It’ll Change Your Life

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Be better. Do better. Don’t get angry. Don’t be stressed. Do you meditate? There’s an app. It’ll change your life. Here, read this book. I think it can help you. Have you tried eating sardines with bone broth for breakfast? Eat 6 cups of organic kale each day to ward off carcinogens. This supplement costs $50 per day, but it will change your life! Make sure you teach your kids how to tie their shoes before they’re 2 or their little psyches will be forever scarred. Have you read the article, “How to Grill a Better Hot Dog”? It’ll change your life! 

I’m out. I need everyone to know that I. Am. Out. I’m taking myself out of the busy-ness and spending more time reading my favorite book and breathing. Loving God and loving others is enough. I am already enough and you are already enough. God loves us right where we are. And I am in a season of transition. I’m trying to be the best mom and wife I can be while dealing with chronic symptoms. Good thing I’m a chronic Christian. I try. I strive. But you know what my fave reading material says? Psalm 46:10 Cease striving and know that I am God. Whaaaaaaaa? I don’t even hafta try to be amazing. God already is and I’m created in His image. Hot diggity dog! 

I don’t need to google everything on this planet. It’s truly stressing me out. Does anyone else feel like they have too much knowledge? I didn’t know there was such a thing until it happened. I felt my brain expand to a point of no return this morning. Nope, nope, nope. No more. I think it was the grilled hot dog article on Pinterest. Who needs to know this? And why? Do I need a perfectly carmelized hot dog? Ok, admittedly, it sounds pretty good. But am I gonna buy the gadget they’re trying to sell me? Nope, nope, nope. (Did you just google that?) 

I need quiet for my brain. For my body. For my entire well-being. And I’d be willing to bet that you do too. How do we get there? I believe we can by turning off the noise, whether it’s coming from our TV or cellphone. (Kids don’t come with an off switch. I’ve looked everywhere.) Fasting from noise. God said be still. Jesus went up on a hill. Maybe this way we won’t need a pill. (I was on a roll. We like wordplay in this house.) Are you taking care of yourself? Or are you letting anything and everything rush into your brain? Images, words, thoughts, and ideas don’t simply fly past our heads. All of these are stored in our memories. It is for this reason, I think that I’ve reached overload. I can and will choose what I allow into my brain and system. I’m making a conscious effort to slow down, both my body and my brain, because quite honestly, it can’t keep up at this pace. For the next 5 minutes, I’m going to sit and focus on the wonder of God-given breath streaming into and flowing out of my very own nostrils. Right after I pee. 

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Hungry Lions

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I know everyone’s probably still reflecting on the stone that covered the tomb, but I have opened my Bible to “Daniel in the Den of Lions” for the past 2 days. I found myself reading about the stone that was brought to place over the opening of the den after Daniel was thrown in with the lions. My NIV Bible says they placed it there “so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.” If ever there was a situation I’d like changed, it would be if I were hangin’ out in close proximity to some hungry lions.  

Let’s think about it because this is one of those stories I hadn’t paid much attention to since Sunday school days. Anything resembling food catapulted near some large cats would soon be non-existent, right? I’ve seen those kitties chase down some pretty quick creatures on TV. If indeed, that meal was set before them on the proverbial “silver platter,” what would keep them from chowing down? Their instincts would take over. If an animal is hungry, it’s not like my 4 year-old who has to have a certain shape of gluten-free mac and cheese, it’s not going to be picky. Daniel should have been rare, dead meat. It wasn’t a “what” but a “Who” that kept them from dining in. Daniel had a real relationship with the Almighty. 

People face “situations” all the time: death, depression, anxiety, sickness, past trauma, stress, the list goes on and on. Why aren’t they instantly rescued? Why do they have to endure so much? I’ve found myself in a place where I get aggravated, to the tune of: “If You can, WHY don’t You?” Many of you, I’m sure, are uncomfy speaking to the Creator of the universe in this manner and I get that, but me and God, we’ve been through some stuff. He’s the One that’s been there no matter what and I can’t say that about too many. Even a close family member physically can’t be there every single time you need them to be. So why isn’t God plucking people out of these precarious tragedies and showing the world how awesome He is? 

In my ponderings, I go back to Daniel 6:10 that says once ol’ boy learns that there’s been a new rule made, he goes home to do what he always does 3 times every single day: gets down on his knees and prays and thanks God. Are we doing anything like this? I saw a meme the other day that said complaining about God not speaking to you with your Bible closed is like complaining you’re not getting any texts when your phone is turned off. This hit me as absurd—who’s turning their phone off?? Could this be the problem? Have the cat videos, as cute as they may be, taken up valuable space in our lives? Do we really need more gardening quick tips or can we just go out and plant the garden? Do we require more recipes on variations for “Crack Chicken”? Silly, I know, but I dare you to keep track of how much time you spend looking at your phone. I’d be willing to bet it’s more than 3 times a day. 

