Renewing Me

Anytime we try to make ourselves new through sheer human effort and willpower, we tend to fall short and end up disappointed. Let’s explore the idea of renewing ourselves by looking at the oldness and the newness of our lives and reflecting on how we remain new in Christ.

I remember the day I went to get my driver’s license. I was a proud teenager with a face full of MAC make-up, razor-thin eyebrows arched to the heavens, and perfectly glossed pout lips unveiling a mouth full of braces. I was ready for date night…or the DMV. Either one really. I was super excited and tremendously confident, on a mission to achieve a goal of mine: freedom. Logistical freedom. The freedom to go where I please and do what I want, without the confines of geographical restrictions and parental rejections to whatever I wanted to do.

I was ready for a new adventure.

At the Heart of Goal Setting

Every new year brings a new set of expectations. In efforts to achieve these desires, we set goals to pursue our wildest dreams. But is goal setting wise and healthy for us as Christian women?

For the Love of Goals

My husband Chris loves to set goals. Notebook after notebook is full of goal-setting, task lists and scheduled to-dos. I just like goal setting. I can get into it a little bit, putting my colorful and creative spin on the monotonous list of coveted annual accomplishments. I even daydream about how I’ll feel at the end of the year, at some fictitious award ceremony in mind, collecting hardware for Best Writer that Finally Published Her First Piece and Best Healthy Meal Planner on a Budget with a Family of Five and Less than 30 Minutes a Day to Cook Dinner.

Simple things really, these goals of mine are. So I participate. I write them down. I date them, even take them for a spin around the neighborhood.

And that’s where the good vibes tend to end. Because while I enjoy setting the goal, I loathe trying to achieve the goal, especially the arduous ones. Which, by the way, are the only ones I ever set.

Because small goals don’t excite me.

Big ones do.

The unrealistic ones beckon for me to give them a chance. The delusional ones desire for me to believe that they can and shall be completed. The impractical ones yell fiercely, “Give me life!”

I do it. I just give in to their ill-advised influence. I succumb to the initial goal setting pressure but fall short of the inevitable just do it duty.

I don’t accomplish these goals I set out to achieve.

Lord, help me.

Why There’s Nothing New about the New Year

When you’re too sick to celebrate, you realize that there’s nothing new about the New Year. Instead, there’s newness in every day that is often overlooked.

While everyone else was celebrating the New Year with sophisticated parties, glittery dresses and fireworks, Chris and I were tending to three sick little boys. The unusually cold winter we’re having in Houston has caused a revolving door of sinus allergies and flu-like symptoms that has held us back from being 100% this season.

Expecting in Error

Even though I was looking forward to bringing in the New Year as a family, I wanted to have some fanfare. A look out the window at the neighbor’s fireworks display. My own personal critique of Mariah’s vocal arrangement for the ball drop. A sweet kiss from my hubby. A toast to what’s ahead of us.

I got none of that.

The Five Love Languages of Christ IV

Christ’s Five Love Languages

Based on Dr. Gary Chapman’s framework in The Five Love Languages, we recognized God’s choice to love us in an extravagant way. We reviewed the difference His love makes, and we discussed the idea of having a full spiritual love tank.

Now, we’ve come to the basis of the book’s popularity, the five love languages, as they pertain to Christ. Again, it is the extravagance of His love for us that is at the forefront of His Will done in this particular fashion. It’s important for us to understand that God so wanted to relate to us that He came down in the flesh to experience life as one of us, among us, as an example to us of life lived on purpose. Not only was the love of Christ extravagant, it was also relational. So as we review the Five Love Languages of Christ, let’s look for the different ways God relates to us through Christ.

The Five Love Languages of Christ Part III

Filling the Spiritual Love Tank

In Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, he introduces the concept of the emotional love tank. He references this vessel throughout the chapter as a symbol of what stores the love we receive. He explains that when the love tank is full, we have received the adequate amount of love to function normally. But when it is empty, we go about seeking love in the wrong places, entering into desperate attempts to satisfy our craving for love. He says that we misbehave when the love tank is running on fumes. So instead of focusing on our emotional health, I’m examining this concept’s application to our spiritual development. Let’s take a look at our spiritual love tanks.

Stalled at Empty

I once had a car that drove smoothly. I really enjoyed that car. But the problem was that I could never seem to keep it filled. The fluids seem to run right through the car, especially the gas. I found myself at the gas station far more often than I thought I should be. Ultimately, I couldn’t put enough gas into the car to satisfy it. And unfortunately, I had to move on from it. As much as I really wanted to keep the car, it just wasn’t beneficial or practical. I had to get rid of that car.

The Five Love Languages of Christ Part II

Love Is the Difference

In Dr. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages, he discusses the difference that love makes in a marital relationship. As we continue to use this book as a lens to discover Christ’s love for us, I review just how different His love is by comparing the anticipated expectation of love and the authentic presentation of love.

My Expectation for Euphoria

When I was younger, I used to daydream about my future husband. What characteristics he’d have, how tall he’d be, how amazing our relationship would feel. I envisioned the many ways he would take care of me, how much he’d appreciate me, how he’d love me. I crafted all these delightfully intoxicating expectations in my pretty little creative head. And I skipped blissfully into marriage, seeing my wonderful new husband as the man sent by God to fulfill my self-imagined, self-imposed prophesy of euphoric love.

I’ve never been more disillusioned.