Tag Archives: faith

He Gets It

9 Apr

Do you ever feel like no one understands what you are going through?  I do!  Like your friends or even your family just don’t get it?  Me, again!

The other morning heading to work I was feeling a little weary, a little hurt, a little angry a little a lot of things, I guess.  I was thinking about someone who I am frustrated with.  I guess I felt let down by this individual and I felt justified in my feelings.  The fact that this individual had not met what I feel are reasonable expectations left me feeling, hurt and a bit rejected during an already difficult period.  I was struggling in that moment to let it go, to forgive, especially absent an apology or acknowledgment of any wrong doing, which I wasn’t holding my breath for.

When I am feeling this way, whatever the circumstances may be, it is my desire to be understood, for my feelings to be heard, for someone to get it!  You know, acknowledge the issue and the fact that my feelings are understandable?!  However, as with many things in life, I often don’t get my way.  Sometimes, the situation isn’t appropriate to share with another so that I can feel validated.  Sometimes, the other person because of their own issues isn’t willing or capable to have the conversation that needs to be had. Sometimes, we don’t get what we want.

In that moment, driving down I-5, feeling un-understood, my mind focused on someone who does understand me and I was reminded of this truth, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”  – Hebrews 4:15.

When you don’t get the apology you deserve.  When you need help and no one is around. When you feel alone.  When there is conflict.  When people have more important priorities.  When no one wants to listen.  When people say false things about you.  When people hurt you.  When a friend turns their back on you.  When you struggle.  When life is hard.  When you are in pain.  When you are overwhelmed.  When you have been let down.  When you don’t seem to fit in.  When you are tempted.  When you are tired. When no one else gets it.  God gets it!  He knows how it feels, He felt it.

He gets it and you know what His response was and is?  To love anyway. To humble himself anyway.  To forgive anyway.  To lay down His life anyway.

His example challenges me.  I am so far most days from responding the way He does.  It is my desire to grow in the grace He lavishes on me.  I want grace, but how freely am I giving it away to others?

His example convicts me.  How can I withhold from others, what I so desperately need from Him?

His example comforts me.  It is certainly a wonderful feeling to be understood by our friends and family and I am thankful when that is a reality.  But when it’s not, I serve a God who understands me.  He understands my ways, my feelings and He loves me as I am.

So thankful for a God, who gets it!  He gets you too!

 

 

Turtle Like Tendencies

7 Jan

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the old adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  I get the heart of this message and agree with it, truly this world does not need another voice joining the chorus of negativity, whining, complaining or insult throwing.  Beyond that, I try to be a person that if I am speaking I am hoping it is to add to the equation and not subtract. 

A couple of months of dealing with serious family health struggles left me physically and emotionally tired, dealing with my own feelings of shame for failing at making desired progress in my life, for not being able to do everything well, add in my own physical crisis and all the issues that can make one consider left me in a place that I’d been before, back in my shell.  It’s dark and lonely there and deceptively “safe”.

What happens when life overwhelms and you’re trying to survive and feel a bit like an empty shell hoping that if you keep hanging on, the winds will shift and you’ll be able to sail again?  I can tell you what happens to me.  I don’t want to but I will.  I follow my inclination to become turtle like, I tuck inside my shell.  Radio silence. 

I mean, what is there to say?  What do I have to offer at this juncture?  Nothing you probably want.  So I go with my propensity for solitary confinement.  There’s nothing cute to talk about and I’m out of wise tips and quips so I’m quiet.  No need to meet up for coffee, I’m not good company these days.  I even stop writing so I don’t have to deal with my own internal conversations.  It’s rough when you annoy yourself!

Maybe, I’m the only one that follows this custom, but I kinda doubt it.  It seems there is likely to be a few who will read this and admit at least to themselves that they go with the train of thought that “I’ll get through this on my own”, “No one’s knocking down my door anyway”, “If they really knew what was going on with me, I’d be even more alone”, “I don’t want to be a pain or a drain”….on and on, it’s easy to believe lies when you’ve pushed anyone away who could speak truth.

My shell-like tendencies that I have often struggled with have not served me or others well.  They ensure that I stay in the pain and shame.  They cut me off from life and whisper the same old sad song. 

I want to be the kind of person who can listen to others when it’s not convenient or fun.  I want to be a person who talks with Jesus even when I don’t feel like He is answering because I hold tightly to the truth that He is for me even when my faith is faltering.  I want to be vulnerable enough to say something when it’s not cute or clever.  I want to be humble enough to admit my need and accept help.  I want to be brave enough to speak, even if it makes me feel weak and needy, because truth be told I am.  Truth is we all are. 

