Doing important stuff can be intimidating & even overwhelming. And yet, I believe that we are on the planet to do important stuff.
For example, today I’m joining an amazing team to do strategic planning for Saving Moses. It’s an important activity because today’s outcomes affect babies & toddlers who would die or suffer abuse / neglect without our efforts. So we are doing important stuff!!
So when you do important stuff, here are some things that might be helpful:
Pray: it’s necessary to include God with important stuff
Plan: my husband helps me remember that proper prior planning prevents poor performance
Do: take a step & start even with something small to do / make progress
Teamwork: include people & be a good team player
Measure: it’s helpful to pause & take inventory of the progress & direction
Everything is great! Life is fantastic! I’m blessed & highly favored! Living’ the dream!
I’ve said these words more than occasionally when my life isn’t whipy, when I’m tired, sick & when stuff is awful. So was I lying? Was I making a faith confession? Was I living in denial? Depending on the day or hour, yes 🙂
If we want to love genuinely, let’s be ready for someone to be honest & say that stuff isn’t going well. Indeed, when Job went through a season of living hell, his friends stayed with him in silence for a week before they said a word. There was no sunshine mantra in the conversations w Job & his friends. When a friend goes through a crisis, let’s be willing to walk alongside them with honesty & not get ruffled.
As it relates to having a personal crisis, I recognize that not everyone can handle our honesty or when things aren’t going well. And that’s ok! Let’s allow God to bring people into our lives who don’t always settle for the sunshine mantra.
Choppy or smooth? Icy or powder? Chunky or groomed? These are all descriptions of the snow conditions when a person skis or snowboards.
When I was first learning to snowboard, I struggled to navigate changing conditions. I was really good on groomed runs but ice caused me some significant problems.
I’ve been snowboarding now for almost 15 years & I can navigate various conditions usually without injuries, although I have definite preferences.
I think the same can hold true for us as we mature in our walk with Jesus. Early on, maybe we didn’t have the agility to navigate disappointment or unanswered prayers. As we mature in our walk w Jesus, it’s helpful to keep love as our top priority regardless of the changing conditions. I find that the more I stay in love w Jesus, regardless of what’s happening around me, the easier it can be to navigate changing conditions 🙂
In high school, I never watched wrestling so I’m entirely clueless on this sport, except that I have an offspring who’s doing this sport now 🙂
So I’m learning things that are important & useful for daily living.
Here’s some things I’m learning from watching wrestling:
Preparation is important: if you want to succeed, it’s helpful to more than show up
Mistakes foster learning: it takes lots of learning to win & mistakes can be helpful ingredients for learning
Be willing to change: a flexible strategy can facilitate winning
Let’s not forget that Jacob wrestled with an angel of God all through the night in Genesis 32. He acquired.permanent limp & he was changed in both name & character. Sometimes we need to wrestle to grow & gain!
With the beginning of a new year comes lots of opportunities, quandries, questions and things to be resolved or addressed. For me, these things look like managing kids with changing schedules, planning international trips, navigating limited resources, strategizing for growth, resolving some conflicts and working through some unexpected hiccups.
I could easily get screwed into the ceiling with stress, worry, frustration, fear & anxiety. But a more helpful option is to pray. There’s a really old song about taking to the Lord, our worries, problems, etc . . . ” . . . . ,take it to the Lord in prayer.” Let’s make prayer our first reaction rather than our last resort!
Over the last few weeks, various members of my family have come down with some congestion, a sore throat, runny nose, etc. And in full disclosure, it likely all started with me back in November, when I’d finished an intense travel season and my body was tired and run down. So it’s highly probable that my family caught the crud from me.
I think this idea of being contagious rings true in lots of ways. For example, I’ve noticed that hurt people often hurt people. To this end, hurt can be contagious particularly when there’s an absence of forgiveness. On the positive side, let’s stay committed to genuine love because there’s a good chance that genuine love is also contagious. Indeed, I think we are the most healthy when we receive and express genuine love 🙂
There are kinda of weight classes: losing weight, boxing, weight training, wrestling etc. So dealing with weight can be an interesting concept which is frequently a popular topic at the beginning of each year. Here are a few thoughts that could be helpful when you think about weight:
**Future Preparation: sometimes today’s weights are training for tomorrow’s responsibilities. What might seem heavy could actually be helpful for weightier matters in the future
**Losing Weight: anxieties, fears, failures, insecurities & other stuff can be weights we shed so we can be less weighed down
**Time Lever: sometimes waiting can be weighty but as we wait on the Lord, we can gain new strength! Consider Isaiah 40:31, “Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”
There are some things that won’t change, like gravity, sunrise / sunset, increasing taxes & sand in the Sahara. But when things seem uncertain or there’s instability around us, we want something stable, solid, predictable and reliable.
