Monday, March 28, 2011

What are you afraid of?

Fear can be a terrible thing. People can be afraid of all kinds of things - heights, snakes, spiders, roaches...but I think perhaps the worst fear of all is the fear of failure.

It's the "What if's" that bind your hands and feet and make it impossible to move. So you do.....nothing.

I don't remember which one of my children had the worst problem with this, but I do remember that one of them (which shall remain nameless in case they ever decide to read my blog!) didn't want to ride their bike until they knew how. Yes, you heard that right. They didn't want to get on that bike until they knew they wouldn't fail. Never mind that the only way to learn was to get on...they were determined to be a pro at bike riding their first time out. Eventually we did get them on the did, however, take a while for them to learn how to STOP without running into a tree. They were so intent on the peddling process, they didn't listen to the stopping process and for the longest time they would just aim for the nearest tree and run into it to stop!

As adults, we all know that you're going to make mistakes and fall sometimes. It's part of the process. Yes, we know, but we're still standing there staring at our "bike" wondering if it's worth the fall.

My other child - who again shall remain nameless, is terrified of bugs. It doesn't matter that he/she is far bigger than any little bug! Screaming like a little girl and running in the opposite direction can be caused by something that could be quickly smashed with a parent's shoe. That bug is definitely no match for my teenager...yet still the child runs.

I have to admit....I wonder if God just shakes His head at me when I run from something that is no bigger than that bug...when all it will take is a crushing blow from the shoes He gave me and the problem exists no more.

For some, the fear of failure is really a fear of looking foolish! However, in reality the only ones in danger of looking foolish are those that are afraid of it. Those who embrace  it, laugh at themselves, and dive in head first are the ones who look like they are having so much fun everyone wants to join them! They seem to instinctively know - go big or go home.

I have no idea what the future holds...but I know the One who holds the future. I want to live my life willing to step out in faith and embrace whatever He has in store. I don't want to live in fear of what I don't have, what I can't do, or how I might fail. I want to risk looking foolish, knowing that if I fall, I can always get back up again - for He holds me in the palm of His hand.

Whatever it is that God is leading you to, don't let fear of failure stop you. When I taught my child to ride the bike, I eventually let go. We've got a much better promise than that - our Father God will never let us go. If that doesn't crush the bug of fear right out of you, nothing will.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Isaiah 49:16 (Amplified Bible)

Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me.

John 10:27 - 30
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one.”

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Starting to feel like a runner again

Today's blog started with a dream. In the dream, I sat next to a dear friend and I said something about finally feeling like a runner again. She looked me square in the eyes and said, "You ARE a runner! Never doubt that!"
I haven't always seen myself as a runner. As a matter of fact, my first race I registered as a walker because I knew I couldn't run the whole 3.1 miles. I didn't understand that if you ran even a portion of that distance, you were considered a runner. That was such a different mindset for me. I thought if you couldn't run it all, it didn't count.

I joined in the local running group, and our coach told me over and over that I should start calling myself a runner. No one had ever told me that before and I think she had to just about YELL it for me to hear it....but it slowly started to sink in. I even started signing my name of race registrations as "Donna 'I am a runner' Sumrall. It didn't make me go any faster, but it changed the way I saw myself.

A fellow runner told me "If you run, you are a runner. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." You've gotta love that.

Once you start to see yourself as a runner, a lot of things change. You carry yourself differently. You have more confidence. You move with purpose in your everyday life. You feel more strength and therefore you are willing to step out more. I'll admit, it's a good feeling and one that I am enjoying experiencing again. As I start to see myself as a runner again, I find I'm much more likely to tie on my shoes and hit the road to log in another mile. I am a runner...

Then today in my morning devotion, I read something that tied in with this whole idea of how we see ourselves. The Bible calls us kings and priests (Rev. 1:6) and world overcomers (1 John 5:4). For many of us, those phrases are still becoming real. We're still learning who we really are. I can really identify with that! Although I have been a Christian for most of my life, at times I forget just what that means!

There is a song we used to sing years ago: "And now, let the poor say I am rich; let the weak say I am strong; because of what the Lord has done for us."

Maybe it's time Christians to start calling themselves for what they are...according to God's Word. While I don't see myself as rich, if I look at the rest of the world, I realize just how wealthy I truly am. I may not feel gifted, but when I realize all the things I am able to accomplish, I realize I do have gifts to share with others. I may not always feel it, but I truly am strong. The extraordinary thing is that once I start to CALL myself rich, gifted, strong, and blessed - eventually I begin to FEEL that way too.

