iPhone iDol: iNeed iAm

My son’s ability to sense a cell phone in the room and then zero in on it is incredible. He will go to extreme lengths to try and get it, even stop in the middle of his first morning feeding if he so much as catches a glimpse of it. He is seven months old. It was fascinating at first, even funny, when he would drop everything to go after mommy or daddy’s phone. We would think, “Oh, he must know that we think they are important because we always have them.” Dean and I really try to be present with Sammy when we are with him; which means not sticking our noses in our phones all day, but there is still a lot of time that we spend on them and Sammy wants what we have.

Recently, I had started to feel a little uneasy about Sammy’s obsession with my phone, but it wasn’t until this morning that I understood the true capacity of what my phone really was. Sammy was eating ravenously, it was his first morning feeding and it had been 10 hours since he ate last. I knew better than to have my phone anywhere in Sammy’s line of sight. If Sammy saw the phone he would stop everything, even eating a meal he so desperately wanted and needed just so he could try to possess the device. All of a sudden Sammy stopped drinking and started squirming around and fussing. He must be experiencing some gas or discomfort. But no matter what I did or tried he still squirmed and fussed. Then I felt it, a weight in the front pocket of my sweatshirt shift: my cell phone.  I looked down to see Sammy’s chubby little fingers retreat out of my pocket, knuckles white with determination and strength, he had the phone in his clutches. Just for a moment his face shown of shear victory, until I pried the phone from his hands, lobbed it to the other end of the couch, swiftly followed by a pillow, which, upon landing, hid the phone from view.

This phone was becoming a problem. I didn’t even remember it was in my pocket, but he knew, he found it, how did he find it? No, this phone was already a problem. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that this phone wasn’t so much of a problem for Sammy as it was for me. Last night my phone’s battery was almost dead. I plugged the phone in at an outlet in the kitchen, so I could try to be more present with my family. But I found myself constantly searching for my phone. I would look for my phone in my pockets before I remembered that it was in another room charging.

Who is that actress? I know her from something else… Feel around for my phone to find an answer.

These menstrual cramps are miserable…Feel around for my phone to complain to a friend and find some essential oil mixtures to help.

I need a little break…Where is that phone?

Do we have plans tomorrow? Search for my phone to look up my calendar.

What is the weather supposed to be tomorrow?

That video of Sammy in the bath was so cute, I want to watch it again.

Did our lawyer email over his retainer contract?

I need to remember to find a David’s Bridal to get sized for my friend’s wedding.

I’ve seen this episode so many times, what else can I do while I watch? Chess? Facebook?

What are other people doing right now?

I want to talk to someone…to connect.

The list goes on and on and on. I need my phone, where’s my phone, I’ll check on my phone, maybe I can find it on my phone… I’m obsessed. It has become such a part of me that I didn’t even realize it; my phone has become my god. My phone is an idol! I know, I know, we have all seen those videos about how we miss things when we are on our phones. We all KNOW our phones can suck us in, but we also all KNOW that our phones aren’t all bad, it’s all about balance and blah-blah-blah. It’s so easy to blame the phone and declare, “I will give up social media for lent!” or “I will put my phone in another room while I am home!” or “I will take my email off my phone!” and hope that things will change. But no matter how long I refrain or how many promises I make about my phone, I always seem to get sucked back in. Why?

When it comes down to it, it’s not really about the phone at all. I have these desires engrained in me. I want to connect with others. I want to know and to be known. I want answers. I want purpose. I want guidance. I want rest. I want success. I want recognition. I want to remember. I want to plan. I want comfort. I’ve been going to my phone for understanding, purpose, communion, guidance, knowledge, remembrance, and the list goes on. I have been going to my phone when I should be going to my God. And the worst part? I’ve been teaching my son that the answers come from a phone…. A PHONE!!! Not Jesus, but a phone! Sure, I pray out loud with my son every night before bed. I pray with him when he isn’t feeling well. We read books about God. We listen to bible stories. We go to church. We have times of worship. We do all these things, but even with all of that, when my first response is to check my phone, I’m teaching my son that phones come first. I’m teaching my son that communion comes from the phone, comfort comes from the phone, rest comes from the phone, etc, etc, etc!

