Category Archives: Prayer

Profile Picture Challenge

Guess what. It’s my birth week! That means it’s a week that’s all about books and lunch dates and quality time. I DO love my birth week.

We don’t do a lot of gifts around here, but I almost always get a new book or cookbook. This came in the mail today and I can’t WAIT to start cooking some new recipes!


Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering

Something else that I’ve been enjoying this week is the Profile Picture Challenge on Facebook. The idea is to post your first profile picture and your most recent profile picture side by side to see how much you’ve changed since you’ve been on Facebook.

Happy Anniversary

Facebook and I will have our 10-year anniversary this week. With the exception of a few leaves of absence, our relationship is still going strong. Yay, us!

Looking back at that first picture of me with two cute little girls sitting on my lap (one obviously unhappy about something), I think we can all see that I’ve definitely changed a lot. Things happen in 10 years!

 

But what’s even more obvious than the change in me is, of course, the changes in my girls. They’ve gone from adorable, chubby, 3 and 4 year olds, to lovely 13 (almost) and 14 year olds.

You can’t avoid noticing their growth. It is obvious.

This made me start thinking: can you see my growth? I don’t mean the wrinkles or the extra pounds. Can you see my growth?

Am I a different person than I was 10 years ago, or am I exactly the same. If one of my friends, like a shortened version of Rip Van Winkle, fell asleep 10 years ago and woke up today, would they feel like nothing had changed with me? Or would they see a completely different person?

I hope I’m different.

There are some striking similarities between 2009 and 2019 for me. Both years represent some of the most challenging times in our marriage. The challenges in both years were completely unexpected. They shook our very foundations and changed the way we live our lives.

Challenges in life (and therefore in marriage) are unavoidable. So are uncertainties, inconveniences, and even crises. We can’t change that.What we can change are our reactions to those situations, and that’s what the Facebook Profile Challenge is making me examine. How am I reacting?

10 years ago I froze. I seized up. I quit functioning for a period of time. I’m not doing that this time.

While the crisis of 2019 is completely different, it’s also completely real. It started in 2018 but this time I didn’t seize up.

That’s not to say I have handled everything perfectly. There have been a couple of desperate late night texts and phone calls to close friends. There was a day of tears at the beach. There has been crying on the bathroom floor with the shower and fan turned on so no one else could hear. There have been questions and and cries towards heaven.

I haven’t been perfect, but I have grown. This is due in large part to the way my Bible has aged. That’s something I’ve thought about, as well.

If you took a picture of your Bible 10 years ago, and a picture of your Bible today, what would it look like? Would it look the same? Would it still look brand new? Could you put it back in its box and return it to Amazon or Lifeway or wherever you bought it?

My Bible looks different than it did 10 years ago, and that’s the only reason my life looks different. Words and verses are underlined and highlighted. The front cover is full of sticky notes from friends and children that I’ve worked with at church. There are tear stains on some pages and battle scars on others.

Dates are written where prayer requests were prayed. Some of those dates are followed by a second date and a short phrase where the request was answered. Others are still being prayed over and waiting. My Bible looks different.

But it doesn’t look as different as it should. If it had been used daily, I suspect that it would be falling apart. I probably would have had to buy a new one by now. It’s probably had more wear and tear over the past 3 years than in the 7 before that.

Growth

But that’s okay, because that is a sign of growth as well. My relationship with the Lord is growing. I am spending more time with Him. More time relying on Him and less time worried and fearful – although that it still something that I struggle with.

More time listening to His Word and basking in his love, and less time listening to the world and the opinions of others.

I want to encourage you to work on that profile picture – the one of your Bible. Pick it up, use it, read it, BELIEVE it. Let’s challenge ourselves to have Bibles that show we are actively participating in the battle being fought for us and our loved ones. Let’s have LIVES that look different 10 years from now instead of just pictures that look different.

I believe in you. I am praying for you. I am also encouraging you to get involved in a Bible Study group – at someone’s home, at a church, or with your family.

