July 26, 2013

Being With Jesus: Part Two

This post that I wrote last summer has been playing around in my head this week and reminding me of what is true... of how I want and need to live in order to find and experience the freedom and life I so desire.  I hope it has the same effect on you... 

My last post was a difficult one.  It wasn't the writing of it that was hard, it was the living out of it that got me.  I wrote the post in the quiet morning hours before my children got up and my day had yet to really begin.  The coffee was hot, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was enjoying some quiet, reflective time with Jesus.  But once I hit publish and closed my computer, I realized what time it was and my day exploded and the frantic pace of life set in.  I had places to go and people to see and time was running short.

I was leaving my kids at home for a bit while I went to a hair appointment and the grocery store.  I had "hired" them to do a few jobs around the house while I was gone and I needed to go over those with them before I left.  I also really wanted to squeeze in a work out, but there wasn't enough time for that.  And I had hoped to go over my grocery list, thumb through my coupons, and scan the pantry and fridge to see what else we might need, but there wasn't time for that either.  Instead, I raced around the house like a crazy woman, took a quick shower, reminded my children not to fight, to have fun, get their jobs done and eat healthy, all of which I'm sure they didn't appreciate or need to hear, and I left the house in a hurry hoping not to be late for my appointment.

As I drove to the salon, my mind going in a thousand different directions, I thought back on my post and felt false and phony.  Nothing I had written just a few hours before felt true of my day or of me.  My words just seemed pretty and flowery and nice but so completely insincere and impractical that it was almost humorous.  Relaxed?  At rest?  Not needing to come through?  Not needing to be anything more than what I already am?  Enjoying the peaceful presence of Christ?  Really???  I said a little prayer out loud, "Jesus.  Help.  Be here now.  Help me to hang on to all I wrote this morning.  Make it true in my life."

I arrived late for my appointment, sat in the chair and chatted with my stylist while she worked her magic and later, while I sat under the dryer with a head full of foils, I pulled myself away from the latest issue of People magazine to pick up my phone, pull up my post, and read it again.  Another prayer... "Jesus, help me get this back.  Help me stay in this."

Jesus warned us in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy but I have come to bring you life in all its fullness."  I think it's safe to say that any movement towards life, towards freedom and rest, is opposed.  We live in a fallen world, a world of clashing kingdoms.  There is light and there is darkness.  There is heaven and there is hell.  If we want to truly and freely live, if we want life in all its fullness as Christ intended, then we have to live like we have an enemy and we have to fight for the life we prize.  Though Jesus certainly comes and fights for us, we too have to take a stand and use the authority he's given us through his work on the cross.  Freedom doesn't come easy.  It isn't just handed to us.  James 4:7 says, "Humble yourselves before God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you."  The enemy will flee but we must resist and that can sometimes feel immensely difficult.  It's worth every ounce of effort though.  It's very much worth it.

Looking back, I honestly felt opposition most of my day.  There were moments I fought well and hung on to what I had written, to what was true, and there were moments I failed miserably.  So much so, that at the end of the day, I even contemplated deleting the post because it felt terribly inauthentic and authenticity is hugely important to me.  But through the kind and encouraging words of my husband, I realized that though my day had not gone as I had hoped, nor had it looked a whole lot like my post, I had fought for it.  I didn't throw in the towel.  I had stayed with it and in it and had fought hard.  I had lived well.

As I grow older, I'm discovering there's a real strength and scrappiness to my heart.  Maybe it was there all along but laid deep, buried in wounds and the healing and growth I've come to know has brought it the surface.  Either way, it serves me well and is helping me to continue to be and become all God intends me to be.


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July 10, 2013

Let Go and Let God

I have to be honest, I'm not really a huge fan of this saying.

Don't get me wrong, it's good advice, true to how we should live as christians, and it has a perfect little rhythm to it when you say it out loud that makes it easy to remember.  But I think it also comes close to sounding a bit churchy, religious, and somewhat cliche' and I usually run from things like that.

Recently though, these five small words have been running through my mind a lot and packing a good strong punch with them.

As life typically would have it, there are a few situations/people/things currently going on in my life and causing me stress that I would love to lasso to the ground, crawl on top of, and tie up for good.  The temptation to control and fix is great.  I'm so aware of my tendency to hang on tight and attempt to play God, not just in my own life, but also in the lives of others.

photo credit: creepypasta.wikia.com

I forget sometimes that I'm not responsible for everything and everyone.  God is.  I'm not the CEO of the universe (THANK GOODNESS!) and I don't have to hold everyone and everything together.

