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!
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.”
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 🙂
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!
It’s easy for me to get a bad attitude when I’m tired, when I have jet lag, when a day is overflowing with bad stuff, etc. And I find that attitudes are important catalysts for how we experience life. In the Bible, we can see various people who wrestled with their attitudes & the outcomes. For example, David had good reasons to have a bad attitude with the Saul season & he endeavored to coach his attitude by keeping his focus on God – a really helpful principle!
Let’s also remember: a bad attitude ruins everything good & a goodattitude ruins everything bad 🙂
Moses is a familiar character particularly in the Old Testament but Aaron isn’t as known. And the truth is that Aaron was a massively significant partner to Moses to help him be effective & fulfill Moses’ divine destiny. God even assigned Aaron to be Moses’ mouthpiece for interacting w Pharaoh with the 10 Plague stuff. And Aaron was the first high priest in Israelite history, along w being a military support to Moses during a battle against the Amalakites.
Sometimes I think we mistake significance with fame or visibility. And even though Aaron messed up w the Golden Calif thing at Sinai, God didn’t shun Aaron & delete his participation in helping form Israel into a nation.
Let’s be sure that we stay engaged in community & a contributing partner no matter our shortfalls or visibility!
I’ve been reading about Moses and the significance of his impact for the nation of Israel. I appreciate that Moses had a plethora of significant impacts and here are a few concise take-aways from Moses’ life that we can apply:
age doesn’t need to be a limiting factor – Moses began his greatest impact when he was 80years old
teamwork is essential for significance – Moses partnered with Aaron who was God’s provision for Moses’ shortfalls
keep trying – Moses’ first interaction with Pharaoh seemed to backfire & make things worse for the Israelites
listen to God – this is the most important take-away that we can apply everday
Maybe when everything is said & done, probably the most significant thing we can do is obey God, with moment by moment help from Holy Spirit!
Imagine my surprise at 8:30am on Thanksgiving morning, when I unwrapped our turkey, only to discover that it was still frozen, with company expecting delicious & cooked turkey at 1pm. My son was helping me & our faces reflected mutual freaking out!! I was even pulling ice out of the cavity & trying to troubleshoot solutions. Long story short, we had a delicious, fully cooked turkey & no one got sick eating it 🙂
In the meantime, my son was the hero who helped me avert a Thankgsiving disaster and here are a few things he did that could be helpful when you face a possible cataclysm or fiasco:
Assess the situation and don’t freak out – gather as much info as possible to grasp the extent of the possible disaster: Everything was frozen on and in the turkey
Start thinking of little steps to make the situation better: We ran hot water on the outside of the turkey, as well as in the cavity
Keep working with the incremental improvements: We stopped up the sink so that hot water could get around the turkey as much as possible
Thoroughly inspect the progress: We frequently inspected the mobility of the legs to see if they were unthawed (greater flexibility = less frozen)
Be positive & encouraging: “Mom, I think we’re making some good headway in unthawing this bird!” That was really encouraging to me!!!
Teamwork: Appreciate that we are better together than trying to do catastrophes alone
The outcome of our efforts was a delicious turkey & a delightful meal. Possibly more important, I learned LOADS of helpful tips on cooking turkeys, I had a significantly bonding experience with my son and I now know how to cook a turkey at a fast speed 🙂
“We aren’t doing that!” This morning, I read in Exodus about the Egyptian midwives who didn’t follow Pharoah’s command to kill all baby boys born to Hebrew moms. They ran against the grain & took a risk when they didn’t comply. Because they didn’t obey Pharaoh with his command, God blessed these midwives greatly!
I find the behaviors of these midwives to be very interesting: they aligned themselves with a nation to whom they didn’t belong, they protected the most vulnerable, they were advocates of life and they found a “convenient reason” to explain their non-compliance to Pharaoh.
