I knew him when…

Congrats to Mark Thomas, on the Amaze.fm Song of the Week honors…not to mention the airtime and blogtime on HughHewitt.com. Mark, we are so proud of you. You are on the cusp of bigger and better things…and an extremely influential life!

Go here to hear the Amaze.fm Song of the Week by Mark Thomas

Jumpstart your New Year…

Donna's BookI am participating in this online group with Donna Partow (who is one of my favorite authors!) It’s called 90 Day Jumpstart and it follows her new book, Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be. I am very excited about the timing and the potential of this!  I hope you’ll check it out and join us on Facebook! 

I’ve included her overview video which explains what will be covered during the 90 Days…

Patient…or passive?

Patient…or passive??

“Therefore I [am ready to] persevere and stand my ground with patience…”
II Timothy 2:10

I wonder sometimes if we really get the difference between these two words? Of course, it’s no shocker that I think patience can be highly over-rated. I’m not by nature a patient person.  But the truth is, I’m not really against patience—when it’s true patience. I am, however, against being passive claiming we are being patient. There are times we must push, confront, enter into conflict, face our fears, and take charge of our lives. Yet, often in the name of “Just be patient” we do none of the things we should.  This applies to so many areas of life: our health or healing, our finances, our jobs/careers, our relationships, our spiritual lives…even our futures.

 

This verse is interesting to me in that Paul is standing his ground with patience. He’s not doing nothing with patience; he’s not twiddling his thumbs or complaining with patience. He’s standing his ground.  So, there are times when our patience requires action. Seems incongruent doesn’t it? That’s the point! We have accepted this idea that a passive existence is somehow spiritual…that waiting on God means we have nothing to do with the outcome. In my own life, this is a dangerous mindset. When I sit back and passively wait on circumstances to change…on people to read my mind…on life (or God) to give me what I feel I deserve, I’m not actually waiting—I’m wasting time!  I’m afraid we spend too much time waiting and wishing.  We all have the power to accomplish great things, but the truth is: God expects us to participate and to live with passion and purpose—not passively waiting for things to be easy.

 

Read about Caleb in Joshua 14.  In verse 12, he demanded of Joshua: …”Give me this mountain….” That is not a passive sort of faith that takes what comes—but one that rises to the occasion and to the promises God has given us. I bet we all have areas of life that we have become passive in…maybe without even realizing it.  Take this encouragement to stir up your faith into action and believe for something bigger and better!

 

Let’s bring back the Thank You note…

Ok, before you think I am dumping a load of guilt on you–hear me out. I love receiving Thank You notes. I enjoy hearing what someone thought of my gift or my action that meant something to them. I know how appreciated and rare they are…still, I’m not so good at sending them!

I remember one year when the boys were very young, I got chewed out by a long-distance relative for not sending a Thank You note for something sent to our boys. I was very upset at the lack of grace and understanding this person showed me. I didn’t really know the rules back then! Plus, I don’t like when things like that are expected and then held up as a standard I somehow failed to achieve. This experience may have soured me on the simple joy of the Thank You note.

This being said, I think Thank You notes are great. Not as a social measure to judge others; but as a sincere gesture that lets someone know you don’t take them-or their gift or thoughtfulness–for granted. That’s a message I want to send and receive. So, as time-consuming or inconvenient as it may be, I am going to try to send more Thank You notes this year, starting with my friends and family who sent me things for Christmas. It’s a small way I can sow appreciation into their lives…and into mine!

What do you think of Thank You notes?

Christmas is a crescendo

Advent was never meant to be a month-long fa-la-la-la-la. Instead, Advent is a time to remember just how much the whole world needs Christ.

That Girl Kate has inspired me to reflect on the Tradition of Advent. In some ways I miss the traditions of the denominational experience I grew up with. I can’t quite explain why…I don’t really remember experiencing God in the way I do today; still I do remember it being meaningful to me even as a young child.  Like Kate, I want this month to be more than a blur of activity and stress. Every year we hear everyone moan about finding the “true meaning” of Christmas. Maybe this is a result of moving away from the traditions that ground us in our faith and ground us in the very traditions we observe.

What does this quote mean to you?

Taming the mind God gave me…

Have you ever wrestled with who you are? Do you find yourself apologizing tor those things that are second-nature to you that flow out of who you are without even thinking? Do you have peace with the way God made you?

 

I think this is a very important question! IF God never did anything else in your heart/life to change you…IF you never read another self-help book or attended another conference…WOULD YOU BE OKAY WITH WHO YOU ARE?  Because…God is!  He LOVES the way He made you.  He finely crafted every detail of your personality, your passions, your interests, whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, straight hair or curly. He put you together in a unique and awesome way. What a shame that we (I) spend so much time trying to change that!  In the midst of trying to change and grow—we lose sight of how good we really are.

 

I’m not talking about living a “flesh-driven life” here; I’m talking about accepting ourselves at the very core of who we are. It’s not an arrogant attitude that says I never have to grow or adapt. I’m talking about an attitude that accepts and LOVES who we are…to the point of using every gift and talent God has given us to serve others. No excuses, no lack of confidence or poor self-image.  Just an all out throwing ourselves into whatever God puts in front of us…fully cognizant of our weaknesses, where we may stumble, but wanting to do it anyway.

 

WOW. This is the “revelation” that our friend, Jon, at Stuff Christians Like got from God and wrote about in his post, Teaching yourself to breathe underwater.  And it opened my eyes to this struggle in my own life…and helped me see it a little more clearly. I believe it will help me live more freely, too!

 

Why waste time trying to tame the mind God gave me? A mind that literally overflows with thought and ideas spilling onto anyone I come in contact with…a heart that wants to help everyone and anyone do what they are doing better. Thoughts and words that at times have been mistaken for power-struggles or arrogance.  Yet, when other people misinterpret my words or actions and fail to see and accept me for who I am—does that mean I should believe them? No. I must get back to the root of who I am with God. He’s OK with me…he really is! He’s OK with you…He really is! He loves your quirks, your sense of humor, your heart for people. He knows how hard you try to please others and Him. He’s totally impressed with your style, your ideas, your motives. It’s sort of hard to swallow all this, isn’t it…

 

I guess that’s my point. We can—and should—totally agree with God Who says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Ps. 139)

 

How about you? What quirks in your life and personality are you trying to change?  Are you willing to accept and embrace those things and fling yourself into life in a fresh, new way?  I think you should…

The art of being misunderstood

How heart-wrenching it is to realize you have been deeply misunderstood…and that people are assuming the very worst about you. It’s like my least favorite thing!

Is it pride at my loss of reputation? Is it grief for the loss of communication or that the gift of reconciliation was tossed aside in the heat of the moment? 

I get that we all make rash judgments about people. Then we filter their words and actions through the filter of our own assumptions. I’m sure I have done this many times…as a parent, a daughter, a wife, a friend. Still, the sting of realizing that your heart is not understood…and even worse, that it’s being judged unfairly is so painful to me.

Am I guilty of not expressing myself well? Certainly. Do I make assumptions that others will know my heart based on who I am? Yes. A careless word or a fragmented thought can lead to much confusion and misinterpretation. How often I’ve learned this truth.  And how often I am reminded that hurt people hurt people… 

Lord, help me to speak the truth in love. Help me to embrace the vulnerability that comes with revealing my heart–and never shy away from this out of fear that I may be misunderstood.