present

3 Mistakes to Avoid with Friends

As I write this blog, I’m painfully aware that I’ve made more than my share of mistakes with friendships.  I’ve fallen short in terms of being consistent, not expressing myself well, being impatient, insecurity struggles & loads more.

And because I’ve been reading Job for a few weeks now, I’m watching his friends and their interactions with Job, noting some stuff to avoid.  Here are some things that might be helpful to you:

  1. Listen to understand more than reply:  Job’s friends sat with him for 7days before they ever said a word.
  2. Presence trumps absence:  Job’s friends didn’t run away when his life went into a cataclysmic meltdown.  Let’s be careful that we’re not fair weather friends
  3. Compassion is better than criticism:  Job’s friends looked for his secret faults as a cause for his suffering, but they were skinny on compassion.  When our friends go through horrendous experiences, it’s more loving to be compassionate than look for & point out their flaws & failures.

Here’s to friendship & how God helps us grow in “iron sharpening iron” friendships, based on Prov 27:17 🙂

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

Routine or Monotony?

I’m a big fan of routines and daily habits because I’m entirely convinced that success can often be the result of daily habits added together over extended time.  I know this to be true from my dentist telling me to floss everyday, from making it a habit to write everyday and lots more!

At the same time, a routine can become mindless and mechanical muscle memory because of familiarity and practice.  This is the monotony quagmire where we get caught in the habit without getting our desired results.

The defining difference between mechanical muscle memory (monotony) and culminated success is attention and presence.  Just because we do something repetitiously doesn’t mean that we’re going to be successful with that activity.  I would suggest that we endeavor to be wholly present and attentive with our daily habits so they can have maximum impact and success.  To this end, let’s be careful to cultivate both intentional presence as well as daily habits!

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

Show Up

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!
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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Suicide and Depression

In the last few weeks, I’ve learned of various people who have committed suicide and it’s heart wrenching.  A few of these individuals have been pastors, which hits even closer to home considering that I’m a pastor’s kid, I’m married to a pastor and I am a pastor.  These events have also made me reflect on various people over the years who have committed suicide.

As much as I want to be articulate in this post, I feel so deeply about this subject that I can’t seem to get my words or thoughts into some semblance of order or cohesive progression.  So maybe I’ll just free flow with this post and pray that it’s helpful to you, somehow.

More than anything, I hope that you will be gentle, tender and kind with others and yourself, regardless of any external veneer.  When we are in a car and see a handicapped license plate, sticker or a “baby on board” sign, we will often give that person a little extra consideration, grace and space because we know there’s a vulnerable / fragile person inside that vehicle.

May we also have the same mindset with the people in our lives, appreciating that each person with whom we interact, has their own internal struggles regardless of what the exterior looks like or how they behave.  Let’s be purposeful to:

  • be comforting rather than critical
  • choose mercy over judgment
  • be hopeful more than hostile
  • express patience more than petulance
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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, nightcare, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Still Present

Another Christmas has concluded & we will soon close the chapter on 2016. Sometimes it’s difficult to say goodbye & sometimes we say with great enthusiasm, “Good riddance!”
No matter what your perspective is on the goodbyes for this year & season, let’s keep in mind that Jesus is always with us, so we never have to say goodbye to Jesus! But maybe we should say goodbye to a few things for 2017:

  • Would Jesus have you say goodbye to some habits that encumber your walk with Him?
  • Would Jesus have us say goodbye to the not so deep walk we had with Him in 2016 to grow deeper & closer with Him in 2017?
  • Would Jesus have us say goodbye to some disorderly priorities that perpetuate unhealthy mindsets & dysfunctional behaviors?

Let’s remember that Jesus is God’s greatest present to us & that He’s always present with us! With the Holy Spirit’s help, let’s determine to be present with Jesus in 2017 more than we were this year!

 

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, Christmas, enemies to intimacy, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, seeing Jesus, spiritual, values, watch, 0 comments

Christmas Presence

  
If you look carefully at this picture, you’ll see that Jesus is inside a transparent “box”, made to look like a present. And it’s not a stretch for us to see Jesus as God’s present to us. John 3:16 comes to mind with God loving & giving Jesus to us. 
But let’s think about this in another way: perhaps Jesus modeled for us God’s core desire – presence equals present or gift. 

When we give God our presence, this is one the greatest presents we can give God. Of course money, serving & worship are vital gifts that we give to God, but giving God our presence is the expression of whole hearted love. Let’s be sure to make time in this busy season to be present with God 🙂

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Posted by Sarah in busy, Christmas, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, seeing Jesus, spiritual, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

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!

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

Enjoy now

My kids are on Spring Break this week & we’ve had some really great family time together! We skied a few days & have totally enjoyed some mountain get away time. At the same time there have been a few hotspots & some things with my job that are diecy. If I’m not careful, I could let my mind get focused on the hotspots & work issues but one of my friends gave me some good advice: discipline your mind to be present with your body. For me, this is really good advice & maybe for you as well so that we can fully enjoy what God is doing where we currently are 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, 3 comments

Now is good :)

We are having a very nice Christmas break with our kids & I’ve noticed that they haven’t once said, “I can’t wait until . . . ” This says to me that they are enjoying now, this present moment & this is a great lesson for me!
Sometimes I get stressed out about the future or discouraged looking at the past. Whenever I get I these weeds, I neglect to see the beautiful flowers of today. Even worse, my awareness of Jesus’ presence seems to deteriorate & I can easily become stressed & depressed. So lets decide to let the past be over & relax that when SE get to the future, Jesus will be there, just as much as He is with us in this moment 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Christmas, enemies to intimacy, family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, 0 comments

anticipation

I have this eating trick that’s kind of stupid, but it works for me: whatever I like the least is what I eat first & whatever I like the best, I save for the last, so that I have something to look forward to.  There’s a whole psyche that lies behind this strategy, but that’s a story for another day ,)

My point is that I have a plan that helps me to look forward to something that I enjoy.  Maybe this is why God created mankind last when God created the world.  Perhaps God waits with eager anticipation to get to be with us – waiting for those moments when we turn our attention to God and give some of our time and presence to our Creator.  I have this strong conviction that the fundamental purpose that God created us is to have fellowship with God.  With this in mind, the fellowship we get to have is sacred, relished and wholly pleasing to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (that’s alot of pleasure!!).  God looks forward to getting to be with you today 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, 0 comments