Thursday, December 16, 2010
Now think on your happiest moments. Think about the elation, the joy, the surprise you felt. When I think on those moments I realize they have one thing in common; the person or thing causing me happiness was completely outside my control. When I think on those moments I realize that I had very little to do with it. I didn't demand it, I didn't sulk about it, I wasn't calculating my every move to make sure I got it, I just was being and just by being I walked into it. It's really a phenom actually. Exert control: unhappy. Relinquish control: happy.
Ironically happiness never comes to miserable people. People who are hard to satisfy, set too high expectations, that even they would have difficulty meeting; these are the people that happiness always eludes, because happiness is drawn to its own likeness. I know for me when I was just minding my own business, giving others the space they need to be who they are, being kind just because, I was in essence being happy and making an environment where happiness felt welcomed. It doesn't mean I was settling, it doesn't mean I don't have standards, it just means I'm content with me, and therefore able to be content with everything and everyone around me without placing demand. When I feel myself creeping over to the darkside, I just remind myself that I like who I am, with or without that person or thing and I start to feel better.
"...for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need." Philippians 4: 11-12
Saturday, October 9, 2010
My hand in the palm of another
I am missing
Fingers running through my hair
I am missing
Wanting and longing stares
I am missing
Sweet nothings traced on my back
I am missing
Warm air at the nape of my neck
I am missing
Anticipation and day dreams
And long talks about nothing and everything
I am missing
Falling hopelessly, desperately,
With no rhyme or reason
Friday, July 2, 2010
Where is my writing on the wall
Where is my knight in shining armor
I've been foresaken of them all.
Where is my road less traveled
Where does my treasure lay
Where is my talent buried
I cannot find it anywhere
There is no booming voice from Heaven
There is no book being written
There is no staff
To part the way
I have but one refuge
I have but one gift to give
My faith is all that I have
The only truth I know
The truth that is you
Holy spirit guide me now
For all the answers lie with you
Only one thing that matters
Is that I matter to you
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Today on my way into church, I noticed a coffee cup rolling around on the interstate. Ever since the 4th grade I've dispised the act of littering. If I throw a bubble gum wrapper on the ground I feel guilt ridden the rest of the day. So, when I ride past this coffee cup, I curse the culprit under my breath. I even say to myself, "they probably were on their way to church, breaking the law like that."
Then something amazing happened. I looked down at my speedometer and realized I had been driving at least 20 miles over the speed limit since I got in the car. I started to laugh at myself because here I was breaking a law and condemning someone else for breaking another. The Holy Spirit came and corrected my thoughts.
See, we humans esteem one law more important than another. This man/woman I was criticizing probably drove the speed limit and followed every other traffic law, yet did not truly appreciate the damage littering does to our planet over time. They may be unaware how this careless act done repeatedly could effect their childrens inheritance. But regardless, we both were wrong and therefore unsuitable to judge each other.
But it's not easy or natural for us to come to this diplomatic conclusion on our own. It's very second nature actually to become so focused in figuring out what's wrong with what everyone else is doing, or what type of people other people are. But when you find yourself doing this, quickly ask yourself the question, "but what am I doing?" and "who am I?"
I laughed at myself all the way to church. I'm sure God laughed with me. I cast out my judgment and turned the mirror on myself. I am a "speed demon" by all accounts and break the law regularly. I'm often distracted by the radio or a hair that's out of place. I'm an impatient driver and I'm irritated by anyone who gets in my way. Heaven help all those that surround me. My prayer is that God work on these flaws and help me mature spiritually and as a law-abiding citizen. Now, will I change over night? Probably not, but I have seen the light and know I need correction. I know who I am, good and the bad.
Now, who are you?
Thursday, April 1, 2010
"No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8: 37-39 (NIV)
Well, Paul pretty much covered it and I don't think there is a whole lot to add to it. But as you meditate on this as I did, I hope you notice a very important key word; "love." This is a love that has been with us since the dawn of time ("him who loved us") and it is a love that exists even now ("from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord"). It is through this divine characteristic that we are able to conquer anything that comes our way.
God is the purest form of love and if we are created in his image then it is fair to say that we too can achieve this very pure form of love; after all, we were reconciled to God so that we can reclaim our rightful place on this earth as beings made in his divine image. We do not conquer the adversity that comes into our lives by brunt force alone (or at all in most cases), but by having a spirit of love.
