Hide your light under a bushel – No!

We all have reasons to be joyful, we all have things that we can bring to the great buffet table of life, but modern culture either encourages us to bury our joys or magnify our smallest talents to the heights.  The Christian way is to make the best of what we’ve been given, accept that we were given it in the first place, and let it shine.

Enthusiasm and joy … sometimes I find myself hiding how excited I get about things, or about special opportunities that I’ve been given that I cannot share, because I don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings.   I hope you’ve enjoyed me bouncing at you about the fish – there were years I wouldn’t have done that, because not everyone lives on the coast of Southern California.

But what of it?  I didn’t move here, I was born here.   Nothing about Hearthrose is so awesome that she should get to see dolphins.  No, that was a *gift*.  And every time I see them, I can hardly hold in the delight.  I can’t teleport you to my side so that you can see them with me.  But I can tell you about it, and maybe you can share the joy?

Perhaps it’s merely selfish, but I’d dearly like to see everyone I know practice their God-given skills to the hilt.  We don’t need to compete with one another.  Competing only with ourselves, and dancing in the joy that comes with living in the light.    Stop hiding your light – and stop trying to get me to hide mine so I’m not “too much”.

Play with me!

If you feed them….

They will come!

I won’t PROMISE this will be the last aquatic post, but… I got to sort of swim with dolphins today.

The kids and I had just come in for a breather, because the waves had gotten big and rough. Standing on the beach, here comes a pair of dolphins, surfing right through the waves we’d just been in. And then another three!

Absolutely we waded out a few feet so we’d be in the water with them – but it was too rough to go out and say hi.

Regardless. COOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

-SQUEE!-

FISH

I am excited about today… I feel hugely blessed.

I was at the pier to meet someone I only know via internet, wanted to say “hi” since she was in town… she just lost her husband. Go to the pier, drink a milkshake, you know the deal. I wasn’t too excited about it honestly.

And God threw a huge blessing my way. This many anchovies haven’t been seen of our waters in 30 years. http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2014/0709/Humongous-school-of-anchovies-swarmed-California-coastline for an article about this.

Now the rest of this is going to be photos of the anchovies… they were gone by the time we got done with our shakes.

I am bouncing bouncing BOUNCING and I’m sharing – even over here at HHH where I usually stay all philosophical. Because how many times do you see millions of fish?

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Freedom

Christians – anyone who has accepted the gift of salvation by faith through the sacrifice of Christ’s blood on the cross – are free.  Free of what?  We’re free of condemnation – we’re free of the weight of worrying about being “good enough” or “holy enough” – forever.

I am not holy or good in my self.  Nothing I can do can make me holy.  But Jesus died for me, washed me in His blood, and now I am holy – because He says so.  That’s all.  Nothing to do with me.

So, since I didn’t create my holiness, I don’t have to maintain my holiness.  I can’t de-maintain my holiness either.  (I can create grievous distance between myself and God, which has consequences, but that’s another essay).

What does that mean?  What does a free person do?

It means that because I don’t have to worry about whether or not I’m accepted – I can pour out my acceptance on those around me.  I don’t have to worry about if I am loved – I can pour out my love on those around me.  I can accept that Jesus is the Light of the world and that He is in me, and that therefore, I have Light to share.

A free person should be *busy* loving those around them, in other words.  Serve the Family of Christ, serve your neighbors, show God’s glory and truth to the world at large.  It’s ***so dark*** out there.   We have work to do.  And it is a delight.  It is JOY to be involved in the work of sharing God’s love.  The farther you go in this project, the more wonderful it is.  At first it’s uncomfortable – joy is uncool and being openly Christian is uncool too – but then you find that you start making differences in people’s lives, even small ones… and hooray!  And you see the changes Christ is making in your heart, and hallelujiah!  And even in the pain and the suffering that this world brings … you still have a joy-source.

We are His hands and His feet and His mouth in this world.  If we the Body – we should submit our bodies to His mastery and get busy showing others the way Home.

Rejoice in your freedom!

Control is an illusion

“Lord willing… “

Doing what we’re supposed to do is important.  But at the center of figuring out what we’re supposed to be doing is a relationship with God, because our to-do list can change at His whim.  If you’re given an opportunity to bless or serve someone in your daily life, and that blessing doesn’t interfere with your prime directives – bless.

We want guarantees in this life.  We want to think, “If I do x,y,z – I’ll get the result I’m after”.  Or , “If I avoid a, b, and q, I’ll be sure to keep my ……”  That’s just not reality.  Yes, usually our actions affect our results – God set His world up to reward righteousness and to ensure that we reap what we sow.  But not all rewards are temporal.

