Goodbye Starbucks!

It is hard to believe that I have been working at my Starbucks store for almost a year. When I got the job, I had no idea how thankful I would be for it today. Working at my store has been such a blessing. I have 5 co-workers, they all go to Sojourn, and they have become some of my best friends! I have become especially close to Lauren and Mary Ellen. Since we are typically really slow, we always have a ton of down time to talk and laugh. I have given them permission to be intentionally intrusive in my life. They love me so well.

ImageToday, Lauren, Mary Ellen, and Eron threw a party for me! The store had a bunch of blue balloons and signs, and they put together a little basket of all my favorite things and gift cards to my favorite restaurants! They also made a card and all of our regulars signed it wishing me luck as I leave to be a mama. Since we are such a small Starbucks, our regulars become really invested in us, so it was really sad!

ImageGod was so good in allowing me to work here. It definitely was not my plan initially, but has been such a tool God used to make me feel at home here in Louisville. I am so thankful.

thoughts from a friend on submission in the midst of conflict:

I am thankful for the fellowship of my friend Abbie, who recently moved to Louisville. Not only is there something comforting about having years of history with someone, but the ability to be raw and honest without fear of judgement or misunderstanding. What a breath of fresh air this women has been!

Since she is also married, it has been nice to challenge one another in our pursuits of Christ and our husbands. She brought up an interesting question the other day: In conflict, can a women submit to her husband without the indwelling holy spirit and the help of Jesus?

In the world, women respond to conflict or failed expectations in a multitude of ways: Some endlessly serve and put on a smile with a desperate and longed-for hope of change. Others hold in frustration until they simply “can’t take it anymore” and blow up, throwing a dish or a bowl of salad on the ground (sound familiar?). Others threaten, leave the house, continuously nag, or even take control of the situation independently (“I don’t need him…”). Obviously the godly way, and probably the most effective way, to communicate an issue with our husbands would be to wait until our emotions have settled and approach the conversation in a calm, respectful, forgiving, and loving manner. But can all women in the world respond in this way? And even as a Christian women is it really possible to respond in this way? And are you sure throwing a bowl of salad on the ground or being a nag wouldn’t be more effective?

Through that conversation with Abbie, the Lord has been teaching me that we cannot crucify our fleshly responses or desires unless we are first made new in Christ and relying on Him alone. Even though many women in the world die to themselves to serve their idol of marriage or husband, they are still living, in a sense, to themselves and their idealistic, “if only” hopes. Therefore true submission in the hard moments of marriage, the kind that takes extending love and patience instead of bitterness and anger, requires us to lay down our lives and die, only to raise to new life in Christ. In Christ, we don’t have to draw from the well of bitterness, disunity, or pride. Instead, we can draw strength from the Holy Spirit who is ready to change us. Instead of overwhelming our husbands with sorrow and heaping guilt when they sin against us, we can ask Jesus to help us reaffirm our love to them (2 Cor. 2:7-11)! Forgiveness is the greatest picture of the gospel that we could ever show our husbands. When we go to Jesus and forgive them first in our hearts and then express our hurt or conflict, we are not only submitting to them in love, but we are allowing the true agent of change, the gospel, to work in their hearts. This is where lasting change will occur in our marriages.

But lasting change in us begins when we listen to Jesus’ sweet words to “come” and to “die.”

Disregarding the 20. Focusing in on the 80.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8)

I never understood this verse. I thought it to be really flowery and I usually skipped over it. But recently, I began to understand its meaning! And oh how it has been transforming my thought patterns! In relationships (I see it springing up a lot with my fiancée), I hold expectations on people. When they fail to live up to some of those expectations, I am let down. The thoughts that run though my mind are usually not loving and affectionate, but rather critical and harsh- narrowing in on the other’s faults and weaknesses. Entertaining this pattern, will only lead to a cold, distant, and sometimes bitter, heart toward that person.

Elizabeth Elliot teaches that we let people live up to about 80 percent of our expectations. The other 20 percent we desperately want to change. We can either persistently and bitterly chip away at that 20 percent for the rest of our relationship with that person (without reducing it very much) OR we can simply enjoy the 80 percent and both will live happily.

Paul enlightens the truth that we are all sinners in desperate need of change, and instructs us to rather think about these things– whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise.  In doing so, we are choosing to delight in the radical nature of the other’s gospel change and evidences of grace annnd give glory to the Father! Not only will we feel affection toward that person when we might otherwise feel disappointment or frustration, but we will grow in our own sanctification, and feel the satisfaction of God being most glorified. Amen.

Father we humbly ask- change our thinking.

Love is not all you need.

Today I was reading Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods and I was overwhelmed by how much it spoke into the heart behind my idols.  If you were to ask my closest friends they would tell you that I hate being alone and even more than that I hate not being included in something.  I have always struggled with needing a best friend or a boyfriend.  Until recently, I have always had that one person who I spent the majority of my time with and whom wanted to spend time with me over anyone else.  The problem was that I became dependent on these people in my life.  When one would go, I quickly filled the position and continued on feeding my idol of acceptance and comfort.  The real problem: I was worshipping and serving the creature, rather than the creator (Romans 1:25).  I exchanged the truth of God- that I was created to know and treasure the glory of God above all things- for a lie and instead believed that my meaning for life was to find companions who would love me and accept me.  Instead of believing that God showed his love for me by sending Jesus to die on my behalf so that I could receive the highest status-acceptance before God (Romans 5:8, 2 Cor. 5:21), I started believing that God’s love wasn’t good enough and I needed to find my worth in having some person show undivided attention to me.  People became my counterfeit Gods.

Here is what Tim Keller says about this subject:

  • An idolatrous attachment can lead you to break any promise, rationalize any indiscretion, or betray any other allegiance in order to told onto it. It may drive you to violate all good and proper boundaries. To practice idolatry is to be a slave.
  • Because the secular world did not see fit to acknowledge God (Rom. 1:28) and believes that we are here by accident, we instill a sense of significance in our lives through “apocalyptic romance”- We look to sex or romance to give us meaning we were meant to get from God.
  • When we elevate the partner to a position of god, we simply want redemption- nothing less.
  • The love object is God.  No lover, no human, can be qualified for that role; no one can live up to it. The inevitable result: bitter disillusionment.
  • If you are too afraid to love OR too enamored by it, it has assumed godlike power, distorting your perceptions and your life.
  • Our fears and inner barrenness make love a narcotic, a way to medicate ourselves- and addicts always make foolish, destructive choices.

This plays out in Genesis 29 in Jacob’s pursuit of Rachel:

16Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. 18Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” 20So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. 21Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” 22So Laban gathered together all the people of the place and made a feast. 23But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her. 25And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?”

Jacob was so obsessed and caught up in getting Rachel that he was distracted and deceived.  He didn’t know and trust in the love of God and thus sought to place Rachel in a position God should have been. no person, not even the best one, can give your soul all it needs. You are always going to think you have gone to bed with Rachel and wake up and it will always be Leah. This cosmic disillusionment and disappointment is there in all of life, but we especially feel it in the things upon which we set our hopes.

This is my struggle.  I elevate people and expect them to meet my needs by adoring me and setting me apart. When this happens, I see myself become like an addict, desperately needing his fix, but finding no narcotics to ease his time of pain.  In withdraw, I can turn to Jesus, my redeemer.

“I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason: that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” (1 Tim. 1:13-16)

This is a good promise: “There is there for now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)

Lord, by the power of your great and powerful mercy, release me from the enslavement of idolizing the comfort and approval of man and help me reorient the entire focus of my life toward you. You love is all that I was ever supposed to long for and it is enough.