grow

Fear: friend or foe?

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.

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 1 comment

first reactions

I’ve been noticing some things w my kids that are somewhat eye opening.  When I ask them to do something, like the pick up the things they were playing with or clean their rooms, etc, they can sometimes tend to have 1 of 2 reactions:  complain or argue.  Both of these reactions are becoming very annoying & probably reflect some bad parenting shortcomings on my part.  With that being said, the whole complain or argue strategy has started me thinking about how I react to God’s directives in my life.

 There are times that I know that God is asking me to do something & I have some “creative answers” that include:  I don’t have time, I don’t want to do that, why do I have to do this? that’s a really big sacrifice, I’m not smart enough to do that, I’m too busy doing the other things You told me to do, . . . . .

Some of the ways that my kids respond to me have really started me thinking about how I respond to my heavenly Father.  I always want my kids to respond with respect, honor, hard work, no complaining or arguing, etc.  I think my heavenly Father would like me to treat His requests in the same way – what great opportunities to grow!  🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, spiritual, 1 comment

harvest is a result of growing

 Among other things, Fall tends to remind me of harvest & harvest is the results of planting, watering & growing. In this Fall season of harvest, I’m noticing some interesting harvests in my life, that are coming as a result of making choices to change & grow (not always the easiest decisions).

Here’s some transparency that I talked about with my mom this morn:  last year when I came back from Angola, I had a SERIOUSLY DIFFICULT time recovering in my heart from that trip.  Truthfully, that trip permanently changed me in a good way, but the process of that change was extremely harsh.  In contrast, my recovery from our Angola trip last month hasn’t been nearly as brutal as it was last year.  Here’s something that I think is a key difference for me between these trips:  last year when I came home, in many ways I tried to process the trip by myself & barely talked w anyone about it on a heartfelt level.  In contrast, this year, I’m way more open (by contrast) to talk about the trip, my experiences, feelings & observations.  I find myself being less independent than I was last year & it feels like I’m processing the trip in more healthy & constructive ways.

So I find myself growing in surprising ways – being less independent & more interactive.  And the fruit or harvest of this growing feels more healthy & less hurtful.  While independence can be good, strong & powerful, there’s also a toxic side that can be a blindspot of lethal magnitude.  Perhaps the operative word would be “inter-dependent” 🙂

My friend, let’s always chose the growing path because the harvests are worth the cultivation & process

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Posted by Sarah in Angola, Holy Spirit, living, missions, prayer, saving moses, spiritual, 0 comments

having some fun with failure

To me, fun and failure don’t really belong in the same sentence.  One of the only times that I’ve experienced failure and its been fun is when I bowl.  For whatever reason, whenever I bowl, I laugh my head off.  Since I don’t really have much opportunity to bowl, I’m a miserable failure with bowling & it makes me TOTALLY laugh at myself in a really healthy way.  Except for bowling, fun and failure aren’t very complementary – but here’s the catch:  they can be.

I’ve had varying degrees of failure in my life.  I’ve failed in various sports, failed in some different school work, failed in some relational contexts, failed with some financial decisions and more.  Here’s the good part of failure – its the bottom.  Furthermore, we often seem to learn more from our failures than our successes.  Success feels better than failure, but failure because of both the feelings and consequences causes us to adapt, change, grow, adjust and improve. 

Here’s the tricky part of failure:  just because you’ve experienced failure doesn’t mean that you are a failure.  The verb isn’t the same as the noun.  Sometimes, if we’ve had some catastrophic failure or a whole bunch of failures, it can be easy to transfer the action to our identity.  This is contrary to what Paul says in Romans 8:37 – that we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. 

Hold your head up high when you fail.  Its an opportunity to grow and get better.  Through Jesus’ love for us, we are never failures, even when we blow it.

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Posted by sarahbowling in living, spiritual, 0 comments

isolation versus community

what a deadly experience isolation can be.  i read a book a few months ago about a Mt Everest climbing expedition in the ’90s that was a DISASTER!  About 1/3 of the team died on the mountain they were trying to conquer and many because they got disconnected from their team. 

We all need community in alot of different ways:  work, friendships, health, Jesus, specific issues, support groups, etc.  Community, I believe, is part of God’s plan for redemption.  Furthermore, thanks to the input from my friend Chris Hill, i believe that community on earth is just a trial run for the community that already exists in heaven.  Consider Revelation 4 – everything around God’s throne is plural (24 elders, 24 thrones, 7 spirits, cherubim, . . . . ).

So given all of this, here are some community principles Jesus discusses in Matt 13 with several parables:

  1. stay planted:  in Jesus’ parable on the wheat & the tares, the whole point of the exercise was to let the wheat keep growing.  To do this, it needed to stay planted & not be disturbed by having the weed / tares removed.
  2. be changed:  in Jesus’ parable on the mustard seed, even though this seed is the smallest seed, Jesus says its changed into a large tree.  The seed is changed into a tree & community helps us grow & change – becoming who God has made us to be.
  3. spend yourself:  Jesus’ last parable to the mass of people who were listening to Him was about yeast.  Simply put, yeast spends itself to become infused w something greater than it is by itself.  When bread is made, you can separate out the yeast.  Community is about spending one’s self, even being worn out, for something bigger than our selves – the Kingdom of God.

So, let me encourage you to plug into some Jesus communities – they’re an essential ingredient for God’s kingdom to grow in your life.  If you go to Orchard Road Christian Center, check out the link to see some community opportunties! 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in living, spiritual, 0 comments

spiritual conversations

conversationI really like having spiritual conversations – not like theology driven, but more like a sincere dialogue about what God is saying at personal levels.  I like hearing what God is saying to other people – I find that this often moves me closer to God.  A few days ago, I got to stay up late talking w a friend about some questions & thoughts I’m having about God & I had the privilege to listen to her ideas, as well as her questions.  I loved this time & found myself driving home & feeling deeply fulfilled & closer to God.  I think there’s alot of value in such conversations both in our horizontal relationships & our relationship w God.  Consider Paul’s words about Timothy & Epaphroditus in Philippians 2.  He could say these great things about these 2 men because he had had multiple spiritual conversations w each of them.

What are some things you do (or can do) to foster spiritual conversations?  Do you even want to have such conversations?  Feel free to answer or not at your level of comfort.  🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Philippians, 5 comments