Thursday, March 20, 2008

Helping Me Help Myself

I have several favorite verses in the Bible, and most of them are reminders of how important I am to God. One of them is Isaiah 49:16. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. I think of how often my two teens come home with ink on their hands with some vital information inscribed, and I revel in the idea that I am so important to God that my name is on his hand so He will never forget me. Another of my favorite ideas of God's love shows up in several passages like Psalm 17:8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. This is a verse God reminds me of often. Yesterday as I was driving to pick Mia up from school, I was running through all of my obligations and worries, when I saw a bald eagle soaring high in the sky, and then it flew directly over the van, putting me in the shadow of its wings. I knew God was speaking to me, and all of my worries were put aside as I enjoyed feeling His protection. Nothing else was as important as knowing that He loved me. My favorite Psalm is 121.

I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
It's one of the few that I have memorized, and I utilized it regularly when I was giving myself the shots of Enbrel. Putting the needle in, and then depressing the plunger even when it burned, was never, ever, easy. But speaking the promise of God's love for me helped me get through it.

Helping Me Help Myself by Beth Lisick is a sometimes humorous look at the self-help industry. Author Lisick decides for her New Year's resolution that she is going to tackle a different self-help topic each month for a year and see how her life changes. Her snarky sense of humor both helps and hurts this book. Unfortunately, she never really sees herself as needing help, so she spends much of her time judging the instructors (Mars/Venus guru John Grey, Suze Orman, etc) and the participants. The only teacher who passes the muster with her is Richard Simmons, for his sheer dedication and authenticity. It's hard to tell if Lisick ever really takes any advice to heart, because she's a little too busy being snarky and justifying her lifestyle. There are some moments of insight, and looking at these programs honestly is a great idea, but I wish that Lisick had shown some humility.

Today is officially the first day of spring, and I saw my first robin today! Molly has declared it flip-flop weather. Here's praying for no more snow.