Posted by: heisourstrongtower | September 16, 2012

September 17th – Week 1 Assignment – An Invitation to Imperfect Progress

Read the 1st Chapter in our book this week – An Invitation to Imperfect Progress

Then come back here and read my reflections from Chapter 1…this is your assignment for this week. Please make note though…that from time to time I may come back in here with additional or optional assignments for you. Let’s also share together here within the group. Let me know where you are and how you are doing and please, don’t leave me all alone here thinking that I am the only one that suffers from “ungluedness.” Share your moments and how you have allowed God to help you in those moments. Praying for you as we begin this journey together…

Reflections from Chapter 1

The sentence that stood out to me in this chapter was this one 

“Art was asking a question, but to me it was more like a statement.  A judgment of me!!” 

Oh, boy can I relate!!!  If I could have a nickel for every time Peter made a statement or asked a question that totally sounded like judgment to me, I would be a very wealthy woman.  I believe that it has more to do with the tone the question is asked or the statement is made…in my defense.  Whoops!!  No excuses or justifications, right?

I am trying to make a point in that statement though…the tone could set the stage for my unglued moment.  AND just as easily, my tone can set the stage for someone else’s unglued moment. And believe it or not…there have been moments that I have come unglued based on not one word being uttered; unglued by someone’s action and they never even said a word.

One of my more infamous “unglued” moments came several years ago and it was almost like I was watching myself fall apart.  What did I come unglued over?  The vacuum cleaner!!  Yep, I went off the deep end over a vacuum cleaner and my anger was directed at my husband.

I married a neat-freak, he did not!  My neat-freak was raised by a Mom who did not work and did everything.  I was raised by a mom who worked and really did not do much of the housework…that was left to me, as the only girl in my family.  I pretty much hated housework by the time I got married, but I did have a method to getting it completed, to my satisfaction.

You clean from the top to the bottom.  Everything that needs to be dusted is taken care of first and the very last thing you do is vacuum.  Because anyone who has cleaned a house more than once knows…what comes down must be vacuumed up.

My husband believes that if a house is vacuumed it looks clean.  I do not ascribe to that theory and it has been the bane of my existence that he insists on vacuuming first.  It had been quite some time since we had this discussion and I believed that I had finally convinced him that vacuuming is last.

It was early evening on a Friday, and I had just come home from work…the kitchen needed to be cleaned, the bathrooms needed to be cleaned, the furniture, light fixtures and ceiling fans needed to be dusted…all the prep work that needs to be done before vacuuming was still not done and he was vacuuming…everyone better take cover because there is one hellacious unglued moment coming in 10…9…8…7…6…did not even make it to 1!!!!  BOOM!!!

No, it was not a pretty sight!!  It was one of my less than God-giving glory moments.  I allowed the devil to take over my mouth and gave him free rein to spit venom at my husband.  My words gave life to an ugly situation that only got uglier as my husband got in the dirt with me.  If only there was a vacuum that could eradicate our unglued moments from existence.

The truth in this matter is that I am in a relationship with someone else who has his own thoughts and expectations.  He thought he was doing a good thing…he had decided that he would take away one of my weekend chores by vacuuming the house.  I walked in and felt he was telling me, “I hate living in a house that is not spotless.  Why can’t you be more like my Mom?”

Now he did not say any of those things…those were just the thoughts in my head, along with…”I am going to have to vacuum again, after I clean the house the correct way.”

Like Lysa, I wish I could tell you that we have resolved all of these issues and have moved past our differences in cleaning styles, but we haven’t.  I just do my best to default to God during those moments and say…”At least he is vacuuming.  If you have to vacuum again later, so be it!” Not always easy, I am the first to admit this!

One thing that I will admit to learning in my almost 33 years of marriage is that I should only have expectations for my behavior and my actions.  I can only decide for myself whether to allow God to step into my situation and take control.  I cannot make that decision for anyone else.  I think that is progress…how about you?

