I just had the privilege to catch up w an old friend & it was delightful to chat over coffee & remember some fun times together. It was also interesting to see how each of us has changed, grown and matured.
In all of or relationships, there are things that can bug us about the other person & clearly we have plenty of our own weakspots that can be very bothersome.
Let’s give each other grace to grow & then enjoy the journey. Only Jesus is the completed human masterpiece. The rest of us are works in progress 🙂
Yesterday, my daughter & I had an interesting conversation while driving for groceries. She let me know that girls are more emotional than boys. While she’s telling me this, my two sons are in the back seat hitting, poking, pinching and generally harassing each other. In the conversation with my daughter, I explained that girls aren’t necessarily more emotional than boys, but their emotional expressions are often different than boys – not bad or good, just different. And that’s the rub: when someone is different than ourselves, let’s be careful not to throw them in the “weirdo” category and outrightly dismiss them. God has taught me a lot through all kinds of people, most of whom are very different than myself.
If someone is “different” from you, here are a few helpful ideas:
respect – be respectful even if you disagree & remember that treating someone with respect & dignity is based on your decisions more than their behaviors 🙂
listen – I like what Stephen Covey said: seek first to understand & then to be understood
enjoy – differences are perhaps the greatest evidence of how creative God is & perhaps part of how God continues to capture our curiosity 🙂
Life can be very serious & ever so often, we all need a good laugh. So today’s hot topic is an attempt to provide some comic relief. Here are just a few brief & funny traveling stories:
wrong week: last year, I was scheduled to go to Dallas & had a 7am flight (which means that I leave my house no later than 5am). When I got to the airport, I was having trouble getting the kiosk to print my boarding pass. When I went to the airline person to help me, she ran my confirmation number through the computer & helped me to see that I was a week early – my flight was booked for the following week; I chalked it up in the “practice” column. Consider my husband’s surprise when I walked in the house less than an hour after I left, ready to take the kids to school that morning ,)
buddhist monks: one time I was in the waiting lounge in the Calcutta airport & there were around 6-12 monks who were all seated together. My friend dared me to jump in the middle of them so he could take a picture of me with them. I took the dare & the monks scattered faster than cockroaches running away from light. I learned that they had all taken a vow not to touch a woman & I almost caused them to break this vow with my silliness
chief safety officer: I flew on a commercial plane once (oversees) when the pilot came out of the cockpit on an active runway to close the front door of our airplane – he seemed pretty casual about the whole thing
I started coming to China more than 25 years ago & I totally love this place & the people even more! China is wonderful in lots of different ways – rich history, very cool people, great food, diverse cultures & much more.
But let me encourage you that wherever you are at, God is present & eager to have fellowship with you. I believe with all of my heart that God made you for the purpose of enjoying your company in all places: whether you’re
*at home in the routines of daily living,
*in a really difficult season of life,
*swamped with an ocean of demands & responsibilities,
*going into a busy weekend
*enjoying China ,)
Last night I had some friends over for dinner & I really enjoyed making a nice dinner for everyone (I even tried some new recipes that weren’t too bad). As I sat & enjoyed the fellowship, my family & food, one of the things that I enjoyed the most was that our meal couldn’t be repaid.
This is my same experience with saving Moses – I get to give to babies & toddlers with a pure heart & no strings attached. It brings me great joy & happiness when I get to freely give & bless others. Somewhere it says that it’s more blessed to give than receive ,)
Tomorrow is our wonderful American holiday of Thanksgiving, the day when we do some of these activities: overeat, watch football, enjoy or tolerate family & cook boatloads of food, among lots of other things. Generally, Thanksgiving is perceived as a nice holiday & to be really honest, I’m close to deciding that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
With all that being said, here are a few problems that we can work on to make this an awesome holiday:
*culmination rather than celebration: lets aim to make gratitude a lifestyle rather than a 1 day event
*just like turkey & stuffing make a nice complement, so do thanksgiving & forgiveness 🙂
*fellowship trumps football – ‘nuf said ,)
There are things about ourselves & others that we like & dislike. For example, I like that I am generally pretty good at Int’l travel, but I don’t like that I can be dingy & forget stuff (the list of things I’ve forgotten is too long for this blog).
But here’s something important to me: I want to like everything about Jesus! I want to like His mysteries, I want to like the ways that He loves people, I want to like that He teaches & helps me to grow. I want to like that He corrects & disciplines me. I want to like His power. I want to like His faithfulness & how steadfast He is.
I want to like everything about Jesus & not just the parts that are appealing or useful to me 🙂
Maybe I’m a social anomaly, but from time to time, I have some struggles with friendships – thankfully, the older I get the less frequent these struggles seem to be, I think. Nevertheless, it seems to me that there are a few essential ingredients for healthy friendships (as with all things, the best source for the pure, organic & untainted source for these ingredients comes from cultivating a rich, deep & surrendered relationship with the Triune God):
extract of high quality forgiveness
a robust stick of faithfulness – substituting frequency with faithfulness doesn’t work 🙂
several “ouches” of humility – ounces are too small ,)
a generous helping of humor – mostly with ourselves
a pound of patience is certainly very helpful 🙂
an infinite supply of genuine love – only available from our Heavenly Father, don’t substitute generic love as it will ruin the recipe
I’m sure I’ve missed some key ingredients, so I’d LOVE to get your input & of course, please feel free to add some spices, flavoring for sweet or savory ,)
This has been a pretty amazing trip so far with lots of different experiences & feelings. It’s been completely outrageous getting to have my family around, ministering, enjoying the culture with me & watching them fall in love with this fantastic country and people in their own unique ways. It’s interesting to watch them individually process the various experiences, challenges & opportunities. My kids were initially put off with the massive differences & now they seem pretty relaxed & almost casual about adjusting into this culture. My husband goes into his uber friendly & curious mode making all kinds of interesting observations & acquaintances.
I like to watch all of this because everyone has their own unique ways of adjusting & enjoying these experiences. They make the trip a much richer & diverse experience for me as their mom & wife.
So today, some of them have gone touring up to Siem Reap & one of my kids is staying with me to do some more work with Saving Moses. My thought on this is that while I’m COMPLETELY enjoying my family & our experiences, I also want to be engaged with I believe is disturbing to God’s heart – giving genuine love in places of indescribable horror & evil.
Needless to say, this trip is nothing less than amazing
When I was growing up, people used to observe that I was very serious. As a little kid, I was always thinking about learning, growing & being mature. I didn’t like it when restaurants would have “kiddie” menus because I thought that was condescending. Suffice it to say that I was super serious.
Now days, I’m not quite so serious & probably what I most like to laugh at is myself. I take myself far less seriously now & I think that a healthy dose of humorous humility is very constructive for lots of different reasons. I also like to laugh with my kids – one of whom just pulled out an empty Starbucks gum tin from inside his footie pjs, leading me to 2 questions: what else might he keep in his footie pjs & why does his keep the gum tin in his pjs???
So I’d encourage you to laugh today, look for ways to enjoy the diversity of people, encourage others & find a few constructive ways to take yourself less seriously 🙂