I like to go fast – snowboarding, quick flights & speedy travel. In the last two weeks, however, our family has taken a “slower” vacation. We’ve driven from Denver, stopping to see relatives & friends, all the way to Washington DC. We are now driving back to Denver from DC. I’ve done the round trip flight from Denver to DC more times than I can count & it takes about 7hours total (including driving & airport security) to fly one way. In contrast, it will take us 2.5 days to drive from DC to Denver, with minimal stops.
Along this vacation, I’ve noticed some significant advantages to this slower travel stuff:
More time to think, pray & explore – rather than focusing on the travel, slowing down allows me the space to pray & process
Beauty in various forms – from flat farmlands to the Smokey Mountains & rolling forested hills of West Virginia, there’s beauty everywhere. Being on the ground let’s me experience this beauty & appreciate Gods immense creativity.
Deeper conversations – getting to chat with my relatives & friends face to face has been a great benefit to this slow down approach to travel.
There’s some good wisdom to the Simon & Garfunkel song, “Feeling Groovy”
Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
I pray that you can slow down & enjoy your weekend with the Holy Spirit!
This past weekend, my husband & I attended a marriage retreat. Truthfully, I loath these kinds of things. I don’t like having relationship stuff discussed in such a public forum, it makes me uncomfortable & twitchy. But we all do things that we know to be good for us, even when we don’t like it (eating kale, jogging, going to bed on time, etc).
Relationships can be challenging & being married can be outright arduous. Here are some takeaways I gained from this weekend, relevant not only to marriages but to relationships in general:
winning an argument often means that relationship loses
forgiveness is essential & trust is earned
love is doing what’s in the best interests of the other person even when it’s difficult for me
being safe in a relationship requires communication & attention
“Get rid of the people who drag you down & who don’t inspire you!” I’ve seen & heard statements like this over the last few months from people who follow Jesus and it makes me twitchy & it’s disturbing. Fundamentally, this is not how Jesus lived on earth. This mindset is indicative of the pervasive consumer mindset that lurks in our culture & is an enemy to genuine love. Here’s the honest truth about both you & me: we won’t always be inspiring & there will be seasons in our lives when we need help. I can appreciate that we need not let a person suck the life out of us & this isn’t healthy for anyone. But the vending machine mentality toward people & relationships is inherently dysfunctional, sabotaging genuine connections with people.
Let’s not be around people only for what we can get out of them.
Here’s the tweak for this destructive twitch: let’s determine to be inspiring to people rather than seeking to be inspired – inspiring others to receive Jesus’ love & lavish His love on others 🙂
Have you ever had one of those conversations where someone said something insensitive to you & you didn’t know if or how to respond? This morning I was chatting with a lovely group of ladies & someone said something to me that was kind of zingy & I found myself suspended in that moment trying to figure out what to do. Having given it some thought, here are some take aways I’m choosing that might help you as well:
benefit of the doubt: I’m sure this person didn’t mean for her comment to be zingy & even if she did, I’m choosing to see her from a positive perspective
forgiving: quick is better than nursing & rehearsing which only gives my emotions a fever
ignore: rather than call this person out of their comment, I decided to dismiss the comment & adjust the conversation for a different trajectory (translation: change the subject)
some people just have a zingy edge: truth be known, we can always use some help with our diplomacy skills, so it’s best just to be fully graceful with the help of the Holy Spirit & know that we are all growing, learning and improving 🙂
Happy Labor Day weekend & feel free to share this post with your friends on FB & be sure to signup by email for this blog to keep some encouragement in your inbox 🙂
A few nights ago, one of my best friends & I, with our families, enjoyed a totally fantastic dinner together. We laughed, played, talked deeply, enjoyed God’s creation & reveled in a totally euphoric evening. This friend & I have known each other for a long time & we’ve shared some bumps along the way. I’m confident that the future will also have some possible hiccups for our friendship as well, but I’m growing to appreciate a few important lessons:
Forgiveness is an essential ingredient for being close to someone
Being steady is better than being dazzling
Compassion trumps smart
To know another person & let one’s self be known is very great adventure (Gal 4:9)
Keeping Jesus as my central & core relationship keeps me healthy
I had a BLAST!! I was recently on Joni Lamb’s tv interview program, Table Talk & had an awesome time with ladies who are every bit as wonderful on as well as off camera. I love these women & was totally honored to engage in this conversation – I know you’ll love it as well! 🙂
I recently read about how Jacob tricked his dad & brother to get Esau’s birthright & blessing – definitely shifty for sure. Whenever I read how Jacob’s mom put him up to being deceptive with his dad about getting his dad’s blessing, it makes me twitch because of the smoke & mirrors manipulation scheming. I find it positively revolting that Jacob & his mom would be so deceptive with their family, conniving, tricking & undermining trust. It’s repulsive to me because their actions totally sabotaged any trust & ultimately intimacy / connection they may have had with their family – maybe this trust never existed in the first place.
Nevertheless, for me an important take away is that when people are shifty & deceptive, there’s no real or grounded connection with them. Ultimately, it’s all just smoke & mirrors.
