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Life's Little Lessons

"If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." – Emile Zola

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word

fester 

I can feel it flowing through my veins. Toxins are trying to poison my soul. There are things that have not been talked about recently and I take the lack of initiation on any part, other than mine, poorly. 

The long and the short is this: I want to stop reaching becuase I want to be reached INTO and my “ I wont if you wont” attitude is seemingly costing me a great deal. Anger is festering. Communication has been waining and open to interpretation, which becomes a free-for-all for assumptions, which I know better than to make. 

I appears we are not on the same page and that feeling adds extra weight to my gut. I don’t know how we’ll ever move forward because at the end of the day, weeks later, here we are. Same ole. Same ole. Time and space have crept in and the hot water has slowly turned to not so hot at all. Nothing has really changed. Nothing has really been talked about and as much as I sit, telling myself, “Just focus on yourself. YOU keep moving forward,” there is this undeniable reality that I’m not the only one here.

We both are. 

So I go back to “Who am I?” 

I AM a communicator.

“If that is WHO you are, march yourself downstairs and communicate.”

Sometimes I really loathe the voice of reason and wisdom within myself.

And I do. I bound down the steps and plop myself in my chair and as much as I don’t think it is my turn or duty (which often feels like an obligatory noose) to continue to reach forward, I do. I initiate. I communicate.

“I think we need to talk.”

And there is agreement from both sides in this statement.

Not much is solved but we both walk away and doors are left opened.

I have a picture in my head of taking the doors of my heart off its hinges. I see myself throwing them into the flames along with our very dead Christmas tree that lays on the ground outside our house…watching it disintegrate into nothingness.

I don’t think my heart was created to find refuge in doors.

 

 

 

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“I Saw it Coming.”

 

I have this very creepy habit of possibly eavesdropping on other people’s conversations out in public. I call it active listening but I’ll use that term loosely since I’m not really a part OF the conversation. I can’t help it (says creepy people everywhere)… people intrigue me and I find myself sucked into their life into attempts to know them despite my best attempts not to.

 

 

The other day I was standing at the grocery store in a line that spanned the distance of forever and the couple behind me was talking about a friend of theirs who was just arrested for a DUI. They seemed to be genuinely concerned and I thought their sincerity was touching. However, one of them said something that absolutely caught my attention. They said,”

 

 

“I saw it coming.”

 

 

And the other person murmured in agreement. “I saw it too.”

 

 

I really didn’t want to listen anymore after that. I willed my ears to close as I stepped forward and proceeded to check out.

 

 

Those words really hurt my heart.

 

 

I wonder if people have seen it coming in me, in my life, and have turned and looked the other way. I wonder what people have become aware of and still…never reached out.

 

 

I wonder.

 

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the junk we have in our lives, at least I have been thinking of mine. And try as I might to find scripture condoning my need at times to point out other people’s trash, I just haven’t.

 

 

What I have found is this:

 

 

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 16:7-8

 

I read this and think when Jesus Christ Himself says, “IT IS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE THAT I GO AWAY…” I better pay attention to WHY He says it is to my advantage.

 

 

And my WHY turns out to be a WHO. 

 

 

Holy Spirit.

 

 

I often forget I am not Holy Spirit. **NEWS FLASH** Jesus did not depart this world so I could make it my life mission convicting the world (aka my family and friends or my “friends” online) of the junk they may have in their heart. That is what He does, it is WHO He is.

 

 

And me? My part in all of this is to LOVE.

 

 

Plain and not so simple.

 

 

Yes, Jesus pretty much made that clear as crystal when He said,

 

 

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  John 13:34-35

 

I know love looks different for each and every one of us and sometimes, even “tough love” is still love when done with His leading and a open heart. I just know when I stood in that grocery store line the other day and heard the conversation from behind me; my heart broke into a hundred pieces for the gentleman with the DUI. The gentleman that obviously had his flag waving, “Hey. I’m heading down a dangerous path. I need some help; I’m just not quite sure how to reach out for it. Will someone see me? I know you see me. Will someone just love me enough to …”

 

 

Who knows? Maybe they did. Maybe someone had. Maybe this guy had tons of people cheering him on and trying to love him back to healthy and wholeness. In the end, just as it is not our job to convict people of their sin, it is also not our job to reach in and save them from the depths. We will exhaust ourselves from trying.

 

 

I’m a recovering fixaholic. I know how that all goes.

 

 

So friends, if you “see it coming” in someone’s life…please reach into them.

 

 

Not to convict them.

 

 

Not to fix them.

 

 

But to love them.

 

 

Not sure how? I have this friend and His name is Jesus…

 

 

 

 

 

 

the word became flesh

I do not accept challenges nor do I play games. I do not cut and paste and then post. If it’s not personal, I’ll be honest, I just don’t have time nor do I want to make it, but when my friend Noel tagged me in a 10-day challenge to share my favorite scriptures, I looked at it as an opportunity. You want to know what my favorite ones are? Great. But let me tell you WHY they are my favorite.

Here we go.

I grew up Presbyterian. I also think there was a time we were Luthern too, but at this point, it’s all blurred. Church meant we went at Christmas and Easter, but I did go on and off as a child for a period of time with my mother who wanted my sister and I to have a firm foundation. The people were nice and our pastor was a African American woman named Myrtle. I loved Myrtle for many reasons but now, as a adult, I really have come to appreciate her. Myrtle was a pioneer.

