Friday, September 26, 2008

No Other Gods-Week 2

Hey ladies! I'm putting this up a little early this week because I have a house full of people coming and know I won't have time to get it up tomorrow. As it goes today I've been reminded of my internal battle between my Mary and my Martha.

I've got brownies baked, apple pies cooling on the counter, chili in the crock-pot, a sparkling clean house, and here I am trying to "squeeze" in time to post the Bible Study questions. I wish I could say that I put this first today, but instead I find that I let myself get all the other "gods" done before I sat down to honor My God! Another learning experience and reason I am so grateful that you all have joined me in this study. This is definitely a phase of my life where I need to do some god de-throning! Thanks so much for studying this with me!

I really enjoyed your comments last week. God always amazes me in how much I can learn from other women. We all have struggles and yet they all are different, but we can come together and read the same scriptures and God will speak to each one of us in an entirely different way. What a wonderful God we serve!

I just want to encourage you this week to do as Kelly mentioned and make sure to set aside time five different days this week to do your study. Put Him first! Alright, here are this week's discussion questions. Again, answer as many as you desire. I'll be back Sunday to post my answers! Love you all and loving learning about you through your comments!

1. Is there one thing you've always thought might help you gain identity? From this week's study, how have you been convicted that this one thing may not deliver what it promises?

2. From page 41, describe a time when God was not showing up fast enough for you and you were convinced you had to fix things on your own.

3. What are some says that we turn God's gifts into gods as the Israelites did in Exodus 12?

4. Which verses on page 50 (about fear) struck you the most. What touched you? How did a verse or verses relate to your idols and/or fears?

If you recognized any fears in your life this week, send me and email and we'll pray for them with you! I can't wait to hear your comments!


Kari said...

1. I don't know that I've ever looked to marriage to give me an identity necessarily. I've always been pretty independent, wanting to do things on my own. I have actually worried (in theory) about marriage taking away my identity in some respects as this strong, independent woman that I like to think of myself as. However, on the other side of that, I worry that if I never get married, people will think there is something wrong with me. I worry about what people will think of me and view me, so in that respect, I suppose I view marriage as something to help prevent me from having a negative identity, as some pathetic creature no one wants to date, etc.
I realized this week that if I am happy and joyful in my single situation, then people will view it in those terms as well. They will see me content in the blessed fabulousness that is my life. If I go around, looking unhappy and woe-is-me-because-I-don't-have-a-man, then they will feel bad for me. And there are several married people that I feel badly for, so the grass isn't always greener.

2. Clearly, God is not showing up fast enough in my singleness, as far as I'm concerned. As I said last time, nothing I do to remedy that fact has worked either. Not the guys I've dated, not my call to my cousing to think about setting me up with single guys she and her husband know, not my miserable failure with eharmony. Not my attempts to do nothing at all and just let God handle it. Nothing.

And, can I just say how sick and tired I am of feeling this way, of dealing with it at all. I want desperately to never have to say all this ever again - whether I get married or not. I'm just tired of having this struggle as an issue. I wish I was one of those people who don't really care if they get married or that I could just totally lay this all at His feet and not feel this way anymore. That's what I'm trying to do anyway. (I guess I did just say that.)

dianna said...

(Question #4) Most all of the scriptures on page 50 about fear moved me. I was quite excited to look them up especially in light of this global financial crisis we are experiencing! Wow, God knew I needed to read them so that I would keep my focus & trust on Him & not get all nervous about what is happening! So the day of that lesson was perfect timing for me. I personalized some of them that touched me the most...

Psalm 112:7 I do not fear bad news; I confidently trust the Lord to take care of me.

I like how the Living Bible says it...I do not fear bad news nor live in dread of what may happen. For I am settled in my mind that Jehovah will take care of me.