Sometimes we need to run against the grain of what’s popular around us to live as advocates & examples of genuine love! 🙂
“You can’t do that!”“That’s ridiculous & never been done before.”“We aren’t interested in that kind of thing here.”“NO!!!”
I’m in Bangledesh sitting with our Saving Moses nightcare team, comprised of nannies, administrative support, guards & assistants. This team looks after babies & toddlers every night while their moms work in the adjacent brothel. When I came to this area last year to present my idea for nightcare, I already had many years experience where people told me all the things I listed at the beginning of this blog & even more. Thankfully, the people in Bangledesh weren’t opposed to my idea, although definitely surprised. And today, I’m abundantly fulfilled to sit with this wonderful team – grateful for each of them & believing in nightcare!
So when you face opposition, here are some things I’ve found to be helpful:
See the goal – this helps to stay focused
Take a step toward the goal, no matter how small
Be creative – there’s more than one way to achieve a goal
Failure is learning rather than defeat
Encourage someone else – it helps to keep your heart joyful
I’m in Bangledesh with Saving Moses. I love to watch the people here & reflect on their daily living. I see shopkeepers, garment factory workers, kids walking to school, brick makers, farmers, etc. There are lots of differences here in the daily living with what is familiar to us in America.
As humans, however, there’s lots of commonality that we’d be wise to acknowledge. No matter the differences, let’s remember some helpful things:
Respect: being respectful of differences helps us learn & know people
Compassion: the road each person travels has unique struggles
Learning: new experiences can facilitate some incredible insights
At the core of these three things is an internal perspective that we can cultivate. When we lack these things, then it’s helpful to take an internal inventory to consider why something is missing. Selah 🙂
Hello from Dhaka Bangledesh! Clearly, Dhaka is a very different place than my home city, Denver.
Also, I’m continually astounded by the things I hear & see here in relation to the babies & toddlers of sex workers.And I’m all the more astounded when I learn about the difficulties that floating sex workers have in particular when they work & looking after their babies & toddlers.
A floating sex worker in Bangledesh does not have a permanent brothel & has many dangers they navigate daily. Such dangers include having their baby / toddler stolen & sold in a market for a minimum of $50 – an atrocity that unravels even the most hardened sex worker.
While there are some organizations that help the moms, there is no assistance for their babies / toddlers. And that’s why Saving Moses is here today & we are making some headway to open nightcare for the babies & toddlers of these floating sex workers.We are very serious about Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 to look after the least of these & I see the least of these, being the babies & toddlers of floating sex workers.
Some things are difficult & we want to find excuses or reasons to avoid such difficulties. We might want to sidestep a challenging conversation or greeting a prickly person. We might prefer to ignore the scale in the bathroom since it may tell us something unpleasant. And there’s always the “busy” excuse that’s convenient for all kinds of stuff we’d prefer to avoid.
Despite our best efforts, however, whatever we try to avoid, ignore, deflect, etc it’s still there & will likely remain present until we step into the issue. Here are a few ideas that might help us to show up:
Pray: let God know you don’t want to show up & ask for divine Help
Deep breath: this can often help to clear the cobwebs in our thinking & give us some energy to take a step
Anticipate good: it’s possible that whatever we might be avoiding has some unexpected good stuff
Love truth: sometimes we avoid truth bc it might be painful or unpleasant. But ultimately, deception is more destructive than truth!
You are magnificent when you are you!! When you try to blend, conform or be someone else, not so much. I say this because I’ve brought my daughter for a college visit & I remember my insecurities in college & being uncomfortable in my skin. I’ve always been a little quirky & when I’m settled with myself, that’s fun. When I’m unsettled with myself, the quirky and fun side of me gets quiet and even disappears.
All of us have insecurities and internal struggles. At the same time, let’s rest in the truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, in the image of our Heavenly Father. We are valuable, important and have divine purposes and plans. Indeed, in Ephesians 2:10, it says that God has already laid out good works for us to walk in and no one can do these good works, except you because they are divinely appointed for you, living in your skin and being wonderful YOU!!!
