August 17, 2015

Comparison is a {THIEF}

I thought by now we would have settled into our new home.
But here I sit......staring out the window from my bedroom into my backyard thinking about the 16 years I have been here.  My children have grown up here.  So many seasons we've weathered inside these walls.  So many stages of life we've lived together.  I can still see them as toddlers running through the grass.  My husband working to build his garden.  My children jumping on the trampoline.  Neighbors and friends playing on the swingset.

There was a time when I wanted MORE.
A time when I would look "over the fence" and suddenly what I was once content with was no longer enough.

Comparison is a {THIEF}.  Stealing from you and those around you. 
It is only when we look at what is in someone else hands ..... that's when it hits. A sudden discontentment we didn't feel before. In that moment what we were once GRATEFUL for is no longer enough. 

How many times have you browsed Instagram, Facebook and even Pinterest and unexpectedly and suddenly felt {DISCONTENT} & {RESTLESS}  
If not discontent and restless certainly in immediate need of some retail therapy.

And certainly our nearest temptation to comparison is those closest to us. 
Our friends.
Those we admire and look up to.
Those who seem to have it all together.

Hear this and hear it well.....someone else's success and blessings does not rob you of ANYthing!  One of the devil's most clever tactics is to distract us with competition.  His purpose?  To steal kill and destroy.  Taking our focus off of the blessings WE have.  Those things which God has called US to do.  Robbing us of joy, peace and purpose.  Keeping us from running OUR race with JOY and gratitude.

I have learned the secret of living in *EVERY* situation......
A grateful heart RESTS.
Satisfied. Content. & Full.  Philippians 4

Celebrate the accomplishments and blessings of those you are running WITH.  
And be grateful for the blessings you DO have.  The gifts you have within your grasp TODAY.
We buy into the lie that somehow God is WITHHOLDING from us.  
God is a GOOD God.  And God gives GOOD gifts.  To YOU.  The very BEST.  

When we are focused on what we have been GRACIOUSLY given....and we are GRATEFUL...we find peace. A contentment that cannot be bought or traded.
He's stored up blessings for YOU.
Grace for YOU.
and it is ENOUGH.....

August 14, 2015

Grown-ups in Childish Clothing

The day a friendly game of croquet turned UNRULY

Mediating arguments and settling disputes this morning I thought it might be helpful to point out that you don't see such behavior in church among God's people.
"He's touching my pew! Get your foot off my pew!"
Or sarcastically applaud when people show up late to embarrass them and draw attention to the fact that while you had YOUR act together they failed miserably. We don't display offenses on a billboard or celebrate mistakes from the platform in order to make our righteousness appear more righteous. Nor do we pick fights over the fact that she is wearing the same outfit we decided to wear and well....that's just not fair. You don't see anyone storming out of rooms stomping their feet leaving because they didn't get their way.
We've grown up.
We've left childish things behind.
We've arrived.
We know better.
Thank goodness.
Because such things are quite ridiculous and rather elementary.
Until I realized......
We haven't really grown up after all.
Offenses are a dime a dozen. They come in many colors. Many disguises. We wear them like badges. Display them in the most deceptive and clever ways. 
We flaunt our righteousness especially when someone else falls quietly musing in our pew how glad we are that that wasn't us. Comparing our religiosity with someone less than and somehow that makes us feel better about ourselves. 
We talk about others behind their backs and leave church when things don't go our way or it just doesn't suit us anymore. 
Heaven help us. 
Maybe we haven't grown up after all.
We're just better at disguising it. Making it less obvious. 
But the fact remains. 
We can't get ANYTHING accomplished when we're distracted with such things.
This is the stuff Satan uses to keep us from the greater things. The things that keep us from growing up.
The things that keep us from KINGDOM stuff.
Hebrews 6:1-9
So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it! Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they’ve personally experienced the sheer goodness of God’s Word and the powers breaking in on us—if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can’t start over as if nothing happened. That’s impossible. Why, they’ve re-crucified Jesus! They’ve repudiated him in public! Parched ground that soaks up the rain and then produces an abundance of carrots and corn for its gardener gets God’s “Well done!” But if it produces weeds and thistles, it’s more likely to get cussed out. Fields like that are burned, not harvested. I’m sure that won’t happen to you, friends. I have better things in mind for you—salvation things! God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians, and that you keep at it. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.

August 8, 2015

Saying {YES} to This Moment

Wander lust.
1000 places to see before you die.
100 things to do before it's too late.
Any moment but here.
Any place but this one.
Climbing mountains. Taking in beauty that just can't be found here.
Dreaming of a life different from the one we've been given.

As if life is a hand of cards we are dealt that we can choose to play or fold.
The push for tomorrow ... or our clenching of both fists tightly to the gifts of yesterday.....and missing out on today.
Because this?
{This} is not what I want.

Have I somehow, with those words of fairytale dreams, .........pushed away the hand of God?
I admit I have a {list}.
Waiting. Hoping.
For those take - my - breath - away moments.
*BUT*...........I. Am. Here.
Those words echo in my mind.
Am I really?
Am I fully here? Not just to breathe the air around me as a spectator in the stands watching a show of which I am not a part....
But am I present?
Fully embracing THIS life. THIS day. THIS moment here.
We cope by dreaming and hoping.  A hope for escape.
We put FAITH in a promise of tomorrow hoping the best is in front of us.
..........But doesn't goodness and mercy *FOLLOW* me?
                         ALL. THE. DAYS. of my life?
In ALL of my days.
In the mess.
In the struggles.
In the sinfulness of my humanity.
Goodness isn't an elusive dream just up ahead that I am relentlessly pursuing.

Goodness is HERE.
Peace is HERE.
It follows me. Wave after wave of GRACE and GOODNESS.
These moments need God-perspective.
If only we could see God Himself in this moment would take our breath away.
God is good.
And every moment God GOOD.
Am I willing to be HERE???
To appreciate what's behind me, yes.
To anticipate the GOOD ahead of me.
But to fully embrace this moment no matter what the moment holds?
If I am willing .... I will see woven through these present moments gifts of grace. Gifts of Goodness. and evidence of a sovereign God who's intentions for me are ALWAYS good In EVERY moment. 

Gratitude for this moment.
Maybe THAT is fully living.
Being FULLY here. Fully alive in the abundant life we've been given HERE. Embracing the gifts we HAVE been given. Finding the beauty HERE.

Learning the {secret} to living in EVERY situation.  {CONTENTMENT} Philippians 4:11-13

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."