I will be energetic and strong, a hard worker

It’s frigid and snowy today, which makes me crave hot cooked meals, cookies, and a fireplace to cheer up the house. Overcast skies like the one outside my window make me want to be productive, but my motivation lags. Words escape me and distractions abound, so that even writing a blog post becomes more time-consuming and draining than usual.

The Proverbs are full of admonitions to work hard:

“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no princeĀ  or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter” (6:6-8). This Scripture goes on to say that a little extra sleep, a little more rest, and poverty will pounce on me like a bandit.

Proverbs 10:4 tells me that lazy people become poor but hard workers get rich.

And of course there’s the Proverbs 31 description of a wife of noble character. “She is energetic and strong; a hard worker” (31:17). This woman is more precious than rubies. Sounds good, no? I like it so much, I choose it for today’s confession.

I will be energetic and strong, a hard worker.

The entire Proverbs 31 woman is a bit much for me to bite off all at once, but taken in small chunks I might be able to achieve something of value. From the creation of the world in Genesis 1 to the renewing of it in Revelation 22, it’s clear that God honors hard work. He looks favorably on the person who doesn’t wallow in laziness or self-indulgence. With that in mind and written on my heart, I will move through this day working hard, with energy and strength. Even if it is noon before my morning tasks are completed.

Are you naturally a hard worker, or do you need someone to give you direction and motivation?

I will speak kind words

Occasionally, I get a glimpse of myself that closely resembles Godzilla. Screaming, gnashing of teeth, breathing fire. I’m sure this is what my littles see when I’ve asked them twelve times to get their socks and shoes on, and that thirteenth time, that most unlucky time, I lose all self-control.

Screaming. Gnashing. Fire. Not pretty.

A friend told me recently about memories of her now deceased mother. They included a few kind moments, but overall she remembered being told how she was trouble, too much work, in the way, and on and on. It affected her for many years. As she told the story, I saw myself and my littles. And I cringe as I write this.

There’s no getting around it. As much as we love them, kids are hard work. And as I admitted yesterday, I am incredibly selfish. The two character traits don’t mix well. Downhearted and quite convicted, I turn to my Bible for some strength and truth. I find this:

It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home. Proverbs 25:24

Well, that made me feel much better. My family would be better off living in a very small, dusty, dark space than to live with my meanness. I agree, but I don’t want to be this way. I keep looking.

The tongue can bring death or life. Proverbs 18:21a

I’m on a roll. Seems God it telling me something. Words are a powerful thing, and perhaps I haven’t been using mine the way He desires. One more piece of Scripture seals it:

Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. Proverbs 16:24

Now that’s something I can work with. What kid doesn’t like honey? So, today’s confession is revealed:

I will speak kind words.

This is a beautiful confession for every day, and it’s supported by the other verses in Proverbs 18 and 25. When my biggest little resists instruction, or my littlest little won’t sit still for anything, I will speak kind words. I feel better already.

Can you see yourself in today’s confession?

I will not depend on my own understanding

Trust is hard for me. Trust means I give up my opinion and I believe in someone other than myself. It means I don’t question and I don’t try to understand.

I like to understand.

In spite of that, it’s no secret I don’t understand much in this world. Why I must have chocolate every hour, why my children don’t sleep at night, why awful people thrive on mistreating others. I especially don’t understand why I am such a coward when the Spirit of God lives in me.

Today’s confession sticks in my throat. I want it to be true. I want my life to be defined by trust in God. I want to leave fear and worry and distress behind. In my wild imagination, I swing from skyscraper to skyscraper on an itty bitty string, not trying to understand this enormous change that’s happened to me and my family. Strong, fearless, scanning creation for bad guys and opportunities to save helpless victims.

No, wait. That’s Spiderman. (Or my biggest little after he watches Spiderman. My furniture looks like a skyscraper to a three-year-old, right?)

Okay, no swinging and no helpless victims. But trusting, not trying to understand. That would be incredible. So in spite of the words sticking in my throat I confess:

I will not depend on my own understanding.

Then I turn to Proverbs 3:5 and find today’s confession in full. I’m not surprised to realize it’s about trust in God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

This one will take awhile to soak in. Things happen that I may never understand, but if I trust in God I don’t need to understand. I just need to seek Him.

Does trust come easily to you?