10 Habits of Happy Mothers--Habit #3

If you haven't read my first post on this, you can read more about this book here. I'm writing about the third habit in this author's list, which is: Value and Practice Faith.

I will start by saying that I very much appreciate her opening sentences: "I have a confession. Faith is a struggle for me."As Dr. Meeker also states on page 44, "I think that the toughest part about faith is that it fundamentally requires a lack of control." I agree.

I've been told by some friends that they appreciate my being "real." What I really am is a mess. My flesh regularly leads me around by the nose--I nag my husband and my kids; I struggle to forgive when someone hurts me; I rehearse mistakes and bad decisions (even though they are under the blood of Christ now); and I compare myself to everyone else, judging my weaknesses by their strengths. That brings up another sentence I enjoyed on page 44:

"We feel inadequate, because we are."
Oh, I get it--that's why we need God. Because, "once we feed our faith, everything else in life gets better. Everything." (Meeker, page 47). I know this is true, not just because Dr. Meeker says it, but because it is part of God's Word:

"Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For . . . your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you," (Matthew 6:31-33, emphasis added).
Dr. Meeker goes on to say that religion and faith aren't the same thing. I like the point that she makes on page 53, where she says, ". . . being religious doesn't require faith. It requires discipline." But, "following rules could never substitute for a vibrant faith."

I can personally testify to that. I have a task-oriented mentality, and it is very hard for me not to treat my daily prayer and Bible reading as part of my to-do list. What is worse, I almost cross over into a superstitious realm, at times feeling like my day went bad because I didn't read my Bible that morning. Hogwash! The Bible says that God "causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matt 5:45), so bad things happen to everyone. Furthermore, His love is not determined by what we do. It is ours because we are His.

Dr. Meeker's suggestions for making faith a habit in your life are :

1. Think before you leap -- Essentially, know whom you are surrendering to, and what you believe. Don't just go blindly--study to be anchored to the Rock.

2. Make it personal--Like you've heard before, life with Jesus is a relationship, not religion. You can't build relationship without communication, which means prayer, praise and Bible reading, if you want to know God deeper.

3. Find community -- "In a faith community, each of us learns more about God, people, humility, and acceptance than anywhere else on the planet." (Meeker, page 65)

4. Serve -- Basically, don't focus on yourself. Yes, as moms of young children, our lives tend to revolve around our families--and that is what God expects. But, when we find ourselves feeling depressed and negative, looking to the needs of others can give us a fresh perspective on just how blessed our lives are, and that creates thankfulness and deepens our love for God.

Long post longer . . . to sum up my thoughts on faith, I would say that faith is not a feeling. Faith is directly linked to trust, and trusting is hard--especially trusting One you cannot see. I have felt spiritually dry for some time now, because I was carrying something that God asked me to lay down a long time ago. I think I did, but I kept picking it up
and laying it down over and over. For some (Holy Spirit dictated) reason, this morning it all came to an emotional head. I had a major God-moment, and He touched me in such a personal way through the sermon that I know He heard my prayer this morning, even though it was furiously scribbled in my journal instead of spoken aloud. I say all this to say--don't let your emotions get in the way of your faith. They will lie to you (and tell you God is not there, or He's disappointed in you), so you need to talk back to them. The only way to fight this is to battle the feelings and stick with God, even when He feels miles away.

He is near and He will reward you. Keep seeking Him.

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