Are You Snappy or Coy?

There once was a woman. Let’s call her Snappy. (Her parents were always in a hurry!) Now, Snappy had a good life. She had everything she needed and plenty that she wanted. She knew overall her life was great.

On days everything went her way, she was in a great mood. When the sun was shining, she was smiling. When her kids behaved, she was singing a little tune. If she got a little time to herself, she felt refreshed for a short time.

However, Snappy wasn’t always happy. When there was traffic, she was a bear at the office all day. If someone took the last of the kind of donuts she liked, they better get out of her way. Rainy days? Forget about it! No one wanted to go near her when they saw that look in her eye.

Then there was a woman who lived next door to Snappy. Let’s call her Coy. (Her parents never went out.) Coy also had a good life and knew it.

Coy enjoyed all the little things in her life as much as the big things. She felt like the flowers that bloomed in her yard bloomed just for her. So many things made her smile and even dance for joy. Her world was big and anything was possible. She was always finding the sweet side of life.

Just like anyone, Coy’s life wasn’t perfect. She just didn’t let her circumstances dictate how she felt. When a bill came that was higher than expected, she knew it would get payed somehow. If the cashier said an unkind word to her, she assumed it was because they were having a bad day. On days that traffic made her late, she took it as an excuse to turn the music up and sing every word she knew.

Coy understood that life was what she made of it. No matter what happened, Coy knew it would work out for the best. The easy days and the hard days were gifts to her and she cherished them all.

Snappy looked at Coy and envied her. She thought Coy must have more money/family/love/power than her. She didn’t understand that no matter what, she could have the same. Life didn’t give joy to Coy. Jesus gave her joy. Nothing took it away, because nothing could take it, unless she decided to give it away. And Coy KNEW not to give that away!

Snappy was happy when her life was good, but she never had true contentment and peace that comes with Jesus. Everything was external with her and the world saw that. No one wanted what she had, but plenty wanted what Coy had.

Which one are you? Are you happy when life is good or do you have joy deep in your heart? If circumstances tell you when to feel grateful, maybe this is a time to change that. Look to Jesus to fill you with joy that nothing can take away!

Linking with Holley Gerth

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Let That Be Your Wisdom

If only you would shut up and let that be your wisdom! (Job 13:5)

Go Job. You tell your friends what they need to hear! Although I think Job is also telling us now in 2017 this same thing. So many times it would be more wise to not speak than to speak.

When it comes to politics….we should shut up and listen more.

When it comes to religion….we should shut up and love more.

When it comes to parenthood….we should shut up and help more.

When it comes to social media….we should shut up. That’s it. Just shut it.

When it comes to a hurting friend….we should shut up and try to understand their struggles better.

When it comes to career advice….we should shut up and remember the other person is not us.

When it comes to telling anyone they are doing anything wrong….we should shut up and pray. Before words come out of our mouths, they should be run by God first so they can be infused with grace.

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

Linking with Holley Gerth

When Your Body Fails You

This month has been the most difficult one for me in the last few years. At first I kept my pain and fear mostly to myself, which meant it stayed in the dark. I allowed myself to live in a state of anxiety instead of where I need to be: a state of victory.

Once I told people about what was going on, I started to see I am not alone in this stage. Many people understand how I feel, which has greatly reduced the shame I have felt for being so weak.

Fainting and having seizures are things I have had to deal with since I was a child. They have been a part of who I am for so much of my life that I never thought I needed to stop barreling through life. I am busy and am at a part of life where that is a given. It is occurring to me that there are things I am not going to be able to do and others I really should say no to.

It is hard for me to understand that there are so many things I want to do that my body may not be able to. I began to question why God put good desires in my heart if I am not capable of carrying them out. I love being busy and long to be helpful.

All of the issues I am facing bring me back to my Grandma. She came to live with us when I was 10. At that time she was legally blind and needed strong hearing aids, yet she longed to be useful. The many things she used to do were no longer an option, but I never saw that get to her. Mom had her iron clothes (which is why my sister and I never learned how. We blame her!) She couldn’t drive a car or cook, but she could have tea with me. She wrote letters to people to encourage them, using a special guide to help her use the little vision she had. People still tell me how much those letters meant to them. Grandma visited people in nursing homes a few times a week. The people she befriended were ones that no one else visited. She became good friends with them. Grandma’s life was different than it had been, but she was no less useful.

What I believe is what will define me. There is the lie that I am not worth as much if I can not do all I think I should do. Then there is the truth. It is up to me to choose to see that my brain was wired this way. I was made by God. I am still fearfully and wonderfully made because of my Maker. There is nothing wrong with me.

There is nothing wrong with any of us since God made us each in His image. He created us and called us good. That is the truth we should cling to and throw away any contradicting thought. We may not understand why God made our bodies the way He did, but we don’t have to. We just have to remember that we are all loved equally and have the same amount of purpose and potential as anybody else.

Linking with Holley Gerth

Three Ways to Remember God is With You

Psalm 16:8 is a wonderful verse and great idea. The NIV version is “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” This is the way I learned it and can tend to gloss over it when reading it. It becomes a nice sentiment and then I move on.

The other day I read the Holman translation and saw, “I always let the Lord guide me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” I want to let God guide me. I want to keep my eyes on Him. Yes, reading my Bible and praying are great ways to do this, but I want to go beyond those. So here are a few ways I can think of to help us keep God in our vision. Maybe they will speak to your heart like they have mine.

