Being Defined

I have been thinking a lot about some conversations I had with an old friend, a long time ago now, about being defined.  The conclusion was we can either be defined by the world, or by God.  I want to explore both of those.  By being defined by the world, it would be by the things we have, by what clothes we wear, by having the most, the best and the beautiful is the desired outlook.  I like to think of this as being defined by the “natural man”.  By being defined by God, it would be our soul, our relationship with Him, the true desires of our hearts, and our willingness to trust Him.

I began thinking about how I could bring these two more in line with each other.  And then I was reminded of a scripture I know in the Book of Mormon. It comes from Mosiah where a King/Prophet is telling his people his last words to them.

19 For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

God

World

-daughter/son of royalty -car                                            -clothes
-spiritual gifts -house                                       -money
-knowledge of truth -body type/size
-desires of heart -charisma

Feels like

-peaceful and safe -comparison to others
-better than I think I am -never good enough
-unique, no comparison needed -criticism is at the core
-infinite potential -no perfection ever reached
-takes me where I am, builds me up and allows me to learn -scared

Do I want to be in the middle? No, not really.  The natural man, or the carnal man, is an enemy to God.  Trying to be defined in the middle of the world and God isn’t comfortable, and it never will be.  How can I see myself through God’s eyes (and see others the same way) and put off that natural man?  Go back to the scripture above…I need to become as a child…submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, and willing to submit.  This hits me hard.  How many times as a parent to I inflict MY will on my kids and really they have NO CHOICE?  Most of the time they are willing to submit to me (going to the store, sitting in the school pick up line, eating their dinner) am I as willing?

I need to YIELD my heart to God.  To yield means “to give up and cease resistance or contention” according to my friend Merriam-Webster.  There is an action required on our part to yield.  A couple more scriptures, if you want to look them up, go for it!  2 Chr 30:8- yield to the Lord and ENTER His sanctuary, Helaman 3:35- yield your heart=become SANCTIFIED (becoming submissive and teachable), and Romans 6:13 (12-14)- less likely to sin because yield to RIGHTEOUSNESS, not the opposite.  So I can’t have both, I can’t just straddle the fence.  So where does my sense of self come from?

This is a hard question to answer.  Truthfully I struggle with my self esteem…my natural man is always telling me that I am not enough.  Not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not fashionable enough, not able to be an amazing decorator…blah blah.  So if my sense of self comes from the world/natural man= temporary, finite, and corruptible.  But if my sense of self comes from God=Infinite and eternal.  It is hard when one seems so tangible and the other not touchable but is more FELT on the inside.  As I am working to quiet my natural man and to truly YIELD to the spiritual, it truly is a fight! Like everyday.

My biggest battle, I want to please everyone.  I want to be able to do everything great all the time, and look great, but you know what…I can’t.  I can try my best and TRUST that God will make up the rest.  That said I am not saying everything worldly is bad.  Our bodies are a gift.  I am amazed at how much I can do with this body of mine, even though I am not slim.  I am trying as hard as I can to do my best with it but it is not perfect.  Control what you can control, do your best and give up the rest!

And one more scripture: 1 John 3:20 God is greater than our heart.

There are times when I don’t know if I can do it, but you know what? God knows and I choose to trust Him.

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Two relaxing things

Everyone has something that they love to do to just relax and let go right?  Well, I have two things.  #1 Reading…okay, you probably could figure that out, right?!  Who wouldn’t want to curl up with a good book and just read.  My only problem with reading lately is that I keep falling asleep.  I really want to read, I wait all day to read in the quiet, but I am just too tired!!  So I don’t get my full stress relief from reading.  It is sad.  But, I still love reading.  My wonderful hubby has a fun blog on creativity and he just blogged about what he likes to read.  You should check it out on this link. I am pretty much in line with him, I don’t read a ton of fiction and I really LOVE autobiographies/biographies.

Ready for #2??

I LOVE baking.  Seriously, that is one of the reasons that I love when it is cooler weather, it gives me a chance to bake.  I think it fulfills me in many ways.  It is relaxing to me, it makes me calm down and focus and take time for something.  It is a creative outlet for me.  That may sound funny, but baking really is a way for me to create something, to hold it in my hands.  It is something tangible that was created with love for others.  My favorite thing to bake is bread.  Come on, who doesn’t love a warm buttery roll or fresh bread.  Ah…I can smell it now.  And you know what the other great thing is…I get to eat something amazingly delicious! Another thing I love is that I can share it with others and it makes others happy.

A few weeks ago I tried out a new bread recipe…it was a mixed grain bread and it was so good.  The first loaf was gone in less than 15 minutes.  It made a lot of bread though and so I took some to a super nice couple that lives close to me.  Last year they brought us a WARM loaf of homemade bread so I thought it was a great time to pay it forward to them!  (Speaking of paying it forward…this is totally a side note.  I went to Dairy Queen to get a little treat for me and the hubby after the kids went to sleep and when I drove up to pay, the car in front of me had paid for my order.  I had always heard about things like that, but it never happened to me.  Well, I paid for the car behind me.  It was SO awesome!) For one of my sister-in-laws birthday I let her choose what treat she wanted and she chose cinnamon rolls.  I was so happy she did, because I LOVE cinnamon rolls (I made pumpkin cinnamon rolls) and I ate one too! YUM.   So bread, I love it.

I still have not been able to get my Grandma’s bread recipe exactly right.  It always makes good bread, but it is just not exactly like hers was.  She was a wheat bread pro.  I do not own a mixer so I make everything by hand (although my dream is to one day have a Bosch mixer with all the cool attachments :)). My grandma did it by hand, she must have just put more muscle into it or something.  Every time I pull out her recipe I have sweet memories.  I guess that is another reason I love baking and sharing with my kids.  My kids love to be my helpers, although sometimes mom just needs her baking time!  Some of my favorite breads are a rosemary flax bread, wheat bread, spinach barley bread, mixed grain bread, honey oat bread, and of course dinner rolls. I also love making different kinds of bread sticks, flat breads, hamburger buns, and we have homemade pizza every Friday.  I love experimenting with different grains and seeing if my family notices!  We can’t forget the treat side of baking though either!  I would still say that those pumpkin cinnamon rolls are my favorite to make, smell, and eat, but cookies and brownies they definitely count as baking in my mind!

The one thing that I am trying to figure out with baking though…well…I just really love food.  I enjoy making food and I enjoy eating it.  Some times I eat too much.  And that is when I have a love/hate relationship with my body.  I love what my body can do, I have put it through a lot, but you know what…it is not as young as it once was.  I am on the downward slide to 40 (don’t tell!) and I am not as spry as I would like. But, I am focusing on the relaxing qualities of baking.

So happy reading and happy baking.  I am currently reading a book called, “The Crucible of Doubt” and have another book on hold and I know what I am going to read after that.  Maybe I just need to bake something amazing and eat it while I am reading, then I can stay awake 🙂