To My Mom

Sometimes, I find something months before I want it to go live. This is one of those posts. You’re seeing it on Mothers Day, but I’m typing these words a few days before Christmas, several months earlier. I heard this song a couple months ago and made a note in my ongoing list of writing and blog ideas. So, I’m obviously not a mama’s boy, but despite that discrepancy, it speaks to how I feel about my mom. I love her. She’s provided for me. She’s loved me. She’s corrected and encouraged me. She’s let me see her imperfections, and she’s been a good role model. She’s let me grow up.

I love my mama. We have a bond that time and circumstances will not break.

Happy Mothers Day!

 

Worship Through Life

worshippageThen Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women followed her with their tambourines and danced. (Exodus 15:20)

When do you feel most worshipful?

How does music affect you?

How do you worship throughout the week?

Miriam and other women worshipped in song and dance. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I picture them worshipping with freedom, unhindered, excited to celebrate and praise God. I wonder how often we allow ourselves to revel in a season of pure worship. Do we more often relegate worship to a specific time and day of the week? Has it become something is based on an event instead of a lifestyle?

Of course, we cannot go through everyday life dancing. Imagine danceing in and out of your office, house, car, restaurant, coffee shop, meetings, and public bathrooms. I guess we could do that if we so desired, but it’s not practical, and we’d definitely get some odd stares. We’d start trending on social media: #Ijustsawthedancingladytoo! But worship is so much more than dancing through life. It encompasses all that praises God, acknowledging Him in the daily details, thanking Him, sharing Him, choosing Him.

A worshipful life knows no boundaries of worship. God gives us freedom. Worshipping Him might lead to singing in our cars, skipping down the sidewalk, picking up trash as we walk through the park, smiling at a stranger, and so much more. We begin to see the world and everything in it through God’s perspective, and as we do, we cannot help but appreciate and honor Him. Relinquishing every single moment of our lives to Him isn’t easy, but we don’t fail in an instant. We have another choice to seek and worship Him in the next moment. Much of our life can be a season of worshipful dancing—literal or figurative—when we keep our eyes, mind, and heart on Him.

Choose a favorite worship prompt. Listen to music. Begin to journal. Play an instrument. Dance around the house. Take a stroll through a flower garden or wooded area. Savor God’s presence. Connect with Him. Praise Him.

Failing Forward

index“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Henry Ford

How do you respond when you fail?

  • I feel paralyzed. I don’t know how to move forward.
  • I struggle to learn lessons to apply to the future.
  • I don’t consider anything a failure.

The way we each define failure differs, but let’s agree that it’s an unsuccessful attempt at something. You have failed at something in your lifetime. We all have. However, that doesn’t mean we’re failures. God created you, and He makes no mistakes. He knew how you would succeed and fail before you did. In fact, He likely doesn’t see success and failure with the same perspective as you do. He sees the big picture of your life and how the details fit together. He wants you to grow throughout life, and the learning process includes failures and the lessons we learn from them.

How you respond to failure impacts your life as well as those who look to you for leadership and example.

Failing is unavoidable, but you can choice in what direction to fall. You can fall backward, sitting in the messy mud puddle until you are miserable, or you can fall forward, perhaps stubbing a toe or scraping a knee but ready for the next steps of your journey.

In order to fail forward, you must…

Deal with disappointment. Failing forward doesn’t mean you ignore the frustration and pain. In order to move forward, you must learn from past experiences. Otherwise, you’ll repeat the same errors. Evaluate the factors contributing to failure, but only look back long enough to gather strength to move forward.

Prepare to plan. Apply what you learn. You don’t need to have everything in life alphabetized and color-coded, but a failure to prepare usually prepares you for failure. Look to the horizon and anticipate growth, but be intentional in the steps you’re taking toward your goals.

Celebrate. Broaden your focus beyond your failures. You will find whatever you look for most consistently. Pay attention to the progress you’re making. Celebrate when you’ve met a goal, fostered a relationship, or maneuvered through a difficult conflict. Your celebration doesn’t need to be over-the-top. Treat yourself to a favorite coffee drink, long walk, or soothing bubble bath.

