Lindsay Dryer

Reflection Collection

By Lindsay Dryer

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A Valuable Lesson From Paw Patrol

I have to believe I’m not the only mom who sometimes feels like Paw Patrol is the soundtrack of my life. I’m not even a huge fan of my kids watching a lot of tv, but if it’s on, there’s a 90% chance Paw Patrol is playing. My kids love it so much that I finally got smart and set the DVR to record every episode of the show so it would be available anytime I need 25 minutes of quiet kids on the couch. C’mon. You know what I’m talking about.

Last night before bed, the kids requested “just one episode” of Paw Patrol, and so I sat on the floor folding mounds of tiny laundry and listening to the narrative of another grand rescue by those brave pups. Except, two minutes into the episode, I realized it was the one…the one that drives me absolutely CRAZY.

In this episode, there’s a villain named Lady Bird who loves all things shiny. Throughout the episode, she is on the hunt for anything that shines, and she steals it as her own to put in a lair of sorts. (Honestly, it kind of reminds me of that show Hoarders, but that’s a different issue.) She calls this shiny stash her “reflection collection.”

I never thought the Holy Spirit would speak to me through a Nick Jr. show, but He is pretty creative, so I guess I’m not surprised! As I was cringing listening to Lady Bird’s annoying voice, those two words hit me like a ton of bricks. Reflection collection. She is so obsessed with herself that she spends her days collecting items that will allow her to stare at her own reflection. All at the expense of other people.

Do you have a reflection collection, Lindsay? I love the way He prods so gently to get my mind thinking and my heart stirring.

I began thinking of what this “reflection collection” might look like in real life for a person like me. No, I’m not running around town stealing shiny things from innocent bystanders (thank goodness!), but is my life a collection of moments that are focused inward?

Let me just be really transparent with you for a moment: 

  • When I’m frustrated because my kids are fighting with each other for the 99th time in three hours, is it because I want them to be best friends and I want them to show the love of Jesus to one another? Highly doubt it. It’s most likely because they’re driving me crazy, and I don’t want to hear their arguing anymore, and I’m trying to get something done, so they need to stop.

  • When I’m scrolling through social media, and I see something that strikes a jealousy cord in my heart, is it because I want the best for my friend and I’m celebrating with her? Of course not! It’s because I feel like I’m missing out or that I deserve more than what I already have.

  • When there are challenging circumstances in my life and I begin to cower in fear, is it because I’m placing my full trust in Jesus? Absolutely not. It’s because I’m considering my own strength instead of His.

INWARD OR UPWARD?

I’m realizing that so often we are faced with the option to either look inward at our own reflection or look upward to Christ. Sometimes we don’t even make the wrong decision out of selfish or impure motives. I think sometimes we just get so lost in our own navel-gazing that we forget to look up.  

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We’re encouraged in Hebrews 12:2 to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” In the Greek, that literally means to turn your eyes away from other things and fix them on something (in this case, Jesus). It’s really easy to walk through life focused on ourselves, but it takes intentionality to focus our attention on Christ.

I don’t know what this looks like for you in your current season of life. It might mean fixing your gaze on Christ while the chaos of life feels too much for you to carry alone. It might mean holding on to hope when you receive devastating news from the doctor. It might mean literally taking your eyes off things that are causing you to focus inward (social media, tv, etc.).

All I know is that there is only One who is worthy of a reflection collection. Only One who can stand to have every eye fixed on Him. Only One who won’t crumble under the weight of our attention. Only One whose reflection can change our hearts and lives. That’s Jesus.


Be Still

By Lindsay Dryer

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Keeping Your Eyes on the Father

A friend of mine recently shared a somewhat traumatic experience of hers. Her daughter, who is a toddler, has had a habit of tugging on her hair since she was just a little baby. It wasn't really anything to be concerned about until one day, my friend went to get her daughter out of her car seat, and the little girl had wrapped her hair so tightly around her finger that her finger was blue. This was quite alarming for my friend, so she sought advice from her pediatrician, who recommended having her hair cut in an attempt to break the habit (and save her fingers!).

Off they went to the hair salon, and this little almost-2-year old girl went from shoulder-length, wavy hair to an adorable pixie cut. My friend was heartbroken for her daughter. She didn't imagine her first hair cut being under these circumstances or being this short. I can only imagine how I would feel if it was my own daughter.

It never would have been my friend's preference for her daughter's first hair cut, but she was doing what was best for her. A few days after the haircut, she shared the most precious photo on social media that her husband had snapped while they were at the salon. As the tiny girl sat in the big chair getting her hair cut, her mama is bent down, face to face, holding her face in her hands, keeping her still while the stylist cuts, looking into her eyes and showing the sweetest smile to reassure her that it will all be okay.

I literally cried when I saw the picture. I immediately imagined it as me and Jesus. Or you and Jesus. Isn't that the way He cares for us?

When we're facing something really hard, something that would have never been our idea of a good idea, there He is holding our face in His hands, looking us in the eye, and whispering to us, "I know it's hard. I know it's not comfortable. But it's for your good. Lock eyes with Me and trust Me."

There's something powerful about locking eyes with Jesus; about standing still long enough to hear Him speak. It's easy to become so overwhelmed by or anxious about the circumstances in front of us that we forget to look up at our Savior and recognize that He's working for our good. It's easy to get so busy fixing things and covering our bases that we miss out on letting HIM fix it. It's hard to really listen if we aren't standing still.

