I have been in ministry for ten solid years, and in that time I have written about a lot of topics. There is one topic, however, about which I rarely write because, quite honestly, I do not feel that I have enough wisdom to offer in that arena. That topic is marriage. After 23 years of marriage, I still do not have it all figured out and I am far, far, far from the perfect wife to Greg. Yet, today, I believe that I have stumbled upon a treasure trove of marriage wisdom that I want to offer to you.
Let me give you the back story.
Our family has experienced the joy of seeing two young men choose beautiful young women as their future wives. In 2018, our nephew, Kalem, will marry his fiancee’ Erika in May. Then, in June, Greg and I will be blessed to gain a daughter-in-love when our son, Charlie, marries Morgan.
All of this wedding chatter and planning prompted me to think about when I got married and how I wish there had been a ‘marriage mentor’ to walk alongside me and pour into me. Of course, I had my parents, but there is something different and special about having someone come alongside and pour into your heart in a specific way. Someone just a few steps ahead of you in the journey who is willing to share, and yes, even to call you out when you step off the path of truth. Now, that all assumes that I would have been willing to L-I-S-T-E-N!
Last week, the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart that there is a ton of godly wisdom on the topic of marriage within my circle of friends, and that perhaps our kids, and maybe others, would benefit from hearing some real-life wisdom born of trial and error and experience. To that end, I tossed a question out on my Facebook page, and HELLO!!!! wisdom poured onto the page. Today I want to share some of that with you because it is toooooooo good to let it get buried on my Facebook feed.
So, here is the question I asked:
Our family will be blessed to witness two weddings this year: our son, Charlie and his fiancee, Morgan, AND our nephew, Kalem, and his fiancee, Erika. We will also be blessed to have young friends who are getting married in 2018. What marriage and relationship advice would you give a young couple as they say “I Do”?
One major theme of many of the responses was the importance of good communication between a husband and wife. Check them out:
Cindy said: Do not bottle things up, talk, talk and talk some more until it’s all worked out!
Teresa M said: Keep talking with God, each other, and as needed, reliable Christian counsel.
Shelley offered: Don’t be too proud to apologize – and make it heartfelt. There will be times when you will feel out of sync, and that’s okay, it will pass. But, if you are uncomfortable with it, just ask your spouse, “Are we okay?” Then talk about it. Girls AND guys need to feel connected
This wisdom from Kathy speaks loudly: My biggie is healthy communication and determining to work completely through an issue to a healthy resolution. You may come to an impasse at times, so call a time-out and go to neutral spaces but DETERMINE to come back to it when the dust and emotions have settled. That may be 30 minutes, 2 weeks or 30 days BUT come back to it and “finish” resolution of the issue to a healthy place, and then lay it down and learn from that process. I believe one of the biggest problems is that, with most couples, nothing ever gets fully resolved but rather just pushed aside to remain alive and festering, sure to rear its ugly head again some time….
Cathy gave us four rules of communication.
1 be honest
2 keep current
3 attack the problem not the person
4 act don’t react
And this from Larry: The men need to learn 3 phrases – 9 words: 1.) I was wrong. 2.) I am sorry. 3.) Please forgive me.
And all God’s women said, “Amen!”
Another theme that emerged was conflict resolution in marriage. Kathy’s comment from above was on this theme, as were these:
Gloria reminded us that: You don’t always have to be right… it’s okay to admit that you are wrong. And fight fair.
Karen said: Tell on your spouse to God and not to others. Always do this. God is the only way for change either in you or your spouse.
Once again, Kathy added a wealth of wisdom with this: Make it your daily practice to try to “out-serve” each other…and i think that speaks for itself. Can you imagine how many things would never even make our “grumble lists” if, as couples, we were trying to serve the other the most while they have that same goal?!?!?!? About the only thing we’d have to fuss about would be being served and loved TOO much!
A third major theme of finances emerged. This one is huge because research shows that the NUMBER ONE thing couples fight about is M-O-N-E-Y. Let’s take a look at some of the comments on finances:
I said: Since money is the number one issue about which couples argue, do not get into debt (the borrower is slave to the lender).
Teresa T said: Start a nest egg for retirement as soon as you get married. Don’t buy everything you want and see, save your money and pay cash and you might realize it wasn’t needed, after all. Follow the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace rules. Stay away from credit cards! Have a joint checking account and decide together what you will spend your money on.
Beth echoed Teresa with this: No separate checking accounts. Full disclosure in finances will keep everyone accountable.
