15 May 2008

Marks of integrity


I was reading my morning devotional today (Day by Day with Charles Swindoll) and the topic was "Marks of Integrity". Mr. Swindoll says that the word of God gives us several marks of integrity that God want us to incorporate into our lives. They are:

1. An excellent attitude -Uh oh - I knew I was in trouble. I so want to go through my day with a positive attitude but how often do I start grumbling the moment something doesn't go my way? I try to teach my children that things don't always go exactly as we desire and we need to stay cheerful in spite of this. I fear, though, that my actions may often teach them that it's OK to be grumpy when things go awry. Alrighty - need to work on this one.

2. Faithfulness and diligence at work - Oooooo! Ooooo! Feeling pretty good about this one! I'm always busy...always doing something. My kids have to be able to see that, right? But do they also see that there is a monster pile of dirty clothes in the laundry room that's ready to crawl into the washing machine by itself. (Oh, wouldn't that be fabulous?!!!!) I've neglected it all week in favor of less important but certainly more entertaining pursuits. Bugger.

3. Personal purity of the highest caliber - Hmmmm...I need to give this one some thought. On the one hand it's not like I'm gambling and looking at dirty pictures on the internet, but on the other hand what about the TV that I watch? I'll admit to enjoying shows like Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives and Survivor. What does God think about that? Does anyone have thoughts on that?

4. Consistency in your walk with God - This one slapped me upside the head. I go in fits and spurts having a quiet time with God everyday. For a while, I'll do a great job getting up before my kids and spending time praying and reading my bible first thing in the morning. Then something will happen like one of the kids getting sick and being up several times in the night. I'll think, "I'll just sleep in a little this morning. I'm so tired." And before you know it, I've fallen out of the habit again. It's not like I don't know how much closer I am to the Lord when I have this time. I've gone through this cycle more times than I can count.

So, it looks like I have some work to do, as usual. I am going to pray about these specific traits for the next week or so. If anyone would like to do the same, let me know and we can pray for each other as well.

I'm working on a couple of projects that I'll share with you over the next couple of days.

48 comments {Click here to leave a comment}:

Amanda Jo said...

This post is exactly what I needed to read today! I've been reading a great book called Life Management for Busy Women and the Lord has really used that to convict me in these areas too!

I will totally pray for you while you're seeking to grow in these areas!

HeathahLee said...

My thoughts on the t.v. thing are so similar to yours...it's hard to know what to do with gray areas. I will say that we have stopped watching CSI:Miami because all the scantily clad people on there weren't contributing to my husband's spiritual health. :) And even though it was hard to quit (that's not the only show we've stopped watching over the years...E.R. comes to mind) after a while I don't even miss them.

And having a consistent quiet time alone with God is a problem with me, too. And I know how much richer my life is when I spend time with Him! Why do I let myself get out of the habit?

Jennifer said...

Thanks for posting this today. You are the second person that has referenced that devotional book lately. I need to take a look at it.

This morning I got myself out of bed and as I am about to go downstairs for some time with God... the little ones wakes up! I think they hear my eyelids open. Then I have a bad attitude because this is "my time" and you all are in it. Hmm... maybe I should call it "God's time" - and change my grumpy-"Well I was going to read my bible but now I am getting juice and cheerios for everyone!"-attitude. It's a season. That's what I keep saying. But c'mon it's 5:50am! Does this happen to you? : )

Jennifer said...

And... I am going to add a blog list on my blog... would you mind if I added yours to it? I love to visit here.

Nicole said...

