Monthly Archives: August 2018

Forging Ahead: Promises Kept

I am a forger-ahead.   I like to think and plan and plan and think and if I can’t figure out how to break into the nut one way, I’ll turn it over and hit it from the other side.    The World’s advice to be the captain of your own destiny, to leverage every connection you have… all of that falls on very fertile ground when it falls in my ears.

Separate from that, I have a message I need to get out.  It’s important, and it’s my job.  “For such a time as this”.

In the meantime, I need to start earning some money.  The season of my staying at home has ended.  It’s been good.   I look at the “fruit” and am pleased.   But now what?

I DON’T KNOW.

I don’t like not knowing.  See paragraph 1.  I can’t plan and poke and prod if I don’t know where I’m going.   And darnit.  I do know where I want to end up.  But how to get there from here?   I tried MY way.   It’s not like it was horrible, but it didn’t work all that well either.  (Clients, turns out you can’t form them from thin air).

What do I know?

  • I know God’s got this.  I know this absolutely.  God’s got this.  I’ll have a job when I need one.  It will be right.  It will be enough.
  • I know I have to do the thing I’ve been tasked with.  It won’t go away.  If I start talking about it, people slap me with fish until I agree to start writing again.
  • I know that I don’t know how to say all the things I need to say, and that I need to say them in a way that’s real, raw, true, clear, and hits home – hard.
  • I know God will speak through me, if I let Him.  I know I’m going to have to let go of my own thoughts, and my own ways.  I’m going to have to take risks, and stop being quite so “nice”.   I have to face my fears.

All my study, all my reading – you know what I learned?   In the Bible, while God consistently teaches that sensible planning for the future is part of one’s daily tasks, that’s not how great things happen.   Yes, a wise man counts his coins before building a castle… but equally, only a fool places his faith in the full granary he just completed – it’s Christ alone in Whom we are instructed to have faith.

The passage of Scripture that I am returned to, again and again, is when Peter stepped out on the waves to walk to Jesus.   Peter walked on water too – until he took his eyes off of our Lord.  When we have faith in ourselves, in our ways, in our abilities, we fail.  When Esther prayed and fasted for three days before speaking to King Ahasuerus she knew she was going to have to work in God’s strength, not her own.   She’d been queen for five years – she knew what happened to those who walked in on the king without permission.   She went in faith.

When we step forward in faith, we are not stepping forward in our own strength, in our own abilities, or in our own ideas.  We are surrendering to obedience in God.  It is a surrender, to trust that totally.

I don’t know how that’s going to operate in my life.  You know, starting MONDAY.   But I know in Whom I trust, and I know that He’s sufficient.

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Voyeurism

It seems like most of modern life can be thought of as voyeuristic.   We watch from outside, consuming – not participating.

I was thinking about this in regards to my quest to return Beauty to its rightful place, and realized that it’s not just Beauty.  It’s everything.  It’s food.  It’s relationships, it’s song, dance, story.    If we can make “It” into something that an expert can do perfectly, we’ll give over that part of our lives to the expert and retreat to the shadows.

That specialization might be okay, if we lived in small ponds where each of us could be a big fish in his or her own right.   Known for our cupcakes or our style or our friendship… but that’s not how we live.  We are in the global pond, and there are only a few who can be the “best” in any one venue.  And so we retreat, make ourselves smaller and smaller.

And then we don’t take thought about how we want to live our lives – truly live them – as part of the world, interacting, intersecting, visible, worthy, interesting.  We make of our hearts a shadow place, and only look outward, to the Other.

Life is not meant to be lived from the outside, peeking through the screen at the “real people”.  We are all real people, and it’s past time for us to start treating ourselves that way.

Obedience vs. Forging Ahead

Can anyone tell me someone from the Bible who is praised for forging ahead on their own?  Certainly, in general terms we’re told to get on with our daily work and have common sense.  But I want a specific person from the Bible who pre-planned….. I can’t think of one.

What IS praised is obedience.   When you hear the Call, you obey it.  God makes the provision for His plans – you show up.   I was going to say “instant obedience”, and that is the ideal.  But God is amazing, and He puts up with a good bit of, “is that really You, God?” “Are You really sure you want me? Because I suck” from His creations.