My phone itself is not bad, but in my brokenness I have turned it into something that God never intended it to be. Why is it so easy for me to choose a phone as my god instead of recognizing that God is God? I don’t need to stifle my desire for rest, communion, purpose, guidance, etc. Those are not bad desires. God created me to have these needs and desires, because guess who those needs draw me closer to? HIM!

Satan would love to try and get me to believe that I am horrible person for this. But I’m not. You know that, I know that, but there is that little nagging feeling inside me that says, “I failed again.” But guess what? I didn’t fail, I mean I did, but I didn’t. Is it failing if you fall down and get back up? No, I didn’t fail, I won’t ever fail. Not because I’m awesome or great or whatever, but because He is! Jesus said, “it is finished!” and it is! I have already won. We have won. I am still fighting, I am still running toward my Lord, but even a fall is not a complete failure when I know that nothing can keep me from winning because Jesus has already won the race for me. Recognizing that I am NOT God is a victory. Recognizing that I NEED God is a victory! Recognizing that I am trying to fill my need for God with something else is also a victory!

Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

God is working in me, He is perfecting me. I have not been called a failure, but progress. This is my resurrection. I am not dying, but I have already died and now I am rising back to life. There is hope.

The other day I was practicing yoga. I have not been able to fully express an arm balance for over two years now due to the tendinitis in my wrist and subsequent muscle loss. The other day I was practicing crow pose, a pose where your hands are planted into the ground and your knees rest into your armpits so your feet can lift off the ground. I haven’t been able to put my full weight into my hands and lift my feet of the ground in ages, and the other day was no different. However, I was able to lift one foot off the ground. If I looked at my practice from a perspective of what I have done before it looks like I’m getting worse. Once I had both feet off the ground, but now I only have one… is it possible that pretty soon I won’t be able to lift even one foot off the ground? But the reality is so different! I had both feet off the ground once, and then I was broken and needed both feet on the ground, and now I am regaining my strength and I am able to take one foot off the ground. I am not getting worse, I’m getting better. I was well, I got sick, and now I am on the mend. But the evil one is trying to convince me that I was well, I got sick, and I’m getting sicker.

I won’t believe that for a second! God is doing a good work in me! He is revealing his Truth to me. He is mending me. I am not perfect, and I won’t be until the day Christ comes again, but I am on the mend! I am not dying, I am being resurrected!

So back to the phone, I have not failed, I am not a bad mom, I am not a sad excuse for a human. No, I AM human. I am not God and I am recognizing my NEED for God…and that is a victory!

Worship with me:

 

“Does Your Mom Know You are Wearing That?” *REVISITED*

I know I made this entry several days ago, but I am putting it up again and this time I am not simply going to look at it. I am going to destroy the lies and take the plunder! 

“Elizabeth, does your mom know you are wearing a midriff shirt?”

What was a midriff? What does she mean does my mom know I am wearing this shirt?  Of course my mom knows what I’m wearing, I’m five, my mom helped dress me this morning.

It was warm out,probably summer, and my outfit looked like sunshine. Bright yellow. That’s all I really remember, bright yellow with a small red or pink pattern on it, flowers? Boats? Lady bugs? It was sunshine, I felt like sunshine and then suddenly I was unsure of my sunshine.

“I’m sure your mom would not want you showing your belly button.” What? Why not? What’s wrong with my belly button? My mom let me wear this outfit, she let me be sunshine! But just in case, I spent the rest of the day trying to hide my belly button from my friend’s mom.


For years I didn’t understand why showing my belly button should be shamed (it shouldn’t be- that’s between me and God). It wasn’t until I hit puberty that those little flutters in my stomach and heat in my face let me know that there is something about belly buttons that is exciting (yep, I went there…puberty…). But not belly buttons of a child. I had no lust in my heart, no desire to tempt a brother or sister; I was a child and my intentions were to look like sunshine, I was not at fault in this situation. And I know there are some of you out there who will say, “but there are broken people who lust after children.” Yea, that’s true, but I was not created to live in fear of the broken. It is not my responsibility (as a five year old) to protect a broken man or woman from lustful thoughts. That shame is misplaced and needs to be destroyed!

