Day 22: You are here – a brief recap

Dear Reader Friend,

There are less than 10 days left in this 31 day challenge. I’ve posted scripture and songs and stories from others. The things going on in my personal life (see Day 2 for a glimpse into THAT) have made it very challenging to carefully craft out a blog post each day. I lost a few days early on and am not quite caught back up yet. But thank you for hanging in there with me.

you-are-here-illustration by hikingartist (CC BY-ND 2.0)

you-are-here-illustration by hikingartist (CC BY-ND 2.0)

So, where are we now?

My goal this month was to look at the things in life that we try to build on, trusting in our own strength or ability rather than leaning wholeheartedly on God, his strength and his peace. I thought I would go through different things we try to rely on and show how they are kingdoms with foundations built on sand that easily crumble. Instead, my physical kingdom, i.e., house, crumbled. Not literally, but with water soaking our entire basement floor and an upstairs crammed with all the furnishings that were down there, it’s been a challenge. I’ve learned that I don’t need to wait until my house is perfectly decorated to invite people over. Instead, I’ve actually had more people in my house this month than probably the past three months combined. It’s hard to swallow pride and ask for help, but the community that has surrounded us has been worth it.

I’ve had some stumbles, too.

Temptations that repeatedly tease with their false hope of something “better” have been taunting me. Being tired and worn thin, it’s been easier to give in, to allow the serpent in the garden sweet talk me into taking a bite of his apple. When I look at it in light of crushing kingdoms, the sins I gravitate toward are often my attempts at building my own kingdom. The idols I manufacture are my attempt at putting myself on the throne.

The next step in this series, though definitely more difficult to spell out in words, is to look at four of those areas that are often classified as the deep idols. These would be the root of the issue, so to speak. If you take the sins you feel you struggle with and start probing even deeper, where does it lead you? At the heart of things, what is it you really long for? How do you figure that out? Here are some questions to begin asking yourself:

What do you worry about the most?
What, if it failed or you lost it, would make you perhaps not want to live anymore?
What do you rely on for comfort?
What do you do to make yourself feel better?
What do think about, or daydream about, when there’s nothing else pressing in?
What gives you your self-worth?
What are you proud of?
What would you want printed on your tombstone?

Think through these, so in the next several posts, you’ll more clearly see what deep idols you are clinging to as you crush your kingdoms.

Thanks for following along with me this month, whether you’ve been a faithful reader for a while or if you’re one of my new friends, many of whom are also participating in #write31days.

me in my World Help shirtHave a blessed day,

Janice
aka Claygirlsings ← (how this name came about)

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Day 6: Stop Building on Sand

If you grew up in the church, you may recognize that story as the parable of the wise man and the foolish man. Read the words of Jesus:

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his hoDay 6: Stop Building on Sanduse on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.  — Matthew 7:24-27

Building kingdoms in our own strength or on our own foundations will leave us standing alone, cold and wet. They will fall around us when life gets hard or trials come.

I love urban explorer (urbex) photography, like Niki Feijen,  Chris Luckhardt, and Detroiturbex. I recently stumbled across a series of photographs of abandoned Six Flags New Orleans, which was flooded during Hurricane Katrina. It was originally built on swamp land and is a low-lying area, so the entire property was under water for nearly a month after the hurricane hit.

Katrina Killed the Coaster by Keoni Cabral via Creative Commons license 2.0

When we build our kingdoms on foundations that aren’t stable, whether sand or swamp, we run into similar problems. Growth isn’t sustainable. The first “storm” that hits, sends things crumbling into ruin.

Stop building on sand. Build the foundation of your life and kingdom on the rock, that is, Christ Jesus.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, — Psalm 46:1-2

What areas have you been building on a shaky foundation in your life? Repent and start building on the rock.

Go back, if you missed Day 5.

crushing your kingdoms

Day 1: Wanting our own way

Welcome to Day one of Crushing Your/Our/My Kingdom(s). Let’s start with a brief look at why it is that we want to build our own kingdoms in the first place. Going back to the beginning, we are reminded that Eve, in the Garden of Eden, was the first human to start building her kingdom.

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”  Genesis 3:6

We all, every one of us, have the desire born in us to think we know what’s best for us and, sometimes, for everyone around us. We push, scratch, and claw our way to the top, building what we think is a good thing, only to find that we had a flawed view of what was good or were relying on faulty reasoning that X would satisfy and fulfill us.

Do you remember going to the beach as a child and desperately trying to build sand castles? Mine usually ended up as somewhat off-balanced lumps that vaguely resembled a bucket (cue: sad trombone). If, by some miracle, a modest sand castle was erected, then the incoming tide was sure to wash it away.

Striving to build sand castle kingdoms

This is how I feel when I take an objective look at the kingdoms I try to establish in my own strength or for my own glory. Something I expected to be a tower of strength is, in reality, an unsteady, ready-to-collapse bucket of sand. Do you ever feel this way? Things you thought would lead to success or happiness only disappointed.

As we focusing on crushing our kingdoms this month, may we see where we are still striving, with bucket and shovel, to build sand castle kingdoms.

Read to read Day 2?

Click here for the index to the whole series:

crushing your kingdoms

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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