Isaiah 8:11-13 The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said, "Don't call everything a conspiracy, like they do, and don't live in dread of what frightens them. Make the LORD OF HEAVEN'S ARMIES holy in your life. He is the one you should fear. He is the one who should make you tremble.
...To me this is a VERY POWERFUL scripture to stand on!

In John 14:27 Jesus said, I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.

Hope said...

Kari-I love that God is working on you in this area and I think you will be abundantly blessed in your obedience to Him in letting it go, but it will not be easy! I'll be praying with you!

Dianna-I loved what you said about the fear passages and the economy. I haven't even had time for any news lately, so the financial stuff has not bothered me at all. I guess you can't worry about something you know nothing about. ;) I have learned a tremendous amount this year about God's provision though. He is definitely my Jehovah Jireh and has proven it over and over this year!

Okay, here are my answers...
1. I'm going to admit it. I am shallow, well, used to be. I was very popular growing up and always had the great slender cheerleader physique. Then I had kids, I didn't take care of myself, I let food become a god, and here I am, chubby. I've been so caught up in getting back my old exterior that I've neglected some of the interior, and failed miserably on the exterior at that. This isn't something I learned this week, God and I have been working on it for awhile, but I'm on the right track finally. I'm kicking a stronghold and worrying less about the exterior at the same time. So basically, I always thought my identity was related to my outward appearance and I actually liked that. Shallow.

2. This past year was a time when I didn't think God was showing up fast enough. My husband and I felt like God was telling us that he should quit his job and pursue filmmaking full-time. We thought at a church, but we weren't sure, and I thought there was no way a church would hire us without a degree in film. (We'd heard that line before, though not related to film.) When the money was almost gone and I started wondering how we were going to make it, I started panicking. I wanted my husband to apply to every job out there to "provide" for us. It was right exactly when we were on our last dime that God provided the job, at a church, as a filmmaker. We're still amazed at Him six months later! Thank you Jehovah Jireh!

3. Again, I think of food. What a wonderful gift from God. Not only does he provide nourishment for us, He provides great tasting and pleasurable nourishment, and then we turn around and worship it by eating way too much of it and thinking about it day in and day out.

Where are the rest of you ladies? Don't make me email you! :)

Nancy said...

#1- A couple of things come to mind here- both my career as an occupational therapist and my role as Mommy. I thought that being a Super-Mommy and continuing to practice as an OT while fulfilling my Mommy responsibilities would give me a sense of identity through financial stability, a sure sense of myself as a helper to others, empowerment through accomplishing a "balanced" life, and an identity in making a difference in lives of others. It has given me many blessings, but it has not delivered the joy that I expected. Instead, I find myself frustrated, constantly battling the feeling that I'm never really doing a good enough job with either role, and the constant nagging that I'm failing my family. Having a professional role while being a Mommy works for some women, but I have found out that I'm not very good with trying to balance...well, maybe I've found out that being an overachiever by nature leads to quick burn-out.

#2- I struggle with this one everyday! Our struggle with infertility and decisions pertaining to our past and current adoption journeys. I still battle with having Biblical discernment and not just jumping in to try and fix things on my own. I struggle with clarity in knowing what is God's guidance and what is rooted of my own desires.

#3- I think that one of the ways we turn God's gifts into gods is with financial blessings. It is so easy for me to use financial blessings to please my own desires to expand "my" kingdom of clothes, shoes, food, household decor, just throw-away stuff, instead of expanding God's kingdom and meeting the needs of others, even though God has clearly given me a heart for others.

#4- Psalm 112:7- They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. & Psalm 118:6- The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? The Psalms just speak to me because they are straight-forward and speak of genuine human conditions, emotions, and actions. I find it easy to live with a sense of dread. I'm not proud of it and want to be more faithful with a "live out loud" positive attitude toward life. These verses remind me that I don't need to nor should I allow myself to spend another moment in fear or dread of what is to come. It is an insult to my Lord to fear what He has planned for me or to allow the judgements of other people or things to give me a sense of identity.