Hey friends! I just published a book that I think is honestly the best thing I’ve ever written! My new book is called Jesus Chicks and it’s really brief but extremely insightful. In my new book, I take one chapter per chick to talk about the women with whom Jesus interacted – Martha, Mary, His mom, the Canaanite woman, etc. What I love about this book is my discoveries about how relational Jesus is with us, as I show with His interactions with each of these ladies.
I’d strongly encourage you to get a few copies to share with your friends and even book clubs / Bible study groups since there are also discussion & consideration questions at the end of each chapter. You can also get it as an ebook as well! 🙂
I know that Valentine’s Day was Sunday, but I’ve been musing about love & what that means for us with God. So here are a few things for your consideration:
*Measure – in our human experience, we unknowingly measure everything, maybe because we are finite. But genuine love has no measures – no start, no stop, no ground, no lid, no wall nor limit. Genuine love is immeasurable
*Pleasure – genuine love is very pleasing to not only the recipient but also the Giver; we bring God great pleasure because we are God’s treasure
*Treasure – you are God’s supreme treasure; you are so highly valuable to God, that He sent His one & only son to die in your place so that you & I could walk in daily sweet communion & fellowship, reminiscent even of the Garden of Eden God taking a stroll with Adam.
You are God’s pleasure & treasure with no measure 🙂
When my kids were younger, we used to play hide & seek. I had boatloads of fun coming up with all kinds of creative places to hide (in cupboards, under cushions, across chairs, etc). Hide & seek is a fun game but not fun in the context of relationships. Marriages, friendships & families can quickly unravel when a person hides & gets secretive about their life.
In the context of our relationship with God, hiding has never been helpful, particularly in light of the knowledge that God knows everything, so hiding with God is pointless. Consider Adam’s efforts to hide in the Garden of Eden – it didn’t really work. While I can appreciate that it’s not always safe to be thoroughly transparent with everyone all the time, let’s be mindful in our relationship with God to be vulnerable, transparent, available & present. Don’t hide with God 🙂
These are a few of my favorite things: peaches, pho, fresh coffee, clean sheets, snuggling with my kids, a good read, a heartfelt conversation, prayer, . . . . . And one generality that holds true for all of these things is “staying fresh”. For example, I recently bought like two boxes of peaches because I know that we are coming to the end of peach season & I ABSOLUTELY LOVE peaches. But the problem is that these peaches are getting “tired” – not as good as when they’re at the peak of freshness & season. Pho is another example of keeping stuff fresh – whenever I bring home leftover pho & it sits in the refrigerator, it gets gross.
I think this is also true in our relationship with Jesus. A stale, old and tired walk with Jesus can get pretty ugly. So here are a few ideas that could be helpful in keeping fresh with Jesus:
Bible reading: change your translation from time to time
spiritual conversations: talk with a friend about Jesus and what you like about Him
take a bath: sometimes we need to wash off some dirt & road wear;
fasting / prayer: periodically, it helps me to do something extra (fast a meal or a few days, take a lunch to pray, look for someone for whom to pray
time: it always takes my breath away when I consider that God considers my presence to be a present ,)
Today, my husband and I are celebrating 21 years of marriage and I’m happy to say that our marriage has far exceeded my expectations and hopes. My husband is an absolutely amazing man and I love how God uses our marriage to bless others & also to help me grow. In the last 21 years, here are just a few things I’ve learned:
marriage isn’t a 50/50 bargain – it’s all in, with both feet 🙂
conflicts are opportunities to know each other better and to improve our communication
respect is an essential requirement a wife must be committed to give – disrespect undermines a healthy marriage
learn to complement rather than compete
make time for your marriage, particularly when you have children
be friends and pray together
Happy Anniversary to my wonderful man, Reece Bowling!!
Happy Monday to you! So you don’t think I’ve taken up cussing as my side hobby, a boomslang is a poisonous snake in Africa. When it bites it’s victim, it’s venom is highly toxic and disables any blood clotting. As a result, if a boomslang bites you, unless you receive a healthy dose of anti venom, you’ll die from bleeding out within probably 24-48 hours – gory & gruesome!
In my thinking, the devil is alot like a boomslang – slithery, slippery, sneaky & cunning. I think that one of the primary “bites” the devil uses to poison us isn’t like the overt attack of a lion or a bear making an outright offensive leap. Instead, I think the devil more often attempts to use a boomslang poison on us, someone offending us.
People can say / do things that can be very offensive (both intentionally & unintentionally). What people say & do to us isn’t nearly as important as our reaction. Ingesting unforgiveness is like letting the boomslang venom pump through our veins without any anti-venom. Eventually, we bleedout & our relationships fall apart. Forgivness is the anti-venom that we need to readily & generously apply. Don’t let the venom of unforgiveness settle into your heart!