Can I just say that I am so impressed with your blog. If there is one thing I've learned from blogging, it's that there are some really incredible people out there who arn't nessecarily of the same religion, but have incredible faith. It's always good to read blog's like yours, that make me re evaluate my life and how I'm doing, I should probobly quit watching ER like heathahlee, my husband always leaves the room because it bothers him, maybee that shouldn've been a clue. For me a good rule of thumb when it comes to T.V is to ask myself how uplifting this is to me and my spiritual health. It's definitely a tough question.

sheila said...

you know, I imagine these are all things we struggle with...sigh...(I sigh a lot...something else I struggle with)...I guess the important thing is to know these things will never be perfect in our lives but as long as we keep up the attempt, then we're moving along...

but with the television thing and including other forms of media...books, computer, radio...whatever...I find the more things I put into my mind that aren't necessarily conducive to living as God wants me to live the harder it becomes to judge something as Not Fit...the lines get blurrier, more grey than black & white...

that doesn't mean I avoid news or stories of hardship...that is life and we have to be informed to deal with and help with these things...

but it does mean I had to stop watching Law & Order because the stories became more and more violent and disturbing (and that really stinks because I love Jack) and actually coloured my outlook and the horrible storylines would just replay and replay in my mind...

and once we're exposed to such over and over again, I believe we develop a toughened spirit to be able to exist with such horror...and that means we're not quite as horrified as we ought to be some times...

oops...sorry to blather on like that...didn't mean to get up on my soapbox :)

*disclaimer: these are just the opinions of Me and not meant to get any one upset :)

signed

the person who is on the computer readin' blogs instead of doing some Bible Study...

jennifer said...

It's not easy is it? But I try to focus on JESUS, cause I wouldn't have Salvation without him. He knows - he said there would be trial right? I guess those can just as easily be trial of the flesh. TV is a hard one. "I will set no evil thing before my eyes" but do we always know exactly what is evil? God is good, I know that, and He will guide us.

Very thought provoking post.

Jennifer

Kathy said...

I love the devotional you shared! I have questioned the fact that I also watch some of the same TV shows you mentioned. I still don't know the answer, except that maybe I should think and pray about it more seriously. Sometimes the answer's clear cut. When my son was about two he was present when a questionable program came on. I think it was Dynasty, which unfortunately dates me! As soon as Joan Collins came on the screen my precious little angel faced boy pointed and said, "oh, she's a 'B'" only of course he said the whole word. Well, I was completely horrified. I was ashamed enough to turn it off. I'm not suggesting that is what you should do about the shows you mentioned - I've admitted to watching them too. I actually think we should question whether it is effecting our children, our spouse, our personal worship, or our language negatively or inappropriately. The answer is personal and individual. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. You remind me of my daughter (once again dating myself)! She is a precious girl who tries so hard to live the life God desires for her and she is a wonderful mother to two tiny little girls. Have a wonderful and blessed week. Thank you so much for visiting me at Mimi's Garden...Kathy

new every morning said...

Beautiful words. Exactly what I needed to hear.
Thank you for the great reminder of keeping my priorities in line.
Blessings to you!

Toni said...

Beautiful devotional I struggle with the spending time with God daily one, thank you for posting this. I am adding you to my blog list

Givinya De Elba said...

A lovely blog, a lovely post. I'm here from SITS.

I think we should always be looking to the fruit that is produced in our lives - what fruit does the TV shows produce in us?

Just when we've decided that they're all rubbish and we shouldn't be watching them, God might surprise us! He might help us start a conversation with a non-Christian about a moral or ethical dilemma a character on Grey's Anatomy faced, or something funny about Reverend Lovejoy on the Simpsons. Before you know it, you've had a surprise God Conversation about something we thought would be 100% bad 100% of the time.

Or not - perhaps it's producing fruit you'd rather prune and leave behind! Only you (and your nearest) will know :)

So keep checking back to see what fruit it's bringing in your life, and God and you can decide together.

Blessing to you Kimba! GdeE.

carol said...

Charles Swindoll is an excellent writer. I love his book The Grace Awakening.

Jen said...

Nice blog. I found it by way of SITS. I agree with you but especially in what you said on 2 and 4. Those are my weak points as well. Thanks for a little wake up call.

-Bridget said...

What a great inspiration. This was a nice read to start any day.

