To Read on the Journey

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Life in a "Keeping Up With the Joneses" world.

i'd like to write a book titled Keeping Up With the Joneses for Dummies. there would be only one page, with one simple word ..."Don't!"

i have never told you why the title of this blog is "Keeping Up With the Joneses." i'm sure you think it is because my last name is Jones, but that is not the reason. in fact i can think of a few other blog titles i would use which don't have my last name in them. Blog titles i have been mulling over for some time, because i would like a more original, inspiring title.

To be honest, when i started this blog in the spring of 07, i was having a hard time fitting into my Jones skin and my God skin.

First, you need a little history on me. i had spent (wasted) many years trying to "Keep Up" with a Jones. i had made her an idol, and something to aspire to. After years of "Keeping Up" i realized i couldn't, and i became bitter. i soon realized that "Keeping Up With the Joneses" had become a handicap for me ( i even wrote a paper about it for a college class).
I use to pray, "God, i NEVER want to be a Jones, because i never want people to feel like they have to "Keep Up" with me."

But then love happened...

i met him, Michael Jones. The most handsome, considerate, loving, give-yourself-up- for-this-girl-guy. He was (is) perfect. And in Sept. of 96 we were married, and i became Denise Jones.

Don't you think God had a good laugh at my "i NEVER want to be a Jones."

Still, i had no idea though that i would have such a hard time fitting into this Jones skin. in time i discovered there were still Jones idols in my closet. i had created an image of what a Jones should look like. i believed the Jones' around me to fit that image, and i believed i didn't measure up.
i wanted to be enough for a family whose name i now bare. I wanted the acceptance, affections, praise, and love of a family. I believed (as i had my entire childhood) that if i was enough, i would gain these things. i never did gain these things. The truth is i didn't have to, they were there the moment i became a Jones (their "daughter-in-love" as they refer to me). i was so busy though trying to fit, that i completely missed that i did.

At the same time i was having a hard time fitting into my God skin. The same way i had made Jones idols, i had made an idol of Christianity. i was working overtime to live up to an image. Believing again that if i was enough i would gain the acceptance, affections, praise, and love of a church family... and even more, that i would prove myself worthy to be God's daughter.
i learned the hard way (as i often do) that you can't earn worthiness. You just are.
The same way i was a Jones the moment i married Michael, i was made worthy the moment my life belonged to Christ.

The Jones skin and God skin had fit all along.

And the journey i have been on for almost 2 years, is to live like someone who fits in her God given life.

So as you can see, we're not the kind of Jones' you have to keep up with...
unless "Keeping Up" equals
seeking humility, weakness, vulnerability, less of me, and all of God.


Anonymous said...

all though i loved watching the younger years of i want to be a jones, now; i enjoy denise jones a child of god, and oh so thankful for michael jones,
love mom

Jennifer said...

It's amazing the way God changes us through the years. Sometimes it seems like things will never change... then suddenly we're looking back, going "wow, that was me..."

Kristen said...

i love your new header - that is a great picture!

this was a beautifully written, heart felt post denise. i have found myself (and still do) trying to be good enough, trying to fit into my skin.

i appreciate your vulnerability and honest, definitely something i am working on (and God is working on me to be more "real")

thanks for sharing. i love the jones family which is why i can't wait for them to be my neighbors :o)

BethAnne said...

God has a sense of humor to have you marry a Jones after a prayer like sweet that your in-laws call you daughter in love....I love that.

Linda Z said...

You said, "unless "Keeping Up" equals seeking humility, weakness, vulnerability, less of me, and all of God."

Great post, Denise. These are definitely things I want to keep up with. Let's spurn each other on and keep running the race! :)

Jessica said...

Yet again today, God has been chastising me through the blogosphere. Thank you for your post. I feel myself trying to keep up with the Jones in the world and in the church. It's hard. And it's something that I've been working on since I got married. God has been teaching me a lot about being satisfied. Satisfied with what I have and that everything I have is a gift and a blessing. Satisfied with who GOD made me and that I am good enough to be His child. Satisfied to just be His child, that there's nothing I can do to be better than another one of His children and nothing I can do to truly fall out of His grasp. Thanks for your honesty.

Jenny said...

You have a wonderful way of sharing your heart!

Linda Vujnov said...

I love it Denise.
I love your humility.
Great words.

Sarah Markley said...

excellent post denise!!

unfinished said...

i'm so glad you finally feel like a jones. now you can be as imperfect and unfinished as the rest of us. now that we are fully His, He can have His way with us. We just need to get out of His way.

love, mil (mother-in-love)