Hot Topic: being human 

Have you had a busy week? Did you get a lot done this week? Are you frustrated that you didn’t get as much done as you think you need to?  

Take a deep breath with me for a moment. 

There’s a balance that we struggle to maintain: the balance between human being & human doing. With this thinking, our culture makes that balance very tricky. Heaps of stuff all around us tell us to get busy, be productive, don’t be lazy, achievements equal importance & significance is through activity. While there’s some truth is these ideas, the operative word is SOME. 

Let’s not forget that God’s first day with Adam was God’s day of rest, affirming the truth that we are foremost human beings, lovingly affirmed by our Creator. 

Be human & do balance 🙂

presents and presence

I haven’t wrapped a single Christmas present yet & a few years ago, I didn’t wrap any until 11pm on Christmas Eve – what was the point in that?!???  I don’t think I’m generally a procrastinator, it’s just tricky to remember & find time.  Maybe this year, I’ll wrap our presents soon, maybe.  One question worth a little consideration is what will you & I be giving Jesus this year, to celebrate His birthday.  It seems kind of counterintuitive to give everyone but Jesus a present on Christmas, the day when we celebrate His birth 🙂

So going with the 5 Love Languages idea, here are some gift suggestions for Jesus:

  • affirmation – take some moments to sing one of your favorite praise / worship songs  directly to Jesus or make a brief list of reasons why you love Jesus and tell Him
  • touch – consider giving someone a hug that would appreciate that;  sometimes when we touch someone with genuine love it’s a nice way to communicate genuine love to Jesus (when you do this to the least of these, you’ve done it to Me – Matt 25:40)
  • gifts – think about giving a coat, hats, mittens, socks, etc to a homeless shelter or discretely helping a needy family in your church, maybe make an extra donation to a charity (Saving Moses is awesome – smile)
  • service – every church has extra services, usually, to support the Christmas season:  consider volunteering a little extra to share some love 🙂
  • quality time – consider dropping by a park and taking a brief walk with Jesus or waking up maybe 10min earlier just to give Jesus your presence, which is possibly the ultimate present He desires 🙂
  • coffee – that’s all I have to say on this one ,)

Merry Christmas!

coffee with Jesus

10174921_803160386399804_598511222473935002_n   Coffee, tea, hot water, soda, . . . . . whatever floats your boat, in this holiday season, let’s be sure that we dial in some time and attention to hanging out with Jesus.  Here are a few ideas for your consideration:

  • go through the drive through coffee place, collect your coffee / beverage and then pull into a parking space for a few minutes to enjoy some pause and fellowship with Jesus
  • go to a concert or Christmas production that you have nothing to do with for the simple purpose of being present with Jesus in this season
  • wake up 10-15min before everyone else to be still and quiet – giving Jesus your presence as a present
  • ask the Holy Spirit to help you to pay attention and increase your awareness of Jesus’ presence in your daily living
  • pray with someone, briefly and sincerely, who expresses a need
  • take a walk at night (in a safe neighborhood or park) and think about the shepherds in the field who received the angelic announcement about Jesus’ birth – what a SHOCKER!!!!!
  • be in church – there’s a good chance that someone there will be talking about Jesus during this month ,)
  • do something nice for someone who doesn’t have the ability to repay you 🙂

Coffee with Jesus: God’s divine gift to humanity is Jesus, love in skin                #lookforJesus

looking for Jesus

Happy December 1!  The beginning of every December, I remind myself that while I’m about to enter an extermely busy season, the whole point of all of these festivities, parties, frenzy & busy-ness is Jesus, full stop.  So I want to look for Jesus every day this month:

  • like the shepherds looking for a newborn in a feeding trough,
  • like the wisemen looking for a King guided by a heavenly anomaly,
  • even in all his perversion & tainted motives, like Herod looking for a newborn who would upend the status quo

Jesus said that if we ask we’ll get answers, if we seek we’ll find & if we knock the door will be opened to us.  So let’s decide to look for Jesus everyday during this season – let’s streamline our focus with the help of the Holy Spirit to look & watch for Jesus, who is daily with us 🙂

#lookforJesus

 

Rustle Bustle

Seems like we all juggle lots of things: kids schedules with sports, practices, dr appointments, work responsibilities, relationship stuff, . . . the hustle, bustle & rustle of everyday living.
In all of these things, let’s be mindful to nurture in our hearts our relationship with Jesus. Lots of things want your attention so we must daily chose to fellowship with Jesus beyond the quickie “help!!!” requests. While these are important & good, our hearts are designed for deep fellowship with Jesus so lets yield to our design & align our values, focus & time to nurture the deeps with Jesus!

