Just An Introvert who Loves Jesus

55518bca65320603f3a76dcce703c4a0Confession: I am an introvert and I love Jesus.

And I’m an introvert to my core.  (For all you Myers-Briggs people, I am so INFJ it’s not even funny.)

But sometimes, my introvertedness can get in the way.

I really like going to church.  But I hate(and, yes, hate) the social aspects.  I hate get up and greet each other time. I hate let’s shake hands on the way out.  I find it emotionally draining.  It doesn’t establish or create relationships.  It doesn’t make me feel more connected. I like to live in the depths.  I don’t like surface interactions/greetings.  I find them unnecessary.

Did you catch all those me’s and I’s?

God calls us to love on people. Jesus put His hands on people when He was healing them, not because He had to, but because He knew people needed it. I don’t need to be the social committee chair, but I do need to reach out to others despite my natural and immediate inclination to run the other way…or at least walk on the other side of the hall.

If I am truly to be His hands and feet, I have to actually use my hands.  I have to take care of my mental and emotional needs, but i have to recognize when I need to set aside my emotional needs at times to help meet others needs.  I’m in a place where I can do this.  So, I need to be doing it more.

It’s hard, but I’m working on it.

– S

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Plant the Seeds – It’s all I can do

Timothy’s dad was Greek. This seems like a small nuance of history; yet I find it utterly fascinating and encouraging.

 

Timothy’s dad being Greek means he was not a follower of Christ; he was not a believer.

 

And yet, based on his grandmothers (Lois) and his moms (Eunice) faith he grew up to be a man of great faith (2 timothy 1:5)

 

He walked along side Paul and spread the good news of Christ; he wrote two books of the Bible! And his dad was not a believer.

 

I worry about my Chris, and how his lack of faith will affect our children. He is good man, who loves us all, but he doesn’t know the unending love of Christ and is very factual and self reliant. Vulnerability and love that passes understanding do not come easily to him.

 

Sometimes I worry about silly things, when I should just go to the Word.

 

It is clearly written, after all, God is in me, and so, in my home. Thus, he surrounds Chris and my children daily (whether they like it or not, whether they believe it or not.) We are flooded by His presence through my faith – that is powerful.

 

I also believe faith can move mountains and grow mustard trees, and can defy logical thinking. God is fighting for them through me.

 

Sometimes the weight of that falls heavy. Yet, when I turn to the Word I’m reminded the outcome isn’t mine to determine. I am but a messenger, a fishermen, a farmer, planting seeds.

 

When and where the seeds will take root and produce isn’t up to me, that’s up to my God. My job is much simpler. Plant the seeds in love and when the season is right, they will grow.

 

“He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.” Mark 4:27-28

 

After all, Timothy’s dad was greek.

– J

Control Freak Speaking

I can relate to Moses…okay, not in the I’ve saved an entire people…or stood up to a king…or seen a burning bush…but I can.

But, I get the impression that Moses developed into kind of a control freak.  By the time they got of Egypt, he was trying to do it all.  It wasn’t until his father in law (Jethro) told Moses that he needed to delegate that Moses relinquished some control and responsibilities (Exodus 18).

Sometimes, we all need a Jethro to remind us that God didn’t create us to work alone.  We need to rely on Him, yes, but we are also supposed to rely on each other as a community of believers.  Our best work for God is only completed when we are able to work all of our gifts together for His glory.

control-freak-cardI am fiercely independent – and pride myself on being so.  And by that I mean I’m really a toddler…I want to do it myself.  It is so hard for me to acknowledge that my best work for God is not done alone.

That doesn’t mean that I can’t work for God in and of myself, we are called to do so.  However, when we can pair with other believers, our work is multiplied.

I’m still learning what exactly this means for me and how this looks.  However, for now, I know it means I have to tear down walls of security and build bonds with others – even when it feels really uncomfortable.

I have to let go of the control freak.

-S

Eyes Wide Shut

I have a lot to learn about love and how to love. My kids are teaching me anew everyday.

 

We had a rough night (shocking). I haven’t showered in 6 days (if you’re a fellow mom to a bear cub and lady bug you understand).

 

Long story short, I’m laying in my bed praying Nici goes back down. That doesn’t happen, instead he starts rubbing my arm, and gently talking in his high pitched nice voice. His face approximately 2 inches from mine, his hands are now on my face examining it as well. Taking in each line. I look over at him and his eyes are shut.

 

He is seeing me with his words and his hands. And sometimes we see better with our eyes shut.

 

God made us for community. Real community equals real vulnerability, though. Eyes squeezed closed takes care of pride and judgment real fast.

 

eyes-wide-shutI’m not promoting eternal blindfolds or zero accountability. I’m thinking eyes closed love lends to faster grace granted, not because we can’t see or feel their flaws, but we are acutely aware of our own vulnerable state.

