April 4, 2011 § 6 Comments
It isn’t easy being me. I don’t mean my life is harder than average. I mean it is exhausting being me.
One Saturday night my husband and I had an event to attend. I only had slight acquaintances with the attendees and a bad attitude. I didn’t want to go, I was uncomfortable, scared, and insecure. I am an awkward teenager again. The one who doesn’t know what to say, to wear, or to who she is. Mostly the awkward teenager in me fears she won’t be accepted.
About 24-hours later, we had another event to attend. This time I knew more of the attendees, I was confident, and excited about going. I had no doubts about what to wear, or say or do. What caused this severe case of social whip-lash? The ugly truth?
Sometimes I fear people more than I fear God. I am self-conscious instead of God-conscious. I want acceptance and I fear that I am not acceptable. So begins my list of things I am thankful for.
362. God’s forgiveness.
363. God refines me.
364. I enjoyed the event I dreaded.
366. Spring weather
367. Tears that cleanse
368. New doors opening
369. my husband
370. Nerf flag football
371. Nerf dart guns
372. the sound of my kids as they play together
374. friends who think, plan, and minister with
375. the girls I teach at church
377. God’s grace
378. worship music
379. worship living
380. time with my husband holding hands and dreaming dreams
What are you thankful for?
March 29, 2011 § 2 Comments
I got behind. Out of routine, out of time, out of sync.
Behind in my Chronological Bible reading. I needed to read half of the March 27th reading and all of March 28th reading on March 28th.
Reading the Bible in chronological order means I am in the Old Testament and will be for most of the year. The Old Testament is filled with genealogies, lists of names, strange geographical locations, and extensive descriptions of how to build a tabernacle. Don’t get me wrong, I know that all these things have meaning and reason and order. In fact, I ask God as I read these things to teach me what I need to learn.
Even so, the rebel sigh still escapes my lips as I see a mind numbing list of names I have no hope of pronouncing. So I closed my Bible in my fatigue on March 27th, wondering why I needed a recap of what I just read about who Israel had defeated in their conquest of the Promised Land.
Today as I wrestled with doubts, frustrations, wondering why God is bringing me down a certain road, pondering longing and it remaining unfulfilled, questioning my next steps, I opened my Bible to get caught up. Not only to say I had read my Bible for March 28th, but also to spend some quiet with my LORD. Oh how I needed quiet.
In that raw place I my eyes read Joshua 12 with the heading “A List of Defeated Kings.” My first inclination was to sigh, but my sigh caught in my throat as I came face to face with what I needed. What I need when doubt attempts to tie me down and fear attempts to turn me from my God ordained plow. I need a list. I need a list of kings defeated in my life – defeated only by God’s hand.
I need a list of sin I have overcome through God, of God ordained “coincidences,” of victories in my Spiritual Journey. I need a list. A list that I can bring out to remind myself what God has done and what He is doing in my life. A list that drives away doubt, that reminds me of God’s miraculous provision, that screams of God’s sovereignty during dark times, that recounts when God ordered my steps for His purposes. Yes I need a list in my life, a prayer journal full of God’s answers, a blog recounting what God has taught me, a friend or loved one who walked the road with me and can remind me of my list.
Do you have a list? How do you keep your list? Do you want to start one? I challenge you to start a list with me…Tuesdays at Rethinking My Thinking will become our List Days. Days to share what God is doing in our lives. I can’t wait to hear what He is doing in your lives!
December 30, 2010 § 3 Comments
I love this time of year.
Christmas, the time we celebrate the birth of our God-man,
baby-king, Word-became flesh, God with us.
Then the end of the year.
The time to think back about the year we are leaving
and look forward to the New Year.
I have to admit I am a bit of a sap. I tear up at the thought of the end of the year, good-bye to 2010 never to be again.
Yet I love the possibilities of the new one coming. What new exciting, faith stretching, God-sized thing is God calling me to? What will happen? Who will I meet? Funny how I only plan on the good things, the exciting things, and yet I know hard things are to come as well.
In all my type-A personality, I have never set resolutions or goals because I fear failure. I look at a list of goals and if I don’t make it I think I failed. I have even stopped making lists for daily things. This is not a positive trait. It is just me and through God’s grace, I am working on it.
So in all my thinking about this past year and looking into the next, I have been praying for God to show me what this year was and what God is calling me to do next year….Drum-roll please….
2010 can best be described as stretching…
Serious stretching beyond me.
Letting God take over my hopes and dreams.
Letting Him do it His way and doing it all beyond me.
Opening up my mind and heart to God-sized things He can do if I follow Him.
My word for 2011 is growth.
Now that God has stretched me, I need to grow into the stretched out areas God created in 2010.
I need to persevere.
I need to grow beyond what I think is possible.
What about you? What did God do for you in 2010? What is He calling you to in 2011? Let me know I can’t wait to hear what He is up to!
