Monday, August 30, 2010

It's not just my pants that don't fit.

Ever have one of those days when you get up and nothing fits? I'm not talking about just your clothes, but it's almost as if LIFE doesn't fit anymore. Nothing is comfortable, and you have no idea what has happened. Of course we can blame it on lots of things...stress, lack of time, lack of motivation, too much to do, lack of support, etc...pretty much what we blame when our clothes don't fit, but we know it's something more.
Lately, I've been hearing this phrase pop up in conversations more and more..."just don't fit." I heard it from my daughter as I watched her try to find her "place" at school, from a friend as she talked about how her daughter tried but just couldn't seem to "fit" with their youth group, and then I heard it from another friend about her daughter. Each girl is very different, yet if you looked at them you'd think they would 'fit' in anywhere. They have lots of friends, people who love them, etc, but they each feel as if they don't fit. Then it hit me....I had heard this same phrase in conversations with adult women about themselves! They were uncomfortably admitting that they just didn't feel like they fit in.
Wow. I can understand why teenage girls feel that way sometimes, after all - they are in high school (a place I truly wish I could somehow fast-forward my own children through!) But to hear my adult women friends say this too, well, it got me thinking. Evidently it's not just our daughters that feel like things just don't fit. So I sat and tried to figure out what is wrong.
I know that in today's society we are going in such a rush that we have little time to feel connected. We are all like a bunch of spinning tops, occasionally bumping into each other but rarely if ever truly connecting. It reminds me of my son's Beyblades. You wind them up as fast as you possibly can and then pull the zip cord to watch them bump furiously into each other and then back into the boundries around them. Eventually they run out of spin and fall helpless to the floor. I know I've felt a lot like I was spinning lately!
It also reminded me of something I realized during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, five years ago. While that hurricane brought huge devastation, it also forced us all to stop for a while...and to be honest - it was good. Before the hurricane we were all on treadmills going as fast as we possibly could go. While we might have thought about stepping off, we couldn't without falling flat on our faces. Have you ever tried to "step off" a treadmill at top speed? Plus, if we had - it would have done no good because the rest of the world was still on their treadmills! But when the hurricane came, it "unplugged" all the treadmills. We all stopped. Neighbors renewed friendships with neighbors, families spent time with families, we all spent time just being for a while. True, it was tough. We were in survival mode, but somehow we came through it stronger. Then someone turned the treadmills back on and we all started running again....side by side, but at a pace that didn't allow for conversation or friendships.
So, perhaps it is the pace of life that causes us to feel like we don't fit in...but I think it's really something more. I think, perhaps, it is a holy discontent within...that feeling that something is missing. We point a finger outward and try to figure out why we don't fit in our school, church, etc. just like when the clothes in my closet no longer fit I try to blame stress, age, even the washing machine (which must have shrunk them) but really it's just me. The problem isn't out there; it's inside me!
I heard it said that men find their identity in what they do, but women find theirs in being appreciated and accepted for who they are. We want to feel loved for who we doesn't matter if you are the head cheerleader or the artist or the athlete or the girl named most likely to succeed, or the girl who thinks she really doesn't have a niche. We want to feel special just for who we are. Deep inside, all of us feel like we don't fit until we find our acceptance in Christ. I'm not talking about's more than that. It is a sold out discipleship. A holy discontent with life that drives us to Christ to find our place in Him. It's that look from our Heavenly Father that let's us know we are special to Him. To borrow the words from a song by Jason Gray, it's got to be, " More like falling in love than something to believe in; More like losing my heart than giving my allegiance; Caught up, called out - come take a look at me now..."
So what's the point? The point is I think we're all pretty much in the same boat. We all have times we feel like we just don't fit but we never say it cause we feel like we're the only ones....but we're not. The woman next to you in the church pew or serving with you on the PTA or in line next to you in the grocery store - they probably all feel just like you. Why, I bet even those fancy movie stars and models feel that way! We are all just like those teenage girls in high school feeling like we just don't fit - that is until we find our place, our approval, our fit in Christ. Then maybe, just maybe, we realize we're all feeling the same way long enough to stop spinning and help each other find the way.
We're all in this together....know that at least one other person is truly praying that you find where you fit in Christ and the contentment of knowing your truly "belong". While I'm at it, I'll throw in a prayer that all your clothes fit a little better too - even your skinny jeans! Of course, that would take a miracle!
Never ended a blog this way, but I love you guys....we're all in this together. {hugs to all}

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Is God a Liar?