The issue of romance and dating your spouse also garnered a couple of comments:
Kathy T said: Keep dating. Even after children, time with your spouse is crucial.
Anna, who is celebrating 50 years of marriage this year said: Marry someone you like first and then fall in love with… enjoy doing things together but also have your own time for hobbies.
Lori offered: Know and understand your spouse’s Love Language. Learn to “speak it” if you don’t have the same one. (See Amazon link below to Chapman’s book, ‘The 5 Love Languages’)
Alysa said: I cannot express how important it is to keep dating… Having a child throws a huge curve ball however, we are closer now than ever because we still date!!!
Another topic that elicited some wonderful feedback was the issue of praying for your spouse:
Natasha said: Fight for your marriage daily. We each keep a prayer journal and every day we pray together and separately and I pray to be the best help mate for my spouse and to help mold me into being a better wife and mom. For so long I prayed for change of him, when really it was me who needed changing!
Martha gave some incredible wisdom in her comment: Many many years ago as a teenager, my Pastor’s Wife taught us to begin to pray for our future husbands. I began to pray for him very specifically. I prayed he would learn the things that would prepare him to care for me and our children. I ask God to build my husband and equip him long before I ever met him. Now I recognize the Holy Spirit was preparing me to accept and respect who He was assembling for me. When trials and hardships come as they often do. This truth has been a constant encouragement to me. When my son was in the second grade I began to specifically pray for his wife in the same fashion. I cannot began to tell you how this has impacted our relationship. Now I pray in this manner for my grandchildren. I expect great things from my God because I have invested Great Confidence in Him in prayer. The most amazing thing to me, is for almost 40 years He has been Absolutely Faithful to every prayer I’ve ever prayed.
I want to leave you with a comment from Paula that blessed and challenged me so much as a wife. I hope it will bless and challenge you, too.
Recently I did an online study on the book “YOU & ME FOREVER, Marriage in Light of Eternity” by Francis and Lisa Chan (see Amazon link below). It was soooo good and so eye opening! The main thing I took from it, is we have to remember, God joined us together in marriage as an illustration to the world the love of Christ for His bride. How I treat my husband and vice versa is SUPPOSED to reflect the love, grace and forgiveness that Christ gives His Church.
It has completely changed my perspective in many ways. Now, if I feel like John isn’t acting in a way toward me that I like, for instance maybe he’s had a bad day and is being hateful. It may be quite irritating to me because I know it’s not my fault. But rather than get mad or pout, now, my first thought is…how many times have I acted this way toward God? And how many times has His grace and mercy loved on me through my bad attitude? So how then can I be Jesus to my husband, and extend grace and mercy to him and love him through this like Christ loves me?
To me, this just changes everything!
Then secondly I ask myself, as the world watches how I respond to my husband when he isn’t really my favorite person, or when I feel like he has treated me wrongly, am I showing the love of Christ to the world? Do they see grace, mercy, UNCONDITIONAL LOVE (this is a concept that too many people only attribute to what God has for us, but we are called to love others this way, and we even VOWED before God to love our spouse this way)? Does my marriage reflect the image of the Gospel of Christ? Am I willing to serve my husband when he doesn’t deserve it? Am I willing to always put His needs first, even if I feel my needs may have been neglected (because that’s what unconditional love is… giving and loving as a choice, not because it’s earned and not as a reward to them for meeting your needs)? Am I being Christ like to my spouse?
These are hard questions, but, if we put our focus on the Gospel, and realize the world is watching us and the message of the Gospel is at stake based on how we act, then our marriages will be changed, and our lives will be changed. And most importantly, we will bring glory and honor to God in the process.
I hope this post has been a blessing to you…or maybe if you are like me, it has been a bit uncomfortable because it shines a light on areas in our marriages that could stand a little, or a lot, of tweaking. Whatever the case, let’s allow the Holy Spirit to mold and shape us in to husbands and wives that look more like Jesus.
What marriage advice do you have for young couples? Share it in the comments.
A few years ago I went to the funeral of a woman I had known all my life. I wish I could say I remember her fondly, but the truth is, I don’t. The memories I have of this woman consist of her saying very ugly things to some of my family members. Often when she saw us in public, she would turn her head so she did not have to speak to us. She was highly critical and downright mean with her words where my family was concerned. In spite of the bad history, I have forgiven her for her actions toward my family.
