Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I realize...Shortcuts

I haven't posted many pictures on here recently. I'll try to change that, I think. When I'm off reading other blogs, I expect to see pictures along with the stories and I have realized, I stopped doing that. I'll work on that.

The latest thoughts swirling around in my conscience have to do with shortcuts and freedom. I know. I don't know if they actually fit together or if I've had separate experiences with each yet at parallel times.

Are you like me? Do you look for the fastest, easiest way to do, get, or finish something? Are you expectant that it's not so much about the getting there, as it is the FINALLY being there? "Are we there yet?" Is this not ingrained in us as children? Who taught us that the theme park is more fun than the ride getting there? Why do we dread the ride? Maybe we're in too much of a hurry, maybe.

This is just what I've been thinking about. And realizing that it's taken me this long to go back to school because I wanted the easy way to...happiness, I think? Imagining that this "happiness" or rather purpose and feelings of purpose would come once I had arrived. Time is a powerful, wise teacher. Time has taught me otherwise. Along the journey forth, I'm going to make decisions that others question. I'm going to be crippled by the direction I feel God, my Savior, leading me because I'm looking for the shortcut, the easiest, the fastest (and therefore best) way instead of the long way, which changes and challenges me. I'm always on the lookout for EVERYTHING to work out cohesively, in every single decision and movement. It does not. Again, it does not. Though this is often how my actions play out in strategizing the most direct method, this is NOT how or what I truly believe. I don't think the well-groomed path is the best. I believe it when the Bible says the way to God is narrow. I believe it is filled with sorrow and desperation (as well as joy and delight, but somehow the first two are often discarded) causing us to cry out and cling to the Man who is greater than all we are or face.

I often listen to music on repeat. I think it reflects the part of my personality that is trying to squeeze every little bit of life and wisdom out of something that catches my attention. I've learned, time has taught me, to pay attention to those details. The song on repeat? This new artist I discovered? The lyrics? Desert Father, Josh Garrels, "The Lord's Spirit calls, He's singing, Follow my road to sorrow and joy, Be intertwined". And that's precisely IT, intertwined.

So, shortcuts. I'm starting to think they're a drag! I'll take the long way and gather every bit of the morsels of wisdom kept there for me. After all, isn't it how we finish so much of want we learn? "In the long run, I discovered.............."

This, this might be where freedom fits in. If I'm taking the long way, I'm gonna have to learn to live under freedom. Freedom to live by faith. Faith-not knowing the exactness of something and still stepping into action. Stepping into action and trusting that the freedom I live in is for me grace, the grace, which was so costly for Jesus and a gift for me. (And you.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pray without Ceasing 1 Thess. 5:17

Praying without ceasing. Pray continually. Instructions from Paul. Instructions I long to heed day in and out. He is mighty to work in me and through me. Oh! how I long to be conscious of how GOOD He is to me, at all times. Pray all the time. For me, sometimes it looks and feels like this.

(I wrote this, at some point, in my journey through the Florida chapter.)

Look at You, looking at me.

I'm wondering why Your looking at me...

I've turned, tired.

Why do Your eyes follow me,

Your thoughts,

Your hand?

You wrote it, against any of my conscience or willingness.

I've looked back,

I've asked,

I’ve wondered,

I'm troubled.

You wrote it.

I feel it and feel how deeply ingrained it is,


a branding I’ll never lose.

It sits, I sit with it, but I don’t know it.

Though I know it’s there, I don’t know it.

You wrote it.

The only hope I have is You.

You wrote it,

…tell me about it.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

down with the old

I've been having several really great, ongoing conversations both in my head and with people. One of those ongoing conversations has been in regards to Sabbath. It is so easy to be consumed with things around me, especially 'good' things and I often find myself loosing steam in the midst of these things. I have less to genuinely offer when it comes to this and I find that I am not present with the Lord as I desire to be. Present in the sense and confidence of moving forward boldly because I've been washing my mind with the Truth of scripture.

So, today, I'm sitting in Cannon Beach at a cafe writing this post and about to head out to the sand to spend the afternoon listening and not feeling the necessity to do anything in particular. I know as you read this you might find it a waste of time to simply be, but it comes back to that desire within my heart to honor God and our relationship in observing a Sabbath. I have much to learn in resting and the many ways this looks for each of us individually-day to day, chapter by chapter.

Genesis 2:1-3
"Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."

I was recently listening to a podcast which caused me to consider the ways in which God initiates in my life. First, it was by His initiative through Christ that He came down to us. And, in consideration of His history, His beginning before me and continuation after me, I am beginning to seek, pray for, and find balance in waiting for Him to initiate. I believe there are heart murmurs (not necessarily the medical condition) in which He is initiating, but it's in silence, surrender, and prayer that I must become confident of these whispers. Confident so when I'm in the thick of it I don't come to an end and decide that when the struggles are heavy, God's not in it. I've never felt this way, I don't believe the path is always smooth, but I know for myself-I must be convinced. Not convinced of my own desire, but knowing those desires have stemmed from my relationship with God, not from my own will or desire to please or desire for a particular life.

On my drive over this morning, I listened to one of my faves-Shane and Shane. Their most recent song I've heard on the radio (which caused me to buy the whole album)=Turn Down the Music:

Turn down the music
turn down the noise
turn up your voice, oh God
and let us hear the sound
of people broken
willing to love
Give us your heart, oh God
a new song rising up

This is my prayer today, turn up Your voice, Oh God!

There's so much white noise in our lives...please please please...take time to tune in. It's never too late. Quickly, one of those conversations I recently had with the mom of some dear friends...we were reflecting on life and faith and how we spend ourselves and the desire to be spent on the things that matter in the long run. The part of the conversation that I loved, that I find so so so, almost soothing...she is 50. Her and her husband are beginning to look at and think about retiring and in the last few years God has shaken all those thoughts and is beginning to re-map what that might look like. There are no definitive plans, but my heart rejoiced in this---it is not only the youthful that are zealous. Radical faith is not for the young or the 20 or 30 0r 40 or 50 somethings---RADICAL, BIBLICAL FAITH is for us in each moment of life. Whatever our stage or age-single, with kids, empty-nesters, retirees etc. And the day after our conversation, I read this in Hebrews 11, the chapter about all those who lived by faith:

"All these people were still living by faith when they died."

The title of this blog, "down with the old" is just that- putting down the old thoughts and being renewed, coming up with and walking in the resurrected life! And this is what I continue to unravel and learn...