God can and he will.

I easily and often make the mistake of thinking life, both its success and failure, is up to me when that couldn't be farther from the truth.  God is in control.  There's no need for me to hang on tight for dear life and make life happen and work.  He has the rope.  I can let go and let God.

Sure, my choices matter.  How I handle and respond to a situation or person... my words and heart towards it or them... it all matters.  But I'm learning to respond and then let go, releasing the outcome to Jesus and in turn, finding freedom and rest and peace.

Let go and let God.

Five good and powerful words.


“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  
For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  
~Matthew 11: 28-30

"Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in him, and HE will do it."  
~Psalm 37:5

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July 8, 2013

What Should I Write About?

One of the difficult things about writing a blog is continually coming up with topics to write about.  Keeping my writing fresh is important and necessary, just as writing on a consistent basis is.  Though I aim for posting three to four days a week, it rarely happens.  That's not how I want it, but unfortunately that's the way it typically is.  I have the best intentions but because life is crazy-full and my to-do list is long, my blog often gets pushed to the side.

I was up in the wee hours of the morning last night, staring at a blank screen and hoping to write a post while I searched my mind for a topic.  Though topics come to me often, they don't usually come at the most ideal times.  Dreaming up posts and scribbling them out in my thoughts doesn't work too well when I'm driving down the street, cooking dinner, or taking a shower.  But often when I do have the time to write, my mind goes blank and the creative juices run dry and that's not too effective either.

As I sat with my laptop at 3am, ready to write, waiting for the words to come, I prayed, "What should I write about Jesus? So many topics but none that feel right at this moment," and I heard Jesus say, "Write about me."

Yes.

Of course.

Though my writing takes many different forms and I write on a variety of topics, the core of it is always my heart for Jesus.  I can't write about anything without also, in some way, writing about my faith.  It's central to who I am and all of life flows from that place.  It's the undercurrent of my everyday life, of everything I say, do, and ultimately, everything I write.

I often tend to make the writing process much more difficult than it is or than it's meant to be when really it's quite simple.  I'm called to write from my heart, from that place where God abides... to simply write about him in whatever way that comes forth.

I'm reminded of the lyrics to the song, "Jesus, Lover of My Soul"...

"It's all about you, Jesus, and all this is for you, for your glory and your fame.  It's not about me, as if you should do things my way.  You alone are God and I surrender to your ways." Listen here.




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July 1, 2013

Three Small but Very Big Words


Nike knew what they were doing when they came up with the slogan "Just Do It" to promote their products.

Those three simple but very inspiring words often run through my mind when I'm thinking and praying about something, weighing my options, dragging my heels a bit, and wondering if I should dive on in.

Should I go for a run and work out today?  Yes.  Just do it.

Should I write another vulnerable post and share my life or choose self-protection instead and keep quiet? No, write another honest post and share your life.  Just do it.

Should I take the time to clean my house today or put it off until tomorrow or maybe even the next day? No, put on some music, roll up your sleeves, and get it done today.  Just do it.

Should I have that potentially difficult and messy conversation with my husband, or should I choose the easier option, avoid conflict, and keep my thoughts to myself?  No, love your husband well, nurture and invest in your relationship, and have the conversation even if it's rough.  Just do it.

Should I order pizza for dinner because it's easy and requires nothing of me but a phone call, or should I take the time to make a delicious and healthy dinner for my family and save money at the same time?  No, forego the pizza, get in the kitchen and do what you love... cook for those you love.  Just do it.

It's so easy to take the easy road on a daily basis, to acquiesce, to sit back and coast and choose comfort over effort.  Life is made up of thousands of small choices every single day and I think those choices really matter.  I know they matter to God.  He's in every moment, every little detail, and nothing is insignificant to him.  He cares how we live.  I often sense him cheering for me, pushing me onward and upward in the big and small things of every day life, beckoning me to holiness, to walk closely with him, to choose life, to live well.  He says...

"JUST DO IT."

May I have the strength and courage to listen and obey, to live with great intention and live well, whatever IT may be.

"Trust in the Lord and do what is right!  Settle in the land and maintain your integrity!  Then you will take delight in the Lord, and he will answer your prayers.  Commit your future to the Lord!  Trust in him, and he will act on your behalf."  ~Psalm 37:3-5 (NET)



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