A lot of life has to do with the way you see yourself. I choose to see myself as a child of the King....a child that RUNS!

1 Peter 2:9, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Part 3 - Tell yourself the truth

"Truth? You can't handle the truth!" Almost everyone knows this line from the 1992 movie A Few Good Men. In fact, Jack Nicholson's reading of this line has been voted the 29th greatest American movie quote of all time. Almost everyone also knows that the truth can sting a little.

I was doing a little speed work at the local track, trying to break through the barriers that were somehow keeping me from making a "come-back" to running and I stopped to talk to my running coach. We were discussing the trouble I'd had making it "click" again. I knew what I was fighting wasn't as much a physical battle, as a mental one. In my head, I had my excuses, but as I stood there and heard her say one simple sentence, I knew I was hearing the truth.

Here's basically what she said. "When you first started running, it was all so new and exciting; but now you know how much work it's going to take and you're just not sure you're willing to do it." See - I told you the truth could sting.

I still remember standing in my living room over 4 years ago and being absolutely amazed that I had stuck to this "running thing" for so long. I have just never been the type to stick with anything for very long - yet this was something I had stayed consistent with for over a year! Every race was so exciting. Every new ache was a badge of achievement. Every mile meant a new victory.

Then life happened. I took a couple weeks off, followed by a couple more, followed by a couple of years off. The next thing I knew, I couldn't run a mile without hurting! I sort of tried to get back into the groove, but it just wasn't the same. I had my excuses, but what I really needed to hear was the truth.

My coach was right. I knew what it would take to really get back into running and I just wasn't sure yet that I was willing to make the commitment.

How much that mirrors my spiritual walk (or maybe I should say run) as well. When I first committed my life to God, everything was so new. I couldn't wait to get to church, to read more of the Bible, to volunteer to work, to - well, you name it! Then, over time, that seemed to fade. Maybe I just got busy, but before I knew it my passion just wasn't there. I shudder to say it, but I'm afraid maybe I was becoming luke-warm!

I would try to do the things I'd once done, but it just wasn't the same. I didn't "jump" at the chance to be involved anymore because I knew just how hard it would be. I didn't say "yes" quite as readily to the prompting of the Holy Spirit because I knew what followed wouldn't be easy. It would be tempting to blame it on the music or the preaching or any number of things, but I think I knew what needed changing.  I knew now what it would take, and I just wasn't sure I was ready to make that commitment.

So, why then, am I still out there running. Because deep inside there is a little voice that whispers, "Remember." Remember how good you felt when you ran consistently? Remember how good it felt to know you had given it my all? Remember how good it felt to make progress, no matter how small? Remember? Yes, it is hard - but it is worth it.

A voice much more powerful and consistent pulls at my heart and says, "Remember" as well. Remember how it felt to be willing to go wherever God said go, to do whatever He said do, and to live a life of faith that required  living beyond yourself? Remember? Oh yes, I remember.

I'm not a new Christian....but there's no need to be an "Old" one either. It's time to settle this "argument" that rages inside me once and for all. No, it won't be easy - but it is worth every ounce of sacrifice. I want to not only learn how to run again - I want to re-learn what it means to run with God! I want to run to His altar and say, "I am completely Yours!" I may not know where this road leads, but no matter how difficult, the journey is worth it.

And that's the truth.

Revelation 2:4 (Amplified Bible)

But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love].

Revelation 3:15-17 (New International Version, ©2011)

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

I found an interesting article with ways to know if you might have left your first love. Check it out by clicking on the link: Revive our hearts

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Part 2 - What's my excuse

One of my most favorite t-shirts has a picture of one of the seven dwarfs - Grumpy. On the front, it says "I'm Grumpy" and on the back it says "What's your excuse?" I'm not sure why I like that shirt so much, but it does seem to fit the topic of this blog. Yesterday I talked about the STUFF that has added so much drag to my running and my life. Today I need to look at my excuses.

I can come up with lots of excuses why I'm having so much trouble returning to running. I am, after all, now creeping up on 52 years old. What woman in her right mind tries to start running again at 52? Never mind that the fastest women I know are only a few years younger than me, or that I can name at least half a dozen women older than me that I have yet to catch in a race.

I guess it's not a good idea to look at the spiritual race and use age as an excuse either. After all, God used Abraham and Sarah in their old age. I have to be honest though and admit I truly have no desire to be 90 and pregnant, and I don't even want to think about being 106 and dealing with a teenager! Still, I guess I'd better not use age as an excuse.

