Reflections – Time to Go Shopping!

Day Three

 

Everyone in our family loves the beach. Thankfully, we live just a few blocks away and have the opportunity to go a lot. In fact, during the summer my boys will go surfing almost every day. They practically live in their board shorts wearing them to the beach, to school, hanging out with friends and even occasionally to bed!

I have to remind them that just because their shorts got wet in the ocean doesn’t mean they’re clean. In fact, there have been times when the salty stench on their shorts was unbearable!

Paul, writing to the church in Colossae, ties our identity in Christ to the type of clothing we should wear. No, Paul’s not giving us fashion advice. Nor is he advocating a certain style of dress. Let’s look at what he says to them starting in verse 8 of Chapter 3,

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Paul intimates to those who are following Christ they need to change their clothes. They must take off the smelly, stinky, dirty clothes of their “old self” and put on some fresh ones – clothes that reflect their new identity in Christ.

Paul doesn’t give this as a suggestion; he emphasizes the urgency by telling them to do this now. Don’t wait for a more convenient time or a better opportunity. Don’t justify the stink or try to cover it up by spraying yourself down with Febreeze (yup, I must admit I’ve done that on occasion).

Rid yourself of those behaviors – change your clothes! Don’t live like the people around you. Instead, put on a new outfit, a beautiful one purchased with the blood of Jesus as you strive to look more and more like him every day.

Paul continues with this thought and draws a conclusion in verse 12,

Therefore, as God_s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3_12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

“Chosen, holy and dearly loved.” Right now. As is. This is how God sees you. The real issue, for us then is this: are we living as if this is true?

Sometimes I’ve found it easier to believe other people are chosen, holy and dearly loved than to believe that’s how God sees me. We have all fallen short of perfection. We have all blown it. But, the good news is God continues to see you as the person He created you to be.

Your identity doesn’t come from the things you do or the people around you. It’s not earned or worked for. Instead, it’s a gift we receive with gratitude from a loving Father.

Paul is telling the Christians in Colossae their identity in Christ should reflect how they live and the “clothing” they wear. Their “clothing” should be consistent with their identity.

Our outer life is a reflection of our inward life. As a natural outflow of seeing ourselves as chosen, holy and dearly loved, we should “clothe ourselves” with compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

And just like we take off our dirty clothes and put clean ones on, we are to take off attitudes, actions and things inconsistent with this new identity and clothe ourselves with a holy lifestyle that honors God and accurately reflects who He is.

I love how the NIV Study Bible explains this passage in Colossians 3. It reads, Paul is essentially telling the believers “they are called upon to become in daily experience what they are in Christ.”1

When we allow God to shape our lives, we begin to see ourselves as the women He created us to be. This transformation not only affects our lives and how we see ourselves, but it also begins to influence the community of people around us. He begins to use you to display his love to a broken world!

Time to go shopping for a new wardrobe!

 

Think about it…

  • What dirty clothes do you need to discard? What’s holding you back from getting rid of them and embracing your new identity in Christ?
  • Do you see yourself as chosen, holy and dearly loved? Why or why not?
  • Referring to verse 12, what “clothing” (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience) comes easy for you? Which of these is a stretch?

 

1NIV Study Bible (Zondervan), notes from Colossians 3:1

Six Steps towards Creating Peace in Your Home

As a mom, you learn to multi-task. Changing diapers and feeding kids while responding to emails – bring it on, moms, you can handle it. God gave moms the incredible ability to do many things once. But sometimes (perhaps, too often) we push too far, attempt too much, exceed our limits and squeeze too much into a short window of time and it backfires on us. And when it does, it affects, not just us, but those little ones whom we love so dearly.

A couple of nights ago, I found myself (at 5:30pm nonetheless) unpacking groceries, cooking dinner, helping kids with homework, while also consecutively doing laundry and breaking up a fight over a video game.

Then, something went terribly wrong. Just when I though I could handle it all, just when I thought I had everything under control, our computer started acting up. Our brand-new-only-three-days-old computer.

I began to rant express some of my less-than-kind thoughts about this computer, the internet and everything techy, and then quipped to my daughter, “And how to you plan to get your homework done now?!”

