connect

Being Exclusive

There’s lots of appeal to being exclusive, particularly when we’re included in something “exclusive.”  But if we’re excluded, it’s not very pleasant.  For example, remember the middle school cliques?  Or how about the “process” to be included in a fraternity / sorority?  There’s lots of good feelings to being included & lots of bad feelings when we’re excluded.

I’ve been thinking about the words “include” and “exclude”.  In latin, include literally means to shut in while exclude means to shut out.  I’m bringing this to your attention because God wants to include you in the family of God – to adopt and graft you into the family.  And I think this inclusion can make us all feel warm, fuzzy, loved and accepted!

To this end, if we’re in God’s family, then as a family member let’s continue this value and include people instead of exclude them.  Maybe this would be an authentic way to express genuine love: to be more inclusive than exclusive 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Project, Function or Person?

I came home yesterday from some travel over the weekend and had some rough interaction with one of my kids. I had reviewed some of their grades and had some email exchanges with a teacher which weren’t pleasant. So when I got home, I was prickly with my kid. And this child pushed back on my prickly with a sizable dose of snarky such that our exchanges weren’t constructive. Short story: I was really ticked off.

Thankfully, I’ve had a mental reset this morning. I see where I was treating my child as a project and function, expecting them to change, be productive and fix their grades. Instead, it would be better had I come home and started from a place of genuine love in my heart rather than treating them like an object or project. Let’s be committed to seeing people instead of outcomes, projects or functions. We can do this because this is how our Heavenly Father sees us, from a heart of genuine love, connection and deep affection 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Connect or Obstruct

“Zip it!!!”  This is what everyone told blind Bartimaus when he was yelling, fussing & making a scene. He wanted to get Jesus’ attention so that maybe he could get a miracle from Jesus & see again, in Luke 18. 

I wonder what it was like to be in that crowd who was following Jesus & to be accosted by this desperate man. Their reply, “Zip it!!” tells me that the crowd didn’t have any interest in helping this desperate man. Indeed, they obstructed Bartimeus & attempted to discourage his efforts. 

Let’s be careful that we help people to connect:  find & experience Jesus, when someone seems to be annoying or a nuisance. 

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Speed of LIFE!!!

A fourteen hour day can feel kind of overwhelming & sometimes we have long days, overflowing with demands & activities.  Modern living pressures us to stuff our days to the gills so that the more we get done, the better we feel and the more significant we are.  Consequently, the idea of a Sabbath flies in the face of the modern lifestyle.

Nevertheless, God instituted a day of rest in each week as one of the 10 Commandments, so it’s on the same level of importance as not murdering, loving God, etc.  And I’m writing this blog, maybe to myself more than anyone else because I’m on a gerbil wheel with overflowing days and more work than time.  When we keep time and fellowship with God as our top priority, then the speed of life won’t result in a trainwreck 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, missions, nightcare, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Beyond the Surface

“Her eyes were empty” 

I’m in Cambodia & have met women here in the sex industry & their eyes are vacant. On the surface, our initial reaction could be one of shame, disinterest, judgment, revulsion or not even seeing her. When a persons eyes seem empty or vacant, it can be easy to overlook them. But we need to see past the surface & we need to look beyond our initial reactions to see a human for whom Jesus died & deeply loves. 

No one, including you & me, wants to be ignored, overlooked, shamed, judged nor rejected. With genuine love there is never a scarcity, so this helps us to see beyond the surface. In contrast, there’s always a shortage with transactional love. 

Let’s let Holy Spirit Help is to see beyond the surface!

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Posted by Sarah in Cambodia, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

In Between the Holidays

Have you ever been in the middle of something & felt like you’re kind of in limbo?  Sometimes, I feel like this between Christmas and New Years.  There’s a nice exhale after all the frenzied Christmas flurry but I can also feel the New Year coming into focus, even though I’m not quite ready for that yet.