I’m peeking out from the shell and don’t want to retreat any longer.  If I cling to my turtle like tendencies I am fighting against the very way God intended me to operate.  He created you and I to share life, to do life together.  Sorry, but I need you and you need me!  I have recently placed some on purpose accountability in my life in different areas.  I have asked people to check in with me and check up on me.  To knock on the shell and drag me out if necessary. 

I pray that anyone reading this who may also struggle with turtle like tendencies will also choose to stick their neck out and invite others to walk this journey with them.  I’ll admit it, it’s a little scary coming out from under that shell but what is scarier is not living the lives we were meant to live because we are too busy hunkered down trying to survive. 

Be encouraged my friend!

Do You REALLY Want To Be Well?

28 Jul

True Story – Sick for 38 years, laying by a pool every single day, waiting for healing and he is asked the question, “Do you want to be well?” (see John 5:1-9)  Duh!  The answer seems obvious to me and the question slightly insulting.  Of course, the poor man wants to be well!  He’s laying by the pool again, waiting to be well.

Next, Jesus says to this man, get up, take up your mat and start walking.  What?!  If he could’ve done that, why would he have spent the last 38 years laying by the pool?  Cause, it wasn’t to get a sun tan!  However, as I ponder this story, I am struck, like right upside the head struck, with how much I have in common with this man and with the fact that I feel God Himself has asked me this same question.

Now, the majority of those who are reading this are probably not a paralytic, but the question may very likely still apply.

  • Are you stuck?
  • Sick and tired of being sick and tired?
  • Do you need a circumstance to change?
  • Do you need to change?

I think we probably have anywhere from one to many things in mind as we ask ourselves these questions.  I know for myself, for years (told you I could identify with this man), I would long for change, I would cry for it, I would pray for it, I would scream about it, I would devise plans.  The problem is, I wanted change my way and I can tell you that my way involved as little pain and effort on my part as possible!

  • How about this thought?  Could it be possible that I became so comfortable in my circumstances that although I said with my mouth I wanted change, the change itself scared me to near death?
  • Or what about this?  I wanted life to change if it was convenient but not if it was gonna be uncomfortable or hard.  No effort required on my part, God.  And, I waited for Him to get on board with my plan.
  • Maybe, the parts of my life I hated the most had become so closely attached to me that my very identity was wrapped up in everything I despised about myself and my life?

WOW!!  The question doesn’t seem so strange now.  A matter of fact it seems pretty right on!  You see, Jesus Himself was getting to the heart of the matter, something He specializes in, time and time again.  I see Him, getting down to the nitty-gritty,

You say you want to be well, but being well, is according to my plan and my ways not yours.  So, I’m checking in with you here…do you REALLY want to be well?  Cause, guess what?  It just may require your active participation.

In the case of this paralytic man, it required a physical action, he was required to GET UP, PICK UP & WALK.  I can tell you that the changes in my life over the past year, have required my action.  That doesn’t mean I have accomplished these things on my own, but it does mean that my ways and my plans had to be released and I had to say, “O.K. God, I’m willing to do things your way.  What’s the plan?”

He has required and continues to require that I be an active participant in my healing.  He has and continues to require that I take steps that challenge my understanding and are beyond my own capabilities.

Are you going to continue to lie on your mat waiting or do you REALLY want to be well? The answer may not come in the way you want or in the time you would choose, but I can tell you from experience that walking while your waiting is a much better life than lying around waiting for impending doom.

It’s true, lying out by the pool day after day, year after year, may be safe and certainly predictable, status quo usually is.  But, if you really, I mean REALLY want to be well, status quo won’t do.  Your comfort and safety will have to be discarded and exchanged for the infinite possibilities that faith in action holds for someone who really wants to be well.  Scary, Yes!  Hard, Yes! Worth It, YES!!!

“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela

Home For Christmas

14 Dec

I woke up this morning and turned on the news to hear of the senseless and tragic event of the school shooting in Connecticut where conservatively more than 20 precious lives were taken.  While I listen, I think of how scared the children and school staff must have been, the terror that many experienced.  I think of the absolute frantic fear and helplessness that the parents of these little ones were surely feeling.  I think of the chaos of the first responders scrambling to assist and wondering what they will face.  I think of the evil, the devastation, the selfishness, the pain that would cause someone to commit such atrocities.  As I think on these things, my heart feels heavy, life feels a bit overwhelming and ultimately I feel a longing in my heart for Home.

Not home meaning the roof and walls that I sleep under, but Heaven my eternal home.  The pain of this world, causes me to yearn for a day when there will be no more sorrow, where loved ones won’t leave us to soon, where sickness and heartache are no more, where evil is obliterated and love wins!

