Recently, I was given a challenge by an amazing, Godly woman. A woman whom I revere and admire. A woman who admittedly is not perfect, but a strong believer, compassionate, and truth speaker. Kindness is her MO but she never skirts the truth or accepts bad behavior. Turning a blind eye is simply against her nature. Rather, she walks with grace, extends mercy, and when we met for lunch, she challenged me…more about that in a minute…now for the backstory…
Y’all, hurt people, hurt people.
I’ve often said that before. Most likely in relation to the hurt that has been thrust upon me by other hurt people. HOWEVER, at times my own life has reflected my brokenness and hurt and I have in turn hurt people.
Healed people, heal people.
I simply CANNOT help anyone until I myself am healed. Therefore, it’s my time. I am going to be selfish. I will not feel guilty. I won’t apologize. It’s truly about NO ONE other than me at this point.
Go ahead…roll your eyes. Some of you are wearing a little bit of shock on your face…thinking “wow, she’s got a lot of nerve”. Maybe you are thinking to yourself, she’s so conceited…why is everything have to be about her? I am also very confident that some of you have an understanding head-nodding as if you are secretly saying, “Yes, that’s the only way”. YOU, my friend, get it. In fact, this is all about learning to love myself and believing that I am worthy of it.
So…back to the challenge, she told me to get on my knees and ONLY pray for myself for 40 days. Nothing else. No one else (not even my own children). Prior to the challenge, she point-blank asked me how my prayer life was going. I was 100% honest with her about that. I confessed aloud to her…
My prayer life is…
- Almost non-existent
- Difficult because my faith in God’s willingness or ability to help me is weak
- Pointless since I am not even entirely sure He’s listening.
I’m not proud of any of these statements. In fact, I am downright ashamed. BUT that is simply where I am. Mostly culminated by actions of others, my own sin, my lack of faith, and perhaps God’s silence of late. None of which are valid excuses and all of which relate mostly to circumstances and not at all related to the nature, power, or love of the Father. I find the raw truth, although daunting to some, uncomfortable to others, and downright “outta be kept private” to still a few more, to be refreshing and best when spoken aloud, embraced, and owned! That belief is NOT for everyone. That’s ok.
Then a few days later (after our lunch meeting) the Sunday morning sermon was about the parable of the sower…ahem…the Parable of the Soils which is really much more accurate. We were challenged to do some self-reflection and examine our own hearts. “Be honest with yourself” he said. On my way to Bible class, after worship, I thought about the state of my heart and pondered how I could honestly answer that question. Once in class, we were given yet another challenge to self-reflect. The lesson was based on Acts 5 – Ananias & Sapphira. He discussed how we should reflect on our motives and at times even question ourselves. Doing so is a good practice and often times leads to Bible study and a deeper relationship with Christ.
For some reason, when you call it that it sounds so much better, less conceited, less selfish, and more politically correct than 40-Day ME Challenge. But guess what? It’s the exact same thing. So a few things to think about when you hear about someone who is making an effort to put themselves first.
- Be careful how you respond to someone proclaiming to put themselves first. At least for a time. That may be the BEST thing they can do. In some cases the ONLY thing they can do to survive. Putting one foot in front of the other is more difficult for some than others. Practice mercy and compassion. Seriously, y’all, we have got to be kind.
- Resist the desire, need, or even involuntary knee-jerk reaction to place judgment. IF you have an opinion, please keep it to yourself. Just let those of us who struggle work on ourselves without the extra layer of combatting judgmental whispers.
- Spend a few minutes, and do a little bit of self-reflection. We all have things we need to improve about our minds, bodies, and souls. Every. one. of. us. Focusing on ourselves every now and then to work on some of these things is a good exercise.
So…I’ve decided to add a few things to my 40 Day ME Challenge.
- Pray for myself and only myself for 40 days straight.
- Document my prayer time in some way for accountability and review.
- Write out goals that I am working towards for personal growth so I can pray about them specifically and the attributes I need in order to accomplish them.
- Document changes in my heart, faith, and life that I notice during those 40 days to help me grow.
- Read the book “When God Doesn’t Fix It” – Laura Story.
- Encourage my special friend along the way since she is doing the prayer challenge with me and holding me accountable to my commitment.
Hopefully, I’ll be disciplined to stick to the challenge, I’m not the best when it comes to discipline, so we’ll see. Maybe I’ll have enough material for a “Top 10 Things I learned while doing the 40-Day ME Challenge”. Stay tuned.
I hope this post finds you in a peaceful, joyful, confident state of mind. I hope you are in the prime of your life and not allowing Satan’s blows to compromise your faith, discourage you, or live in self-doubt. BUT if that’s not the case, perhaps you also could benefit from a 40 Days of ME Challenge. Whether you do it in public or private…remember it’s about you. Ask God to change you, heal you, equip you, and empower you. THEN and only then will I or you or anyone be able to go about standing strong against the Devil and his tactics, stand firm in faith, and be qualified to extend healing to others that we ourselves have hurt.
Either way, it starts with ME & YOU!! Wanna join?
the whole truth & nothing but,