So, anyone – got anything?  I’m putting 2 and 2 together over here, and I’d appreciate correction if I’m off base.

Esther and Waiting

Great teaching today at mentoring group… and God took the bit and slammed it home.

We’re so often in times of waiting.  Faith grows, maturity grows, in those times of waiting.   But as consumers of Christian literature, even as readers of the Bible, we see the stories of those who have gone before us as a whole – we don’t sit with them in the weeds.

Like Esther.  You read the story, it’s only a few chapters – less than a page between “gets taken” and “becomes queen”.  But look at it from her perspective.

You’re hanging out, doing your thing, and the knock on the door comes.  “The king has proclaimed that all pretty virgins are to report to the palace forthwith.  This means you”.  No one ever talks about what Esther was thinking that day… what kind of person she was.  She was a human, so she had dreams, plans for her future, plans for tomorrow.   And KERPOOF.  Gone.

And what a nice place she ends up in.  Not.   A bunch of strange women who are all – whether they want to be or not – in competition with one another.   You have to have lived through junior high to imagine how fun that was… -shudder-  The last thing she was told is to not let anyone know that she’s an Israelite.   Great.  No traditions, nothing.

And she sits.  And sits.  And sits.   Six months for the herbal prep and another six months getting pretty.   They probably learned court etiquette and the basic bits of how to be a pleasant concubine (dance, instrument, conversation, storytelling?) but otherwise… sitting.   The most likely result is that your one night with the king will result in being put in the second harem for the rest of your life, to be brought out maybe once in a year.   No children unless you get lucky, just life in a box.  A meaningless, boring existence.

So, how does Esther feel for that year?  Does she feel the weight of significance, as she’s about to save her people and change history?  No.  Because she didn’t know that was what she was there for.

How many times do we feel like that?  We’re waiting, and waiting, and waiting… we know we’re going to be used, because we know God doesn’t waste anything and we’re willing.  But for what?  And we’re BORED.  We live in this world, this world that tells us that we should be actualizing our potential every single second.  And we look around with our physical eyes, and we’re not.

We’re not doing anything, we’re just sitting.

It takes faith to sit and wait when it’s waiting time.   It takes a connection to the eternal.  A faith that God will return the years that the locust has stolen.

But we never talk about that, never talk about the waiting time.  We only talk about the journey of faith in the whole, from above, the part where you see the Big Moment.   Faith is about more than the Big Moment – it’s about all the other moments that got us there.

Babied

Go ahead.  Ask God for direction – and mean it.   See what you get….

I feel like the last few years of my life have been an industrial-strength bootcamp insofar as developing my faith muscles is concerned.   “I’ve got this”.  “Good, um, You wouldn’t like to give me a timeline or method?” “Nope”.  “Right.  Good.  Thank you.”  This business of radically changing my life as I move into this next season of existence* is no exception.

“What are you doing next?”  Dunno.   “Where?”  Dunno.    Except every day I’m being refined, moved from total ignorance one step closer to having a clue.   I feel like a chess piece.  Every conversation I have about work gives me a little bit more information, every task I take on situates me a little bit closer to the goal.   I do have a goal.  I want to make enough money to pay for the increased expenses of this new season in life – and I don’t want a job that sucks my soul out and returns nothing in its wake.  I’d like to do something I find interesting, and work somewhere I can be truly useful/helpful, not just a warm body.   Oh – my job should be flexible, I’m still on mom patrol to some extent.

It’s not just this, you know.  I’m getting prayers answered – and  “I’d really like to find…” supplied that never made it to a prayer.   Things I’ve been waiting years for are dropping off the trees around me.   Ministries I’m involved in are evolving… it’s like EVERYTHING around me is in a season of change.

Since I’ve been praying for this for years, it’s pretty exciting.  But you think I’d have a clue.  You’d be sooooooo wrong.   I don’t know what God is doing.  I know He is faithful.  I know He wants my best, and now is the time of change/movement.   Faith muscles?  Still working out like crazy.

I’m being walked along with a blindfold on … babied every step of the way.  I’m grateful.  But this is one trippy experience, folks.

 

*The kids get to move to greater autonomy while I move back to a more supervisory role – less sitting on their heads and doing for them, more helping them learn to do for themselves (and the family).