Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Random Wonderings

Random things I've been wondering lately. I'd tweet them if I had a twitter account, but I don't. So, here it goes:

1. How did Carly Rae Jepsen's phrase, Call me Maybe actually become part of people's every day speech?

2. Why do Singles Pastors always reference their amazing wives and children in front of an audience that is filled with people who can not relate to these statements?

3. Why is peppermint bark called bark when it doesn't resemble a dog or a tree?

4. Why do people always assume I'm still in college?

5. How does FedEx get an order from China to Hong Kong to Taiwan to Alaska to Tennessee to my door stop at precisely 10AM  in 5 days after my order?

6. Why is Publix such an exceptional grocery store?

7. Is Facebook going to take over the world?

8. How long did it take to grow the Christmas tree that now sits in my living room?

Those are my random thoughts this week.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fear: I Think I Just Saw a Ghost. (Characteristic #10: Courage)

"But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear.." ~Matthew 14:26

This story always cracks me up a little. It's the story when Jesus walks on water. The scene is that the disciples are fighting off a storm. There are huge wind and waves and they have been out there for most of the night. As they are fighting the wind and the waves, off in the distance comes Jesus walking on water. The first response from men that were some of Jesus closest friends and followers: Ugggghhhhhhhhhhh! Its a GHOST!
(not  quite a direct quote, but you get the idea.)

I often think as we face hard circumstances in life,  that we, like the disciples, often look off in the distance, and have given up that Jesus could actually come to our rescue,. Instead we look up and we see the only thing that could make the situation worse: a not so real-but seems real-.and terrifying-Ghost. A Ghost that paralyzes and probably will destroy us alll. A Ghost people!

This season of life has caused me to stare Ghosts in the face, making me come eye-to-eye with the effects of fear. Its also made me look Jesus in the eye, full into his wonderful face,  and then walk forward in courage.

Here's some observations I have made on fear:

1. Fear leads to mediocre living of a mediocre life.  Tom Yeakley goes back to  the Latin roots of mediocre to explain that it means "half way" and "mountain." According to Yeakley,  " a mediocre christian life is one that begins their journey aiming for the top of the mountain, but then settles for only halfway up the summit."  My friend Lauren and I like to refer to this as the "Nap Ledge."  That place on the journey to God's plan for you where you throw up your hands  and say, this is just too hard. I'd rather stop mid-way up and take a nap, here on this ledge. The fear of the unknown is too much, the journey seems to tough, and I'm scared. I don't really want to live a life above, but just one where I stay on this "nap ledge". II don't care about seeing the sun over the mountain view, I'd rather just play it safe.  Not the most comfortable place, but at least I don't have to try hard any more to walk in courage.

2. Fear makes you believe irrational things and then respond irrationally to life. 

Yep. I get this. Have lived it. Function this way often. I recognized this summer that I have some irrational fears of people rejecting me which cause me to do some crazy things to avoid that rejection. Its almost like a safari adventure with terrible obstacles along the way. Try avoiding eye contact with all men, while racing through singles gatherings, performing a lock down on personal information that the CIA couldn't even crack, avoiding those pesky phone calls from acquaintances, all in a single bound as you safely close the door to your car and enjoy an evening alone at your demise and your success. Irrational? Yes. Healthy? Not really. Changing? With God's help, I nod my head, that things are changing.

Which brings me to some points about courage that I am learning:

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is rather walking through fear with a faith that God is saying "I got you" as you walk. Yeakley says, "Courage and security are found in the presence of the Lord, not in the absence of danger." It rests in the fact that I am a Child of the King and the King is fighting with me and for me. That I don't have to perform the crazy obstacle course of avoidance with a lonely outcome. But I can look to the One who made me and know, He's Got me. I'm going to be ok, not matter what happens.

Courage is better than letting fear win.  When I can't make my fundraising phone calls, when I feel paralyzed by relating with new people, etc., I can remember that it is through fixing our eyes on Jesus that we can have courage like Peter to join Jesus in walking on water. But if I stay in the boat, if I never confront sin, or stand alone for God, If I don't trust God and his hand beckoning me to come. Its like the enemy wins. Fear lies to my heart  and I believe it. And I sink. And fear and the enemy win. The thought disgusts me and its enough to make me get up and grab the hand of Jesus and keep pressing on.

This summer I found this picture:

And with it, I felt like the Lord said to my heart the following:

Dear Lovely,

I want you to know that I’ve heard your cries and seen your fears. I despise the enemy for scaring you so much. For keeping you from relationships, for making you hide in shame. I spring into fighting action for you when I hear him convincing you that I am not big enough to handle wind and waves, kings and edicts, the worldly circumstances and the lies.  FEAR is a LIAR. Don’t believe Satan’s schemes, dear child.

Child, I am here to tell you, I am powerful beyond measure. I can calm seas of life and I can redeem you from the darkest places of sin. I have made you for grand and great purposes. You are enough with my power and love behind you.

Don’t let doubt win. Don’t let fear cause you to distrust my love. I am always bigger and stronger than fear. Fear me more than people and life. Follow me. Trust me. And you will see a great adventure beyond your imagination.

All my love from Calvary,

 I encourage you to not let fear win! Don't stay on mediocre mountain and take a give-up -on-life break on the "nap ledge." Instead, be encouraged by this old Hymn's words, and let Him be your strength!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

This blog brought to you by the dozens of little kids that will dress like ghosts this week on Halloween and try to scare people with their extreme cuteness.