Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Who Am I?" - The Comparison Queen

"She doesn't have to do the dishes!!"

"He got to go last time!"

"That's not fair, she gets to have two parties!!"

If you're a Mom you may have heard a statement like this in the past week, or if you live in my house it's usually at least once a day!  All of my kids, well the 3 who can talk play this game, but one tends to do it a little more often than others.  She would be the one who acts too much like her mother at times - yes, that would be me!!

When I think about it, I'm not surprised - she is the daughter of the comparison queen.  Growing up with two sisters I can recall the above statements and more...I didn't always say them, but in my mind I compared things quite often.  This way of thinking wasn't isolated to my home, but was also something I did as a student, athlete and friend. 

I can remember thinking, "The coach told her good job twice, she must be better than me."  "She was invited to 3 sleepovers, they like her more than me!"  "The teacher asked her to be in charge again, she's more responsible than I am."  The list could go on, but I'm going to assume if you haven't experienced this yourself you get the idea.

These thoughts often led to one or two places - many times they left me discouraged and down on myself.  After comparing, I'd beat myself up thinking I wasn't good enough which would then lead to isolation and/or giving up.  The other destination I'd find myself at was the land of "It's not fair!!"  Honestly this could lead to anger, jealousy and even bitterness as I thought someone else was getting what I wanted and sometimes even thought I deserved.

I find myself thinking about this more as I hear my kids share similar words and have recently been challenged by my response.  I've found myself saying what I thought I never would, "Life's not fair...you better get used to it."  I'm not denying the truth of that statement, but lately I've been thinking I don't want my kids to simply grasp this reality...I want to keep them from playing the game, the comparison one!

But, before I can convince them to stop...I'm beginning to realize I need to retire first!  Lately I've noticed the tendencies I had as a child are still with me today as an adult.  Granted I'm no longer concerned with how many sleepovers invitations my friends receive, but I have noticed what ministry opportunities they've been given.  And I no longer keep track of how many fun things my sisters get to do, but I'll be honest and admit I know how many times my husband has left the house without children since I last did!

It can be hard to admit this, but as I have done just that the last few days with the Lord, He's brought a passage (John 21: 15-25) in front of me in a few different ways.  To summarize, Jesus has just told Peter what kind of death he will endure and what does Peter do?  Perhaps we could call him the comparison king, "Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”

And friend if you ever find yourself playing this game, listen to Jesus words, "Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”

When Jesus speaks to us individually it doesn't matter what He is saying to anyone else...we are to follow HIM! The only comparison He wants me to do is comparing my walk to His will and the only person God wants me to measure myself against is His Son!

It's true, life isn't fair...God reminds me of that just like I do my own children, but lately He's been taking the lesson a bit further...just because that is a reality, I don't need to play a game that I will always lose!  The next time I feel myself wearing my old crown I want to remember what Jesus said to Peter, but more than remembering I want to obey and follow Him because I know He has plans for me!  (Jer. 29:11)  And friend nothing compares to being right where He wants me to be...even when it's at home with 5 little ones who don't quite understand all of this yet!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why I don't write...

This past week I've been thinking about a lot of different things, but one in particular is writing. Before Christmas I found myself writing quite regularly and in October I had committed to posting on my blog everyday, but this month is about over and just now I'm posting for the second time.

I could come up with quite a few reasons as to why I don't write...I'm busy, other things are more important, there's not enough time, and the list goes on. Just yesterday I realized these really aren't reasons, they are excuses and the real reason I don't write is because sometimes I am afraid.

You see my last post, the little pep talk for my former basketball team is one God's reminded me of quite often since the words left my fingers. And that's been the case with many of my other posts. I've realized this before, but this past week it seems I've been more aware of this fear.

I believe God has some things on my heart, but deep down I'm afraid of putting it out there. Not because it's bad or wrong, but because I know from past experience He calls me to live out the messages I type up! Believe me, I know He's God and He's going to do what He wants rather I write or not, but for me putting things on paper really is a form of accountability. Talking with my hands (literally) is much easier than with my mouth, so I don't hear, "Practice what you preach" too often, but I know I could hear, "Practice what you post!"

As I think about what it seems God is calling me to share, I recall hearing Lysa TerKeurst say, "If you write about parenting, bank on your child going to the principal; if you write about marriage, be prepared for yours to be attacked..." I'm not one much for battles or confrontation, so those words scare me and support my reason for not writing.