Well, there's my knees. Surely I can use those as an excuse....I can until I see the pictures of soldiers racing after losing their legs in the war. I can complain about my aches and pains until I see someone like Bethany Hamilton coming back to surfing after losing an arm in a shark attack.

I can try and use my aging limbs as a spiritual excuse as well. But God has promised to renew my strength so that I rise up with wings like eagles - run and not be weary, walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31) Plus, there's old Jacob who wrestled with God and forevermore had a bad hip. Okay, so I'll drop the aches and pains excuse.

Time! That's it! I don't have time! I am a full time teacher, mom, wife, and part time blogger! I just don't have the time! Yet, time is the one thing we all get in an equal amount each day. The question is how we spend it. I may not have hours to go for a run, but to be honest, even if I had that kind of time, I'm not at that level! For me right now, a good 45 minute run is about all I can handle. I have the time for that. If and when I get to the point I can do more, I'm sure the time will be there. That's the way it seems to work. We feel we don't have "enough" - not enough time, resources, patience, provision...but to be honest, it's all just one big excuse.

I am reminded of the story told about Corrie Ten Boom. The following is a short section from a letter she wrote:
"When I was a little girl, " I said, "I went to my father and said, "Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ." "Tell me," said Father, "When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?" "No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train." "That is right," my father said, "and so it is with God's strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need just in time"
-Corrie Ten Boom-1974

No matter what it is that I need to run for God, it will be there when I really need it. Years of life, health, time, resources...He holds whatever I need until the day I really need it. The question is will I step out in faith so that He can bring me to that point?

One by one, I am seeing the excuses for what they are - something that tangles around my legs and weighs me down, trying to get me to quit this race. Seeing them for what they are is a huge part of coming back to running. Nope, no more excuses.

Still, there is something else that seems to be holding me back...and the next blog will deal with that.

Part 3 - Tell the truth to yourself

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Part 1 - What's holding you back?

Ever see one of those verses you've seen a hundred times and all of a sudden a phrase pops into your head that makes you see it in an whole new way? Well, today I saw a facebook post by Sole2Soul Sisters that featured Hebrews 12:1 and the 'random thoughts' started to roll.

Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,"

Then the question hit me, "So just what is holding you back?"

I flashed back to a conversation I'd had with my running coach the night before. You see, after years of not running with much consistency, I am trying to make a come back to the sport....but it has been a LOT harder than I'd expected. Something keeps holding me back.

My first thought was, it's the weight. I'm carrying around 15 - 20 more pounds than I did just a few short years ago. To many, I don't look like I've added that much extra drag, but trust me - I can tell the difference.

I have to wonder if I'm not suffering from a little "drag" in my spiritual life as well. Oh, I may not look like I'm carrying extra weight, but over time little things build up...sort of like those extra pounds crept up on me. It's just a lot of "STUFF" that seems to hold me back.

"FlyLady" Marla Cilley talks about Stuff as Something That Undermines Family Fun. Can't go with a friend because I have to take care of my "stuff". Can't play with the kids right now cause I have to take care of my "stuff". Don't have time to spend in the Word or prayer cause I've got to take care of my "stuff". The list just goes on and on. Stuff can take many different forms, but it's usually something that won't matter at all 10 years from now. I'm pretty sure I won't be taking any of it to heaven with me.

I think I need to lighten up in more ways than one. Like many, I've fallen into the trap of filling my life with stuff that is holding me back from living the life God has planned. I want to live my life as a pipeline that God can use, not a clogged drain that tries to hold it all for myself.

I know that living "light" will make this race so much easier to run.

Next time, Part 2 - What's my excuse?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Junk in my "In box"

It has become a regular morning routine. I stumble into the kitchen, grab a cup of coffee, and settle down in front of my computer to check my in-box. Lately however, I've developed a new segment to the routine - emptying out the junk mail that has found its way to me first.

I'm sure you know what I mean. At first, it was a few simple emails from a online publication. I'd glance at the subject line and if it didn't interest me, I'd hit the delete button. Then the emails became more numerous - and annoying. I started getting offers from AARP - a wonderful organization I am sure, but one that I am NOT ready to admit I qualify for! Then I got offers for the little car that "hovers" and makes getting around easier....not one I am ready for since I still fancy myself a runner, albeit a slow one. Next came one for a recall on hip replacements - just how old do these people think I am???? The straw that broke the camels back was the one for a low cost funeral package. Come on people!!! I'm not ready to exit earth just yet!

