excuse our laziness. I really hate exercising, but I know that it is good for my body and spirit to ..well, get off my couch. I likely will not become that competitive athlete as before, but I can certainly work towards greater physical condition and endurance a little each day (even if just a walk!).

                 I have learned an incredible lesson of how my attitude towards myself impacts my family. When I believe or expressing discontent in my personality, appearance or abilities it pierces my husband as well. Your husband married you because he loves all those things about you.  His desire is for you to see what he sees. We are to enjoy one another as a married couple, and we can’t do that if there is a barrier in one pathway. It’s hard to love someone who refuses to love him/herself. Furthermore, it isn’t the responsibility of our spouse or children to define us or give us value. We shouldn’t be seeking them for contentment in ourselves. I especially feel this way in regard to placing and passing on our insecurities to our children. As wives (and some as mothers as well), we have a great responsibility to guide the emotions within our home. Let them express positivity, contentment, and security in Jesus.

When I consider the most beautiful women I know, I am aware that it is their lovely spirit that has made them beautiful. They are filled with strong character qualities and the love of Jesus. These are the women I wish to be more like. I’m far from where I would wish to be in finding contentment in my personality and physical appearance. I would consider myself to be journeying through sifting through the traits I learned or assumed previously in life and those I’m gleaming from walking with Christ. Imagine the impact contentment with self would make in our lives and in our relationships. If you know of a Proverbs 31 or Titus 2 lady, then take a moment to talk with her about her journey.

Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment by Linda Dillow

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Guest Posting

     I'm so excited to be featured as a guest post  at Homemaker-By-Choice! Please hop over there to check it out and explore the website while you're there! It's been a great encouragement to me and hope it will be to you too! I'd love to hear your comments on the post as well. Thanks!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Content With the Circumstances

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything Is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” ~Philippians 4:6-8

     We like things to be in converse relationships- good vs. evil, light vs. dark, positive vs. negative. If we view our circumstances through the classifications of the latter, we inevitably will focus in closer on one aspect than the other. Where does my mind often drift to and rest? In honesty, I so often frequent the negative. In a sense it is to simply sort and understand the negative, but in the long run I lose valuable life dwelling on the very thing that could be overcome by  simply not giving it so much undeserved attention. For instance, my tendency would be to live the above verses as such:

Be anxious for everything, in everything pray and petition last, neglect thanksgiving, handle everything on your own. … whatever is false, whatever is lowly, whatever is wrong, whatever is tainted, whatever is reprehensible, whatever is unworthy – if anything is lousy or illaudable – think about such things.

I rarely even realize when my inner negative attitudes or dispositions are being displayed. Yet, I can always tell because well…no one likes a “negative Nelly.” It isn’t about being the life of the group, but being the light. As a Christ follower, am I displaying him and his love others in my perspective on my circumstances?

To determine which side is our actual pattern, make a list of the negative and positive circumstances in life currently. Which list is longer? Which grouping or item receives a heavier weight? Regardless of how we imagine or want ourselves to be, what we think is what we are. You cannot simply wish to be a more joyful or positive person. It must be an inner change. The ultimate means is acceptance of Jesus as Lord and Savior. A secondary means is to choose.  We can choose to see the ugly in life or we can behold beauty.

                In the verse mentioned above (the actual verse, not mine), it says “in everything, in prayer and petition.” My initial “in everything” is to release an emotional response. Instead, Paul is instructing us [me] to offer all concerns in prayer. God wants us to come to him first. The idea that I even attempt to solve anything without going to him first strikes me as ridiculous, and yet that’s what I do! He also says to pray and petition “with thanksgiving.” The wisdom of offering thanks is that we 1) show gratitude to the One who deserves it all and 2) relinquish our selfish perspective.

                God’s part in contentment is stated in verse seven. In the midst of unpleasant circumstances from the past or present, God provides His peace which “transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

                My part in contentment is in the next verse. I must shift my habits from my own selfish perspective to a heavenly one. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinketh in his heart, so he is.” Is what I think upon and therefore become glorifying to God?   Changing a behavior (ultimately a heart) isn’t an overnight event. Believe me I’ve tried to break the cycle of negative thinking. The key that I had missed in those attempts is that learning a new lesson doesn’t occur in an all-or-nothing fashion. It takes practice! School lessons, music lessons, sports lessons etc. are all taught and then practiced many times over.  Linda Dillow provides some suggestions for applying this principal into practice (additions in [] mine):

·         Choose to give our anxieties [and discontentment] to God

·         Choose to pray specifically

·         Choose to be thankful

·         Choose to dwell on the positive

I am completely inadequate to be anything but discontent with an ugly perspective without God. His grace is sufficient, and by such we can “be transformed by the renewing of your [our] mind” (Romans 12:2). It is through Christ that we may experience a different kind of thinking, feeling, and perceiving. It is through Him that we may live with contentment.
Further Reading:
Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment by Linda Dillow

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Journey to Contentment

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret to being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” –Philippians 4:11-13

                Paul expresses his contentment so beautifully and securely in this passage. My level of contentment at times feels completely inadequate, but how I long to learn this way of being. His secret to contentment was in his absolute dependence and trust in God from whom strength was given to endure.  Growing to depend deeply on God is the key, and I pray that is the fruit of my focus on contentment over the next few weeks.


                What does it really mean to be content? Does it mean to hide or bury our feelings or thoughts of discontent? Doubtful, because then an inner prison has been created. Instead, contentment is a state of genuine acceptance which brings freedom and peace.  It is the point of not wishing for what could have been or what could be still; total satisfaction in the present state regardless of what it may be. Linda Dillow defines it best when she says, “Contentment is a state of the heart, not a state of affairs.” We may not be able to change our circumstances, but we can certainly change our hearts! Paul uses the word “learned,” which indicates that this is a learning process. We can do it too! Ella Spees set five guidelines for developing a habit of contentment. They are:

·         Never allow yourself to complain about anything – not even the weather

·         Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else

·         Never compare your lot with another’s

·         Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise

·         Never dwell on tomorrow – remember that [tomorrow] is God’s, not ours

I found the guidelines she established for her life to be of high applicability to my own. She maintained a heavenly perspective, and thereby didn’t allow herself to become bogged down by discontentment. She was able to serve Him fully with a heart fully His.


                Discontentment is really a state of eyes (focus) disconnected from God’s. To maintain a heavenly perspective is to acknowledge God as fully sovereign. He is the master controller of all things. 1 Timothy 6:15 says, “which God will bring about in his own time – God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” What a supreme difference in life if God were permitted to be the blessed and only Ruler? I imagine I would be far less concerned about the insignificant frustrations of the day as well as the “what-ifs” of the future. The question then begs to be asked of how much control I am attempting to assert over my circumstances. Am I overly discouraged or distraught when an outcome isn’t as expected? It is easy to think that our efforts or prayers for that outcome were worthless. Yet, was my prayer one of offering God my concern and allowing him to be the blessed controller, or am I instructing Him of how the outcome or even the process should be?

                God desires for us to focus intently on Him, and in the meanwhile He will provide strength sufficient for us to endure any circumstances. I’m so thankful that contentment is, indeed, a learning process that we can all partake of regardless of our point in life. We don’t need to cling to control over our circumstances for contentment, but we do need to hold tightly to Him and allow Him to be our “Ruler..King..and Lord.”

Further Reading:
Calm My Anxious Heart: A Woman's Guide to Finding Contentment by Linda Dillow
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