For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal.1.10
Oh how those Words split my heart in two. They've been resonating and changing within since I was a senior in high school. The words that I am going to share in this post are ones that will ring familiar to most of you. WARNING: No new Truth here. But I feel compelled by the Spirit to share how these Truths impact me and cause me to live my life, specifically in the context of being a believer, wife, mom, and blogger/personal stylist.
I get asked a lot, usually by people I love or well-intentioned individuals, how I have time to do this luxe|wise stuff. How do I get it all done? How do I still have time to cook for my husband? How do I do this without neglecting my kids? How do I get ready like that everyday? I'm sure you can insert your "whatever-it-is-you-do" into that blank. And I'm sure that you can identify with the fact that a lot of the time, those questions are asked in ways that have the potential to be very offensive, espeicially when they come from the mouths of the ones you love who you (sometimes desperately, like I've said before) want their support and approval. And in those moments I have to allow the Spirit to take me through a process that looks something like this:
Flesh: AWW NAW! FUH REAL?? DID THEY REEEALLLY JUST ASK THAT? Did they not see this? They think I'm not a good mom. They think I'm not legit. I should spend thousands on schooling to get paper creds. No wait, then I would be spending even LESS time with my kids. Oh wait. I guess I should go spend time on Pinterest looking for cool projects to do with my kids so I can take pictures of it all and post it all over social media to prove I'm an awesome mom. Oh wait, nope. Ain't nobody got time fuh dat.
Spirit: Little girl, you know they love you. But I love you more. My opinion of you matters more.
Flesh: But if they love me, then why are they questioning me? Why do they question my motives? Why don't they think I'm good enough?
Spirit: Sweet girl, calm your heart and don't listen to the Accuser anymore. I made you good enough. I will cover you. Let Me remind you of what I have already taught you.
... And then we begin rehearsing the crucial things that I know to be true, and down off the ledge I walk. But let me be clear. These situations of criticism or critique would have previously sent me into an absolute tailspin and depression for days. No kidding. But something happens when you become disciplined in exchanging lies for Truth. You feel that sting of the first words spoken but then you learn to allow God to speak past the pain. Your heart becomes inclined to hear that uncreated Still Small Voice!!!
S I D E B A R: Let me answer the question for you guys though. How do I do it? Honestly, most days I DON'T. Most days I don't do one single thing for l|w. There have been seasons where WEEKS have passed without anything happening with l|w. Most days I only have from about 115PM-215PM while all three kids are napping to get stuff done. But if they don't nap, then you guessed it, stuff doesn't get done. So if I don't get my rear up and work out and shower and get ready before they wake up in the morning, it ain't gonna happen. Some days it takes me ALL. DAY. to get ready. But I'm diligent to go to bed early (thank you, Hubs) so that I can wake up early to get it done. My kids also go to preschool on T TH, so if I'm not working for someone else or tending to house needs or studying/reading, then I work on filming, video editing, and writing. If I have set a deadline for myself, then I MIGHT work on l|w stuff after 830PM if my hubs and I aren't hanging out for 5 minutes or going to bed early. Ha! We get up at 430AM and 530AM to work out.
I write and film and photograph most things days, weeks, even MONTHS in advance. I don't get up and get dressed every single Wednesday to show you guys a new outfit. I snap a quick picture before walking out the door on random days that I actually have to get showered and dressed! And MAYBE on the weekends while Steve is home, if we are actually in town and not entertaining house guests, then I MIGHT ask him to man naptime on a Saturday or Sunday so that I can have an extra hour or so to focus on a project. I thrive on structure and am able to manage my time fairly well for the most part to strategically work on things without anyone having to suffer. Steve and I regularly assess each other's hobbies to make sure that nothing is becoming all consuming and taking the place of our satisfaction from our Savior or encroaching on our time together and with our kids. And most importantly, we try to keep each other accountable on our WHYs. So why am I even doing luxe|wise? Well ... you can just read this to refresh yourself. ;)
Now back from the sidebar to the encouragement piece. What I have to remember and what I want YOU to remember is that God has not called you to do everything like everybody else. Just like He didn't make me to sing like Mariah or Celine or lead like Kari Jobe or Jenn Johnson or design like Joanna Gaines or landscape like Honey or cook like Juju, He hasn't made you (or us) to mother and parent and do kids crafts and organize our laundry the same. Our circumstances and people and places are different for a SPECIFIC reason. And just because someone doesn't understand how you can possibly do something doesn't mean you're doing it wrong or shouldn't be doing it at all. God has called you to those things because He has made YOU to do those things. Not someone else. So why would it even make sense to them anyway?
He has given you a set of gifts and talents to use in your specific place to do what no one else can. He has given you a passion and made particular things easier or more accessible for you because He wants you to use those things to extend His grace and make His glory known. And He wants you to love those people even when they criticize you from their limited understanding. Because my strengths don't make sense from the perspective of someone else's weaknesses (and vice versa) doesn't necessarily negate their concern, however. Don't live in a spirit of offense. Learn to let the Spirit lead and teach you. Maybe after all, there is something (ok, a lot of things) He wants to change in you. Hold up their word to THE WORD and see how it compares. My friend Julie posted this quote from Lysa TerKeust on her Facebook timeline the other day:
The more I fill myself with God's Truth, the less I need validation from others.
Man, it sure is great when the people that you love actually support you in your passions. Unfortunately, that isn't gonna happen for most of us. Let's change that? And when you're doing whatever it is that you do, cleaning, sewing, legislating, mowing, writing, building, mothering, fathering, singing, dancing, designing, etc. ask yourself if you are more concerned with serving self or God's glory? And won't you let this challenge you as well for the times you feel the urge to play the Spirit's role in someone else's life? Know Truth enough to know that no one can play the Holy Spirit's role except for Him. There are things that only HE can do. Life, basically. ;) So let's step out of His way and step into a posture of prayer for one another and encouragement in leaning hard into Him. Step away from petty critiques and step humbly yet tenaciously into the Word of God.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen. Eph.3.20