Rustle Bustle

Seems like we all juggle lots of things: kids schedules with sports, practices, dr appointments, work responsibilities, relationship stuff, . . . the hustle, bustle & rustle of everyday living.
In all of these things, let’s be mindful to nurture in our hearts our relationship with Jesus. Lots of things want your attention so we must daily chose to fellowship with Jesus beyond the quickie “help!!!” requests. While these are important & good, our hearts are designed for deep fellowship with Jesus so lets yield to our design & align our values, focus & time to nurture the deeps with Jesus!

different ways to connect w God

We can all have very busy days, filled with demands, responsibilities, activities, interactions, etc. Sometimes, it feels like there’s no pause in a day and that we just go from one challenge to the next without any breathing space. I’m not very keen on these kinds of days and I’m thankful that I don’t have these fast paced days everyday. But here’s something to consider: God is present throughout everyday, including the crazy busy times as well as the more sane seasons. My goal is to connect with God on a steady basis regardless of the demands of a day. One of the best ways I’ve discovered for ramping up my connection with God is by increasing my awareness of His presence throughout my life – in the busy season, in the quite moments, in the grocery shopping, picking kids up, running errands, cooking, etc, As my awareness of God increases in my life, it seems like His integration throughout my life gets better and better 🙂

Busy & Engaged

It seems like my life, of late, has shifted into a higher gear – translation: become busier. I’m not so sure how that could happen, but it feels like that. But this “style” of being busy doesn’t leave me feeling frazzled – I’m tired at the end of each day, but not drained. As I think about this, here are some things that I’m learning:
*be present: wherever my body is, I’m making an effort to keep my mind, emotions, etc altogether w my body (this seems to make me less tired, fragmented & distracted)
*be prioritized: I’m trying to be more focused on a few key priorities & let the things that are lower priorities slide more
*be attentive: this is a little different than being present because with being attentive, I’m trying to listen for Gods voice better throughout each day & not just at random & haphazard seconds here & there
It seems to me that God has quickened the pace but I’m not feeling worn out 🙂

’tis the season to be busy

 My husband & I were discussing our family’s schedule for the next 2 weeks & simply put, its a BUSY season.  When I looked up the word busy in the thesaurus, here are some of the words that I found & they seem fairly accurate:  occupied, active, engaged, unavailable, full.  My challenge is that when I get “busy”, I tend to become less present in my relationships & it seems like I can be very fragmented – little pieces of me spread everywhere.

But here’s my thinking about this season & a possible solution to the frenzy potential:  If I can make myself “present” to God (offer myself to Him as a gift / sacrifice), then I trust that He will structure my time, the things I need to get done & the energy to do His work.  It has been my experience that when I remain present with God throughout the various activities & demands in my life, I have more peace, I’m more productive & my relationships are less shakey.  I like the practice of integrating God throughout each day, activity, conversation & chore – seems like I’m less “busy” when I do this 🙂

hearing God speak in a LOUD world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our lives tend to be really full with activities, relationship, things we have to do, twitter, facebook, concerns, etc.  If you’re like me, sometimes I have a hard time hearing God in the midst of the noise of life. Indeed, sometimes His voice seems so small that it is a stark contrast to the loudness of everything else.  Here’s something that you might find useful in listening to God:

H – help!  Ask God to help you to hear His voice (it’s interesting to note that Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Helper)

E – eliminate distractions.  Is there some “noise” you could eliminate? Switch off some unnecessary noise & perhaps this “off” could be an “on” switch for hearing God better

A – available.  Make some time on a consistent basis (I’d suggest daily) to be available to God – for Him to speak with you on whatever topic He choses, or even just to be in His presence, if He choses to be quiet.

R – revere.  It is often true that whatever we honor & revere tends to grow in our lives & the reverse is also true.  I find that I express my honor & reverence in lots of different ways, but very often by how I spend time.  Time can be a very honest reflection of what is important in our lives, especially our discretionary time

Have fun listening & watching for God 😀

finding the still in the storm

 The last few days have been kind of a whirlwind – traveling to a few cities, lots of driving for end of the season swim parties, ministry opportunities, car challenges, etc.  Sometimes when we are in those super busy seasons, it can feel like we’re running on fumes.  If we’re not careful, we can get impatient, sharp & dismissive.

