The Job You Were Never Given

Here is a sample of a conversation that happens periodically:
“I’ll be fine. Don’t worry about me.”
“Honey, I’m a mom. It’s my job to worry.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard these words from my own mother (props to my mom). Other people’s moms like to figuratively adopt me as an object of their concern. I love their nurturing tendencies and care towards their children. Their attention and care for me is so incredibly cherished and valued. But I do not want their worry.

The fact is that it’s not your job. It is no one’s job, not even if you’re really that person’s mom. Please forgive me if this sounds harsh. Yet, I see no room in the scripture for excusing worry.

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.”

Matthew 6:31 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’”

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Luke 12:25 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”

I believe this applies to worrying about other people’s lives as well. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your child’s life? to anyone’s life? Correct me if I am missing something, but I don’t see any exceptions. Jesus does not say here, “Do not worry, unless you are a mom.” Or “…unless you are held responsible for people under your care.” 

Regardless of whether it is our own lives, or the lives of our loved ones, Jesus can handle it. Our worry exhibits a lack of faith and trust. The God of the universe has got this. You not only don’t have to worry, you are commanded not to. How kind is that command? It is the best for us and everyone around us.

Pretty Please

It doesn’t please me to be pretty,
to appease this shallow committee
you’ve formed to evaluate my form
and the color of my face, to scorn
the soul beneath this tent I’ve worn.
This is not why I was born.

Do not think you can hide.
I see the vacancy in your eyes.
I adjure you to look up to the sky,
See the emptiness inside and cry.
Let Heaven transform the way
You see the souls on whom you prey.

But is it ever beautiful to inherit
This light I could just stare at
And this glorious purpose to reflect
The glorious King who is perfect,
To defy this empty pretty
and live from a deeper sea
Regardless of what you do not see or do.
If you can’t see Him,
You can forget me too.
Let me reflect His beauty,
and defy this empty pretty, please.

Not an Explanation (but kind of)

A valued word of advice (I do not recall from whom) bids me not to try to explain or defend myself. So, I hope instead that this translates as a story of my thought process.

For My Groom

I was addicted. And now I am free. I longed for the affirmation of a like or comment. I was wasting precious time. Time that my Savior had coveted for us. My Groom wants more time with me. Do I love Him enough to throw aside every entanglement? Do I love Him enough to crush my idols? My love is so small. But I can start here, with this entanglement, this idol.

I’m not sharing this as a prescription for Christ-followers to copy. We all have our own idols. Our own snares. And we need to come humbly before our Heavenly Father and ask Him how we can honor Him with our lives. In seeking His face and basking in His loveliness, I knew this area was a dark cloud in my life. I felt great peace and joy in His presence when I decided to lay this down barrier to closeness with Him.

Not Only That But… thoughts on anxiety, time, and creativity

I feel so much less anxiety when I am disconnected. It is a gift to simply be. Take in a moment without thought of the next, the past or what is on a screen. This time is a gift. I feel so much more free to concentrate my creativity on positive outlets that reignite my excitement for life. Writing. Prose. Poetry. Reading. Painting. Drawing. Meditating. My mind is more free to receive from my Heavenly Father. I was filling it with so much other stuff. There was hardly any room in there.

 This is a start, a movement towards a more wholehearted love. As we seek His face in humility, He is faithful to bring to mind any hindrance. And I trust He will. I look forward to it, too! He is so kind in bringing us near through teaching us to let go.

Risking Failure

What am I afraid of when confronted with the opportunity to chase a dream? I could fall on my face, face rejection, or I could succeed – leading to far more unanswered questions. It would be so much easier to not take a step. My own pride asserts that I ought to get my life together before I go further. Others are certainly more qualified.

His Glory or Mine
But waiting to move until I am confident in my own awesome ability and credentials robs God of an incredible opportunity to be glorified in my weakness. Moreover, my reluctance reveals a sinful lust for my own glory over His.

Faith Is Never Failure and Obedience Doesn’t Always Look Like Success
I could try and fail, but a step of faith and obedience is never failure, not in the eyes of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Since Jesus’ obedience led to death, I believe I can say with confidence that God’s plan does not always look like success to the world.

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(Quote by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf)

I fear obtaining my goals and finding myself unable to rise to the challenges they present. But here lies another blessed opportunity for Christ’s power to be made known in my weaknesses. Dreams that scare you are more likely going to need more than you can offer. When God comes through, there will be no stealing His glory if it is something you couldn’t do.