When the funeral service began, both preachers who delivered the eulogy talked about what a wonderful encourager this lady was to those in her church and community. They spoke glowingly of her generosity to those in need and her love for Jesus, her family, and her church. The pastor informed us that he was reading her favorite Bible verses which had been taken from her apparently well-marked Bible. Her memory was honored by the speakers with glowing words of praise for her character, generosity and love for the Lord.
I was in total disbelief.
I had this insane urge to scream right in the middle of the service.
In fact, it was all I could do to keep myself from standing up and saying, “Excuse me, I must be at the wrong funeral. I don’t know the person of whom you speak. Don’t mind me. I’ll leave now.”
I maintained my decorum, smiled kindly at the family, got in my car and shrieked to the teddy bear that rides in my back seat, “I CANNOT STINKING BELIEVE WHAT I JUST HEARD!”
It was the most bizarre thing I have ever experienced. I go to the funeral of one person, but the person who is eulogized appears to be a totally different person. I kept pinching myself, but I know I was at the right funeral. All the family was there, but for the life of me, I did not recognize the person of whom the pastors spoke.
The Lord used this to drive home a lesson in my heart. If you know me at all, you know that the topic of LEGACY is my hallmark message. It is what I write and speak about. (www.leahadams.org/legacy) My desire is to leave a godly legacy for the generations that come behind me, and to help others learn how to do this as well. I want others to look at me and see Jesus.
In the midst of all that was going on in my head during this funeral, the Lord reminded me that it is so important for me to be consistent in who I am; to be the same person on Monday or Friday that I was on Sunday. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said, “Leah, do you want people at your funeral to not recognize the person being described because you presented one face to one group of people and another face to another group of people?”
“NO! I do not want that,” my spirit groaned.
So, how do we accomplish this consistency of person?
I would submit to you that we find the answer in Galatians 5: 16 (NLT),
“So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.”
There is no way to escape differences of opinion and personal preferences in this life. We are all unique people with unique desires and tastes. In spite of this, if you and I name the name of Christ over our lives, we serve the God who is unchanging. He never has a bad day, never gets mad and walks out on us, never chooses to ignore us when we don’t act the way we should. Yes, He is just and holy, but He is also merciful and loving.
If we have God’s Spirit living within us, in the midst of disagreements, we can be still be loving and kind. When someone does something that does not please us, we can still be patient and offer grace. Oh, WE cannot do it in our flesh, but the Holy Spirit can do it through us. Because Jesus, the One who is love, light, peace, gentleness, grace and mercy, can help us to be the same person on Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday or Saturday that we were on Sunday in church. His love can shine through us…..if we will allow it.
Is there a consistency of person in your life?
If you died today and could write your eulogy, would the people who attend your funeral recognize you?
I am a lover of lists. In fact, I pretty much live and die by a list.
Daily to-do items list
All kinds of lists in my head
Lists are my friends! You, too?
One of the most popular blog posts I have ever written (that was not published on my own site) was one that detailed my top 10 Bible studies for women. Here is the link to it over on my friend Arabah Joy’s site. It has been a while since I wrote that post and I have delved into many more Bible studies since then. So, I thought today would be a very good day to offer a new list of what I consider to be some wonderful Bible studies that would be worth your time and effort to dive into.
May I share with you that I believe studying the Scriptures is as vital to life as the air that I breathe? I know, I know…that seems a bit dramatic, but it really is true. As a Christian, the only way that I can know the heart of God is from the letter that He wrote telling us all about His heart, what pleases Him, those things that He hates, and how to draw up close to Him. God’s power, available to us through faith in Jesus Christ and the Bible, offers us ‘everything we need for life and godliness’. (2 Peter 1:3)
This issue of Bible study is one of the things in this life about which I am absolutely dogmatic. You and I cannothave an intimate relationship with Jesus without regular time hearing from Him through Scripture. Nope! Ain’t gonna happen!
I want to make it easy for you to find a Bible study that gets your head and heart into God’s Word. As your mentor and a Titus 2 ‘older woman’, I long to see you grow in the faith and knowledge of Jesus, and it is my biblical mandate to offer you whatever help I can to aid you in that journey. I hope this list is a blessing to you and I would love to hear back from you about any of these studies, or any others, that you have done.
Allow me to offer a few disclaimers before I begin my 10 (more) Bible Studies to Savor list.
Disclaimer #1, this list is in no particular order, and it was a huge challenge to stop at ten.
