Crying Out for God’s Strength

In my current season of life with raising little ones, I am running on empty. My flesh feels so limited most days. I often use the phrase “swimming through mud” when I am trying to accomplish my tasks for the day and met with resistance, distractions, and interruptions. I find my frequent prayer to be “Help me, Jesus.” 

In a culture (yes, even within the visible church) where positive affirmations and self-empowered declarations are the norm, admitting your weakness, limitedness, and failures is seen as negative and perhaps even harmful to your soul. You can purchase T-shirts and find graphics all over the internet that proclaim: “You are enough.” 

Yet, the Bible reveals that we are not enough in an of ourselves or in our own abilities; we are but dust (Psalm 103:14-16). The Lord is the one who gives us the breath and talents to accomplish anything. Admitting our “not enough-ness” provides an opportunity to look to God because He is in fact more than enough and His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12). Ultimately, the Lord is glorified in my weakness and in my feeling of emptiness and “not enough-ness.” 

The Psalmist Asaph boldly admits his frail humanity in Psalm 73:

“My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

26, NASB

When I am emptied of myself and my grit and pride when I think I can ‘slay all day’ and spin all the plates without them crashing to the floor, it is then that I can be filled with His strength and grace to walk out my calling as a wife, mother, writer, teacher, and homemaker.

When empowerment culture shouts “You cannot pour from an empty cup!” I remind my heart that I can pour from an empty cup, for the Lord is my portion! It’s when my “cup” is empty that I can be filled up with God’s strength.  And that’s the best place for me to be. When I cannot rely on myself at all, I can rely on Him and lean upon the Lord, my Rock. This also means we must take time to be filled up with Him by staying in His Word. If we are looking for “self-care” to be “filled up,” the best care for our soul is to set aside a part of our day to commune with the Lord. God uses “empty cups” to reveal that He is enough!

Father, 

I am feeling so exhausted, stressed, and empty…like I have nothing left to give. But I trust that is exactly where You want me to be so that I can rely on You alone. You give me the strength and grace to continue to pour because Your grace and mercy is fresh for me every day. Instead of trying to muster up the strength in myself, I lift my eyes to You and call out to You for help. When I am feeling weary, I run to You. Help me find moments throughout my day to spend time with You as You continue to teach me that You are enough for me. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

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Imitators of Christ

Change the baby’s diaper, take the dog outside, feed everyone breakfast (including said dog), start a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, fill the dishwasher with more dishes, fold and put away the laundry, clean counters, vacuum, sweep, mop, snack-time, school-time, nap-time, lunch-time, snack-time, dinner-time, snack-time, bed-time. Do it again tomorrow. 

As a mom and wife, I am given countless opportunities to set aside my wants and give my love, time, and attention to the needs of my husband and children. Pouring yourself out like that on a daily basis can sometimes be physically exhausting; I find myself praying for supernatural strength often! Yet, at the end of the day, even though I am tempted to wonder where my “me time is,” my heart is always full. 

This is when I begin to see more clearly what the Apostle Paul meant when he said:

“I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”

1 Corithians 15:31, NASB

The Biblical principle of dying to yourself has always been true, but I didn’t always live it or even understand it. Becoming a stay-at-home mom has challenged me in more ways than I can count in the area of putting others before myself, and I am always learning and finding that it is truly is more blessed to give than to receive. 

As Jesus’ disciples, we are called to follow Him. That was Paul’s mission in life – to imitate Christ. And it is what he and the rest of the apostles literally gave their lives to preach to the world through their words and actions. We may not ever get the honor to literally die for Jesus Christ because of our faith in Him, but by God’s grace, we can imitate His selflessness every day.

To be able to imitate Christ, we must look to Jesus as our example. Even though Jesus was God in the flesh, He still leaned upon God the Father for everything He said and did while He walked this earth. Jesus would rise early to pray and seek God for His will for the day.

In addition to seeking God in prayer, Jesus obediently submitted Himself to the will of the Father, even unto death. Each day, we are faced with the temptation to satisfy our flesh and go outside the boundaries of God’s perfect will. We discover what that will is when we read the Bible and study it for ourselves to learn God’s ways. We are not perfect, but thankfully Jesus was, and because of His sacrifice on the cross, we have been given the precious gift of the Holy Spirit as born-again believers.

Ultimately, Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve others (Mark 10:45). Jesus ministered to thousands upon thousands of people during His time here on earth. John 22 tells us that if all the things Jesus did were all written down, the entire world could not contain the books that would be written!

Dying daily definitely isn’t easy, but it is worth it because Jesus promises us that whoever loses his life will find it and find it abundance (Matthew 10:39/ John 10:10)!

But remember, we cannot die daily in our own strength, friends. The Holy Spirit is who empowers us to choose God’s way through the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). With each passing day, by God’s grace, we mature and cultivate a life worth dying for, a life found in Christ alone!

Who is God asking you to serve?

What selfish desires do you need to lay aside to put someone else’s life before your own?

Are you too busy or too distracted to serve others?

Take some time and write down those who may come to mind who you can minister to, even if it is just a simple phone call to encourage someone. May God empower us to die daily and choose others above ourselves.

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Consumed with YourSelfie

With the overwhelming flood of social media sites and phone apps filling every millisecond of our lives, it is blatantly clear how self-centered our culture has become as we post about our lives and our opinions numerous times a day.

With the invention of the front-facing camera on our cell phones, we have been able to take endless pictures of ourselves with ease called “selfies.” It has to be asked, if we want to see ourselves that much we might as well consider carrying around a mirror everywhere we go, right?

Are we too focused on ourselves?

This is a question I have recently asked myself as I am finding myself dwelling on my own issues so much that it is overwhelming my thoughts, completely over-crowding my mind, and creating more problems than solutions. Also, as someone who enjoys praying for others, I’m realizing how less and less of my time talking to God is spent interceding on others’ behalf and more and more of my time is spent asking Him to simply “help me, me, ME” or ignoring Him altogether and trying to figure it all out myself.

And I am utterly convicted because I have become so self-centered and consumed with my own life. Not to much how consumed with consumerism I have become as I am bombarded with sponsored ads and marketing campaigns constantly as I scroll through social media. Influencers and bloggers pushing all kinds of products that they are “obsessed” with and posting that quick swipe-up link for us too. I suddenly find myself envious and want what they have.

James 3:16 tells us:

“Where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

NKJV

Whoa… “every EVIL thing?”

Are you finding yourself confused and needing clarity regarding your circumstances?

What about worry? Are you finding yourself frantic, anxious, or on edge often? Thinking that you are lacking something and trying to be your own provider and seeker of necessities/wants.

These feelings are not from God and are rooted in fear. 

When we cast our anxieties upon the Lord like 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to do, we are humbling ourselves and telling the Lord we know that we cannot figure out this life on our own. We look to God as our ultimately provider, trusting that He knows all that we need. This act of surrender frees our lives up to think upon truth found only in God’s word, to spend time communing with the Lord, and to be able to lift others up in prayer. Not to mention being mentally present for people who we cross paths with on a daily basis who may need some encouragement, a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on.

The less we focus on ourselves and our problems, the more freedom, clarity, and peace we will experience.

So let’s shift the focus off of ourselves for a while…your mind (and your Instagram) could use a little rest.

Here are some practical ways we can limit time on your phone: 

  • Keep yourself on a schedule/ use app tracking timers
  • Turn off as many push notifications as possible
  • Unfollow social media influencers that may tempt you to impulse buy what they are advertising
  • Remove distracting apps from your home screen or uninstall apps over the weekend
  • Move your phone away from your bedside 
  • Ask your spouse or a friend to be your accountability partner
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