Shrinking

shrinking

He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 NIV

There have been times when I have held back. I was slow to act.  I did not listen in faithful obedience.  I was overwhelmed by what I didn’t know. Fear and doubt crept in.  Turns out I had to come to the end of myself.  I had to come to the place where I wanted something different so badly that I was willing to let go of everything.  So…..

It wasn’t so bad!  Worries that I had held onto became very insignificant.  Fear became irrelevant.  Trust grew. Faith grew.  It’s still growing.  I’ve had enough of a taste of it now that I just don’t want to go backward.  Joy is a frequent delight.  Passion.  Compassion.  I have a thankful heart.  My heart has become more pliable and workable to do some new things.  Pride is significantly diminished.   I have found that I can love so much better!  It’s not a selfish love.  I’m willing to let go and love more completely.  It’s pretty wonderful.

In order to get there, I had to shrink and make room for God.  In that shrinking, God has helped me not only love others better, but myself too.  I have a new appreciation of how He made me.  It allows Him to position me to use my gifts and talents in a new way.

If you sign up for the shrinking process, it’s an adventure!!  But I can tell you with all my heart, it’s worth every step you take while holding God’s hand!

Father, help me to shrink to make more room for You in me.

Luke 1:79, John 3:21. Galatians 5:22-26

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We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

we dont know what we dont know

“Do not let those gloat over me who are my enemies without cause; do not let those who hate me without reason maliciously wink the eye.” Psalm 35:19 NIV

Have you ever been bullied? Did you have a sense that those around you were a bit treacherous? I think our natural instinct is to become fearful and defensive in those situations.

When I was in middle school, there was a girl in my gym class that bullied me.  She began picking on me in private and then it became more public.  It was mostly verbal with an occasional push or shove. I could hear her talking about me loudly to others as I would walk by.

I made up my mind to be consistently nice…not just to her but to everyone.  I smiled every day.  I greeted everyone I came across every day.  I went out of my way in the hallways when I passed others to wave and smile when we made eye contact.

After months of this, she finally stopped me.  She confessed that she had thought I was fake and too sweet.  All the time she had watched me she saw what I had hoped for: that no matter how she or anyone else behaved I would treat them with kindness and respect.  I simply wanted to be a ray of light.

We became friends.  We didn’t hang out after school, but at school we became team mates on the high school volley ball team and we could count on each other.

What I didn’t know is that she had a very abusive home life.  One evening after school she went home and placed a gun in her mouth and shot herself on the family living room couch.  I had no idea what she had been battling at home.  She kept that private.

When I read today’s scripture in Psalms, it reminds me to lift these kinds of behaviors up to God.  My mission here is to be a light.  God knows and sees everything that every person is dealing with.  Sometimes just being a light is enough to turn their day around.  It makes me think of Jesus.

Father, help me to be more like Jesus every day. Teach me when to speak and when to be quiet.  Always let me be a reflection of Your love light.

Matthew 14:25-32, Acts 23:9-23, Philippians 4:9

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Hard Questions

hard questions

12 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NASB

When hard things happen sometimes they produce hard questions. Questions that we have of others. Questions that we have of ourselves.  And questions that we have of God. Hard questions have to be asked. They have to be asked in order to grow.  We have to summon the courage to face the things we don’t understand or even just don’t like.  Sometimes we go through seasons of change that are painful.  Sometimes they are longer than we would like.  They test our faith.  They test our courage and our endurance. They test our patience. Our love.

We may throw in the towel.  We may fall down.  Sometimes we have to start all over again.  And that is the beauty of it.  We can.  The price has already been paid by Jesus. He gave us the do over.  As many times as we need, He still stands there with open arms.

Through it all we have the opportunity to learn and grow.  We have the opportunity to ask for what we need and trust that it will be given.  Sometimes not in the way we think but in a new and different way.

Father, thank you for always being there with as many do overs as it takes. I pray I always get up and come running back to You.

1 Kings 10:1; James 1:5; 1 Kings 3:9-10; Proverbs 2:3-6, 27:17; Ecclesiastes 7:10, 10:10

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Mighty Warrior

mighty warrior

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

Growing up I read a lot of fairy tales and Greek and Roman mythology as well as the Bible. Generally there was always a hero and a villain.  I always pictured my hero as gallant and strong with a white horse and a sword.  He represented what was right and true.  It was a war against good and evil.

