Monday, March 18, 2013

Planted.

You know my favorite time for blogging!

Confession time!!!! 


Hi. My name is Courtney. I'm an impatient person in recovery. I have lots of slip ups, but I've been doing pretty well recently. 
Okay, maybe not so well. Ha!

When I first started following Christ, I realized that He wanted me to give up screaming at every slow driver and robbing others the chance to do a task that I could complete more quickly. It wasn't good for my blood pressure (physically) or my heart (spiritually). Since that time, He has guided me through many years, molding me to be more and more patient, less competitive, more aware of the true value in situations (people, not tasks) and less perfectionistic. (I'm not sure that's even a word, but my blog, my rules, people!)

So when Jim was talking about being a perfectionist this morning, I almost blew it off.
I thought to myself, "I gave that up years ago. Doesn't even phase me anymore." And everyone knows that once you think you have it handled, you don't. Not even four hours later, I was fuming at the light board because I missed a cue while running lights for Evening Worship. Within 60 seconds, the Lord gently reminded me that 1. I messed up while Jeremy was praying, so nobody should have been looking anyways (I'm talking to you, you peek-ers!), and 2. That wasn't something to get upset about. It was too small of an error to blow a gasket.


I may not struggle too much with perfectionism anymore, but I still struggle with it's brother, impatience. I feel like they go together. Ultimately, both indicate anger because something isn't happening the way or the time that I think it should happen. I was very honest a few weeks ago when I said I'm trying to be a bit more healthy, including exercise, eating healthier (I said trying!) and losing some weight.

So I'm up writing very late right now because tomorrow is                 ....         Monday.
You see, Monday is weigh in day.
The day I either dance my way out of the house or get sad/determined to conquer the next week.

As I've been on this journey, I have realized how closely my physical health improvements and my spiritual health are connected. I have realized that one without the other just doesn't work. And I don't have to convince you all of this. We've all heard the "your body is a temple" sermons, articles, motivational pictures on Facebook and blog posts. I casually would listen to those ideas but until I really gave up my exercise plan, my meals and my heart to the Lord, I had only my own power to trust in and I had no patience for a weight loss journey. I wanted it all gone in a few trips to the gym.

But now, I can sing, as I did today,

With my roots deep in You,
I'll grow the branch that bears the fruit
And though I'm small
I'll still be standing in the storm
'Cause I am planted by the river
By Your streams of living water
And I'll grow up strong and beautiful
All for Your splendor, Lord


I sang it at first about my spiritual health.
Because I want it all. 
NOW.
I want the patience, peace, joy, healthy relationships and benefits of following the Lord all at one time, but this song reminds me clearly that I just need to grow my roots, stay planted near the water and wait for spring.
I need to do that with my fitness plan (oh geez that sounds cheesy, but call a spade a spade, right?) as well. I need to grow roots, rest in the Lord and look forward to the day that my work and His power come together to make it all happen. It may not be tomorrow morning when I step on the scale, but it may be the next Monday, or the Monday after that. 

And can I just take a moment to say what a wonderful and mysterious God we serve that our roots can grow so deeply? I know the spring never feels like it will come, but the joy of the winter is getting to rest in the ground, in the Lord, and find solace in Him alone. 

The set list from Sunday, March 17th:
"All My Fountains" by Chris Tomlin
"Not For a Moment" by Meredith Andrews
"Crown Him (Majesty) by Chris Tomlin featuring Kari Jobe (love that song!)
and "For Your Splendor" by Christy Nockels from her latest album Into the Glorious which I haven't stopped listening to for the past couple of months. The entire album is full of great lyrics and calm melodies like this song. It's my go-to playlist in the morning to wake up, in the middle of the day to calm down and at night to count my blessings.

So this week, I encourage all of us, definitely myself included, to continue to grow our roots deeply. Whether you're in spring, summer, fall or winter, our roots always need more water for us to keep growing. 
Or losing, as I'm trying ;).


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fitting.

It was around 6 pm.
I was driving down Grelot Road towards the house as the sun was setting. It was a very pretty sunset.
I sort-of heard the announcer saying, "Here's a new song by Tenth Avenue North."

I turned it up, wishing I was in the right lane so that I could stop by and get some Starbucks before I went home.
It was catchy.
From the first word, I was hooked.
Then, I started to cry.

Not in a mopey, sad way. Not in a girly way. Not even in a "I need tissues" kind of way. But in a "this is what I've been trying to pray all along but couldn't find the words" kind of way. 

The song was "Losing" by Tenth Avenue North. I had not heard such a fitting song in a long time. Being a song person, there are times when songs fit my heart like a good pair of jeans. They sit exactly where they need to, are just long enough to wear with heels and just perfect enough to make the day look a lot brighter. This one fit like the best pair of jeans I've worn in a long time. It was the song my heart had needed for quite a long time.

By the time it was done playing on the radio, I had already bought it on iTunes. I listened to it a gazillion times over the next weeks. I let it sink in and let the prayer be mine every time my heart turned towards anger.

You see, it wasn't a burning anger that I held towards this person, but once you got me started, it was hard for me to stop. They made me legitimately angry because they were legitimately doing wrong and hurting people. But you see, just like the first verse, they 1. Didn't know it and 2. Couldn't stop it. It wasn't me that they were hurting, but everyone around me. Or so it felt, and honestly, still feels a lot of the time.

But when I listened to the song, I learned three things.
1. Forgiveness (in this instance) for me was wanting God's blessing on their life. AKA, letting go of my grudge and my need to be right.
2. Hate wasn't going to change anything.
3. I was forever going to lose the battle. But then I was so gently reminded that I can lose all day long, every battle, every fight, every thing, because my Savior already won. I don't need wins on my scorecard to be validated.

You see, I'm not super competitive. And that's because I like to play games where I know I'll always be the winner. Ha! It's not competition if I know that I'll dominate. As a child, if I wasn't winning, I'd change the rules so that I was. I can't say that I'm not guilty of the same thing today, but the problem is when I take that practice out of board games and apply it to relationships. And with some relationships, you'll always lose. You'll never win. And that is (sometimes the price of forgiveness.


I would love to say that in listening to that song once, my battle with forgiving that one person was over, but it wasn't. It's still a daily choice and action, one that I choose poorly sometimes. But the Lord has freed me for so much more than sitting on the high horse. 
So I must learn forgiveness. I must learn to lose and to be content, truly. This is a prayer I must pray. 
"Oh Father, give me grace to forgive them, because I feel like I've been losing." 

So I'll let them keep winning. I'll keep losing. Seven times seventy times.
 

Here are the songs for the past few weeks:
February 24th:
"Alive in Us" by Hillsong
"O the Blood" by Gateway Worship featuring Kari Jobe
"Stronger" by Hillsong
and "Oh, Our Lord" by Paul Baloche from the album The Same Love (great album!)

March 3rd:
"Set Free" by Chris Tomlin
"White Flag" by Chris Tomlin
"We the Redeemed" by Hillsong
and "Sovereign" by Chris Tomlin from the new album Burning Lights (another great album!)

And this past week, March 10th:
"Our God Saves" by Paul Baloche
"Nothing But the Blood" by Andy Cherry
"Awake My Soul" by Chris Tomlin
and "Losing" by Tenth Avenue North

I hope that you all have a great week and I will see you Sunday, when I'm not sick anymore!