Can we do more to build up our faith and put our trust in Him and His perfect plan? Daniel’s situation did in fact change drastically…despite the big bad rock. And yours can too. Believe it. 

 

Doubt-Filled Shoe

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There’s a line in a song, Do It Again by Elevation Worship, that I simply can’t let go: “I’m still in Your hands, this is my confidence, You’ve never failed me yet.” Now, let me start off by saying that I adore this song. I truly want God to “do it again” when it comes to my healing. When I read about Lazaurus or the woman with the blood issue, I think “God, where’s my miracle? Do it for me too! Do it again!” And I believe that He will. There’s a super-good reason He hasn’t done it completely. And even if He doesn’t heal me, for whatever reason, I’ll be ok with that. (It took me YEARS to get to this point in my thinking.) So even though I love this song, there’s a sticking point for me. It’s in the 3-letter word: “yet.” 

“Yet” is defined in the MacMillan dictionary as being “Used in something that has not happened or is not true at a particular time but will probably happen.” (Emphasis added by me.) Isn’t that just like us? God has NEVER failed us, but we, being the faith-filled believers we are, need to leave that space there…juuuuuuuuust in case. Like we’re waiting for the other doubt-filled shoe to drop. It’s been a few years, you know, of God being God and never once has He ever failed anyone, no matter the situation. BUT we have this “confidence” that seems a little twisted to me. We have confidence that He’s never failed any of us…yet? 

There’s power in our words (Proverbs 18:21: The tongue has the power of life and death) and some can say, “Oh you’re overthinking this” which guaranteed I am. It’s what I do. And then I write about it. 

There have been many times in my life when I’ve thought (and prayed) “God! If you can, then why aren’t you??” If you can heal me, why am I dealing with this pain? If you can save that guy, why is he going through all this mess? If you can calm the storm, why is it still raging? I don’t have a problem telling you this because I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking. And I know there’s a reason, but I don’t know it. And that’s another issue I have, WHY in the world can’t I know the reason, God?? (I’m chuckling as I type this, picturing Him shaking His head, amused. He gets me.) 

I don’t think adding “yet” to the statement that He’s never failed us screams confidence of any sort. It’s amazing how much doubt a 3-letter word can hold. It speaks to our level of faith. We have to leave that door open, just in case. What if we’re wrong? What if we’re wrong about all of it? What if THIS is the time that God is going to fail us? We certainly can’t tell we’re trusting in Him by the words that come out of our mouths at times. If we truly believed that God has never and will not ever fail us, would we speak differently? Act differently? Go about our days and life goals differently? Of course! Where is our faith? He’s never failed me. He’s never failed us. 

It Isn’t Well

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What if it isn’t well with my soul, God? What if everything in my world just got shaken to the point of never being the same? I’ve never known shock or loss or heartache such as this.  

I know my world shaking doesn’t throw you off your throne, but I think that brings about more questions than answers for me at this point. You are on the throne, right? Why aren’t you stopping these things from happening? I know you can make all the bad turn into good and work out for the best, but why bother doing that? Why not work good for good without the mess?  

Hearts are shattered. Rivers of tears flowing. Your people are hurting and I’d love with all my heart to be the one saying “It is well” but I can’t. It hurts too bad for that right now. God, I know you’re good. I know you weep with us. But why would you if you don’t have to? I know you have a plan, but why would that plan involve removing the pillars of the foundation for your kingdom? We need you now. You gave your life so that we could have ours. It’s a very sad one right now. I know we don’t have to understand everything. Maybe we wouldn’t feel better knowing all the why’s, but it sure feels like that would soothe the pain somehow.  

We continue to look to you Father for comfort when we need it most. The enemy is doing exactly as you said he would: stealing, killing, and destroying. And you are doing exactly what you said you would: comforting, providing, healing, and bringing peace. God, I’m empty and numb. I need you to fill me up with everything you’ve ever promised. You’ve never let me down and I know you won’t start now. I hope you will lead me to the place where I’m able to say “It is well.” 

Craving Life

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Today I find myself craving more. I need more than what I’m able to do. I need to experience more than what I’m able to accomplish. I need more. There has to be more than simply staring at this miniature computer in my hands. I feel like I’m missing something. TV no longer has any appeal. I don’t want to see dead bodies, crimes, or step into the twisted minds of those committing the crimes, individuals making really bad choices and living below the abundant life, or people winning money for answering dumb questions there should be no use in knowing. I don’t want to sound superior, I’m just sharing my heart. I need more than what TV or my phone has to offer.  