I almost titled this blog, "God is a liar", but I didn't want to give those who know me a heart attack.

This has been a week filled with reminders that God can be trusted...He never lies.

I have a facebook friend who recently asked the question, "Can God lie?" and it got me thinking. I mean, I immediately knew the answer, but when I started to write my response, I realized I didn't act as if I did. While I know that God cannot lie, I find myself worrying about things and lying awake at night trying to figure out how to make life what I think it should essence, I'm calling God a liar and not taking Him at His Word. If I were, I'd be sleeping like a baby instead of tossing and turning trying to figure out how we are going to make ends meet or what tomorrow will hold. See what I mean?

A quote by Max Lucado caught my attention this week. He said, "Our problem is not so much that God doesn’t give us what we hope for as it is that we don’t know the right thing for which to hope." I can really identify with this. I remember times in my life when I have been disappointed with God. While part of me wanted to believe in His promises, a bigger part of me wanted to pitch a two-year-old fit. Now, if you've never been around a two-year-old perhaps this is a foreign concept to you, but for all of us who have ever dealt with a two-year-old who was not getting what they wanted, the picture is pretty clear. They will pout, scream, bargain, yell, plead.....pretty much anything to get their way. If you dare to act as if you know what is best for them...well, let's just say earplugs and a strong will come in very handy in times like that.

I can say this, because I remember very well a time in my life when I was disappointed with God. Tragedy had struck and to be honest, it just wasn't fair! I was being good and others weren't and yet somehow they were being allowed to hurt me! I did all the predictable 2 year old things....I bargained, pleaded, cried...I even shook my fist at God and told Him if that was who He was, I chose not to serve him. Now if I had been God, a lightning bolt would have made an appearance to straighten this little 2-year-old out! (Good thing I'm not God!) Instead, the very next day God poured out His love on me in such a real way that I knew....I had no idea who He was or how much He loved me. God wasn't unfair, He was simply my Father and He knew what I needed far more than I did. The situation didn't change, by the way, but I did.

So back to the question. Is God a liar? We know, of course, that the answer is no. So why do I act as if He is?My problem seems to come from either my two-year-old self that has placed my hope in the wrong thing, or in the fact that I am rehearsing the problems instead of His promises. It's easy for me to lie in bed and think about the bills or the plumbing or what tomorrow will bring. To lie there and think about His promises takes a bit more discipline on my part. First of all, I've got to know what His promises are and then focus on them! I also have to rehearse in my mind all the times I've seen God be faithful in the past - times He was faithful even when I was faithless. I have to remind myself that God does not lie. I also have to trust that God doesn't really need my help to figure all this out. He knows what tomorrow will bring.

This week, I also had a friend share something with me that resonated in my soul. She said something along the lines of "God has a plan for you that's if it's not good yet, He's not finished." The cake is still baking, the picture is still developing, the quilt is still being sewn..... He's not finished yet.

A song by Josh Wilson called "Before the Morning" came on the radio the other day and pretty much had me in tears before I got to where I was going. It answers the question so much better than I ever could:

"Do you wonder why you have to,
feel the things that hurt you,
if there's a God who loves you,
where is He now?

Maybe, there are things you can't see
and all those things are happening
to bring a better ending
some day, some how, you'll see, you'll see

Would you dare, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you've been feeling,
it's just the dark before the morning

My friend, you know how this all ends
and you know where you're going,
you just don't know how you get there
so just say a prayer.
and hold on, cause there's good for those who love God,
life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time,
but you'll see the bigger picture"....

The message has been coming to me over and over this week, so, I guess it's time for this two year old to start acting like I believe what I say I believe. It's time to trust God. Care to join me in the adventure?

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23

"God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" Numbers 23:19