Thursday, January 29, 2015

Enough


Even in famine they will have 
more than enough. 
Ps 37:19

Lately, I have been thinking about "enough"
and choosing to believe I have that quantity.
It applies to every area of life.
Having enough of something means that it
fully meets our demands, needs, or expectations.
If we don’t have enough, we can seek more of it
or change the way we perceive it.

It is one thing to need more of
something vital to our well being—
more rest, health, time with friends, time alone.
When we are out of balance,
we must make adjustments.
But not for the sake of more…
maybe just for the sake of wholeness.
Because “more” can be a taskmaster.
It is primarily a comparative word,
and anything which depends on comparison
ought to be handled carefully.

This past year has been a transition year that
often left me feeling like I needed more. 
Of everything.
Much of what I had known was uprooted,
and it left me feeling empty.
The only thing in abundance was darkness.
There were times I could only stare into the night,
waiting to have hope, waiting to see light.
My focus was on lack and I definitely needed time
to make some adjustments to all that happened.
During that time, He continually assured me
that His grace was enough for me.

One night I looked up and saw the moon 
as it peeked through the trees, and I thought,
that is enough of a promise for me right now.
He overcomes our own darkness
with the smallest flicker or
with the brightest flame.
Either way, it is not dark anymore.
 
And I have enough.
Enoughness is a condition that only I can define.
It says that what I have is sufficient to satisfy.
When I look ahead through a speculating lens,
there is never enough to handle all
the scenarios my mind is able to create.
Most of all, there is never enough grace.
Because grace only knows the present tense.

When I look at the past, there was always enough.
My challenge is to pull those lessons into today.
But…what about…what if?
There will always be the test of now.

I want to get better at not only living in the now,
but believing I have enough for now,
especially as it applies to grace.
When I focus on this moment
and the enoughness that it holds,
I can practice gratitude, giving, loving,
and breathing.
I am at peace.
And that is enough for me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Little Less Noise


Souls of prayer are souls
of great silence. ~ Mother Theresa

All around me, actually more inside me,
 there is this sound of hustle bustle, movement, 
hurry, swirl, the sound of my heartbeat, 
my thoughts, my fears, my prayers. 
It all gets front and center attention at some point. 
More and more, I am not ok with that.

I have only recently become aware of 
how much noise I live with.
Not the external sounds all around me,
but those internal vibes constantly running.
They leave no space for silence. 
I have recently been giving that 
some serious attention.  
Not to be alone with my thoughts, 
or even to get alone with God to pray more. 
But so that silence might emerge as active. 
Something that holds wisdom. 
Something that longs to be recognized.
Something that waits to break open. 
Something that God’s presence and
His voice might inhabit in new ways.

It's hard to hear God's voice when constantly 
pre-occupied with my own thoughts.
Every once in a while, I will share something
on my heart with Dave, certain he is listening. 
And he’ll respond with something 
that clearly indicates he was not. 
“Did you see the huge bullfrog 
sitting on that rock?” 
Seriously? I get quiet. 
I think about never sharing my heart again. 
Oh, and maybe get just a little offended.

But how many times has God been 
trying to communicate something deep 
on His heart to me and I'm busy thinking, 
“Do You remember that thing 
that happened that time with that person?"
And I’m sure He wonders how I 
could have missed His heart. Again. 
He is not in disbelief, 
nor is He maybe just a little offended. 
My thoughts of maybe never sharing 
my heart again are never His thoughts. 
His mercies towards us are new every morning.
I have been a bit apprehensive about silence.
Because, although I have always been one
who needs to be alone with God, 
I recognize I do a lot of talking.
And talking with God is awesome.
But stilling my mind before Him?
Yea, that is harder than I thought it would be.
I am taking it slow, asking myself for 
just five minutes of real silence.
A whole new set of muscles are getting trained.
After five minutes, they are already tired.

My weak and puny silence muscles
are about to become stronger.
I am looking forward to a little less noise.




Thursday, January 15, 2015

He Speaks through the Sunrise

God’s love is seen 
each time the sun rises.

Yesterday I responded wrong, thought wrong, 
spoke wrong a couple different times. 
And by a couple, I mean a lot.
They weren’t huge blow-ups, or
exchanges I could even recount today.
I just know there were times that I 
didn’t respond with the kindness of Christ, 
didn’t think thoughts that were true,
didn’t speak words that encouraged and lifted up.
Maybe no one even noticed but me.
If we analyzed each time that 
we didn’t accurately represent Christ, 
well, we would lose count early on in the day.
But, this morning the sun rose, 
and I heard God say to me,
Guess what? You all get another chance.
Because I am not about perfect.
I am about forgiveness.
I am about love.