Disclaimer #2, this list does not supersede or discount the first list, but rather, adds to it. So, just because a study that I listed in the first post is not on this list does not mean that I no longer feel it to be a study of worth. I’m simply seeking to give you more whipped cream to add to the banana pudding!
Disclaimer #3, this post is chock-full of Amazon affiliate links. You may click any Amazon product picture in this post and be taken to a site where you can purchase the book. If you decide to purchase using one of my links, I will receive a small commission from Amazon. It is just one of the ways I help keep lights on and food on the table. Thank you!
10 (More) Bible Studies to Savor
Precept Upon Precept – Romans by Kay Arthur
My Tuesday morning small group has just begun Part 1 of 4 parts of this amazing study. Part 1 has us studying Romans chapters 1-5 for fourteen weeks. Seriously, y’all, we are digging deep and really learning these five chapters. (this is truly separate 4 studies, but I’m listing it as one.)
I was super excited when Kay led us to examine Romans 1:16-17 and told us that these verses were the theme verses for the entire book. Why was I so excited? Because, well…my tattoo is symbolic of Romans 1:16, so I bear the mark of the book forever on my body.
Can I be honest with you? I resisted Precept studies for many years because of some interactions with a few women who were rabidly adamant that if you studied anything other than Precept you were not really studying the Bible. God bless their ministries!! But, eventually I moved past it all out of necessity to find studies that my small group had not done. When I did, I found a wealth of opportunity for being deep in the Word. Precept is a very different format from many in-depth Bible studies, yet it offers an opportunity to really dig deeply into Scripture.
Job: A Man of Heroic Endurance by Charles Swindoll
If you have never gone through trials, then you can skip over this particular Bible study. However, if you are like me and have a few gray hairs in your head and wrinkles on your face because of trials and difficulties, then this study is one you need to get under your belt.
I am a major Swindoll fan and he did a marvelous job of teaching what is a difficult book of the Bible. In typical Swindoll fashion, there are lots of quotes that stick to your ribs and offer comfort for future trials. This study is appropriate for men and women.
Communication: Key to Your Marriage by H. Norman Wright
I get it. This is not a typical Bible study, but sweet mercy, there are tons of Scriptures in it that pertain to communication, both in marriage and in other relationships. If you have a desire to improve your marriage communication this is the book for you. It is SOOO good.
Precept Upon Precept – Revelation by Kay Arthur
Okay, so I offer this recommendation with a sizeable caveat. This study will eat your lunch and your Little Debbie snack cakes, but man, oh man, is it ever worth it!! It, like the Romans study mentioned above, is a four-part study that will take the better part of 2 years to complete. It stretched me in so many ways unlike any study I have ever done, yet sister (or brother), I learned so much about the book of The Revelation from it. No longer does Revelation frighten me. Rather, it is a source of encouragement and blessing. Find a Precept group in your local area and JUST DO IT!!
Finding I AM by Lysa Terkeurst
In this study Proverbs 31 founder, Lysa Terkeurst leads the reader through a study of the I AM statements of Jesus. The at-home work is rich and can be done in a short amount of time. As you study these statements, they become very personal to your heart and life. Jesus said them for our benefit and we are wise to delve into them.
What Love Is by Kelly Minter
What is not to love about a study of the books of 1, 2, and 3 John? There is so much goodness in this study by one of my favorite authors. The themes of love and light echo stunningly in a culture that has lost its way in the dark. This study, too, is time-efficient and pertinent to your life today.
Entrusted: A Study of 2 Timothy by Beth Moore
In recent years, Moore has added a delightful component to her already great studies. That component is writing by her youngest daughter, Melissa. I totally enjoy Melissa’s very scholarly portions of Beth’s studies and this study of 2 Timothy is no different. In 2 Timothy Paul is writing to his son in the faith to encourage him to not be ashamed of the calling that God has on his life. Is this pertinent to you and me? I think so. God has entrusted the gospel message to those of us who name the name of Christ. Let’s do this thing well.
The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer
Okay, so I’ve got a confession to make. I never studied the armor of God before this study. I think somewhere in my sub-conscious I felt like it was not really something I needed to study. Why? I have no idea! But, y’all, we all need to study this passage of Scripture, and Priscilla Shirer knocks it out of the park with this study. She makes practical application easy for the student and you will know the armor of God when you finish.
