Proverbs 31 Womans Devotional - Encouragement for Today

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Encouragement for Today - Jan. 11, 2011

 January 11, 2011
Company's Coming!
Lynn Cowell

"Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.'"
John 8:34 (NIV)       

My kids knew the drill when company was coming. We would go through my cleaning notebook (yes, I have a cleaning notebook) room by room, and clean the house from top to bottom. That's the good part.

Doing my best to make everything perfect, the worst of me would show. That's the bad part. No hand prints on the windows. No streaks on the kitchen island. No spots in the bathroom sink. I wanted my house as close to perfection as I could get it; at least until company left. After that, all could go back to life as usual.

So what went through my kid's minds when this insanity happened? Did they just see this as my idiosyncrasy or something deeper? What was I teaching my kids? If lessons are better caught then taught, I have a feeling they might have caught the "performance bug" from me - the contagious belief that we need to perform in order to feel accepted.

Like catching a cold in the middle of the summer, the performance bug creeps up on me when I least suspect it. "Lynn, you're a terrible neighbor. Why don't you invite your neighbors over more often?" are my thoughts as I walk down my street.

"Lynn, you should be a better daughter. Look at your friend; she calls or stops by her parent's house every day!" assaults my heart as I prepare to give my mom a call.

Thoughts of "better" and "more" constantly pound my mind. In the past, the low immune system of my heart would catch the bug every time, flattening my sense of self-worth for the rest of the day. I allowed it to drive me. Pushed by the voice of my own insecurity, I forced more and more into my schedule. I tried to please everyone, everywhere, all for acceptance.

That is, until the Lord shined His light on the true motivations behind my performance: pride and fear. I was a slave to my sin. Once I admitted the source of my weakness, He could set me free! When the whispers came, I could shout back, "The Son has set me free; free of pride and fear. Now I am free indeed!"

I'm not saying I never struggle with performance, but the grip it once held on me is gone. With the Holy Spirit as my daily guide, I'm no longer a slave to performance. I'm released to live in true freedom.

Do you struggle, my friend, to do all and be all? Here is His promise, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31, NIV). If you are His disciple, cling to this truth. If you have yet to become His disciple, click on "Do you know Him?" below and find His freedom today!

Dear Lord, freedom is what I want to live in every day. Freedom to ask, "What is Your will for me today?" And freedom to obey only what You are saying. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?

Visit Lynn's blog for Q&A with author Shannon Primicerio on performance and our teens. Shannon is giving away a copy of her book The Divine Dance: If the World is Your Stage, Who are You Performing For!

Be the first to pre-order Lynn's new book! His Revolutionary Love: Jesus' Radical Pursuit of You (releasing in April)

Send your teen to the RadRevolution site where Shannon Primicerio speaks to teens on escaping the trap of performance. They can win a copy of her book there.

It's No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know by Rachel Olsen 

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Application Steps: 
Write down everything in your life you do and are responsible for. Make this list part of your prayer time for the month of January. Ask the Lord, "What do you want for my life, and which activities do I need to let go?"

Looking at the things in my life I do each day, am I doing these because God has called me? Or am I motivated out of pride or fear?

Considering the activities I encourage my children to do, are these activities in their lives because they enjoy them? Or is part of the reason because they make me look or feel better?

Power Verses:
John 8:36, "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (NIV)

1 Samuel 15:22 "But Samuel replied: 'Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.'" (NIV)  

© 2011 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved. 

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

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