Let others be Jesus to you. Y’all, I am not kidding when I say this is one of the hardest things for me. I have been having a rough time physically and need to learn to slow down. On the same afternoon this week, I had 2 sweet friends ask if I needed anything and if they could bring dinner to us. What did I say? “No thank you. I am good.” That is my standard answer. We all want to help those we love, but most of us turn it down. Why? Pride? Fear of not being enough? I did say I would let them know if the answer changes, and hopefully I will allow others to help me when I need it more. God loves to come to us and show His love in tangible ways, using family and friends’ willingness. It is up to us to let them love us for Him.

Focus on who God says you are. I am a conqueror. I can get through anything with Him. My circumstances don’t define me, because God already did! When I leave no room for the lies to come between God and I, He is able to be right next to me. God will be as close to us as we let Him, so let’s make room!

Close your eyes and imagine God sitting in front of you. What does He look like to you? What does His voice sound like? Lean forward and touch His hand or shirt. What is the texture like? I am a somewhat visual person with a strong imagination, so this helps me. I don’t want to put ideas in your head, but to me, God has a rich laugh and His hands are strong and somewhat smooth. The kind of hands someone has from working hard but who also puts on lotion at night. (Hey, God invented lotion, so I say He uses it!) When we can visualize God clearly, it makes it easier to feel His presence throughout the day.

It is important to remember God is always right there with us, and it can be difficult to take that from an idea to the reality that it is. Knowing and believing are not the same thing. I challenge you to take the time to find ways to believe that the God of the universe is with you now and always.

Linking with Holley Gerth

Seek Them Out

Most people are not like me. That is probably a good thing.

There are people in my life who intrigue me. We seem to be so different, and part of me wants to know what makes them tick. Another part of me is a little scared of them. Am I the only one? I don’t want to stay that way though.

When I see someone who has a life that looks opposite to mine in many ways, I can be intimidated. When a person acts like they don’t like me for no reason, I slink away. When people believe something I don’t, I step back because I am afraid of an argument.

What if I turned toward them instead? What if I tried to figure out the other person’s motives or looked deeper into what is going on in their life? Maybe they seem prickly because they are really just insecure. They may have been deeply hurt in a way they are aching to explain to someone. Maybe that someone should be me, but I have always backed away.

Not having a close friend to talk to is no way to go through life. A person who seems so different from me could be thinking I am judging them for the simple fact that I have not taken the time to get to know them. They may not have a friend they can sort through life’s issues with and have a chip on their shoulder about people around them. (Like me.)

Unless a person says they don’t like me, I shouldn’t assume they don’t. Unless I have a reason to stay away from them, I should take the time to get to know them better. I can have all sorts of reasons in my head, but that doesn’t make any of them true.

I want to get to the point where I seek out the people who seem different than me. I want to be able to see what Jesus sees when He looks at them. We all have so much to offer the world and to enrich lives around us. I hate to think I am missing out on a perspective I need because I am worried about what they might or might not think of me.

If reading this is making you think of someone in particular, maybe you should start with them. Pray and ask God to work in their life. Pray that God will change the way you see this person. Ask for opportunities to get to know them and for the courage to act in those times. God will answer you!

Linking with Holley Gerth

Prayer Changes Me

Right now I don’t have much to say. Sure, thoughts are swirling around in my head, but nothing profound is coming out. This means I need to spend more time talking to my Jesus.

What can I pray about in your life?

Go and Learn What This Means

We are probably all familiar with Matthew 9. The pharisees in all their blind pharisee-ness asked why Jesus was eating with sinners. We can all roll our eyes here, but Jesus didn’t. He wouldn’t even roll His eyes at us if (when) we said it today. Instead, His answer blows me away still.

Jesus told the pharisees that He had come for the sick, not the healthy, in verse 12. But then the part that gets me is verse 13, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” He wants us to show love and kindness instead of proving how holy and perfect we sometimes think we are.

There was an assignment given to Jesus’ listeners and us today: “Go and learn what this means.” He knew we wouldn’t get this right and that it would take a lifetime of trial and error. He knew then, like He knows now, that we are slow learners. We try to do the right thing and be an example of virtue. We get caught up in trying so hard that we lose sight of helping those who need us. We essentially tell them, “Hold on, Imma going to get to your problem as soon as I show God and all you people how great I am.” Sometimes we deny ourselves thinking it makes us more holy when what would have more impact would be to reach out.

The best part of this is that it is never too late to start doing good. Even if we got off on the wrong track and only worked on getting our own house in order, we still have time to eat with “sinners.” Even if we ignored everyone’s needs around us because those vacations weren’t going to deny themselves, God is patient with us. There is plenty of room for living a good life AND bringing food to a hurting neighbor.

I’ll be honest. If I were Jesus, I probably would have blasted us off the earth by now. I’d rip off my sunglasses and throw them across the room. (Not sure why I picture myself needing sunglasses, but I do. So they’re in the scenario.) I would pick up my nearest Bible and thumb through all the verses and passages that spell out what is asked of people. I’d mumble to myself how I just want them to love me and love each other. I requested for people to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with me. I would want them to not judge others’ sins as worse than their own and instead tell those people what I have done in their lives. I would want them to invite people who are different than them over to their houses so they could find all the ways they are the same. But no, Jesus keeps giving us chances to catch on.

So, we are here another day. Why? To keep learning what Jesus meant when He said, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” He would rather compassion than a pretty life. He wants us to step into someone else’s shoes and not shine our own. When we mess this up, the important thing is to try again. And again. Never stop trying to get love right.

Linking with Holley Gerth