Believe and Trust
If this door is presently closed to me, I will trust that He will use it to teach me what I could not have known and grow me in ways I could not have grown otherwise. If it is opened, trust that He will provide for all of the uncertainties and challenges that follow.

Father, I want to trust You beyond what my eyes can see or my mind imagine. You are worthy of all my trust and faith. Lead me. There is none more skilled in guiding me. I’m sorry for worrying and trying to work things out in my own strength.  You are good. I trust You.  Amen

 

 

 the face

OneThing Recap: Wholeness and Healing

After years of feeling so broken, my Heavenly Father spoke wholeness and healing over me. Restoration. Through a stranger and through a new friend.

A stranger wrote to me: “He knows where all the broken pieces are! He wants His child whole – His mission – His heart’s desire is to gather those pieces – to mend, to make whole His child! … His great desire is to lovingly take each broken piece and restore it – under His grace – as we sit in His presence and allow Him to speak. As we allow ourselves to receive, He will heal. So simple. So hard. To rest and receive. Receive, sweet sister. The world doesn’t understand coming to a conference and crying… They don’t understand our God, our Beloved Savior weeps with us; that the tears are healing! It’s communication with Him. It’s connection with Him. It’s His great desire for tender hearts to come before Him.”

I receive that, sweet sister. Thank you stranger. For all the strangers and friends that have prayed for me this week, thank you! God hears you, and God is healing me.

To the gentleman I did not know who told me that there is purpose in pain, thank you. To the young man called me his sister and prayed for deeper healing than merely physical and shared practical wisdom with me, thank you.

To the woman in the restroom who stood and persisted in prayer over me with my friends until the warmth of healing spread from the top of my head to my toes and peaceful rest filled my soul in sweet communion with the Father, thank you. I think we stood there for 10 minutes.

To my new and old friends who persisted with me this week, giving me a place to stay, transportation, and even going with me to the hospital, thank you. I am so blessed by you all, and I pray God blesses you abundantly beyond your wildest dreams.

To the speakers and singers at the OneThing Conference, thank you. Especially Francis Chan, Matt Maher, and Audrey Assad… I was drawn into worship like I haven’t been in a long time. I am blessed by the love of Christ and His church exhibited. I understand 1 Peter 4 like never before, and I am equipped to go into this new year with the joy to embrace suffering as Christ did for me.

Even though the pain of whiplash did not entirely subside, it is dramatically better now. Even though I will have learn how to get to work without a car, I am encouraged knowing that in Christ I have everything, and I shall not want. If he did not provide one more physical comfort to me, He would still be enough. His sacrifice on the cross is still enough to prove His love.

Thank you for my little brother, who is not so little anymore, who prayed for my  health and drove me home this morning. I don’t know if you know how much that means to me.

“In my darkest hour, in humiliation, I will wait for You. I am not forsaken. Though I lose my life, though my breath be taken, I will wait for You. I am not forsaken. One thing I desire, to see You in Your beauty. You are my delight. You are my glory. You, my sacrifice, oh Your love is all consuming. You are my delight. You are my glory. You’re the lover of my soul. Even unto death, with my every breath, I will love You. Jesus, the very thought of You…”Audrey Assad

After all the good and the bad, after feeling so full and so broken, so needy… It is easy to over-emphasize what I lack. It is easy to focus on how I have disappointed myself and frustrated others… I want to focus instead on the beauty of God’s people, thankfulness, what I have in Christ, wholeness, love…

” Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
James 1:2-4

I am whole. I am loved. There is nothing that I lack. I am laying to rest the past on the bosom of Christ.

 

Love and Dismay

I’ll meet the road again with
the things that I don’t give away
to a city once acquainted with
lamenting the lovely dismay.

I have not tied myself down
with a stake in the ground
Though my love is bound
to people on the ground
And I feel the ache and stretch
of those I cannot wrap my arms around.

But my heart is tied up to the sky
and my spirit whispers, “Fly.”

The Proximity of Love in the Unknown

I don’t have it all together. I’ve been having a real hard time lately. In the midst of all of the not-having-it-togetherness, God has been teaching me some pretty sweet things. For that, I am glad, and blessed. I want to share it with you, not because I am amazingly brilliant with lots to share, but just because these gifts are too sweet to keep to myself. I am sure someone else needs them too.