I participated in a couple of amazing Bible Studies on prayer last year, both by Priscilla Shirer. You can check them out here:

Discerning the Voice of God – Bible Study Book – Revised: How to Recognize When God Speaks

I’d love to hear about how you are growing, and any great Bible Studies you’ve participated in.

Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links.
 

Christmas Letters

Merry Christmas Eve!

I bet a lot of you have received Christmas card and letters over the past few weeks. Isn’t that wonderful? I love them! Except when I don’t love them.

Let me explain..

My name is Ayme Christian. Have you heard of Christian’s Critters? If you have, well, this is going to be a bit different from the usual family update. But it will tell you (for real) how Christan’s Critters was born.

If you haven’t heard of Christian’s Critters, I will attach (or copy) one of our past Christmas letters in the first comment, so you will REALLY understand (poor you) something about our fictional “company.”

To get started: MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY! We hope this finds you and yours well and happy.

But it might not.

As a matter of fact, today might be one of the most miserable days of your life. I know it has been in past years for me:

Christmas 1988 – 7 months after my oldest brother died.

Christmas 1999 – the year I knew I was getting divorced.

Christmas 2009 – the year Johnnie and I almost didn’t make it (we DID make it, all glory to God!).

Christmas 2015 – the year my next brother died.

And Christmas 2018 – yes, this Christmas. The year that my husband lost his job of almost 30 years with no warnings or bad reports on his record.

Christmas is HARD

Sometimes, folks, Christmas is HARD.

That’s how our “business” started. Somewhere around 2008 (give or take a year) we had a really bad year. We had a roof that was leaking and relatives that were sick and vehicles that broke down every week and kids who weren’t perfect (I know, I’m still trying to figure that one out. We’ve now raised/are raising/helped raise FIVE kids and not one single child is perfect! Geez, what are the odds?)

But we have lots of relatives and they all know that we have a bunch of kids and that I like to take pictures…..so we had to send out a Christmas Letter.

We were receiving all kinds of letters: letters from perfect families with perfect marriages and perfect kids getting into Ivy League schools and serving in the Peace Corps. I am not even kidding. We actually know people like that. And we love them and celebrate them!

But we are not…..THEM. We are US. And our US is messy. But who writes a letter about that?

Well, right after I asked myself that question, we received a letter like “that” – from a mom who confided that one child was in prison for life, and another was on her 27th marriage. AND SHE WASN’T JOKING. And I thought that, perhaps, the Christmas update wasn’t the best place to share all of that, either.

I still needed to write a letter

But I still needed to write a letter.

So I did it. I wrote a letter. Actually, I wrote a very short work of fiction.

Ha-ha, I WISH!

I can’t remember which year it actually began, but I do remember several things from that first letter. I mentioned that:

–Johnnie and I were celebrating our anniversary at the place where we first met, a Monster Truck Rally (In real life: never been to one).

–We all got saved due to those Baptists down on the corner (In real life: Johnnie and I came to know the Lord when we were teenagers).

–We shut down the family business of running the distillery due to our new Baptist beliefs, and were almost broke (In real life: We’ve never brewed any kind of alcohol. Also, financially, this was one of our best years).

Needless to say, both my mother and my mother in law nearly fell out and disowned us all! 😀 (that is not a joke). As a matter of fact, MY MOTHER sent out a Christmas letter for the first time that year – making sure that everyone knew that MY LETTER was a work of fiction.

Bless her heart.

Seriously, she has put up with a LOT from me over the years.

You may wonder: Why in the world is she putting this all in a Christmas letter? So let me explain.

I LOVE Christmas. I am one of those nuts who plays Christmas music year round. I have a Christmas clock and tons of stockings and I love cold weather and hot chocolate and I actually ENJOY wrapping presents!

But I especially love Jesus. And I love the story of His life, which begins in the book of Luke, chapter 2.

Jesus had a rough life here, and it was a real life, and things were HARD for Him and not perfect. He was born to very young parents, away from home. He was raised by people who didn’t/couldn’t understand Him. He served and then suffered. He was tortured, and killed.

All in about 33 years.