I laugh at the "offers" I get like these...but that's not where it stops. There are the "letters" from a prince in some far off country who wants to share his fortune with me, money I've been left by some long lost relative that never existed, prizes I may have already won, and of course warnings that my "accounts" may need updating with a new password. Most of us know these for what they are - traps to try and steal my wealth. (Bhahahahaha - sorry, the thought of me being wealthy always cracks me up...but I guess by most of the world's standards I truly am.)

Some of the emails go directly to my junk folder which then has to be "cleaned out" to make sure I'm not missing a message I really WANTED to get. In there are a multitude of "offers", some for meds I've never heard of and some that I blush at when I see the subject line! Those are quickly deleted! I wonder how in the world I got on those mailing lists. It's reached the point now that I hit the "select all" button and then go through and uncheck the few I actually wanted to receive. There are a couple of ministry blogs that I subscribed to that no matter what I do, they always seem to go to my junk folder...I rescue those before hitting that "delete" button.

All this makes me wish I had a visable "junk" folder for my mind. Wouldn't life be easier if we could see the subject line and hit delete to the messages that come at us every day? You know the ones I mean - the ones that lie to us, come to steal our peace, kill our marriages, and destroy our families. It would be great if we could see these messages for what they are...

Just like with my computer, I've got to be careful what I allow to sit in the "in box" of my mind. I really need to take the time to empty out the "junk" folder each day so that the messages don't build up and crowd out the good news that I've been waiting to hear. Once I've emptied out the trash for the day, it makes it so much easier to dump any other unwanted messages as soon as they arrive. Then I can focus on those messages I've been hoping for, the ones filled with good news.

Happy tossing my friends!

John 10:10 (NIV) 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Philippians 4:8  - 9(Message)
Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Monday, March 14, 2011

We have all been there. We want something so very much, but the answer is "No." The sting is real. The hurt aches just as much as a punch to the stomach. Your shoulders drop, your smile fades, and you are left standing there as the crowd moves away and goes back about their business. You feel as if you have failed. Today I received a "No" and I will be honest. It hurts. The enemy tries to use it to nibble away at my confidence and cause me to just give up. But I'm learning...."No" is not always such a bad thing to hear.

For example, there was the job I tried for over and over again, only to be told "No" each time. Then one day, after deciding I was just fine where I was, I felt that nudge to try one more time. To step out in faith and rely totally on Him. He would lead where He wanted me to go. So I tried...and I got the job. The whole story is a blog for another day.

After I finally got that "yes", however, I had to ask God why. Why now? Why not all the other times I tried. The response I felt in my heart was simple. "Because you weren't ready. I'm taking you into a land of milk and honey...but there are giants in the land. If I had allowed you to go in before, you would have been consumed." Now, I've got to be honest; I really liked all that milk and honey part, but the giant part I could have done without! Once I got the job...I met a few of those giants and I'm so glad God made me wait!

I'm learning....slowly, that "No" is not always a bad thing. How many times in my life has God said "No" and it wasn't till years later that I discovered why? It's as if the word "No", really means - "I love you." It is a way of saying, I've got something much better in mind for you. Oh, we can't imagine it as that because we have our own plans, our own way of viewing success. But as I have to remind myself daily, my thoughts are not God's thoughts. My ways are not God's ways. His way is perfect - fully mature and without flaw or blemish. My ways...well, they are just that - mine.

So for today, I'll take the "no" that I received and choose to rejoice in it. God loves me and He knows I'm not ready yet. Maybe I never will be....but it's really not mine to decide. Once again, His gentle voice says "Trust me." I want my response to be simply "Yes."

Isaiah 55: 8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Some of you may remember this song from years ago...I'm choosing it to be my anthem for today:

Yes, Lord, Yes" - Shirley Caesar
I'll say yes, Lord, yes
To your will and to your way
I'll say yes, Lord, yes
I will trust you and obey
When your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I'll agree
And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes

Lord, I give you all the glory
For what you've done for me (or "for what you've given me")
You fill my life until I overflow
All I have (or "am") is yours to use
Anyway you choose
You're the Lord of lords, so how can I say no?

I'll say yes, Lord, yes
To your will and to your way
I'll say yes, Lord, yes
I will trust you and obey
When your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I'll agree
And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Little gods and goddesses

I had a thought today. In our world of making sure that every child has a healthy self-esteem, we may have in fact created a generation that believes they are little gods and goddesses. Hear me out before you think I'm on a rant against young tell the truth, I'm not sure I haven't fallen into the same trap!

