Beyond Appraisal

aging3Now that I live on my own, I feel a freedom in praying and praising aloud.

Sometimes it’s an intentional, set aside, focused time. Other times, I find myself praying and praising as I go about my daily routines.

Like the other day, when I hardly even realized I was praying out loud as I walked through my house.

God,

Break me.

Mend me.

Heal me.

Prune me.

Refine me.

Use me.

Do whatever it takes to reveal yourself to people who need you.

I will do my best to point to you through it all.

You get the glory.

Thanks.

Amen.

I don’t like the pain in my life.

But trusting God is more important and purposeful than trying to control and fix it all…as if that was even possible.

I’d rather have God than anything or anyone else.

Faith is costly, yet the more I lose or relinquish, the more I gain. The intangibles are beyond appraisal.

Moving with Friends

dueling-boxesThere’s very little that involves more contentment, healing, comfort, and satisfaction than helping and working alongside friends. It’s how I spent a recent, very cold Saturday morning. One of the most compassionate and generous people I know moved, and many people turned out to help. It was a big job, but it was enjoyable to spend hours working alongside friends, both old and new.

Then I sat at one of my very favorite people’s kitchen table to help her with a gift (shh, it’s a surprise). I finished up mid to late afternoon, and I had such a sense of peace.

In a time that is chaotic, on the heels of being surprised yet again with some disappointing news, I spent time with people I like to do life with, people I enjoy doing life for – helping, encouraging, connecting, sharing, savoring.

Move through life with people. They’re worth the heavy lifting.

Drowning and Living Deeply

There was a day many months ago when I felt as if I was drowning. And I felt as if God was the one pulling me into the deep waters and drowning me. I’d stayed very close to him, so it didn’t feel odd to cry out to him with a, “Hey, dude! What are you doing to me?”

With absolutely no hesitation, I heard the answer, “I’m not drowning you. You’re drowning yourself. Just chill. I made you to float.”

Oh.

Right.

Leave it to God to reality check me.

I felt his pull because he was close, not because he was drowning me. And I felt as if I was drowning because I was flailing around and exhausting myself. I was taking on more water and expending more energy than was necessary.

I took a few breaths and calmed down.

And I floated.

This life with God seems so counter-intuitive at times. Yet it is so right.

It only gets stronger
It only goes deeper
My head’s underwater, but somehow I
Can finally breathe
It only gets stronger
It only goes deeper
My heart is on fire, and this love is
Setting me free

Face Issues with Wisdom

download (1)Use wisdom in the timing of when to face issues.

I needed to confront someone’s procrastination and disorganization and the effect it was having on others, but the day I was frustrated was not a good option. It would have only stressed out the person more, which in turn would have paralyzed her more, which would have delayed what needed to get done even more.

Yet I also couldn’t sweep those issues under the rug and ignore them. When we do that, we only delay the confrontation, delay the potential change and growth, and put dangerous hidden lumps under our feet. We will trip and fall and so will others who travel the same path with us.

Our relationships are more important than facing or enduring issues without wisdom in the timing and method of confrontation. We all need to change and grow. We all need to help each other. We will encounter bumps along the way no matter how we approach the issues, but with patience and bravery and wisdom, we will infuse the process with respect and compassion.

My Hands, Your Hands

what-are-you-doing-todayI visited a downtown store in a different city, and I marveled at the diversity and the intricacies of the items. It was a nonprofit store that supported people from around the world. The profits of the handmade gifts were given back to the organizations in those areas of the world. As I looked at the beauty of the items, I thought about the hands that made each one.

Hands of different sizes, colors, and ages. Hands with different experiences.

I wondered what was going on in the heart of each person. What were his or her daily challenges and struggles, dreams, and living conditions? Who did they come in contact with on an everyday basis? How healthy were they living – physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually?

I looked at my own hands.

What am I doing with them today?

What am I capable of?

Is there a gap between my capability and actions?

What about you?

A Series of Choices

He believed, hoping against hopeHe did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God… (Romans 4:18a, 20)

6edf1eaa3a7ab5c224fbae6b706988a3Belief.

Hope.

Strength.

Faith.

Glory.

All of these things are part of me. I have not achieved them in completeness. I won’t. It is a process, but it is in me. It is a choice I make, a series of choices. I wrestle, I question, I wonder, but the more I do these things, the more truth untwists and stands out among everything else. The more sure-footed I am. The more authentic I am. The more humble I am. The less it becomes about me and the more I acknowledge it’s about God.

After all, whether I acknowledge it or not, it is.

About God.

Cold Day, Warm Heart

20171230_120231.pngYou may already know that I like polar bears, and any time I get a chance to stop by and say hi to Kali at the St. Louis Zoo, I take it.

Recently, that meant shivering in single-digit temps to watch her swim. Yes, swim, in what I can only imagine were absolutely bone-chilling temps. For her, it seemed comfortable. Not even her neighboring grizzly bears were out in the weather.

And while there also weren’t many people at the zoo that day, I had four of my very favorite people with me. The five of us had picked up warm drinks and quickly walked toward Kali’s area together. We were cold, but there was a moment when I looked around and reflected on how thankful I am that I get to do life with them. Sometimes it’s comfortable and other times it’s not. We’ve wintered a lot lately, but the bitter cold isn’t going to make us bitter. It’s only going to make us appreciate the warmth. Because there is plenty of it. Sometimes we just have to get closer together to find it.