“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” I Peter 1:13 (NIV)
I shared with you last time how I’ve been struggling with feelings of failure during this adventure. Well, when that happens, I usually try to isolate myself because if I drive myself crazy with my “pity party,” I’m sure I drive others crazy as well. It’s a little hard to isolate when you are mother of three and wife of an amazing man.
One of the ways I try to combat those lies that replay in my head is to get outside of myself and see what I can do to bless others. As I headed to the grocery store yesterday, I prayed, asking God to help me find someone to bless, and then I started looking.
I didn’t find anyone in the store except for an employee that I hadn’t seen in a while and so we chatted, but I didn’t really consider that blessing her just by saying “hi” and being friendly. I was looking for more…so I stopped at Big Lots to grab a few things and while I was at the checkout, a lady pulled up in front and asked if there was a man around to help her unload a dresser from her truck because “it’s way too heavy for me.” Without really thinking, after the cashier said no there were just women working today, I offered to help. However, I was turned down (I think due to liability reasons). I don’t usually question things, but I heard myself say, “Why can’t I help?” I turned to the customer and said, “You aren’t going to sue me if I drop something, are you?” Her response, “I don’t have any money to sue you with.” However, despite my willingness, I was repeatedly denied, so I left.
As I was driving home, those feelings of failure tried to rear their ugly head again. “See, I’m so worthless that I can’t even give my help away.” And that’s when God said to me, “How about blessing your family? You always ask me to help you find ways to bless strangers, what about those you love the most?” So then I started to think what would bless them the most and I did two things that I thought would make them happy. One was specifically for my husband and it would show him I not only notice, but I care. The other was a chore I was going to ask my kids to do over the weekend, one I knew would be met with resistance, and I chose instead to do myself, without asking for their help.
It felt good to bless those I love. Really good. I’m still going to be looking for ways to bless strangers and friends and others I come across, but God reminded me not to forget those whom love me unconditionally and whom I love fiercely as well. Starting with those in my inner circle, then branching out after I’ve filled their love tanks is a good system to put into place. I have to remember that they also are going through this adventure with us. It’s not an adventure that affects just me. So why not choose to bless those God entrusted to me and the one whom God allowed me to share my life with?
Then, God blessed me! I had a conversation with a friend, one I haven’t talked to for almost two years. It was a time of sharing my heart – no judgment. Just encouragement, love, and a friendly challenge to keep my focus where it needs to be.
I insulted God by calling myself a failure and worthless – He took those words and gave me back unconditional love, encouragement, reassurance, and a fun way to head in the direction He wants me to travel…not to punish me but to allow me a chance to make good choices, have good thought patterns, and get closer to the blueprint He designed when He created me.
What He’s willing to do for me and those before me, He’s waiting to do for you, my friend, and so much more. The first step is hard…but the reward waiting for you in the form of peace is so worth it.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015