Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When I grow up, I want to be...interesting.

I used to dream of being smart and interesting, then I started fantasizing of being somewhat funny and fun. Now I'm just shooting for not being boring and ignored.

Yes, I'm having one of those random thoughts kind of days.

Ever wonder what makes a person "interesting"? I decided to ask my Facebook friends what they think made a person interesting. Some were kind and told me I am interesting. (That's the thing about Facebook - pretty much everyone looks more interesting online.) 

Others had interesting thoughts on interesting. "Interesting is living with gusto, speaking with excitement and thankfulness."
"People who are different from others (in a positive way) or courageous, making an impact on others." 
"Someone who accomplishes something...a lot of somethings." 
"It's in their stories...stories others can learn from, delight in, take hope from, delight in, and gain inspiration from. Interesting people have "stories" - lots of stories."
Then there was that one friend who replied "Fruitcake." (Yes, I do have some pretty interesting friends!)

I guess that's another way of saying interesting people have lived, not simply existed. One of my favorite responses to my question was that "those who think they are not interesting usually are the ones who actually are."

I wonder what God would say to the question of what makes someone interesting. Would it be the same as what we think? And whom do I want to be "interesting" to? 

This is one of those shorter blogs where I'm really still thinking, mulling over the possibilities. What makes someone interesting? What do you think? Share your thoughts and let's see if together we can become more "interesting" people.

When I searched for a verse to include with this, interestingly enough this was the verse of the day...and I think it fits pretty well.

Colossians 2:6-7The Message (MSG)

From the Shadows to the Substance

6-7 My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
Yep - that should make a person more "interesting" for sure!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

I may never be fast...

I have come to the realization that I will never be fast. I used to be at least "sort of" fast, but as my years have advanced, my speed has diminished. With that in mind, it would be easy to see how I would get discouraged and just give up, but then things like this happen to remind me why...

Tonight I participated in a local "Go H.A.R.D." (Hug A Runner Day) event. It was only a mile run, and totally for fun, but just what I needed as I start to work on getting back into running again.

I started out with all the other runners as they started into an easy jog. The best part was watching all the parents with their kids as they made their way around the course. Before long, I found myself running alone. I've noticed that happens a lot. There are aBUNCH of runners ahead of me and a few behind me, and I run alone. That's okay. To be honest I am kind of comfortable in that spot. I actually like running alone.

It was then that I came up behind two little girls who had sped past me earlier, but now they were walking. I encouraged them a couple of times to keep going. They would, of course, take off at top speed and leave me, only to have me plod up behind them in a few seconds.
Finally, I ran along side the littlest one, (I'll call her "pink kitty" since she wore a pink kitten hat,) and this time I told her I'd run along side her. She started to kick on the jets again only this time I told her to slow down...we'd just go slow. 

She was doing her best, but she looked up at me and said, "My heart hurts! It feels like it's breaking!" 

I nodded and said, "I know, but that's just your heart growing stronger. Don't stop. Don't give up. You can do this!"

We ran along side by side, me talking to her about her really cool hat, asking about her school, telling her she was doing great, encouraging her that she was a really fast runner for a 5 year old..."I don't think I could have run that fast when I was 5," I said. 

She looked up and asked, "How old are you?" 

"I'm 54. Pretty old, huh." Yes, she nodded. (Funny...at that moment it felt pretty good to be that old!)

Step by step we ran together. "Not much further," I said. 

The finish line was getting closer, and she wanted to speed up, but I told her to hold back till the final turn. As we approached that last turn, I told her I wanted her to run as hard as she could. I figured she'd leave me behind when she kicked in those afterburners, but we weren't done. She gave it a burst of speed, but then I could see her slowing. I had to speed up and run beside her, egging her on.

That little "pink kitty" crossed the finishing line at full speed, so proud of herself and what she had done! She finished her mile run!

I have to be honest, I was pretty happy too. No, I hadn't run my fastest mile - far from it. Instead, I helped someone else reach their goal.

The Christian walk is a lot like this run. Sometimes I feel my "best" days are behind me. I'm not nearly as fast as I once was. Only now, I have an even better reason to run. I get to run alongside others who are just starting their race....those whose hearts "feel like they are breaking" and I get to encourage them that they are just getting stronger.

I get to talk to them about little things to help get their minds off the pain. I get to remind them to slow down...we'll get there one step at a time. I get to watch them do things they never thought possible and help them simply not to quit.

No, I'll never be fast like some others, but this is my race, the one that allows me to meet people all along the way that simply need to hear, "You can do this." This is why I run this race called life.  Care to join me?

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (Msg)

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.

Hebrews 10:22-25 (MSG)

So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

*Note: I originally said this was Pink Kitty's FIRST mile. I later discovered after reading a post from her mom that it was not her first mile. Thanks Christy for allowing me to run with your precious child. 
I also realized, it was probably one of the most fun miles I've run in a long time....Pink Kitty took my mind off my own labored breathing for a while!

Repost from 2013

Monday, November 16, 2015

An unlikely pair...

We've all seen them - that unlikely couple that makes you wonder, "How did THEY wind up together?" Maybe  she's gorgeous and he seems dorky, or his is bold and she is meek, or like me and my husband, she is hyper and loud while he is quiet and calm. Whatever the mix, they just seem like they don't fit, but they are obviously perfect together.

This week I've been thinking of another "unlikely pair" - Confidence and Humility.

On the surface these two might seem like they don't fit together, but when you look closer you find that you can't possibly have one without the other!