His life wasn’t perfect. And yours isn’t either. And neither is mine. We shouldn’t expect our lives to be perfect. My gosh if the SON OF GOD had a hard life here on earth, then we can’t expect ours to be perfect either.

Can we?

But sometimes…sometimes we DO have that expectation. When we start receiving all of the beautiful cards with the smiling faces and the summaries of their past years with the perfect families….sometimes we expect that, too.

I am here to tell you: my life is NOT perfect. That is where Christan’s Critters (with the agreement of my husband) was founded and shared. Life is NOT perfect; but we can support each other and pray for each other and we can laugh. I thank God that we can laugh.

Life is not perfect, but God IS perfect. His love for us is REAL and it is PRESENT and it is NOW. He is with us RIGHT. NOW.

So don’t worry about being perfect. Don’t worry about having the perfect family or sharing the perfect picture or sending the perfect card. Don’t even worry about buying the perfect gift or making the holiday perfect – because it won’t be.

Just rejoice in serving a God who knows you…perfectly. And He loves you where you are, in your perfectly messy life.

And if you need to know that there’s someone without a perfect life, struggling along in the mud and muck right beside you…just remember that I’ve been writing a Christmas Letter that is a work of fiction for the past 10-12 years. I understand.

I love you, my friends. And I am praying for you tonight as we move through this real, messy, life…together!

Merry Christmas!

 

Immanuel. God IS with us.

God is with us EVERYWHERE.

Christmas is almost here! Can you believe it? It seems like we were celebrating New Year’s Day just a week ago, and here we are, wrapping gifts again.

But is that all that there is to Christmas? The lights and stockings, the traffic and traveling, the gifts and gadgets, the books and bows?


It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered

No, that’s not everything.

Christmas is about our God who came to Earth. Jesus, who came to be with us everywhere, because we couldn’t get to God by ourselves.

And sometimes your everywhere is RIGHT. HERE.

I’ve learned a lot while teaching Sunday School the past few years.You’re probably thinking Wow, I know Ayme’s been in church for. Ev. Er…..She’s still learning?!!?

 Well, yes. I HAVE been in church forever, and hopefully I will always keep learning.

One lesson that taught me a lot was on Joshua chapters 1 through 4 when I was teaching 4th and 5th grade. The Israelites crossing the Jordan river when it was overflowing its banks. But they crossed on dry ground. (This is not to be confused with the crossing of the Red Sea). If you’re not familiar with the story, check it out: Joshua 1-4. It’s a pretty interesting read.

Anyway, what our literature was emphasizing in that story was the fact that God is with you EVERYWHERE, and that you can be (and are commanded to be) strong and courageous. Pretty cool, huh? God is with you everywhere. It even says so in Joshua 1:9

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Of course, most of us have known that forever, right? And that’s why we’re never worried, or nervous or…you know……paralyzed by fear. Right?

Well, if you’re like me, the answer to that is: Wrong. Not right. Wrong.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been paralyzed by fear. It’s something that I struggle with and have struggled with at least since high school, when my oldest brother died. Now praise God, it’s something that He has been growing me out of, teaching me to lean on Him, but this is one of my regular struggles.

My daily battle.

And this is something that I DO NOT want my kids to struggle with (and when I say my kids, I mean allllllllll the little people that God has put in my path), so it is very important to me to reach these kids. To make them understand that God isn’t just EVERYWHERE, He is RIGHT. HERE.

Okay, of course that sounds weird. I mean, everywhere IS right here, right? Duh. But one of the exercises with this lesson was to ask the kids to list (in less than 60 seconds) places that God is with you. So I set my timer, said “GO!” and watched them scribble furiously…….for approximately 2.5 seconds.

I’m not kidding; 9 of those 12 kids were done writing in less than 3 seconds. I told them to keep thinking, keep writing (as I kept going on my list – hey, I’m their teacher but I’m still competitive), but they were done.

They cheated

Then I realized why. They’d cheated. They’d given the church kid answer. Places that God is with you? Everywhere. Here’s the thing though. We know God is everywhere.

