Monday, December 27, 2010

A New Kind of Balance & Soli Deo Gloria Link-up

I hope your Christmas was beautiful.  I hope you were surrounded by light and His glory.  I hope that you are filled with peace, that your soul is at rest, and your heart looks to the hope that is Him in this coming new year.

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria.  To read more about us, please click here.  You are welcome anytime in this place.

Also, when Tiffini links up, please make an extra effort to visit her.  She is starting a new series that she would like you to be a part of.  It's about captivity, about freedom.  It is an exodus to restore, rebuild, and repair.  It's a journey to and with Jesus.

I've been thinking a lot about balance lately.  About the scales that exist in my mind.  Scales that I constantly use to measure how much I have done, how much I have given, how much I have received.  While I believe that I should have a well-balanced life, there are times when the scale would be better discarded.  It is difficult to embrace the fullness of something, to revel in the gift, if I have to stop and put it on the scale first.  It's a sort of guarded receiving that ends up not really being receiving at all if I'm just using it to measure myself.  What is the fun in that?

I have a plethora of examples that I could share with you, but they all boil down to this -- if someone gives me more than I give them, I am heart-broken.  I take their gift, put it on the scale, and think that I did not measure up.  I didn't spend enough, I didn't think hard enough, I didn't _________ enough.  I feel consumed by guilt and find it difficult to revel in the joy of the moment.  I immediately find myself apologizing -- so sorry that my gift did not measure up to theirs.  I make excuses, my words falter, I issue an enormous thank you, and then sit.  In guilt.  On my scale.  Off-balance.

My friend, Jenny (many of you know her through SDG), has a mission to show me that it is okay to receive and to not always give back in the exact same way, in the exact same amount, at the exact same time.  During this Christmas season, she's been giving me little unexpected gifts that catch me totally off-guard.  And she tells me that she expects nothing in return.  Nothing.  She lovingly teaches me how to find joy in the imbalanced.  She lovingly teaches me how to let myself be loved just because I am, not because of what I have done or what I can do.

I love to give gifts, but I have to say that this Christmas I didn't have the inspiration that I normally have. If you've read my blog before you might have seen the post about how my mission is to make my husband cry every year -- to bowl him over with a gift that touches his very soul.  On the way home from church this Christmas Eve, I started apologizing.  There is nothing under the tree that will make you cry this year, Craig.  I just couldn't pull anything together.  I'm sure you'll like your presents, but there is just nothing...astounding.  I'm so sorry.

His response, as we drove along the cold, wet road?  Maybe this is my year to step it up for you.

Two choices:  Allow myself to feel loved or allow myself to feel guilty.  Although it looks like an easy choice on paper, the first choice actually takes a lot more work, even though it feels better (and is better) in the end.  After all the presents had been opened, and he made me cry not once, but twice, I started apologizing.  And then, I stopped.  And in that moment, I allowed myself to feel loved.  Then this love inside me just overflowed into him. Random kisses in the hallway.  Words of praise.  Holding his hand. Natural expression of being filled, or rather allowing myself to be filled, with unconditional, no-strings-attached, love.

Such a better choice, that first one is.  Even though I received more than I gave in the realm of tangible gifts -- even though if you put all the gifts on the scale, their worth wouldn't quite balance out --somehow, in the end, what we gave each other was love.  And love has a way of bringing even the most unbalanced back to center.  Back to Him.


  1. "in the end, what we gave each other was love. And love has a way of bringing even the most unbalanced back to center. Back to Him."


    Hubs and I gave each other gifts this year of time - time together, time to learn, and more. Lots of love...and I am so thankful. We are so blessed to have Him in our midst as we learn not only to love others, but to let ourselves be loved. Like you said, that is the harder of the two.

  2. This made me cry, friend. I was thanking God in my quiet time yesterday afternoon - thanking Him that I get to walk this with you. It is such a gift to me. I feel honored and privileged. I love you!

  3. for the nurturing to allow love and service and gifts IN is hard. bless you my friend.

  4. Your realness is no strings kind - can make all perfect. makes me grateful to Him that His love has no strings even when we try to make it
    also thankful you have a sister to journey will you...Oh wait...sisters LOL

  5. You continually amaze me with the depth of your thinking. Great post! Blessings for these last few days of 2010!

  6. I absolutely adore this post!

    This Christmas eve, my mother in law brought something not so pleasant on my husband's and my shoulders. We have been helping her as much as we can through all that has been going on.(I would mention the details but wouldn't want to unless I have her permission.) I didn't think it was the right time to focus on her problems,but I did realize something. Through her faults, we didn't put any blame or judgement on her, we just loved her. We told her we cared and wanted to help her. We told her we will do anything to help her. And through this all has brought my husband and I closer.

    Jesus' love flowed through us and out to her, during the time we celebrate his birth.

    He is so amazing!

  7. Jen,
    I do the same thing. . .weighing and comparing what I give to what others give me. The thing I find is somehow I always come up short.

    There is something to be said about just being on the receiving end and truly enjoying it. What a gift to the other person!

  8. This blessed me more than you will ever know. I do that balance thing too and always come up short and was doing it earlier with something from Christmas. Your post made me pause and then stop that litany of you could have done better. I am going to work on this and remember....

    Beautiful post my friend...and oh so timely!

  9. I could definitely relate to this...and isn't this really husband came (as you know) in a time when I was broken and bankrupt and I realize I can never get away from receiving as at first...with nothing to give except my brokenness...God is good...and this was beautiful:) hugs:)

  10. oh. my. word. totally making me cry this morning. i love this.

  11. I love this post, and so identify as well. Thank you for all you GIVE to me and others through this wonderful community :)

  12. Feeling Loved or Feeling Guilty. They are choices. It seems so easy to feel the later, as the other one seems so selfish in our world of giving. However, sometimes we need to be selfish. We need to sit back and accept the gifts given. My hubby and I usually do not buy each other gifts, as things usually come up. However, I know that the greatest gift we can give each other is our love and support through the times we face together.

    Thank you my friend for sharing with us so openly and honestly.

  13. So beautiful and exactly why we need to learn to love ourselves--because it overflows onto others and this is the greatest commandment. :)

    And good for your friend!!! That is awesome!

    Thanks for visiting me at (in)courage! :)


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