Tuesday, September 29, 2009
IS HAPPINESS THE GOAL?
THE MYTH OF HAVING IT ALL
The myth that “having it all will lead to happiness” is epidemic and helps to create unhappy people. There’s an assumption that we should all be happy, and we become discontent when we don’t feel that way. We wonder why we don’t feel happy because, when we observe others, they all look like they are happy. And, we wonder why we feel left out.
Unhappiness is epidemic.
• 1 adult in every 5 need psychiatric care
• 1 marriage in 2 end in divorce
• 1 adult in 4 needs medication to relax
• Unhappiness is present in all income groups; no amount of money solves this problem
Some children’s unhappiness is programmed by their unhappy parents
• Stressed out parents can pass on unhappiness by saying things to their children like: “you’re a nuisance”, “you’ll be sorry”, “you’re selfish”, “you silly idiot”, “don’t be such a pest”, “you’ll slip and fall and then think how I’ll feel”, “why don’t you ever do what you’re told”, “you’re bad.”
• Pushy parents make childhood a stress-filled time of striving and competing-- no time for play-- “you’re not an okay person unless you excel at . . . ”
• Parents often mistakenly believe that extravagant birthday parties, expensive clothes, and up-to-date toys for their children are necessary and will make them all happy.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT BEING HAPPY?
Things happen, and circumstances change. I can feel happy about one thing and unhappy about another at the same time. There is no command in the Bible that I should always be happy.
Possibly, one of the great misunderstandings of modern society is the belief that Christians should be happy all the time. “God rejected this formulaic theology: If we obey God, He will bless us here and now, and we’ll lead wonderful, prosperous, and joy-filled lives all our days”. (Fields, page 82) Scripture does not say, “Don’t worry, be happy.” Scripture does say, “Don’t worry, and rejoice.” The Bible is saying that although I may not feel happy, I can nonetheless experience joy.
There is a world of difference between happiness and Joy. Happiness is the great feeling that I get when everything is going smoothly. Joy is what God gives me in the midst of trouble as long as I place it in God’s hands. Happiness is because of my situation, I have joy in spite of my situation. The following Bible verses talk about joy:
Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Psalm 30:5 “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.”
James 1:2 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.”
2 Corinthians 4:17 “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”
Keeping these Bible verses in mind, I see that God desires that I find joy, and that man’s selfish brand of happiness is insufficient.
Therefore, the quest for happiness and/or the avoidance of unhappiness can be superficial compared to the joy found when I pursue holiness.
“The most blessed among us are not those who are fully satisfied, content, and spiritually self-sustaining, but those who are broken, who want, who need, who long for what is promised.” (Fields, page 91) “God’s first concern is always his children’s holiness, not their happiness. “ (Fields, pg 86) “I am learning that it does not serve my children’s good to attempt to fulfill all their desires—most of which are not about pursuing God but about pursuing other things.” (Fields, pg 93) Key Point: Therefore, whether my child is happy or unhappy is not the most important thing, and is not an indicator of whether I’m a good parent. As I pursue holiness, and acknowledge God’s presence in my own life, I can show my children that life is not about “being happy,” but in feeling the joy that God is always with me.
WHAT IS HOLINESS?
Holiness comes from God alone and is a result of the relationship I have with him. Because of my relationship with Him, I am more likely to:
• Study my Bible
• Love God
• Do God’s Will
• Live a life of faith
• Show humility, mercy, and benevolence towards others
• Be willing to sacrifice for others
• Possess the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22)
Being “Holy” sometimes seems impossible for me to achieve, as if it is reserved to describe great religious people. However, the choice to pursue holiness is for everyone. It is a continuing process. It does not involve making a hierarchy of my life by putting God at the top and ignoring all of my other responsibilities. It is knowing that God is with me in everything that I do. He will guide my path as I acknowledge Him.
HOW CAN I TEACH MY CHILDREN JOY IN A PRACTICAL WAY? (some possibilities):
1. Lose the sophisticated, reserved, and “proper” ways to relate to babies and toddlers (“calm down, son,” “not here, dear,” “you can’t do that”), and be spontaneous with laughter, delight, excitement, and enthusiasm. Life can be fun despite hardships and stresses.
