Tuesday, December 3, 2013

women living well book study: ch. 19-20 discussion + new study guide {on media, coveting, and how to be a Proverbs 31 lady}

This post is the part of the WLW book study series- you can find all the details and the previous posts in the study here!

Can you believe we're almost done with our study? What a fun journey it has been to walk through this book with you guys!!  I can't wait to hear how your week went!

Chapter 19- Media and Your Homemaking- Times Have Changed
I am completely amazed at how good we have it these days. Every day I throw my clothes in the washing machine, microwave my food, take hot showers, and can have my coffee ready in hand in less than 30 seconds! And it's only within the last hundred years that these conveniences were even possible! Isn't that crazy to think about?

But much of the "free" time all of these conveniences offer me usually get spent doing and consuming more, and much of that for me is happening online. My other world, if you know what I mean. Do you ever feel like there is an inner pull to be online so that you can keep up with what's happening too?

Again, blogging for me, blurs lines that used to be more black and white because of the need to be present more often. But years ago now {before blogging}, I deactivated my Facebook account and found so much freedom from wanting to know everything that is happening to everyone else. It let me disconnect from that desire to be in on everything by simply limiting my options. Plus I had way {WAY} more time to work on projects around our home. It was wonderful and I encourage you to try it if you're getting that insatiable need-to-know feeling! {And you can always reactivate it later so you have nothing to lose!}

And another factor that blurs the line of just enough and excess is that there is so much to learn online! I feel like I'm doing well by learning how to do all of this stuff!! ;) And much of it is very profitable- in fact, years ago, when Crystal from Money Saving Mom blogged about Dave Ramsey, I decided to read his book, and we became debt-free other than the mortgage in 18 months!! And I've been encouraged by other moms and homemakers and have learned about oil pulling, cooking, and so much more.

But there is a line to cross for sure- and you can become discouraged by seeing how much you're not doing in comparison to others. I have learned over the years that we all have different strengths, and when I am tempted to covet the strengths of others or feel inadequate in comparison, I have to firmly fix my eyes on Jesus. I pray and I tell the Lord that my strength and my hope is only found in Him and that I need Him to help me set my face like a flint on the path that He has set before me, and I ask that He would keep me from looking right or left at what others are doing.

My eyes need to be fixed on Jesus because He is everything to me. When I'm looking to fill up my time seeking more outside of Him, I find I get discouraged because I no longer am remembering the only hope and true joy I have in this life. 

Shopping for bargains, finding crafts to do on Pinterest, searching for the best recipes- those things are great and all, but none of them will last or fill me up. In fact, at the end of my life, I probably won't remember the many hundreds of hours I spent in front of my screen. Does that change the way you see browsing the internet too? It can be a life-sucker if we aren't careful.

I have two choices in what I do with my online life- either my heart is set on serving my Lord in these things, or it is set on serving myself. I don't want to waste the gifts and resources that God has given me for homemaking and for being a light to others, and I don't want to seek fulfillment or lust after what others have either. 

I'm so not good at this, but I know that the Lord can redeem what is broken when I seek after Him. And that's what I hope you might consider too- will you simply ask Him to reveal if and where you're going astray in this area? I am so convicted to pray over my internet time. I want to do well and bring God glory with my time spent online as well as in real life.  I am praying for you this week- would you pray for me too?

I love this quote from the end of the chapter on page 196: 

Jesus Christ said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” I am learning how to live the crucified life one step, one day, one month, one season, one year, one decade at a time. God has used marriage, parenting, and homemaking to show me my ugly sin and to sanctify me. That is the process we all face: sanctification, or becoming more like Christ. On my own, I am feeble at best.
Rejoice in your uniqueness. Have fun being you! Delight in your individuality. 

You are chosen and precious, and the Lord has given you a unique set of gifts, and a unique path on which to walk. Follow Him, and He will lead you in the right way. :)

Chapter 20- Discipline and Diligence: The Proverbs 31 Woman
There is so much to say about that 31st chapter of Proverbs! I love how Courtney broke it down into manageable chunks of real, practical advice for real girls today- it was honest, awesome Titus 2 advice. I really loved the tips on how to discipline yourself to rise early and how to get the eagerness of the Proverbs 31 lady!

I've read this chapter of the Bible and compared myself to this poem of a godly woman and felt inadequate many times in the past, but in the last few years I would say my perspective of it has changed. 

I don't feel overwhelmed when I read it these days because I have realized over the years that these noble characteristics of a godly woman don't come from her own strength. I felt like I was failing in fulfilling them before because I was! My efforts apart from the Lord were and are in vain. I have no hope of ever being good enough, or even better than I currently am without the Lord. No hope. None.

The Lord is my portion, my strength, and my salvation. Like the quote above from the last chapter, I am feeble at best! My adequacy in serving my family comes from the Holy Spirit alone-inspiring me and leading me to love my family and others first, and His love works outward through my hands and feet. When I try to be the Proverbs 31 lady on my own strength, I fail. Big time. I have the exact opposite of every noble character listed on page 198. I have done them wrong all at one time or another, and even now!

I just want to encourage you- the Lord can do this in us!! He can change our hearts from being self-seeking to putting our families and others before ourselves and taking care of their needs as we should. When we love Him, we long for Him to change us and to make us more like Him. And He does!! 

He can make us all into that Proverbs 31 lady who gives, and works, and loves so well. 

Do you want to bring God glory in working with your hands, in buying for your family, in rising early to put Him first, and bringing in a harvest of good works? Seek Him. With all of your heart. Love Him, seek His strength to do these hard tasks, seek to bring Him glory, and His love will shine through you into everything you do. The Lord will answer, and He will do it for His glory and your good! :)

It's kind of weird, but that Proverbs 31 lady actually makes me smile now. I like her so much more now that I realize the Lord gave her that strength! :) I pray we can become what the Lord wants us to be as wives, homemakers, and mamas. What a gift we have been given to live this life and know Him!  Our God can do such great and wonderful things.

Oh, friends- may we seek Him in every part of our lives. 

Father God, we come before you completely and fully inadequate. We know we fall so very short of your holiness and your glory, and we trust in You for redemption through the work of your Son on the cross. We praise you for your goodness to us and for your GREAT love. Thank you for saving us, Jesus. We ask in your name that you would allow us to do your will- that you would allow us to bring you glory in our time spent here. We pray that you will change our hearts to be what you would want us to be, and especially in our homes where so few see us. Please help us be the women you want us to be Father. We love you and believe you can do great things in us through your Spirit and we ask for your strength this week as we live our lives for you.

Let's discuss this week's reading, shall we? :D I would love to hear your thoughts!! 

How do you monitor your internet intake?

How do you feel media/the internet affects your homemaking? Does it help you or hinder you more?

What were your favorite parts of Proverbs 31? 


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