Category Archives: Faith

When you want to say yes

I said no to something this week I really wanted to say yes to. Worse than that, it’s something I initially thought I could do then had to bow out. I hate that. I hate disappointing people. Ever been there?

If I’m not careful, I can start to believe my identity rests in what others think of me. I’m a people pleaser. And that’s ok. I like being nice. It’s how I’m made. But I need to remember that this quality comes from God and that my identity comes from him, as well. So as much as I regret disappointing a friend, she’d even agree that not following a prompting from the father would be an even greater disappointment.

That prompting is to breathe. To rest and wait. To let him pick the opportunity. That’s my word this year. Opportunity. And I’m a doer. So I just started saying yes to everything. That was my response. But if I’m not saying yes to the right things then I’m still in disobedience.

My verse I’m meditating on this year is 2 Corinthians 13:11.

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I think it’s the maturity part he’s working on right now. And I’m trying to be joyful about it. It’s not always easy.

Anyone else need to do the hard thing? Take a deep breath and say no to something?

I encourage you. We’re in this together.

Fear & Flying

My daughter loves to swing. Like, loves it. Doesn’t care about baby dolls or bicycles. She just wants to swing. Look at that joy!

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She’ll swing for as long as you’ll let her. And as high as she possibly can. Holy moly.

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And it terrifies me. I watch her go up, up, up, higher and higher, and an Oscar-caliber disaster film plays in my head. She loses her grip, tumbles backwards, and breaks her neck. That is, if she even survives. I imagine ambulances and lots of blood. I’m telling you, it’s scary stuff.

It takes all of my willpower to not tell her to slow down, stay lower. I avert my eyes each time I’m about to say “be careful”. I can’t even watch. I am filled with fear.

She’s not. She’s free and having fun. She’s not unaware. We’ve talked about safety and she understands the risk, but she doesn’t let it hold her back. How beautiful is that. She’s embraced the adventure. And that’s who I want her to be. I want her to take risks and chase dreams, be smart and use her brains to accomplish big things. Like touching the top of a tree. Like serving in a foreign land. Like being a good friend. But I also want her safe and protected and whole. She’s my child. There’s such tension there. Being a parent isn’t for sissies.

But I have to remember she’s God’s child more. If I’m going to witness her bloom into her amazing potential, then I need to trust in his mighty protection.

“He is my loving ally and my fortress, my tower of safety, my rescuer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.” ‭Psalms‬ ‭144‬:‭2‬ NLT

She won’t be the amazing woman she can be if I’m always telling her to play it safe. So for her sake, and mine, I have to get over my fear and let her fly.

If you want to fly high, my baby girl has a tip for you.

“Close your eyes!”

Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump.

First things first

Raise your hand if you love your smartphone. ME! ME! ME! I even wrote an ode to my phone once. Because it’s more than just a phone, right? In addition to using it as my camera, calculator, TV screen, internet searcher, grocery list keeper, calendar, and more, it’s also my alarm. So it is literally the first thing I reach for in the morning.  And it would be so easy to get sucked into email, Instagram, Facebook, Yahoo News Digest (you should download that if you don’t have it) , etc., first thing. To keep from going down that rabbit hole I’ve made a deal with myself. I’m not allowed to open any other app until I open the bible app. This is an unbreakable vow. So that is what I do first.

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The bible app has a verse of the day and that’s where I’ll begin. I do more, I study more, I read more, but first thing it’s that verse of the day. And oh, I can’t tell you how many times it’s spoken right to my heart. Like this morning.