I am a parent and have been blessed with two absolutely amazing and beautiful children...who are in fact very human. As a loving parent, however, I have at times forgotten that. It is a part of a parent's nature to want to protect their help them forgo the mistakes and have a life that is better than the one the parents grew up with.  Should they experience disappointment, we want to wash it away....mainly because nothing hurts quite as much as when your children hurt. We love them and would do anything for them.....just as if they were a god. Whoops....did I just admit that?

Teachers are beginning to see the result of this god complex in their classrooms more and more each day. There have always been students who felt that the rules "didn't apply to them", but now there seem to be more than before. We teach children to stand up for themselves when they feel something isn't right - that is a good thing. However, a child thinks like a child and usually when they do something - they feel that it is right. That in turn makes the rules "wrong." They feel the right to argue about everything. I am trying to help my own children overcome this god mentality I have inadvertantly saddled them with. I heard once the phrase - "Obey first and then we'll talk about it." I don't want my children to blindly obey, but I don't want them to feel that they don't have to obey either!

As an adult, I suffer from the "god-complex" as well. Like many Christians, I feel like bad things shouldn't happen to me. I want everything to be peachy keen because, after all, I am a child of the Most Hight God! Right?

I tend to skim over passages that include things like Christ followers being thrown into prison (Paul), stoned (Stephen), and even crucified upside down (the disciples). I focus on the ones that say tell me God works all things for good for those who are called according to His purpose. I tend to forget that "good" does not always mean pleasant. I mean, come on! Liver is good for me, but it is definitely not pleasant!

As a nation, a family, and a person, I need to remember that God's ways are higher than my ways. He created everything and sees yesterday, today and tomorrow at the same time. He sees the completed picture, not just today's brush stroke. He loves me and I am His.....that means I need to obey. Oh, I can ask questions...but first I must obey.

If I really do believe He is God, then I must trust Him even when I do not understand. Truth be told - I am not a goddess....not even a little one. I have been adopted through the mercy and goodness of a sacrifice. Oh yeah, remember that? The one and only TRUE son of God was abused and crucified so that we might have the right to be called a child of God. I don't know about you....but that makes me stop and think.

As a child of God, I will always be loved; but I may not always be comfortable. I will always be accepted, but I may not always be protected from pain. I will one day be in heaven where there is no suffering, but first I have to live here on earth. The fact is, life here can sometimes get tough. Through it all, I will be loved.

So that's my rant for the day. Hope your day is filled with joy and peace and happiness....but in case it's not; rest in the knowledge that you are still loved and a child of God....and that will be enough.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Remember when parents used to say "I'm doing this for your own good"? It made me look at Romans 8:28 in a new light...."And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

For a more lengthy passage about God's thoughts, check out Job 38 - 42. (Link provided here)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dancing in the rain

Today's random thought started with a status update on facebook from one of my young friends. After last night's deluge, she simply posted: "Anyone who says that sunshine only brings happiness has never danced in the rain." As I commented back to her - Now THAT will preach!

Her comment struck that chord inside me that reverberated into some long forgotten song and I realized, I've forgotten how to dance in the rain....or perhaps I've been through such a long difficult time, I've hidden myself away indoors trying to avoid the storm.

It's not the times when everything is wonderful that brings joy. Oh, it does bring happiness and I'm all for a little happiness! Still, it's those times when you've had to hold on to hope with every ounce of faith you have and then the showers of blessing begin to fall. THAT'S when you know real happiness and joy.

This has been a tough couple of years for my family. We've had each other and we've known that God has been with us through it all....but I'd be lying if I said it had been easy. Family trials, disappointment, discouragement - they all make for some pretty dry times. Somewhere in it all, laughter began to fade as well and a grim, determined frown took its place. Then came the rain. Not some gentle soft rain, but a soak you to your bones kind of rain! Puddles are everywhere! Rain. The dry brown earth all around gives way to hope and new life. Rain! The trees and flowers reach up to heaven and sing for joy. RAIN! It is the promise of a new tomorrow.

Lord, our spirits have needed the rain and now we rejoice in it. We sing and dance in it. We splash in the puddles that surround us! Once again we remember the joy of being a child and simply feeling the rain. "Mercy drops round us are falling, but for the showers we plead."

