The inappropriate comfort zone

Sitting in front of the computer for 6 hours a day increase meme - AhSeeit

Do you have an inappropriate comfort zone? I do. I have more than one in fact. I am working toward getting these character flaws, bits and bobs under control.

Every year for Lent, (except this year for some reason), I try to give up swearing/cussing whatever you call it in your area. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I have a potty mouth.

Have you developed some unwanted bad habits lately? Have you been ignoring some long term bag habits that could be improved upon if only you would put in a bit more time and effort toward eradicating them?

It seems these days you are out of place if you do not display some sort of unpleasantness. People think you are not being, ‘authentic’ if you do not lower yourself to the lowest common denominator.

I think of it as, ‘The Broken Window Syndrome of the Soul’. Uh oh, someone more clever than I came up with that title already. I’m keeping it though because it is so appropriate.

It happens in so many areas of our lives, not just in how we speak but how we speak is a great place to start.

Matthew 12:37
For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Proverbs 10:19
When words are many, sin is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.

Proverbs 12:13
An evil man is trapped by his rebellious speech, but a righteous man escapes from trouble.

Proverbs 13:2
From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the desire of the faithless is violence.

Proverbs 13:3
He who guards his mouth protects his life, but the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin.

Proverbs 21:23
He who guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from distress.

Isaiah 3:10
Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their labor.

Hosea 10:13
You have plowed wickedness and reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your mighty men,

So many scripture verses on this topic. How many sermons have we sat through on the power of the tongue and yet it is so hard to control?

The house next door is being renovated. There was a crew of men working there one day that was especially vocal. They were running power tools and cussing a blue streak at the top of their lungs! I almost said something but I wasn’t sure how to word it and I was actually afraid of retribution. these days, our lackadaisical attitudes have extended to removing protection for women in certain matters. I thought if I complained our home might be attacked, or me. But then, I heard a great response to this situation from Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s wife Susan.

She and her daughter were sitting on their stoop in Brooklyn, NY. Some men were using ‘blue’ language near them and Susan’s daughter said to them, ‘could you please not talk that way? there are children present.’. the men looked around for small children of course but what Susan’s daughter was referring to was she and her mother as being children… children of God!

Is that not true? We are God’s children and yet we expose ourselves to things to which we would never, I hope, expose a child.

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I am not just talking about cussing or being obscene although I could do without the sex and bathroom jokes I hear in public.

I am also talking about the perverse glee with which some people delight in being negative and pointing out how your big idea, or dream, is going to fail.

I am also talking about sarcasm.

Being an attention hound (meaning, you turn the conversation back to you every chance you get).

Bragging.

Gossip.

Flirting. No matter if you are married (stop disrespecting your spouse!) or single, stop flirting.

There are so many ways we let ourselves down as Christians. Mostly we get into trouble when we forget to whom we belong and it is NOT Bill Gates, Google, Biden, Greta Thunberg or anyone one else out there who thinks they are king or queen of the world. Now this does not mean we go around demanding to have everything our way, to be catered to, or treated as if the rules do not apply to us, etc. because we are God’s special little angels. No.

As Christians the rules should apply even more to us as we are looked at as examples of righteous behavior (although more and more I think we are looked at as cautionary tales more than examples to live up to).

We all could do better and I am looking at myself in the mirror when I say that… Melissa… do better!

1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. NJKV

But we have become under the power of so much, have we not? We have stretched the boundaries of God’s grace, perhaps even His patience. Thankfully He is merciful and loves us.

Are there things in your life to which you have submitted? Harmful and destructive things?

Remember, it is the little foxes that destroy the vineyard.

Song of Solomon 2:15 Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes. NKJV

No matter how long you have been a Christian or how old you are, how ‘seasoned’ you think you are, the world is big and full of pitfalls. You are a tender grape. Treat yourself with care.


Life through, the Theotokos

Mary consoles, Eve.

What a striking image (which is copyrighted to the Sr Grace Remington, OCSO © 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey). Mary, obedient, humble, submissive to the Lord, consoles Eve who was not those things. Through the actions of one came death. Through the actions of the other came life everlasting, and reconciliation. We all have free will but we must keep in mind that there is a price to pay for making the wrong choice. Even, Eve could not escape the consequences of her actions.

Discipline is as difficult to give as it is to receive. My sister’s dog is almost two and has begun puppy training classes. She acts as though she is trying to figure out what she did wrong to deserve such heinous treatment. How many times have we wondered what we have done to receive discipline from God?

The other night, I was watching AFV. There was a video of a dog who would not put down the tennis ball in his mouth in order to receive a treat from his master. If you look at the tennis ball as our sins, and the treat as blessings from God, it is easy to see how much we miss out on when we refuse to let go of our sins.

Hebrews 12:11 ESV

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

How can we ‘level up’ to a more mature idea of the fruits of discipline? I think a better understanding of why God disciplines us and why is a good start.

Revelation 3:19 ESV

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Titus 1:8 ESV

But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

I have never seen an example given in the bible where a person was rewarded for being undisciplined and rebellious. These two actions serve not our God; but the god of darkness.

As I have been on my journey toward being a better housewife, I am surprised at how much discipline it takes to be good at running a home. The women who make it look effortless are masters of their domain because they have first mastered themselves.

Work comes before pleasure. I always hated this as a child. It seemed like such a waste of life to spend it in activities one deemed unpleasant. Indulgent children think this way but adults must adjust their thinking if we are to accomplish anything in life. From making your room/home/car, etc., presentable…  to running a successful company, it all takes discipline.

My husband and I went for a drive into the mountains over the weekend. We had to pull over to adjust something inside the vehicle that was rattling. I practically had to wade through the trash on the side of the road that had been thrown out of the windows of passing cars or left behind by partiers. I wondered to myself how many of these litter bugs had lectured other people about the damage being done to the environment and yet were littering the landscape around them thinking that someone else would come along and clean up after them?

Is this the ‘fruit’ of the generation of kids who received participation trophies so that their feelings would not be hurt if they lost the game? What burdens have they carried? Have they ever been spanked, disciplined, told ‘no’? I’m sure on some level but evidently not enough to keep them from tearing up their world. How very much like Eve we have become.

From wearing a mask to protect those around you, to picking up after yourself, to running your home or office like a well oiled machine; discipline takes action. So many people today are living reactively.

1 Peter 4:7 ESV

The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. (emphasis in bold mine)

Be of good cheer. You can regain (or if you have never had it) obtain discipline. Begin by cleaning up your room, home, car, or desk/office at work.

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The world tries to tell us to ‘do you’. ‘Me’ is wicked, undisciplined, etc. From the moment the hippies of the 1960’s began the whole, ‘do what feels right’ the world has been turned upside down and inside out. Let’s go back to trying to be more like, Jesus and less like ourselves.

Undisciplined on the left, disciplined on the right.

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Ask yourself, ‘What is one thing I can do right now, today… to practice the art of discipline?’ Then DO IT.

Romans 16:17-18 ESV

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

Please do your best to guard your hearts against lies from the enemy. Lies against a good life. Lies against; Christianity, the family, America, prosperity (according to God’s will and plan and not through theft or destruction of what other people have created.). The devil prowls around seeking whom he may destroy. Don’t make it easy for him. Be disciplined, vigilant, humble, and obedient.