Word of the week – PROGRESS

  • Define and look up synonyms for our word of the week – write this in your “unglued” journal.  Look at your “mandate to change” and decide how the word “PROGRESS” will help you meet your objectives.  Write this information down in your journal.  Date each day of your journal this week.  *Make a word circle using our word for the week and include in the circle those things that will help you meet your objective and place outside of the circle those things that will hinder your objective.

Memory Verse for this weekCOLOSSIANS 1:17 – “He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.” 

  • Look up the Memory Verse in several different translations of the Bible; decide which translation speaks to your heart and memorize that one.  Write this version in your journal and let the group know which one you picked.  Look at your “Mandate to Change” and see how this verse applies to helping your meet your objectives.  Make changes to your Mandate, as needed, including this verse.
  • Set aside 40 minutes every day this week to spend alone with God. Get out your “Unglued” journal and put the date at the top of the page.  Write out what you did during your time with God.  If you read a devotion write down which one you read, if you read your Bible…what chapters or verses did you read.  Make a note of what spoke to you during this time.  Make sure that you schedule in some quiet time, where you are just silent and listen for what God is saying to you.  Write down all the thoughts that come to you during this time of listening.
  • Examine WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR LIFE OVER Warm-up weeks 1 & 2 for areas that caused you to become “unglued”.  You can do this by going back to your journal and re-reading your entries for the past week.
  • Record what you learned from each area in your journal.  Make note if this is a new area that you did not identify as an area that can cause you to become unglued during this assignment in warm-up weeks 1 and 2.
  • Surrender that unbalanced area to God and ask Him to show you how to find peace in Him instead of relying upon yourself and your own strength.  Write out a prayer to God about those areas that you are surrendering to Him.
  • At the end of each day, reflect back on how your day went…be honest with yourself about those moments when you became “unglued.”  Did you realize right away that you were not allowing God to hold you all together or did it take a while?  What helped you in that moment?  Record this information in your journal and, if need be, write an amendment to your “mandate to change.”
  • Set aside one day this week for a silent retreat. Go to the beach – a park – or even your back yard! Just get alone with God and take a spiritual inventory of your priorities, time management and goals. The results may surprise you.  This is important because many things can lead to those moments when we just totally lose it.  If you are not able to do a full day…set aside, at least, part of a day for just God and you.
  • Study questions for week 1
  1. What makes you come unglued? What about this book are you looking forward to?
  2.  Are you intimidated by “trying”? How do you feel about the phrase “imperfect progress”?
  3. What do you want your headstone to read?
  4. The book of Joshua is about conquering enemy territory. God’s people have just emerged from forty years of desert wandering and are finally ready to claim the Promised Land as their own. After spying on the enemy (Joshua 2:1 – 3) and leading his own people to recommit themselves to God (Joshua 5:2 –12), Joshua is on his way to survey the walls of Jericho in preparation for battle. But before he arrives, he discovers that a man he does not know is there ahead of him:

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”

The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13 –15) 

In this brief exchange, the commander of the Lord’s army essentially says, “I’m not here to take sides. I’m here to take over.”*   Joshua, whom God has charged with taking possession of the land (Joshua 1:1 – 9), suddenly experiences a radical reorientation— about his role and about the battle he faces.

  • How would you describe the shifts in Joshua’s perspective— specifically, what do you think changes in how he sees his role and the battle he faces?
  • Joshua’s first question rebounds, forcing him to ask himself a crucial question: Whose side am I on? How does this question shift your perspective about your role in the battles you face, and about the battles themselves?
  • What additional questions might this shift in perspective (or the story overall) stir up in you about your unglued experiences?

*Further information for the word circles plus an illustration can be found at this link…. https://heisourstrongtower.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/keeping-the-peace/

Please note you do not have to make these on the computer, you may construct your word circles in any manner you chose, by hand, using scrapbook materials, however you express yourself artistically is the perfect way for you.

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