Limbo land is kind of a weird place.  It’s the middle area between starting & finishing, so it can be a short little jaunt, like a quick trip to the grocery store, or the entirety of life between birth & death.  When I think about this middle space, I’m reminded of lots of Bible folk who found themselves in this experience:

  • David in his flight from Saul lived for many years in this middle space, where God cultivated strength, committment & maturity in him.
  • Moses lived in limbo land between his flight from Pharoah and the burning bush, where it looks like some of his youthful hubris was deflated over the course of 40 years, making him ready for the burning bush experience that launched his destiny to liberate the Israelites from slavery and so much more!
  • Peter had some limbo time between when he betrayed Jesus and was reconciled to Him after Jesus’ resurrection;  perhaps those days helped Peter see his utter dependence on Jesus in sharp contrast to his frail flesh, being reconciled through the loving interaction with Jesus in the Q&A session about Peter’s love for Jesus

Let’s be sure to keep a laser focus on Jesus in between the holidays 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 2 comments

The Few, the Proud, the Exclusive

Being part of an elite group can be very attractive. The sense of belonging, being special & set apart appeals to our emotions & sense of significance. Sometimes there can seem to be some good reasons for being exclusive: excellence, comraderie, influence, achieving high goals, etc).

A problem, however, with being exclusive is that it becomes easy to allow the status of the group to influence the way we see ourselves. Sometimes we can think that being part of an exclusive group makes us elite or a cut above “other people.”
Another problem with being exclusive (religious, social, economic, fashion, athletic, etc) is that we can often remove ourselves from connecting with others who are not as elite, don’t achieve as highly, don’t dress in the same fashion, don’t had the same income bracket, aren’t as athletic, or don’t have a similar mental prowess.

The biggest problem with being exclusive is that such a mindset runs entirely contrary to how Jesus taught us to live. In John 13:14-15, Jesus models for us a servant mindset, ready to wash feet & lay down His life for others for the simple & revolutionary goal to express genuine love. Let’s always keep our sites on the end goal to love with a genuine heart & sincere expression!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Don’t Freak Out

Whenever my kids tell me, “Mom, don’t feel out when I tell you this, . . . ” I brace myself for what comes next. Sometimes it’s something easy, like “I forgot to tell you about a school assignment.” At other times, they spring something on me that’s more robust or unsettling. Whenever we have one of those “freak out” conversations, it always helps me to remember that nothing makes God freak out.

Indeed, God is never shocked nor chased away by us, our struggles or questions. And in full truth, God’s love continues to pursue us, even when we give up on ourselves. Be encouraged! You will never freak God out!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

God awareness

I really like to study languages.  Thus far, I’ve studied probably half a dozen & it always fascinates me when I get to explore a language and how a culture communicates through it’s language.  It also fascinates me to consider that anywhere from 40%-80% of the way we communicate is non-verbal.  Furthermore, I would suggest that the better you know someone, the fewer words you need to communicate with them.

With these ideas in mind, it’s been my experience that God communicates with me in lots of different ways:

  • Bible:  ground zero, full stop
  • a soft whisper or witness in my heart that’s difficult for me to ignore (1Kings 19)
  • desires (Ps 37:4) – I ask God to guide me by giving me desires that affirm God’s plan, will and kingdom
  • conversations – there are many times that God will speak to me through someone in some kind of seemingly common discussion, but something very uncommon stands out to me in that chat (Emmaus Road – Luke)
  •  very often, I don’t sense God speaking to me in words or verbally, but rather I sense God’s presence and I just enjoy keeping company with God

How do you sense and hear God?  Please share with us! 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

God talk

unnamed Today, I was driving and having a God chat.  We talked about some of my concerns and frustrations and I tried to not do all of the talking, but this is a tricky balance.  Conversations that facilitate a deepening relationship go both ways – both parties listen and both talk, hopefully not at the same time.  To get to know the other person in a relationship, we need to be present, attentive and available.  In the same way, for the other person to get to know us, we need to be present, sincere and forthcoming.

We all have relationships where we play our cards really close to the vest – we don’t openly share about painful areas, hotspots or vulnerabilities.  But if we are going to have a deepening relationship with God, then we need to put our cards on the table and equally listen, pay attention and value the feedback and input that God gives us, not only to solve problems but moreso for the purpose of connecting and attaching.  God talk is a two-way street 🙂

 

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments