Tuesday, April 30, 2013

words from acquaintances

An acquaintance told me recently to be careful, else I'll burn out.  Smart words from an acquaintance.
A part of me wanted to say a favorite quote:

It's easy to judge those you have no investment in.

True statement by itself- and yet, I could not freely respond with that.  If I said it, it would've been motivated as a defense mechanism.
What this person said was right and wise.
What this person does not know, however, is that the surplus of activities and doings and beings have been stemming from a recent need to be distracted.  I do realize that I will exasperate myself and eventually collide with truth, but for the time being, I don't want to contemplate the circumstances at hand.  So I've busied myself in hopes that by day's end, I will be too tired to think.
On the contrary.
At the end of the day, I follow myself home, and I cannot sleep because my thoughts are with me.
So each Tomorrow begins with a tired mind, a sleepless body, but a hopeful heart and an unfazed ambition.
And I've yet to confront myself.

I cross paths with this acquaintance more frequently, and each time I do, it makes me sad.  This person, in my mind, has officially become the post-it note, the string around my finger, the temporary sharpie tattoo on the back of my hand.  I don't think this person was judging me, I think this person was making an observational and true statement, and the honesty has made me so aware of the pressing need for me not to ignore my heart.

I'll get there, slowly.  And as I work my way there, I sing in the car, sing as I bake.  It soothes me.  It's a distraction that pacifies me.  I'm building the confidence to deal with these situations, and also depending on the Spirit to administer His peace and joy.  I am a lot less sure about the course of my life, but I am more sure that God is trying to get my attention by means of strangers.  I need to be a better listener.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.
- James 1.22

Anyway, this post which uses my current life as an example can serve to teach a few things:
- to invest in people so you know how best to pray for them, or
- to speak in wisdom and honesty because you never know how you can impact people for the better, or
- to not spend your energy trying to escape from your circumstances.  Better to face them head on with the faith and confidence that God promises His nearness and His strength.  He also promises us rather kindly that He will go before us and fight our battles (with plans of winning), or
- to listen carefully, and be obedient, or
- all the above.

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
- Exodus 14.14


Friday, April 12, 2013

Love, Fear, Options.

My Lola used to always tell me that you can't grip onto the things you have; otherwise the blessings fall on closed fists.  But if your hands are always open, ready to give, then you will always be ready to receive.


Love gives options; fear does not.

If you operate in fear, there is only one option: to be in control.

Fear tells you all kinds of things, especially all the opportunities for failure, disappointment, and rejection.  Fear insists that if you relinquish control, everything will fall apart like a mad crisis, and you will be left alone, possibly rejected, potentially hated.  And fear convinces you that all those maybes are likely's.  Fear gives you one option, and that option is a lie.  But Fear won't tell you that.

Love, however, gives options - because to live in Love is to live in freedom.

That's the crazy thing about Love.  It gives with hands open- which means, after all you give, and pour, and sacrifice, this Beloved in your hands could very well fly away and never love you back.  But you never choke it into submission.  You never worry of its return.  You let it choose its home.  You let it choose whether or not it wants to love you back, or stay receiving, and either which way, you keep on giving.  Love always presents the Truth, and never without force or doubt or anxiety, but in hope, in trust, in faith.  Love is courageous like that.

But we slip into fear because when we don't know tomorrow, we aren't in control.  So fear pressures, and threats, and manipulates.  We'll make little compromises, simmer some depression - and we lose sleep over our irrational concerns, plotting all the possible outcomes, and how we can have the last snappy punchline.  

Not love.  Not real Love, at least.  It doesn't manipulate, but it knows how to correct, confront, reveal - beside accountability, mercy, and affirmation.  It doesn't compromise, it sacrifices.  And maybe it will touch sadness, but it will understand hope.  Love rests with peace, and wakes with joy.  It listens with humility and speaks with wisdom.  And you may never know what tomorrow brings, but you can bank that a heart full of love is ready to respond to anything.

Fear holds back; Love releases.
And when Love lets go, there's always more room to be loved in return.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Galatians 5.13-14


currently listening: Beautiful Eulogy, Satellite Kite

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


"Watch the deer, and you will understand my soul's longing."
My uncle once said this very casually, but it made me think.  Deer will usually run to water after they are wounded.  Some say they do this to wash their wounds, some say it's to replenish their blood, some say it's easier for them to run downhill, and there they find the waters.
Nonetheless, the imagery shed light onto the familiar passage:

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for You, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go to meet with God?

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember You
from the heights…

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God.

- Psalm 42

Undoubtedly, the moments that we are most wounded, most defeated, and most discouraged are also the moments when we crave to be renewed.  And when our strength has been spent, it's easier to run downhill than pursue the heights.

And He is omnipresent.  God meets us in the depths.  God is found in the valley.  It is here where the streams of water lap across the rocks; here, He restores our souls.  He washes our wounds, He binds our wounds.  He cools our aching hearts, He refreshes our weary spirits.  He is the place rest for our dizzied minds, He is pure, He is clean.

I see the wounded deer, longing to be alleviated from their pain, longing for the waters.  So my weary soul also longs for the Living Water.  So my soul longs to find a place to rest and regain my strength.  So my soul longs for restoration.  So my soul longs for God.

If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.

- Psalm 139.8


currently reading: Don Potter, Facing the Wall
currently listening: Jon Thurlow, Songs About Jesus