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31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 13

 
It’s raining outside. I can see the drops pouring down against the tree line and the windows in the sun room. I’m starting my second cup of coffee and finalizing what I am going to say at church tonight.
I’m good at talking, but teaching is different, especially when I am writing the lesson.
As you may have imagined, if you’ve been getting to know me, I want it to be perfect. This involves putting a tremendous amount of pressure on me to prepare well so that I can say just the right thing. Perfectionism is exhausting, so it also involves an apathy component. When I have worn myself right out with my impossible expectations and failing to achieve them, I tell myself that it doesn’t really matter and I can just wing it. I attack the value of my task rather than my unreasonable demands.
I’m pretty sick and tired of that yucky cycle and I’ve been asking God to teach me how to do this differently. I have taken time to prepare and I have worked through the feelings that have come up along the way. I’ve been praying over my message tonight and asking God to give me the words that He wants me to say. I have asked Him to give me His heart of compassion for my audience and His thoughts and feelings toward them.  I have had lots of ideas swirling around in my head and I am paying attention to the ones that God keeps highlighting.
I think that my two main goals are to share my story of counting gifts and to encourage people who are suffering that they can find true joy in God, regardless of their circumstances. I know that I am going to have to at least mention my struggle with singleness. I really don’t want to, but it is part of my experience of suffering and I want people to have access to the reality of the painful feelings that I wrestle with. I want them to encounter a real part of me so that it will be easier for them to respond to what I have to say about finding joy in Christ through the practice of gratitude.
I really want people who are hurting to encounter God tonight. I want them to experience true hope that their feelings can change even if their troubling circumstances don’t. I want them to know that they are not alone and Jesus is always more than enough to satisfy our hearts.
If you are going to be in the Rockford area tonight and you are interested in coming, then I will be speaking at Forest City Fellowship. The address is 1300 17th Street, Rockford, IL 61104 and the service starts at 6:30 PM. If you cannot attend, then can I please ask you to pray for me? I would appreciate that.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #524: Sleeping in
·         #525: Breakfast with the family
·         #526: When everyone leaves and I have time and quiet
·         #527: Space for my thoughts and how helpful chunks of time alone are for my spirit (I have to remember this and build it into my schedule as a love gift for me.)
·         #528: A babysitting sleepover with my beloved squishee’s Noah and Kingston

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