Thank you God for the rain. It's time we put on our boots and danced!

1 Kings 18:41-46 [Message]"41 Elijah said to Ahab, "Up on your feet! Eat and drink—celebrate! Rain is on the way; I hear it coming."

42-43 Ahab did it: got up and ate and drank. Meanwhile, Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bowed deeply in prayer, his face between his knees. Then he said to his young servant, "On your feet now! Look toward the sea."
He went, looked, and reported back, "I don't see a thing."
"Keep looking," said Elijah, "seven times if necessary."
44 And sure enough, the seventh time he said, "Oh yes, a cloud! But very small, no bigger than someone's hand, rising out of the sea." "Quickly then, on your way. Tell Ahab, 'Saddle up and get down from the mountain before the rain stops you.'"
45-46 Things happened fast. The sky grew black with wind-driven clouds, and then a huge cloudburst of rain, with Ahab hightailing it in his chariot for Jezreel. And God strengthened Elijah mightily. Pulling up his robe and tying it around his waist, Elijah ran in front of Ahab's chariot until they reached Jezreel.

Joel 2: 22 - 26 [NIV] " Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before.  The threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.  “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten— the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm my great army that I sent among you.  You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pick me! Pick me!

I was flipping channels last night, desperately looking for something worth watching and I came across one of those reality shows where they are doing challenges and playing strategies. By the end of the first episode, it was becoming quite evident who wasn't really "wanted" and would be the first to be voted off. I cringed. Visions of elementary school kick-ball came back to haunt me. There I was, standing and hoping that someone would pick me.....please. Don't make me be last to be chosen.

To be honest, I'm not sure I'd have picked me back then either. I was so convinced I couldn't really do anything that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I wasn't that athletic, and thanks to being the child of a teacher, I also wasn't Miss Popular. That's not fair.....I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been Miss Popular no matter what my mom did for a living. Like I said, I wasn't really a candidate to be picked for anything other than teacher's pet. I was a stickler for obeying the rules and being "good". I just wasn't really "good" at anything. If I was on one of those reality shows, I'd be a shoe-in to be voted off in the first episode.

That's why I am so overwhelmed that I was finally chosen. Someone actually picked ME! For a while, I was overwhelmed with excitement! I felt like I could take on the world because I was chosen!

Of course, reality has a way of deflating a person's happiness balloon.....sort of like those reality shows find a way to show your most embarrassing moments and highlight your inadequacies - right before voting you off the show. I battled the feeling that it was only a matter of time before I would be "found out" and voted off the team.....

Thankfully, this isn't a reality show..... it's reality. I was chosen - in spite of myself. I was chosen by the King!
Eph. 1:4 (Amp.)"Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love."

There is a song by the David Crowder band that causes me to catch my breath every time I hear it. One verse says,"You make everything glorious and I am Yours. What does that make me?"

Who am I to argue with the one who created the world and all that is in it? He picked me? He won't vote me off when He figures out my flaws? Can this really be true?

The longing of every woman's heart is to be chosen - picked....not left standing against the wall, hoping to be asked to at some bad Jr. High Sock Hop. Okay, now I'm re-living days I'd MUCH rather forget. 

I know I'm not the only one crying out in my heart, "Pick me!" We all want to be chosen....we want to take part in something greater than ourselves. We want to know that we are wanted. The good news is that He does want us...just the way we are.

My prayer is that each person reading this will hear the one who calls to your heart and says, "I have chosen you." He is calling....don't be afraid to say, "Here I am, pick me."

On a side note....I am hoping that I will be picked for something else. Don't worry, it's not a reality show.

There is a conference for writers and speakers that I hope to be "picked" to attend. It is sort of scary to admit that you want to be put yourself out there and take the risk of being rejected....of being told you aren't good enough for the "team." Yet I have a dream of writing and speaking to people...of sharing my blog and the things God shows me with others. I'm stepping out and saying, "Okay God. If you open the door, I'll go."

The Shespeaks conference is a chance for women like me to grow as writers and speakers - to develop the gift they feel God has given them. Please check out the link to find out more. (Shespeaks) If you read my blogs and think maybe they are worth it, please share them with others and say a prayer. I'd really love to be "picked" for what I do..

As always, thanks for reading.

*** Please note, if you do not have a blog — don’t fret. An amazingly generous blogger has donated a scholarship we’ll give away to those who e-mail their entry to with the subject line reading “She Speaks Scholarship Entry.” Please email to Holly by Friday, March 11.