Monthly Archives: January 2011

Distractions

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I Can Do Bad All by Myself  – Tyler Perry

In this scene, young Jennifer has come to Medea looking for advice on how to pray.  In the midst of a mixed up Bible story, the following dialog spoke directly to me:

Medea – You remind me of Peter in the Bible. You know who Peter was?

Jennifer – No

Medea – Peter was one of the 12 disciplines. And they were on a boat out on the isle, of the Greek Atlantic Ocean.  And when they was on this boat, the storm rose up.    And the 12 disciplines, they got really, really worried and upset. They said, “Oh, no, what are we gonna do?”  They saw someone coming toward them on the water, it looked like a ghost. But it wasn’t a ghost. It was Jesus.

And Peter say, “Jesus, if that’s you, let me come out there.”  (You gotta be careful what you ask the Lord for.)  So Jesus said, “Come on out.”  So Peter stepped out of the boat and was walking on the water.

Jennifer – He was walking on water?

Medea – On the water. He was walking on the water toward Jesus. Long as he kept his eyes on him, he stayed on top of the water.  He took his eyes off him, though. You know why? He got distracted.  You know why he got distracted?

When you got your eye on Jesus, can’t get distracted by nothing.  (emphasis mine)  Jonah passed by in the belly of the whale. He looked down, Free Willy with Jonah inside the belly, and it made him distracted, so he started to sink.

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Lately I have experienced how powerful distractions can be.  Leaders thrown off task by crisis, artists questioning their passion because of criticism, relationships strained because of unspoken tension.

In my own distractions (both positive and negative), my instinct is to take my eyes off of Jesus to deal with the distraction.  I want the happiness to last just a little longer, I want the pain to subside as quickly as possible and somehow I’ve fooled myself into thinking that I have control over that.  But in taking my eyes off of Jesus, I am missing so much.  He has a plan for my life (Jer. 29:11), things He has created me to do (Eph. 2:10) and here I am allowing distractions to rule my heart and my mind.

When my gaze is directed back at my Savior, hope, peace and purpose return.

May we each keep our eyes fixed on Jesus (Heb 12:2).

Surprise Sabbath

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As I have been processing the idea of working Sabbath into my weekly schedule, Friday stands out as the perfect day to do so.  (I work Sun – Thurs, so Friday is a free day, usually reserved for housework and errands.)

Last Friday God showed up while I was cleaning the kitchen.

A few things led to this encounter.  About a year ago, we nixed the cable.  Its been good not being anchored to the TV, but I really do miss HGTV and Food Network.  Then about a week ago, my sweet little dog accidentally pulled the TV off of the kitchen counter and busted it.  So on this Friday morning, my kitchen was silent.

My head and my heart were not so silent.  I was indulging in some self talk that wasn’t so flattering to me or my subject.  Also rattling in my head was a healthy dose of hope and encouragement that had been lovingly given to me by a friend.  Conflicting?  Welcome to my brain.

As I was trying to sort it all out, God gently spoke to me.

“Pray”

“Give it to Me, I will carry your burden”

“Be at peace”

So I did all those things.  My heart was lighter, my countenance changed and I truly felt peace.  God showed up, met me in my weakness and gave me rest.  Maybe Sabbath isn’t me carving out a specific time or routine, maybe its just  being silent and waiting on Him.

How would you describe God?

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Bibliophile, Bookworm, Reader.  Each of these can be used to describe me.  When my husband and I moved across the country, the majority of our boxes were books.  From the time I graduated HS, I have been purchasing books with the dream of having a library in my home.  And I come from a family that has the same obsession.  My Granny would hand my father shopping bags full of paperback books that she had read almost every time that we visited.  On the top shelf of my bookcase are some very old (and precious) books that belonged to my Grandma.  I feel it safe to say that one of the strands on my DNA chain is in the shape of a book.  So dear reader, expect a post (or two or twenty) to be about my latest read and how it has affected me.

I recently finished Sacred Encounters by Tamara Park.  Tamara and two friends decide to take a pilgrimage from Rome to Jerusalem.  Along the way, Tamara asks the people she meets “How would you describe God?”, and the answers given were beautiful, challenging and inspiring to me.  Following are the two answers that have been gnawing at me.

“Your descripton of God is a treasure in your heart.  You’re almost afraid to speak about it because you’re afraid it will be taken from you.  Yet you want to share it because it is so beautiful.”  Sister Theodora (Meteora, Greece)

“For our life depends upon our description of God.  And the description of God depends on our understanding of God.” Aristarchos – Greek archbishop of Jerusalem.

Is my description of God a treasure?  Does my life depend on it?  Honestly, yes and no. Yes, he is my Savior, provider, guide and friend.  But does my day-to-day life reflect this description of Him?  Do I live this out for others to see?  I can only pray that my heartbeat grows into His heartbeat.

How would you describe God?

Thoughts and Resolutions

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Its January 3rd, have you broken your resolutions yet?

Each year, I think through what resolutions I should make, lose weight, have a more consistent quiet time, be a better wife/friend/daughter/sister, send out a birthday card to each family member (on time!), etc., etc., etc.  And each year, these resolutions don’t make it much further than Jan 1st.  But this year two thought keep rattling around.

Live in Honesty.  I want my life to be characterized by honesty.  I want my yes to be yes (Matt 5:37), I want to be able to share with you how my life really is.  But I want to be wise about how I’m being honest.  Am I brash or loving?  Am I sharing my heart or pushing your buttons?

Sabbath. At NYWC this year, one of the breakout sessions I attended was on spiritual self-care.  I was challenged to look at how I am taking care of my own spirit in the midst of helping take care of others.  There is a deep need to schedule true sabbath into my life, and yet, I find myself thinking I need to DO something to make true sabbath possible.  Obiviously this one will be a process.

So at this time next year, I may still be the same weight, and its possible none of my family members will have recieved their birthday cards on time; but my pilgrimage will be taking me closer to the woman that God would have me be.