Friday, May 13, 2016

Making Over My Evenings {Day 7}

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I'm working my way through Crystal Paine's new course, Makeover Your Evenings- 14 days of videos, reading, and projects designed to bring more order, rest, and productivity into your life. If you'd like to grab the course and work through it right along with me, you can do so here. Each weekday night I'll be posting my takeaway from the day's coursework. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it and how you are making over your own evenings!

Finally, with a few pit stops along the way, I'm at the halfway point of this course! How's it coming along for you?

Today Crystal addresses our thinking. The negative thoughts we think on rerun have a tendency to drag us down, affecting the way we live. She encourages us to replace our negative thoughts with positive ones.

I'd like to go a step further and say we don't just need positive thoughts- we need Gospel thoughts! The reality is we do make huge mistakes, and life is a disaster at times. If my hope is in my own ability to improve myself, then I'm doomed for disappointment every time.

The good news for the Christian is that all of our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus. While there may be consequences for them, and broken relationships may never be fully healed in this life- before God, I am counted forgiven and righteous and perfect, only because Jesus lived holy, righteous, and perfect, and gave me this gift through His cross. No matter what my day or week or life looks like, my biggest problem {my sin and separation from God} has been taken care of.

The biggest negative thoughts I struggle with at night are 1) my own failings as a wife, mom, and homemaker, and 2) fear that the future is hopeless. I'd like to address both of those in light of the Gospel now.

First of all, my failings. On the smaller scale, I fret that I can't keep my house in order, the messes are unending, and that my homemaking disasters have a negative impact on my loved ones and my ability to serve others. On the larger scale, I worry that I'm scarring my children for life, that my life doesn't present the Gospel attractively, and that I am a terrible wife who is holding her husband back in life. Maybe you can relate to a few of these concerns? Some of them are indeed legitimate!

This is why every single day I need to preach the Gospel to myself- first thing in the morning, as I go about my day, and finally, at night as I'm tempted to lie awake fretting. I need to remember that while I've messed up BIG TIME, Jesus died for all of the sins I committed this day. They are paid for and put away, "as far as the east is from the west" {Psalm 103}. Furthermore, I am completely clothed and covered in the righteousness of Christ. I could never earn or deserve it, but by grace, through faith, He has freely extended this gift to me.

I need to remember that my children's salvation doesn't depend on me. Even though I will {guaranteed} hurt and disappoint these children who are more precious than anything on earth to me, God is big enough to never let them down. His grace covers all my failings. He fills the gap, He can heal them and help them. All I can give is my best, asking forgiveness when I sin against them, and keep moving forward in grace.

I also need to remember that while I'm appointed as Niall's helpmate, I am not the Holy Spirit in his life. God doesn't need me to accomplish what He intends to in my husband's life. Granted, by His grace I can be one of the means He uses to do so, but once again, the Lord is gracious, much bigger than me and my sin, and well able to accomplish all He pleases. This gives me great hope.

Secondly, I fear the future. We should note here that the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 "laughs at the time to come" {verse 25} and that Sarah's example in 1 Peter 3 says "And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening" {verse 6}.

Sometimes I worry that we are "stuck." Our life will never change, we will always be struggling in the same place, with the same besetting sins, never able to achieve the goals we dream of. That could be true. My life never may shape up to be the ideal I long for. BUT GOD.

I have precious Gospel promises that I should meditate on for encouragement when I'm tempted to despair of these things. The Lord has a plan for me {Jeremiah 29:11; Philippians 1:6}! He has promised to work all things together for good to those whom He has called {Romans 8:28}. My life may seem a total waste from a worldly perspective- but my God wastes nothing. He is sovereign, completely in control, my life was all planned out before it even began {Psalm 139}. He will accomplish what He has purposed to do for me. And it will be good and it will bring Him glory.

I get discouraged when I focus on my little dreams and preferences. When I look to Him, I can take heart and have hope.


If you are looking to grow more in your understanding of the Gospel and how it should change your daily life and thinking, there are a few books I would highly commend to you. They've completely changed the way I think about the Lord, myself, and life- Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick and The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges. Pretty much anything by these two authors is worth reading.

I'd love to hear how the Gospel has turned your negative thoughts on their heads <3.

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