Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lazy or Loaded?

The other day my husband referred to himself as "lazy" regarding why he has not been working out like he used to over the past few years.  I quickly responded to him that he is not lazy by any means.  I know my husband, and lazy is not who he is.  He is a hard-working, devoted man of integrity...far from lazy.  Sure he has his lazy moments, as do I, but in no way would I characterize him as lazy., not in the sense of $$$...but loaded with responsibilities and even daily physical tasks that lead to him being very understandably tired, hence the lack of energy or drive to work out.

How about you?  Does that sound at all like your life and daily LOAD?

You know far better than anyone else all of the mind-boggling issues weighing on your mind in addition to the various necessary physical tasks and other responsibilities you have.  Does all of that end up overwhelming you and leaving you physically, mentally and emotionally drained!?!

When I did a quick word search on the words "lazy", "overwhelmed", and "rest", I found that there are far more times in the Bible where the word "overwhelmed" and even "rest" are referenced than the word "lazy".  True, laziness is a big problem and even a sin and should be dealt with seriously.  However, I think more often than not, we tend to see ourselves as lazy because we are not keeping up the pace of what we think we should be doing.  We are not fulfilling expectations we have put on ourselves.  We are expecting something of ourselves that is not necessarily what God expects of us or even what others expect of us.  I think that more often we are actually "overwhelmed" by the bombardment of things to do and keep up with in our fast-paced societies.  Additionally, there are many things I found in the Bible that we are specifically overwhelmed by:  dread, guilt, horror, sorrow, amazement, and even wonder.  Do any of those fit you?  Do all of those fit you at some point? 

I was just speaking with my precious cousin last night whose 5-year-old beautiful, spunky daughter is being treated for a brain tumor.  Our local community has responded literally overwhelmingly to this dear girl's cause.  There have been multiple fundraisers with turnout in the 100's and untold dollar amounts given to her fund...often by people who don't even know them personally.  My cousin is a very non-spotlight, humble person, and this wonderfully loving and gracious response for her daughter truly has her overwhelmed.  She is so very thankful, yet does not know how to react.  Is that you as well?  Would that be you if you were in her situation?

Overwhelmed...Loaded...definitely NOT Lazy.

In times where we get overwhelmed by whatever it may be at that moment, we inevitably hit that point where our body and our mind say...ENOUGH!  REST!  (That's a built-in factory perk installed by our intelligent and loving Creator!)

So, the next time you are tempted to get down on yourself and call yourself "lazy" because you're not keeping up with the Joneses physically, financially, or otherwise...stop and re-evaluate.  Is "lazy" really the right description of who you are overall?  If not, then let yourself do what comes naturally and REST.  It's okay.  You are no less of a person because you aren't living up to expectations that you may be unfairly putting on yourself.

I read a couple of great quotes today about that:
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Albert Einstein

"Our God is no fair-weather Father. You can count on him to be in your corner no matter how you perform." - Max Lucado

And on the subject of rest:
"Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest" (Psalm 55:6)  (Wouldn't that be nice!?!)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  (Matthew 11:28-30)

The LORD replied, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."  (Exodus 33:14)

Lighten your're NOT Lazy...Rest in Him!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Faith like a Butterfly

Faith like a Butterfly

As I sit here working in my office, I notice a beautiful butterfly fluttering around outside my window.  It lands on a delicate pink and yellow flower for a minute, then flutters around some more.  So beautiful, so peaceful, seemingly so free and confident.

Then, I think about how that butterfly started.  Remember, it used to be a caterpillar…no wings, no beauty (unless the beholder is my 4-year-old son, then he might argue otherwise).  The caterpillar crawled everywhere it went.  It only looked to the sky as a spectator.  I wonder if it even realized it would one day become one of those beautiful, freely fluttering creatures.  Doubt it.

But it did.  One day it emerged from a cocoon stretching its new appendages for the first time ever, only to discover they were wings!  Big, beautiful, fluttery wings.

But now what!?!