Think of someone you know who walks in confidence. You know them. When they walk into a room, people are drawn to them. They aren't cocky or full of themselves, they just are.  They do their job in confidence, parent their kids in confidence, even play in confidence! They just seem to not worry and instead walk into any situation as though they know what to do. 

I've been thinking a lot about what makes a person confident. Is it their ability? Is it their knowledge? What is it about them that allows them to walk in such confidence? That's when it hit me. It's because they aren't just confident, they are also HUMBLE! Yes, you heard me right, they are humble....THAT'S the reason they can be so confident. They realize it's not about them. 

A humble person doesn't think too highly of themselves, in fact, I'm pretty sure they aren't thinking of themselves at all. They seem to be "about their Father's business," and that is enough. The confidence is intertwined so closely to humility that they can't be separated. Think about it, no one ever has walked in more confidence and humility than Jesus. He could have called down angels to do His bidding at anytime, but instead He walked with sinners, sick people, and thieves showing mercy and grace. He just went about doing his Father's will. 

Unfortunately, I find that I more often walk with another "odd couple"....the evil twins of Confidence and Humility - Low-self esteem and Pride. Confusing, I know! Most people see someone who speaks of themselves with words of debasement and self-depreciation and think THAT is the person who is humble. Like most things, however, looks can be deceiving. After all, those words are usually mostly about THEM. It's about what they can or cannot do. The focus is on THEM. What seems to be Humility is actually Pride in disguise. While 
I'd like to believe I can walk in confidence, I more often seem to walk in pride. I want to lose the focus on myself, but often that's exactly where it lands. On me. Not a very pleasant thought, I know.

Confidence knows that everything isn't based on our own ability to make things happen. It's hard to get to this point because the toughest part is that all this requires Trust. It's a simple word, but that doesn't make it easy. 

We have to Trust that our Father God loves us more than we can imagine. Trust that He sees all the days of our lives and has already walked through them. Trust that He has planned an end that will be for our good and His glory. 

Now that I think about it, maybe it's not that Confidence and Humility are a couple. Maybe they actually walk as a trio with Trust. I want to hang with these friends a lot more than I do their evil counterparts, Low Self-esteem, Pride, and Fear. How about you? 

Luke 2:49
He said, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?”

Psalms 25:9 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

James 4:10   Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

 Ephesians 2:10 - For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

*This is a repost from 2013, formerly titled "An Unlikely Couple..."

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I will carry a sword....

The other day I sat down to do some serious channel hopping and came across a favorite movie, The Book of Eli. That movie is so thought provoking and I love finding it on regular tv (they clean up the language and I can focus more on the plot.) I'd use a picture from the movie, but I'm afraid it might infringe on some copyright law. Be sure, however, to read all the way to the bottom of this blog for some really cool quotes from the movie. 

Days after the movie was over, I was still thinking about what I had seen, and it hit me. Eli carried a sword. A sword....and a Bible.

In the movie, Eli traveled for 30 years carrying that Bible and a sword...heading he did not know where. And as he traveled, he read that Bible...committed it to memory...sharpened it as it were. I have to wonder if the reason it took so long was so that he could commit it all to memory and make it sharp.

Along with the Bible, Eli also carried a sword, and he knew how to use it when necessary. He never pulled it out unless he needed to protect himself or someone else. Then, whatever enemy that dared to try to stop him would be met with the sharp edge and let's just say they realized they were pretty much powerless against Eli as long as he carried that sword.
It seemed as if the enemy could not touch Eli. Some tried, but their threats and weapons could not touch him as long as he carried that Bible.

All this has been mulling around in my mind and today as I drove to work, it was on my mind once again. It is time to sharpen my sword. Of course I don't mean I plan to go to the nearest pawn shop and purchase some ancient ninja weapon. (I'd look silly dressed up like a ninja.) Still, everywhere I turn, I seem to see devotions that nudge me to get serious about reading the Bible and learning His word....committing it to memory....sharpening it and learning how to use it to protect....

I recently had a conversation with an old friend. We were talking about kids who sometimes make wrong choices and I asked - "Have you done battle for them?" 
"I pray for them," was the response.
"I didn't say pray - I asked do you do battle?" It was then that I felt that warrior spirit inside me start to rise up. So THAT'S what the sword is for!

We are in a battle - every mom, every dad, ever sister or brother or aunt or uncle, young and old, big and small. We battle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities and spiritual wickedness in high places....this battle isn't with people. It's against the one who would destroy those people.

I don't know what mountain is standing before you...what battle you are facing. But you have a sword. The question is, will your sword be sharp when you need it? Will that warrior spirit rise up in you? Will you face the battle secure in the knowledge that you carry a sword?

Hebrews 4:12 -13 The Message (MSG)
12-13 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

Ephesians 6: 10 - 18 (Message)
10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Joshua 1:8 (Message)

1-9 After the death of Moses the servant of GodGod spoke to Joshua, Moses’ assistant:
“Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I’m giving to the People of Israel. I’m giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It’s all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I’ll be with you. I won’t give up on you; I won’t leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don’t get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you’re going. And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”

Oh, one more thing. I really liked these quotes from the movie, so I decided to share them. We'll let them speak for themselves.

Eli: People had more than they needed. We had no idea what was precious and what wasn't. We threw away things people kill each other for now.

Eli: In all these years I've been carrying it and reading it every day, I got so caught up in keeping it safe that I forgot to live by what I learned from it.

Solara: Do you really read the same book everyday? 
Eli: Without fail. 

May we never forget what is truly precious...and may we remember to live by what we 
learn from God's Word.