Shake It Up Baby, Twist & Shout!

Just when we think we have everything planned & locked into place, God will often shake it up baby, causing us to twist & shout, sometimes in glee & sometimes with pout. It seems to me that human planning is the place God starts for divine upheaval. This makes me really appreciate when Isaiah says in 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.”
Let’s be mindful to keep a tighter grip on God more than our plans 🙂

hot topic: laughter

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

the shortest distance

We’ve all heard the geometry postulate that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  With this premise, it’s logical to think about the things that we want & make a direct beeline toward these desires.  For example, if I want to serve a salad for dinner, I need lettuce, so I go to the grocery store to get the lettuce so I can make the salad.  Done.

It seems to me that having a close walk with God is an interesting adventure that doesn’t always seem to follow the same “straight line” thinking.  It seems to me that  being close to God is a daily journey that takes some unexpected twists and turns.  Growing close to God isn’t always a straight line journey – so let’s be open to how God leads us to be closer & closer to God day by day.

surprise, surprise!

My dad hated surprises – particularly bad surprises, but he wasn’t too keen on good ones either. I learned very quickly that I needed to give him lots of forewarning to avoid the “surprise fallout.”  I also learned from his reactions that not everyone thinks that surprises are fun.  Indeed, some people completely hate surprises, which can be kind of tricky to navigate when raising children (who are FULL of surpises).  So here are some helpful thoughts about surprises:

  • no “surprise” catches God off-guard, since God is all-knowing
  • since God is all-knowing, we get to trust that God’s plans are always better than anything we could consider
  • it seems to me that staying calm is a good way to navigate surprises for the best outcomes
  • despite our best efforts, there is always the unexpected in our lives so it’s better to be flexible than resistant 🙂
  • it always helps me to remember that God is sovereign & nothing makes God jittery!

Don’t forget to stay in touch with Saving Moses over the next month for some GREAT SURPRISES!!!

my dad & change

I was eating a really tasty homegrown tomato this morning & it reminded me of my dad, who totally loved tomatoes!  One year, I remember he planted more than 100 tomato plants, hoping for a bumper crop!!  Some things never changed with my dad:  strong coffee with cream & sugar, loving people, finding a priceless treasure for cheap, homegrown tomatoes & lots more.  As my dad aged, he seemed to appreciate change less and less.  That’s the tricky part – life is all about change:  our bodies change, the government changes, we have to change cars, sometimes our clothes stop fitting & LOTS more!

But here are some things that NEVER, EVER, EVER change:

  • God’s love for you never increases or decreases – it’s continual & consistent
  • time – it doesn’t stop nor slow down no matter how our perceptions change
  • the need that humanity has for God – humans always need genuine love, full stop

That’s different

When I find something I like, I tend to keep going back for more of the same & my weakness can be that I don’t try new things. But from having lots of different travel experiences, I’m forced to try new things & more often than not, I LOVE it, as long as I don’t self-sabotage by comparing the new thing to what I’ve known or expected. I find this to be true with God as well – there are many times when I want God to something like the past or I had these expectations & then God does something different. And here’s the way cool part of that – God always does WAY BETTER than what I think of expect, but I just need to be open to different. Lets remember that God’s ways & thoughts are higher than our ways & thoughts 🙂

fight or flex

The last few days have had some interesting experiences for me, some of which have been totally amazing and others which have been abyssmal.  Adding to this adventure, I thought I was supposed to fly to Houston for the day to do some work with Saving Moses.  When I arrived at the airport this morning at 5:45a, I discovered that I was a week early (my flight is next week).  Needless to say, my husband was surprised to see me again before 7am 🙂

All of this is to say that it seems to me that it takes less energy to be flexible than to resist change.  While I may not be liking everything that’s happening in my world in this season, I can totally rest in knowing that God is in control and I can trust God to create beyond AMAZING results as I continue to love God and stay true to the divine purposes for which I’m created – Rom 8:28-29.  So I’m chosing to be flexible 🙂

New Seasons

This Summer has been a really wonderful time with my family & enjoying some fun activities & great relationships. Its been interesting trying to balance & juggle the various schedules, events & priorities – sometimes more successfully than others. Nevertheless, it seems to me that life has different seasons & these seasons help us with our flexibility & working through changes. What I think is super important to keep in the various seasons through which we go are some hints that never change:
*God always loves you because God is love
*you won’t be proficient in everything in your life – that’s God’s job & not ours ,)
*change is more constant in our lives than non-change
*we always need God in our lives 🙂

balancing important priorities

  I get asked the question alot about balancing family, travel, ministry, church, work, etc. and I think its a GREAT question that I also frequently ask.  I’m comfortable to share my thoughts on the balance topic, with the foundational understanding that I don’t see myself in any way as an expert on the subject, nor would I even pretend to be all-knowing on this really important question.  With that being said, here are some of my thoughts:

  • for me, balance is often a moment by moment & decision by decision activity
  • being flexible is essential for balance
  • focusing on what is most essential helps me to keep my balance
  • balance sometimes means that I have to re-shuffle schedules, plans & activities (with this re-shuffling, its important not to get cranky about a change of plans)
  • for me, margin is essential for balance – when I fill time & energy to the maximum, I find it hard to concentrate & make good choices
  • balance requires wisdom – a gift that God gives to us when we ask Him with faith

Balance – a very good goal that requires agility, wisdom & nimble choices 🙂

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.