Sunshine said...

Found you on SITS. Yes. I needed to read this today, too. This week. I'm going to have to look for this book now.

I think since we've had the kiddos we've become more conservative about a lot of things. TV's one of them, but I'm not gonna lie...we watch a lot of TV. We try to stick to the funny side of things, but even then, you run into things. And I have to get my drama and reality fixes too. But isn't that life too? I will admit...I *have* to watch the news. I have to know what's going on in the world. What is that saying (scripture?)...to live in the world, but not of the world? Something like that?

I love your blog. I think I'm gonna have to add it. It's good when you make me think. :)

Sherri said...

That is inspiring!

Vicki said...

These are kind of slapping me upside the head right now. I usually have a good attitude. It's really with my kids that I lose it...the main humans I'm supposed to be mentoring.

Faithfulness and diligence...does surfing blogs count? 'Cause that's all I seem to be doing lately. Instead of preparing to move, cleaning the house, etc.

Personal Purity: We got rid of our cable (except for internet) and you know what? I don't miss it. Pray for God to tug at your heart when you're watching/listening to something that wouldn't be honoring to Him. And then cancel your cable :)

Consistency with my walk: Yikes, I pray a lot throughout the day...but a daily quiet time is something I haven't been able to master. And it's all priorities, I know that.

I've got some work to do! Thanks for posting this.

Karen said...

Years ago, as a busy, and tired, Mum to a 4yr old, 20 mth old and new born twins, I had my Priest suggest that I really needed to make time to spend with God. Yeah, right, thought I, and exactly how am I supposed to do that??

As I was leaving, one of the Nuns took me aside, and what she said to me, I've never forgotten. 'You know, my dear, devotional time with God can be found in many unexpected places, including when you're peeling the potatoes.'

Men, and bless their manly hearts, often don't really get what it is to be a woman and a Mum. Just because they can find the time, in their day, to have that 1/2 hour to spend entirely on devotion, they think that it would also be as easy for busy Mums.

I don't think God cares, that we're peeling the spuds, or walking to the letter box, or spray painting a bench, when we're talking to him. I think that all he cares about is that we are talking to him.

Prop the bible up on a recipe holder and read it while washing the dishes or ironing or whatever.

In otherwords, don't stress that you're taking that extra half hour of precious sleep. You need that and I'm sure God really understand s that :-)

lfamily5 said...

What a beautiful post! I thank the Lord when I come across posts like this! I felt like I was reading my own life! Thank you for sharing and your honesty! visiting via SITS

Angela said...

Excellent reminders! Cheerful attitude can be my hardest challenge. And why is that our early morning devotionals are sabotaged??? It makes me more determined!

Jennifer P. said...

I just have to keep telling myself that this whole journey is a marathon, not a sprint--and if I just stay on the track (even though I might not always be moving much....) I'll make it eventually :)!

I use to struggle with the TV thing a lot too. I just started to picture God sitting on the couch next to me and wondering if he would like what he saw. It helped.

Jennifer P. said...

So glad I found you through SITS, btw :)!

Lula! said...

My decorator said I had to comment immediately after all of Jennifer P's comments.

OK, I'll stop with the decorator thing, but it was funny the 1st two times. To me, at least.

Vicki is my friend in "real life," so it's OK for me to say that I won't ever cancel my cable. I love Lost too much. I love the Lord more, and He has given me an 8 month break from my Lost obsession. Because He's GOOD like that. All the time.

I enjoyed this post. The "religious" ones (uh, I hate that term!) seem to scare people off, or at least in my case that's how it appears. But all the bench redos, porch decorating and tampon shout-outs (mine!) amount to nothing if God isn't in all of it. Duh!

I'll be back for sure! And I'm now going to talk with God AND listen to His response in regards to my integrity, or lack thereof.

Cecily R said...

Anyone who says they DON'T have things to work on is fooling themselves and fibbing to everyone else. I have TONS to work on...life is a work in process.