• Blowing bubbles, finger paint, water play, dance, music
• Surprises, silly gifts, treasure chest
• Outside activities, nature, animals
2. Attempt to see the world through the eyes of my child. Provide activities that my child shows delight and an intense interest in, and share that joy!
3. Give liberal encouragement, and praise – feel the joy of setting “goals” and working together (baby touching nose on command, clapping hands, learning to walk, saying first words, etc.). Remember that my child’s confidence is delicate.
4. Teach the joy of sharing, and serving by incorporating those into my life
1. Is it wrong to desire happiness for my children?
2. What things are keeping me from joy this morning? Are there things in my life that I am anxious about, things that I’m still trying to find some way to control? How much of my life am I willing to give over for God to use?
3. If people were holier, would they be happier?
4. Do I ever use “God wants me to be happy” to justify my actions?
5. Do I often miss blessings because of my personal quest for happiness?
6. Does the pursuit of happiness get in the way of experiencing joy?
Bible Verses included in the chapter:
Job 36:4 “For truly my words are not false; One who is perfect in knowledge is with you.”
Job 36:11 “I they hear and serve Him, they shall end their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.”
Job 42:7 And it came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has.”
Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.
Psalm 13:1 “How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?”
Hebrews 12:28, 29 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
Leviticus 19:2 Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.”
Matthew 5:48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Matthew 5:29 “And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.”
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:2 Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Matthew 5:3-12 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
PUTTING MY FAITH AND MY COMMITMENT TO FAMILY IN THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
Our Highest Calling
God can make my “ordinary Mom life” into an extraordinary one when I ask Him to live in me, and through every circumstance. Could it be, then, that my highest calling is wherever God places me, following Jesus through all my circumstances? For young Moms, that is mostly being with babies and children. Therefore, I am called to show my children what it “looks like” to know and love God in a practical way. I may feel like I consistently drop everything to do things for my children. If my child needs me, I am sure God does not want me to ignore them. But, I can also show them how to give, love, and worship by sacrificing my desire to meet some of my own needs first and to demonstrate a Christ-like approach in my life. This highest calling is not a ministry outside my life, it is how I live. It is not something I do, but who I am.
Setting a good example for my children – what I say will influence my children only if it is supported by action. By accepting my highest calling, I want to provide a solid framework not only for the children to live up to, but for me, as a Mom, to live within. This is not a rule book, or a “to do list.” I am not a failure if I make mistakes. These examples can be integrated into my life no matter what my circumstances.
1. Count blessings rather than troubles
2. Judge self rather than others
3. Prize good character rather than personal gain
4. Serve rather than be served
5. Praise rather than criticize
6. Pray for enemies rather than retaliate against them
7. Give praise to others rather than seek it for myself
8. Be positive rather than negative
9. Forgive rather than hold a grudge
10. Be patient rather than intolerant
11. Give rather than receive
12. Be quick to listen and slow to anger
13. Seek spiritual rather than worldly values
14. Be humble rather than proud
15. Be God-centered rather than self-centered
16. Be honest rather than tricky or conniving
17. Display faithful living: hospitality, understanding, hope, responsibility, integrity, grace, caring, thanksgiving
18. Provide a healthy home atmosphere that helps teach my children about God, an environment that provides a foundation where my children can experience joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, (Galatians 5:22,23).
Bringing these principles to the “Real World”:
Sometimes the previous examples seem overwhelming in light of the demands upon me as a Mom. They provide more of a big-picture attitude than the nitty-gritty stuff that goes on day to day. So, what can I do if I think that the big picture is getting lost in my life? (The following suggestions are in the context of Moms and children, and do not address other roles like wife, friend, daughter, etc.)
Review the previous 18 examples/statements and evaluate whether I am trending in a positive direction, or whether I need to change regarding some of the ways I am influencing my children. Does my life show my children that I know and love God?
• Sometimes it is best not to react on the spur of the moment to my children. Instead, I could ask myself, “what do I want to accomplish over time, and is this likely to produce that result?”
• Pray to God and ask Him how I can best serve Him by how I interact with my children today. Don’t try to tackle my days in my own power, but rely on God’s power to help me be a faithful Mom.
