“I Yike You”

I thought I’d share an interesting conversation I overheard the other morning between my two youngest while driving to the gym.  Jada turned to Josh and said in her most sincerest voice, “Josh, do you like me?” Josh replied heartily, “I yike you.” Jada, her little heart warmed, proudly proclaimed, “You like me Josh? Mom! Josh likes me!” I snickered as I thought of how similarly we act as adults; always striving to be liked, always wondering if we offer enough for people, whether we’re good enough for our family and friends or maybe too much at times, and wondering at times if we said or did the right thing or if maybe we missed the mark by not saying or doing anything at all.  It’s all these insecurities that constantly ask internally, “Am I liked? Am I pretty enough or good enough or nice enough for people to like me?”
I’m generally a somewhat confident person.  I have definitely had my insecure moments as does anyone, but I’m past the point of caring that deeply with most situations as I’ve come to a place through age and experiences that I can let most things run off my back pretty easily.   I try to be honest with myself and honest with others about who I am, who I am not, and how I am eternally grateful for Christ’s grace that fills in my many, many gaps of imperfection.  That being said, I started a pottery class the other day.  Learning the art of pottery has been not only a lifelong goal of mine but it also made it onto my bucket list not too long ago.  When an opportunity presented itself through our local community education my husband encouraged me to go for it.  He knew it would be good for the learner side of me and it would also be good for my mental health as a break away from the family for a few hours. So with my family’s blessing I entered this class full of anticipation and excitement.  I’m a crafty gal, and I figured this class would be a piece of cake. After a brief introduction about clay and what our objective would be, we all gathered comfortably around our pottery wheels as we began the art of attempting to center the clay.  I didn’t really understand exactly what the term “centering” meant, but I assumed it meant that you tried to get your clay centered on the wheel – I was wrong.  The other 15 students began to catch on pretty quickly, and I began to feel like the idiot student who didn’t have a clue!  I could not for the life of me figure out how to maneuver my long legs around that dang wheel nor how to get my large hands around this dainty little ball of clay all the while making sure that my clay and my hands remained wet. Not to mention, my elbows had to remain pressed firmly into my thighs, my left hand open yet pressed firmly upon  the clay while pushing it inward and my right hand draped on top of my left hand pressing firmly down upon the top of the clay while making sure the wheel continued spinning clock wise in a swift motion.  It was an exasperating experience, and I found myself apologizing continuously to the instructor for my lack of understanding even though it was a beginner’s class!  I thought “She’s going to get so annoyed with me because it is just not clicking in my brain.  Everyone else will be ready to move on and create beautiful masterpieces and I will be sitting here with my freakishly large hands that cannot (literally) get a grasp on this stupid piece of clay, and my masterpiece will look more like a mushed up pile of cow dung.” 
It was frustrating. I felt like I was holding up the class, and I was having a major “Do you yike me?” moment.  We all have them.  Some of us when we go out with our friends and we feel like we over step a boundary in the conversation and we leave thinking, “I wonder it that offended her.”  Or some of us as we gather with family over the holidays and having that ick feeling towards a particular family member for a wrong done in the past and neither one is able to move forward into a genuine, “I like you” moment.  Or a Facebook encounter where we write something in response to someone’s wall post and people take it out of context and we feel like the odd man out as no one comes to our rescue.  We will all have these moments because we live in a fallen world, but our identity cannot and should not ever be wrapped up in whether or not others “yike us.”  Our identity will only be true and noble and complete when we ask Christ what he thinks about us and his opinion of us never wavers for he never has any “I don’t like you” moments. Here are a few verses that I looked up that clarify exactly how Christ sees us.   