One of the hardest things to embrace is that we’re not in charge of other humans.  Humans have their own paths to travel – and we can do all the right things and still they can choose wrong.  It’s human nature.  Did not the Lord do all the right things, and do not we still choose wrongly?  How many people walk away from Him, He who is perfect?  And then we still beat ourselves up because we didn’t manage things so as to manage others.  Pshaw.  People aren’t manageable in full, and humans are fallen.

Jeremiah 2:5 Thus says the Lord,“What injustice did your fathers find in Me, that they went far from Me and walked after emptiness and became empty?

Perhaps you’re supposed to show virtue under fire.  Is the fire fair?  Nope.  But your job is to stand strong.  Or maybe your job is to be used to give someone else a chance to be a blessing (we all hate that – we all hate being the object of charity, we’d rather be givers).  Are those things fun?  No.  So we decide that since we aren’t temporally comfortable, that we should change our situation.

Maybe we just need to lean harder on the Lord.

None of us want to remember that we’re on this earth to show God’s glory, not our own.  That we were made and placed for “such a time as this” – whatever that is.  Are we the whisper of kindness that changes a heart?  Is our grace under pressure showing someone else what that looks like?

Life is a journey, and our path is set by our Father in heaven.  Each season of our lives has value.  Pain can be turned into fine jewels… if we give it to Him.  We *have* to let Him guide us and not be so darned independent.  What a blessing it is to know that we *can’t* do what He’s given us to do – that all we can manage is to let God work through us.  But can we manage that… we can do anything.

I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

God willing: Becoming more … alpha?

We should bring back the phrase, “Lord willing”.  Moderns of all stripes put far too much emphasis on being self-directed and self-realized, when we have nothing to do with most of the variables that we plan our days and years around.   God controls *everything*.

James 4:14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. (NASB)

So.  I’ve had that tiny little snippet in the back of my head to post…. and God throws me a curveball.

I’m in a transitional place, my life-seasons are changing around.  And my husband has made it clear to me that he’d like me to become much more dynamic – more alpha, if you will.   (My husband is extremely dominant.)  He wants to see me take action, follow through on things, make things move.  I *hate* that stuff.  I’ll make a plan, I’ll do the work, but …. pester other people to work?  Ugh.  But he wants it – and that’s where we are, with a young teen and a tween.  I need to put some fire under all our rears.

The good part about this is that I know that in my flesh I can’t do it.  Straight up, it’s been tried before, I get cranky, I get domineering (rather than dominant), I get OCD – nothing good.  I know that my flesh can’t do this.  BUT – I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me.   So I’m going to have to lean on Him!  And nothing but good can come from that.

I’m supposed to be doing this with church and with my social life too – church wants me to run a Christian book club in my house.  And I am learning how to do social conversation – I do *know* how to be charming… I just find it tiring/boring.  But all things through Christ’s strength – I can’t bless anyone with my gifts of encouragement and counsel if I’m staring at the clouds or at my purse the whole time.

Seriously – between God and the hubs, I feel like I’ve been sent Athol’s list of Alpha traits to work on… “wear makeup” “be charming” “work out/find a sport that you enjoy” “follow up, follow through, make it happen”.   Nothing my head doesn’t understand… a whole lot that my slothful heart would just as soon not mess with.

Ironic, much – to write so much about surfing God’s will and just following the wave where it leads, and find that it leads straight up a steep slope?

Ah, our Lord does have a sense of humor!

 

Family vs. Strangers

All Christians are de-facto family.  We’re children of God, that makes us siblings.   That might not make you totally thrilled, the thought that you are going to spend eternity with me… but it is as it is.  I’m sure it will be more fun after God gets through perfecting us.  ;)

Family is where you let your hair down.  You can squabble a bit, or argue about the really most awesome place to put the TV remote… but you’ve got each others’ backs.  You’re family!

So it is with us Christians.  I might argue with one of my sibs over some point of doctrine for our mutual edification – iron sharpens iron and all that – but we understand that we’re both under God’s authority.  It places a limit on our quarrels.  (Mostly.  It should, anyway).  

What should family do for one another?  Well, we should support each other, love each other, encourage each other, build each other up.

But non-Christians aren’t family, so we need to be on best behavior around them. Our job is not to sharpen them, it is to show the glory of God our Father and introduce them so maybe they can join the family.  

Different groups, different jobs.

 

Just something to think about.  Well, that and the bit where we’re stuck with each other for all eternity, so we should a) enjoy that and b) remember that when we interact one with another.