Monday, October 25, 2010

Staying in Step

Welcome Proverbs 31 subscribers and daily readers! Im so glad you stopped by today! Check out the bottom of this post for a special giveaway!

Todays devotion, The Real Meaning of Perfection, talks about a universal problem - our quest to never let anyone down, including ourselves, or God.

The problem is that every single day we stumble in our efforts to deal with daily issues with poise and grace. We succumb to emotions and default back to our human nature.

If we are not careful, those small, continued daily failures can take a toll on our heart and our self esteem. Then the enemy will continue to feed us with lies that we dont measure up, and eventually, we may begin to fall for them, and end up being completely out of step.

If you have ever done any type of choreographed activity in your life, such as dance, cheerleading, marching band, or even synchronized swimming - or if you have simply watched some choreographed sports - you know the importance of being in step.

It only takes one person to change the appearance and overall performance of the entire team. Two feet going the opposite way of everyones else, or two arms flailing around in the opposite direction from all the others, can be a huge distraction, and make the the entire team look like they are out of step.

Being in step is important.

In a similar way, Christ calls us to be in step with Him. He does not call to stay in perfect step with others, such as in a choreographed team, or expect us to be perfect.

He simply tells us the routine, and desires that we do our best to mirror His footsteps.

God gives us a few tips for staying in step in Ephesians:

Ephesians 4:2-3 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. (NLT)

These verses provide insight into four ways to keep in step:

1. Humility and selflessness
2. Gentleness and strength under control
3. Patience and endurance
4. Agape Love

Only four steps - but they are BIG STEPS! Steps that we have to face every day, and which can quickly trip us up if we dont stay grounded in Christ (especially on stressful mornings like the one I described in todays devotion!)

It was also interesting the way The Message Bible translated these verses:

Ephesians 4:2-3 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. (MSG)

As Christians, we are called to travel together, in the same direction, and to stay unified in heart and mind through the Savior. But as you can see, God is not saying that we have to be perfect, or that we are to stay in perfect step with each other as a choreographed team would, but that we are called to live life in step with Him.

Being out of step with Christ can make us feel as if we are hopelessly uncoordinated, and completely out of sync! But as the verses above remind us, our goal is not to expect perfection out of ourselves, but to simply pay attention to how Christ calls us to live, to try to stay in step with Him, and to know that when we do fall out of step, He is there to pick us up again.

Have you been a little down on yourself lately because it seems that no matter how hard you try to live a life in step with Christ, you continue to stumble?

Have you become frustrated with your apparent inability to portray these four attitudes in your every day life as you face struggles and frustrations and stressors?

Have you ever wondered if Christ really does love you, considering how many times a day or week that you fall out of sync with Him?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then tuck this verse below from 1 Timothy into your heart today.

1 Timothy 1:15-16 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (NIV)

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**Now for the giveaway:

In light of our quest for perfection, I am giving away a free copy of my CD "Loving The Woman in the Mirror". If you would like to enter to win, just leave a comment about an area of your life where you struggle to be perfect. Then get signed up for my free emails and quarterly newsletters (on the right hand side bar) and you're all set!

I will do a random drawing on Wednesday and notify the winner here on my blog. Good luck!.

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34 comments:

Aubrey said...

Tracie, were you at my house this morning? It is amazing how quickly the morning routine turns into a mad rush. Thanks for the words of encouragement; I've written down the 4 steps to tape to my forehead (or mirror!) so that I may remember them each morning.

Tracey said...

I struggle with how I look. I tend to think that everyone else is prettier, thinner or younger than I am.

Anonymous said...

Great post Tracie, as always. Love the Ephesians verse in The Message version. I am just plain and simple a struggling, sinful perfectionist learning daily how I keep taking my weaknesses back after I turn them over to God: my feelings of inadequacies as a mom, what size I am, worry and fear--all lies from satan (don't think he deserves a big "s"!). Thankfully, He is a patient and gracegiving Father, and I see that I am not where I was "yesterday" and keep holding onto His promises that He alone can change me, and I know my todays and tomorrows will show even better progress in my walk as long as I keep drawing closer to Him.

Anonymous said...