Maybe it would be helpful to keep our trust in “certain” things, stuff that doesn’t change. For example, regardless of how we feel, the circumstances around us, surprises or mishaps, God’s love for you doesn’t change. In addition, regardless of who is in your life or who is missing, God is ever present and never abandons you. And let’s never forget that God is working out things for your benefit, as you stay in love with God & true to God’s purpose in your life, based on Romans 8:28 🙂
Let’s not allow ourselves to get unsettled or rattled by various uncertainties in life because God is very certain, faithful and loving toward us!
Happy 2019! Starting a new day, a new month and a new year is a nice way to think of a fresh start. In some respects, a new year is a little bit like a do-over, taking some of the mishaps, failures, lessons, progress and successes of 2018 and making improvements on these for 2019.
Where you’ve had failures & disasters in 2018, be careful not to allow shame, embarassment, defeat, fear or insecurity define your perspective on these things in 2019. Sometimes it’s helpful to think of failures, defeats, disasters and mishaps in terms of practice and progress. In this way, let’s make new mistakes in 2019 and not the same ones from 2018.
Where you’ve had success, improvement, maturation & progress, let’s take such momentum into 2019 and keep going! There’s a good chance that God would like to build on these things from 2018 and expand those victories!
It’s a new day, new month and new year – all aligned with God’s work because He makes all things new (Isaiah 43:18), including you and me!
The week between Christmas & New Year’s feels like a “not ready” week, maybe because of all the festivities, bustle & frenzy leading up to Christmas, . . . . . And then we pause 🙂
And for such a pause, I’m abundantly grateful. I don’t have to get ready for anything – no dinner guests, no events, no sermons, no parties, no gift wrapping or last minute presents to buy. In this week, it’s ok to be “not ready.” So I appreciate the opportunity to lounge in pjs, take time for reflection, watch birds and squirrels eat berries off the tree outside my window, get my vacuum into the shop for a much needed tune-up, sleep in a little bit and be entirely comfortable with being “not ready.”
Maybe this idea goes back to the concept of Sabbath, when we pause from our work and take a day of rest. I sincerely believe that such a pause is an essential ingredient for growing in our intimacy with God 🙂
Artists can often think about what they’re crafting, painting, sculpting, writing or creating. They take whatever is their medium (a canvas, clay, marble, glass, pen & paper, etc) & begin to do their creative work. We can often concentrate on the medium & ignore or forget what isn’t there. And what isn’t there (the blank or void around the medium), is referred to as “negative space.” In some respects, what isn’t present, what’s missing, can often be equally as important as what is present, observable & the creative content. The absence can accentuate the creative work.
And to this end, let’s remember that what God does, divine creative work, is not only with & through us as the medium, but also in the pause, void & vacancy of what can seem to be missing. Don’t diminish or resent the negative spaces that might be happening in your life. Our Master Creator is doing divine work & you’re a masterpiece in the making 🙂
In that today is Christmas Eve, or maybe Christmas when you read this, we might be thinking about Jesus’ birth 🙂
And in the story of Jesus coming to live among us, there are some interesting things we can consider for our daily living.
*Unexpected Coincidence: the shepherds in the field were doing a normal night of shepherding when there was a supernatural interruption. Let’s be mindful that a supernatural interruption can sometimes be dismissed as an unexpected coincidence, causing us to miss something God wants us to know or experience
*Inconvenient Journey: the wiseman took the Star as a signal to go on a journey to seek out something unknown but important. Let’s be mindful that what could be inconvenient and unfamiliar has the potential to lead us to know Jesus more deeply and in a richer experience.
*Unconventional Relationship: Joseph decided to keep Mary as his fiancé even though she was pregnant out of wedlock. Let’s be mindful that being merciful, gracious and generous can position us to bring Jesus to people in meaningful and life-giving experiences.
Let’s keep finding Jesus and helping others experience genuine love through finding Jesus!
The past is a really interesting thing to consider. Like me, you likely have some very fond memories as well as some experiences that you’d rather forget. And today is a new day, with new mercies, new experiences, new people, new minutes, new activities, new adventures, . . . . lots of new for new days!
