Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My willingness to Endure

If this makes no sense...just move on.

"My willingness to Endure."

It's the quality I think I like the most about myself, feel the most noble about--my willingness to Endure. And yet, I think it has become something other than noble, perhaps even something destructive.

There is little joy in my life when I'm living like this. There isn't much room for joy in Endure. I think there is a lot of unbelief behind Endure, like my conviction that no one else is going to come through, so I have to. It also feels like Samson's downfall--we find a quality or a strength that helps us get through life, and we make it our idol, put all our trust and hope in it. It's different for everybody, for some it's intelligence, or making people happy, for me it's Endure. But once we make this strength or quality our idol and turn to it for security, it becomes our blind spot--the thing we don't want anyone to look at or tamper with. Not even God...eventually, it becomes our ruin." Walking with God, John Eldredge

I didn't write that but I could have--I should have. Lately these thoughts have been lurking around my sub conscience, when I'm not too busy to think--that's probably why I like busy, and why I hate it.

Too many times I've asked and do ask loudly and boldly of others, "Why do I stay?"
I've boldly announced and preached that I'VE NOT BEEN "UNCALLED!" --my famous speech to the masses that will listen willingly and unwillingly. But now, I ask, have I ever asked God? Have I really searched and asked and fought with my "calling" lately? Or, do I wear the "called" sign on my chest so proudly that I don't even wonder if I still am? Would I be willing to even consider being "uncalled?"

Or, am I so hung up on my willingness to Endure, so defined by it, that I have been worshiping that instead of God? Ouch!

In truth, all my security and identity is wrapped into ENDURE NEW LIFE! but doesn't that just sound ridiculous?

I've been learning this for awhile now. This summer when RT Kendall said something like, "what was once righteousness can become sin" my heart ached because I knew there was truth in his statement.

Forgiveness was the first step--but not the last.

I still don't know if I CAN leave but my heart sure needs to have a holiness make over. I have been like the Pharisees in Matt 6, with my face somber and my clothes torn, parading my anger and self-righteousness for all to see and hear. It's disgusting...I wish I would just shut up!

A humble spirit, a contrite heart... a quiet mouth and a life of prayer.

You've taught me this lesson before-I heard you for awhile, I obeyed for awhile...then I chose to forget. I chose to indulge in anger and self-gratification. To be the martyr and to expose myself to others in the most indecent way--Forgive me Lord Jesus for placing myself on your throne.

A Holiness Make Over...what is that?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

24 colors

There are times in life where happiness can be as simple as 24 colors and a blank piece of paper. And in those times, life is the simplest and the best. It's 10 am, we are all still in our pj's, the coffee is hot and the kids are coloring Christmas pictures. Simple pleasures...

Christmas card it's not... I have black circles under my eyes because I didn't take off my eye make up last night, there are toys all over the floor and last nights dinner dishes are still lurking in the sink.

And yet, everything about this morning is the best. I've even rented a crazy old movie about dial up internet and the birth of email...any guesses? I love this movie!

24 colors...what does that mean to you? My 24 colors come in many shapes:
1. A good cheap glass of wine.
2. New PJ's
3. Sleeping past 6:30am
4. Spicy Doritos
5. A great candle
6. Free Shipping
7. Fresh smelling laundry
8. Moving up on the Bejeweled leader board
9. Laughing like a hyena with good friends
10. Snow falling
11. A good book
12. A long hot shower
13. Diet Coke
14. Warm socks
15. A good joke on the radio
16. All green lights on LaGrange
17. A good neck crack
18. Long hot shower
19. Christmas tree lights
20. "What'd I get in my Happy Meal" excitement
21. dancing in the kitchen
22. sun in December
23. Preschooler Christmas programs
24. A good sneeze

24 colors...they change, sometimes they melt and get stuck in the carpet...but I'm glad that life can be reduced to 24 colors sometimes...sometimes I need it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Being who you were created to be

I just finished the most exhausting weekend of the year. I'm sore, tired, spent and so thankful to have had the opportunity to stretch myself to limits I didn't think possible.

A few years ago, after a long, hurtful and discouraging fight I was placed in a role at our church that has turned out to be a true source of joy for me. I was, by omission, made the director of our choir program. Even though I wasn't a music teacher, didn't have a degree, didn't play the piano and had never really done this job before, God decided that I should take on this responsibility. I had no idea what I was doing except that I had sung in many choirs. I didn't know how to find music, how to run a practice, how to really read music or anything else that goes along with this job...but none of that mattered. In order to take this job, I had to give up the one thing I thought made me the happiest in the world; I had to give up singing. I exchanged singing for silence, being in front of an audience to turning my back on them, something I knew well for something I knew nothing about. None of it made sense and if conventional wisdom would have prevailed I simply would have said, "no." But, I didn't. I took the job.

I struggled through it, I still struggle through it...but the choir was gracious and encouraging. They continued to show up, they continued to work, they continued to trust me even when I didn't trust myself. They followed where ever I led them; although I have no idea why. The choir pitched in, they gave their ideas, they helped me and they helped each other. If I think about it, we all had been hurt, we were all licking our wounds, we were all gun shy, but together we kept our eyes on the Lord and continued to do what we loved, worship him in the only way we knew how, through music.

And now here I am, at the end of the most exhausting weekend of the year. Looking back on a wonderful weekend of services filled with great, difficult, Christmas music. Together we praised the Lord the best we knew how... I praised the Lord the best I knew how... and I wasn't singing... I wasn't making a single sound. I was directing a group of dedicated brothers and sisters, encouraging them to do their best, banging out a rhythm that helped them stay together. This has me speechless. I love this job more than any other... Thank you Father, for creating in me a love for something I knew nothing about. Thank you Father, for having faith in me and not letting me take the easy way out. I heard the angels singing... I did...but I didn't expect it... Shocking!