Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Trappings of this World

November 13, 2014

Something has been stirring around in my soul the last few weeks. I find it almost comical at times how God works.  By that I don’t mean God is comical, I mean I realize how dense I am and how creative He has to be to get my attention. That’s what makes me laugh… after the fact and after I’ve gotten what He’s been trying to tell me.
 
He will drop something into my mind, a thought, an idea, a prompting. I hear it the first time. I even think, “oh, that’s such great truth”. But do I act on it right away? It seems like it takes me a few times hearing it or thinking it before I do.
 
Now here’s where it gets comical.
 
I have this beautiful, blond haired, dark eyed, spunky four year old daughter.
 
She lights up my life. She has a great sense of humor and her creativity is through the roof. 
 
Boy, does she have such a strong will though!
 
There were moments, okay, days, months, years when she was one, two and three, that I wasn’t sure I was going to survive being her mother. That will, it almost conquered me. Thankfully, I too, am strong willed, and I had the power of prayer and a very helpful husband on my side, so my daughter and I both survived her being one, two and three.
 
Age four, it’s been a different story. My out loud prayers over her every single night took effect and she’s a joy to raise now. I give all credit to the Lord. Truly.
 
These last two weeks however, we’ve been dealing with an obedience issue with her.
 
Now listen, I by no means am saying my kids are perfect and never disobey. They aren’t perfect and they do disobey.
 
But come on parents, you know those cycles. The ones where your kids start acting up in a way they don’t usually act up and you have to crack down on discipline a bit more consistently? Then you realize it’s because you’ve gotten lazy in your consistent discipline and that’s why they’re acting up? Yeah, that cycle.
 
I can’t tell you how many times over the past two weeks I’ve said to her,”Juliette, first time obedience.” Not second or third time obedience, but first time obedience. I expect that out of my kids. I know it sounds strict, and I have moments of mercy, I promise I do,  but I’m preparing them for adulthood and someday a boss or leader will expect the same thing out of them. This is their training ground. I’m training my kids to listen AND obey the first time.
 
Ironic, isn’t it? For two weeks now, God’s been speaking something to me, and I’ve been hearing it but not obeying it. Definitely not first time obedience.
 
For two weeks now, my four year old has been testing me on obeying the first time. Coincidence? I think not. 
 
This is the comical part. God knows how to push my buttons. He knows how to get my attention. He’s just giving back to me what I’m giving to Him right now. He’s allowing me to feel with my daughter how it feels to Him when I choose not to obey what He’s telling me to do.
 
Sometimes what God says to me is just for me. But sometimes I know I’m supposed to share it with all of you because it’s probably something that one or two hundred of you are also struggling with. So today that’s what I am doing. I’m sharing with you what God’s been speaking into my soul the last few weeks and I’m finally being obedient to what He’s saying to me.
 
“Heather, don’t be so easily preoccupied by the trappings of this world.”
 
This post is as much for me as it is for anyone.
 
It’s so easy to get swept up into society. The way the world ticks. The expected rhythms of life and the ease of all the comforts around us. Then without even realizing it we become preoccupied with the trappings of this world.
 
For me, it’s the small, shiny, white device that I can hold in one hand. 
 
My phone. My life line. My link to the big outside world. The need to feel connected and “in the know”. 
 
To see who likes whom and what so and so said about such and such. 
 
The desire to feel liked and noticed and included. 
 
So much so that it’s the first thing I grab off my night stand in the morning and the last thing I look at when I go to bed at night. 
 
Who emailed me? Who liked my IG? What’s happening in the blog world? What’s breaking on @CNN?
 
And oh my goodness, it’s been eight hours since I’ve caught up on it all!
 
Before anyone gets their pants in a bunch because you’re thinking this is another one of those “put your phones down while you’re at the park with your kids” blogs, let me assure you, it isn’t. Trust me, I get it. I spend 24/7 with my kids, and yes, that is nearly accurate since I home educate them and am hardly ever without them. So yes, sometimes at the park, when they are happy to be running wild and free, I sit and catch up with social life on my phone. This isn’t that post.
 
Here’s where my problem lies.
 
Two examples from the past few weeks in my life. God’s working on me, He really is. He’s opening my eyes to things that I needed to see so that I can be the best “me” in all the roles He’s entrusted me with.
 
Example #1 – My kids are eating breakfast at the bar in our kitchen. I’m sitting at our table just a few feet from them eating my own breakfast while reading my Bible app ON MY PHONE. For the record, I LOVE the YouVersion Bible App. How cool that God’s Word is so accessible to us. However, my kids do not know or see that I am reading my Bible. For all they know I am on Instagram or reading emails.
 
Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
 
My kids need to SEE me open up my Bible and read God’s Word. They will emulate what I do. They will copy my behavior.
 
So I shut my phone off and got out my leather bound, red letter Bible.
 
I’m not making this stuff up, people. Not even five minutes later, my daughter comes over and says, “Mom, what are you reading about?”. 
 
Okay God, I got it! Thanks for that prompting.
 
Example #2 – When Chris travels for business I let the kids take turns sleeping with me. It’s a fun tradition and helps Daddy being gone not to be so sad for them and me. 
 
A few nights ago, it was my son’s turn to sleep with me. We both crawled into bed and he said “Mom, I’m not tired”. I told him it was bedtime and to close his eyes and go to sleep.
 
I flipped over, picked up my phone and started scrolling mindlessly through Facebook. About 5 minutes later I felt this prick in my spirit, and the Holy Spirit said “look what you are giving up just so you can scroll through everyone else’s meaningful or not so meaningful thoughts on Facebook”. 
 
Yikes. It’s like my phone was on fire. I dropped it so fast. I shut it off, turnd over and started asking my son questions. Meaningful questions about his day and about what he was thinking. I asked him to tell me two things that make him happy and two things that make him sad. HE DID. He actually told me, without hesitation. I asked him what he worried about and he readily shared that info with me to.
 
It brought me to tears hearing his answers, but also to think that I could have missed that moment with him because I was “preoccupied with the trappings of this world.”
 
This verse just shouts the message that I feel God speaking to me right now.
 
Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
 
Strip off the weight that slows us down from being who He’s called us to be.
 
Strip off the sin that so easily trips us up.
 
Strip off that which  “preoccupies us” and “traps us” from fulfilling the purpose of God in our lives.
 
For me, it’s the distraction that comes from my small, shiny phone. It’s what clouds my mind, frustrates or distracts me, and causes me to lose focus on what’s right in front of me.
 
I truly believe that in our day and age Satan knows if he can distract us, he can keep us from fulfilling our purpose for being here on earth.
 
If we are too busy, preoccupied or distracted we will miss opportunities
 
to share our faith,
to set a Godly example for our kids,
to love people,
to serve those around us,
to listen to each other and really hear them,
to make someone smile because we noticed them,
to be Jesus to a lost and dying world.
 
Your “trapping” may be different than mine but my prayer for all of us is that we recognize what it is, and we strip off the weights that hold us back.
 
Have you ever tried to run carrying a heavy load? It’s hard. It’s so much easier to run when you have nothing weighing you down.
 
Let us run with endurance the race  that He’s set before us.
 
Setting aside the trappings of this world and seeing what He’s put in front of us.