Not Even A Nibble!

I went to biblegateway.com yesterday to look up a verse and when the page opened there was a picture of one of the paddleboards I had researched on the bottom left corner and a picture of a sundress I had looked at in the middle right side of the page.

I hate it when that happens. It creeps me out to know that they (whoever “they” are) are monitoring and tracking me and my habits. I also hate it because it distracts and tempts me. What I hate most is when I fall for the distraction and temptation!

I don’t know how many times I have settled into my favorite chair with my morning cup of coffee, Bible, and journal, ready for some awesome prayer and devotion time with the Lord and ended up online shopping for an hour instead. When I realize how much time I have wasted I feel angry and frustrated that I have fallen for the same trap again.

After repeatedly falling for the same distractions and temptations I have learned some ways to safeguard my prayer and devotion time. I know I cannot check my email before prayer time. I know I should not have my phone anywhere near me at prayer time. I know if I even do one task like throwing in a load of laundry or feeding the dog it will lead to another task and next thing I know an hour has passed. Sure, I may have accomplished a lot, but I have missed out on the one thing that I need most in my day. When that happens I feel anxious and frustrated.

Marketers and advertisers are not the only ones watching and tracking us. We have a real enemy and the Bible says we are to be aware of the devil’s devices as he prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The enemy doesn’t just ambush us out of nowhere with a random attack. He takes his time getting to know us. He studies our habits. He watches our actions. He identifies our weaknesses. He listens to the words we speak about ourselves, and others, and he discovers our temptations.

Once he is has figured out what trips us up he doesn’t devour us all at once. It happens bite by bite. He takes a bite of our time when we get sucked into an hour of social media. He takes a bite out of our finances when we see something we just have to have- especially since it is on sale. He takes a bite out of our marriage when we have our needs met in someone other than our spouse. He takes a bite out of our health when we give in to the third piece chocolate cake.

A little nibble here and there may not seem like a big deal, but when you add them up bite by bite, meal by meal, they start to have a negative impact on your relationship with yourself and with God. Falling into the same snares time and again leave you feeling anxious, frustrated, and hopeless. They make it harder to go boldly before the throne because you are more aware of your mistakes than you are of God’s promises.

The best thing you can do to safeguard yourself is to know yourself and know Gods promises. No matter what your weaknesses and temptations are, God promises to make a way of escape for you. However, better than having a way of escape is avoiding the need for escape in the first place.

Take your weaknesses and temptations before God and ask him to help you come up with ways to guard against them. There is no point in acting all holier than thou before Him. He already knows what your weaknesses are. He simply wants you to trust Him and believe that He loves you no matter what you may struggle with. He wants to help you, but He is not going to impose His help on you.

If you are struggling with any strongholds, or temptations in your life, please take a moment to fill out a prayer request. You can remain anonymous. There is no reason to give your life over bite by bite, meal by meal to the enemy. God wants you free from everything that takes you away from who you were created to be and the life He died to give you.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. -1 Peter 5:8 NLT

Love, Grace, and a Nibble Free Day to You All,

Jen

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The 24-hour Woman

“I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man.” Those are the lyrics in a perfume commercial from 1980, it was sung by a beautiful, sexy woman with pouty lips. The tag line was Enjoli- the 8-hour perfume for the 24- hour woman.

I clearly remember walking around my parents’ house singing and mimicking this woman. I would have been eight at the time. That was just the start of a lifetime of commercials, ads, and worldly influences telling me I not only have to be a 24-hour woman, I also need to be a perfect and complete 24-hour woman.

It’s no surprise I have fallen into the trap of thinking I need to be perfect in every way. I often feel as though I should have a house like Martha Stewart, a heart like Mother Theresa, and a body like Jillian Michaels. Let’s just say I am 0 for 3 and I don’t expect any changes in my stats anytime soon.

I know I am not alone in this. I know it is a common trap for most women. I have seen in myself and in others, the countless hours spent, wasted really, on things that don’t truly matter in an attempt to achieve some level of perfection, or at minimum a level of “good enough”.

But who decides what “good enough” is or looks like? And who are we trying to be “good enough” for? And how will life be different when we finally become “good enough”?

When I sat down and answered those questions for myself, I realized my motives were all wrong and my pursuits were all in vain. I had bought into the lie. I had bought into the need to become the 24-hour perfect and complete woman. I had forgotten that in Christ I have already been perfected forever!

When we give our lives to Jesus, he marks us approved, perfected, pure, and blameless. We no longer need to strive for the approval of those around us. We no longer need to try to fit the ideals the world puts on us. We no longer need to wait until we are good enough to be happy. When we belong to Jesus we are all we ever need to be.

It’s not always easy to stay in that feel good Truth. I still get caught in the good enough trap from time to time. I find myself needing to lose that last ten pounds, or researching the latest cellulite cream, or buying a new outfit that I really don’t need because I need a quick feel good fix. The good news is that now I realize when I am getting sucked in and I can go back to the Truth that says not only am I good enough, I am better than that! I am perfect and complete right here, right now, and so are you.

I encourage you all to take a few minutes to honestly answer the good enough questions. Are you pursuing the wrong things for the wrong reasons in order to impress the wrong people? Are you wasting precious time, energy, and money on things that don’t really matter? Whatever your answers are, I pray you find hope and peace as you meditate on the Truth of today’s verse. I pray you let it sink down deep into your heart and that you go back to it whenever you feel yourself falling into the 24-woman trap.

For by one offering He has perfected forever and completely cleansed those who are being sanctified [bringing each believer to spiritual completion and maturity]- Hebrews 10:14 AMP

Grace, peace, and a perfected by Jesus day to you all,

Jen

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