Sunday, April 26, 2015

One Arm Upward

“Two are better than one, 
for they help each other succeed.
If one falls, the other can reach out and help.” 
~Ecc 4:10

Much has been written about “falling forward--”
because falling is inevitable and 
backwards is not the direction we are going.
But maybe equally important is that we are
willing to extend "one arm upward” when we fall.

This life isn’t about how independent we are
or how we bounce up from being down.
It's about how connected we are to those
waiting to help us when that happens.
When we become intimately acquainted with
our limitations, we can value the strength in others,
especially those we have linked arms with.
This past transition year has helped me
value the priceless gift I have in relationships--
even when important relationships transitioned too.
We have all been there, when the pain shouts,
“It’s just not worth it!"
But pain can rob us if we're not careful.
We can decide relationships are too risky
and walk away with our wounding.
Only as we allow the Lord to heal us from hurts
are we able to trust relationally once again.
And it’s critical that we do.

When we receive strength from 
those around us, we are better able 
to love, serve, and encourage others—
those in our community and 
the stranger we meet along the way.

Most days, I can walk with one arm extended,
looking to give a hand to those in need.
But on those days when I fall, 
I will aim to fall forward,
one arm upward that I might get up again.
In this way, we “help each other succeed."
A beautiful, even when imperfect, exchange.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Standing in the Eye

We can dance in a hurricane.
Only if we’re standing in the eye. 
~Brandi Carlile

Let’s face it.
Sometimes the storm is not going 
anywhere for a while.
Call it a time of transition, trial, or change.
We may even be moving forward, but
getting all the way through sometimes take time.
We get frustrated by how long it's all taking,
but time is what is needed to change us. 
Sometimes it feels like our very DNA 
needs to be changed.
It takes time to be renewed.

I am haunted, in the best of ways,
by the words “Be still” in the midst of it all.
Racing thoughts, be still.
Scurrying mind, be still.
Swirling emotions, be still.
And know. Really know.
Know He is God.
Know He is in control.
Know He is good.
The eye of the storm is the still place--
where we are not battered.
where we are not tossed around.
where we are not moved by the winds.
We choose to focus on the peace,
willfully ignoring all the noise and gusts.
He IS the eye of the storm.

Be still and know...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Am I Non-Present?

“She had never forgotten that if you drink 
from a bottle marked ‘poison’ 
it is almost certain to disagree with you, 
sooner or later.” 
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Researchers have observed that only 
2% of our time is occupied by things 
that may actually be considered negative. 
We, however, are not content with that number. 
We continually inflate that number 
by dwelling on past hurts, 
or speculating about present events, 
or worrying about future scenarios. 
If we are “non-present” where we are at, 
we will almost certainly project negativity 
into our present realm.

Being non-present causes much 
of the dis-ease we face in our lives.
We have to consciously move away from 
negative spinning thoughts about our situations
and refocus our thoughts and bring ourselves 
back to quiet again and again.

When I stop to take inventory of my thoughts,
I actually have a lot of them--
and most of them are very positive.
But when I am not mindful, the ones that 
are negative crowd out all the others.
I can feel overwhelmed, fearful, anxious 
and insecure with just one thought, 
and then spend way too much time 
rehearsing and playing the scenario game.
Being non-present is the fastest way
to tip the bottle.
If it's true that only a small percentage
of our days are spent facing situations which
could be perceived as negative,
then we don't want to inflate those numbers. 

He wants our thoughts right because 
He wants us right.
He created us and ordered our minds
to be like His own--
so we could represent Him in this world
and so we would be whole.
He is always, always, always, good.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Seeds and Sprouts

God has been nudging me daily 
about the importance of dreaming, 
even if all I can see is the seed of that dream.
One thing about a seed:
It won't sprout in the packet...
The voices of doubt vie to keep seeds sealed. 
"People more qualified have already done that.” 
"Isn't it easier not to try than try and fail?" 
"Who really cares about that anyway?" 
"That whole idea is kinda dumb."  
Doubts are prolific.

I recently read a  magazine ad looking for writers.
I considered it for about five seconds.
In the middle of the night, the Lord asked me,
“Why didn’t you respond to that ad?”
I'm not qualified.
“Who told you that?” He asked.
Well, I did.
“Can you let them be the judge of that?”
Oh dear.

The Lord has been speaking to me about
dreaming with Him, ignoring all the voices
assigned to keep the packet sealed.
Dream big. Take risks. Live adventurously.
He has done too much for us to live small--
which has nothing to do with doing small things.
It's about doing significant things, 
which are those things He assigns specifically to us.
He alone is the judge of significance.
Jesus told us to ask for anything in prayer,
giving us permission to take a risk.
"The fruit you produce will bring
much glory to My Father."

Our protective selves want to play it safe.
We don't want to worry about
rejection, failure, pain, disappointment.
We don't want to protect our faith in 
God's ability to show up on our behalf.
But everything we produce without risk is 
the result of our ability to do the math.
Math may hold together the universe,
but equations can't hold together our faith. 
He always does abundantly more than we 
could ever ask or imagine.  
He created the "unequal" sign.

He wants us to live wildly expectant, 
opening the packets and trusting that 
as we put the seeds into the ground, 
He sets things in motion for growth.  
We discover, at any age, the abundant fruit
He is waiting to release through us.
It's spring, time to take some seeds out of
the packet and see what sprouts-
no matter how seemingly small it may be.
No seed left behind.