"Flip It!" You non-FCC'rs probably will immediately think this is a post about gymnastics. Though we did just end this competition season on a very HIGH note, this has nothing to do with literal flipping!
Flip-It! has been our series topic at church the past month and it has been FANTASTIC. During those weeks, when you entered the doors of the sanctuary you just had to have an "open mind" because you had no idea what to expect. One week, the congregation was asked to stand up and move to different areas to get a different "perspective". One week communion was "flipped" by being served on beautiful candle lit tables that required you to GET UP and purposely walk to it instead of our typical pass the trays down the aisles. Each week had a different twist.
Each week the visual was a large jar that was trying to be filled with water, a very large rock, sand, and pebbles. Each week a different approach was taken that ended with an overflowing, impossible mess. Nothing was said to the congregation about what was happening or what "it" meant. Having seen this visual at a retreat in college, I knew what was going on. However, many people didn't have a clue and it was interesting to hear the "buzz" about what our crazy staff was doing. The conclusion of the series finally provided the explanation.
The purpose was to show us that God (the very large rock or brick) had to go in that jar FIRST or everything else couldn't fit. Amazingly, those BUCKETS full of sand, pebbles, and water all could fit in that jar if placed in the proper order. Each item filled up every available space IF the large rock went in first. It was the anchor that allowed everything else to fit. Fill up the jar with any of the other items FIRST and it's impossible for the large rock to fit in. In real life, God HAS to be the center of our lives and take over the largest portion of us OR it is impossible to fit in everything else. We can't be half in with God and half in with the world. It doesn't work.
It was a great few weeks and I loved the series. At first, I had an attitude of I've got my ducks in a row, my priorities are on target, and God is the center of my life. But it didn't take long for God to really start talking to me about how I wasn't as "on target" as I thought and how I also needed to do some "flipping".
Hey God, how can that be? I give everything I have to my family. I am fully responsible for educating my children. I take care of our home, shuttle the kids from one part of the planet to another a hundred times a day, fit in time to exercise, kiss boo-boos, have conversations about any and EVERY things possible, cook, clean, grocery shop, play games, etc........you know I do it ALL with a delicate balance. I am actively involved in church with children's ministry. I send people encouraging notes, cook meals, and do so many things when people need help. I am the first to jump up and volunteer when something needs to be done. We practically live at church or are involved on a daily basis with "wholesome" activities. Volunteering is a big part of who we are. So, God how can I need to flip my priorities.....what ELSE is it that you are wanting me to do. Don't I do enough?
You see.....that's where HE got me and started really speaking to me. I MAY have it right in some areas, but in others I've missed the mark. I think he finally got through my stubbornness a tad. IT doesn't matter how much "good" we do if we don't do it with the "right" heart. It isn't the "works" that pleases God. It's the heart with which we do it. Granted, a huge portion of being Christlike IS giving of ourselves, but it has to be in the right attitude. I do the majority of things with a pure heart and pure love, but in others I've lost my way.
He also spoke to me about how I'm finding myself back in that trap of doing more and more....and more and more..... He rescued me from that before and he is warning me that I'm headed down that same path again and I need to get control of it NOW. That path is the one that so many of us (ESPECIALLY woman) find ourselves in. I still have not learned to say No! Why should I say NO to something good? Well, because we can find ourselves so wrapped up in doing good that we lose sight of the ONE we do it for. That's me. That's where I am. I'm so BUSY doing good things that I've let God start slipping from the top place in my life. It doesn't matter that I'm serving Him and doing things on his behalf. How do I know that I've let that happen? When I can't find the time to study his word, spend REAL time in prayer, or when "another" good thing feels like it will make my "balance" topple over.....that is when it's time to step back and see how much is because I said YES because I didn't know how to say NO and how much is because God TRULY called/led me in that direction. Sure, I can continue to do a good/acceptable job at "x", but how much more effective can I be if I'm REALLY doing exactly what God is asking me to do, not just what I feel I NEED to do!
The other area that God has revealed to me about "flipping" is priorities. Again, I initially thought he was "barking up the wrong tree". How much more could he be asking me to give of myself? My priorities are in order. WRONG! Once again, I realize I've "slipped". The kids and their needs have overtaken every ounce of my energy (and energy that I don't have enough of!), but I realize that Kevin has begun to slip down the list AGAIN. As very hard as it is, especially for a home school Mom, HE deserves to be ahead of the kids. I've not got that one down pat yet, but I believe it's true. God first, spouse second, kids third........somehow I've got to learn to make that happen! For starters, it's about dropping what I'm doing at the moment when he calls or when he comes in the door. Somehow he needs my full attention, NOT the half effort he tends to get more often then not. It's also about putting more effort into looking less like death warmed over when he comes home. Granted, many days it feels impossible.....but I should be making more of an attempt. Gone are the days of business suits & dresses (I mean sure I COULD do it, but how practical would that be?), but surely I can make sure to at least have on matching clothes and SOMETHING besides pj pants and a ratty t-shirt. Maybe I should just completely purge the house of clothes worn well past their prime and EVERYTHING with elastic waists :) He loves it when I wear earrings....so why not put them on? I mean really how many seconds of effort does that take? Nothing wrong with a ponytail, but maybe at LEAST BRUSH it instead of just throwing the band around it. I think God spoke to me about the little things that I've neglected. He's telling me to stop focusing on so many of the big things and to slow down and pay more attention to the little details.
For you home school moms, you might recognize this FLIP. Being that the end of the school year is rolling around, where are you finding yourself. Are you frustrated (I am)? Are you feeling like you failed in some areas and not focusing on the things you did RIGHT ( I am)? Are you wondering how on earth to do "x" better next year (I am)? Are you physically, mentally, spiritually exhausted (I am)? Do you think that perhaps you lost some of your purpose or your joy got dinged up way too much this year (I have)? Where in that is God telling you to FLIP? For me, he's telling me YES things didn't go perfectly but YES you gained positive ground. Things can be different next year and "x" is where you need to start. Perhaps the biggest thing he is revealing to me is that once again, I let him slip from the VERY top priority and that if I put him BACK, HE can help fill in all of those gaps and cover us in his grace. He is telling me that it's perfectly OK for "school" to not look like Mrs. Perfect's "school". It's perfectly OK to take different approaches and do what is needed for OUR family. He's going to tell each of us what we need to do differently next year and that the main thing we have to remember is that HE should be our fist source of strength, NOT our back-up plan. That's where my guilt lies. I turn to him after I've tried to do too many things in my own power. He should ALWAYS be my VERY first thought & instinct. Until HE IS, I should expect for things to be feeling out of balance!!!
So, I guess I'm going to be learning to flip. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I could NEVER learn to physically flip like Adriana.....but with God's strength I can learn to "flip". I may flop at times, but if I stick with it....I'll be flipping!