Not Fitting the Mold

BrokenPencilI’ve blogged off and on for years now. I’ve written commercially about fitness, how to grow your gym, and how to motivate your clients. Somehow when it came time to write this blog (my first for #ThisIsLiving) I lacked the ability to motivate myself to do it. I’d write a few sentences here and there that I’d quickly go back and delete. I’d stare at my computer screen with the cursor flashing, daring me to write something. I even got a whole paragraph in comparing the spiritual pursuit to running- something that has way more parallels than you can imagine. Yet, I still found every excuse under the sun not to write a blog entry – something I had volunteered to do. Why?

After staring at the blank page for the better part of two months, I came to realize the reason I couldn’t write this is that I feel inadequate to impart any type of spiritual wisdom. I am in no stretch of the imagination what you’d expect a Christian to be. I am tatted up with a half sleeve, live in yoga pants, I curse more than I’d like to, I’ve been divorced, and I loathe the societal stigma that has somehow attached itself to being an Christian. So, who am I to write to you about anything to do with holiness?

…I came to realize the reason I couldn’t write this is that I feel inadequate to impart any type of spiritual wisdom.

On Sunday, the message at church was on Jonah. During which it became abundantly clear that like Jonah, I had been running from doing something that I feel God has called me to do. Don’t you hate that? When people say stuff like that? “God told me.” I used to hate that, too. It sounds totally cliché, but I assure you it is also totally legit. When I say that God called me to write this, I don’t mean I audibly heard him say it. It is more like something on my mind and in my heart that I can’t quite put into words. Obviously, it wasn’t something of my own creating. I’ve fought hard against it. Where is all this leading you’re wondering? Don’t worry I’m finally getting to the main idea.

Like Jonah, I was afraid and I had taken hold of a pagan idea and pretended it was true. I was afraid to put myself out there by writing and being vulnerable. I had taken hold of the pagan idea that Christians are supposed to be perfect. Since I don’t fit that mold, I felt I had no business in writing this. Then I recalled how Hebrew literature depicted some of the best of the best: David, Abraham, Jacob. None of these men were painted to be holier-than-thou and perfect. God used them in their imperfectness, and with their many sinful blemishes, to do amazing things. They knew what I’ve come to realize in writing this and through the message I heard…what I hope you’ll explore as well: “We can keep trying our plan, or we can yield to God” and “Sometimes, the thing you feel uncomfortable doing is the thing God’s called you to do.”

Loving Him Despite It All

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God was there in the beginning and God is Love, but I wasn’t there in the beginning…and I don’t feel that love right now. There are days when it’s hard to love others, but God says that those are the most important days to do just that. I stand with this reality in front of me on those days, and it’s difficult to say yes to a love that I do not see in action in others. I do not exist seeing the fullness of time knowing the eternal insignificance of my anger and the importance of love. I don’t want to see the fullness of time because the momentary affliction is too strong for me to wrap around my mind.

It is not easy to be the one sitting on the inside trying to look out at these issues. When the ones that I am called to love are fighting me at every opportunity they get, how can I be expected to love then? Sometimes I sit and wonder if it wouldn’t just be easier to not love at all. I wonder if I could exist in a world of solitude knowing that I don’t have to be hurt when my brother in Christ turns to me and looks me in the eye and lies. I wonder if it’s easier to exist in a world without commitment and accountability when he takes that advice I give him and spits it in my face. I wonder if it’s easier to love without covenant when my loved ones and I fight to the point where it gets too personal and too direct. When the resistance gets so strong I can’t stand, where is God’s teaching of love?


When the resistance gets so strong I can’t stand, where is God’s teaching of love?


What exactly am I expected to do? I turn to the books and I re-read them, but what I’m reading has lost its meaning long ago. I flip through the pages of my bible looking for the answer but the Spirit sends me back only with the commandment to, “love as I loved first.” These words sting in my ears because they are the very reality I am fighting against. Love. What a word to come from someone I have cursed out in my prayers and yet He stays there. Am I expected to understand the depths of love from Someone who knew my every action while sitting on the outside of time and said yes? How can I stand in between the pain of my brother and the ones I love with this knowledge in my brain and say nothing?

I come back to the depths of my mind and ask, “Where am I to go?” God sends me back to the beginning and asks me where I am. I look into the depths of Him and see myself there. In the beginning of time. When God was love, and I was on His mind. He loved me first, and I chose to fight Him every opportunity I got. He loved me first, and I looked Him in His all-seeing eyes and I lied. He loved me first when I cursed His Spirit as He called my life and made it personal and direct. He loved me first when the resistance got so strong and I said no to the forgiveness of His Son, and yet He still called me back with those three words. Love Me first.

Going Through Deep Waters

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“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you” – Isaiah 43:2

This verse has resonated with me a great deal recently. I feel like the Lord just kept saying it to me over and over again this past week as my anxiety crept up in the way it usually does. This anxiety is not necessarily due to any one certain thing, but everything–the small and the big. I like to be in control of all aspects of my life, and when I realize I’m not, it can feel so immensely halting. The unknown can feel truly crippling at times. I’ve struggled to give this control over to God for so long. For too long I’ve fought this battle by myself, not letting anyone else take control. Especially not the One who wants to take it all from me. I am only so strong.

And as I let this verse from Isaiah settle in my mind and in my heart, I realized I don’t need to be afraid anymore. I’ve struggled with this burden for as long as I can remember and I don’t want to fight this battle alone. I don’t need to fight this alone. I can keep trying my plan…or I can yield to God. His grace abounds in deepest waters and I feel God’s grace most when He settles the storms inside me. I know He can use these struggles to draw us closer to Him and this includes the anxiety we may feel in life.

