Being a Better Homebody

In Chinese family, or at least a simple way of saying family for beginner learners, is 家人 (jiaren). As a new Chinese learner I loved learning this word because it’s a mix of the word home 家 and people 人. Later I was told Chinese doesn’t work this way and you can’t always separate the characters like this expecting a deeper meaning, but I still like the idea of your family being your home people.

I bring this up because I realized that I make this distinction between those in my home (or metaphorical home) and those outside of my home. Those outside of my home get the overly polite me who is trying to avoid confrontation, or who tries her best to have civilized polite debates.

Those in my home get the real me… and the real me can be pretty blunt and harsh.

C’s Bible study had us memorizing Proverbs 15:1, a gentle answer turns away wrath. I immediately started applying it in my head to debates on social media or when talking with customer service reps etc. It took a lot longer for me to realize it applies to my people at home too.

I have every excuse in the book for being unpleasant at home. I’m exhausted, I’m lonely, I just need a place where I can be myself etc, but really they are just excuses not to try and be better. Yes, family are the people you can be yourself around, but do you really want yourself to be a blunt, rude, downright harsh individual?

The Bible tells us, “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”

Proverbs 16:24 NLT

Kind words are good for the soul! They don’t just turn away wrath, they are good for the body. We are told that as a new creation we should clothe ourselves in kindness:

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

Colossians 3:12

We are told to live a life that shows others what we believe:

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NLT

I always thought about this is an outside of my home command, but all that changes with a kid. I now have someone in my home who I want to lead to Christ. Someone who is watching me all the time and who mimics my behaviors. Suddenly I’ve realized that I don’t want who I am to change around family in the sense that I feel I can set aside kindness. When I type kindness into the search engine of my Bible app I find that it’s often used to describe Jesus. Isn’t that who I’m supposed to try and imitate?

I’m teaching C that a gentle word turns away wrath. In order for him to really learn this I have to practice this at home as much as I try to practice it with strangers.

 

 

Great is His faithfulness…

“… His mercies begin afresh each morning.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I’m starting to make this verse my morning mantra. You’d think someone who grew up in a Christian household wouldn’t have a whole lot of major regrets in her past, but that isn’t always the case.

We are told that when we accept Jesus we are a new creation. That we are set apart to be in the world but not OF the world. The thing is, that doesn’t mean we are free of our extremely human inclinations. Just because we now have the power to resist temptations, it doesn’t always mean we do.

After getting out on my own, and being in the world without the protection of being surrounded by other Christians, it was very easy to start living as if I wasn’t a Christian at all. Heck, it’s WAY easier to NOT live a Christian life. There is NO resistance there, no rejection, no struggle. You are pretty much embraced… just so long as you never mention what you believe.

Having a kid has really gotten me examining my own actions. What am I listening to during the day? Are these lyrics I want my sweet little baby singing? What phrasing am I using when I’m frustrated? I KNOW I don’t want C copying me there! How am I responding to stress? Am I showing baby C through my actions that I’m turning to God, or am I showing a lack of faith by worrying about everything?

Am I a living example of a new creation, or am I still living like I’m a slave to my sinful nature?

Man, does your whole life look different when you start wondering what those little eyes see and those little ears hear.

I can’t change how I lived in the past, and regret does not glorify God. All I can do is admit I was wrong, ask for forgiveness, and try to do better now.

Which sounds easy but let me tell you, it’s a good thing God’s mercies are new each morning.

For every “son of a biscuit eater” and “ Jiminy cricket” I use, there is still plenty of the phrases they are replacing. It’s my hope that by the time C is old enough to start seeing a pattern in my behavior, the pattern is much more “gosh darn it” than the alternative.

Nothing like becoming a parent to help you realize how increasingly lost you are without God!

Thankfully, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s amazing that in the very midst of realizing how weak I really am, God gives me hope and a reminder that even my weakness can be used for His glory: “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I’m pretty determined, for C’s sake, to start living as a new creation, someone who is in the world but not of the world. Meanwhile, I’m thanking God that His mercies are new so I can start each day fresh as I try again.

 

 

As Iron Sharpens Iron…

… so a good friend sharpens a friend (Proverbs 27:17).

Would you believe I am painfully shy? If you know me in person I know this seems extremely doubtful, but it’s true.

Throughout most of my childhood I could barely stand interacting with cashiers much less approach anyone to become friends. When I was 16 I went to my first real away from home camp. There the owner of the camp brought all new campers to the highest point on the island and told us that we had the rare opportunity to reinvent ourselves that week. No one there knew who we were yet. There was no history, no labels, we could attempt to be the people we admired and no one would know the difference.

That week I worked extremely hard to be warm and friendly and outgoing.

It helped a lot, and it was something I kept up when I got back to “real life”. I got my first job, and eventually got into college, and the roller coaster of growing up kept throwing me into situations where people were always present so I could continue to practice this skill of being outgoing.

Then I finished grad school for the second time and was unemployed for a year. The shyness started creeping back in. I got my teaching job in Louisiana and met some of the best people which brought me out of my shell, until we moved.

It’s been two years of working at home and living in cities far away from family and friends and that shyness is definitely looming. I know I need friends. Physical, close by, in person people I can talk to and call up for help and confide in. I need this! It’s just SO hard to shake off the apprehension of going out into new situations to meet these potential new friends. When you were the kid who couldn’t look cashiers in the eye while paying for your candy bar, venturing out to a mommy and me gym and striking up conversations feels like an impossible task. Trying out new churches when your husband works nights and won’t be with you suddenly makes the term “shrinking violet” make so much more sense. I swear I can feel my body collapsing in on itself as I try to make myself smaller and smaller so I can sneak away.

Fighting this battle at 16 seemed hard, but at 37 it feels impossible!

This is where I have to take a deep breath and remember I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He tells me pretty clearly that I need friends. God isn’t going to give me a command without standing by me and giving me the strength to follow it out.

Deep breath, another sip of coffee. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 

He’s Home!

Working out is so much more fun when he is here to do it with me! ❤️

Today was the Incinerator! I’ve been calling it the burninator so much that Namon went right passed the workout looking for B instead of I!

Namon is finally noticing his own gains. I was SO happy this morning and he caught a glimpse of his back muscles and could see all the payoff of his hard work.

He still refuses to take any photos until after 120 days, but it is always nice to know you are making progress.

So glad it is Friday! Even though I know I’ll be grading over the weekend. I hop you all have fun plans for the weekend!

I’m planning on spending some time with my Love! I miss him when he’s gone! ❤️