In just a little over a week we will gather together with loved ones to celebrate Christmas and all the birth of our Savior means.  As we do, let  us be mindful of the greatest gift that has ever be given, the fact that God loved us so much that He made a way and sent His one and only son, born on that Christmas night long ago, so that even though we must endure the pain and trials of this world, if we believe in Him then our time here now, sweet as it may be some days and as painful as it may be to endure on others, we’re just passing through.

Jesus did not promise that we would not have troubles in this life, a matter of fact, it’s a guarantee we will.  He did however promise that He has overcome the trials in this life.  In the end He wins and so do we if we believe in Him and in the meantime while we are here in our temporary home, He is with us.  He is Emmanuel – God With Us.  He is Emmanuel, the God who is with those suffering from the tragedy today and He is Emmanuel, with You.

Some of these precious little ones will be Home for Christmas this year and there will be hearts aching here on earth, but there’s more to the story and this life isn’t where it ends if you believe, someday we’ll all be home for Christmas.  What a celebration that will be!!

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33

Temporary Home

Is Your Maturity Showing?

2 Sep

I’m sure you have all seen a little one, throwing a major fit, maybe some of you parents have wee ones who are testing you with these episodes currently.  I’m talking all out whining, crying, kicking and screaming, maybe thrashing around on the floor a bit for maximum effect. Cute, isn’t it? Not!

Or how about the child whose motto is, “never let them see you sweat”.  No matter, what the parent may say or do they are the immovable rock.   I think we call this one, “the strong-willed child”.   I don’t care if you ground me, spank me, take my very life away, I shall not be moved! Fun, huh?  Not so much.

Speaking of immovable rock, I have referred to my sister by this term of affection on occasion 🙂  When we were kids, my Mom took my brother, sister and I to the Health Department to get our vaccinations for school.  My sister, was not very excited about this prospect.  In an effort to alleviate her fears, my mom thought it would be best that my brother and I take our turns first so she could see it would be just fine, however, this did nothing to sway her and by the time it was her turn for the needle, her arms and legs were securely wrapped around a pole in the middle of the Dr’s Office.  She was not screaming, or crying, she was simply NOT going to move!  Then, there was the unfortunate biting of the poor nurse when she attempted to pry my sister’s arms loose, while my mom worked on the legs, YIKES!  But, the girl was not going to negotiate or budge and if memory serves me correctly, I believe, we walked out of there that day and only two of us received vaccinations 🙂

You mature ones reading this, have not demonstrated this type of behavior since your toddler years, but for me (and maybe a few others out there?), these toddler like characteristics are something I’ve demonstrated many times since those early years.  I have pondered this attitude that rears its ugly head from time to time, especially as it pertains to my relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I have demonstrated this toddler ‘tude with Him on many occasions, sometimes for sustained periods of time!

Like a loving Father, He is patient but firm, gentle but unbending.  You see as a parent who loves their child, there are certain boundaries that are necessary for the benefit of the child, certain rules that must be followed and there is no getting around them.  Not even if you scream, cry, pout, kick or attempt to ice Him out.  He loves us too much to let us have our own way!

As a child we sometimes think we know what’s best for us.  My bedtime on a school nite should be midnight, my diet should be made up of junk food, I can hang out with anyone I want to…and we fail to appreciate the wisdom our parents possess and the boundaries they lay down for our own benefit.

As a Child of God, we may have plans for our own lives, how we think things should go and just exactly how we should get there, but God says, “Wait just a minute little one, actually, you need to go this way.”  OR “We are not going anywhere, until you do what I told you to do”,  “I’m sorry you’re hurting, but trust me I have big plans for you that are for your good”.

I’m thinking I may suffer from some of those “strong-willed child” tendencies, because it has taken me literally years of life to finally come to the conclusion that what God says, He means and none of my fit throwing, regardless of what form it may display itself is going to change the mind of My Heavenly Father, who knows FAR BEYOND what I do and who loves me more than this mind can comprehend!

I can tell you that after your done screaming so hard that your gasping for air, when your eyes are so cried out that it feels there are no tears left, when you’ve shut down your emotional engines and closed yourself off to show Him, just how upset you really are…well after all that, I can tell you, it feels mighty good, to say, “Ok, let’s try it Your way”.  Maybe next time, I can get there with a little less fit throwing, I might just be maturing after all 🙂

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.  Don’t assume that you know it all.  Run to God! Run from evil!  Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!  Honor God with everything you own; give him the first and the best.  Your barns will burst, your wine vats will brim over.  But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline; don’t sulk under his loving correction.  It’s the child he loves that God corrects; a father’s delight is behind all this”. – Proverbs 3:5-12 (The Message)