Colossians 2:13-14
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
John 1:12-13
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Galatians 4:6-7
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Galatians 3:26-27
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 Corinthians 3:16
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Peter 2:5
you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:6
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

As I dwelt on what these verses really say about me (yes me and you) my spirit lightened. We, who are in Christ are living stones, a royal priesthood, seated with Christ, (we, in our frail humanity are seated next to GOD because we have been raised up in Christ and we are acceptable in our humanness because of what Christ did for us at Calvary, that’s pretty cool), we are alive with Christ, children of God, sons, heirs, and chosen people of the Lord of the Universe, God’s temple, and a new creation and these are just a handful of scriptures that speak to what we are, not what we were, but what we ARE because of who we are in Christ Jesus. There’s nothing left to worry about in terms of who likes us, who doesn’t like us or who ignored us. Jesus liked us so much that he left His throne in Heaven and humbled himself in a manger all to show us how much he likes us and that’s something worth proudly celebrating as we enter this holiday season.  
Just keep livin!!

Thankful for my Boring Life

In a lifetime not too long ago I muttered these words to anyone who would listen, “Don’t ever take a boring life for granted.” The meaning behind those words was this idea of don’t ever take the good times for granted; when your family is healthy, when you have enough to meet all of your needs financially, when you and your spouse are in a sweet spot and clicking on all levels, when your kids are emotionally happy and stable – don’t take these times for granted because you never know when life might flip you upside down.  Last night I had a reality check as my husband turned to me and said, “You seem down lately and stressed, do you need a break?”  I, of course, got defensive and said, “What are you talking about, I feel fine.”  To which he replied, “You’re just short and don’t seem to have a lot of patience lately.” The irony of that statement hit me in the face seeing that this is the “most wonderful time of the year” or at least it’s supposed to be, right?  I thought on this for a few minutes and decided, I do have this undercurrent of stress and anger right now, what is it about?  I have felt pulled in every direction as I struggle to maintain a large house, 4 loads of laundry a day, feeding a family of nine day in and day out, maintaining 5 kids school schedules and that includes what needs to be bought for whose holiday party, how much money each child needs sent for hot lunch, the Christmas drive next Tuesday, the diaper drive at church, this kid’s teacher’s birthday on the 15th and of course Christmas presents for family, extended family, other extended family, bus drivers, teachers, students, friends, and neighbors.  On top of it all I’ve felt a lack of any sort of personal time with the holidays approaching and all of my coveted “me” time going to shopping for gifts, making Christmas cards, finding recipes, figuring out a theme for the tree this year (yes, a theme, and wrapping so many presents for so many people.  I miss reading and I miss writing, and I miss taking a bath just for the sake of relaxation. But in saying all of this, is this an excuse to be crabby and short with my family? They are all healthy, thank you Lord, we are financially stable, my husband and I are in that sweet spot, still, (love that man) and the kids are all doing so remarkably well, not even with common catch phrase attached to them  – “considering what they’ve been through in life,” – they are all just doing remarkably well as kids!  I am blessed to be a part of a great community, a great church, and a great school district.  Yes, there’s a TON of laundry, yes, the house is never clean and never will be with so many kids, and yes, I will probably miss an obligation or two at school, but life is good.  This life is not boring in the sense that we never have anything going on, but it is boring in the sense that there are no life or death decisions sitting at our doorstep and when I stop and reprioritize my thought process, I do have so much to be thankful for during this holiday season. I admonish everyone, the stay at home moms going through the same route motions day in and day out without any sort of appreciation, or the working moms going through the work week grind and coming home exhausted and unfilled, or the young married couple or the retired couple, whoever you may be at whatever stage of life you’re in, if you are living a boring life in terms of not having any major life decisions thrown your way, thank the Lord for boring lives during this season of thanksgiving, and when you are finished thanking him for that, reach out of your comfort zone and seek  out someone who could use a helping hand because of their lack of boring in this season of life due to some unforeseen circumstance thrown their way. In the meantime, Just keep livin, you never know when your boring will be thrown in the blink of an eye and you’ll be back to wishing for the route mundane you once upon a time took for granted. Oh, and yes, I will be taking that break very soon that my husband suggested I take.