Now, before you go stick a flower in your hair and go dancing in a poppy field, we need to recognize there are huge differences between God's love and what we perceive through our modern lenses as love. Media tells us that love often time hurts ("He hurts me because he loves me."). Love may exist in a tense situation, but if love is exhibited in a manner that hurts you and/or the recipient of your love, then it turns into something that can be destructive, cold, and angry, and make you feel isolated from God and the rest of the world, and therefore no longer love. The bible describes love this way:
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perservers. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Notice how powerful love sounds? Not weak, not inconsistent, not afraid. With God's love in your heart you can do amazing things because the love inside you will resonate out to the world and with it the ability to change any situation for good. When you love this way, this is when you are closest to God because then you are most like him. When there is love between the creator and the creation, then nothing can tear that a part and there is nothing that you can't overcome.
I encourage you today to love. Love God, love yourself, love the people around you (even the ones you're having difficulty liking), love your crappy job, and love the neighbors' loud dog. Basically love life; there is more power in that than hating it.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Here's something I should probably do more often, especially considering the premise of this blog, but I would like to give a special dedication to all the single ladies out there.
At the ripe old age of 30, I'm beginning to wonder when my journey in singledom will be over. Not so much because I decided I was ready for it to be over, but because co-workers I barely know ask me why I'm not married, strangers on the street when they learn the answer is "no," respond with "don't you want to have to children???" and other single available men I meet (some even closer to the grave than me) boast loudly, "there must be something wrong with you!" So, it's no wonder that after I'm done praying for world piece and the salvation of the universe, that I ask God to tag on a nice lean piece of man to keep me warm at night for life while he's at it. But not just any man, a man that will truly appreciate me for me, and be as gaga over me as I am over him; and that's the key right there isn't it?
Sometimes you're on a one way street, giving more than you should, and sometimes it's like a semi is coming at you, you're just not that in to him, but he's waaayyyy too totally into you, so much so that you can't breathe (guys, I'm sure it's the same way for you). Finding the one that's traveling on the opposite road of loves highway that decides to take a pit stop at the exact same moment you do, well that's pretty tricky and it's something that you have no control over because this other person is out minding their own business and trying to navigate through their own lives; unfortunately, they'll get to ya when they get to ya. So, what's a girl to do in the meantime?
Keep traveling. I rejoice in the Lord and all that he's done for me and I love on the people that already love me and the new ones that cross paths with me with all my heart. Every person in my life is special to me and treated with care. Matrimony is a beautiful thing, but it's not everything, so don't treat every relationship as an ends to a means of wearing a ridiculously overpriced white dress. Until you get to that point, enjoy the ride. Enjoy every date, even the bad ones (because they give you something to laugh about later), treat him with care (even if you know it's not going to last forever) because it's all practice for the day that you and that one special guy pull into the same gas station, go to the same movie alone, laugh at the same offhanded joke, at the same time. It could be at 30, 40, 50, whenever…it really doesn't matter, because when it's supposed to happen, you just want to be ready. Love doesn't care about your age; it cares about the condition of your heart so take care of it and let go and let God have his way.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Have you ever noticed that some of the most famous, most valuable works of art are not perfect? Actually the imperfections seem to add to their overall worth. We praise the Venus de Milo as one of the most famous Greek pieces of arts in history and the chick is missing arms!
Imagine yourself on display every day. People come into your life and at first you seem beautiful and they praise the Creator for making you. You're kind, you're generous, you're compassionate, and for awhile they marvel in your presence. But as time goes by, they notice that you're missing something or you have too much of something else; you're sensitive, but too sensitive; you're ambitious but too demanding. All of a sudden they back away and cock their heads to the side as they try to figure out if you really are a beautiful piece of work, or just a broken statue.
Now imagine yourself staring at Venus de Milo and demanding she grow arms so that she could be your idea of perfect. It would be like, well, talking to a rock. The rock is not going to change just because you want it to, just like you can't change just because people want you to, and people will not change just because you want them to.
There are flaws within you that were not part of your original design; but came with the wear and tear of the different seasons and patterns in your life. It's up to you to work through those things and learn how to minimize them so they don't overshadow your more becoming qualities. But there are traits in you that to the God that made you are essential to your being. He would not change those things about you for the world; instead He provides us instructions in His word on how to use those qualities to bring Glory to His name and in turn attract people who despite your flaws will still see you for what you are; a work of art because they know who made you.