Tracie - I struggle with how my son treats me, with disrespect. I get easily offended and then I mess up. Last night I just told him I want him to leave the house and find somewhere else to live because I have had enough, just can't take it no longer. The verse you referred to is what I need right now in my life because I have been tripping up. Please pray for me.

Anna said...

I struggle with juggling being a mom and wife. I want to be organized and have my house clean everyday and be able to throw a get together and it be quintessentially perfect, but it never is. I guess, I struggle with being a text book woman (which I do not necessarily know exists).

Anonymous said...

Tracie, really enjoyed your devotional today. In the post you gave the definition of perfect "being complete; lacking in nothing". Don't we all already have that? With God aren't we lacking in nothing? Isnn' he all we need. So that means we are already perfect. If we just rely on God for everything, wa la "perfection". Hope this makes you smile and maybe somebody giggle.

Keep up the good work,
Connie

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! Your post with Proverbs 31 today was exactly what occurs in my home! And that is the very area I struggle with the most--desiring to be the perfect mom. Thank you for your "real-ness" and for your inspiring words :)

Jennifer said...

I definitely struggle with self-image. I recently lost 30 pounds and - four months ago, I would have been positive that if I just lost 30 pounds, I would be happy with my appearance. But, not so. Apparently, the problem is much more on the inside than just on the outside.

Angela said...

My struggle with perfection not only rears it's ugly head in my mothering but in anything new that I'm learning through. I expect to do things right (ie: perfectly) the first time! I know this is unrealistic so it's a battle I'm fighting often. Thank you Tracie for the practical tips to help me to keep my focus where it should be.
God bless you!

Grace said...

Tracie,
You described so many mornings when my daughters were at home. The chaos always seemed to be greater on Sunday mornings. I'm an empty nester now, and I miss them terribly.
My on going battle for perfection is with my housework. I seem to have an evergrowing mound of laundry and paper.
Thank you for your encouragement for all of us desiring to be Proverbs 31 women.

According to God's Plan! said...

Tracie, I struggle with patience: patience with my children, with my husband, with things we want or need, every area of life that requires patience, I struggle with. I want things to happen in my time which in turn causes me great stress & anxiety, I need to be more patient on Him who can provide according to the right time, His time. Thank you for your words!!

Annie said...

Tracie, I cannot thank you enough for today's P31 devotion! I love how God provides the perfect devo for my days- today was my little one's birthday and I have been SO hung up on making sure I "DO" the right things to make the day perfect. What a wonderful reminder to focus more on how I love my daughter, rather than the "things" I do to try to be that mom of the year! Thank you for your faithfulness to share the Truth with us!

Veronica said...

I struggle with being the best mom possible. It feel impossible, when I have mornings(and weeks!), like the one you described in your blog. I am grateful for your reminder about having perfection in Christ - not in what I think the world views as the perfect mom.

Kim said...

I could not believe it when I opened my Encouragement for Today, and it was about perfection. I had just been lying in bed this morning crying, telling my husband that I felt like I needed to be perfect at EVERYTHING - the perfect Christian, mom, wife, teacher, friend, daughter - and the list goes on. Of course I know that it is impossible, but struggle so much with even the smallest details like picking out the perfect card for someone or making the perfect dinner. So stressful and exhausting!

Your words were so very timely - thank you for reminding that I only need to be in line with Him, not perfect to the rest of the world!

Kim said...

I could not believe it when I opened my Encouragement for Today, and it was about perfection. I had just been lying in bed this morning crying, telling my husband that I felt like I needed to be perfect at EVERYTHING - the perfect Christian, mom, wife, teacher, friend, daughter - and the list goes on. Of course I know that it is impossible, but struggle so much with even the smallest details like picking out the perfect card for someone or making the perfect dinner. So stressful and exhausting!

Your words were so very timely - thank you for reminding that I only need to be in line with Him, not perfect to the rest of the world!

Anonymous said...

I struggle with my parenting. I always feel as though my kids don't measure up. It's so hard for me to see my kids not be "perfect" since I expect it from myself (and I know I fail there too). This is definitely my biggest struggle!
Torri

Allison Morrison said...

I struggle with my weight. Food and I have been at odds all my life. I am not overweight but am trying to lose 10 more pounds of baby weight (baby is only 12 weeks old) and I know I need not to obsess about it!