Rhythms of Rest: Finding the Spirit of Sabbath in a Busy World by Shelly Miller
This is not an in-depth Bible study like others mentioned here, but IT ROCKED MY WORLD last year and I would be hugely remiss not to include it in this list. I had never been obedient to observe a Sabbath rest until God had enough of my disobedience and put me flat of my back, quite literally. He forced rest, and on the back side of all, I can say that it was good. This book contains a world of Scripture and wisdom about the topic of rest and Sabbath. I’ve dog-eared and highlighted this book until it looks like it is twenty years old. Please, do yourself a favor and order it today.
Legacy: It’s What You Leave Behind by……..ME!
Please forgive me for tossing in one of my own studies, but there is a method to my madness. In 2017 I revised and re-published this 2010 study with the help of a sweet friend, Jen Stults. I adore the new cover and interior design. In my previous Bible studies to savor list, I had included the first edition of this study, which is now no longer available, so I wanted to offer the link to the new and updated version. This study encourages the student to be intentional in the creation of their legacy through examining their faith, their character, and their holiness. It is packed with real-life examples of legacy building that will encourage you in the creation of your legacy.
I would love to have you share your favorite Bible studies in the comments, OR share how one of these studies has impacted your life and faith. Friends, we will never be sorry we spent time studying Scripture. Never!
Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.
This quote by former First Lady of the United State, Lady Bird Johnson, rings with amazing truth and clarity. I know that, in my own life, it has proven to be true, and is one of the reasons that I am so passionate about the Child Sponsorship program of Compassion International.
In 2009 the Lord impressed upon my heart that I could make a difference in the life of a child in poverty by speaking truth and love into their hearts. I’m not talking about a child who doesn’t have a smart-phone or has to wear the same one pair of Jordans all school-year long. That’s not poverty.
I’m talking about a child who owns only one or two sets of clothing.
A child whose household income is less than $50 a month….fifty dollars a MONTH!!!
A child who lives in a house with dirt floors, adobe walls, and a tin roof.
A child whose diet consists of maize, beans, rice, and potatoes.
A child who might live in an area where AIDs is highly prevalent or child prostitution takes many young children and ravages them physically and emotionally.
A child who might rarely hear “I love you”, or “You are beautiful”, or “You are important”.
That is the child whose life I could change through Compassion.
I am not exactly certain how I became aware of Compassion and the work they do. Perhaps it was at a Beth Moore Living Proof Live event or some other women’s event. What I am certain of is the call the Lord issued to my heart to step out and change the life of a child.
Accordingly, I clicked onto the Compassion website and began to search for a child. I knew I wanted a girl, and I decided that I wanted her to share my birth month. I also knew I wanted to make a long-term commitment to this child, so I chose a younger child. After a bit of searching and applying those filters, I found Ruth.
Yep, she was my girl….and she has been since 2009.
Ruth was 6 years old when I became her sponsor. The area of Africa that Ruth lives in is rife with malaria. Most adults in her region are unemployed, but some work as subsistence farmers and can earn the equivalent of $16 per month. This is the life that Ruth could expect to live into adulthood……BUT Compassion stepped in.
My sponsorship of Ruth costs $38 dollars a month and it gives her so much. For a mere $38 a month, Ruth has access to:
education to combat illiteracy,
desperately needed medical care and nutritional supplements,
recreational activities that give a child focus and help them stay out of trouble,
Christian mentoring in a community based church,
and the opportunity to hear about Jesus.
What are the long-term benefits of sponsorship to a child? Sponsored children:
Stay in school 1 – 1.5 years longer than their unsponsored peers
Are 14-18% more likely to have salaried employment in adulthood
Are 35% more likely to find white-collar jobs in adulthood
Are 25-40% more likely to finish secondary education
Are 50-80% more likely to finish college
Are 30-75% more likely to be leaders in their communities as adults
Are 40-70% more likely to grow into church leaders
Over the years that I have been Ruth’s sponsor I have sent letters to her, and received letters back from her. We share our lives with each other and I consistently encourage her to work hard in school. I tell her that she is important to me, and that I love her and Jesus loves her.
Remember, children are likely to live up to what you believe about them. I want Ruth to believe that she is beautiful and important and capable of excelling. I want her to know that Jesus loves her and so do I.
Today, Ruth is 15 years old. She is in Class 7 in school and is doing well. My heart is full when I think that perhaps I have made a difference in Ruth’s life.
Would you consider sponsoring a child through Compassion?
Please click on this link or the one below to see the beautiful faces of some children who are waiting for someone to sponsor them.
I’ve got some exciting news to share with you. It is my heartfelt belief that women need other women. We need other women who will laugh with us and cry with us. We need other women to encourage us and to smack our hands when we err. We need other women in every area of our lives. That is not to say our men are not important. They are! But God designed us with a need for girlfriends.
