Saturday, September 25, 2010

comfort vs. effort

A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:10-12)

This morning, I woke up thinking about how much effort I actually put into my life, my marriage, and my relationships. How much time do I invest in the areas that matter most? How much do I really, really care? And whom do I really, really care for?

For example, this week Chuck was traveling throughout Texas on sales visits while I stayed home in Chicago and handled matters for our business and DW. While he was away, I was able to work from home all week. The result of this "perk" was a more disheveled looking (and feeling) Victoria. I wore only pajamas and comfortable sweats from Monday through Friday, and (I'm embarrassed to admit) I successfully avoided showering altogether. (I know... ewwwww! Such a lady... NOT!)

By Tuesday, as I walked my dogs in our front lawn in a bathrobe and clogs, I rationalized that a little laziness was acceptable. Who cared what my neighbors thought, right? Who cared if our mailman thought I smelled like the inside of an old shoe. Who cared if the hair piled high in a scraggly ponytail atop my head had started to resemble the consistency of olive oil and shipping twine combined. Not me. For Chuck was out of town. No man around. No social events to be present at. What better time to become a hygienic slacker.

OK, in retrospect, I'm not proud of my behavior.

So, here we are finally at the weekend and yesterday, God began reminding me about how dear life really is. How much I really do take for granted. All this was running through my head this morning and then I sat down for some much needed time alone in Scripture. I flipped to Proverbs 31. Before I read the first few verses, the Holy Spirit reminded me of how I welcomed Chuck home when he returned from his trip. My dear husband who missed me all week had called about ten minutes before his taxi brought him to our front door. And rather than being excited about his return, I panicked. I screamed over the phone, "Honey, let yourself in and make your own dinner, I have to run and take a shower because I'm stinky." With that, poor Chuck found himself walking into a home with a wife who was mentally MIA. I was too wrapped up in scrambling to clean myself and my mess. Did I welcome him with open arms - thrilled that he returned after a long week of travel? No. Did I have dinner ready for him and a clean house waiting? No. Did I even finish all the work posed to me for our business... work that I needed to finish in order for our month-end financials to be reported back to our owners in Germany. No. (Sigh... I'm such a loser sometimes!)

Sure, I finished many things during the week, but if I were to be honest about it... not THAT many. Not as many as I could. Nor did I reach out to especially love anyone or further work on my relationship with God. No, I think somewhere around Wednesday, it became evident that my comfort was more important than the effort. I achieved the minimum of all tasks - just getting enough accomplished so that I could spend the rest of my week lounging around like the Queen of Sheba while playing computer games and zoning out in front of the cooking channel. My healthy diet was somehow tossed out the window. My organized home was building piles fast. Had Chuck been home, he would have probably wondered what happened to the woman he married. For this self-feeding slob was not her.

Ah, Proverbs 31. The wife of noble character. The "perfect" godly woman. This week, I was NOT her. This week I neglected it all. This week I was an outward expression of inward selfishness. This week I was NOT devoted.

This morning, I read the scriptures about this blessed woman. This woman who works eagerly with her hands. Who gets up while it is still dark and prepares for her family - using everything that God provides her to bring improvement and growth to those that know her. This is the woman who vigorously sets about her work and intentionally keeps her body strong and healthy to accomplish many tasks. This is the woman who is savvy, industrious, energetic, charitable. She is not lazy. She is not drowning in comfort. No, she makes the effort! She cares! She loves! She lives under the strength and dignity of the Almighty's tutelage and is able to relax and enjoy God's many blessings while enveloping herself in the wisdom of her Savior and sharing Him with others. In short, "She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." (Proverbs 31:27) This is a woman who LIVES for the Lord! This is a woman whom God blesses and praises all the days of her eternal life!

This is the goal I lost sight of this week. This is the sin of complacency. The sin of apathy. The sin of laziness. The sin of disregard. I fell prey to the enemy and failed to care or make the effort. I failed to keep my vision focused on the bigger picture of love, and forgot that I was made to glorify God in ALL that I do. Lord Jesus, I repent of this sin. I ask for you to change me. To teach me. To continue to point out where I can become more like you. I don't want fleshly comfort, Jesus... I want YOU! YOU are my comfort!

Ladies, I encourage you to reflect on what God really did when He sent His Son to die on the cross to save us from the tightened grasp of sin. It is not just about freedom from death, but more so about freedom to LIVE... and LIVE WELL! We must remember that because of Jesus, we can indeed become this woman outlined in Proverbs 31. We can represent our Redeemer and promote His plan of improvement, growth and love. When we fail to keep Him as our focus, we become stagnant and comfortable as our sin suffocates our homes, families, lives, etc. But WITH HIM... ahhhhh, with Him we are capable of so much more. With Him, we are blessed creatures exceeding in grace and love as we surround ourselves in His presence. With Him all things are better, newer, worthwhile... worth the effort!

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. (Proverbs 31:30-31)

God loved us soooo much that He gave His only Son, so that WE MIGHT LIVE and enter into His gates with thanksgiving! As I regroup and clean up my home today, I am praising Him for the reminder and thanking Him for His patience! As I spend some much needed time this weekend with those I hold most dear, I encourage you also to think about your own relationships... your own comfort vs. effort to live in Jesus Name. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let's live rejoicing and glad that we are in it! The old has gone... the NEW has come. Thank you sooo much, Father. I forgot, but now I remember... thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Let's live, ladies! Let's live in thankfulness each day. Let's LIVE FOR JESUS and not ourselves! Let's BE devoted women and bless others with WHO gives our lives purpose and worth! Greater is HE who is in us! Great is His faithfulness! Let's remember to live in His truth and expose God's love to all the world in how we LIVE each and every day! (...even in front of neighbors and the mailman!)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:16-21)

Blog Posting Written By Victoria Anderson

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