2.21.2015

Praying for Snow

I hate snow. But I love it. 

What I mean is that I love snow, but hate what it brings with it. I love the white, clean, glittery look of snow, but I could really do without the slush on the roads, salt on my car, and air so cold that my nostrils that stick together when I breathe outside. 

Watching it, from indoors, brings me calm and peace. It falls quietly. Gently. Effortlessly. Gracefully.  It slows me down mentally. Hearing it crunch under my boots is one of the most calming sounds I can think of, next to the voice of God.

He Speaks.

But the problem is that it doesn't snow enough. In my mind. 

My mind is full of so much noise. So. Much. Noise. Noise about colleagues who don't own their responsibilities, departmental silos, daily project 'emergencies'. Noise about dirty counter tops, carpet that needs vacuuming, toilets that need cleaning, an art table that's calling me to create. Noise about a stacks of resumes to review, lists of documents to edit, podcasts to listen to. Noise about food, fat, carbs, sugar, fructose, food allergies, my muffin top waistline, HIIT workouts, strength training, migraines, cortisol, digestive issues... So. Much. Stinkin'. Noise.  

I say I want to hear His voice, I tell Him that each morning. And I mean it.

But I let all that noise in. Hmm...if I'm honest, I bring it in. I invite it in. I let it steal my focus. I make the noise urgent. And He doesn't want that for me. Or for you.

He Speaks. He has things to say.

So, maybe, if you're feeling worn down, exhausted and drained, like me...maybe we need to take a snow day. Maybe we need to pray for a soul-blizzard to cover all the noise, shut the place down, and help us focus on what we know will bring us calm and peace.


2.01.2015

Perspective

There's something really nice about being locked in a barely full plane for twice as long as we should be, during a snowstorm.

Something about that space and silence. Being shut off from all the demands, pulls, pushes, responsibilities, and voices. Floating above all the muck and stuff below, getting a bright, clean view of something bigger than what's normally in front of me.
 


 
Something about not being able to make a phone call, text, IM, or be called out to from another room.

It simplifies things. And allows time and space to uncover the gunk that got me thinking sideways.

It's been a rough few weeks. Work. Health. Marriage. Ministry. All at once. And my mind got very sideways.

Hmm...and it emerges...

Suspended 38,000 feet in the air, locked in a metal tube, I've got nothing but faith to hold on to. Down there, on the ground I can't see through these clouds...down there, I've convinced myself I have control over what's around me. I believe the lies that it's all on me, that in order for things to work out, it's on my shoulders.

He, alone, is in control.

I just heard a preacher say that our thoughts are out of control when they're not aligned with God's word. Man, that resonated.

It's a dangerous thing: me believing I'm in control. Not dangerous like, me-jumping-out-of-this-plane dangerous. But dangerous to my heart, mind and relationship with Him. Because when I think I'm in control, anything goes...words, actions, motives, thoughts, attitudes. And that's probably what creates a lot of the muck and stuff that's on the ground.  

Sigh. This is good to know. I needed this.

So, what about you?

What have you been thinking about? Who do you think is in control of what's going on around you and in you? What does God say about that? Think it through.

We land in 45 minutes. I'm kinda wishing I was on that super long flight to Shanghai out of Gate K13. The view is nice up here.
 
 
 

1.12.2015

Not For The Faint of Heart

A friend of mine just earned her PHD in Biblical counseling. She's a Bible genius. And here's something she wrote:

"We need to understand the problems of our lives 
in light of what we believe about God."

The first time I read it, I didn't stop. Somewhere in the middle of the next sentence or two, my mind did a double-take. Say-what?!?

I have to understand the problems of my life (...check)
in light of what I believe (...check)
about God (...hmm...whoa)


Understanding the problems of my life is not a struggle. I've lived with them most of my life. I think and think and think about them. They're right in front of me most days.

And I believe lots of things about those problems. Where they came from. Why they happened. Who contributed. How I contributed. When things went sideways. What the right solution looks like. How I can/should fix the problem. How I can't fix the problem.

...about God?

Sigh.  Not so easy.

That relationship problem of mine. How does what I believe about God tie to the problem? Again, sigh. 

I believe that if God loved me, He would fix that relationship.
I believe that if God really loved me, He would have spared me that pain and disappointment.
I believe that if God was good, things would have turned out differently.

Hmm. Starting to understand my friend's point. 

All of those beliefs about God are wrong. Every last one.

And that's where we get into trouble. When we start thinking about God in light of our problems (the flip side to what my friend wrote). 

See, I don't want problem relationships. I don't like problem relationships. And, those thoughts about the problems influence my thoughts about God. Focusing my thoughts on the problems cause me to think problematically about God.  Do you see it?