And may we never forget that God’s mercies are new every morning because the faithfulness of God is infinite. Let’s allow each day to be new & have a fresh start. Yesterday is over & today is a new day 🙂
Some of us are better at waiting than others. But waiting is a universal human experience. We wait for traffic, phone calls, relationships, promotions, grades, test results & in this season, Jesus’ birth.
Sometimes, what we anticipate when it arrives isn’t always what we expected – so we are surprised, disappointed or even perplexed.
When Jesus arrived as a baby, I think Mary was relieved to have completed her pregnancy & maybe she was surprised as well, given the unexpected appearances of shepherds & magi to celebrate Jesus’ arrival!
When Jesus landed at the temple at the beginning of Holy Week, he shocked everyone by driving out the money changers, healing the blind & sick & being celebrated by children w songs of hosanna in the highest (Matt 17). But the religious leaders weren’t remotely happy w Jesus’ arrival.
And when Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene after His resurrection, she wasn’t expecting to meet the risen Christ!
When Jesus comes, let’s be ready to celebrate & also appreciate that we will likely be surprised because He isn’t always what we expect 🙂
Are you good at makeup, organizing, decorating, math, cleaning, cooking, exercise, socializing, baking, talking, etc? I believe that God gives each of us unique talents and abilities, which we often take for granted because they seem “easy” to us.
On the other side, I’ll bet there are some things that you’re good at doing now, but probably not very good when you started doing these things. For example, when I first started ironing shirts, I was awful. But over time, I’ve become more proficient with practice and now I’m much better.
Instead of framing things from a failure and quitting perspective, let’s consider that most of the stuff we do is practice and we are on the journey of continual improvement. For me, this helps me stay away from shame, discouragement and even quitting. Let’s celebrate practice and stay away from failing 🙂
I’m happy to announce a successful dentist appointment. I have no furry teeth 🙂
Doing these routine cleanings is an essential requirement for dental hygiene & this makes me think about mental as well as spiritual hygiene.
Just like we brush our teeth daily, we would be wise to do some daily prayer & Bible time to keep up our mental & spiritual hygiene. I’d also suggest that when we stay healthy mentally & spiritually we can be less prickly in our souls & interactions.
Let’s stay steady with our spiritual routines so they stay in the daily category with brushing our teeth 🙂
Over the last few months, I’ve been traveling a fair amount & almost every plane is packed to the gills, such that sardines might be an accurate metaphor. And we Americans have this major issue w personal space – don’t touch, don’t lean, don’t talk, etc. We all wear our headphones / earbuds, keep the arm rests down & send out nonverbal cues that say “unavailable.”
But today has been a nice exception to the standard porcupine posture. My seat mate engaged me in conversation & I learned some cool stuff! We didn’t solve any global crisis but the interaction reminds me to be hospitable & cordial.
Sometimes we have to be willing to go past our comfort & culture to having meaningful connections. It’s good to talk with people who don’t look nor act like we do!
How often have you smelled a perfume or cologne & it reminds you of someone you know?Or maybe you played sports & when you smell a certain soap it brings back those memories from showering off the workout / practice sweat.
In the same way, we can leave a lingering smell / residue in our interactions with people. To this end, think about the people who leave a “bad taste in your mouth” & how you might try avoiding them. On the other side, think about those people with whom you interact & you find yourself smiling, cozy on the inside & wanting more interaction.
I would propose that genuine love is what all of us want & the exchanges that have genuine love leave a healthy & desirable residue. With Jesus’ help, let’s aim to leave a sweet smell from our people interactions!
“That’s not what I said.” A lot of times when I listen to someone talk, I have to realize that I don’t always hear what’s being said. And I don’t hear what’s actually being said because of my own perspectives / filters that obscure what is said. Consider that the religious leaders in Jesus’ day couldn’t hear His words because of their own filters. They were concerned about their position & power more than hearing Jesus’ truth & genuine love.
With this reality, we would be wise to consider what may be our filters. Here are some examples for your consideration:
Fear: failing & bad experiences can skew our ability to hear stuff clearly
Scarcity: lack skews our ability to hear clearly
Shame / Embarrassment: when something has terribly wrong in our lives we can easily feel shame
Jesus tells us to be careful what we hear & we would be wise to consider what filters we might have that could be muddling what we hear!