 

There is a lot of ugly in the world, there is a lot of ugly in my heart.

 

My two year old doesn’t see it. He loves me, enough to blindly caress my face at 3am despite the numerous confrontations we dealt with in the previous 24 hours.

 

I have a lot to learn about loving, loving past the ugly, loving despite the differences. And embracing relational, vulnerable community the way Christ intended.

  • J

Wandering in the Desert of Anxiety

I think we can all acknowledge that the Israelites were kind of whiners once they got out of Egypt.

I mean, God literally just took them out of slavery for goodness sake. Then, they start complaining about everything it seems like.

He literally took the Red Sea and parted it in two.  He led them by pillars of fire and smoke. And they’re going to stress and complain about every single detail?

I know I wouldn’t…wait…well, maybe I do.  I know God has it under control.  He may not have parted the sea for me and I haven’t seen any pillars of fire lately, but He has proven over and over again that He has a plan for my life.  He has shown me his power.  He has shown me His love.

responsive-not-perfect-part-4-pocket-fuel-daily-devotional-on-psalm-23-6-1So, why do I worry?  Because I think that is really what the Israelites’ complaining was rooted in – fear and anxiety.  Just like them, I know my God is in control.  Worrying is a waste of time.  And, yet, I am as bad as the Israelites wandering in the desert of anxiety.

I just need to remember, My God has got this…just like every other time.

  • S

And So, I’m Okay with the Suffering…Today

As Christians (and really just as humans) we always have this constant question of why there has to be suffering.  How can a loving and merciful God allow such misery as that which exists all around us?

There are big answers about free will and the continuous, if already won, battle between powers of Heaven and Darkness.  But, that doesn’t necessarily help the specific.  What about this specific situation of suffering of so and so?

I was reminded of this constant debate when I was reading Exodus this week.  In Chapter 9, God sends the plague that kills the Egyptians’ livestock and the boils.    Before sending the hail, God talks to Pharaoh through Moses and tells him,

But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”  Exodus 9: 16.

God makes sure Pharaoh understands that He could have struck Pharaoh down at any point, but chose to save him for this moment.  So, Pharaoh is suffering, but not dying, to show God’s power.

But what we cannot ignore is that the Egyptians weren’t the only ones suffering.  The Israelites were in slavery.  They had been in slavery for generations!  As if slavery isn’t bad enough, the conditions of their enslavement were being tightened all the time.

So, for me, the underlying implication of this verse is that, yes, God allowed Pharaoh to live and suffer to show God’s power .  I can justify that in my own earthly logic (a tyrant, a slaver) – but He also allowed generations of Israelites to suffer for the same reason for this same moment.

I don’t claim to know God’s plan.  But He seems to make it clear that their suffering contributes to a layer of purpose that seemingly does not directly even tie to them.  So, if generations of Israelites could suffer for this moment of demonstration of power.  Then, why would I think my suffering is always about me?

This can be a hard pill to swallow.  So, God is having people suffer – lots of people – so at some future date He can show His power?  Maybe.

Or maybe there is a reason this time that ties directly into my life.  A lesson to be learned, some blessing to be gained that I cannot see.

But sometimes, I think we make the mistake of assuming everything is about us.  And it just isn’t.  We are small and insignificant compared to the greatness of His universe.  My brain is too limited by the confines of my earthly experience to understand on any intellectual, emotional, or spiritual level the magnitude of our God.

So, I am left with one choice.  Faith.  I believe and trust a God who loves me and who has a plan for me, but I also believe and trust a God who saved the world and has a plan to maximize salvation, which may mean effects for me or others that I don’t understand or seem unfair.

But, you know what?  I’m okay with that.

  • S

He Speaks

“And the dialect of God is the day just as it comes” Ann Voskamp

I pray a lot more now than I used to. I’m a mom and a wife, on my knees is a way of life: scooping up toys, lifting up babies, cleaning up spills… begging for new mercies and more grace. Desperately seeking wisdom in this journey.

 

he-speaksGod has the ability but, in my experience, rarely speaks loudly. His message is powerful and perfect and He can bend the winds of my life; I suppose that’s why He doesn’t shout.

 

He is communicating constantly; it’s just in our amplified neon world it is easy to miss the wind.

 

My God talks in subtleties; in rainy days and perfectly timed peonies, in traffic jams and puppy kisses, his guiding hand, a forceful slow down child.

 

He wakes me before dawn to ponder life with Him and see the world in the clear dark of dew.

 

Faith, communication, is more than a feeling or a justification of wants and I can’t rightly explain it.

 

But He speaks all day and I can only hear when I quiet down, and it’s worth the slow down.

-J