Anonymous said...

I struggle with my weight. Ten pounds overweight from having twins. I know that I'll get it off someday when I can be consistant with my time. Now the kids have my time.

Anonymous said...

so....what happens to the women of Psalms 31 when there kids are grown and out of the house? I am finding out that after pouring myself into my 4 children I have no idenity or purpose to my life anymore.

Leesa C said...

Thanks so much for bringing up this topic! I too struggle with being a perfect mom! I homeschool so there is outside pressure from others waiting to see how the kids "do." I also struggle with the lack of verification of doing okay, even. There are few rewards right now since my children are all so young. I keep looking to the Lord for that. I know I need to be "careful for nothing, as Phillipians says." Thanks again for the P31 article!

Mary Lynn said...

Everyday I try to be the patient, kind and soft spoken mom I want to be - I think I used to be when I was a new mom- now after 2 under the age of 7 - trying to keep up with ministry responsiblilities, PTO, home and family - I drop my basket a lot - especially as it gets later in the day. I long to be the kind of mom I always thought I would be and should be. I am lucky my kids love me irregardless of my grouchiness.
ml4estsmom@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

Where do I start? I struggle with comparing myself to other women or other moms. I also struggle with being content as a stay at home mom some days. Thanks for your blog.

Anita said...

Not feeling adequate to parent my pre-teen son.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Tracie for the encouragement. My children are grown, my importance at work is minimal and I'm feeling so inadequate. BUT, God is enough!

StephanieK said...

I am a recovering perfectionist. I'm learning that I often measure my perfection against tihe wrong standard. I definitely struggle with the mom thing, especially now that I'm single parenting two kids, one with special needs. I can't do it all. I can't be perfect. But I can follow in step with God.

StephanieK said...

I am a recovering perfectionist. I'm learning that I often measure my perfection against tihe wrong standard. I definitely struggle with the mom thing, especially now that I'm single parenting two kids, one with special needs. I can't do it all. I can't be perfect. But I can follow in step with God.

Colleen said...

I struggle with being a good mom to my grandson. I want him to see Christ in me but fail so bad sometimes. I need to learn how to teach him about God's grace. Thanks for your message this morning.

Melanie said...

Tracie - Your blog is beautiful! And looved your devo. I sure needed to hear this truth! Thank you, friend!

Shelly said...

An area in which I struggle with perfection . . . hmmm . . . I'm a little embarrassed to admit that in EVERY area of my life I struggle with perfectionism. Looks, work, home . . . you name it - perfectionism creeps in and leads to major despair - almost daily. I try hard to remember that I'm not perfect (and God doesn't expect me to be) but I am being perfected. I'm trying, but I definitely need help in this area.

Thanks for your post today - a reminder to constantly lay down this image of perfection and follow Him. He will perfect me. I don't have to be perfect, and I should quit striving for something that is only attainable when I reach heaven.

I am so interested in your book! It sounds like something I need to read. Thank you for being His hands and feet!

Deborah said...

OH my....about the same as your devotion...yelling at the kids to get their stuff...and get out of the house...

Anonymous said...

I struggle with how I look. The never ending battle of what to wear, what to do with my hair, and believing my husband when he compliments me.

Leigh said...

I struggle with juggling working full time, 4 children, and a husband. I often lose my patience and my temper trying to balance it all.

Allison said...

There are very many areas of life that I did strive for perfection. In that I have come to realize that I expect that of others and that is why I have been let down and dissappointed.
I am thankful though that God has revealed this to me within the last 2 years and has been working on me. It has been very freeing to let go and enjoy life.
The scripture is perfect and really spoke to me. I am putting it on the bathroom mirror as a reminder. Thank You!

Tracie Miles said...

Hi ladies - to all of you who commented on my blog the last couple days, I just want you to know I am praying for you! It is amazing, and in some ways heartbreaking, how we all struggle with desires to be perfect, or the expectation that we need to be perfect, especially in our journey of trying to be a good parent, and a Godly parent. I treasure your comments and my connection with you and pray that God continues to work in your hearts and help you truly embrace that our value comes from Him, and nothing we could ever accomplish on our own. Easier to say than to believe, but that is a truth we must hold dear to our spirit! Take care friends - :)