Tag Archives: change

Keep Doing You.

I love to write but I’m not the best writer.  I write because it’s therapeutic, especially when I pen a devotional because God always gives me a lesson and I’m eager to share it.  I don’t share because I’m an authority on the Word nor do I think my point of view is the only one that’s important.  I share what God’s given me hoping it will provide insight and blessing to those who take the time to read.  (Thank you, by the way, if you do!)  Almost without exception after I hit the post button, I can find many things I could have/should have rephrased.

I never, ever see perfection in anything I produce.

What I do in my life is the same way.  When I review and reminisce I always see something I could have done better and often wish I had.

Some are excellent at what they do.  When we look at their accomplishments, we see nothing but pristine excellence and find ourselves feeling like a less than.  No one has to point out our lacks or faults, we have at least perfected that art; we know every one of them by heart.

That’s what happens isn’t it?  Sometimes others are quick to point out our flaws; one critical word amongst a thousand positive accolades is the word we hold on to.  Then other times, we’re doing our thing the best we can and we take our eyes off our work and look to someone else’s to see how great theirs is then become less satisfied with what we’re doing.

Stop it.

You may not be the best dancer; dance anyway.  You may not be the best singer; sing anyway.  You may feel like you’re inferior to everyone around you but if you’re doing the best you can and doing it because you love doing it, keep doing it.  Keep being you.  The people who love you will ENcourage you not DIScourage you. Those who really love you want you to be you.  You’re a unique one of a kind gift to the world and you’re exactly where you are, doing exactly what you’re doing it the way you do it to be a blessing to those around you.

Be you today.  Do you today.  Nobody can do you, like you.

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The Place of In-Between

 

Saturday.  Friday had happened and they saw the One whom they had based everything on, left their lives for believing He was Messiah…tortured, nails drive through His hands and feet, hung on a cross and take His last breath.  So many thoughts and doubts must have raced through their confused minds.  How could the Son of God – the Promise – die?  I feel sure they watched from afar as His lifeless body was taken down.

Do you know what hopeless feels like?  To have everything you believed in…believed for die right in front of you? I imagine what the disciples, Jesus’ mother and the other followers were feeling was the epitome of that word.  I wonder if they even remembered the many conversations He had with them, telling them that exactly what had happened would and that it wasn’t what it appeared to be or felt like it was. I imagine they were so grieved and perhaps scared that they had forgotten.

Can you relate?  You just experienced a devastating blow and after what you’ve been through you may feel it’s over, that there is no point in even hoping, let alone trying to go from here.  This is where everything changes and you’re not sure if you have the courage to believe, one more time, enough to go on.  That’s the place of in between where feelings and faith collide.  On one hand, you want to trust and believe enough to take the next step, but you feel like your world as you knew it has just ended and there is really no point.

That’s the place where dreams die and bitterness and depression creep in…if we let them.  If we’re not careful, we can find the courage to walk on from that place and allow our faith to die.  Don’t let that happen.

Hang on, just a bit longer.  Remember and recite every single promise God has made to YOU.  If He is allowing you to endure devastation, it’s part of a greater destiny.  Sure, it hurts, and absolutely, you’ll be changed forever because of it – perhaps that’s grief’s intent.  We can choose to go from here and be changed for the better or be infected by bitter.

In that place of in between, God is the same as He was yesterday.  Still in control, still loving and still all-knowing.  Just like the disciples on that dark Saturday, although they were devastated they made it through it.  You will too.  “Be not afraid, only believe”.  Mark 5:36

A Dinner To Remember (John 12)

Just last week, he awoke hearing that familiar voice calling his name.   Bound by death-wrap in a cold tomb, he obeyed his Master by getting up and waiting for someone to unwrap him.  What had just happened?  I wonder what Lazarus remembered (?did he remember he died) what did he think about finding himself one minute on his deathbed and the next, standing while his loved ones unwrapped him? Can’t wait to talk to him about that experience!

Now alive, he finds himself sitting at the table with Jesus. Just a normal dinner; He had probably eaten with them many times as Lazarus is identified in the Bible as being loved by Jesus.  I must laugh.  This occasion had to be anything but normal.  Sick. Dead. Body wrapped in a tomb.  Over. The voice. Awake. Alive.  Out.  Now…sitting at a table with the One who called Him back to life.  Can you imagine?

No wonder Mary had to break out her best bottle of fragrance to anoint Jesus.  That kind of gratefulness for what Jesus had recently done for her family required a major display of gratitude.  I imagine she just had to do something to show Him what was in her heart.

Jesus has done the same for us, in a way.  We were walking dead, perhaps with no hope, little happiness, getting through this life as best we could then He came to us and changed us. Perhaps we were wrapped in the death-wrap of some addiction, chronic bad lifestyles or haunted by life-stealing horrible memories and never-ending pain when we heard ‘The Voice’, saw His face and became alive…really alive for the very first time.  If you haven’t had that experience, you can by simply calling His name to save you.  Believe me I know.  Jesus has changed everything for me, and continues to, every day of my life.