The former caterpillar had to be thinking, “Wait a minute!  What am I supposed to do with these things?  Surely I am not going to flutter around like one of those pretty things I have always admired in the sky above me.  I am a caterpillar.  I crawl…everywhere.  Nobody told me how to use these.  What do I do?  Do I just step off of this branch and hope I don’t crash to the ground?  Yikes!  No way!  I can’t do that!  Not me!  I’m a caterpillar…I crawl…I DON’T fly!  Nobody gave me any lessons.  How do I know these things work!?!”

Can you imagine what could possibly going through that poor little former caterpillar’s mind at that moment!?!
But, at some point, that former caterpillar must have decided to step out on faith and embrace this new creation he had become and stretch those new wings out and…FLY!

He couldn’t SEE the air and wind and drafts that would eventually carry him everywhere he ever needed or wanted to go.  He just had to step out on faith and embrace the new him that he didn’t yet understand at all much less know how to operate.  He had to trust his Maker to hold him up on the wind and help him soar and flutter safely to and fro.

The butterfly I am watching today must have done just that.  He has this fluttering thing down pat.

What about you?  Will you embrace this new you that you cannot fathom nor understand?  Will you step out in faith and trust your Maker to help you soar safely to where you need and even want to go?

You MUST!  This is the new you!  This is your new mode of transportation…the beautiful, fluttering wings of a butterfly…or better yet, those of an eagle!  Embrace them…stretch them out…step off of the branch…and soar on the wind of His provision for you.  Embrace the new creation that you are! You are not just a crawling caterpillar anymore!

Fly on the wings of faith!  He will uphold you!  If He keeps the butterflies and eagles in flight, He will surely do the same for you!

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.“  (Hebrews 11:1)

…the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.“  (Romans 4:17b)

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,  they will walk and not be faint.”  (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Fly…Soar…Trust Him NOW!

Monday, July 12, 2010

White or Wheat?

Just wrote this for Faithful Feet, sharing it here as well:

White or Wheat?

Last night, I was making some homemade crepes.  I have never made crepes before, but thought I would give it a shot.  Can't be that hard.  Anyway, I got to a step in the process where I had to sift some flour and salt together.  Well, I was using regular all-purpose flour, though I did throw in some Kosher salt.  You know, the salt that is big and chunky.

My regular sifter (if it still exists after all of our moves) is obviously still packed away in a box somewhere.  So, I used a mesh strainer instead.  I poured the measurement of flour in it and then added the salt on top.  Then, I took a measuring cup and proceeded to force the flour and salt through the mesh.

While I was doing this, I was hit with the thought of when Jesus told Peter, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat." (Luke 22:31)

See, I was merely sifting white, all-purpose flour with a little bit of chunky salt in the mix.  As I did this, it took force.  I had to grind with strength and determination against the flour and especially against the salt to get it to pass through the mesh.  (I really didn't think the salt was going to get through!  I almost gave up on it.)  Once I did this, however, the results was baby-soft, fine powder-like flour - and the even further result would be delicious crepes.

While I was working the all-purpose flour through the mesh, I wondered how much more effort and force it would take had it been wheat...not just wheat flour...but real wheat!  Ouch!  And Simon was sifted that way!?!  WOW!

I wonder sometimes, has Satan asked to sift ME as wheat!?!  How about you!?!  I know sometimes it sure feels like it in my life!

Take heart, if you are being sifted or are coming up on a sifting soon.  Remember the result of soft, pure, baby soft flour that will be used to make something very delightful and fulfilling.  Maybe we've got rough chunks in us that need to be forced through the mesh.  It WILL pass through...though sometimes with more force than you would like.

And, take heart in Jesus' words to Simon Peter just after He told Simon he would be sifted as wheat, "But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:32)

Jesus Himself is praying for us.  He is praying not that the sifting won't happen or even that it won't hurt, but He is praying that throughout the sifting our faith will not fail.  AND, WHEN (not IF) we have turned back, He is praying that we will strengthen our brothers (and sisters).

That's what we're here for...that's what this Faithful Feet journey together in His steps is all about...strengthening our fellow believers.

Oh, and by the way, after the 2nd crepe that I couldn't flip without tearing it up, I gave up on the crepes!  The batter is still in the fridge.  Oh well!  :o)