Every day we have an opportunity
to engage in a new way of
thinking, responding, speaking…living.
We do not just wake up with a brain
that is "left over from yesterday."
Research suggests that while we sleep, 
new nerve cells are birthed in our brains.
Each morning brings us a new capacity
to think differently.
His mercies truly are new--every morning.
Today I want to think thoughts 
that are helpful, lovely and excellent.
I want to respond out of love,
with kindness, gentleness and compassion.
I want to speak words that encourage and build up.
I want to be about love.
His love is speaking so loudly these days.
He is not negating everything else;
He is just wanting His people to remember
that love is the greatest of these.
Every sunrise speaks of His great love
and His desire to draw us to Himself again.

I see Your face in every sunrise.
The colors of the morning are inside of Your eyes.
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say,
You’re beautiful.
Phil Wickham

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Sound of Yearning


Recently I went to a funeral for the son
of a friend who died way too young
from the despicable disease called cancer.
Because he was a popular teacher and 
soccer coach at a Catholic high school, 
the church was packed.

I hadn’t been in a Catholic church 
since high school and only knew 
the structured liturgy and constant motion
of sitting, standing, kneeling and sitting again.
We had to park blocks away and were a bit late.
As we stood at the door, 
the hundreds of voices singing in unison 
drew us immediately in.
I had been so focused on the grief that
I wasn't prepared for the sense of holiness 
that would hit me upon entering that church.

Though it was a funeral service, 
though tears were streaming,
though high school soccer players
were leaning on one another for support,
there was a transcendent hope in that place.
I heard voices joined together declaring 
the resurrection power of God's love.
It wasn’t the sound of many voices; 
it was the sound of one voice.
The sanctuary was big and ceilings were high,
and candles were everywhere.
It spoke of strength and light—and holiness.
Maybe on a different occasion,
in a different setting, a different era--
shoes would have been off.
The Light of the World was there to invite us
to join in, to listen, to respond.
And I heard the sound of yearning.

This sound was the yearning
to be a part of something bigger,
to be part of a living symphony of faith.
The sound was the yearning to be one,
 yearning to love more deeply,
yearning to pierce the spirit of grief 
with the sound of hope,
yearning to live life full of faith
in the One who conquered death 
that we might truly live.
The sound was the yearning for holiness
to return to our familiar lives again.
I am haunted by that sound
and am praying the haunting 
stays until it changes me.
There is this yearning...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Going Thin


Decreasing breadth 
increases depth.

In his book, Sacred Year
Michael Yankoski comments that 
a gallon of water could cover a five mile area 
if stretched about a molecule thin. 
But that same gallon, if focused into a straw 
about the size of a human hair, 
would reach the center of the world, 
four thousand miles beneath our feet.

My life has often felt like a multitude of droplets 
stretching across that five mile expanse. 
All out busy with more responsibilities than hours,
I often felt like I was running to cover
huge stretches of land, giving everything
I had to all that I did, but, in reality, 
not as much as I wanted to any of it.
I didn't know how to change any of it,
until it all changed.
When everything changes around us, 
it forces us to change as well.
It has taken a while to adjust to the shift;
it is hard to just stop moving at that kind of pace.
But the word that I keep hearing more clearly
is the word "depth."

Our culture is obsessed with thinness,
not just the physical kind, 
but the conditioned reality that comes
when we stretch ourselves so thin and 
focus on so many things
that we lose the ability to focus.
We "care thinly" when spread thinly.

My resolution has been to spend
more time alone, quiet, listening. 
I haven't been doing much writing lately
because life has still been busy. 
And maybe not so much busy as thin. 
I cannot write out of a thin perspective. 
I need deep. And deep needs quiet. 

But when I look at facebook or instagram and
read great quotes about being all you can be 
and setting goals and living your passion, 
and living stronger, happier, and better,
I can feel like I am doing nothing. 
And if I am not careful, 
I can go thin in a heartbeat.

Our ultimate goal is fullness.
Jesus talked about wells, not wide open spaces.
So, I want to do less, stretch less, juggle less.
That takes something akin to ADD medication.
It takes prayer and quiet 
and being with Jesus.
And a willingness to walk away from
the single molecule five mile expanse
and towards the four thousand mile deep life.
Increasing depth begins by
decreasing breadth.
It's time to focus.