Again, this is a response to the study questions from the lesson. If you haven't read it, it won't make as much sense. I am really enjoying participating in this. It's really neat to visit the responses the other women have made on their blogs. So anyway, here are mine!
Background reading: Exodus 2, Acts 7, Isaiah 53
"It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father's house. Acts 7:20 NASB
"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." Isaiah 53:2-3 NIV
"For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation." Psalm 149:4
What is your initial response when anyone suggests you are beautiful?
When my husband tells me I'm beautiful, I usually believe him, but inside I'm longing to be told that I'm beautiful on the inside even more because that is so much more important and more elusive on days like today when I'm tired and snapping at my kids. Lately, I've been sharing some music at church and I've realized there is a connection to that too. When people give me compliments, I don't know exactly how to respond. I usually just say thanks and am sincerely appreciative, but again, what I'm really wanting to hear isn't just that I have a nice voice or write beautiful music, but that God was ministering to their hearts while they were listening.
Do you find you engage in a lot of negative 'self-talk'? How much of your thought life does this form of thinking consume?
Thankfully, I don't engage in nearly as much as I used to. God has freed me from a whole lot of destructive thinking and I've learned to be much more gracious with myself when I make mistakes… but I still have trouble getting past not feeling quite good enough EVEN THOUGH I know this is wrong. Like Lisa said, I'm not supposed to be focusing on myself. My focus is to be on God, remembering who I am because of Him and worshipping Him just for who He is, partaking of all the blessings I have in Christ instead of just asking for God to help me (like asking for more food when I haven't bothered eating what He's already provided). When I do that… fix my eyes on what is true and eternal instead of dwelling on the negative stuff, my life is so much more beautiful—who I am and how I experience everything.
What is the most radical transformation you've witnessed in an individual after they were born again? It's okay to tell about your own! (I'm skipping this for now)
The imagery of being a City Girl has absolutely changed the way I perceive my worth before God. Does it yours? Will you receive this truth and let it boost your righteous confidence?
As I drove around my city today, I thought about how unlike this city my heavenly home is. Sort of like the difference between here and a Righteously Royal kingdom I believe. I can't help but think of the Princess Diaries and how obvious it was that Mia's grandma was NOT from around there and the change that took place in Mia when she realized and embraced that she was actually a princess. When people meet me, God wants them to know—by my accent (the flavor of my words—to my kids and everyone else!), by my confidence, by my contentment, by my PEACE—that I do not belong here. This world is not my home!
Jesus, I believe You are in the process of doing an amazing new work in me… teaching me how to BE WHO I AM while reaching out to others who either don't know You or don't yet know who they are because of You. I have looked at people struggling with sins I cannot relate to and imagined how hard it would be for them to listen to me or how unlikely it would be that they would even want to learn anything from me. After all, what do I know about their problems? So how crazy is it that You are leading me into some type of participation in Celebrate Recovery!!! J It makes me laugh. Obviously I have a lot to learn about limiting where I think You can use me. And as You reminded me today… I don't know from experience about many of the problems others experience, but I do know WHO the solution is! Keep teaching me, Lord, not to be afraid of who You have made me to be and not to believe the lies that say I'm not good enough or that I appear too good. I am in You and You are in me! According to I Cor. 4:10, I have this treasure in a jar of clay (a body and mind that is weak and filled with problems) to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from myself. May I not now, or ever again hide this treasure or this amazing power, Lord. Forgive me for forgetting!