Psalm 139:13-16

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 100:3

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.

My belly button is a reminder that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My bully button is a reminder that I was knit together in my mother’s womb. My belly button is a reminder that I am a reward! I am a heritage from the Lord! I am His and my frame is not hidden from Him. He knows it all, I need not hide in shame, He knows it all, I am a gift and He claims me as His own.

Walk In and Take It!

“But the Lord said me, ‘Do not be afraid of her. For I have given her and all her people and her land to you. Do to her just as you did to Anxiety of the mind, who lived in the land of Panic.”

This is a verse from Deuteronomy 3 that I amended for my own use. She is me, and yet she is not me at all. I am going into battle against the me that is a believer of lies. I am going into battle against my own thoughts; thoughts that at first merely set up camp, then settled into the region of my mind and fortified its position with walls and fortresses. Thoughts that told the rest of me I was not enough.

I’m scared to go in there. I’m scared to destroy these villages of thought. I’m scared to kill every last living thought and I’m even scared to take the plunder for myself. What if destroying these thoughts means I lose everything I had once gained: admiration from *Bea (name changed),the prettiest girl in the land, for those rare moments when I was enough. What if destroying these thoughts meant I would lose every single victory of being chosen by others because of what I did and who I was. What if instead of gaining a village of thought I am destroyed by it!

Numbers 14

That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

Will I rebel and retreat just like the Israelites? Will I be doomed to wander this desert of self-loathing for another 38 years? NO!!!

NO!! I will not stand down. I will not retreat!

It is time. I am armored up, and I am going into battle. I will face these lies , I will fight these lies, and I will conquer these lies! I will take my mind back! I will because God is and He has already devoured these lies! It is finished, all I need to do is walk in there and take it!

Does Your Mom Know You Are Wearing That?

“Elizabeth, does your mom know you are wearing a midriff shirt?”

What was a midriff? What does she mean does my mom know I am wearing this shirt?  Of course my mom knows what I’m wearing, I’m five, my mom helped dress me this morning.

It was warm out,probably summer, and my outfit looked like sunshine. Bright yellow. That’s all I really remember, bright yellow with a small red or pink pattern on it, flowers? Boats? Lady bugs? It was sunshine, I felt like sunshine and then suddenly I was unsure of my sunshine.

“I’m sure your mom would not want you showing your belly button.” What? Why not? What’s wrong with my belly button? My mom let me wear this outfit, she let me be sunshine! But just in case, I spent the rest of the day trying to hide my belly button from my friend’s mom.

“It’s a long climb up the dusty mountain
to build a turret tall enough to keep you out
but when you wage your wars against the one who adores you,
then you’ll never know the treasure that you’re worth
but I’ve never been a wealthy one before
I’ve got holes in my pockets burned by liars’ gold,
and I think I’m far too poor for you to want me”

       -In Memoriam by The Oh Hellos

 

It’s true, I carry lies around in my pockets that burn holes. It doesn’t matter that the liars’ gold falls through the holes because its goal was to burn the hole. The goal of the liars’ gold was to make sure that real gold could not be collected in my pockets.

But Jesus’ love cannot be bought and Jesus’love cannot be contained by a pocket, so whatever my pocket could hold doesn’t really matter. An empty pocket can’t keep me from a love that was, is, and will be. A hole in my pocket can’t keep me from a love that surrounds my entire being like water.

It’s funny, I think I am clothed in robes of white and gold and purple. I know the bible just says white, but I see trim of gold and purple. From far away the robe is just white, but close up there is trim, intricate little details embroidered with love. And it’s not embroidered with the things I have done, really the embroidery has nothing to do with me. The gold and purple is not me, it’s Jesus. And yet I am the one who gets to wear it. I am the one who gets to show the world the beauty that I am clothed in and that beauty has nothing to do with me, and yet it has everything to do with me. It is not of me, but it is what makes me beautiful. It is not my work, but it is what sets me apart. In fact it is what sets us all apart. My embroidery is different from the others, each of us has a unique design, but none better than the other.