Admitting I struggle with anxiety has been such a rough battle in itself. Anxiety at it’s depths is ugly, and I didn’t want to burden others with my struggles. But that’s where I’m learning about community as well. I’m slowly growing a community around myself that encourages me to draw closer to God when I feel weak. He will never abandon me when I’m afraid. He knows my struggles and fears, and He holds me anyway.

When There Are No Answers

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“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11 


I don’t have answers to life’s questions. God knows I have many, many questions. I long for Him. I want to understand Him. I want to follow Him.  But, if I am honest, I also want life to be stable, predictable and easy.  When hard days come, I want to immediately see what God is doing and explain it to myself and to others. Probably like yours, my life has been anything but predictable or stable. Yet, way down deep I have still clung to a secret hope that somehow I could make it be. I like order. I like predictability. I like to feel like I am in control of what the day will hold. Yet life for me, and many of us lately, has been anything but predictable and anything but easy.

A few years ago, I went for a walk around our little farm with my niece Riley. We noticed the change in the season as the cool air hit our faces. Leaves and dried blackberries were falling to the ground. Fallen persimmons were rotting into the earth. The ground was turning brown and crunchy with all the decaying matter. I explained to Riley how God would make something beautiful out of all the ugly, dead stuff the coming spring. I told her we couldn’t see what God was doing but that deep down under all the decay, He was at work.

That walk and those words came back to my mind today. It seems every news story, every conversation with friends and family is full of hard, heartbreaking things that are far from beautiful and seem so utterly out of control. I remembered telling Riley, “God is still at work even when things look ugly.” My mind raced to my own ugly times – like losing my husband to suicide—and other times when I honestly felt like giving up. In the midst of the heartache, I couldn’t see what God was doing. Still, He whispered a persistent, hold-onto-hope and asked me to believe He was indeed ‘doing’. My eyes could no more see His hand than I could see a flower being birthed under the rotting leaves that fall day with Riley. Sometimes it seems like forever to wait on spring in the dark days of winter and even harder to wait on God when we desperately want answers, when our hearts are breaking, and when nothing seems to be in control. It is exhaustingly difficult, but it is not impossible for those who are determined to keep following and trusting God. He has given us (yes given us) a gift of faith (all that we need) to be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). He has always been in the business of bringing beauty from ashes, and His Word is full of the incredibly hopeless finding real, stand-on, keep-going hope. Indeed, His greatest miracles came from the most desperate of situations; and I expect they still do.

Yet, it is in the very midst of the trial, in our weakest-of-weak that our Faithful Father asks us to surrender our will to His and believe He can still do great things for us, in us, and through us. Yes, when we finally lay down our conditions and expectations for how things should turn out and say, “God, I trust you more than I trust me, I believe you are at work even when I can’t see you,” it is then—that we find incredible, amazing, hope-filled, hold-onto peace that makes no earthly, logical sense.

Oswald Chambers said, “There is only one thing you can consecrate to God and that is the right to yourself (Romans 12:1).” Yes, the enemy may have intended what you are walking through for evil, but God alone can bring good. Keep your eyes on Him. This hard road you are walking may be the only way someone else sees the only Savior of Souls. That awful situation that you or someone you love is enduring may yield a depth of love for our Lord that could come no other way. It is in reckless abandon to God (not predictability or stability in this life or even the easy) that He tells us we will find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:29-30). And that is no small thing. So keep reading His Word, keep praying, keep seeking encouragement from other believers and keep hoping in God who  is at work in your life.


Prayer: Oh Lord, help me to lay down those things which keep me from experiencing your peace. Take my right to myself, my day, my calendar, my expectations, my need to control, my desire for stability and predictability, even this heartbreaking thing, and help me to live in reckless abandon to You. May I give glory to You no matter what this day brings. May I only desire to stay under the shelter of Your wings, for you are my rock, my protector and my comforter (Psalm 61:3-4).  Amen.


– used by permission of the author 

3 Important Lessons on Forgiveness

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“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” – Colossians 3:13


Forgive. It’s such a small word that packs big a punch. When dealing with ourselves, we want forgiveness to be offered to us freely. When dealing with others, it’s not something we quickly jump to or even want in moments of hurt.

For such a small word, Jesus has big thoughts on the matter. This year, He has taught me just what it means to forgive. Not the passive, “I want to move past this conversation and get over this awkwardness,” forgiveness. But the kind that brings you to love the person, to see them as Christ sees them, and ultimately hope for their good. So, below are just a few things God has revealed to me on the topic of forgiving others and letting His love heal those dark and hurting places. Continue reading “3 Important Lessons on Forgiveness”

No Guarantees But Jesus

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There I was. Faced with a significant decision to make. One of those life-altering decisions.

Of the two options on the table, only one didn’t look foolish. The “smart” option involved minimal risk. It required zero hard work. There was no chance of failure, embarrassment or heartache. It would be comfortable and safe, and best of all, easy.

I knew which one was the “smart” choice, and I knew which one Jesus was calling me to.

The “smart” choice wasn’t the one Jesus was calling me to.

And I knew I wasn’t being called to make a decision. I was being asked to obey.

Continue reading “No Guarantees But Jesus”

Bitterness and Surrender

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“Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”
Colossians 3:12-15

“Let it go.”

I hear these words turning around in my head. I know they are from the Lord, but I feel like I can’t do what He is requesting.

The older I get, the more I realize how weak I really am. I see all the things Christ has brought me through and given me strength to accomplish, and sometimes I just forget.

Continue reading “Bitterness and Surrender”