Friday, September 26, 2014

Mountains High and Valleys Low.

How is today? Rushed? Calm? Too busy? Or filled with the gentle and quiet breezes of fall lingering in the air and Pumpkin Spice Lattes in the drive-thru? Maybe you're one of my African friends. The Weather is warming up. The trees are blossoming. It's beautiful.....
 If you're anything like me, the answer to that question can change drastically daily. Sometimes even between the alarm clock and lunchtime. Life is lived in mountains and valleys. We rarely stay in one place, right? Some of us rarely stay in-between those two extremes. We have big, massive, life-changing moments and we have deep, dark, "everything is dreary and it's never going to get better" days.  Seasons. That's not just for the Earth. That's how life is too. 

Do you ever feel a nagging feeling that maybe-just maybe-you will never feel the power of the "mountain-top" moments again? Do you wonder how you could have experienced so much excitement and overflowing joy at one point only to be struggling now just to have something to care about today? And what about the in-between? It all feels kind of messy sometimes, doesn't it? 

I awoke this morning from a dream in which I was coming home. This doesn't surprise me because I have plans to move home in a month but have been wrestling with it. I love the people I work with and they're intensely amazing. I hate to leave that. But as I woke up this morning with visions of being home, seeing everyone again, loving on them, diving into the community, I began to cry. Yes, I miss it terribly. Yes, I want to reconnect. Yes.  How do we deal with all the excitement and pain thrown into the pot? How do we deal with unknowns? With transitions? With the un-expecteds? With dreams not coming to fruition? And with carrying our mountain-top experiences with us rather than leaving them on top of the mountain? 

Several things popped into my mind. They helped. They reminded me. They speak:
1. It takes deep pain to recognize the joy of healing. 
(Those who has hurt the most will have the most to be overjoyed about. )
2. If you don't feel anything get low. Literally. Hit the ground and ask for it. 
3. When you don't have words or know what to pray, speak His words to Him. 
(There is a unique power that come with praying His words out loud to Him.)
3. When the last thing you feel like is praising Him, make it your first response.
(The walls will crumble. Your soul will awaken and respond. )
4. Turn off the noise and turn your eyes from you to loving on someone else.
(You'll begin to hear and understand Him in ways beyond what you thought. )

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Through the morning fog.

Maybe it's because my dad grew up on a farm and still arises at 3:00am. Maybe it's because I'm used to barista hours. Whatever the case, I've always gotten up way too early. Often Jesus speaks to me in my most early and exhausted of moments. Tired. Sore. Only halfway through my first cup of coffee. Barely functional. Blaring some kind of Kim Walker or Beth Moore at too high of a volume. And just waiting for Him to breath life into me for today. 

In those moments I often have this strange clarity that blares through the fog. I'm betting it has something to do with not thinking too much or being awake enough to analyze everything yet. Whatever the case, something hit me this morning in the midst of all that......

This whole mindset we all tend to go back to time and again. This way of thinking. This emotion we live under. This pattern of "In a perfect world, I'd be doing_____. If only I was good enough. Smaller. Bigger. Younger. Older. More. If I had the money. The education. The smarts. The gumption. The guts. The bravery. The ability. If I knew for sure that's my calling.......but not everyone gets to do big huge amazing things. Not everyone is called to be powerfully dynamic, audacious, drastically different and world-changing. I wish I could be like those people. Most of us don't have what it takes. That's for a select few.......Right?"  

WRONG. I may still often be a mess. I may have a long way to go. I know I have so much yet to learn. But I'll tell you again and again what I do know.......
YOU ARE MEANT FOR INCREDIBLE THINGS. Y-O-U. 15 years old or 80 years old. Single or 6 kids. It doesn't matter. His design and desire for each of His children is for them to continue His work here on earth. Powerfully. Intentionally. Differently than the Christianity we're often shown. So so so much more than all that. He has the greatest and wildest adventure for you and is itching to give it to you. You CAN be that person you look up to. That person you've always known is in there somewhere. It's more than a reality. And it's waiting for you. All you have to do is allow Him to give it to you. Allow Him access to all of you. And allow Him control of your future. Jump in the passenger seat and let Him drive. It'll be the greatest ride of your life. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

A little chat.

Recently I've been having this conversation with myself, with high schoolers, with college students, with young children, with friends, with parents, with co-workers.
it's that important. It's that constant. It's coming up over and over. And so here I document it. I have yet to find a human who hasn't needed this on a loop. And of those humans I need it the most......