Jesus loves you.

A whole lot. I know, I don’t always believe it either. Even as I am typing this, I struggle to believe. Jesus loves me. Why don’t I believe? Did He not do enough to prove it to me? Was it not enough that He died to save my life, to have me near? Is it not enough that He makes the sunrise every morning? Could I imagine that my flaws and sins are stronger than the blood He shed to cover them? Could it be that my lack of loveliness is enough to ward off the strength of His immense love? No, this is not so. He is enough. His love is strong enough.

He is near.

Psalm 139:7-12

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

If it were not for His great love, His nearness would be a fearful thing, but in fact, it is wonderful. It is what gives me hope and strength. His loving nearness is the power in my bones when I feel weak.

He is near and loving in the unknown.

So I am basing this section off of Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, August 5th, The Baffling Call of God. It presents the idea that we can be unsuccessful in the eyes of the people around us, and be unaware of the way in which God wants to use our lives, and still fully embrace The Baffling Call of God.

I have felt like a failure many times in my life. So you can imagine my relief when I read from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, “Jesus Christ’s life was an absolute failure from every standpoint but God’s. But what seemed failure from man’s standpoint was tremendous triumph from God’s, because God’s purpose is never man’s purpose.”

So even if my life seems like a total failure from man’s perspective, I am in good company. Better yet, there is hope that God sees it differently.

If it isn’t obvious from the previous paragraph, I am living in the blessed land of “What Am I Doing With My Life?!” Again, I could discuss this further, but that is not my intention for this blog. Suffice it to say, I don’t know. And the unknown is scary. To quote my good ol’ friend Oswald again, “It cannot be stated definitely what the call of God is to, because His call is to be in comradeship with Himself for His own purposes, and the test is to believe that God knows what he is after.”

His purpose for me is to be in relationship with Him. He knows what He is after, and I just have to trust Him. 

“A Christian is one who trusts the wits and the wisdom of God, and not his own wits. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the leisureliness which ought to characterize the children of God.” – Oswald Chambers

Jesus, help me to trust You. To believe in Your love. To believe You are near. And to trust that You know what You are doing with my life. I love You, my Savior. I want to love You more. You are deserving of all of me. Thank You Jesus for who You are. I praise You for You are worthy of all my trust. Your love is beyond what I can comprehend, and it is real. Thank you Jesus. May my life be marked by simplicity and leisure because I trust in You.
-Amen

Not Only

I watched a movie tonight, hoping to boost my spirits. My roommate’s dog joined me, lying oddly on her back staring up at my face, paws toward the sky. It turned out to be a very sad movie. Death, disease, broken promises.

Unfortunately, it seems like that’s the way life goes.  I see news article one after another concerning awful things happening around the world. How can we keep our heads up?

I looked down at this oddly lying dog as she tries to lick my face. Barely dodging her tongue, I asked her, as if she could respond, “Why is life so sad?” And she just looked up at me with her big brown eyes, as clueless as ever. I felt an answer in my spirit.

But it’s not only sad.

I know this may sound elementary, but it’s so hard to grasp. Sometimes in the darkness, we forget that light exists. It seems like it will be dark forever. For those who cannot see the light at the proverbial end of the tunnel, I have no answers, but knowing that the darkness will end is some comfort to me. It takes faith when we cannot see it, but it will end.

Revelation 21:1-5

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Worthy

Why is it so hard to only trust?
To let go of the list of must
The pride of life and fleshly lust
All these things that rot and rust

I believe it’s true,
No desire obtained can free you
Me. It ensnares me and scares me
Suffocates those ideals I carry.

I implore you. Each desire you succumb to has won you.
I only give in because I don’t trust You
That You’re worthy and You make me worthy
You win me. Jesus, You win me.

Remind me daily,
Of the grace that makes me
Worthy.

Steal My Gaze

From now until forevermore,
May I always love You more
Than all the sand on the shore
Than all the ones I hold dear
I want to love You here
In all the places I lay my head
Upon every ground I step.
I want to speak Your praise,
Louder than any song on my lips,
Thought in my mind or spoken phrase.
Let my depths of my soul be set ablaze
With the fire of Your holy name,
And nothing else ever steal my gaze.