Look For Stragglers

Truth be known, I’m a straggler, as I’m often looking at stuff or enjoying an in-depth conversation. I used to be concerned about being a leader & Stein ahead of everyone. 

And then I discovered the glories of being around stragglers – those people who might move at a different cadence, individuals who see life’s pace from a different perspective & others who are injured is n their body or soul who aren’t as nimble, agile or speedy. 

I think Jesus digs stragglers as well. I say this bc of a few people with whom Jesus connected deeply:  the Samaritan woman at the well, the demoniac who wandered the tombs & His reply to the woman caught in adultery. Let’s have compassion for stragglers & others who are different than ourselves 🙂

Doing Difficult

As I parent my own teenagers, I am increasingly recognizing the boatloads of magnificent stuff my parents invested in me when I was growing up & I’m massively grateful!  Much of my appreciation for the Bible, beauty & creativity, as well as Holy Spirit can largely be attributed to my parents & their influence on me.  Additionally, my parents taught me heaps about doing what’s difficult, rather than shying away.

Do you have difficult things in your life?  Difficult things can include:  internal mindsets, challenging work situations, relationships, school classes, bad habits, etc.  Here are some verses that you could pray to help you do what’s difficult:

  • Phil 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengths me
  • 1John 4:4, Greater is He Who is in you than he that is in the world
  • 2Cor 2:14, God leads us into triumph
  • Rom 5:5, God’s love is poured into your heart through the Holy Spirit
  • James 1:5, Ask God for wisdom & He’ll give it to you liberally

Feel free to send this to anyone you know who could be struggling to do difficult things!

Easy or Hard?

I like the “easy button” and easy for me includes: washing dishes, ironing, international travel, languages, grocery shopping, simple cooking and reading my Bible.  In contrast, I don’t like to do stuff that’s hard, which includes:  getting in shape, seeing suffering babies, recovering from jet lag and being gracious rather than snarky.

No doubt, you have your own lists of things that are easy and hard.  But just because something is hard, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done or we shouldn’t try to do it.  I say this because of my morning Bible reading in Philippians 2:7, where Paul says about Jesus, “He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”  This verse speaks to Jesus entering the human race, from start to finish, and experiencing human existence.  From my perspective, I would think that might have been difficult for Jesus to do – but He did it nonetheless.

If God asks you to do hard stuff, ask for divine Help and try!  Whethere something is hard or easy, let’s pre-decide to remain obedient and faithful to God!

Doing the Easy

I like easy in all things: recipes, travel, exercise, conversations, studying, etc. In contrast, stuff that’s hard isn’t as appealing to me. So when Elisha told Naaman, the leper, to dip in the Jordan river to be cleansed from his leprosy, it was an easy solution to a long term painful disease. But Naaman was upset that Elisha didn’t do something different, maybe more difficult, complicated or rigorous. Ultimately, Naaman obeyed Elisha’s directive & was healed from leprosy.
Obeying God is often a matter of doing one easy step, realizing that coaching the mental game can be more challenging than the actual obedience.
When the dust settles, take the easy step of simple obedience to God, regardless of the mental games & gyrations.

Keep It Simple

I’m continually amazed at the complexity God put into not only creation but more so in our human existence. For example, I’m learning just how amazing the balance system is for our bodies since mine has been messed up from a concussion a few months back. Sometimes our thinking can also get complicated because we can think about various decisions, about our emotions, about our values & heaps more. There are things which absolutely need to be complicated, but there are things that don’t need to be complicated. Let’s be careful to not make simple things too complicated:

  • Let’s keep our love for Jesus, others & ourselves simple & clean
  • Let’s keep our priorities simple, not trying to squeeze in too much
  • Lets keep our focus as simple as we can, particularly over this holiday weekend

The Easy Button

like easy: microwave popcorn, premade salads, automatic transmission, Siri, natural talents / giftings, automated emails & lots more. I’m very attracted to easy breezy. But I’m also finding that things I value & find important aren’t always easy. For example, I’m recovering from shoulder surgery & this means physical therapy, not so easy breezy. Furthermore, my relationships with my kids & husband require work & effort if they’re going to have any depth, texture & bonding. 

In some respects, this is also true in my relationship with God. While I’m very much the full time recipient of outrageous & inexplainable grace, I’m also keenly aware that my desire to be crazy intimate with God doesn’t happen entirely by osmosis & the lack of intention or attention. Becoming increasingly intimate with God requires my surrender, cooperation & commitment. But what always takes my breath away with God is that any effort I make is overwhelmingly outmatched with opulent, genuine & astounding divine love – way better than the easy button ,)

Supernatural

There’s nothing supernatural about doing things in which you already have natural talent & ability. For example, to some people, my ability to absorb or pick up a language may seem supernatural but to me, it’s very natural because God has given me some talent in this area & it comes to me relatively easily.
The flip side of this is that those things at which I’m not as gifted nor talented are a struggle for me. For example, if you talk with me about business stuff (strategic planning, organizational structure, operational systems, etc), I’ll look at you like a deer in headlights. I know full well that when I “get” to put on the business thinking hat, I’m entering a supernatural zone, requiring God’s steady hand, help, wisdom & engagement. Just because we aren’t naturally gifted at something doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want us to be involved in such areas. Always remember that our “supernatural” is God’s natural 🙂

Making things easy

I was recently backing out of a parking space & didn’t see a mom walking w her kids. Thankfully, I didn’t hit anyone but I felt really bad! I quickly rolled down my window & apologized, explaining that I didn’t see them & that I was super sorry. The mom was very understanding & gracious, whew!!
So here’s my point:
*I want to make it easy for people to forgive me – admitting fault quickly & honestly helps w this
*I want to make it easy for people to be polite to me – being respectful is a great platform for this
*I want to make it easy for people to help me – being less independent is my challenge on this one
*I want to make it easy for people to thank me – being quick to help is a good starting point
I want to make the lives of others better & not more difficult. Let’s all aim for this goal 😀