Today I want to share with you an opportunity to spend a few hours with some women who will encourage you to have courageous faith and joy in your journey.
(If you are receiving this via email and cannot see the video below, please click HERE to be taken to my website.)
Finding Joy Ladies Night Out is a ‘night of food, fellowship, fun, and encouragement’ that celebrates the joy that is found in Jesus. For the first time ever, this event, hosted by founder Lauren Gaskill, will take place in 8 cities around the United States. At each location there will speakers, dinner, worship music, and….oh, my……swag bags with all sorts of wonderful gifts for you to take home.
The theme for Finding Joy Ladies Night Out is COURAGEOUS FAITH, and seriously, who does not need some courage to fuel our faith in the day in which we live.
I have the privilege of being part of the speaker team for the event that will be held in Atlanta on October 7th. If you live in the area it would be such a thrill to see you at FJLNO and hug your neck. If you don’t live in the Atlanta area, do not despair. Check out the other locations and speakers where FJLNO is being held.
Tickets for this exciting event are on sale now through iTickets. Click here to purchase your ticket for the city and location near you. If you are part of a women’s ministry at your local church, bring some of those sweet women and make this a fun time for all of you. I hope to see you and your girlfriends at the Atlanta/Woodstock event! Let me know if you are coming so I can look for you.
Perhaps I am just getting old….or maybe 53 years of breathing earth’s air has planted a bit of wisdom and caution in my heart. Whatever the cause, the wariness I feel toward social media these days is very real and a cause of legit concern. Our devices are impacting us in so many ways that are good, but also in an equal number of ways that are not good. Today, I want to ponder the selfie phenom that has taken over our world.
Let me state at the outset that I am NOT pointing a finger at anyone with this post. If the shoe fits your foot, then wear it. If it doesn’t, leave it in the box for someone else to put on. I am simply sharing what the Holy Spirit has been working in MY heart.
Have you ever looked up the definition of a ‘selfie’? Check it.
Selfie: an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera, especially for posting on social networks.
In my heart, there is a great deal of discomfort with this ‘selfie’ obsession that has invaded social media. Have you ever Googled the word ‘selfie’? Sweet mercy, I did not just fall off the turnip truck yesterday, but what I saw shocked me. It is incomprehensible to me that people would take such pictures of themselves…AND POST THEM ONLINE. It is also hugely disturbing to me the sheer number of ‘selfies’ that many people take and post to social media in a 24-hour period.
An article published by the American Marketing Association in November 2015 entitled, Social Media Triggers a Dopamine High, tells us that there is a physical component to social media. Who knew? The neurochemical dopamine, known as the ‘reward molecule’ is “released after certain human actions or behaviors, such as exercising, or setting and achieving a goal.” Apparently social media activity is also a trigger for the release of dopamine according to a study of Australian consumers.
“Every time we post, share, ‘like,’ comment or send an invitation online, we are creating an expectation,” according to the AMA study. “We feel a sense of belonging and advance our concept of self through sharing.”
Nowhere is this more true than with selfies. Although the word ‘selfie’ is a relatively new one, the impetus behind the action is an age-old one. Obsession with, and glorification of, self. Taken to the extreme, that’s what a ‘selfie’ is…and it runs so counter to God’s desire and command for His children.
Let me clarify one thing, please. I am not talking about the occasional family/friend/group picture. Those are great, and I totally enjoy seeing them. Even the occasional ‘selfie’ posted to social media is acceptable. What I have become so leery of is the repeated pictures of self that are posted to social media. Five, ten, twenty or more ‘selfies’ in a day.
John, the beloved disciple, said that Jesus must become greater, but I must become less. (John 3:30). Paul emphatically stated that ‘to live is Christ’ (Philippians 1:21).
As Christ-followers, we are called to humble ourselves, look like Jesus, and ultimately, draw other people to Him. If my calling is to point others to Jesus, it is virtually impossible for me to do that when I am so focused on taking a dozen pictures of myself each day so that I, and others, can see my face on social media.
Psychologists have discovered that, taken to the extreme, the ‘selfie’ craze can lead to a psychiatric problem called body dysmorphic disorder, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to some studies, more than 3 selfies in a day might signify a mental disorder. Seriously!!