It’s been a rough week with work stuff, family stuff, stuff stuff.  So I woke up dreading the day. Just feeling tired and worn and grumpy. But my alarm doesn’t know that so it goes off just like it’s any other day. Stupid alarm. I drag myself out of bed, just wishing I could crawl right back in. I know you’ve been there. But, responsibilities. More stuff. So I’m up and I have that deal with myself. I open the app and I read…

“Don’t copy the behavior and the customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 NLT

And that gets me to thinking about my ladies. I lead a life group (small group, bible study, home group, whatever you want to call it) and right now we’re telling each other our stories. We’re laying it all out and getting raw and real. And it’s beautiful. I’m so grateful for the trust we have in each other to be confidently vulnerable. I see the unique way God has transformed their lives. They are his and wonderful and perfect. And so with a single verse, my thoughts went from dark and morose to grateful, honoring and joyful. And my whole perspective was changed. “Let God transform  you… by changing the way you think.” Thank you, Jesus. Thank you bible app. I love technology.

If you don’t have the bible app, get it now. It’s free! And it’s even better than Yahoo News.

Unmet Expectations

This is the step-by-step process my brain engages when an experience falls short of my expectations.

  1. Expectation
  2. Expectation not met
  3. Disappointment
  4. Deep breath
  5. Reminder to self that things don’t always go my way
  6. Forced perspective to be open to new possibilities
  7. Attitude adjustment
  8. Move on
I can have this silent conversation with myself in about 7.3 seconds. Except when it comes to my kids. With them I tend to get to step #3 and then chart a new course that involves loud voices and hurt feelings. Is there anyone in your life where you find it hard to adjust when things don’t go as planned? Why is that? Why are our expectations often so unrealistic of some? With my children, I think it’s because I know them so well and know what they are capable of accomplishing. When I feel they’re not living up to their potential, my instinct is to coach and instruct, not love and encourage. And this is can be damaging. To their self esteem, to their abilities and to our relationship.

I’m so very grateful God is a much better parent than I will ever be. How often could he use his loud voice with us? How often do we deserve a time out? But instead of disappointment God offers sacrifice.

My friend Kenny Green spoke on Palm Sunday about expectations. And it did not disappoint. As we prepare this week to celebrate Easter, I encourage you to spend some heart time listening and learning.

Palm Sunday: What Did You Expect? from Gateway Church on Vimeo.

And here is a related reading plan I hope you will enjoy!

The wrong questions

What am I doing with my life?
Am I making a difference?
Do I have influence?
Should I have influence?
What is my purpose?

Am I doing enough?
Am I enough?

I have amazing friends. These friends are doing big things and helping change the world. They’re starting non-profits and sitting on boards and traveling to third world countries. I love them for it. I respect them, admire them and give God praise for their abilities. I support them and encourage them. But it’s too easy to also envy them. I want to make a difference. I want to do big things. God, what do you have for me? What’s your plan for my life? The list of questions goes on and on. But these are absolutely the wrong questions.

These questions that have been playing like a loop in my head for months. So destructive. So tedious. Such a waste of time. But God is good and gentle and patient. And spoke to me through my son. There’s nothing like getting schooled on the ways of Christ by a nine year old. He reminded me in a forceful voice that I’m enough and God’s got the rest.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (‭Philippians‬ ‭1‬:‭6‬ NLT)

My work is not done because God is still working in me. So lately I’ve starting asking a different set questions.

God, what are you doing in my life?
How may I help make a difference in your kingdom?
How may I have influence to glorify you?
Lord, what is your purpose for my life?
God, please give me the strength and wisdom to do what you’ve called me to do.

This is hard. To step outside of the “me attitude” is hard. It’s not how we are conditioned in our current society. The internet is a wonderful tool and can be used for great good, but it’s also the thing that can bring on great despair. I’m convinced there are more frustrated people now than ever before. We live our lives publicly and compare ourselves to others constantly. And this helps no one. I like how Seth Godin puts it so plainly when he says “your status compared to other people isn’t how you’re doing.” Amen. I am enough. You are enough.

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May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. (‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

God is incredibly easy to please. Love him, love others. Do that well. Lean into him and you’ll start to find your place. I’m starting to recognize and value mine.

Where are you struggling right now? What questions are you wrestling with? Where do you wonder if you are enough? Find me over on Twitter and we’ll continue the conversation!