Find contentment. God wants to be the center of our lives. Life on earth isn’t going to be perfect or easy. He knows it, but it seems to be a realization that takes more time for us to accept. When our gaze is intently on God, we can find contentment even in the chaos. We can find peace among the mayhem. Focus on God. He will give you what you need even when you’re not sure what it is.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Live Well, Finish Well

FinishWellI want to finish well.

They do not know what the future holds, and no one can tell them what will happen. No one can control the wind or stop his own death. (Ecclesiastes 8:7-8)

I don’t know when the finish line will be underneath my feet, and it really shouldn’t matter. After all, if I believe it is “someday,” I put off finishing well, because I can rationalize I’m not really in the finishing phase of life.

Finishing well is about living well.

It’s about doing the best thing today, right now. It’s about not getting upset about what I’ve done that I wish I hadn’t or wish I hadn’t done that I had. It’s learning how the past has impacted my present, then moving into the future. God knows it all. He knows how it all weaves together. I don’t. I can try to understand it, and at times, it might make sense, but there are still missing pieces. There is still the un-understandable, and many times, it’s God’s grace that allows us to continue without full understanding.

Finishing well begins with living well.

Every step of the journey is important. Of course, I get distracted. I whine. I sit beside my path and mope or complain. I watch someone else’s journey and think it looks so much more appealing…and do-able. Or I celebrate too early and then lose momentum.

But I want to finish well.

I want to live a life today that is worthy of being the foundation of tomorrow. I want to be where I’m supposed to be today so I can make it to where I’m supposed to be tomorrow. I want to plant and tend the seeds of relationships today so I can continue to cultivate and harvest tomorrow. I want to stretch the spiritual muscles today that I will need to use tomorrow.

I can’t plan to finish well, because I can be wrong about the timing of finishing well. But I can finish well by living well today, right now. I want to notice people around me. I want to be respectful and authentic. I want to be patient and loving. I want to strive for peace, which will sometimes involve uncomfortable confrontation.

I know living well involves all these things and much more because living well isn’t about what I’ve personally determined to be living well. If I’m going to finish well in the life God creates, guides, and intends for me, I must know, trust, and follow his lead. Living well isn’t about deciding what living well involves. It’s not about living by my own standards; my own standards shift, and it’s not all that difficult to live by them. Living well includes becoming more like God, relying on him through the process.

Finishing well is living well. And living well is living faith out loud…right now. It’s giving everything of me, including my weaknesses, concerns, questions, and doubts. It’s trusting God with all of me.

Today, right now, I will live well. Will you?

I ask only one thing from the Lord.  This is what I want: Let me live in the Lord’s house all my life. Let me see the Lord’s beauty and look with my own eyes at his Temple. (Psalm 27:4)

This Week’s 7: America’s Celebration

 

The Fourth of July is only a few days away. It’s the anniversary of our country’s freedom as a nation. We will celebrate in a variety of ways. Through the images I’m posting today, may you steep in the meaning of the freedom with which you live.

 

Each Sunday on the Pure Purpose blog, I feature This Week’s 7, a simple list about an everyday topic, giving you ideas and encouragement. Thanks for joining me today!

This Week’s 7: Graduation Day

Today is my youngest daughter’s high school graduation. It’s a day to reflect on accomplishments of the past and dream of the future. It’s easy to get stuck in the reminiscing of yesterdays, because it’s those memories that have carried us into today. It’s also easy to get stuck in the possibilities of tomorrows, dreaming of what’s to come.

I’m pressing the pause button just for a moment to savor the joy of today.

  1. I’m thankful for Courtney’s laughter.
  2. I appreciate her generous heart.
  3. I respect her perseverance.
  4. I’m glad she helps me grow by challenging me.
  5. I’m honored she often wants to spend time with me.
  6. I’m blessed to be her mom.
  7. I’m inspired by her growing faith.

Graduation is an exciting time, filled with eager anticipations and trepidations of what tomorrow holds. Transitions are thrilling and frightening. I invite you to join me in praying for my daughter and the many young women and men who are embarking on a new season of life. We’ve invested in their lives for years; let’s not stop now!

Each Sunday on the Pure Purpose blog, I feature This Week’s 7, a simple list about an everyday topic, giving you ideas and encouragement. Thanks for joining me today!