Hebrews 12:2 tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus, and Him only. I fear today’s ‘selfie’ obsession places self in the spotlight and dethrones Jesus in our hearts. Remember the definition of ‘idol’….anything that takes the place of, or occupies more of our heart than God is an idol. Y’all, I want my relationship with Jesus to be what other people remember about me rather than endless selfies that point to Leah.
I wonder if it is time for us to examine our motives in the area of ‘selfies’ and social media? Why are we posting selfies? What is our reason for being on social media? As I have done this self-examination recently, I decided that, for me, the right decision was to delete Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat from my mobile device. I’m not saying that decision is right for you, but for me, it was the right move. And you know what? To my surprise, I don’t really miss them. You may recall that my #OneWord365 for 2018 is ‘Christ-like’. I believe that as I seek to make much of Jesus and less of Leah I will become more like Jesus.
I would love to hear your thoughts on selfies and social media. Would you share in the comments?
Two days before the calendar flipped to 2018 I stood among a standing-room only crowd in a tiny south Alabama Congregational Methodist church at the funerals of my husband’s uncle and cousin. On the 22nd of December, 94-year-old Uncle J, 93-year-old Aunt K, and their only living child, 75-year-old E were on their way to dinner near Mobile, Alabama. A woman in a pick-up truck had apparently already side-swiped another car before careening further down the wrong side of a four-lane highway. She hit our family members nearly head on before her truck burst into flames, killing her at the site of the accident. E, who was driving, tried to avoid the truck, but swerved just enough to take most of the impact on her side of the car.
Uncle J died at the scene. E was taken to the hospital where she underwent a couple of surgeries, but eventually died late on Christmas Eve from the trauma. Aunt K suffered a fractured sternum, broken ribs and other non-life threatening injuries. Her body should recover, but her heart is broken from the loss of her daughter and the man she had called ‘husband’ for over 75 years . Before I tap out another word, you need to know that these are three of the most precious Christian people I know.
As I stood in that church and listened to Uncle J’s nephew on the other side of his family offer the eulogy, I was touched by two things he said about Uncle J and E. As he reminisced, he told those of us in the church about Uncle J’s handshake. It was the handshake of a man who was a Southern gentleman. Firm enough to let you know he was serious about life and his handshake, yet not so firm that it hurt. Uncle J had developed dementia in his later years, yet his nephew shared that the handshake was still there, although it might not have been exactly like it once was. I have long been convinced that a handshake tells you a lot about a person.
While I do not recall ever shaking Uncle J’s hand, my memory of him over the 23 years that I have been part of the family is one of a true gentleman and gentle man who always had a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face. He was a retired civil servant who gave a lot of years of his life to his country. He lived in a brick home in the middle of cotton and peanut fields that he often farmed. The standing-room-only crowd was a beautiful testimony to the love that South Alabama community has for Uncle J, Aunt K, and Cousin E.
My memories of E are just as vivid and precious. She had a smile that would light up a room, and according to many in the church that day, E gave wonderful hugs. Her oldest daughter shared this fact with me in the hours after E met Jesus face-to-face. I can agree with them, having been the recipient of a few of E’s hugs. In fact, Uncle J’s nephew mentioned those hugs in his eulogy, which tells me that E was generous with her magnificent hugs.
If you know anything about me, you know that my jam, my heartbeat, is legacy…the legacy we leave each day for those who circle around our lives. Part of Uncle J’s legacy was his handshake that said he was a man of his word, a man of character and integrity. He was a faithful husband and a loving father, grandfather, and great grandfather. His handshake and life told you that he was a diligent worker and faithful Christian. Cousin E’s beautiful smile radiated the love and care of Jesus to all she met, and her hugs were God’s way of bringing comfort to many people, as well as a sense of being cared for by someone very special. Neither of these folks ever stood on a big stage, spoke to large crowd, or heard the call of fame or great fortune. Yet, they leave a legacy that will reverberate for generations.
All evidenced by a handshake or a hug.
I’d say handshakes and hugs are mighty fine pieces of a legacy, wouldn’t you?
My heart would be so appreciative if you would pray for Aunt K and for Cousin E’s three adult children and their families. I am so thankful that Jesus walks with them on this new journey.
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Perhaps this post has you thinking about your legacy. You might want to change the life of a child in poverty through a Compassion Child Sponsorship. Please use the links below or on my side-bar to do that. Maybe you want to learn more about creating and leaving a godly legacy. I wrote a Bible study just for that. Click here or the link below to check it out.