Let Jesus give you a “dinner to remember” today.

Don’t Stop

It’s mighty cold outside so morning walks with Sampson aren’t looked forward to.  Regardless, I layer up and take him out.  While moving, it’s not that bad at all but when I stop the reality of the situation becomes very clear:  it’s dangerously cold. That’s a word for us Christians! The circumstances are extreme and paralyzing.  We find ourselves stuck in reality asking questions like why, what will I do, how will I survive this. The fear consumes us and we see no way things will change. We cry and mull it over and over.  We can’t see beyond what we’re stuck in and sometimes a lot of time and energy is wasted thinking, sorting and trying to figure out what often has no explanation.

Sometimes there’s nothing reasonable to make us believe, other than God’s word and unfortunately because of our human condition, that’s not enough.  It appears there’s no reason to believe things will ever be any different than they are right now but something happens inside of us that won’t let us stop.  Before we can move, however, we must decide not to stop.  The thought of it is intimidating.  Why would we want to expose ourselves to unknown, sometimes dangerous elements? Why would we expect anything to get any better after it’s been the way it has for so long?  Nothing’s changed, there’s no real reason to believe any effort on our part will change things.  What will we do?

Walking any distance in cold weather is a risk.  The fact that it’s cold and uncomfortable, not to mention the what if’s involved (what if we fall, get sick after exposing ourselves, etc…) are reasons enough to stay in our comfortable zone, but still, the dog has to be walked so what do we do? Walk the dog!

The same is true in life. We have to do something; we have to choose to believe. We often don’t get to pick the end of a trial, a death, or when many circumstances of our lives will end.  Only God knows; only He sees the beginning, the end of a thing and every detail in between.  All we can do is trustingly walk through it seeking His direction and holding onto Him as tightly as we can.  Other than Him, there are no guarantees – no clear cut “walk this way” path.  Sometimes we have to just put one foot in front of the other, believing God has a greater purpose than we can see and go forward. If we stop the elements become harder, fear and doubt invade and we turn back to our comfortable places (however uncomfortable), often wishing we hadn’t!

Clearly, things aren’t easy and sometimes we become discouraged.  Don’t stop! Keep on walking.  Keep believing and soon, the walk will be over and we’ll be finished with the peace in knowing God’s in control and we did what we could.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4 KJV

Forgiveness

“Forgiveness does not create a relationship.  Unless people speak the truth about what they have done and change their mind and behavior, a relationship of trust is not possible.  When you forgive someone you certainly release them from judgement, but without true change, no real relationship can be established.”  Wm Paul Young, The Shack

“I’m sorry” isn’t required but it would be nice, wouldn’t it?  Somehow someone acknowledging they caused great pain is great medicine for our woundedness but a lot of times that doesn’t happen.  Someone once said “when someone lies to you or about you, they feel you’re not worthy of the truth”.  That hits home…someone who lies about you and to you doesn’t feel you’re worthy of the truth.  Why would we want them in our lives, to allow them to make us feel more unworthy of truth and love than we already do?

I’ve never been one to just go along.  I believe forgiveness IS possible without ever having to see or speak to someone again and when it’s gone on for as long as one can remember, I think it’s best, especially when there is no change in behavior “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:17.  Owning up to what we’ve done, taking responsibility, is the best thing.  Some are incapable of that.  Don’t get me wrong I don’t like admitting my atrocities… it’s unpleasant and humbling but I always feel better and KNOW it’s right when I do.

Hope is a wonderful thing.  HOPING someone will change and see what they have done then change accordingly is always in order.  Praying for them is always, always right.  Ask God for them to open their hearts and eyes to see the realness of what has been done and ask Him to give them the desire to change and the courage to act upon that desire.

Until then, it’s okay if you don’t get back in with them.  We need to just be sure we’re “clean” – we must deal with our anger, hurt and disappointment in a godly way and the only way to do that is to take it to Him until it’s gone which sometimes takes a very long time.  I’ve found I don’t feel anything but pity for those who hurt me because they’re blinded by their version of self-justification and the lies they’ve come to believe.  We don’t have to be that way.  “It is what it is”, is one of my favorite sayings and that means to me, ONLY God can change it, I have to accept it and what I DO WITH IT is paramount.

We can allow that hurt to fester in many ways and change us, or we can truly desire to heal from it, forgive and get on with our lives.

We can choose forgiveness.  We can choose to let it go and go on and be better because of it and thankful we survived it.  Some didn’t.

I choose forgiveness; I pray you do too.

“Then Peter came and said to Him, Lord how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?  Up to seven times?  Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  Matthew 18:21-22