I don’t want my kids growing up thinking TV is god or never seeing my face without a device in front of it. I don’t want them thinking that I find googling random things or socializing with strangers more entertaining than they are. I want more for them too. I don’t want them thinking that the internet is the be-all/end-all for life. Isn’t it strange how unfulfilling it is even though we’re full of information? I don’t need more worldly knowledge, I need more life in my life.  

Proverbs 3:13 says “Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding…” I feel like I have understanding in some areas, but not in the ones I truly desire to have it. What’s the point in comprehension of things that don’t matter to me? Or to God? I wanna “get” what God says. I know that makes me different, but maybe not so different from you. The only way I can come up with to do that is to study, actually study, what the Creator of the universe says. Then listen when He wants to say something to me. (I’ve heard the world try to tell people this means you’re crazy. If so, put me down as a nutcase. God talks to me. Get over it.)  

I’m making it a point, especially this week, to take the time to listen for the wisdom God wants me to know. There is a fulfillment that can only come from what He has to offer and I’m waiting patiently and expectantly for it.  

Winning Against Myself

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See, the thing is, (I’ve always wanted to start a post like we were in the middle of a conversation) that I don’t feel like doing things. Ever. I love going to church, but I never feel like going to church. I never feel like going to the grocery store or to the park with my kids or outside to hit a ball around. I can remember two moments in the past decade when I thought, “This is fantastic. All is well. I couldn’t possibly feel better. How exciting!” I think this may be the definition of an autoimmune illness. 

I’ve recently spoken to some people who have no idea what this feels like…to never feel like doing things. One of the women, in her 80’s, said she’d never been sick a day in her life until her first bout with pneumonia. Another man said “My wife and I have always had good health” and they’d been married for 60-some years. Jealousy is an ugly emotion, but I gotta admit, I’m jealous. I want so badly to feel like doing things. I can’t imagine not having to fight myself every single day to accomplish what needs to be accomplished. After all, I still have a job. I have 2 unbelievably talented kids who deserve the best mom ever. And I have a husband who deserves to be loved forever. And the truth behind all of this is: I hurt. I ache. I pop. I cry. I never feel good. And I don’t write these things for pity (Eeyore voice: “I doubt I’d get it annnnnywaaaaay.” Ha! I cracked myself up on that one.) I’m just offering perspective. I hold onto those 2 moments in my head of times past when I felt good over the past 10 years. I remember those like it was yesterday. I had no pain anywhere. I wasn’t dizzy and I smiled an unbelievably real smile. If I thought for even a second those moments wouldn’t return and were gone forever, I’d stay in bed all day every day. 

When I did the Physique and Fitness competition, that was me, fighting against my biggest enemy as well as myself. It wasn’t to show off a super-fit body onstage in front of an audience, although that’s exactly what I did. It was to prove that I win. I’m only in competition with myself and I win every time. I didn’t care what the other girls looked like and I wasn’t even upset when I didn’t win (ok, a little upset…I worked HARD!) It was an accomplishment showing what one can do if one blocks out the other voices, the voices that say “You can’t, you won’t, you are only human, this hurts, this aches, this is too hard!”  

When you have to fight yourself as hard as someone with autoimmune issues does, you realize how strong you are. It’s one of the biggest ironies in my life that the only one tough enough to take me out is me! (Thank you to my husband for reminding me of this.) I know God has a plan in all of this, because I haven’t come this far for this to be how far I’ve come. Eleanor Roosevelt said “With the new day comes new strength.” I refuse to give up even when I feel like it. And I won’t back down. I don’t know how. 

Christian Chickens

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In Luke 7:33-35 (NLT) Jesus says “For John the Baptist didn’t spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.” 

Do you ever feel like you just can’t win? It struck me today (not literally…although it kind of felt that way) that Jesus didn’t live ashamed. I know this may seem remedial to some of you, but don’t you feel as a Christian sometimes we keep our wisdom-filled mouths shut when we shouldn’t and our judgy hearts scream out judgment when they shouldn’t? I feel like Jesus is saying, “Look, it doesn’t matter what I do here, you’re simply not going to accept me. You either will or you won’t. And if you don’t, that’s your choice. I’m surely not going to force you.” It’s just not His style. And boy, does He ever have style… 

Do you ever feel like you have to shrink yourself down when around people who don’t believe the way you do? Or that you’re not educated enough to speak on such subjects? Or that you are a peacemaker and not a confrontational person, so that is the reason you don’t address controversial topics? After all, Jesus came to bring peace on earth right? (Matthew 10:34) Didn’t He? Nope. Does love always present as peaceful? I don’t think so. This makes me a little tense because I like happy, non-arguing people. 

But, are we going to “love” people right down into their forever graves? God says we are never alone, but that we have so little faith. Is it possible we can be truthful and upfront about our beliefs without being judgy? Can we do it and keep everyone happy and peaceful? Do we need to worry about that or can we let God do what He does best?