Category Archives: Talking To Myself

Dear Me – Just Say Thanks

I needed this reminder today because I really need to get over myself and the way I think things should be. Please tell me I am not the only one who has their moments of wanting to stomp their foot or dig in their heels and say, “No!” or “It’s not fair!” when we don’t get what we want. Especially when we have prayed and waited and prayed and waited. Please tell me I am not the only one who finds sullen contentment in a good pity party? Please? Anyone else?

I am not proud of this in myself. This is my humanity. This is when emotion takes over and my heart runs away with my head, even though I know it isn’t right. I totally get what Paul was saying in Romans 7:15 “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”

Today I needed a “thankful” reminder and God was only to happy to smack me upside the head with it as verse after verse flooded my thoughts replacing my pity party with feelings of humble graciousness. Even, and especially on the days I find myself falling short, God’s grace and mercy cover it all. He continues to bless me in ways that I don’t understand because of my short-sightedness. It’s so easy to lose sight of the haves in the face of the have-nots.

This life is not all about us and our comfort. (Hey me, get over yourself and your ideas of fairness! Yes, life sometimes stinks but you have so much to be thankful for.) God does not promise us contentment in the things of this world but in Him and Him alone.

“Christian contentment, therefore, is the direct fruit of having no higher ambition than to belong to the Lord and to be totally at His disposal in the place He appoints, at the time He chooses, with the provision He is pleased to make.

It was with mature wisdom, then, that the young Robert Murray McCheyne wrote, ‘It has always been my aim, and it is my prayer, to have no plans with regard to myself.’ ‘How unusual!’ we say. Yes, but what people noticed about McCheyne was how content he was to pursue one driving ambition: to know Christ (Phil. 3:10). It is not accidental that when we make Christ our ambition we discover that He becomes our sufficiency and we learn contentment in all circumstances.”
–In Christ Alone, by Sinclair B. Ferguson, pg. 190

Lord, help me keep my eyes on you and you alone.

Abide and Avoid Gas Station Trauma

In the first post of this “series” I eluded to some laughter at my expense…so here goes.  True story – don’t judge

I am on the road, a lot, running between home and the kids’ school and activities, 20 minutes away.  As a side effect this also means I am at the gas station, a lot.  So on one particular afternoon, a few months ago, I zipped into the gas station, grabbed my gas card, and swiped it.  The screen read, PLEASE SEE ATTENDANT.  My thoughts, “Ok, for real?  I really don’t have time to see the attendant and I know this card works, too bad your gas pumps don’t.”  (I don’t know for sure that is verbatim but knowing myself as well as I do I can only guess it was along those lines.)  I took my card and walked into the gas station, handed it to the attendant and said, very politely (I may think snarky things but they usually stay within the confines of my own head) “I tried to use my card and it didn’t work.”  She looked at it and said “We don’t accept this here.”  Me: “Since when?  I just used it here a couple of days ago.” I am dumbfounded at this point.  What memo did I miss?!  She handed it back to me and said, “We never have. We have always been a Marathon station.”  At this point I finally look at the card I am trying to use to pay for my gas and realize it is for the wrong gas station.  I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING! With that, I said nothing else, walked stoically to the car, pretending I was not the biggest flake in the world at that moment and drove next door to get gas at the correct gas station. I am sure the lady thought I was insane, I actually considered it for a moment myself.

There are a lot of things I could try to explain in my defense, but suffice it to say, this is what my brain looks like on overdrive.  (Does anybody remember the tv commercial where there is a guy holding an egg and they do a voice over saying, “This is your brain.”  Then they crack the egg and scramble it and say, “This is your brain on drugs.”  Ok, this is kind of like that only it wasn’t on drugs, it was on “busy.”)

busy envelopeDear Me,

You scribbled these envelope notes a really long time ago, before you really had a clue what busy was going to look like today.  Before you knew how busy, busy can be.  Take a moment today and just reflect on what you wrote, sounds like you could use it.  Most days you do a decent job of abiding.  It’s the premise behind Run and Be Still, stilling your spirit amidst the chaos and activity.  Abide in HIM, listening for the still small voice of God.  This is how the crazy that is your life these days can become beautiful.

