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Who’s your worst enemy?

Think for a moment. Is your worst enemy the bully from middle-school,  the teacher who hated you, a boss that doesn’t understand you, or even the devil? If you’re honest with yourself, I think you’ll be surprised.

Your worst enemy is someone who undermines you,  sabotages you, or makes you feel ‘less than’.  If you’re anything at all like me,  it’s the voice in your own head.

There were times in my life when I was on the verge of living my dreams, of making a breakthrough, of branching out, of finding my bliss. Then, as if on cue, a voice began attacking me.

You know the voice I’m referring to, right? The voice that says, “You can’t. You aren’t important enough. You aren’t smart enough. You aren’t photogenic. Your pathetic. You’re not brave enough. You haven’t thought about what might happen down the road because of what you’re doing now, and you better be afraid of what you might find.  You’re not perfect enough to inspire anyone. You will fail miserably. You’re simply not ‘enough’.”

Do you have a voice like that? Are you sometimes your own worst enemy?

Well, when the voice in my head takes hold, I’ve already lost. I just don’t realize it until  a problem arises.  It doesn’t matter what the problem is.  Big or small, the problem becomes an excuse to let the ‘voice’ win.  It’s easier to give up than to keep fighting.  Why? Because I haven’t taken the time to renew my strength in God.

In order to keep fighting, I have to shut out the voice in my head with God’s word.

First, what does the Bible say about gifts given to us by God?

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

Finally, what does the Bible say about fear and doubt?

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

So, these days, and even on my worst days, when the voice begins its rant,  “Who are you to attempt to reach anyone with your insignificant words?”  I think of  Romans 8:31 and say, “I’ll tell you who I am. I am a child of God.”

Grace for the Not So Graceful

Lawrence Welk said, “There are good days and there are bad days, and this is one of them.”

I had one of those days. I woke up stiff and achy – more so than you’re typical forty non-of-your-business woman. I got up, got dressed, walked the dog, then chased the dog and was grateful that I had gotten dressed.

I went to the doctor and got there late. I got some bad news. but  I was grateful it wasn’t worse.  You all know I have some limitations otherwise referred to as Lupus.The doctor gave me a shot, a prescription  to help with the pain, some good advice, and a stern warning. It’s not that bad really, I just have to be better at taking care of me and sometimes that means disappointing others. But that’s another post.

After I saw the doc, I went to the grocery/pharmacy store.  You know the one. The big one with the blue sign that rhymes with ‘all tart’. I grabbed a cart and went inside. The wheel squeaked so I got another one. That one squeaked too, so I just kept pushing it.

I squeaked into the canned goods isle, and forced a smile, waved, and said, “Hello” to a small boy and his little sister. They were probably three and five. Their mother turned around and smiled as they waved back to me and then turned back to find what she was looking for. I moved past them and picked up a large can of pork and beans. It slipped through my fingers and landed on my swollen, aching toes. I took in a deep breath as the pain shot through me. The pain just got worse as I stood there on one foot. I put my foot down and the pain felt like a hot poker going up my backside. I let out a yelp and dropped the F-bomb under my breath. It came out louder than I thought it would.

The little children turned around and looked at me with wide eyes and gaping mouths. I bent over to squeeze my foot and pick up the can of beans I dropped. I looked back at the boy as he tugged on his mother’s clothes and said, “Mom, should we pray for her?”

His mother turned to him and said, “As soon as we get in the car, baby.” And she picked up her pace.

I left my cart sitting there in the canned goods isle and walked to my car. When I turned the key, the car would not start. I dropped another curse word and got out to check the engine. I felt relieved to see the children and their mother praying in the car next to mine. They were true to their word. When they stopped praying and saw me standing there they sped off.

Help finally arrived. I wasted no time getting home. Then I realized I didn’t have my prescription.

On days like this it is so easy for me to slip back into bad habits. I scared two little children and the mother is no fan of mine now either. How is it we work so hard on ourselves and still we slip up?

I guess that’s why they call it Grace. We don’t deserve it, but God gives it to us anyway. Over and over and over. As much as we need, and just when we need it the most.

Life, I’ve found out the hard way, is about balance. Get too far out  one way and it’s bad for me. Get too far gone the other way and it’s bad for me. Grace brings me back to the center. It allows me to get forgiveness for what even I might think is unforgivable. I can start fresh the next day and do my best to be worthy of God’s Grace. I never will be, but part of loving my God is about trying to be worthy.

What do you do when you’re having a bad day? Is there a way to turn it around?