God says, "I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born." Isaiah 44:2. This means that even before your parents thought of you, God was working on you. He was designing you, molding you, providing you with the inherent tools you would need to make a positive impact on the world around you. Yes, you are imperfect, but God did not make any mistakes when he made you. And the person observing and dissecting you in this earthly museum, well they have flaws too; perhaps some of the same flaws they see in you. Some things you can improve upon, but some things will remain the same.
Do yourself a favor; accept yourself and others for who they are. Embrace the positive qualities in people, and the things they lack won't seem so significant. If anything, it will make them all the more marvelous. Don't play God and demand a change in others that you can't make in yourself.
I leave you with this wise quote: "I yam what I yam and I yam what I yam that I yam" says Popeye the Sailor Man.
Sunday, January 31, 2010
In March of 2005, Ashley Smith was living an otherwise uneventful life. She had no idea as she walked up to her apartment that she was going to encounter the man that would change her forever. Brian Nichols was a man on the run and with good reason. He had just viciously killed a superior court judge, wounded a deputy and killed a court clerk. He appeared to most watching, including myself, a man with no conscience; no sense of value for human life, yet Ashley remained calm in his presence and convinced this man to turn himself in.
Today if you Google Ashley's name you will find she is now Ashley Smith Robinson and has her own web site http://ashleysmithrobinson.com/. You'll learn from reading her Bio that at the time she encountered Brian she was on Chapter 32 of "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren; "Using What God Gave You." She was a widow of a man that died a violent death, and a mother that had temporarily gave up her parental rights. It was her story that convinced Brian Nichols to do the right thing and not take her life, his own and anyone else's. Armed with nothing more than her faith in God and her own past, Ashley was able to conquer a giant.
Today Ashley speaks all over the country, giving people hope and teaching them about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What I find interesting about Ashley is that when Brian found her she wasn't at her "A" game so to speak. She had made some bad choices; she wasn't perfect and wasn't pretending to be. At the moment he found her she was trying to better herself…find her purpose. Out of her own tragic chain of events little did she know God was about to use her to guide someone else out of another chain of tragic events. It's really remarkable when you think about it…the way God works.
You never know what's around the next corner in life. When you think that you've done everything wrong and your life is the exact opposite it should be, that's when you may find that you are of the most use. Diamonds don't come out of the ground sparkling, reflecting the light. No, diamonds start off as coal; dirty, dark and seemingly worthless. It is only the pressure put on them by the weight of the earth around it that they are molded into precious jewels worth a million times more their weight.
I used to wonder when the meteor meant to change my life was going to finally enter my atmosphere, but after seeing stories like Ashley's and countless others, I realize that it's not just one event that is going to make me what I'm meant to be. It is everything that happens in our lives from the moment we're born. Every turn, every step, every decision is preparing you; the question is, are you going to crumble under the pressure of being human and flawed, or are you going to allow nature to run its course? Diamonds don't become diamonds in a day; everything worthwhile and precious takes time.
Now when things don't go my way; when I'm cut deep by someone that was supposed to care about me; when I fall short of even my own expectations; I just picture myself on a potter's wheel. I see that potter pilling clay on top of clay, spinning the wheel fast, and then slow, concentrating on every detail, moving his hands delicately to smooth those lumps out. I picture him giving me a basic shape and then I picture him letting me sit for awhile and then coming back with tools small enough to make intricate little designs. I picture having to add water now and then so that I don't dry before I'm ready. Sometimes I picture him scrapping the whole project and starting from scratch, but never giving up until his masterpiece is complete. He studies his work and see's where it can be better. He adds to it, he takes away from it. He does whatever is necessary to make the clay stand on its own, until it's no longer clay anymore, but fine porcelain. That is what I see for me. I'm ok with not understanding everything, because I understand the one that created me. He is a perfectionist and He wants the best for me, like He wants the best for you. You see a potter traditionally does not just make things that are pretty; he makes things that are of good use. He takes such care and time in creating them because their use is specific and it's important they are made with care otherwise they're no good.
Ashley was made with care and God placed her here for a purpose. Today her story has opened the gateway of purpose for countless others. Out of the life of one, God was able to touch many. You and I are being molded right now, not just for our good, but also for the good of others. Whatever you may be going through, just trust you'll be alright. The potter has you in his hands and he's smoothing out your edges all the time.