• Take time to thank God that He is with me wherever I am and in whatever I am doing. Thank Him for the opportunity to serve my children.
• Sing Bible songs, play worship music, and pray with my children (get “basic” and “practical”).
• Be selective with TV watching; read appropriate books to my children.
• Show my children tenderness and affection through eye contact, physical contact, and focused attention.
• Handle conflicts without blaming; accentuate the positive.
• Trust God with my fears, and doubts. It is the only way to be free to be the best Mom I can be. • Remember that if I love my children first, and then pursue my love for God after that, I am choosing to make my children my god. If my children disappoint me (and they will), then I am stuck. It is important for me to offer my children freedom from fulfilling my dreams.
• Be kind to myself – Moms are not perfect. There will be isolated instances of “stressful times,” and times when I really “blow it” as a Mom. These lapses will not destroy the positive foundation I have laid for mothering my children.
Hopefully, the above lists do not suggest that there is a formula for Mothering, and if I work through the steps correctly, everything will be great. Joy and contentment are found when I persevere in setting good examples for my children, and in making it clear that my highest calling is living out my faith in any circumstance in which God has placed me. Many people believe that if I do everything right and follow all of the rules, I will experience the full joy of Motherhood. But, the deeply felt joy of being a Mom will likely only come after I have experienced the pain of failure, frustration, isolation, and many other trials. Moms are going to have difficult days. It is not easy being “on-call” 24/7. But, God has placed me here, and because of His love and strength, I can accept His calling.
QUESTIONS for DISCUSSION:
• What do you think about the author’s (Fields' Myth book) belief that we can love our children too much? In what ways do you agree or disagree?
• Does the Mom role ever feel like a balancing act between pursuing God, and being an attentive Mom? And, if married, how does all of this fit in with my wife role?
• How can I continue to set a good example for my children when I feel myself spiraling down during a difficult day?
• What values and assumptions are my children picking up from our home environment? How do my children see me dealing with challenges, frustrations, and disappointments?
BIBLE VERSES included in the Chapter, Myth #3; Parenting is your Highest Calling:
Matthew 20:20-23 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and making a ‘request of Him.’ And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left. But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”
Matthew 20:26-28 “It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Matthew 10:37-39 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it.”
Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Luke 10:27 And he answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
Titus 2:4 That they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.
Deuteronomy 5:16 Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you on the land which the Lord your God gives you.
Matthew 19:19 “Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Exodus 34:14 For you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God
Genesis 22:2 And He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
Genesis 21:12 But God said to Abraham, “Do not be distressed because of the lad and your maid; whatever Sarah tells you, listen to her, for through Isaac your descendants shall be named.”
Hebrews 11:19 He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type.
Galatians 3:6 Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
Genesis 17:4 “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.”
Matthew 25:23 his master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter in the joy of your master.”
Exodus 10:3 And Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, how long will you refuse to humble yourself before Me? Let My people go, that they may serve Me.”
Deuteronomy 5:7 “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Check the schedule for your group's assigned date. Your co-leader will organize what your group is bringing, by passing around a sign-up sheet during small group time or by e-mail.
Refreshments usually include (preferably) homemade breakfast casseroles & dishes, breads & pastries, fruit, soft drinks, & juice. You may be asked to bring one food item and one drink.
Drop food off by 8:50. If you will be absent, please make arrangements for your food to be there.
Drive up to the cart under the covered drive-through (near playground). Someone will take it into the Warehouse for you.
Approximately 85-90 people will be eating, so double your recipe.
Pick up your dishes in the Warehouse after small group time.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
If you choose to order it on-line, your book may not arrive until the first week in October.
We'll continue to post the chapters on this blog until everyone has had an opportunity to purchase it (see below).
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Hey new moms, remember that our first Tuesday will be different than the rest. After childcare check-in at Fellowship, we'll have our first class at the Family Life Building. Because there are other events at Fellowship that morning, it's important that we check-in at the South Entrance by the playground.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Small groups alternate providing morning refreshments.
Each small group has 2 luncheons per semester during Mom's Tyme (11:30-2).