I love what God commands us in Psalm 46:10. He says,

Be still, and know that I am God.
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Being still almost seems like a foreign concept to us in this day in time. We are a culture of go-go-go. We work nonstop, we fill our schedules, we do everything quickly. It's hard to be still! But that's the only way we're going to really be able to listen to His voice. Look what it says in the CSB version and MSG version.

“Stop your fighting, and know that I am God." (CSB)

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God." (MSG)

Stop fighting for yourself. Step out of the crazy traffic of life. Be still. Look up. Take a long, loving look into His eyes, and know in your heart that He. Is. God. He's in control.

He sees the giant you're facing. He's bigger.

He knows the battle you're fighting. He already won the victory.

He wants to look you in the eyes and tell you, "I see you. I'm here with you. This is not easy, but it's for your good. Lock eyes with me and trust me."

What area of your life keeps you moving nonstop? Where do you feel like you need to focus on being still, locking eyes with Jesus, and listening?

Mom Tip for Holding Your Child’s Attention

Have you ever tried to have a serious conversation with your little one? In my experience, that can be quite a challenge because kids don't like to stand still for very long. When I try to discipline my 4-year old or explain why hitting her brother is not okay, she's more concerned about making sure he doesn't get that toy she was playing with. Her eyes are everywhere but on mine, and her ears might be hearing what I'm saying, but it's highly unlikely that she's listening.

I learned something really helpful a couple of years ago. When I need to speak an important message to my daughter, I will tell her, "Put your hands on Mommy's face." This kind of forces her attention to be on my face. Every once in a while, her eyes will veer off, but for the most part, she has her eyes on mine, and she's not so easily distracted. I can't remember where I even saw this taking place, but I remember seeing it and thinking, "That mom is a GENIUS!" And ever since then, I've been so grateful to have that one in my bag of tricks!


The Danger of DIY Motherhood

By Lindsay Dryer

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Pinterest Fail

Oh, Pinterest. It’s amazing how I can both love and loathe something all at the same time. Pinterest always comes through for me when I’m looking for a quick and easy recipe, nail color inspiration before my next mani, or ideas on how to style my new shirt. Usually somewhere along my search, I see something cute that catches my eye — some kind of DIY project that looks so easy my kids could do it — and I think, “Oh wow! I’m totally going to try that!” *Clicks “Pin It” button. (Insert audience laughter here.)

But looking at Pinterest usually has a way of reminding me how creative I am NOT and how I’ll probably never get around to trying all of those DIY projects I’ve pinned (and if, by some miracle, I do try one out…it will probably be a #pinterestfail).

DIY Motherhood

I was reminded of a similar reality recently as I was reading through Romans 7. Check it out with me. (Hint: I find it easiest to understand this passage when I read it outloud. But read slowly. It’s a bit of a tongue twister!)

 

For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one that does it, but it is the sin that lives in me. So I discover this law: When I want to do what is good, evil is present with me. For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, but I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
— ROMANS 7:19-24 (CSB)

In other words…I have big plans of doing good and great things, but I can’t seem to do them! Instead, I keep doing wrong or bad things.

Can anyone else relate to this passage of Scripture? Especially in the realm of motherhood?

This feels like a description of my daily battles. Every day I set out to love well and lead well in my home. I plan to speak with a kind and gentle voice, to demonstrate patience and long-suffering towards my kids, and to parent selflessly, putting their needs above my own. 

And every day…I fail. When I want to do the right things, sin is always close by. As Trillia J. Newbell puts it in her study, If God is For Us, “Paul [the author of Romans] rightly describes this battle as a war between the truth we know in our hearts and minds and the desires of our flesh. These two aspects of our being are waging war against one another."

It’s a really good thing this passage in Romans doesn’t stand alone because it’s painful to read! I don’t know about you, but it leaves me feeling a little drained of hope.

We must keep reading, friends. The good news is next in verse 25,“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Who will rescue me from this ongoing battle? JESUS!

And we can’t stop there! As we move into Romans 8, we see the most beautiful explanation in the Bible of how the truth of the gospel is worked out in our hearts. And… spoiler alert: it’s not a DIY project! (Can I get an AMEN?!)

Read Romans 8:5-6 with me. I love the way it’s paraphrased in The Message version:

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

WOW. Did you catch that?

When we think we can do this life on our own—what I’m calling “DIY motherhood”—we begin obsessing over ourselves and become so inwardly focused that we can’t see God at work in our day-to-day, moment-by-moment lives!

Upward Focused

Instead, we should:

  • have our minds set on the Spirit (vv. 5-6),

  • recognize the work that God has already done on the cross (through His Son) and is continuing to do in our hearts (through His Spirit).

So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
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I don’t know the details of your story or what’s on your planner for tomorrow, but I’m certain that you have things to do and places to go. You have babies to raise, hearts to shepherd, dreams to accomplish, and more! And the best way to do it all? Don’t do it yourself.

Look upward, not inward. That’s where the real, lasting hope lies.

Apply It:

Take some time this week to read, study, and meditate on the truths packed in Romans 7-8. When you find yourself measuring your “moral muscle” or becoming discouraged by the battle described in Romans 7, stop and remember that God never called you to DIY motherhood. He called you to life IN HIM.