August 24, 2010 § 1 Comment
I have mentioned in the past that I have been writing things down for YEARS. In fact I have some thing I wrote in grade school squirreled away in a notebook. For grins I started reading some of the things I wrote back when. Unfortunately I rarely wrote a date on things. However the fact that I have not only a pencil and paper version, but also a dot-matrix printed version of this article, dates it to high school or early college. I will attempt to edit it some, but for the most part this is exactly what I wrote.
Remember how scared you were of your dad when you were little? Let’s face it, he could spank harder than mom and he was BIG!!! The thing was that the fear you had for your father never stopped him from loving you nor you from loving him. He was the guy that showed you how to play basketball or softball, who would read you bedtime stories, and who would give you a hug and a kiss before he tucked you into bed. He often frightened away the monsters in your dreams. He was wonderfully scary. You respected him because you understood that when you did something wrong he would spank you. At the same time you knew he loved you and would never let you down. So why do we often forget that fear is part of the whole father package? Look at how we as Christians treat God. We are often lackadaisical towards sin and how we treat Him. Sometimes we forget that God can spank harder than even our dads and that He is MUCH, MUCH bigger than our dads ever could have been. So why should we are about fearing God? God is the author and pure picture of love. Without God there would be no you or me. Nothingness would reign. We forget that God gives us air to breathe, families, and friends to love and most importantly His son to die for our sins. God not only loves, He also disciplines. God is perfect and holy and He is not beyond disciplining His children. Since God has everything under His control His discipline can hurt much more and cut much deeper than our own earthly father’s spankings. So in fear of God lies complete love and trust. Without the fear of God no one can get to know God. You must come to Him in fear and trembling!! Understanding why you should fear God brings you one step closer to knowing and understanding Him. If we fear our earthly fathers, how much more should we fear God, our Father, the Father of the universe?
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
So I ask you, do you have a healthy fear of God?
August 9, 2010 § 3 Comments
Someone much smarter than me, but I can’t figure out who that someone is, said or wrote, “Steps of faith often begin with seeds of fear.” Fear and faith. Together. Fear. Fear of God, fear of failure, fear of appearing crazy, fear of being a hypocrite. God often calls me to do something that is beyond me. Something that I cannot do in my own power. I do not know how to step out without a sense of fear. Do not get me wrong, I am stepping out believing God has called me to step out. I am treading new waters because God is pointing me in that direction. I have faith that God will sustain me, that God will guide me, that God will empower me. Oh but fear is also my companion. Fear that drives me to my knees, and closer to my Lord. Fear that does not paralyze me, but that draws me outside myself. Fear that clearly delineates whether I will say, “no” to my plans and dreams, or “no” to God.
Other brilliant people say that faith removes fear. I admit that Jesus did rebuke the disciples, when they were afraid their ship would sink due to a storm. Jesus told them, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26) Some translations say, “why are you so cowardly?” When I am considering stepping out in faith, am I cowardly? No, I am stepping out. Am I sometimes fearful, you bet. So what is the difference?
Fear drives me closer to God, it reminds me that my step of faith isn’t about me, but about God. This type of fear is courageous. It moves ahead regardless of what circumstances are saying and it trusts God with the outcome. Cowardly fear may cry out to God, but misses the point of the storm or the step of faith. It looks at circumstances, not our Heavenly Father. It makes excuses, and refuses to move forward. It paralyzes rather than energizes.
So I am stepping out in faith. I am trusting God with the results. Am I fearful? A little. Am I clinging to God and counting on Him not myself? Yes. Oh that I would allow a bit of courageous fear to draw me to Him and into His service. Is there any room for cowardly fear? No way! When it tries to sneak up on me, I pray. O Jesus, increase my faith! I pray that I will not fear because I know God is with me. I pray that I can push past the fear and serve God.
June 1, 2010 § 2 Comments
Have you ever embarked on a new venture or chapter in your life that you have no doubts God is calling you towards? In this new journey you are a bit fearful and uncertain. You are way out of our comfort zone and you are confident in God if not so much in yourself. As you seek to let this new goal be known to others, you may feel weird saying God has called me to ________. You wonder if it sounds as bizarre to the person you are telling as it does to you. Does this person I’m telling my dream and plans and new direction to know how inadequate and totally uncomfortable I am? Yet something (prayerfully Christ’s love) compells you to continue down this new road. God is stretching you beyond your complacency. He is growing you and as He grows you, you gain confidence in Him.
Somewhere along the way you mention your dream to someone else. This time you receive a lukewarm at best reception. The approval you were seeking did not come and you start to doubt. You begin to question this dream or goal and you ability to accomplish what God has asked of you. You begin to doubt and waver that God ever called you to this dream or path. Maybe you should just give up.
The thing is that you don’t need approval from anyone, you have been approved! God approved you when He called you. 2 Corinthians 10:18
For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
So God has approved you to do His will. You are approved no approval needed.