words of affirmation

Good job! You rock! Look how cute you look today! I love your shoes! Great job scoring that goal! Good work sharing the ball! I'm so proud of you .....

Words of affirmation. I love to give them and I love to get them.

As I struggled with God at the beginning of last week and asked Him to draw me close, truly close to Him, I asked Him to show me areas of life that I needed to let go of. Interestingly, when I sat quietly and let Him show me things from my past that I was holding on to that were holding me back from fully living the life He has promised me most of them were directly related to affirmations.

I didn't want my parents to be upset with me, so I behaved in certain ways. I wanted my friends to like me, so I tried to do what I thought they wanted me to do. If I didn't feel affirmed, I sought ways to be accepted, approved of, affirmed. As a newly married young mama, I wanted to be loved, accepted, affirmed. I wanted my husband to love me, and tell me how much he loved me ... often. I wanted my children to adore me and think I was the best mom. I wanted the other moms in my MOMs group to think I had it all together. I parented my girls based on what others thought of my parenting skills, not always based on what was best for my girls. I based my success as a parent by measuring my girls against other moms children. If someone's child got straight A's, mine should too. If someone else's child played in band, mine should too. I actually asked my oldest when she was a senior if she had intentionally gotten a "bad" grade in a class so she would graduate third in her class, not first or second so she didn't have to give a speech. After all, my best friend's daughter had been at the top of her class, mine should be too. Yes, that last scenario really happened. This and so many other things flooded back. God was helping me to uproot very unhealthy thought patterns and actions. This is just a very short list of what God and I talked about last week (well mostly He talked and I tried my best to listen).

I speak affirmation, but I also SEEK affirmation. I post on social media to be affirmed. I flood my poor husband with affirmations so he will affirm me in return. I hurt others and myself in the cycle of it all, yet because I forget to look to the One who created me and is the greatest at affirming me, I am continually searching. 

Sunday, our Pastor spoke on offenses, and how we need to stop being so easily offended. Guess what? Not feeling affirmed leads to quickly feeling offended. OUCH!

This week, my devotions are speaking of prayer, something I have been focusing on. Praying with faith, and thankfulness that God already has the answers. I've been praying boldly to believe in those answers, and I've also worked to quiet my mind to hear God speak to me during my day. Guess what? He has, and I still have so much listening to do!

Yesterday morning, my devotional challenged me to pray
So, I did! I shared some of them with Rick before I went to work and then continued to pray them throughout my day. That same devotional reminded me that if I will change my prayer life from stale and boring to big and bold, I will also be vulnerable for attacks from Satan, because he does not like BIG, BOLD, DANGEROUS prayers! 

You know what? By the end of the day, 2 of the requests I had specifically brought to God had been addressed. They weren't fully answered, but there was some clear direction in two very specific areas of our lives that weren't there in the morning! I was so excited about it that I wrote a nice long Facebook post and posted it! God is so good and nothing will stop me from praying those big, bold dangerous prayers.

Literally moments after I hit "post" on Facebook, I saw something on Instagram that offended me. I was taken aback. Honestly, I was hurt. I was offended. I shared my indignation with Rick. Instead of affirming me, I felt like he rebuked me. Now I was doubly offended and not feeling at all affirmed. I went to bed in a bit of a "huff" attacked by Satan ...  and begged God to speak to me. 

In "God fashion" He did. He reminded me that when I began to pray big and bold, Satan would attack. He reminded me that my offense was not in line with what He had for me. That the offense I had taken at what I saw on Instagram and with Rick's response was an overreaction. That my worth in His Kingdom comes from him, not from Rick or an Instagram post. He reminded me that my response was evidence of seeking affirmation that I didn't feel I was getting, and my being so quickly offended over it was a sin.

I spent a somewhat restless night wrestling with all of these thoughts, of giving all of it back to God and trusting Him to affirm me. Praying to not so easily be offended. To forgive quickly if I do feel offended. To trust God, to love others, to continue to affirm, but not in hopes of receiving affirmations in return but because they come from my heart.

Oh, to be more like Jesus and less like me.

I'm thankful for what He has been working in my life! I'm thankful for quick answers {or the beginnings of answers} to some of my big, bold, dangerous prayers and I'm thankful that even when I respond poorly and have to run to Him yet again with all the pieces of my easily offended heart, He pieces them all back together. He tenderly loves me and reminds me of truth. He forgives, forgets, brushes me off and reminds me that this is a new day. A new chance to trust and obey and a new day to again pray BIG, BOLD, DANGEROUS prayers! 

So many changes ...

We like to tell people that we love Chattanooga so much we moved here twice! Since my last post in 2020, we spent eight months in Michigan...