What I need to do is focus my thoughts on God, getting a right view of God and His character. Then, think about the problems.  

He is Love.

He is Gracious.

He is Faithful.

He is Bigger.

He is Good. 

He is Listening. 

He is Purposeful. 

He is Relational.

And all of those truths are what I need to understand before I can understand my problems.

Because knowing all of that, setting the tone with all of that truth about Him, that is what helps me interpret and respond to my problems.

He loves me - He died for me. He is purposeful in allowing those difficult relationships. He is listening when I cry out to Him for help. His grace is what keeps me above water some days; and it's the same grace that keeps the relationships bonded, rather than fall apart. He's bigger than relational challenges. How's that for understanding my problem more accurately?

So, what about you and your problems?

Try it for yourself. Sit down somewhere quiet. Get a piece of paper, and draw a line down the middle of the page. If you're the brave sort who's ready for some powerful "aha!" moments, label the left column "My Problem" (easy enough) and the right column "What I Currently Believe About God" (as it relates to that problem).

If you prefer a more gentle experience, title your two columns "God's Character" (as in, the truth about Him, found in the Bible) and "What That Means For My Problem" (as in, how the truth about God's character re-frames your thinking about your problems).

Please, get at it. You'll be amazed at what He shows you on that page. You will.

And your problems will likely thank you for it.  :-)



1.02.2015

Knowing

So, how is your "Day Two"?

Maybe everything is new and different. Maybe you started that diet or exercise routine. Maybe you've put down the cigarettes or the bottle. Maybe you've read your Bible two days in a row. Maybe you cleaned the house and everything is fresh and bright.

Maybe you're still lonely. Maybe your kids are still breaking your heart. Maybe you're still hung over. Maybe those relationships are still broken. Maybe you're still mad at God. Maybe you're on day who-can-keep-count-anymore of a raging migraine.

However you're moving through Day Two, know this: He's got it.

He is Sovereign.

Whether all is good and perfect and new and fresh and hopeful and all that you want.
And whether it isn't.

The same God who created the world from nothing is sovereign over your Day Two.

If it's going well, be humble enough to know that it's His grace (not your greatness) that enables that. 

If it's been a tough few days, be thankful enough to acknowledge that He's using it all for some good. He promises that.

Someone, praise His name!



9.27.2014

Receiving

I haven't had words to share. Well, not pleasant ones.

My mind has been stuck. And my heart, even more. Very. As in, very, very.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

He is Rest.

For the weary, tired, stuck soul. For the hurting, dry, what-seems-like-dead heart. 


May this truth encourage you. We know it's true. 

May He bring this truth to reality. 

Today, LORD!

6.27.2014

He's My Steady

I've been in a bit of a swirl lately. Caught up in crazy.

And when I'm in a swirl, I can't think clearly. Or write. Or hope.

It seems like a lot of what's around me has changed. Is changing. Literally, today.

The thing is, everything we can see changes. Shifts. Morphs. Grows. Shrinks. And it's easy to get caught up in that crazy. To focus on those changing, shifting, morphing, growing, shrinking things. Because those are the things that make up our days, weeks, months, years.

And I got very swirly in all that crazy.

But His grace hovered in the midst of painful, confusing, noisy, hurtful, sad swirliness.

 

He is Gracious. 

All that swirly-ness served a purpose. To show me what happens when I live a life focused on what's around me. For people, their opinions and preferences, my job, my health, my body - what happens when I let all that define me, determine my okay-ness, dictate my responses. All caught up in crazy, for sure.

I sought Him, but the swirly-crazy was so loud, I couldn't hear. 

But He didn't give up on me hearing His voice. 

He is Persistent Love.

And it came clear. Still.

He said it Himself, "I am the Lord, and I do not change." Malachi 3:6

And there it is. 

He is Steady.

Somehow it makes sense in a way it hasn't before. He is my steady, in a world of swirly-crazy. And until I get that, like, really focus on that, deep in places where I'm swirly, I'll be caught up, distracted and, well...lost.

My stability is not found in my brain. Or my past. Or my marriage. Or anyone's mood (especially not mine). Or my job. Or the size of my body. Or what you think of what I write (or don't write). 

My stability is found in Christ. He never changes, shifts, morphs, grows or shrinks. Rest in that, Little Birds.

He is Christ. My stability. 

Praise His name that He never changes. Jesus Christ is the same (literally, "himself"), yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Amen!

4.23.2014

Hope

Maybe someone needs this today. Do you? 


Maybe you think no one sees you.

He is El Roi. The God Who sees.



Maybe you think you're ordinary, nothing special.

He is Creator. The One Who spoke you into being, and crafted you by hand. 
His mighty hand.

 

You are loved. By the God Who makes all things new. All things. New.