back handsprings – ha!!!

Flexibility – growing When I was in High School, I played basketball & I really enjoyed my team, the competitions, challenges, etc.  For 2 years, I was a forward who was usually the 1st or 2nd substitute to come into the game.  My coach really helped me appreciate the contribution I could make to our team in that role as a substitute.  During my senior year, one of our key guards got hurt in the 1st game of the season & her injury prohibited her from playing for the rest of the year.  My coach talked with me about stepping into this role – he explained that this new role would have new responsibilities, assignments & challenges.  From our conversation, I shifted to playing starting guard, something I had never done before but I was excited to start!  Unfortunately, I didn’t do as well as I wanted to in that position but for me, the experience was an important contributing influence in learning to be flexible.

Flexible – If you’re like me, we want to be good at what we do.  Sometimes, if we’re not careful, this desire translates to only doing what we are good at.  No one likes to do poorly or fail.  But I think this can cause a dicey problem for us when we genuinely let God direct our lives.  Recently, I’ve been in different situations where I need to do things in which I don’t consider myself naturally talented.  Like my basketball team in High School, I’m being asked to be a guard & not the forward I’ve gotten used to playing.  I sense God asking me to let Him use me in different capacities than what I’ve become comfortable in.  While I can’t say that I’m amped to do these things, I am definitely amped to grow in my dependence on God because I’ve found that such dependence on God fosters greater intimacy with Him – one of the key goals of my life.  So when I’m in situations where I’m not naturally comfortable or gifted, rather than flounder and try to use any human savy I can muster up, I’m learning to lean into God more.  Flexibility can be a path God uses to draw us closer to Him.

two important goals

There are two goals that I want to pursue in life:

GOAL 1:  I want to love God.  Growing up in a Christian home, I’ve found that the only motivation that can keep me connected to God in a healthy way is love – to let myself experience His love for me and then respond to Him with love.  Love is a topic of immense proportions and various intrepretations.  But I believe that the only genuine love that we can know is Who God is – He is love.  Along this line, I cannot love God, if I do not love the people around me.  I believe that loving others is giving God the freedom to express Himself through me and this is one of the ways that I can love God.  Loving God keeps my motives right.

GOAL2:  I want to know God.  This is indeed a lofty goal, similar to my 1st goal.  How can a finite know The Infinite?  Nevertheless, there are many occassions and verses in the Bible about knowing God – who He is, how He moves, what His values & priorities are, different ways He communicates, . . . . .  I believe that God wants to make Himself known to us and each day gives us a fresh opportunity to learn more about who God is – Incarnate in a finite world.  The most grounded way to know God is through His Word and knowing God through His Word keeps my doctrine immunized from heresy 🙂

So join me in this adventure of knowing and loving God in the contexts of our daily living.

don’t wear it, if it doesn’t fit

Have you ever found a blouse or shoes that you fell in love with, but were disappointed because they didn’t have your size?  I hate it when I can’t find my size in clothes or shoes that I really like!  I’m not much of a shopping junkie so if & when I find something that I really like, its an even greater disappointment when I can’t find my size.   Sometimes, I’ve bought the item in the wrong size, thinking that I could fix it somehow to fit properly.  It never works out when I get the wrong size, no matter how hard I try. 

This is true for us with God & who He has made us to be.  At various times in our lives, we wish that we were different than who we are.  Sometimes, I wish I was more like my mom.  Sometimes, I wish I was more like other people whom I respect.  But when I have tried to be someone other than who God has made me to be, its like trying to wear clothes that don’t fit.  Life gets uncomfortable.  This is kind of like when David was preparing to fight Goliath & he put on Saul’s armor – it didn’t fit & was uncomfortable. Maybe this armor would have gotten in his way with his sling – we don’t know.  But this much is true, when we try to be someone other than who God has made us to be, then we’ll never successfully achieve God’s destiny and purpose for our lives.  I’m supposed to be Sarah and not Marilyn.  You’re supposed to be you and not someone else.  The only person we’re supposed to imitate is Jesus.  Make the decision to wear what fits & to grow in grace through the work of the Holy Spirit.  🙂

old shoes

I have these shoes that I really like – they’re beyond old.  I’ve worn them for more than 20 years & I could easily wear them another 20 years, especially if I don’t think about style (which is already a pretty sketchy topic for me).  These shoes are leather with a CRAZY durable sole & I often wear them without socks – so their perfectly molded to my feet.  I always throw them on as my old stand-by’s because I know they will be comfortable, sturdy & reliable. 

I’m using the shoe topic to help me talk about what I think it means to have a deeply satisfying relationship w God.  You see, in my mind, I want my life to be like a pair of shoes that God wears & uses everyday.  I want my life to be His faithful stand-by, that He will pick everyday to wear.  While I may not be very ornate or sparkly, I want to conform to His preferences, let Him walk wherever He choses & be trustworthy and reliable for His usage.  I fully believe that a person can be sparkly & ornate and be mightily used by God, so please don’t take me the wrong way.  For me personally, I want to conform perfectly to His ways, His feet, His steps.  I want God to fill me with His presence not only for my benefit, but also to activate His will & for His pleasure.  I want to God to wear me in – that I’m not too small, or uncomfortable for Him to use.  I don’t want for God to only use me on special occassions & I don’t want to give Him blisters when He choses to use (wear) me.  I want to be His “old shoes.”

a constructive habit

We had a friend come over for dinner a few nights ago & we had a totally great time catching up.  My youngest son had a discussion w my friend about the difficulty of breaking a bad habit (an interesting dialogue from the viewpoint of a 6 year old).  They both readily agreed that bad habits are a pain in the neck to try & break – so best to avoid making bad habits altogether.

Here’s a good habit to cultive:  watching for Jesus.  I find that when I get myself into the groove of looking for Jesus, He pops up in some very unexpected places:

  • the Chicago airport last week – I watched the faces of the river of diverse people walking through the hallway & saw beyond the diversity to the individual beauty that each person has & I found myself in complete awe of God, His love and His infinite capacity to express beauty in flawed humanity
  • I sense some of Jesus’ love for me through my kids – my kids know me extremely well & I’m astounded at their love for me; 
  • contrasts:  I find it interesting how Jesus will take a situation that is hurtful to me & how He will use the situation to expose a deeper reality of who He is in my life
  • miscellaneous exchanges with people – I get touched with how seemingly superficial conversations can reveal a deep need for Jesus in a person’s heart

I want my life to be about looking for Jesus – because what I look for is what I find.  He is the treasure that I seek.