Some Evolution

024“They’ve had some evolution.”

The statement declared some growth, some change toward what the speaker believed. People were growing into what he proclaimed, so he saw it as evolutionary, productive, advance.

We need to be careful what we see as progress. We can encourage people in directions that might not be the best (or the best timing) for them.

I’m not saying anything is wishy-washy and relative and that there is no direction that is better or worse than another. There is truth. Absolute Truth. But many of the things we claim as evolutionary are more on the fringes of truth than the center of it. There is spine truth and rib truth. The spine is non-negotiable. The ribs give some structure but we can do without one or two.

Through it all, the person is more important than the issue. When we define people based on where they are or where they’ve been, we minimize them even in the context of what is intended to be a compliment. We make people about their actions instead of their motivations, reasons, potential, and purpose.

Duplicity of Mind

doublemindedJesus said to them, “Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and give to God the things that are God’s.” (John 20:25)

It’s not just what we give to whom but how we focus and to what we attend. We can build walls between what we do and what we think. For instance, have you ever sat in church, surrounded by an atmosphere of worship and reading of God’s Word yet let your mind wonder to something far from God’s presence? Can you listen to music or read Scripture yet get frustrated…even with God? Perhaps you even think, “I’m doing everything I know what to do to help me focus and get some problems solved, but it’s just not working!” Or perhaps a more accurate assessment is that things aren’t changing as you’d like them to change.

You can’t be productive and stagnant at the same time. But it can certainly feel that way!

You know you’re doing what you need to be doing, but if feels as if you’re stagnant. However, if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, you’re being productive. It might feel like the “same old thing,” but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t working. If you’re seeking God’s will, reading God’s Word, talking and listening to God…with a pure heart…even if you feel as if you’re not growing, you are. God is working even when you don’t feel as if he’s working.

Of course, it’s always possible that you’re going through the motions without a pure heart. You could be determined that you’re only growing if you get a certain answer or feel a certain way, so all the effort you put forth—reading, studying, praying—becomes a bit “stalled.” It’s as if you’re going through the motions. But it’s not about your feelings. Feelings don’t always reflect reality. And the answer isn’t always the goal. The process often provides the answer. And really, don’t you already have the answer?

The answer isn’t a what; it’s a who.

It’s Jesus. You might not know the specifics of a situation, but in faith, you simply pursue Jesus. Even when situations don’t work out the way you want, you still end up closer to Jesus because of the pursuit.

And there’s no duplicity of mind in that!

Fertilizer

Poop happens.

Especially with one of my dear friends. She seems to have a lot of “poop” stories. You might think that’s not a nice word to put in a blog post. Well, it is what it is, and she has the stories to prove it!

We don’t live close to each other, but we used to speak at many of the same conferences, so we’d enjoy our girlfriend times and laugh hysterically at the mayhems of her life. It’s okay. Sometimes you have to laugh at the junk of life because it beats crying.

When we were in Arizona several years, the “poop happens” phrase became a staple in our conversations because of an intense, overpowering (to say the least) experience. We were driving through the edge of town with our windows down, enjoying the warmer temperatures of the region, when we smelled something horrendous. I don’t mean the smell was simply unpleasant. It was overwhelmingly oppressive. The problem was even when we rolled up our windows, the trapped, saturated air surrounded and gagged us. We ridiculously tried to hold our breath. Tears ran down our cheeks – partly from laughter and partly from the stinging stench.

It took us a few miles to recuperate.

Poop happens.

Several months later, I titled a conference session “Poop Happens.” It was extremely well received. There’s not a single person on earth who hasn’t experienced a bit of poop in life.

My friend and I haven’t seen each other in a couple years (and I don’t like it!), but we recently experienced even more poop together. We’ve been trying to get together, driving several hours to meet halfway and enjoy a quick day together. We set a date – three times – and had to cancel for a variety of reasons. This past time, we almost made it. It was the day before our date when I got the message she and her daughter were sick. I was bummed, but I wanted her to be at full capacity when I saw her, so I wished her a speedy recovery.

I then realized I suddenly had a blocked day with no plans. I decided to work ahead on my to-do list.

    • Check.
    • Check.
    • Check.

I checked off tasks as my productivity and creativity soared.

The disappointment of not spending time with a friend was tempered with the unexpected opportunity to get things done.

The poop provided fertilizer.

Poop happens. That’s life. Will you plug your nose and avoid it or use it for fertilizer today?

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2