Thursday, September 25, 2014

When Your Best Yes is a Dragging, Kicking, Screaming No


Ornery is a word that runs in our family.

My grandmother?  Ooh, ornery in her later years.  Very sweet, very southern, but could be very ornery.  My mom?  Very sweet, a godly saint.  But she wants what she wants.  And I see this trait starting to rear its stubborn head in my life.

But it just didn't start.  I have been ornery for some time.  And although I'm not so sure how biblical that cartoon is, I know that it describes my life at more than one time.  

I know so many Bible verses about waiting on the Lord and how God is always there and we're never alone.  But sometimes I just want to hold on to something so tightly that I go back into my little corner and pretend that if I just leave God alone, my life will go exactly the way I want it to and everything will be JUST GREAT.

It's just when the Holy Spirit pricks my heart and gives it a gentle nudge that I have to break down into tears of guilt and sorrow that I have been so, for lack of a better word, stupid.  I know God's Word and I know it to be true from my life, but I still lack the faith sometimes to totally trust that God does have the best plan.

Which comes to my best yes -- which is sometimes a more-than-reluctant no.  Knowing the best thing to do and not doing it produces the most guilt for me.  And the thing is, I do it over and over.  I can so relate with Paul in Romans 7:15:  "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Like me, he knows the best things to do and yet he does the worst things anyway.

But thanks to my study this week in The Best Yes, I have determined to be open to those things that mean the most, the things that God puts in my path. Like put down my stupid phone when I get home from work and really be there to talk to my family.  Like get an extra fast food biscuit on Sunday morning for the homeless person I know I will see between my parking and the church building. Like be sensitive to a friend who is talking to me and know when she really needs to talk.  

I have to slow down in order to see these things, but when compared to the rate of speed when you get dragged, I'm way ahead.

Friday, September 12, 2014

How to Be Found When You're Incredibly Lost

If you are lost, the surest way to be found is to ride around in a 1978 Ford station wagon (the one with the fake wood paneling on the side) and use a loudspeaker to announce your name and ask for your family to identify themselves.

At least that was my first experience being lost.  My family camped a lot when I was young in the wilds of Pennsylvania.  I rode my bike a little too far around the campground and it got a little too dark and a kind, elderly couple rode me around until the loudspeaker caught the attention of my parents, who assumed I was with siblings.

You can be lost in a lot of ways.  I have already blogged on my adventure of following a faulty GPS, and going to Walmart is always a lesson in "I have got to remember where I parked next time."  

But try writing a blog.  There are only about 16 quatrillion blogs out there in the blogosphere. Some are terrible, some are so-so, some are really good.  I know of a person who has a blog that is just for her own journaling purposes.  I read blogs that have many followers.  But how do you stand out and not get lost in all the blogs that are begging to be read?

Well, outside of developing a full platform and fairly well-financed social media campaign, it's next to impossible to stand out. 

So what do you do?  Four words.

Be. True. To. Yourself.

I have some very talented friends who have amazing blogs.  For example, www.lisaappelo.com is the home of True and Faithful.  www.cultivatingahome.com is the home of Cultivating a Home, sharing the incredible wisdom of my friend Rhonda Ellis, who will be the first to tell you that she has made her share of mistakes in parenting, but shares some valuable wisdom. www.brendaschwend.com is a blog that is so rich with insight into life.  And they are really good writers.

So do I compare myself to these amazing women?  It's tempting, but comparison is an evil monster that only compares your worst to someone else's best.  So instead, I keep on plugging along, being a little funny and sharing a lot of my life and hope that someone is encouraged along the way.

Just like in life -- no one can be everything, and we all need everyone to be exactly who they are.  My friend Mary DeMuth, an amazing author, told me that I am the only one who has my voice.  Just like in the body of Christ -- I am the only one who has my specific mix of gifts and talents.  So I gotta get out there and be true to God's Word and how He wonderfully  :)  made me.

No loudspeaker (or wood-paneled station wagon) necessary.

1 Corinthians 12: 12-20
 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves[d] or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,[e] yet one body.