HW: Myths 1 & 2
Luncheons: Groups 2 & 7
HW: Myth 3
Refreshments: Group 5
Luncheons: Groups 1 & 3
HW: Myth 4
Refreshments: Group 7
Luncheons: Groups 6 & 4
HW: Myth 5
Refreshments: Group 2
Luncheons: Groups 5 & 8
HW: Myth 6
Refreshments: Group 1
Luncheons: Groups 2 & 7
HW: Myth 7
Refreshments: Group 6
Luncheons: Groups 1 & 3
HW: Myth 8
Refreshments: Group 3
Luncheons: Groups 4, 5, 6, & 8
HW: Myth 9
Refreshments: Group 8
(All groups provide refreshments)
No Class - Thanksgiving Week
Free Shopping Day
Saturday, September 5, 2009
One older/wiser leader teaming up with a younger/wise Mom, sharing in the role of serving the young moms in a group.
the location where the lecture takes place.
all groups meet together for refreshments, announcements, "More" (snippets), prayer, and the lecture.
10-15 women led by a leader and co-leader meet to discuss the weeks’ homework and lecture from the current study and to build relationships with each other and the Lord.
Each small group is responsible once a semester to bring morning refreshments for the entire group (110 people) and table decor. See the calendar for your group's assigned date.
Fellowship Bible Church Children’s Ministry provides a program for children while their mother attends Bible study. (8:45-11:30 AM). Reservations are required.
Childcare Volunteer Rotation
Each Mom is assigned to volunteer one morning in childcare. Occasionally, volunteers are not needed and will be released to their class.
Small Group Luncheons
Each small group has scheduled luncheon dates to allow additional time to build relationships. Luncheons take place from 11:30am-2pm (see Mom's Tyme). Locations of the luncheons are determined by each smallgroup.
Additional childcare is available from 11:30am-2pm. The cost is $8.50 for 1 child, $17 for 2 or $20 for 3 or more. Mothers provide lunch for their children.
This $10 fee is collected during the first month of class. It covers some of the resource overhead and the semester study.
Books are purchased through the bookstore at Fellowship.
The end of each semester is celebrated with food, music, a guest speaker, and more.
The first Tuesday of each month, any mom who would like to share the exciting news of an upcoming or new addition to their family is invited to come up front and choose something from the basket. This is a fun way to announce pregnancies and adoptions.
formerly known as "snippets," these 15-20 minute talks are designed to address common needs and interests of moms. They are usually unrelated to lesson. Topics might include Cooking for Kids, Decorating for the Holidays, Toys all Kids Enjoy, etc. Class members and non-class members will be invited to be speakers. Also included as "more" are skits, special music, video clips, announcements, and prayer.
New this year, our blog - http://www.fbcmomsandmore.blogspot.com/ - will be updated weekly to include any information that previously would have been in a notebook (calendar of events, outlines, and additional resources).
See your co-leader!
Attend regularly so you can build relationships with your small group and get the most out of the lessons.
Do your homework so you’ll be ready to participate in the small group discussion.
Be On Time
Plan to arrive a little early so you can enjoy the food and visit with friends before class begins. After the lecture, quickly transition to your small group room.
Know Who You Are
Actively participate in your small group by talking AND listening. If you tend to be a talker, avoid dominating the conversation. If you tend to stay quiet, look for opportunities to share your thoughts with the group.
Support Your Group Members
Find ways to encourage and build up the women in your group, especially if one of them is going through difficult life circumstances. Avoid controversial topics, such as politics, religious traditions, or cultural differences.
If you have a concern, please share it with your group leader, co-leader, or the ministry leader. We are always looking for ways to improve and appreciate your feedback.
Leader: Ellen H.
Co-leader: Kelly S.
Mary Kathryn N.
Leader: Bette C.
Co-leader: Tara R.
Leader: Starr B.
Co-leader: Allison H.
Michele M. P.
Leader: Joan H.
Co-leader: Danielle D.
Leader: Robbie S.
Co-leader: Courtney H.
Leader: Jeri S.
Co-leader: Kristen M.
Mary Ann P.
Leader: Judy M.
Co-leader: Brooke V.
Leader: Cindy E.
Co-leader: Emily M.