We can go through seasons in our lives when there’s an abundance of lemons. By this, I mean that sometimes life serves up lots of bitter stuff, such as: a bad medical diagnosis, poor results on a test in school, an unexpected bill when the money isn’t there, emotional struggles, extra responsibilities in an overcrowded life, relationship catastrophes, etc.
So how do we make lemonade from the bitter experiences that can happen in life? Here are a few suggestions:
Prayer: take whatever is bitter & bring it to Jesus for divine input
Choose to trust: after prayer, make the consistent decisions to trust Jesus to bring good from bad, order from chaos, blessing from curse
Gratitude: even though we don’t like hardships, struggles & lemons, James 1:2-4 says that such difficulties can work into a blessing & become lemonade. So maybe gratitude is some sugar to sweeten the lemons
Here’s to letting God turn lemons into lemonade in our lives!
How can I get this done? Where will I get the time for that? How should I use this money or talent that I have? Have you asked God these questions? Often, such questions are anchored in the requirement to trust God
And sometimes trusting God can be both challenging & frustrating! I’m in Cambodia for a super quick trip. This morning I was trying to figure out all of the moving parts for today, since my flight leaves tonight. I couldn’t make everything I needed to accomplish today, fit into a schedule. So I decided to trust God when I left the hotel this morning & I’m pleasantly surprised at how well God has put together this day!!
Trusting God can be a daily & even an hourly discipline, based on Proverbs 22:19. And this trust is an essential ingredient to a closer walk with God!
Presently, I’m in Cambodia & yesterday I was in Dubai. Tomorrow, I fly back to Denver so I’m changing lots of time zones. I’m hopeful that I’m not a babbling idiot as I interact with various folk, since my sleep is a little bit whacky. It’s understandable because Dubai is 10 hours ahead of Denver, Cambodia is 13 hours ahead of Denver & Friday I’ll be back in Denver – so I’m going around the world in 7days. This means lots of geography changes & navigating time zones.
And times are changing around the world. In the US, the generational shifts are obvious & sometimes difficult for adjusting. Furthermore, time seems to change as we age – maybe it speeds up? Here are some ideas that might be helpful for changing times:
be present today: yesterday is over & tomorrow isn’t here; so now is a wonderful place to reside
trust that our times are in God’s hands, based on Ps 31:15
time is irreplacable so let’s be intentional about how & where we invest our time
let genuine love be our top priority regardless of how the times & people are changing!
I just finished a few days in Dubai & it’s very impressive what has been accomplished there in a few decades. Before 1970, the area was a small fishing village & the people there worked hard to squeak out a living in place with abundant heat, sun & sand but not much else. A leader in the area, Sheikh Zayed, had vision for the future that would use the discovery of oil to position this region for abundance, modern developments & opportunity. Today, the United Arab Emirates is highly developed & very impressive.
When we consider what is around us & what the future could be, let’s do some important things:
Hello from Dubai!What an interesting city & diverse population!Our guide told us that about 85% of this city is not local & only 15% are native born. So I’ve been here less than 12hours & I’ve met folk from Bangladesh, Greece, India, Afghanistan, Egypt & lots of other places!With such diversity, it’s helpful to be friendly, smile & be a learner. It seems to me that when I’m open to learn, that often helps me to love & in particular learning from people who are very different from me.
Some thoughts for loving well:
See people & not objects, projects norfunctions
Serve & smile
Flexible let’s me adapt to enjoy & thereby love better
I’ve definitely had my share of flops, failures and screwups! When I was younger, I’d get massively embarrassed & it would take me awhile to recover. Now that I’m “older”, it’s easier to laugh at myself & put mistakes in the “practice” column ,)
I’m in the middle of a youtube series about people in the Bible who messed up. Feel free to watch this really short video about a Bible character & I’m inviting you to subscribe to my youtube channel as well! Happy viewing!