Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good, Better, Best

Last year, I read Elizabeth George's book A Woman After God's Own Heart. It was recommended to me by a friend who is on the same path that I am on: fighting our flesh nature to become the women that God has called us to be. And let me be frank, it has been hard for me.

One of the points Elizabeth George makes is that choosing God and His ways strengthens and deepens our devotion to Him. One way to do that is to employ the "good, better, best" method of decision-making. Good, better, best, never let it rest until your good is better and your better best. I'm not real fond of the rhyme, it seems rather first-graderish, but I get the point. Keep striving for God's best for you.

One of the key things I'm learning is that no one is on the exact same path that I am on. Everything is a process of little steps. It takes time to get from good to best and that's being generous in assuming that we are actually at "good". My "good" could be someone else's downright "bad". And sometimes, you may be stuck at "good" because of consequences from previous decisions. Sometimes best isn't available in your area so you have to make due with better.

A friend told me that just because you feel convicted about a certain behavior doesn't mean that everyone you know needs to change, too. (In my defense, she was saying this in general, not specifically to me....) We have to examine ourselves up against what study and reflection reveal God to be telling us. Not just our feelings. I don't think our feelings are necessarily the best indicators of what the right things are.

Lately, I am finding myself a lot more tolerant of other's different beliefs because of the good, better, best comparisons. I see people getting bent waaaaaay out of shape over secondary issues like what exactly constitutes modest dress for women, whether to work or not, whether there should be Awanas or not. It's really not fair for me to judge what might be the "good" in someone else's life. I can only judge what goes on here and believe, I've got plenty to work on without worrying about everyone else, including my husband.

For me to go from a working mother to a stay-at-home mom to someone who is investigating homeschooling options to someone interested in having a larger family to someone who wants to learn how to sew and how to grow a garden....getting there required a ton of tiny steps that took place over a period of time.

You can't undo years of thinking one way immediately. You have to start somewhere with a conscious effort to be different. It is a conscious choice every time. That's the hardest part. If I let myself go on autopilot, then I get the same old results. That's not what I want. I think that steps in the right direction are going to be good. If I can accept Brian's decision one time without arguing or talking back, then that's a step in the right direction. Maybe next time I can do it twice. If I tried to be 100% on all the areas that I needed to work on, I would be so discouraged.

Actually, at this point, I'm not entirely sure that my good is actually good....but I'm trying and still learning. And that counts. Every conscious effort counts.


Shanon said...

After reading "Do You Think I'm Beautiful", I'm finding that my first step is accepting that God loves me, totally and completely, just the way I am. I don't have to try and be supermom or a perfect woman, I just need to rest in that assurance that I am loved for me. I agree that it is all little steps, and God has individual paths for each of us. What a creative and caring God we serve! And I am so grateful that my path is different from other women's paths, because if I held myself up against some in comparison I'd feel like a total failure. I'm grateful that the only yardstick to hold ourselves up to is the one God created just for us. Your 2 inches may be fantastic, while mine may show I need to work on that area, and vice versa. It all revovles around a personal relationship with God, and I think I am just now getting to understand what that means. By the way, I'm starting a SS class for moms that attend church alone, for whatever reason, and we are going to study "Do You Think I'm Beautiful". Thank you so much for putting that book out there for me to discover. I don't know if I would have ever come across it without you. It is so cool how you sent that out so long ago, and just now God is using it to reach out to other women that need to hear that message desperately. God is good. Enjoy your journey!

Georgia said...

Why is it so hard for women to accept that God could possibly love us the way we are? We tell our kids that God made everyone different and that He loves us, but we sure don't believe that for ourselves.

Reading Angela Thomas's book was a turning point for me and I have to look at the circumstances surrounding my even finding out about that book. First, we had to move here. I thought getting involved with MOPS would be a good start to meeting some women, even though I did not participate in MOPS before we moved. I was invited to go to the national MOPS convention, even though we'd only been living here about 6 weeks. Brian made me go to the convention (I didn't want to go because I didn't know anyone) and it was an act of God that I had someone to take care of Darcy during that time. In fact, Brian's parents came to take care of the girls so I could go. Angela Thomas was speaking there at one of the break out sessions. We were assigned our sessions beforehand so it was completely in God's hands. I heard her speak and wanted to pick up her book. I finally read it about 3 months later. And it completely changed the way I saw myself and the way I saw God.

Reading that book prepared my heart to go on my Walk To Emmaus. I was so ready to see what the Lord was going to do in my life.

I am thrilled to death that God was able to use me to reach other women. While I was going through that book, I prayed that God would be able to use me somehow so that is an answered prayer.