Remember, Satan likes you busy and distracted.  This kind of busy is the place where you are producing a lot of action and very little fruit.  This is the place where stress, and worry, and exhaustion become the preoccupation.  This is the place where you try to force things by your own efforts.  This is the place where you go to the wrong gas station. 

You know what, self? There is one word which I have already said to you that you need to remember in all of this.  It is the answer to the problem of “that kind” of busy.  Abide. 

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. (John 15:1,4-6)

Abide in God while you are driving, waiting, washing, cooking, mothering, working…abide.  The most important end of the branch is not the fruit end but instead at the connection to the vine.  Without a strong, healthy connection, fruit will never be produced, no matter how hard we try on our own. Without a strong, healthy connection we will wither, crumple, become brittle, snap easily. 

Our minds are always full, what we are filling them with is important.  It will shape and color every other aspect of our day.  Matt Chandler said these words, “You will live your life, or it will live you.” Inject God into your day, abide in Him. Take back control of your thoughts, even if you can’t help your busy schedule.  Begin to think relationally instead of morally.  God as your friend to share your day with not a referee making sure you follow the rules and play fair.  Do this and see how much can change. 

Oh, and for crying out loud, look before you swipe at the gas pump! 

You Know What, Self?

A picture is worth a thousand ornery daughter at her "talking-to-myself" age.
A picture is worth a thousand words…my ornery daughter at her “talking-to-myself” age.

If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, or anyone who interacts with children you know that sometimes they come up with phrases and they just stick with you. When my kids were probably 6 and 3 we were driving down the road, I can still see each of them strapped into their car seats, my daughter, looking at her hands and talking, jabbering nonsense really, a mile a minute. Her brother looks at her and says, in an irritated, you-don’t-make-any-sense tone, “What?” She looks at him and very coolly says, with an indignant air, “I was talking to myself, Tyler.” And then, turns away from him and says, obviously to herself, “You know what, self?” and continued with whatever fanciful story she was entertaining herself with. My husband and I totally died in the front seat and to this day that phrase lives on in infamy in our house.

Do you talk to yourself? Apparently I do…more than I realized. Today after dashing through the check out line at the grocery store, through the circus of traffic, and hurrying over to the football field to pick up my football superstar (I am his mom, I am allowed this opinion) my volleyball superstar (again, mom, again, my right) pipes up from the back seat, “Mom, you talk to yourself when you get frazzled.” I didn’t realize I had been narrating our drive. At least not consciously…”Let’s see, I will turn here instead of going to the other light that should be faster…nice blinker…ok person-GO! It’s your turn!” Oh that’s embarrassing! I have read where studies show that people who talk to themselves are extremely intelligent. We’ll just leave it at that…

In all seriousness though this is a subject I have been thinking of exploring now for awhile. Not my sanity, although some may say that needs to be placed before a review board and explored, but the idea of talking to myself. Not about where I am going, instead, looking back at where I have been. Today just confirmed it was time.

The frazzled monologue that we carry on with ourselves says a lot about where we have been. Allowing those things that I have written, everything from old journals to the scribblings of a quote or a thought on the back of an envelope or scrap of paper (I am a saver) to remind me of the “places” I have been, to minister to my needs today. I can hold onto the big picture things, the big life event lessons, blessings, struggles. Those are the things that leave a permanent mark. But there is always little stuff that sifts through the cracks like grains of sand and there are so often great nuggets of wisdom that are lost with them. These are the details that get lost, those “ah-ha” moments when something speaks so deeply to you right where you are, so often encouraging and uplifting, they bear remembering and repeating.

So I invite you to take a reflective journey with me as I “talk to myself.” You may choose to look at me like my son looked at my daughter and say, “What?” but I have traveled a rocky path and made it through with my faith intact and my prayer is that as we look back we can be encouraged no matter what we are facing as we look forward, and possibly share a laugh or two at my expense.

You know what, self? I think this will be fun!