But do we know He is with us HERE? Right here? When we get hurt during football? Or don’t even make the team? Or when 2 of our friends have their heads together and are whispering and looking at us. Do we know He is with us when we’re going to the doctor to get shots? Or take a hard test? Or walk into the cafeteria when our BFF isn’t there to sit with us?

Where is your everywhere?

And adults…where is your everywhere?

Where is your everywhere?

Do you know that God is with you HERE: when you find a lump and have to wait 2 weeks to get in to see the doctor? When everyone is having a baby but you? When you go with your mom for the first time to HER doctor’s appointment? When your parents tell you that you are the executor of their will? When your kids are sick, really sick? When your husband is deployed for the FOURTH TIME? When you lose your job? When you have that funny tightening/pain in your chest……again?

He is HERE

God is HERE. Right now, while you are reading this, GOD. IS. HERE. With you. The Bible says so.

And because He IS here, we can be strong and courageous. Not on our own. Don’t be silly. We can be strong and courageous because He commands us to be. And God never tells us to do something without providing the ability to do so.

God has given you the ability to be strong and courageous. To not be afraid. To not be discouraged. Because HE. IS. HERE.

God is here. Waiting for you to call on Him. He loves you SO very much. Don’t take my word for it. Read the Bible. It says so. God is here because He loves YOU. Not because you’re perfect, not even because you’re good. Trust me, I’ve been completely rotten and He still loves me. He’s here because HE loves YOU.

So in this Christmas season while we are all running around, visiting, shopping, wrapping presents, going crazy…please remember that God is everywhere, and He is here. Right here, with you, right now. That’s what He came for.

 

Gossip Girl

The links in this post are affiliate links, and we may be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links.

Do you like to gossip? I do.

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”

Didn’t expect to hear me say that, did you? The truth is, I love to be “in the know” as the saying goes. I want to know who is healthy and who needs help. Who is hurting and who is celebrating.

And while visiting, sharing needs, and being vulnerable is a great thing, it can also turn ugly, faster than you expect.

Gossip creeps up on us. I can remember times I was laughing and chatting with a group of friends, honestly sharing our hearts, when all of a sudden I found myself in the middle of a conversation that I would need to apologize for later. A conversation that would keep me from falling asleep easily, and wondering if my daughters heard what was said.

I was very convicted earlier this year while I was reviewing a study I’d taken on the book of James. James 1:26 says that Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

Their. Religion. Is. Worthless.

Wow. Even reading that right now brings tears to my eyes because I had to apologize to someone just this weekend for gossiping. I wasn’t saying anything horrible or trying to hurt anyone, but I was sure sharing some stuff that didn’t need to be shared, and I wasn’t taking the time to build others up.

I was making my religion worthless. I was taking the sacrifice that my Savior made, and cheapening its beauty with my thoughtless words. In this wonderful season where I have more opportunity to share the love of Christ with others than at any other time, I was instead tearing it apart.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

With the holiday season upon us, most of us will be going to more meetings, gatherings, and parties than at any other time of the year. Some will be business, some will be pleasure. All of them will provide ample opportunity to gossip.

I want to encourage you not to fall into that trap.

When I was a teenager my father told me something about gossip that has stuck with me through the years, and stayed my tongue when I was tempted to share more than I should. He told me that to gossip about someone does more than harm them. It has the ability to murder their reputation.

That sounds a bit dramatic, don’t you think?

Maybe not. What if I told you that my friend Jane had an affair with a married man? An affair that almost ended in him divorcing his wife, and abandoning his family. It happened 30 years ago, but the family still struggles.

What do you think of Jane, now?

Of course I didn’t mention that Jane repented, that she did everything she could to make amends and has gone on to be one of the most compassionate and understanding people I know. I failed to say that she has used her story and mentored others and been instrumental in saving many marriages.

If you didn’t know Jane very well before I told you her story from 30 years before, what would you think of her now? Yes, I suspected as much. I have successfully, if unintentionally, murdered Jane’s reputation. And I haven’t done my own reputation any good, either. Who trusts a gossip? I don’t.