It is particularly helpful in these seasons to do our best to keep our eyes on God and we can do this in many different ways:

  • good worship tunes
  • reviewing Bible verses that have been helpful
  • talking with a friend about God
  • endeavor to find some quiet from time to time
Job 20:20 says, “Because he knew no quiet within him, he does not retain anything he desires”

margins

I feel like I’m the pot calling the kettle black with this blog – guilty as charged & a walking contradiction, maybe even borderline hypocrite.  Here’s why:  the last 2 weeks have been busy beyond any degree of rational acceptance and now I’m writing a blog about keeping margins in our lives.  A margin is the empty space on a page around the written area.  There are margins in this blog, in newspapers, books, etc & margins are necessary in our lives.

empty space, pause, still

Sometimes life feels like a treadmill on which the pace continues to increase & the incline just keeps going up – so many demands, expectations, deadlines, responsibilities, requirements, . . . . .  Sometimes if we’re not careful, we fill up all of the margins in our lives & then continue to keep the margins full.

However, when I look at Jesus’ life, He was very intentional about keeping margins in His life.  Of course He had MASSIVE demands on His time & person – people squashing Him wherever He went trying to get some of His attention, time, power, healing, love, . . . . .  and His life only became increasingly popular each day of His ministry.  Nevertheless, He carved margins into his lifestyle.  He dismissed the crowed after feeding the 5,000.  He went off by Himself to pray ALOT.  He withdrew with His disciples from time to time to give them some intensive teaching & attention.  When He rode in boats, He slept.  Jesus modeled margins for us with perfect agility & balance.

Here are some things that help me to keep some margins in my life:

  • quiet in the car – it helps me to turn off things that beckon for my attention;  furthermore, when I’m riding with my kids, I want to be fully present with & to them
  • keep some rhythms & routines:  sleep when its time to sleep, wake up early to have some solitude (or stay up late if you’re a night person), grab the spare minutes in a day to look to God & still your heart
  • drink water as opposed to soda & coffee – my body already has enough stress on it with out adding caffeine, etc
  • sitting with my husband or a friend – I don’t need to have a conversation but just some togetherness
  • I also want to add some Bible memorizing to my margin maintenance so I can give my mind some food on which to nibble when it wants to digest various “worries”
Keep some still in your life if you want to remain effective over the long run 🙂

summer is in full SWING

What a totally crazy couple of weeks!!  Too crazy to describe – too many whirling (not spinning) plates!!!

The big BUT in all of this busy-ness is some really rich & sweet fellowship.  I’m finding this to cause my head to tilt at present because my previous experiences have been then when i get insanely busy it seems that my interactions w God get lost in the whirlwind dust somewhere.  BUT, these last few weeks have been different – i’ve had a richness & sweetness w God that’s continued below the surface frenzy.  its been most interesting to still sense some very deep & rich fellowship w God in the midst of seriously crazy schedules, demands, etc.  What this says to me is that God is pretty intent about having a relationship w us.  On the human side & being dreadfully honest, i’ve also been in a really needy state of being – needing God in all the stratas of life where i interact.  maybe i’m getting over any personal dignity & accepting that at ground zero, i’m a needy person, even if that puts me in the pariah category. 

i just need God, plain & simple – whether i’m busy or bored, popular or pariah, floundering or fulfilled – i just need God

plates, plates & more plates

ever feel like you should be in a circus act for plate spinning? 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLyW-qYoIKE&feature=PlayList&p=174C9B05A4CE6C56&playnext=1&index=35]

Everyone has busy lives – sometimes less, sometimes more.  Today, is a plate spinning day for me, so i think its even more essential than normal to consider what Paul says in Phil 4:6-7,  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

For every concern, frustration, request we pass along to God, and He tells us to do this, please be sure to include a thanksgiving as well.  Then allow God’s peace to guard your heart & your mind.  Then spin away baby & trust God to help you spin & catch a plate if it falls.  😉

distance #3

Ok, sunday i had the privilege of speaking about letting Jesus get close.  Just to be totally honest – i had way too much fun getting to share on this topic.  Seriously, this was a blast for me!!!

Here’s my gist:  i think that we keep Jesus at a distance for lots of reasons, but some common ones include: 

  • busy-ness (i’m too busy, like Martha in Luke 10, i think),
  • hurt / emotions (i’m disappointed or hurt by Jesus so i’m going to keep my distance, like Mary in John 11)
  • unworthy (i’ve got WAY too much garbage in my life for Jesus to get too close, like the centurion in Luke 11).

Its unfortunate that we use these reasons to keep Jesus at arms length.  I’ve found that if I ask Him to help me w my busy-ness, i feel closer to Him & He often does help me!  I also find that Jesus is deeply moved by my pain & wants to be involved in helping me resolve it.  Finally, the reality is that we all have huge quantities of garbage – but Jesus came to make us worthy.  Keeping Jesus at a distance from our personal lives isn’t constructive.  the end