Posts tagged #character

Dedicated to Inconvenience

I rush to put my shoes on as I am yelling to my children, “Hurry up!  Get your shoes on and meet me in the car!” I grab my purse, turn off a couple of lights and fly down the stairs.  Thinking to myself, We are so late! If we hurry we will just make it. . .

As I round the corner, I stumble upon my youngest sitting at the bottom of the stairs crying.  Big crocodile tears stream down his face.  He is half dressed and no shoes to be found. Oh no, I don’t have time for this. I gave the kids ample time to get ready . . . 

My first instinct is to speak sternly and explain to him loudly that he has to get in the car, right now, or we will be late.  Where are your shoes? Why aren’t you dressed?

A small voice barely audible over my own selfish expectations says, Slow down!  Be patient! Extend grace!

AHHHHH! I don’t have time for this!

Truth is a person and He reminds me. Who are you dedicated to? Who do you follow?  What is the right response?

Early on in my Christian walk, I learned the phrase “Being dedicated to Inconvenience”.  In other words, it is a practical way to live out the Biblical principle “To die to Oneself”.  This principle was much easier as a single woman.  I have struggled ever since I got married and have had children.  Mostly because the inconveniences come more often and they are right in my face, daily.

The disruptions in my day may look like . . .

A daughter who wants Mommy to come play house when I am busy doing housework

A son who wants me to throw the baseball when I am working on the computer

A husband who asks to talk (or other things) when I am tired in the evening

A child who wakes me in the middle of the night because they had a bad dream

A friend who reaches out for help when my schedule is full

An argument between my kids right when we are leaving to go somewhere

A need at church when we already have plans to do something else

Inconveniences arrive in all shapes and sizes.  They are as different for each of us as the days are long.  But I promise you one thing, they will happen.

As we are on a path towards Easter, I am reflecting on this verse.

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it."  Luke 9:23-24

Jesus calls us to die to ourselves, if we are his followers.  For me, this death to self looks a lot like “dedication to inconveniences”.  If I am committed to drop my own agenda, for others, daily, then this is an active way for me to die to myself.  If I stop and spend time with my husband, meet my children’s needs at my expense and serve others in my sphere of influence, then I am “taking up the cross” on a regular basis. 

I love our new book, A Royal Easter Story, as it is a perfect example of this principle of “Being Dedicated to Inconvenience”.  The princesses are racing the newly-introduced knights.  The girls desperately want to win (just like our kids do!) They happen upon a lost little girl who needs their help.  They have to abandon their own plans to serve Alina.  They have to be “dedicated to the inconvenience” God allows in their life.  This is not only a lesson for us, but also for our kids during Easter!

Here is where I struggle.  I am selfish.  I have so many thoughts about me daily.  I don’t like to be interrupted in my plans.  Do you feel the same way? 

I love the small still voice of the Holy Spirit reminding me daily where I can “take up my cross and follow Him”.  I just need to strain to listen to it and not allow the loud voices of selfishness to drown out His voice!

How are you taking up your cross daily?

What is a story of inconvenience in your life?

~Jeanna Young

When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life, redecorating her home, loving on her husband, planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!

Jackie's Journey: Inspiring Imprints

As a young missionary mother reading to these two little ones sitting next to me in a hammock in the middle of the Panamanian jungle, my heart yearned for books that would introduce my girls to bible-based, character-emphasized prince and princesses that they could aspire to become.  I would take every book I picked up and purpose to impose these two principles into the pages in terms they could understand that had eternal values targeted.  My two daughters, Christina and Kim, are now grown and have given me seven grandchildren!  Christina encouraged me for years to sit down and put on paper what I did to the stories I read in those early years.  Her cry for these books for her four little ones was my primary motivation.

The opportunities are unlimited when it comes to God building His character in us, and then, into those we love.  Understanding the need and exercising the steps of action needed to see them implemented is our challenge.  When you look at your children where do you see their primary need?  Taking into consideration their temperament, maybe the need for them to be more alert or to respond more quickly in obedience?  Maybe rebellion is the issue or selfishness?  Where would you begin to help the little prince or princess in your home? 

 Values are based on the changing opinions of what people or groups of people practice in their principles or ideals.  Character is based on universal standards that are time-tested and recognized as being ethically correct.  Character is written on every person’s heart and conscience (Romans 2:15).  Even though the basic truth of a character quality is understood, it is important to know how to apply the truth in daily circumstances. 

I have collected positive character quality definitions for years because they describe pieces of the Godhead and assist in my personal spiritual exercise and transformation.  They equipped me to pragmatically instruct my girls as we walked through daily activities living in a culture very different than our own. In the village where we lived, the Kuna practice of polygamy and early marriages combined with witchcraft, including a village witchdoctor, opened up interesting teaching opportunities.

This past week the oldest of these two little princesses in the hammock saw her two daughters, my granddaughters (now 16 and 14), accomplish an extraordinary act of compassion in just a few days. I was asked to wrap a collection of gifts, gift cards and get-well cards with money that they had gathered to give to Alexandra’s teacher at school.  Her heart had been challenged to encourage this young single woman, who had recently left her parents and siblings on the East Coast to answer a call to serve in our community here on the West Coast.  She had taken a daily six-hour cancer treatment three months earlier and had quietly gone alone for the last six weeks, not wanting to burden or inconvenience anyone else.  During her follow-up appointment, the doctors found the cancer had returned…aggressively!   Alexandra tearfully shared with her sister, Catherine, the sadness she felt.  Catherine, who is the school’s “Kindness Club” director, immediately joined hearts and hands with her sister, their mother (Christina), and many who heard of the need. Within just a few days they had gathered a huge basket…full of encouragement for this teacher!  

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     We respond to life according to our character, good or bad.  Our wrong responses indicate our need.  Our correct responses validate our victories.  For me, this was a victory of gigantic proportion.  Three generations clasping hands to compassionately encourage a hurting heart! Princess Charity in our Princess Parable Series was faced with the same choice my granddaughter’s faced.  Webster’s definition of Compassion is  “together + suffering; deep sympathy, pity”.  1 John 3:17 says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”  Compassion is doing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts and meet the need of another.  Christ is the greatest teacher that ever lived and our example. His compassion for us carried Him to the cross!  Living outside our own self-life, being alert to another’s pain and choosing not to walk by without lifting a hand is our “Call to Action” this glorious Monday. 

We respond to life according to our character, good or bad.  Our wrong responses indicate our need.  Our correct responses validate our victories.  For me, this was a victory of gigantic proportion.  Three generations clasping hands to compassionately encourage a hurting heart! Princess Charity in our Princess Parable Series was faced with the same choice my granddaughter’s faced.  Webster’s definition of Compassion is  “together + suffering; deep sympathy, pity”.  1 John 3:17 says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”  Compassion is doing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts and meet the need of another.  Christ is the greatest teacher that ever lived and our example. His compassion for us carried Him to the cross!  Living outside our own self-life, being alert to another’s pain and choosing not to walk by without lifting a hand is our “Call to Action” this glorious Monday. 

These are the same two princesses pictured in the hammock …  today!

These are the same two princesses pictured in the hammock …today!