I wasn’t really into the Bible as a child. My father’s mother Helen however was and she gave me a tiny, white leather bound Bible with my name etched in gold lettering. Her home was dimly lit and quiet and she often spent time reading hers and I think she had hoped I would do the same. I did not like reading and I dreaded memorizing scripture and Sunday school class so when I was called on, I’d pick at my shoe or at the braid of the girl beside me to create a distraction. I’d do anything to get out of reciting verses because that is what it felt like to me. Recital. On some stage, regurgitating words that I had no understanding of and then getting graded. Would I receive a sticker this week? Likely not. Why? I had no relationship with this Jesus who seemed so far off and I didn’t know how to relate to Him through a book. Head knowledge has always been a nemesis. I wanted to KNOW the Word Himself and that was WHO I wanted, the very person of Jesus. I wanted real. I wanted relationship.

“So the Word became flesh and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” John 1:14

These words still sit humbly in my spirit. The Word became flesh. He made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. We are loved, THAT much.The Word did not just come as a baby, a book or a house guest who would leave. He came to reside IN me, the actual person of Jesus.

10 years ago I couldn’t fathom some far-off God being so hands-on present. I sat at a ladies retreat, done. I showed up because showing up is what I did and was in the midst of ruining the entirety of my life as I knew it. I was far removed from reality, but I do remember sitting in that chair, knuckles white to the bone from gripping the edges. I wanted to be anywhere but there when I heard a voice pop into my conciousness. It sounded much like my own and it said, “If you would just come to me, I would help you with all this.”

Envision a juggler and a poor one at that. That was me. Poorly juggling…

That voice. I would not say those things to myself, would I? Was it my conscience? I decided to take a chance that THAT voice WAS Jesus. Why not? I WAS at a ladies retreat and at that point, I had nothing to lose. Overtime, I have learned to distinguish His voice from my own and from others. I am learning still.

I have invited you here because I’m more of an outpost, meaning I relate better to people who are kind of on the fence when it comes to religion and church. I have an evangelistic, empathetic heart and don’t really know what to do with it besides wake up each day and LIVE. I believe God is everywhere and in everyone. I believe He is in it all and can use it all…both the good and the not great and is continuously present. When we choose to SEE and HEAR, I believe we can encounter a supernatural God in our every day lives. He is boundless and full of mystery and wonder and I will not place the limits of my knowledge of Him to the confines of a book. I will however hold the Bible in high regard and esteem. I do not think you can fully know the Father without having an overall understanding of it because the many pages that lie within it pour the foundational framework of His heart from which we walk forward. He is consistent and multi-facited and His nature and character are continuously revealed while inviting the reader into a new discovery and another conversation. I for one, am indebted to its teaching but my Bible is not the One I worship.

The very Word of God Himself is.

One thing that has become glaringly obvious to me is that there are certain things you just don’t mess with when it comes to people: Money, Politics and Religion. It no wonder why Jesus continuously challenged the leaders of His day. Want to see everything on the inside of someone rise to the surface? Talk about one of these three subjects. You don’t have spend a lot of time on social media to watch a newsfeed fill fast with arguments and debates when it comes to theology. Everyone thinks what they believe is THE way; we respond to be right instead of responding to better understand and when we do, we build walls instead of bridges. We all live in some shade of gray and don’t even know it.

Jesus, the true Way, please show us. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” John 16:13

In my 20’s, I was not a fan of religion and not because of God, but because of an experience where someone vehemently picked and chose scriptures to win and prove their point about my choices. They bypassed a relationship WITH me in order to stand firmly in what they believed in and only wanted a relationship when I saw their light. I remember thinking, “If THIS is Christianity, I want nothing to do with it.” I think we can easily contradict the gospel if we do not carefully guard how we present it. The Bible was meant to be used in the context of relationship, a door that opens up conversations not only WITH God but WITH others. We close those doors before they have a chance to fully widen by the way in which we present the message. We lose our ability to influence when doors are closed and in my opinion, too many doors are shut tight.  

Then I think of Jesus on the cross. I think of Him whispering these words after greatly suffering, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” Luke 23:34.  Those words shift the posture of my heart. If He could be rejected, humiliated, tortured and abandoned and still choose forgiveness, why can’t I? Forgiveness…asking for it and extending it is the CORE of Christianity. We often don’t know what we are doing; we rarely seek to understand our own motives.

Are we motivated by fear or love? Answering that question is key.

I hope we can take an intentional step back and see one another as He sees us. Wonderfully, thoughtfully and intentionally made. I hope that we can see His original design for mankind and understand that indeed, the Word HAS been made flesh. Maybe we would treat each other differently if we looked for Jesus in each other instead of focusing on the mud and the muck that often forms the heavy film of distraction.

So friends, I encourage you to listen. I encourage you to dig deep. I encourage you to guard your heart. Lift your head up and SEE. Open your ears and HEAR; walk by the Spirit. Let living Love lead you into a deep and meaningful relationship that surpasses the bound book you have been beaten by or that you hold your hands so closely to.

There is more.

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