Do you, “Own it?”

It’s human nature to point the finger.  As kids, we learn early on that if we get caught doing something we shouldn’t be, there will be some form of punishment–maybe a spanking, a time out, a favorite toy taken away, play time cut short, no TV, no Oreos.  (Well, that would be punishment for me!)  You get the point.  As kids, my older sister learned that if she wasn’t the one carrying out the deed, she wouldn’t get in trouble.  So, she would pose questions to our brother (the middle child, poor guy!) to get him to do something she knew would invoke punishment.  My poor, innocent brother would be intrigued by her question, carry out the deed, and then I would tell!  It took him awhile to figure this out and eventually he stopped taking her advice and stopped hearing “Scotty did it!”

  1968.11 Miller family no title(Here is my family, back in the day. I'm the smiley, littlest one, on the left.)

The funny thing is, I don’t remember if we girls ever got in trouble for our part.  Oh, I got in trouble my fair share, and so did my sister, but who wants to own up to their mistakes?  Nobody WANTS to get in trouble & be punished for their wrong doings.

As adults, we still tend to avoid “getting in trouble”, we still don’t want to take the blame, or take responsibility for our actions, unless we did something we think is worthy of another’s praise!  Then we are all over it!  Human nature, human nature is like that.  We do things we regret, we say things we regret, we avoid doing things we should, we avoid saying things we should, and we don’t want to get caught–all because we are afraid of some sort of punishment.  And we like to point the finger so we don’t have to be responsible for our actions.   We say things like, “My parents never taught me any different,” or, “he made me angry,” or, “she started it,” or, “if you hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have had to …” or, “well, if you hadn’t tempted me to…then I would never have…”  The extreme cases are like the person who files a lawsuit  when they spill hot coffee on themselves. (follow the link to see the comic I posted on my Misti’s Jewelry Facebook Page or go to my Pinterest Board.)  “If the coffee hadn’t been so hot, I wouldn’t have burned myself!  It’s YOUR fault for making the coffee hot!” when the truth is, if they had been more careful and not spilled their coffee, then they wouldn’t have gotten burned.  We humans just don’t want to take responsibility for our actions.  We don’t want to be punished, even if that “punishment” is in the form of ridicule or embarrassment.

But God reminds us of how much He loves us and that we need not be afraid of punishment.  “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  1 John 4:18  He loves us, and although no one WANTS to be punished or disciplined, it is good for us.  “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  Hebrews 12:11  God isn’t into beating us, He is into helping us grow and be healthy.  He wants us to have abundant life, not to live in fear. 

And here is something else that is amazing about our Heavenly Father.  Daniel tells us God “holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways.”  (Dan. 5:23)  God owns our ways.  Do our ways reflect the God of love?  Do our ways honor Him?  Do our ways speak of His character?  Are there things you’d rather not own up to?  It’s okay, there is forgiveness through Jesus.  You don’t have to be afraid.  Let’s take responsibility for our ways, since God owns them, and confess our wrong-doings before Him.  He will lovingly forgive and accept us.  He will help us overcome, through His lovingkindness expressed through discipline.  “His rod & staff, they comfort me,” says Psalm 23.  The shepherd uses his rod to correct his sheep, and his staff to direct his sheep, but the sheep aren’t afraid of Him because they know He would never do anything hurtful or harmful to them, but to do them good, only to love & protect & provide for them.  Our Good Shepherd does the same for us.  And sometimes the only way He can speak to us is through pain.  But God is doing a good work through the pain.  Like I say to my chiropractor, “It hurts good.”

I encourage you to not be afraid of personal responsibility.  There is life and peace in it–God is in it.  After all, He owns our ways.  And more than that, He loves us!  He loves us!

What do you love?

2012-08-25_15-19-09_543Summit House Dessert!What do you love?  Do you love your children and your spouse?   Do you love the sound of rain tinkling on the roof, the smell of cookies baking, the sound of the birds singing at the first sign of morning as the sun begins to light up the sky?  Do you love your parents and siblings, your car, your house, and your neighborhood?  Do you love to read, love a good joke, or love ice cream?  What do you love?  Love takes many forms.  Even when considering human relationships only, there are different kinds of love.  There’s the romantic kind of love we have for our spouses (which in and of itself takes many forms),My babies

the family kind of love we have for our parents, siblings & children,

I love my parents

there’s the love we have for friends and neighbors,

my friend Vickiand the love we have for acquaintances, for the clerk at the store, for Civil Servants like our police & fire fighters, 20130806_211015and for the person we pass on the street.  (I know, you’re probably thinking, love the person on the street?  Well, I pray for people I don’t know all the time–and that’s a form of love!)  And there’s our love for God.  Then there’s the kind of love we have for things like our pets,

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our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities, our country, food, etc.

And there’s the love we have for things we do–maybe you’re like me and love beading.

Maybe you love gardening, golfing, bicycling, cooking, wood-working, barbecuing, fishing or reading.

fishing

Each kind of love, whether for a person, an object, or activity, is unique. Have you ever stopped and thought about HOW you show that you love a person, object or activity?  Do you put thought and effort into it?  Do you think about the outcome?  How do you know you love that person/object/hobby?  Love is uniquely expressed in varying degrees dependent upon the recipient.   You wouldn’t kiss your beads!  You wouldn’t clean your neighbor!  And you wouldn’t hug your ice cream cone!  LOL  And you certainly wouldn’t kiss your child in the same way you kiss your husband.   So, how you express love matters.  When my husband Gary and I were in the early years of our marriage, we attended a young marrieds Sunday School class.  The leader, a long-time-married lady who was one of the associate pastors of the church, talked about perfectionism.  She encouraged us that not everything requires an A+, like when you’re mowing the lawn or cleaning house.  You don’t have to worry about if you missed a blade of grassimperfect grass or a speck of dust!  It doesn’t matter.  A good job, not a perfect job, is good enough.  There’s a Bible verse that says, “Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people.”  I used to think that that meant I had to do a perfect job!  (And I don’t know about you, but that disqualifies me!)  But in reality, the kind of perfection God desires is when we show love.  He wants us to show our love by how we act–to do it wholeheartedly.  We may not do something perfectly, but we can always be endeavoring to show our love–and that’s what God really wants.  So, if you’re hung up on “doing-your-work-unto-the-Lord”-perfectionism, be free!  Let it go!  Just do whatever you have to do with love for Him, and the rest will follow.  After all, “the first & greatest commandment is, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul & all your mind’.  And the second is like it.  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”’ Matt. 22:37-40  I can do that!  And so can you!