Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Week Two: Day 2 - Unchangeable Labels: Fact and Faith

Today was another goodie! I feel like each day, her message brings something new!

- Mom and Dad went to high school with a girl named Mara who, in the past several years, changed her name. She changed her name to Anna. She did this as an adult. The only explanation we've ever gotten for the name change is because of the book of Ruth. Mara means "evil" or "bitter." Maybe she needed to have read this day of study! (Hopefully she won't ever find my blog!!!)
- We label ourselves all the time, whether good or bad. However, what about the labels that just come with your life? Fact labels could be infertile, learning disabled, stay-at-home mom, wife, diabetic, widowed, abused, divorced, or blind.
- My two "fact labels" are wife and soon-to-be stay-at-home mom.
- Labels mark us by someone else's perception. They impose a barrier that keeps us from connecting with others in an authentic way.
- Describe a time when you experienced a disconnect because of labels. Seems to me that since I've gotten married there's a difference between me and my unmarried friends. This isn't for the better or worse, there just seems to be an unspoken difference now. I'm labeled. In addition, now that I've quit my job to stay at home, there's a difference between me and my working-mom friends. It's not better or worse, there's just a difference.
- Sometimes we self-impose a disconnect. We assign a meaning to our unchangeable label that is far worse than the label itself. We assign a fate rather than a faith to our fact.
- If the fate label is worse than the fact label, we just our label as a foundation to speak lies.
- Now to the story of Naomi/Mara.
- Naomi's fact or unchangeabe label was widow. Based on her perception that God had dealt bitterly with her, she obviously said untruths to her soul that caused her to mislabel herself. It was as if she chose her own fate.
- God hasn't left you without a redeemer today. He is a Restorer of Life and your Sustainer in old age. Naomi showed up in Bethlehem wearing her fateful label, "dealt bitterly with by God," but it wasn't true. She wore the garment of gloom based on her self-imposed label. The faith label she should have worn was "favored by God."
- Naomi wore a hurtful, untruthful label based on her struggle. By the end of the story we see that God has defied her self-imposed label. He had not dealt bitterly with her. He showed her great favor by placing her much loved daughter-in-law in the lineage of Christ.
- Naomi was positioned for ultimate favor, but she wasted her emotions on assuming the worst about her circumstance and God. Had she focused on faith rather than fact, she would have worn a hopeful label. Even our factual labels can still be faith labels.
- Naomi could have said to herself, "Naomi, woman of God...you are a widow now. You have no sons to take care of you. You, my dear, now have the amazing opportunity to have the God of your Fathers, the Lord Jehovah, provide for you and protect you. He is the Husband of your people Israel, and He will bring sweetness to your life." She could have said those words to her soul and worn the faith label "favored by God." Instead, she saw the label "widow" and decided to tell her soul her name was "Bitterness."
- Hebrews 11:1 - "Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see."
- It is up to you, my friend. You can't change the fact label in your life. What you can change is what you say to your soul about that fact. What you say about that fact is based on your faith in God. If He says you are more than a conqueror, then that's the faith label you wear!
- 2 Cor. 4:18 - "So we fix our eyes, not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporar, but what is unseen is eternal."
- Your fact label is temporary! Thank You, Lord!

All of this reminds me of discussions I have had with girls in different Bible studies I've either been involved in, or have led. Having married at 24, I wasn't exactly an "old maid." However, I'd spoken with PLENTY of girls about the subject of "singleness" and why God chooses some women to be single while He chooses others to get married. I hope this doesn't sound "self-righteous" of me, because I'm definitely not trying to say I had it all figured out when I met Eddie. Ha! FAR from it. He and I will be the first to tell you that we definitely DID NOT have a picture perfect relationship. However, one thing that I learned through high school and the beginning years of college (before I met Eddie I had only dated one person - and that lasted 3 months) is that when you are single, it is a GIFT from God. You are able to serve Him in a way that you cannot when you're married to someone. I truly think that both singleness and being in a relationship are gifts in their own right. For more on that, there's a book called "I Kissed Dating Goodbye." It's all about what you can live for when you're not constantly on the lookout for Miss or Mr. Right. All of it goes back to what you do with your "fact" labels.

I'm certainly growing into my "Wife" label. I wasn't used to cleaning for two, cooking for two, being with someone else ALL THE TIME. But I'm adjusting. My "Wife" label has its pros and cons, as do all labels in our lives. For me, there are plenty more pros (although it doesn't ALWAYS seem that way...especially not when "Clean shower" is on my to-do list). The newest label "Stay-At-Home Mom" has been BORING so far. But soon I know that it will change as well. Some women would say that a label of "SAHM" would be life-ending. What would they do with all that time? Why would you just want to sit around your house and cook and clean for your husband and kids? I'm hoping to look at it in a positive light, not in a negative one.

You can definitely choose your attitude for the day. Would you rather get up and be happy and enjoy how you spend your life? Or be a negative person day after day. I think it's much easier to enjoy your situation! Make it fit for you! And don't waste your time!

Enough preaching...ENJOY your day!

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Lauren,

It's great to see what you are learning. I think you'd really enjoy Kay Arthur studies. I like Beth Moore, Stasi Eldridge, and others but Kay is also refreshing because there is much less commentary. I just finidhes the Precepts's (PUP) study of the book of Joshua and it has really challeneged me. It is neat to see what the Lord is doing in your life.

I hope you'll be praying for us as we move overseas. I know we'll need it!

Love,
Melissa