When I think about forgiveness, you don’t have to convince me that I need to forgive – I’m already on board with that. The tricky part for me is the actual forgiving. Here are some tips that might help you:
forgiveness isn’t a feeling. Consider the Corrie Ten Boom quote, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”
forgiveness in the greek means “to let go or release”: when we forgive, we release the hurt, bitterness, judgment & pain
proficient forgiveness requires practice
forgiveness must be kept fresh – stale forgiveness can grow putrid in our emotions and thoughts
Here’s a cool & short video that could be helpful: forgiveness
I’m a sucker for compliments and maybe you are as well. I like to be told that I preached a powerful message, that I’m a great mom, I’m an excellent wife and I could keep going with a really long list. Compliments are frequently really helpful, unless you get them from someone who you know isn’t a friend. Compliments from people who are not your friends can be poisonous because the compliments are often insincere. If you think about it, people who don’t have your best interests at heart can and will say anything nice to you because they don’t have any “skin in the game”.
In contrast, people who are genuinely your friend will tell you things that could be difficult to hear:
your zipper is unzipped,
you’ve been really cranky lately,
your thinking is really messed up,
that’s not a good color on you, etc
In Prov 27:6 it says that the wounds of a friend are faithful but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Don’t fall for deceitful kisses!
I was reading this morning about how Jesus hung out with tax collectors, sinners, prostitutes and disreputable people. In their best moments, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought that His choices for social interactions was weird. More often, the religious leaders were “unhappy” with Jesus’ social choices. Clearly, Jesus didn’t fit in with the religious leaders & was weird by their estimation.
On the flip side, it seems to me that Jesus was more accepted & fit in better with the people who were more obviously broken (sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, etc). Maybe these disreputable people liked Jesus because He was weird. He was different from them, offering them genuine love that they had possibly never experienced.
When Jesus lived on earth, He modeled for us how to be good in a weird way – loving people genuinely. In my thinking, the work we do with Saving Moses and nightcare is wonderfully different & even weird because it’s an overtly tangible expression of genuine love 🙂
Unimportant, irrelevant, insignificant and altogether meaningless. Sometimes I have conversations and interactions with people where I try to figure out where we might have some common ground and find something about which we can both enjoy discussing. When I talk with my friends whose kids attend the same school with my kids, we often find the common ground related to school stuff. When I’m speaking in a church or at a conference and connecting with people in these environments, we often talk about God and the Bible. But not everyone wants to talk about school stuff, or Bible stuff, knitting, or how to get in better shape, snowboarding, or Soren Kierkegaard or God or prostitutes having babies that need safety and protection, . . . . We all have things that we are passionate about that aren’t interesting or meaningful to other people. But here’s the totally cool piece:
All of you is meaningful to God. God is altogether interested in your life and everything in which you’re interested. God has the capacity to be fully engaged, interested and participatory in every area and interest of your life! All of you is meaningful!!
How many ways can I love Brazil? Well, that could be really difficult to count because every day that I’m here, I find new things that I love about this country. Here are a few in my top 10 so far:
people: I’m not sure that I’ve found people in the world so far who are more fun & easy to connect with than here in Brazil. I know that they have jiu jitsu here and that can be pretty intense, but from my experiences so far, Brazilian people are gracious, warm, kind, friendly, helpful, engaging and genuinely hospitable. Brazilians are awesome!!
Son, Fun & Spirit! Getting to minister here isn’t like anywhere else! The people are super responsive, really engaged and hungry for the Bible and the Holy Spirit! And can I say that the worship here is a BLAST!!?!
of course the food, weather and environs are totally WONDERFUL – especially when you consider that it’s supposed to be snowing when I get home
beach – I live in mountains so whenever I get a little beach time, it’s way beyond a double bonus!! 🙂
I could keep going, but I think you get the picture – Brazil is fantastico! 🙂
I’m a big fan of having adventures. I like adventures with food, travel, sports, reading & lots more. There is, however, one area with adventure that I’m not very bold nor risky & that’s the area of relationships. When it comes to food, travel, sports, etc, whenever an adventure in these areas gets a little over the top, I know how to manage the risks & how to back off or resolve most of the difficulties. With relationships, those adventures are more tricky for me to manage. But here’s something that I’m discovering & learning: a vibrant relationship with God is the most extreme adventure for which I could ever join. Indeed, genuine love is bold, risky, thrilling, scary, extreme and audacious! And jumping into genuine love is like swimming in God’s presence. So let’s say yes to this adventure and living in an ever deepening & growing relationship with God – the Ultimate Extreme Adventure 🙂
I’m trying to spell out the Bill Crystal line in Princess Bride about “marriage is what brings us together” & you probably think my computers spell check went funky ,)
I’m writing on marriage today as my husband & I are celebrating our 20th anniversary today & I think that’s some noteworthy evidence of God’s grace 🙂
Here are some things I’m learning about marriage along the way:
*lots of grace, patience & flexibility is a foundational necessity toward both myself & my husband
*dont say everything you think – it’s often better to think through my thoughts & feelings before I just let it rip
*relationships have ebb & flow so take off the pressure of expectations & performance & enjoy the moments for what they are
*speak life, hope, honor, grace & affirmation – these words help keep our relationship strong
*when there’s conflict, be mindful to discuss behaviors rather than attacking the person
*pray alot & understand that God is using your mate to help you grow in intimacy & as a person
*love is a choice more than a feeling 🙂