Great post!

Missy said...

Wonderful post! So glad I found you through SITS! Great timing, too, as I'm just composing a post about finding time with God in my everyday-as-busy-as-the-next life! Thanks for giving me something to think about today. I'll definitely be visiting often.

Mama's Losin' It said...

Beautiful is right. Your faith and insightful message are inspiring.

Rhea said...

Lovely post. There are lots of grey areas in life, aren't there?

Melissa Lester said...

Thank you for sharing your honesty and insight in this post!

Judy Haley said...

it can be difficult to get a handle on the attitude at times.

christie said...

Thanks for sharing your devotional. And your thoughts. I think it's important to understand that we are already doing what is right when have the desire to do it. Does that make sense? I think sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. If we are trying to follow him, we are on the right path.

Z's Mom said...

I'm so glad your blog was featured today, I really needed to read this post today. I need to work on all of these things...especially the attitude.

EvolvingMom said...

Thanks for your post, I enjoyed it. Also, I think your blog is so pretty!

Simply Stork said...

What an absolutely wonderful post...I am so glad you included this post in your three...what a refreshing outlook on things...

I simply love the kinds of posts where we can come away with 'thoughts in our minds' of how to change things for the better...

this is one of those posts :o)

~simply~

Jaci said...

My husband has that devotional. He strives to live better, while I'm wallowing in doing everything wrong. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I wish I was more like you, trying to make my house a soft place to land, rather than keeping up with the other neighbors.

Hairline Fracture said...

Very inspiring. I struggle with some of these too. The important thing, I think, is to keep trying when we slip up and lose focus on what should be our top priorities.

Blarney said...

Thanks for the boost today ...

Nichole Jolene said...

that's for a great "tip" on another book to read. i'm so glad to meet others willing to change and improve themselves! thanks from a fellow SITS

Melanie said...

Those are some awesome thoughts. I'm going to have to get that book. You are an awesome blogger. Came to you from SITS but will be returning. Another add for my blogroll.

Tausha said...

You my dear, coudn't be more right. Oh how i wish that there were some days that we never had problems. Then I think, if I never have had problems, I would never know what to enjoy.
This post was great! We should always have goals, these too will be my goals. So-you go girl and I will be saying a little prayer for you! Hope your evening is Fabulous!

Timalee said...

Wonderful post. Right now in my life #1 is the one I have the most trouble with daily. Need to work on that. As for the TV watching, I have been very convicted over the last month that I need to make changes in my viewing habits, but that is just me. And thanks for your honesty with #4, so good to know that other moms struggle with this also.

MrsWhimsy said...

This was a very refreshing and poignant post. Thank you.

Kandace said...

Uh oh...man I'm really in trouble if God frowns on watching tv shows that are scandelous.

Michelle said...

I am so failing in so many areas when you look at it this way. I sort of have to be ok with what I'm doing to stay sane, but there is also definitely room for improvement!

Lauren Horsley said...

I have to remind myself over and over that God doesn't ask us to be perfect, he simply asks us to keep trying. That's my daily gauge - am I headed toward Him or away from Him? Will I be perfect in this lifetime? No. Will I die trying? Heavens yes. That's all that matters.

Thanks for the uplifting wisdom - such a lovely blog! Will be back here soon.

- Lauren

Gina said...

Sometimes I feel all marked up- not necessarily from integrity. Usually more like dings and chips, and the occasional scratch from trying to carry too much life on my own...
Good post.

Katy Lin :) said...

thank you so much for your honesty. i struggle with these same things, and it's an excellent reminder - not only that i still need to be working, but that i'm not alone in the struggling :)

Gina said...

I'm a day behind! I really enjoyed your post- I have been thinking that I wanted to use that book as a devotional... think I'll go find it. I've been really bad at having regular devotions. Thank you for the inspiration!!

bmommy said...

Love the layout of your blog...it`s really beautiful :L)