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I have an issue. I get caught in the comparison trap much too often.  This problem isn’t “Oh I’m better than that person.” I get caught in the trap of evaluating myself to others who I think are better than me.

 

I find myself thinking; Wow, when am I going to be able to run everyday her?  Or why can’t I write like them?  Why can’t I lose the weight or eat like they do?  It’s a ferocious cycle.

 

My spiritual life is no different.  The thoughts in my head go like this, Why can’t I have faith like my husbands?  Why can’t I study the Bible like her? Or He is such prayer warrior.  My prayer life stinks.  That friend is so together and has a strong walk. I’m inconsistent, struggle and don’t seem to have a thirst for God like they do, what’s wrong with me?  I must not be good enough for God.

 

A guest speaker at the church I attend had this to say about comparison, “It will take you down one of two paths – pride or depression.”  For me, 95 percent of the time relating my life to another leads to depression and discouragement. He went on to say our standard should not be those around us, but God is to be our standard.  That makes me feel so much better. Yeah, right. How about you?

 

The truth is we are to be “perfect as our Heavenly is perfect” Matthew 4:28 (NIV 1984).  However, here are on earth it’s not possible because we are in our human, sinful bodies.  But we are to strive toward the goal, by reading the Word, prayer, and through the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

There is another thought I need to consider in reference to measuring up to others.  I am a unique person.  You just have to look at my DNA and finger prints to know that.  Therefore, it stands to reason that I will not be like another runner, writer, or home decorator.  I won’t be the same as another mother, wife, or woman.  And most importantly my spiritual walk will not mirror any other person.

 

My prayer life and quiet times will be different.  But it doesn’t mean the way I do things is wrong.  God works differently in my life because I am unique and so are the details of the situations in my life.

 

What about the other things?  My body can’t handle running everyday.  The writing I do comes from a totally different perspective then others and I’m not called to write like others either.  And the spiritual life?  I have to ask myself these questions:

 

Am I growing?

  1. Is my desire to do the things God wants?
  2. Do I read, and talk to God?
  3. Do I desire to improve?

 

The answers to these are a definitely yes.

 

How about you? Do you find that you compare yourself to others, especially in your spiritual walk?  Stop it.  Talk to the Heavenly Father; ask him to show you what pleases Him about your walk.  Pray He’ll give you the strength to change the things that need changing and to stop comparing yourself with others.

 

You are unique, loved and the apple of the Father’s eye.  Celebrate the fact that there is no one like you.

 

Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, with out comparing himself to somebody else.”

Galatians 6:4

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I am not much of a gardener. In fact I don’t like to garden. I have two rose bushes on our back patio. Roses are my favorite flower. When the coral bush first started, I was surprised by how many blossoms there were. The bush produced two clumps of three and four flowers. It was beautiful. I was so proud of it (the fact I hadn’t killed it yet).

Before

Then several weeks later it seemed to have suddenly died. I thought maybe if I pruned off the dead branches it would grow again. Two weeks later nothing wanted to grow. I gave up. My husband on the other hand, didn’t. He chopped more off to the point there were only bear stems.

One day I walked out and noticed green sprouts and today there are more blossoms then I had at first.
It reminds me of the passage in John fifteen which talks about the vine and branches. When I became one of God’s children I made a decision to be a part of Christ and His work. In order for me to grow in my walk and faith I must eat and drink (prayer and read the word) so that I can grow.

But there are times when life seems to be stale and growth is little or non-existent. Those are the times I must be vulnerable to the perfect Gardener.   He needs to prune me. He will show me the things in my life that are dead and non effective. Growth may be inhibited by a habit, doubt, fear or something I don’t even know exists. He wants to cut it off to allow new growth. He also uses hardships in my life to prune me as well so I can see myself and the area I require trust.

Other times He will prune “good” things out of my life in order for the best to occur. There were some branches of the rose bush I left because there was still some green leaves, but that didn’t help. It wasn’t until my husband cut the bush down to almost nothing did the new growth occur.

After Pruning

I have been involved in ministries or projects that were good but I had not listened to God’s prompting to stop. It wasn’t until I listened and allowed God to cut those activities off when my growth, and focus took off. Did it hurt? More than anyone can know. I wasn’t happy but I did have peace and I was able to bloom.

Are there areas of your life God is asking to cut off? Is there resistance on your part? Why?

Ask Him today to give you the strength to allow Him to prune you. If  He is allowed, it may hurt but the beauty that will come through the process is nothing compared to what you had.

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes  so that it will be even more fruitful.”    (John 15:2  NIV 1984)

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