But it’s hard to avoid gossip, especially if you’ve let it become a habit. So how do you break a habit? One way is to replace it with something else.

Ephesians 4:29 says Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. I’ve loved this verse from the first time I read it. Not only does it command us not to gossip, it also tells us how to avoid doing so: use words that build others up; use words that they need to hear; use words that benefit others.

Ephesians 4:29 is an antidote to gossip. If you are using words to build up and benefit others, you certainly won’t turn right around and tear down what you’ve built. And even better, you’ll be upset with anyone else who tears it down, as well.

I am abundantly blessed to be surrounded by many strong women in my life who don’t gossip, and I’ve made a habit of studying them when someone else starts to tear another down.

What do they do?

How do they handle the situation? What do they do? Do they pull out their Bibles and start beating the gossip girl on the head? Obviously not, or I’d have multiple concussions by now.

No, they don’t try to beat their beliefs into others, they lead by example. First, they don’t bring up rumors or gossip themselves. Their words are kind and funny and encouraging. If someone does start gossiping, they try to subtly change the subject, or say something positive.

If that doesn’t work? They close their mouths and look away or look down. I know, because I’ve asked, that sometimes they are praying about whether to confront the offender, or remain silent. They are women of prayer and power. And if being silent doesn’t work?  Sometimes they do confront, and sometimes they simply remove themselves from the group or situation.

What about you? What do you do when you have an opportunity to gossip? Do you cheapen your faith, or do you build others up? I sincerely hope that you are a builder, and not a demolisher.

Don’t give up!

If you’re like me, you’ve probably done both. Don’t give up. You can always start building and encouraging, right now, today!

If you need help, (and who doesn’t), this is a verse that I have started including in my prayers; from Proverbs 141:3. Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.

 May your words be a delight to the Lord and point others to Him this holiday season. I believe in you, and I’m praying for you, too!


 

If you have trouble keeping your words and thoughts positive, I love this little book by Joyce Meyer. I’ve read and enjoyed it myself, and given several as gifts to friends. Let me know you think, and I’d also love to hear about ways you build others up.

Power Words: What You Say Can Change Your Life

 

 

 

I’m Over Heeeerrrreeee (new bed)

We’ve needed a new bed for quite some time, since our last one was almost 14 years old. I know this because we bought it when I was expecting Kate and guess what: she’s almost 14 years old. 🙂

Sale, sale, sale!

Labor Day was approaching and I knew that this was (for some obscure reason) the time to buy a mattress because there were always lots of sales. I decided to try something I’d never tried before. I withdrew cash and walked in prepared to haggle. Of course, I didn’t want to reveal my hand so I walked around, sat on several beds, and chatted with the sales person. One thing working in my favor was that it had been raining all day and I was the only customer in the store.

After sitting and lying and bouncing and getting back up to do it all again, I’d settled on a mattress. Now it was time to see what kind of a bargain we could agree on. Of course it was already on sale, and we could get either free delivery or a base that made the bed go up and down IF I purchased today. We agreed on the sale price and the bed base; but I said I needed to talk to my husband and then we’d both come back later in the weekend.

The salesperson looked disappointed as she handed me her business card until I asked “Is there any way to get a better discount if I pay cash, right now?” It turns out, I could. By the time we finished talking and I walked out the door, we’d gotten a free delivery, new pillows, and an additional discount. All because I paid cash on a rainy day.

The only problem was, Johnnie wasn’t thrilled about the purchase. Oh, he knew I intended to get a new bed; he’d been wanting one for a year and we’d discussed a budget and done research on what type of bed to buy. The only thing he wasn’t excited about was the size. He wanted to stay with a queen sized bed, and I was determined to get a king. He finally agreed if I could stay in our budget. I did.

Since then, his attitude has been rather amusing. He loves that he gets better sleep and wakes up without a hurting back, but still isn’t overly happy about how big it is. Still, he can’t outright complain, because he agreed to this so he likes to be a bit more subtle:

Me: Ow!

