My husband told me a story that he had heard in a message. I am pretty sure it was in a message by Joyce Meyer, but I can’t find the story to verify it. So, for the sake of not hearing from her attorneys, I will say Joyce Meyer possibly told this story in a message. The point is clear either way.
I will call lady #1 Joyce and lady #2 Betty Crocker. I couldn’t resist.
Joyce and Betty were out to lunch. When it came time to order dessert, Joyce ordered a piece of chocolate cake and Betty passed on dessert. Betty began to tell Joyce how God had spoken to her about eating well and she felt convicted not to eat cake. On and on Betty went until the cake arrived. At that point, Betty leaned over to Joyce and asked her if she was going to eat the cake. Joyce replied, “God talked to you about not eating cake. Until God talks to me about cake, I’m going to eat the cake.”
God impresses on me often about what I should and shouldn’t do. God has spoken to my heart about the movies and shows I watch, the music I listen to, and the words I speak. Every year, I grow in new ways as I follow His leading. I am a different woman today than I was 20 years ago, five years ago, or even last year. A sign of a growing believer is someone who knows they are in a process towards perfection that will not be attained until they are face to face with Jesus.
In other words...EVERY DAY, FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE, I WILL BE IMPERFECT.
Many Christians I know have similar convictions about their lives and follow similar standards. Other Believers have different convictions and make different choices. Does that mean I am a better Christian? No! It means that we are all on a journey and God takes us different places and uses different circumstances to grow and mature us in our faith.
Here is my struggle: when I get my eyes off Jesus and onto those around me, I can become critical and judgmental if they are not making similar choices. I can also become harsh and critical with myself if I see others moving and growing faster in the areas I am working on. Comparison either inflates my pride or creates discontentment. It never brings life or freedom to my heart.
Some things in my life have been easy to change. For example: God convicted me about the TV I was watching. The next day, I talked with Philip and we set a standard. Simple. 18 years later, this is still the standard. If anything, adding children to our family has only tightened things up. Yes, people are still shocked when I tell them we don’t watch R rated movies unless they are the TV approved version and we can fast forward scenes.
Other things in my life have not been so easy to correct. For example: learning how to speak life-giving words continues to be a PAINFULLY SLOW lesson for me. There I stand, my mouth opens, and out comes something I shouldn’t say. Thankfully, after I am done beating myself up, I am reminded that God’s mercies are new every morning and I get to try again.
When I was a new believer, I was tossed back and forth between what was right and what was wrong and what was truth and what was religion. Getting saved a few months shy of 18 certainly set me back in the game of playing “holy.” I am horrible at playing the role of a slightly less passionate, quiet, demure woman who knows her place. Instead, I have a tendency to rock the boat, push limits, and make people a bit nervous. It is my strength...and weakness.
I have always been a strong person. When I gave my life to Jesus, that didn’t change. I spent the first 6 years of my Christian journey trying to navigate being a new believer and breaking old patterns of sin. As God started speaking to my heart, I found myself putting those standards and expectations on others around me. Although there is nothing wrong with sharing my convictions, the error comes when I place those convictions on others and expect them to abide. It is remembering I am not Jesus to anyone and that only His words have the power to change lives.
Every day we are given a standard to live up to. You won’t find this standard in bold messages posted on Facebook or Instagram about politics, money, or the church. The only standard to live up to is His word. I have learned to love others well by accepting them for who they are…shortcomings included. It is not my job to save anyone, but to be a conduit of His love and truth.
There are times I still stumble with this. When I find myself on the wrong side of a judgmental thought, I remind myself that I should just shut up and eat the cake.
I am a girl passionately in love with Jesus, my husband, and my children. I am forever learning how to live a life completely undone for my God. This blog is about my journey and a few funny stories in between.