I also know God's Word tells us, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:12-14

If I were to guess I'm sure there were times Paul didn't want to do what he was called to do, but yet he persevered. That perseverance usually didn't bring great earthly rewards, but his faith grew and his light was shining.

Friend I don't know what God is calling you to do and I don't know the reasons you're not doing it, but would you join me in taking some time to think about this. I know one of my answers to the title of this post was "it doesn't matter anyway" and perhaps you think the same, but can I share this thought with you - what YOU do always matters to at least one person (and for a side note since we are part of the body, what we do always impacts others), so even if no one else is affected by your actions, you are!

When we are obedient, God will bless and strengthen our relationship with Him and that my friend is why we should do what He asks us to do!! Even when we are afraid...perhaps especially when we are afraid!!

Feel free to share...I would be honored to lift you in prayer!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Basketball...a lot like life!

Recently I watched the girls I coached as junior highers now play a varsity basketball game.  It was fun to be back in the gym and a joy to see how they have improved, but as they walked off the court after another loss I wanted to talk to them.  Simply share some thoughts in the locker room like I did four years ago. 

That didn't happen, but as the night came to an end my thoughts kept rolling.  As my husband drifted off to sleep, the coach in me kept thinking....I wish I could tell them -

"Have some fun out there!!"  It looks (this is just my observation) like they are going through the motions and not enjoying themselves like you should when you play a game.

"Don't play with fear."  The girls appeared to be a bit hesitant at times and looked like they were trying not to lose instead of playing to win.  I wanted to tell them, "you've played for years, you can do this!  And even if you make a mistake, shake it off and try again!  Quit thinking so much!!!"

"Get after it!!" Just because I want them to have fun that doesn't mean I don't want them to work!!  If you want to win and do well you have to put forth effort and give your best!  When I played we always had the saying, "If basketball were easy, everyone would play!!"  It's not and they don't, so play with pride when you put the jersey on!!

"Play as a TEAM!!"   Basketball is a game with 5 players for a reason, help each other out, work together and cheer each other on!  When your teammates succeed, so will your team!

And finally, "Enjoy the Moment!!"  I realize all of the girls are not the basketball fanatic that I was back in the day, but I have to believe someday they'll miss it and I don't want them to look back with regrets!  When the season is done there is no going back and for the seniors, there is no next year.

Time kept ticking away and I realized this is no longer my team, I have to let it go and get some sleep...my little starting 5 would be waking soon!  They did and as the day began, the game became a memory.

There was laundry to do, kids to feed, fights to break up, children to be taught and on and on.  By mid-morning I found myself a bit stressed, a bit more ungrateful and on the edge of entering survival mode. 

It was then God whispered to my heart, "Why don't you listen to the words you wanted to share with your basketball girls?"  I thought what?  My playing days are done!!  But then I let my little speech replay in my mind and realized He was right!  These words aren't just for basketball, but a Mom playing the game of life and a Christian walking the road of faith.

Friend, today it doesn't matter if you've ever picked up a basketball, these words above are for you and me! 

Let's quit going through the motions as we walk in faith, no play in basketball is ever the same and neither is any day in life or situation we encounter.  Be intentional with the time we have and make a difference by trusting the One who brought us to the event we are walking through!

Let's put the fear aside and play to win in the only game that really matters - life!!  Remember no matter what situation you are facing - with God all things are possible and in Christ you can do all things!!  (Matt. 19:26 and Phil. 4:13)

Though God can do all things, let's not forget that He has equipped us to do them - meaning we have to work!  This will require discipline, time and effort, but the rewards it will bring are worth it!!!

Play as a team - as I "listened" to myself, memories of earlier this year came back - after our little Jesse was born I felt as though I had a new starting 5, my little Team Beran!  But the other morning I realized I'd been feeling like it was more of a them against me rather than a united team effort!  No matter who you are working with - basketball teammates, a ministry group or your family remember Together Everyone Achieves More!!

And last but not listen, perhaps the most important piece of advice, "Enjoy the Moment!!"  These words hit hard - it's been nearly 20 years since I sported the Wildcat jersey and I still find myself missing that from time to time, but it hit me that someday instead of talking about a game I'll say, "It's been 20 years since Jesse was a baby and all the kids were home."  Wow, that puts things in perspective!  I don't want to merely survive this season, I want to enjoy it and I pray you do too!!

Well, I'm not sure if I'll get to tell the girls what I wanted to, but I'm so thankful God told me what He had to say!!!