For the past several years about the time the calendar flips to November I begin praying over what word the Lord will give me to be my #OneWord365 for that year. I pray eagerly and expectantly, knowing that whatever word He gives me will have great significance for me in the coming year. Without fail, I have found blessing as I press into the word He chooses especially for me.
Once again, I began praying in early November, asking the Lord to give me a word for 2018. He was very quiet for several weeks, then in early December a few words bubbled to the surface. The first was reconciliation, then compassion, followed by gentleness, humility, and contentment. I asked Him to confirm if any of those were to be my OneWord365 for 2018, but the confirmation never came. Mid-December rolled by, then Christmas was staring me full in the face. Still nothing concrete, although to be honest, I was terrified that humility was the one. Really, who in their right mind wants the Lord to have to work humility into their lives? Not me. I’d much rather do whatever it takes to adjust my attitude and heart to one that is humble rather than forcing God take me to the wood shed to do it. I know how much God hates pride, and I also know that He will do whatever it takes to rid the heart of his child of it. It’s that ‘whatever it takes’ thing that worries me!
But, I digress.
Last week Greg and I were in Orange Beach, Alabama for a few days for the funerals of two precious family members. The first morning we were there, I was outside exercising and talking to Jesus. I resorted to begging the Lord to give me my word for 2018. In my heart I knew that if He chose not to do so there was a good reason and that I would bend my knee to it. However, I really love having a word that speaks into my life each year.
My conversation with Jesus that morning went something like this:
Lord, would you please confirm to me what my OneWord365 is for 2018? Is it humility? Reconciliation? Compassion? Gentleness? Contentment? Or maybe it is something else? I want so much to know what word You are giving me for the upcoming year. Please help me to have a heart that is open and willing to hear.
Within minutes, I had the answer. My #OneWord365 for 2018 is a beautiful word that blends humility, reconciliation, compassion, gentleness, contentment and so many other words. Some of my words in the past have scared me half to death, but not this one. It calms my heart and pours peace into it. This word holds sweet promises of a closer walk with Christ. That is not to say that there will not be some work happening in my heart because of it. Oh, yes, there will be! Yet, I know the outcome will be so much better than I can even imagine right now.
I am excited to share with you that my #OneWord365 for 2018 is:
As the Holy Spirit molds and shapes my heart to become more like the heart of Jesus, I will see a new humility birthed. I’m certain that more compassion, gentleness, and where necessary, reconcilation, will be evidenced toward others in my life. There will be a sweet contentment in my heart. I know there will be paths that the Lord and I will travel because of this word that I cannot even see right now, and I’m eager to go with Him. Gosh, y’all, ‘blessed’ does not even begin to describe the feelings I have over my word for 2018.
What is your #OneWord365 for 2018? Please share it in the comments, and if you have written a blog post about it, I would love for you to link to it via the comments.
It’s the end of the year. 2017 is almost history, and quite frankly, I can hardly believe it. While some days moved as slow as molasses, others flew by. Can you relate? On the whole, 2017 flew by with moments of joy and moments of intense sadness.
Today I want to take a moment to collect in one pile the most popular posts of 2017 here at LeahAdams.org.
Overall, I wrote much less often this year than in the past, but some of the posts were still very popular. So, without delay, may I offer you a listing of the 10 most popular posts (by total number of views) of 2017? I’m giving you the graphic from each post. If you desire to visit the post, simply click on the graphic to be taken to that post.
I know these two graphics are the same, but the posts are different. I promise.
And the Number ONE post of 2017 at LeahAdams.org is………….
I am so grateful to each of you who stop in and read. I pray that God has, and will continue to use what He gives me to write to bless and encourage your walk with Christ. May God’s presence be you in these waning days of 2017 and in 2018. I look forward to meeting you here in the New Year.
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Are you still looking for a 2018 planner to help organize your life? I love my Passion Planner and I think you would too. Click the link below or HERE to check it out.
Merry Christmas! I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to you for being here. Your presence is a gift to me, as is every comment you leave or email you send in response to something the Lord has given me to write. Whether you are a long-time reader or this is your first time to join me, the fact that you are using your time to visit LeahAdams.org blesses my heart. Thank you.
Today we celebrate the birth our Lord, Jesus Christ! My prayer is that you know Him as your Lord and your Savior. He is my very best friend, my confidante, my guide, my strength, and the place where my heart is at home. If you do not know Jesus as Lord this Christmas, may I share with you a few reasons why I would recommend Him to you? Go HERE.
May this day of Christ’s birth be filled with the joy and wonder that His presence brings.