You are not too much. 
You are more than enough. 
Not all is lost. 
There is more than hope.
It is not too late.
You haven't screwed-up too much. 
You are strategically woven together to be exactly who you are. 
Nobody can replace you. 
It would matter if you weren't here. 
There is indeed a glorious purpose for you.
You can still choose that path. 
You can still change the world.
You have an irreversible role to play. 
You can be undaunted.
You can be powerful.
You can do as much as that person you so admire.
That is His desire for you. 
Not to live in "nice" normalcy.
But to live a crazily and wildly adventurous life.
And when you let go and submit to that, you'll begin to experience life as you never knew it could exist. Beyond this realm. Beyond anything you imagined. 
that is the real you. 

"By faith Abel...."
"By faith Enoch......"
"By faith Abraham....."
"By faith Noah....."
"By faith Sarah...."
"By faith Isaac...."
"By faith Jacob....."
"By faith Joseph...."
"By faith Moses....."
"By faith Rahab the prostitute..."
"By faith the people passed through the Red Sea..."
"By faith the walls of Jericho fell..."
"I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again........ All these people were still living by faith when they died....."
[All taken from Hebrews 11]

"Blessed is she who has faith that what the Lord has said to her shall be accomplished."                      [Luke 1:45]

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Lessons from Pixar and Katy Perry.

Call me crazy. But every once-in-a-while I get a very large revelation from something very small like a dumb movie. Today I watched Monsters U. No surprise there. It was an "I really need the type of cleverness only Pixar can make" type of day. Then I was watching a few music videos. Yeah. Sometimes I do that. I'm a nerd. Anyway, I've been stuck on Katy Perry's Roar lately. (Oh gosh, am I admitting that out loud?! Hopefully it's worth it to make my point.) I can't help but totally love the song. Don't snicker-apparently I'm not the only one. It has 565 MILLION views. What's my point to that? Well, just that I had a moment of clarity as I watched it. I had a flash of understanding that the story today's audience has gotten through every form of entertainment is that it all depends on you. It's all about your ability. Your strength. Your self-motivation. Your "pick yourself up by the bootstraps" mentality. Add to that any form of a childhood in which you were taught that life is all about slaving away for retirement, and you've got a possibility for some serious bondage. I caught myself today feeling quite guilty. Guilty about many things. About where my life is. How I look physically. The fact that I am returning home and have nowhere to live, no apparent "job" set in stone, and zero money. Something about the combination of the movie (If you work hard enough you'll get to where you wanted to be. It all depends on you) and the music video (muster up your inner lion strength to become the beautiful & powerful person you want to be) didn't sit right. I became agitated. I felt like I am just not enough. I even began wondering and questioning what I'm doing. The commitment between Jesus and me. If I am really supposed to be in hardcore full-time ministry, why does it feel like nobody is interested? Nobody is knocking on my door? Maybe I'm not good enough. Maybe I need to prove myself more. Maybe I am just not finding enough places to apply to for my future. Maybe I ought to put in more apps. Work harder at this. Be even more loud and vocal. Get myself out there more. Self-promotion. That's what everyone does nowdays. It's a vicious fight to have the most people follow and know you. Be online more. research more......more. more. more. And suddenly I'm in a swirl of being so busy trying to "get in" somewhere that I am missing all the things that are happening right here in front of me for the next two months. If I do all that, my head will be in the future instead of the present. I won't fully immerse myself in the beautiful ministry I'm with for a short time. I won't enjoy my coworkers. My bosses. The amazing woman I am staying with. I will just be stressed, tired, and anxious. Is that the kind of thing He wants for us? Or would He rather us plant firmly in this season and moment, giving every ounce of ourselves to those before us, flourishing where we are, and fully trusting and believing that He's already mapped it all out? Isn't the striving just another form of unbelief? Of telling Him we don't trust or want to give up control of our future to Him? 

The truth according to God's word is that He established a specific purpose for each of us before He even began forming us with his hands. And that purpose is beautiful and huge and intense.  More than we even know. He also promised us that He will never leave us of forsake us, that He has already given us all the power we'll ever need and then some in the form of His Spirit. A power that allows the most earth-defying things to take place if only we'll agree to use it like that. What we could be a part of is seriously mind-blowing. He promises us that His desires are to work all things out for our good and that He has a role only we can play in His grand adventure. None of these promises say anything about "IF you can be a good enough worker", or "IF you're powerful enough". Nope. Quite the opposite. He makes us strong. He makes us powerful. He makes us beautiful. He gives us that brilliant future filled with adventure and fulfillment beyond our comprehension. Nothing in that equation depends on our work or what we have in us. And I for one am currently rejoicing & extremely thankful for that. Because it is the most hope-filled thing any of us could possibly need to hear today. None of it depends on you. He's got it all covered already and it's brilliant. Let's just open up those clenched fists,  let go of the control we're grasping, and allow Him to show us incredible things today.