Not a People Person

I’m not really a people person in the broader sense of the phrase. Strangers catch me off guard and leave me somewhere between awkward shock and utter irritation. However, I’m slightly obsessed with my roots and my home people.

Yet, I think most friendships are expendable. (I blame moving a lot and an abnormal soul connection with my sister.)

I also know God disagrees. People are not expendable, friendships, relationships, are not optional. People matter above everything else. And strangers, new friends, old friends, this is how we let Jesus out of us and into the world.

My awkwardness and irritations rise because I am focusing on my agenda, my day, my plans, my feelings, not His will.

He made us for communion and community, the Bible is clear on this. And blogging safely from my neon chair with my coffee is not enough.

I must live out what I believe,

“even if I stumble, even if I fall. Even if I lose my step and make fools of us all.” – DC Talk

I must learn to be a people person, to be there repeatedly for people even when I want silence. I must sacrifice some of my time to give into God’s time.

He uses people, and ordinary moments. How many ordinary opportunities have I missed to spread love this week.

It’s Thursday and I have 4 missed calls.

  • J

 

Anything

“ the hardest things in life give you the most God” Jennie Allen

 

My life isn’t that hard or extraordinary. It’s actually pretty simple and dare I say (normal.)

 

I’ve started praying for anything.

 

Lord, I give you everything; do anything you want.

 

And somehow I sincerely and hesitantly mean it. Some small answers have been given. Mostly waits and not yets and keep going and keep mothering.

 

These answers are hard for my mermaid soul, I long to go deeper. Waiting and mothering often don’t feel awe-inspiring or like big, Godly work.

 

I’m learning Godly work is most often small though. It’s not the numbers reached or biggest impact; God uses small people in ordinary moments.

 

He says give your lunch, your knapsack of pretzels and pb & j and apple, and HE will make it worthy. He doesn’t say make a banquet feast and display it aesthetically on instagram and watch how many people He touches with it.

 

rlstedman
R.L. Stedman

Give your meal and he will feed 5,000.

 

It’s small steps, it’s a willingness to answer those small nudges.

 

So today, I’m finally making the cookies, for the neighbors. Not because I want to. I find conversations with them borderline painful. The nudge won’t leave though, and it’s a kind one.

 

And I said I would do anything.

 

t

Fierce Love

fierce-love-prophetic-art-by-marilyn-simandleI’m reading this book called “Choose Joy,” it’s excellent and uplifting and holds me accountable for my own joy. Regardless of the circumstances of my life.

Which is a good thing. But today I don’t feel like choosing joy.

My husband is gone, bug had a horrible night, Nici is…well Nici, always intense (one way or another), and I’m supposed to be compassionate. I’m tired.

 

I’m supposed to choose joy and radiate Christ. I do feel like flipping some tables, Christ did that…so does that count?

 

As Christians we are held to high standards, which is a good thing, a biblical thing. However we are often judged, for having those standards, “you call yourself a Christian, yet judge others.”

 

Yes, I judge how people show love. I’m working on it, my empathy, compassion, grace (whatever you want to call it) is growing. But my standards for how we should love one another is high. And that is Biblical.

 

That doesn’t mean loving everyone is easy. It does mean we are called to try. It also means holding myself and those I love to high standards. I’m passionate and overly emotional…so is my God.

 

You don’t let your son die for others, for sinners, for those completely unworthy, unless you’re overcome with fierce irrational love.

 

You don’t hang suffering and tortured unless overcome with fierce irrational love.

 

So I’m reading this “Choose Joy” book, not feeling joyful, not feeling overcome with love. But feeling fierce.

 

And maybe that isn’t something to push aside as I search for sunshine. Maybe God purposefully placed this fierce beast within me so I could accomplish great irrational things.

 

Regardless of who is uncomfortable with it (myself included).

 

And yes, fierceness requires high expectations and unbounding love.

  • J

Please Be Ridiculous!

What is faith?  Hebrews 11 describes it as” confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  I like to think of it as belief in action.

Like Joseph (as in Jesus’ earthly dad, not technicolor dream coat).

Joseph responded repeatedly in obedience every time God directs him…and these are crazy  directions by all earthly understanding!

“Mary, though pregnant, is a virgin.  Marry her!”

“The king of all the land wants to kill your baby.  Leave!”

The king has died go back to Israel…oh wait, there is a bad ruler there. Go to Nazareth!”

do-itThese are NOT normal commands.  Yet, Joseph obeyed.

God would have ensured Jesus’ success as a perfect sacrifice regardless of Joseph – because His love for us is too great.  BUT, Joseph listened and followed God.  He played his part to bring God’s perfect will of how Jesus would come to us.

