My son is taking a camping trip this weekend, so I’m trying to help him be prepared for the various activities, fully expecting him to come home dirty, messy and totally happy 🙂
The idea of getting messy can be a tricky experience in various contexts, like leadership, relationships, cooking experiments and lots more. But here’s an interesting thought I’ve been considering. When God created the universe, the creation came to a grand culmination when man was created. With everything else that was created, God spoke the creation into existence. But when God created man, there was a lot of personal interaction – God sculpted man from the dirt. But here was the tricky part: God could have made this beautiful and perfect sculpture and set it in a beautiful and perfect creation with no mess. But God went the next step and breathed into the sculpture the breath of life and thus began the human race with all of the messy parts, pieces, plans, failures and glories. Maybe there was a fleeting moment in God’s mind about doing the breath of life thing – knowing what would come from that decision. God chose life and all of it’s messy displays, relationships, wars, etc rather than to make a pristine and perfect garden that lacked humanity. Genuine love chooses life 🙂
I was thinking about how Jesus often didn’t meet people’s expectations. Mostly, He was a frustration & aggravation to the religious leaders, an enigma to the political leaders & a catastrophic failure to His disciples as He hung on the cross. In some situations, Jesus far exceeded the expectations: He forgives & heals, He repairs & redeems, He confronts & consoles along with so much more!
I find this to be very comforting because there are times when all of us don’t meet the expectations of others. With Jesus’ help, we can disappoint in the right ways 🙂
Over the last few days, I’ve been reading about Jesus’ mom, Mary and how Gabriel came & announced Jesus’ birth to her. Mary was an AMAZING chick!! She wasn’t married, lived in a male dominated society & became pregnant out of wedlock, overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. According to the religious & traditional norms of her day, she should’ve been killed. But she was brave and courageous. She spent a few months with her elderly cousin, Elizabeth, who was miraculously pregnant in her old age and I think these months helped both women:
Mary – who was young, vulnerable & probably somewhat naive when it came to issues related to pregnancy
Elizabeth – elderly, toward the end of her pregnancy & probably tired, like we get in our third trimester
Mary, the mother of Jesus, a teenage girl, pregnant without being married – carrying in her womb the Savior of the world. Let’s live like Mary: Luke 1:45 “blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
We all have challenges in our lives of varying sizes and strengths. Some challenges are relatively short & minor: getting the chicken unthawed in time to bake it for tonight’s dinner. Some challenges are massive: nightcare with Saving Moses. Regardless of your age, responsibilities, gender, season in life, etc, we all have challenges & it’s what we do with these challenges that’s important (not necessarily the challenges themselves).
So here are some helpful tips for dealing with challenges:
can do: keep in mind that God in you is bigger than any challenge;
try: don’t quit, give up or get discouraged; a baby step is better than no step & a misstep is better than a regress ,)
selective nutrition: feed the positive & starve the negative
timely inventory: it can be super helpful, from time to time, to take an inventory of your overall progress rather than focusing on the lack of slowness of progress
encouragement: encourage someone else in their dreams, goals & challenges – it’s good for you! 😀
As I write this, it’s about 8:15am & I’ve already had a million things that I need to accomplish running through my mind & I’m hoping I don’t forget any of them. Even though I try to do all of the helpful reminders, checklists, etc, the forgetting part can make everything double stressful. So where does God fit into this scheme?
The answer is: wisdom. In Prov 8:30, it talks about how wisdom was right along side God as God created the world, taking delight in God’s creation. It seems to me that creating the entire universe could be a rather stressful task, but maybe this wasn’t stressful because God is God & wisdom is with God.
So friends, let’s ask God for wisdom to be with us throughout each day & in all of the things that we have to accomplish & with our various responsiblities. To get things done, let’s ask & receive wisdom from God 🙂
I was having an interesting chat with a friend, who is totally amazing. She is all things strong, bold, smart, hard working, loyal, compassionate & super incredible! In some respects, her talents are altogether different than my talents, which can be a wonderful adventurous friendship, as long as I keep my insecurities in check – smile 🙂
After having a great conversation, I hung up the phone & felt God smiling on me, affirming my value, talents & abilities even though they’re altogether different than my friends’. Let me encourage you that while you may be different than the people you admire, you are nevertheless just as valuable, important & significant as they are. When it’s all said & done, we need each other with our various strengths as complements to our various weaknesses rather than competition 🙂
From time to time, we all face hardships, struggles and difficulties. Sometimes we face calamaties that are nothing less than totally overwhelming and understandably, we all want to get out of these difficulties. Simply put, we want deliverance fromthese situations. Even better, we’d like to be spared from these things. But as we both know, life doesn’t always stay in the utopia zone. Sometimes we have to go throughthe hardship & struggle. When this happens and we aren’t delivered fromthe struggle, then we can most certainly trust that God will give us exactly what we need to get to the other side – strength, wisdom, comfort, genuine love . . . . The Trinity is enough.
From time to time, I think it’s important to do some assessment & personal inventory. We tend to do these kinds of exercises at the end of the year in anticipation of some possible New Years resolutions that we might consider. But I think that doing an occasional personal assessment is really healthy. So here are some questions & things to consider:
*What are 3-5 things that would be my top essentials?
*What are the consistent inputs that I have in my life? What do I watch, read, listen to, friend conversations, etc?
*Are these inputs what I need to constructively support the 3-5 essentials that I identified above?
*What top 3 areas in my life need more work, attention & help?
*Am I doing things that I could eliminate?
*Most importantly, how does my daily living align with my personal relationship w God? What adjustments do I need to make?
I read an interesting selection from Gift From the Seaby Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She had some great insights about relationships and how they can sometimes be like the ocean, with both high & low tides. In her writing, she talks about how we often want to cling to a relationship & how it felt in the past or how we sometimes look forward to the future of a relationship – both engaging activities. If we aren’t careful, however, we can let the past or the future sabotage the now in any relationship, including our walk with God. With that being said, sometimes we don’t like the now because it could be kind of like a “low tide” season, but Mrs Lindbergh helps me to see & appreciate that all the stages in a relationship are valid & valuable – high tide, medium tide & low tide. In my mind, the most important thing of all is to remain faithful to God no matter what’s happening or not in our various human relationships 🙂
The first time that Martha met Jesus, she was pretty wrapped up in performance: cleaning, cooking, busy with meal preparation & lots of hustle / bustle. I love how honest she is with Jesus: make my sister stop listening to you & get her to help me with all of this work!!! And for those of us who are caught in the same rat race, maybe Jesus says the same thing to us, “Martha, you’re busy & stressed out with many things, but only ONE THING is necessary . . . . ” One Thing. If we live our lives with a One Thing paradigm, I wonder if we would be more effective & fulfilled 🙂
The next time we read about Martha is in John 11, after her brother Lazarus has died. Again, she has a house full of guests who have come to mourn & grieve the loss of her brother. Despite having all of these guests, Martha learned from the previous One Thing conversation, left everyone to go out & chat with Jesus. Not only did she have an amazing discussion & learn new things about Jesus (I am the Resurrection), she also got to see her brother get raised from the dead.
Let’s make the One Thing adjustment – letting Jesus be all things essential in our lives, then fasten your seatbelt & hold on for the adventure of a lifetime!!