Johnnie: Oh, are you in bed? You’re so far away I didn’t know you were there.

Me: So you just started throwing things at me til I yelled?

Johnnie: Of course not! I was gently tossing a pillow so you’d have it for later. I just had to throw really hard because it’s so far away.


*5 minutes after I’m in bed

Johnnie: Marco!

Me: …….

Johnnie: Marco!

Me: There is no one named Marco here. Just me. Ayme. Your wife.

Johnnie: Oh thank goodness! I thought you were lost. Babe, when I say Marco, you’re supposed to answer “Polo” if you’re here….so I can find you.

Me: Oh good grief!


Unfortunately for him, his subtle remarks have started to backfire. The girls have picked up on them and started saying things like

Mama, I put a water bottle by your bed. You know, so in case you want to go find daddy sometime tonight you won’t get dehydrated on the journey!

This was actually the remark that made him laugh at himself and quit harassing me. Mostly. Although I will still hear the occasional “Marco” as I’m drifting off to sleep.

All of this Marco-Polo-ing reminded me of a comedy show we saw in Tennessee several years ago. It was at the Comedy Barn and I highly recommend attending any of their shows if you ever have a chance. Clean, hilarious, and family friendly entertainment. But I digress…

In one set, an entertainer asked if you ever wonder what dogs are barking about all night and came up with the answer that they were yelling back and forth. Fido: “I’m over here!” Benji: “I’M over HERE!” (repeat eternally). It may not sound funny now, but as part of the larger routine, it was great.

The thing is, as Johnnie was performing his Marco Polo routine and I was thinking about the dogs barking, I also started thinking about marriage. (Stay with me now, I’m going somewhere with all of this).

Although Johnnie and I were mostly joking about the bed situation, we’ve also had our share of serious disagreements. What about you?

I couldn’t help but compare our negotiating and compromising skills with the dogs barking all night.

Johnnie: I think we should do this….

Me: Well I THINK we should do THIS….

(repeat eternally)

Fences

And while property fences are built to keep our pets contained and safe, I’m guilty of constructing fences in my marriage as well.

The fence of tradition: We’ve always done it this way or MY family does it this way.

The fence of record keeping: I gave in last time. It’s his turn to give in now.

The fence of past offenses: He was a total jerk and hurt me. I’m not going to give him what he wants after he caused me to suffer like that.

While I’m not a marriage counselor, I know what has worked for us; and what definitely hasn’t. We don’t have a happy or successful marriage when I am insisting on having things my way, or keeping records of wrongs, or nursing a grudge. We don’t have a happy or successful marriage when I refuse to compromise or negotiate.

Oh we can have a marriage. Just not one that sustains and encourages both of us. I can harden my heart and hold onto past hurts and we can still have a marriage, but what kind of relationship is that? Not one that I want.

There’s a quote about bargaining that also delivers sound marriage guidance:

You must never try to make all the money that’s in a deal. Let the other fellow make some money too, because if you have a reputation for always making all the money, you won’t have many deals.
–J. Paul Getty

Maybe you’re better at debating than your spouse is. Maybe you’re more forceful; or maybe, like me, you’re just hard headed. The thing is, marriage isn’t about individual trophies and goals. It’s about the team. Marriage is a team sport. Your husband needs to feel as  loved, fulfilled, accepted and appreciated as you do. And honestly, a Biblical marriage is about putting his needs and wants ahead of yours, and trusting God to lead him to do the same.

God has been working on this in my heart for …… well, forever, but especially the past few months.

It’s not easy

Putting someone before yourself daily doesn’t come naturally. It’s a God thing. But I don’t want to stay behind my self-erected fences, constantly yelling “I’m over here!”

I want Johnnie to be able to find me. I want our lives to be the best that God has for us. I want us to journey together.

I am working on this and praying for this for my marriage, and I’m praying for yours too. Don’t give up. Keeping moving those fences!

I believe in you.

