Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Daily Struggle

I have two confessions to make: I feed McDonald’s to my kids and I have a nanny named Beth. Yes, I love those tiny cheeseburgers with two pickles, sliced processed cheese, and that special ketchup-like sauce on top. Throw in a small fry and a sweet tea and I will give it an A+. And yes, I need a lot of help caring for my four very young children. Beth does crafts with us, cooks with us, and comes to swimming lessons. She even cares for all of my kids while I go to BraveLove meetings, on dates with my husband, or into another room to just stare at the wall. Up until a few weeks ago, I would have had a really hard time admitting these things to anyone.

So here is the real confession: the reason I didn’t feed McDonald’s to my kids or hire a nanny had nothing to do with my convictions concerning the nutritional value of fast food or abdicating my responsibility as a mother. Rather, most of my decisions in life seemed to have revolved around what YOU, dear reader, whoever you are, thought of me.

Please listen to my inner monologue: “Will everyone think I am a bad mom if I go through the McDonald’s drive-thru and fill my kids with artificial nutrients rather than craft a whole wheat turkey and cheese masterpiece, with a cut-up apple? Will everyone think that I am abdicating my responsibility as a mother by hiring a nanny? Didn’t I know what I was getting into when I entered into adopting children spaced so closely together? What will the maintenance guy at my house think of me when I have fast food out on the table and a nanny taking care of my children while I am at a meeting?”

Why do I CARE? I am so tired of caring about what other people—maintenance guys, mailmen, friends, family, pastors, or passers-by—think of me!

I recently shared these thoughts always running through my head with a friend. She looked at me, shocked, and said, “Do you really THINK that?” My answer is YES, I do, and it is poisoning my ability to run the race the Lord has set out for me.

Dr. Elizabeth Ritz, my favorite spiritual “optometrist,” did some excellent surgery on the plank in my eye. She revealed to me how the enemy was playing a tune in my head that sucked the joy out of my life, and I was choosing to listen to his poison.

I am my own greatest ally and worst enemy in the daily battle of life when it comes to whom I listen. I don’t know about you, but if I am going to exercise, good music is critical to my stamina and overall enjoyment of the experience. If I am in an exercise class and the instructor plays some sappy Barry Manilow songs, I just might quit and walk out. I need a driving beat to keep in the game—let’s just say “Mandy” doesn’t do it for me. I have found that the same is true for my spiritual life—my stamina to face another day with the joy of the Lord in my heart is directly related to the tune I have running through my head. Am I listening to the lies of Satan—that I should be concerned with what other people think about me—or am I pleasing my audience of One?

Because God allowed Dr. Ritz to show me the plank in my eye, I can more readily do battle with the enemy. His tune in my head has been brought to light, and now I am more able to take those thoughts captive before the Lord and not let them do their damage by dwelling on them. I have come to the place where I can freely admit that I need help rearing my four children and that I love McDonald’s! Let us then, with all humility, through the power of the Holy Spirit, throw off the sin that encumbers us so that we may run the race that the Lord has set before us with endurance… and joy! Because nobody can run a race to Barry Manilow.

"Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

Hebrews 12:1-2

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