I want faith that responds to the seemingly ridiculous…

because often the seemingly ridiculous leads to the mirculous!

  • S

 

His Works and Ours

“For the works of the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.” Jesus in John 5:36

We know Jesus is the Messiah.  His truth, His being spoke to our heart.  But His works (and words) pointed to His undeniable identity about all – His divinity and fulfillment of prophesy.

We are saved through faith.  Period.  End of story.  None of us will ever be good enough.

adfgHowever, our works do point to the master of our soul.  We proclaim to the world our love and devotion to Him by how we act.  We have the amazing potential to point others to Him through our words, our hands, our feet, our attitude.

The healing of hearts, of our world, only comes from salvation, which is only possible through faith.  Through the way we walk through this world, we can help others see the grace and mercy that meet us daily.

So, we must live our lives authentically.  We must live our relationship with Christ out loud.  We must live openly and in love.

  • S

Gravity and Star Shine

I talk to Jesus when my babies sleep. When they’re awake too, but those prayers sound different…more like mama strength. I talk to them about Jesus when they’re waking up.

I rub sleepy heads and tell them how handsome and beautiful and awesome and passionate they are.

I tell them they were specifically designed, the entire universe shifted because Jesus loves them. Their little powerhouse spirits. I tell them they can change the world again by loving and choosing Jesus.

What a team they will make. My babes and God. My mind spins just thinking about it, the possibilities God has written out.

And I breathe a little easier, grateful to be on this journey. Grateful I’m honored with strong willed cubs.

i-talk-to-jesusAnd I run my fingers through their crazy and different hair and will continue to whisper all things good.

Difficult to raise, but oh so good.

Love once changed the world, and now it has changed mine, thrice over.

And I’m anxious and impatient to whisper sweet nothings to number three. And grateful, yet in pain, over his already distinctly stubborn self.

And I’m convinced, despite it all, love will continue to better the world, and my cubs will be part of the gravity and part of the star shine.

  • J

 

Honesty is the Worst

ca1f2a17cd2008de92debd5a06e6f30eIf you asked me what my priorities are my answer is always on auto pilot -faith and family. I would likely tell you in that order.  I’ve been really convicted over the last week that this has not been true lately.  It is true in my heart, but it is not reflected in my actions…so what does that say about my heart???

We can say we value or prioritize whatever we want, but the truth is revealed in the time and energy we actually devote to different people or categories.  I recently recommended to someone to chart their time to see where their priorities lie. How pretentious of me to suggest that and not apply it to my own life.

So, let me do that here with you. This is what a basic weekday looks like for me… 

15-40  minutes a day on devotions.  Okay, on Sundays you can add extra time for church.  On Mondays, I can add extra time for my Bible study (I started BFS this year and would highly recommend looking for one in your area). Sure, I conversate with God throughout the day.  But still, my set aside devoted daily time is 15-40 minutes

1.25 hours eating – anyone already see the glaring issue right away?  I spend at best twice as much time eating than with God. Eating!

2 hours with  my family, playing with my niece and nephew, hanging out and talking to the most important adults in my life.

1 hour cuddling with a child/children during calm down/bed time

1 -2 hours leisure time – after the kids go to bed  doing whatever I want on that day

6-7 hours of sleep

9 hours at work

Then, throw in a short work out most days.

 

None of these are bad things.  Actually, they are all positive things.  HOWEVER, the overwhelming take home from my weekday schedule?  God is not my priority.  I am letting other, albeit positive, things to come between me and my time with God.  How often do this?  We focus on work, on being “healthy,” on relationships – instead of focusing on the one who truly can sustain us and cares more about us than anyone else can.  We make excuses because they promote a positive, healthy, and balanced life, but forget that God is the number one ingredient to all of those.

If I am not devoting more time to my relationship with God, in His word, praying, meditating on His will – can I honestly say my relationship with Him is my greatest priority?  Simply put, NO.

I’m trying to force myself to be honest with myself.   This means acknowledging the decisions that I am making.  So, when I feel God nudging me to spend time with him at night, but I choose that hour of leisure activity, I am audibly saying, “No, I don’t want to.”  Because by not spending that time with Him, that is what I am saying…

”No, God.  I don’t want to spend this time with you.  I 651c825f1c23f503c629ec8e360d0390really just want to spend it doing X,Y, or Z instead because I think I deserve it.”

By doing this audibly, I am acknowledging my rebellious and selfish spirit.

And let’s be even more honest. I would NEVER say that to my niece or nephew.  So,why am I okay saying that to my Creator, my Comforter, my Savior?  
So, I am trying to make a concentrated effort to pour more into the most important relationship in my life.  I want to be able to logically defend that He really is my first and foremost priority.

Man, honesty hurts.

-S