This morning I read about how Jesus went into the temple in Jerusalem & totally flipped everything upside down. He upended the money changers tables & chairs, he compromised the pigeon sales for sacrifices, He made a whip & angrily confronted the religious leaders & all the while, little kids ran around the temple yelling out, “Hosanna to the son of David!” On top of all this chaos, that enraged the temple leaders, Jesus had the audacity to heal the blind & lame in the temple. As I read these verses in Matt 21 this morning, I began to picture the pandemonium that Jesus made & how He “broke” everything that the religious leaders had organized to “facilitate worship & connecting with God”. Jesus’ actions condemned their efforts & He broke what was already dysfunctional.
Sometimes in our lives, we’ve come to accept as normal that which is broken & dysfunctional. Let’s be open to Jesus breaking what is already broken to help us live in greater health & deeper intimacy with Him. Broken needs fixing
I’m not a grief fan, but alas I get to feel this old familiar emotion because our neighbor family whom we deeply love is moving today. It’s a great sadness for my whole family because our families are intricately connected: all of my kids with their kids, my husband totally appreciates his friendship with their dad & their mom & I are soul sisters. We can be in the same room & don’t have to say anything to know the vibe for each other. I seriously hate grief & loss. What really stinks is that there’s no way around grief except through it.
If you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a friend who moved, or a lost friendship these are all difficult grief situations & there’s not a person on the planet who gets a free pass from experiencing grief. Maybe grief is part of what it means to love from the heart.
Jesus knew grief from His earthly existence – a man familiar with our sorrows, griefs & sufferings. While I love to celebrate the triumphant & risen King, it seems that my affection for & connection with Jesus deepens when I appreciate that He has walked the grief path before & is walking through grief with us in our various human experiences, even today.
When I do physical therapy for my shoulder, I do some exercises (turkish getups, step ups, etc) that have some nice side benefits related to strengthening my core. Translation: my abs get a workout along with my shoulder. I’ve learned that when my abs are strong, the rest of my body has better alignment, agility and strength. In a similar way, I think that one of the core essentials to following Jesus is trusting Him.
So here are some core exercises to consider for your “Cross Training”:
when you go through high pressure experiences, choose to lean into rather lean away from Jesus (don’t fall back on old habits or destructive patterns)
consider doing some extra Bible memorizing to strengthen your muscle memory & provide a constructive alternative to the worry default
pain is gain: I know my abs are getting a good workout when they hurt & following Jesus isn’t only about having perpetual pleasure
agility comes with practice: the more I trust Jesus, the more adventures I get to enjoy rather than endure (Saving Moses is a great personal example)
form is important to prevent injury: fully trusting Jesus yields better results than just trusting with pieces & parts
Have an awesome weekend & don’t fight the urge to pass this along to your friends
A few nights ago, one of my best friends & I, with our families, enjoyed a totally fantastic dinner together. We laughed, played, talked deeply, enjoyed God’s creation & reveled in a totally euphoric evening. This friend & I have known each other for a long time & we’ve shared some bumps along the way. I’m confident that the future will also have some possible hiccups for our friendship as well, but I’m growing to appreciate a few important lessons:
Forgiveness is an essential ingredient for being close to someone
Being steady is better than being dazzling
Compassion trumps smart
To know another person & let one’s self be known is very great adventure (Gal 4:9)
Keeping Jesus as my central & core relationship keeps me healthy
“Extra pickles & no onions” – my burger, my way ala Burger King’s mantra: have it your way. So much of our daily living is structured around being a satisfied customer. This is true to the point that we can almost be conditioned to believe that we get to have everything our own way, including our spirituality.
But alas, such a perspective in relation to following Jesus is inherently dysfunctional. Jesus said that whoever would follow Him must lay down their life & take up their cross. While there is tremendous satisfaction in following Jesus, walking with Jesus is also the path of total sacrifice. Maybe we can start our relationship with Jesus in ala carte mode, getting to pick & choose what we like, but becoming increasingly mature in Jesus is more about being consumed than being a consumer
Our family is having a stay-cation week & we’re presently driving somewhere in Colorado, enjoying some close family time in the car. A person could get grumpy about this kind of activity, or a person could choose to see the gold. Here are some awesome things to remember when you’re not in a supremely blissful experience:
being close is a gift & personal space can be overrated ,)
time is irreplaceable: pages turn, chapters close & seasons conclude – enjoy the present
genuine love has an infinite variety of ways to be expressed so it’s good to be adaptable
I’m crazy grateful to get to “stay” in a car rather than travel in a plane – better family engagement
My physical therapist stretches my shoulder & that’s a nice way to say that she hurts me & sometimes I don’t like her, like today. I even used the breathing exercises with my children being born to manage the therapy pain.
But sometimes pain is good:
when it’s part of the path for improving & maturation
some conversations are painful because they’re working through hot zones
sometimes it hurts to get healthy
pain can be the process through which something new & wonderful is birthed