Oh, to be like YOU! (Guest Post by Alex Shimanek)

Jesus - To be like youI majored in Psychology in college. I loved it!  Why people think and behave the way they do, it’s always intrigued me. I find human beings to be fascinating, complicated, and beautiful. To know one ’s self and be truly honest about your thoughts, feelings and actions sounds simple enough, but as we all know, it can be a tricky, sometimes painful, thing.

 Funny how two people can go through the exact same situation and have two totally different perceptions of it.  We each bring our own past, experiences and beliefs into how we interpret and perceive the situations we are in. I use to think I had mastered the art of self-reflection. I really thought I was so self-aware that nothing could get past me. Until that one night in the kitchen (isn’t it always in the kitchen !) when I was having a conversation with my husband and the phrase “be truly honest with yourself” was being repeated over and over again. But, every time those words came out of my mouth I felt a check in my spirit, like God was saying, “Stop worrying about who is or isn’t being honest with themselves-YOU be honest!”

Well that can’t be right! Excuse me, God? I majored in Psychology! I know things! I am in tune with my thoughts and my feelings. If I’m wrong, I’ll say, “I’m wrong”. If I need to apologize, I’ll  say, “I’m sorry”.  (Now…if I can just pause for a sec here and impart some wisdom…if you ever find yourself arguing with God, chances are, you- my sweet and beautiful friend- are wrong! I write this in love, of course)

The next morning, on my run, the lyrics of the very first song that played were, “Jesus, Jesus, all I want is to be like you.” I kept repeating it, “Jesus, Jesus all I want is to be like you”.  As I prayed and worshiped and ran, God flooded my mind with images of people, situations and times I wasn’t being like him. There were far too many than I’d like to admit.

Now, I know God loves me. I know God didn’t do this to make me feel bad. I know he did it to HELP me. To help the relationships in my life be more Christ-like. And, in order to be a better wife, mom and friends,  I’d have to go back to those times where I had behaved poorly, so I could do better in the future.

Images of my sweet friend -who I should have been kinder to, encouraged more and showed more love, respect and loyalty to, came to mind. I felt ashamed.

My children, the very same children I prayed fervently for 10 years ago… I was dismissive of my daughter when she was asking me to re-tell her the story of how I met daddy, my sons too- I yelled at them for making a fort-in of all places…the PLAYROOM!

My sweet husband, the man who everyday tells me how much he loves me, I was downright hostile towards because he bought 2% milk instead of 1%!

Man, I needed to get to work! ASAP. I needed to apologize. Make some changes. Pray.

“Jesus, Jesus All I want is to be like you”.  What a goal!  Don’t be afraid to tell God you want to be more like him. Ask him to show you where in your life you have fallen short. Make amends. Seek forgiveness and do better. None of us are there yet, but if we all desire to be more like Jesus, what a world this will be!

Alex Alex Shimanek is the Shoreline Church Sisterhood North Coordinator, a mother of four children (three of which are triplets!!), and an amazing writer and communicator of the gospel. Thanks for writing for me Alex. Love you, dearly!


Lessons in Honor II

 Three of our four kids were born with in days of each other, in different years. This has brought to pass a special week of celebration in our home, which we lovingly call birthday week, and we just completed it this past Thursday. During this week, we are even more focused around celebrating and honoring the special birthday boys and Kylie. 

We value traditions in our home, and one special birthday tradition we hold to, is having a family meal and allowing the birthday person to select the dinner choice on their special day. This year we built on that tradition, by asking each person around the table to share what they like most about, or to share a special memory of, the one being celebrated. 

 I was surprised to find that for some relationships, this was easy; but for others it was a little harder, and so we all waited while each came up with something, and in time – all were able to share at least one thing they really enjoyed. For our special birthday peeps, this was a major hit… Some were surprised to find out what the others liked about them; they laughed at the stories being shared, and as we went around the table – smiles got bigger, they sat a little taller, and really filled up with the love that was being poured out. It was for sure, a lesson in honor for them – how to give it and what it feels like to receive it. It was beautiful!

 This new addition to our birthday tradition was a reminder to me, that with those we love and interact with regularly we always have the choice to focus on the negative; but when we choose the opposite and focus on and celebrate the positive – we are demonstrating unconditional love and acceptance; which goes a long way in building and strengthening those relationships. Also, when we honor one another in this way, we are imitating Christ and loving the way he desires for us to show love, just as it says in John 13:34-35[Amp], “I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.  By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves.” The apostle Paul also touched on love and honor in Romans 12:10 (NLT), where he wrote, “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”

 Love like this flows naturally out of hearts in tune with how much we are loved by God. If you are struggling today with knowing how much God loves you, I pray you have a new revelation of his love and grace. And if you are struggling with love, honor or forgiveness in any of the relationships in your family, I want to remind you that nothing is beyond God’s ability to heal, restore and repair… we serve a mighty, loving, gracious God! 

 Copyright © 2011 by Amy O’Donnell. All Rights Reserved