Thoughts from the pew

Normally it's Sunday Runday, but I'm taking this Sunday after the marathon off, plus I'm still battling this yucky head cold.

Today was the first day I went back to church, probably since I got knee deep into marathon training.  For sure the last time I visited a church was in November, so almost two months. It was a different kind of a setting. Smaller, more intimate, SUPER early in the morning...for me. 8:45am. Woof. This church I attended this morning was just wrapping up a series they did in Ephesians. The church members were so nice, they greeted me, asked my name, but weren't pushy. They told me about themselves without over selling. Then when the service got started they did something just a little bit differently. It was more of a bible study setting where the members gave their thoughts on the lessons they learned over the last few weeks. They had to answer a few very important questions.

Who am I?
Who is God?
Who does God think I am? What is my response to that and what is his response to ours?

Everyone gave various answers. The typical, Father, Sovereign, Rightous is God. (As he is) what really spoke to me though was when they got to Who I am to God.

Ephesians 1:4 says ' Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.'

God loves me. He chose me. I am worthy in his eyes. You know those days were you get to feeling like nothing? Where you feel bad about all the decisions you've made or things you've done? Or you're just suffering from a really bad case of insecurities? This is a great verse to come back to. I am wholly, worthy, loved, and adopted by God. Chosen. You know how it feels to fall in love? When someone picks you? How exciting is that? 'Yipee, someone has picked me for all that I am! Quirks and all! Finally someone accepts me for me!' It's like that with God, but constantly. All the time. Unconditionally. Doesn't matter how many times I screw up. He still loves me. Yes, I've learned lessons from the mistakes I have made and I will learn from the mistakes I make in the future, but I am forgiven. Automatically. Most importantly, still loved.

The other thing that really spoke out to me was when the pastor said 'Remember, we are not fighting a battle against people, we are fighting a spiritual warfare.' Ephesians 6:12
That's true! If you're not a believer, you can think of it as we're not fighting against people, but against the choices, attitudes, etc. of others and/or ourselves. Whether we're constantly late, broke financially, never saying the right thing, broken relationships. The devil doesn't want us to feel joy or be happy. Or if you're a non-believer, really bad things happen, but we can't let that break us or destroy us. 

Now, I've been married for almost 9 years now, and with the same man for 14. My one piece of advice to newlyweds is to remember that you are fighting FOR each other not AGAINST each other. If we can remember to do that in any relationship we have, then we might find ourselves looking at the person as a whole instead of just one aspect of them.
I'm not saying fight for a physically verbal, emotional, abusive or toxic relationship of any kind! What I am saying is it can be easier to let go of something when we realize that we might just be focusing on the wrong thing.

It's like that with a diet too. If you focus on the things you CAN'T eat or CAN'T have, guess what? You'll be constantly thinking about those things. 
If you focus on all the good, yummy food you CAN have, you'll focus more on the good. Now, not everything is going to be unicorn farts and rainbows but that's life. Keep moving forward, focus on the good, and most importantly, it's time to start letting stuff go, mostly the things that weigh you down. 

Blessings and goodnight.