Hello, my name is Ayme; and sometimes I like to pretend I’m the Holy Spirit

Hello, my name is Ayme; and sometimes I like to pretend I’m the Holy Spirit. Can anyone else relate to this? I hope not, but at the same time I’d like to think I’m not alone.

It just seems like so many people NEED my help. I mean, why else would they be making the decisions they make?
For example:
— I know people who constantly mourn about being too busy – but they keep saying “yes” to everything they’re asked to do.
— I know people who consistently gripe about their husbands griping about THEM – but don’t listen to what their spouses are actually saying or give any importance to their words.

— I know people who lose sleep over being in debt or just not having enough money – yet spend a ridiculous amount of money going out to eat on a regular basis because they exercise poor planning skills.

Don’t they NEED my help?

In case you haven’t guessed: each one of these situations could describe me on some days. But hey, since I’m actively working on these areas, shouldn’t I be helping others, too? And by “helping” I mean offering my opinion about their lives and how they should be living them.

I’ve decided that part of my problem is that I’m a fixer. I like to fix things. When I hear of a problem or just a job that needs a volunteer, my automatic response is “Let’s get this done.” I’m a list maker, and whatever the next thing is, I want to check it off the list and move on.

The problem with that is, some of the things I hear about shouldn’t ever be on my list. They should be on someone’s list, but not necessarily mine.

For example, I was recently leading a Bible study from 5-7 on Sunday evenings. One of the ladies who heard about it told me she’d really like to be involved, but she could only attend about half of the meetings because every other Sunday she had a commitment to get her kid to a puppet ministry meeting.

Without even thinking, I responded “Hey, I can probably do that for you, then you can be at the study every week!”

Fortunately, my friend is smarter than me and realized “Yeah, then I’d be at a Bible Study with no leader!” Sometimes I think God just smiles tolerantly and shakes His head at me and the things I get myself into.

I need to pause and pray and listen to what God is telling me to do, not jump in and put everything on my list.

Another way I like to play a third of the trinity is to “let people know” the circumstances of a given situation. You know, things they might not have figured out themselves.

There was this one time…

For example, awhile back someone new to our community was taking a leadership position and I was concerned because there were some major power struggles going on around this position. Struggles that I’d been quite shocked to stumble on myself. I was torn about whether or not I should warn the new leader about what he was walking into. I didn’t want him to take months to discover what I’d recently figured out, but I also didn’t want to label myself as a gossip, which is close to what I was about to become.

Again, I was fortunate enough to have a friend who is wiser than myself. When I asked her advice about what I should do, she shared some words that I imagine I will apply to many situations in the future. She said “Ayme, if God revealed this situation to you, don’t you think He can reveal it to this leader without your help?”

Well yes, actually, I think God can do that. He doesn’t need my help here.

While I prefer to refer to my desire to fix things and share information with others as “helpful concern,” the truth is: it’s meddling.

According to Google dictionary, to meddle means to “interfere in or busy oneself unduly with something that is not one’s concern. To touch or handle (something) without permission.”

Oooops.

Wow. Interfere isn’t a very nice word, but did you see what I just learned there? My helpful ways could actually be INTERFERING with the work of the Holy Spirit. So instead of helping, sharing, and fixing…. I could be making things worse; I could be a stumbling block.

That’s not what I want to be.

So how do I stop taking on the role of the Holy Spirit? It’s actually a pretty easy fix, although I use that term hesitantly, now. Pray.

That’s the answer.

Pray and ask God before I speak or act on anything. Stay in God’s word. Listen to His voice. He’s not hiding and He wants me to know and follow His plan for my life.

Let me be clear, not meddling is not an excuse not to be involved. God has specific tasks he’s set aside for each of us. If you’ve read some of the things I’ve written in the past, you probably know that one of my favorite Bible verses is Ephesians 2:10; For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God has plenty of stuff on our to do lists. He has things for us to fix and words for us to share and causes for us to pursue. We just have to make sure He is the one who put our list together.

So I intend to keep sharing and caring and working, and I hope that you will do the same. But let’s be sure to pray first, because I don’t think any of us is up to taking on the role of the Holy Spirit.