My precious child looked at me with tears pooling in her eyes and sobbed, “I don’t know! I’m so sorry!”

Her distraught disposition, panicked expression and innocent face quickly brought me back to reality – back to what really mattered.

Might I add, that this occurred merely one day after I spoke to our entire church on the necessity creating room in our schedules for life’s inevitable interruptions and the importance of viewing many of those interruptions as invitations to be used by God.

Ouch.

As my kids would say, “Mom, you just got schooled.” 

Yup. So after profusely apologizing to Jessica, I assured her that my frustration was directed towards the computer, not her.

Why do I so quickly forget the importance of not over-committing ? Why do I so easily slip into “stress mode”. Why do I clutter my life with stuff that robs my heart and home of the peace I’m longing to have?

Getting a lot of things done isn’t worth it if comes at the expense of peace in my family. While it’s obvious that space in my schedule is critical so the inevitable interruptions of the day don’t spill a barrage of frustration and stress on my family, I can quickly lose sight of that.

But true peace begins at a much deeper level before it buds and blooms in our family and home. I must be diligent in cultivating an atmosphere of peace in my heart if I truly desire to experience it in my home.

As the Apostle Paul encourages us,

-POP

Moms, the temperature of your heart will determine the temperature of your home.

  • If you’re frustrated, your home will be filled with stress.
  • If you’re angry, your home will be filled with fear.
  • If you’re constantly complaining, your kids will whine and grumble as well.
  • If you see your children as an inconvenience, they’re going to feel rejected.
  • If you feel hopeless, the atmosphere in your home will be discouraging.
  • If you see everything as an interruption, your family will feel like they’re a nuisance.
  • But if you see your children as a gift, you will feel grateful, even when your mommy days are long and the load is heavy.
  • And if you are diligent to cultivate a heart of peace, your home will be a safe haven for your family.

But where to begin?

How do you practically create an atmosphere of peace in your heart and home? Here are just a few things that help me. And when I’m not faithful to consistently do them (as I was reminded the other day), I feel the stress levels rise, my patience wears thin and the peace that I crave and desire is elusive.

  1. Declutter. I truly believe that clutter creates chaos in a home. When my kids can’t find clean socks, when the dirty dishes are piled high, the stress and frustration weighs heavily. While I rarely have a house that is completely clean, I find that by cleaning just one room, one area, or even one drawer a day makes a big difference.
  1. Natural light and fresh air. Dark, stuffy rooms are oppressive and not very peaceful. Open your windows, burn a candle, buy another lamp, take your kids for a walk outside. I think you’ll find that sunlight and fresh air will lift your spirit, lighten your mood and energize you.
  1. Make some room. Don’t over schedule your day. Plan for the unexpected interruptions that are bound to happen. Then, when they do happen, you won’t be pushed over the “stress edge”. You’ll also find that you’ll be able to be fully present with your husband and your kids because you won’t be frazzled, distracted and depleted emotionally.
  1. Encourage one another & laugh together. Managing a family, raising kids and maintaining a home is no easy task. And if you work outside of the home, the pressure to get everything done can seem daunting. Your kids won’t remember the elaborate meals you cooked or the immaculate house you kept. You can make sure that they remember your home as a happy place where they were encouraged, loved, affirmed and inspired to be everything God created them to be.
  1. Set the temperature of your home. Don’t rise to the intensity level of your kids. Babies will cry, toddlers will throw tantrums, teenagers will roll their eyes and blurt, “Whateveh”. You have the ability to infuse the situation or defuse it. Your kids will take their cues from you.
  1. Read your Bible and pray every day. Jesus endured pain, stress and intense suffering. Yet, regardless of the pressure being placed on his life due to His external circumstances, He was consistently able to respond with love and compassion. He didn’t react to the demands of His day. The strength of His life was His internal character and depth of relationship with His Father. As you devote time everyday to spend time with Jesus, you’ll find that this will be the strength of your life as well.

As you cultivate the peace of Christ in your heart, you’ll be better equipped to handle the daily joys – and strains – of motherhood. You’ll still have those moments, but in the midst of them, the peace of Christ ruling in your heart will overflow and spill into your home, filling it with the tangible presence of Jesus.

How about you? What do you do that helps to contribute towards creating a peaceful home?