There are lots of benefits to following Jesus! We have access to healing, supernatural power, prosperity, favor & lots more. As Americans who live in a consumer culture, it’s easy to fall prey to the deception that being a Christian revolves around getting ones needs met, full stop. While being a follower of Jesus certainly affords some perks, the reality of following Jesus is that we are to lay down our lives, love Jesus & love others, a very sacrificial lifestyle.
Let’s be careful that we don’t get seduced by ease & convenience at the expense of mature & committed!
Sometimes people treat “alone” like a disease that needs a vaccination or a dysfunction that requires a remedy. We tend to fill our minds with music, social media, events, appointments, text messages, books, entertainment and anything we can conveniently grasp to immunize us from this “scary” state of being alone and quiet. It’s a conundrum to me that we’ll tolerate zombies, vampires, ghosts & spooky Halloween stuff with a lite comic wink but what shivers our spine & tweaks our nerves is solitude & the thought of being alone.
Yet being alone is an important ingredient for being human. Consider some of the incredible outcomes Jesus experienced from being alone:
Jesus’ testing in Matthew 4 was initiated by the Holy Spirit leading Him into the wilderness – He came out of that experience with anointing & power.
Jesus went up on a mountain by Himself to pray through the night – when He came down, He chose His 12 disciples who perpetuated Jesus’ ministry.
Gethsemane was an alone time for Jesus – He surrendered His will so that we could live in reconciliation with God
I get that we aren’t Jesus, but maybe some of the things we most desperately need come from what we most ardently avoid 🙂
There are things in me that I don’t like. I don’t like that I’m selfish, i dont like various insecurities that are tiresome & there are several more things in me that I’d like to be adjusted as well.
I’ve been thinking of these things lately & as I was reading Rom 5:3-5 this morning, something really struck me. It seems to me from these verses that there are several ingredients that are essential for the sustained changes that I want, 2 of which are essential: hardship & endurance. Indeed, I can see in my life that there are many good results from the combination of hardship & endurance. So I’m reminding myself to celebrate the process & journey to these changes that God is working out in my life 🙂
I’m sitting, thinking & praying about what to share with you today with lots of different things running around in my brain. But when I’m quiet, I find myself thinking about many of the good things that are in my life. With this idea, I want to encourage you to take a minute to inventory the many good things & blessings in your life. We can easily get trapped in the negative & needy quagmire but the best way to get out & stay out is to recount (take an inventory) of the goodness of God in our lives.
Here is some of the “goodness of God” inventory in my life (hopefully, this will help you to get your “goodness” list going with a few ideas):
deep conversation w a friend 2 days ago to explore some thoughts about friendships,
great conversation with one of my kids this morning to help them make wise choices,
got the kids to school on time,
decaf because I can get caffeine jitters easily,
Saving Moses progress in making strategic partnerships & for God’s provisions
good care for my dad
love that I don’t deserve nor have earned – patient husband
people to help me with my weak spots (fashion, makeup, organization, tech, . . . )
God’s grace to overcome failures
There are LOTS more, but this is a good start – what are some of the inventory on your “goodness of God” list???? Please reply because this can be super helpful for all of us!! 🙂
This morning, I read Psalms 23 and it was super encouraging to my heart! What really stood out to me was the very beginning part when David says that God causes him to lie down in green pastures. This was really soothing because when you look at the verb in the Hebrew, the idea is that God is very much making David to lay down – almost like an enforced pause.
Here’s my thinking on this idea of a pause – I think that many of us run a pretty fast-paced & high-demanding life for lots of different reasons (some good & some lame). Nevertheless, we all need rest, a break, on a consistent basis (more than just the idea of our daily sleep requirement). If we do not integrate a break or rest into our routines (i.e. a weekly Sabbath), then we will find ourselves in a place of “forced rest,” where God causes us to take a pause.
It is super important to have consistent breaks & pauses in our lives for many different reasons:
*a pause helps to clarify our thinking & emotional inputs
*a pause allows us to re-focus our priorities
*a pause provides the space & context for our relationship with God to deepen & grow
*a pause lets us have an opportunity to slow down & listen to God
Three cheers to a busy life with integrated & intentional rest 🙂
So presently, I’m in a bit of a time warp because I went to Turkey for the weekend & came back last night. The total trip from start to finish was less than 80 hours. In that amount of time, I was in 3 different countries, visited 4 of the 7 churches John addressed in Revelation 2-3, learned lots of cool historical & biblical stuff, rode on 6 airplanes & spent no less than 10 hours driving to various places. With this in mind, I’m very happy to know my name & present location 🙂
Along with the above excitement, here are some things I like about jet lag:
time feels less definite & concrete but more amorphous
in my present mindframe, I find myself leaning into God more for moment by moment help
coffee seems to taste better ,)
I have a viable excuse for not making sense ,)
it seems like I feel or sense God better
my family relationships feel very gentle, tender & rich
Fear is interesting – in the right amounts & toward the right things, it can be really beneficial. On the other hand, fear with the wrong amounts & directed toward the wrong things can be thoroughly toxic & destructive.
Consider this: fear can immunize us from disrespect & irreverence. Fear can keep us from doing dumb things & the Bible speaks of a boat load of benefits from having a fear, respect & reverence for God.
On the negative scale, fear can hinder us from some amazing experiences, adventures & accomplishments. It can also keep us from learning some important lessons. Fear can keep us trapped in the past & cripple us from moving forward. Fear can suffocate healthy relationships & even debilitate constructive growth.
So here’s my conclusion: I don’t want to be afraid of life but I do want to have a healthy reverence for the Creator of life – love life & honor it’s Creator.