God assures us that He does not have to rush in to save us from some distant land.  He is always present.  He is able to save us completely, nothing remains broken or incomplete.  We are made whole through Him. He is not only our Mighty Warrior, but He delights in us placing our hope in Him. He gets excited when we count on Him instead of relying on ourselves.

Father, help me break that old habit of self-sufficiency. Help me to remember that You are my ever-present Mighty Warrior who is anxious to save me from my present trouble.  Father teach me to stay tucked into You to rest in Your love, peace and joy.

Zephaniah 3:5, 15; Psalm 147:11, 149:4; John 15:11

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Able To Leap Tall Buildings

able to leap tall buildings

25 “With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; 26 With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd. 27 For You will save the humble people, but will bring down haughty looks.28 For You will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.29 For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall.” Psalm 18:25-29 NKJV

There have been occasions when I entered into business situations where I was dealing with people operating in deception and clearly oppositional behavior.  No matter what I said or did it was not going to be well received.  When I have been able to keep my heart clear of fear and pride, I was able to see into their hearts beyond their behavior.  I was able to see their insecurity and their pain.  I was able not to engage combatively and diffuse the oppositional behavior for that moment.

I have found compassion, humility and speaking the truth are very disarming forces in these situations. It is truly remarkable to see the shift.  Arguments cease. Hostility diffuses. There is no place for any of those emotions to get energy from.  It’s like watching a balloon deflate.

I am thankful for knowing a different way. I am thankful for a Father full of mercy that will light my way. I am thankful that He can take my heart to a place that is blameless and pure through His Son. I am thankful that there is no force that can come against me without Him there to protect me, day and night.  He always has a watchful eye on me to deliver me.

Father, give me wisdom. Show me when to engage and if so, how. Also show me when to walk away.

Isaiah 55:8, Genesis 18:19, Psalm 119:80, Isaiah 45:24

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Swimming Against The Current

swimming against the current

21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 NIV

Have you ever been swimming against the current? I am not a very strong swimmer. I have had several near death experiences with water that have given me a healthy respect for it.

I know what it feels like to glide along with the current.  It feels effortless, even graceful.  All is peaceful and beautiful…until you have to make your way back! Then it becomes a whole different story.  It can be frightening. Exhausting. It is a fight with every stroke. If you let up, you get battered and set back more than you think you can make up.

There have been times in my life and career when I felt this kind of struggle.  At the time, I wasn’t aware enough to pull up and see that I was swimming against God’s plan and purpose for me. God patiently waited for me to wear myself out.  And it happened.  I fought a hard fight…needlessly.  I could have followed His plan and purpose and let His current carry me along.  Eventually I got there, but wow was I tired when I finally stopped fighting!

Father thank you for Your patience.  Thank you for Your love and Your grace and Your mercy.  You are so gentle and kind even when I’m not.  Thank you.  Thank you for never giving up on me and never leaving me or forsaking me…even when I’m swimming against the current.

Proverbs 19:20-22, Luke 1:79

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The Art Of Waiting

the art of waiting2

“13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

Wait for the Lord.  What does that mean?  I’m learning.  I’m learning that to wait for someone, you have to be in close communication.  You also have to trust their word.  If I don’t ask what their plans are, I might barge ahead with my own plans.  I might get in the way of the other person’s plans. It might mean that we miss our connection entirely. Sometimes I forget to pause and check in with God’s plans for me.  I barge ahead without hesitation thinking I know best.  Occasionally I delude myself into thinking I know a lot more than I do.  I waste time and energy worrying about things He has already worked out.  So waiting is an art.  To wait confidently and gracefully with composure.  I still struggle in this area but I am learning!  Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my head and don’t rely enough on God’s voice.  So I have to go back to square one and get quiet and listen.

Father God, I’m so blessed that You are always there waiting for me.  You never leave without me. You never leave me stranded. Thank you Lord!

Isaiah 55:2-3, Ephesians 3:17-19, Hebrews 4:16, John 8:47, James 4:7-8

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