But I don’t interact with the world like I am clothed in these robes. I am so focused on what others have and are, that I can’t see what I have is undying, never failing love and what I am is beautiful. I have been chosen to wear this robe; this robe that as been washed in the blood of the lamb. I have been chosen to display Jesus, the Jesus that is everything and the only thing. I have been chosen for a life of riches and beauty and I am somehow getting caught up in the fact that I couldn’t wear So-and-So’s robe because she is so much skinnier than me and it would cling in all the wrong places.

Okay….

Who cares?! Clearly I do, but why? Why does it matter so much? It’s that damned liars’ gold! I keep believing that He will choose others over me.

 

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Colossians 3:12

An Object to Be Saved

Chosen.

It’s not a word I ever relate to myself. I don’t really understand how I could ever be chosen. That’s a big problem isn’t it? Excuse me for wanting to shift the blame, I know that’s not the way to go, but I just need to get this out, I need to put words to my thoughts, even if just to recognize the lies I am believing:

Somewhere along my childhood I learned to never believe I could be chosen for me, just me. Circumstances taught me to not see myself as worthy. I was taught to be a damsel in distress that needs a prince, a knight, a savior: I was an object to be saved. That was my purpose; saved so someone else could get the glory of saving me and I could be deemed “saved” and thus forgotten about. No one would have to worry about me anymore, think about me anymore, and I would just fade into the background of a happily ever after story. As a damsel in distressed I was chosen to be saved out of pity for my circumstances and the more pitiable the circumstances the more glory for the savior. Life taught me that I was chosen to be saved, not out of a desire to truly save me, all of me, but out of a desire for the savior, knight, or prince to earn more glory.

And upon the return of Prince Charming the town erupted into cheers and applause. The children chased after the prince’s horse and house wives paused from hanging their washing to wave and bow to the two riders upon one horse. The rumor going around was that Prince Charming slayed a dragon and freed the damsel from her fiery prison. The damsel was imprisoned for years and thanks to the prince she is free! Free to live a life beside the prince. Free to be remembered as a person of pity, then of salvation, and finally free to forever sing the princes praises to all. Free to give glory but never glorified, because the damsel is only good for saving. She has no other purpose and they lived happily ever after…

I know, it’s a bit extreme, but there is some truth to it especially when my knight in shining armor, is constantly switching between Jesus, my husband, and a made up version of everything I think a husband should be. When I think of Jesus as my savior I’m “ok” with not getting the glory…because I’m not supposed to want His glory. There is so much in me that wants to shout from every mountain about what Jesus has done for me, but I also want someone to shout from the mountains about how wonderful I am too. Is that wrong?

I am totally itching to tell the world about how Jesus saved me from the dragon of anxiety and panic, how he broke open the dungeon door of depression and carried my weak, starving body outside the walls of a prison masquerading as a beautiful castle. It’s a great story really, but what about afterwards? What am I good for afterwards? What about me?

And they lived happily ever after.

WAIT! What happens now that I’m free?

And they lived happily ever after.

I know the end of the story is that I live happily ever after in eternity with Jesus, but there is a moment, a breath of life, a split second in eternity where I am free and not yet happily ever after. There is that moment before the “and”. The knight saved the damsel (breathe in)  AND they lived happily ever after. That moment, that pause right before the “and”; a slight intake of breath before the eternity of happiness. What do I do in that moment? Because that moment is now, and I don’t just want to sit around waiting for the “lived happily ever after”.

And can I find that “what now?” in the REAL reason why the knight saved me? Because I can’t bear to believe that I was saved just for the purpose of that savior to gain glory.

There has to be more to me. I need to be chosen for more than that. I don’t just want to be a pawn used and discarded. Because if I was created just to suffer so someone else can be glorified, then why create me at all?