I’ll be with her soon, but check out the other “thangs” she’s got going on!
At this point in my journey I’m all about being honest with myself first, the Lord second and the world third. It’s not like I was ever big on lying to the world, but I’ve learned I couldn’t really be honest with them when I wasn’t honest with myself. And really what point is there in lying to God? He already knows!
So I was angry. I had come to believe that God had let me down when He should have been protecting me from emotional harm. Also, when I prayed earnestly for a particular situation to resolve itself as I wanted it to, He ignored me. Perhaps the real fuel was that I found myself in those situations as a new Christian. I hadn’t made it through the entire Bible yet. I didn’t know about praying in tongues. I didn’t have any good female Christian buddies yet. No one in my immediate family was walking with Christ. All I had was Him. And He let me down.
When this revelation came to me in therapy, I was embarrassed and immediately penitent. I realized how foolish I had been. I realized how ungrateful I had been. How could I ever know all that the Lord had protected me from? How could I take for granted that I was still breathing? I couldn’t!
On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? -Romans 9:20
Romans 8:28 became real to me all over again. “All things work together for good for them that love the Lord…”
You may have asked or stated, “Why did you let my uncle do those things to me?”
“Why did He let my son be murdered?”
“I was a good husband. I deserved better, God.”
The reality of our lives is that some incredibly painful events and loses have taken place. As Christians, on a certain level, we want to feel we will be protected from the hurts and losses. But really we know, or we come to know, that neither of those are true. As we mature in our understanding of the word and God’s nature we accept that pain and loss is a significant part of this walk. We gain strength accepting that God’s grace is sufficient[i], that He has equipped us and that when we lack wisdom we can ask Him for it and we will receive it[ii].
I’m sure you’ve heard the question, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” similar to that is, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”Those questions can apply to various situations. In the past I’ve had trouble answering those. But maybe now I’m moving into a space where I trust the Holy Spirit inside me enough to realized I can answer them, for certain situations at least.
Sunday, listening to my pastor, I knew I wanted to take a vow or a fast to show God my commitment to being self-disciplined, and hungry to hear and do His will. A side effect would be better health, which glorifies God since my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
I texted my husband that I didn’t know what the vow(fast) would be. However, before I could finish writing I realized I did know, but I was afraid of disappointing myself. As if pastor was reading my mind, he said “And if you fall off the wagon, get up and get back at it!”
Then I said to myself, “Don’t condemn yourself for a mistake, dear. Don’t limit yourself, afraid of a mistake that may happen (will happen). “
Ok, a few deep breaths later, I asked what did I want my vow to be. The big, horrible answer was I will give up all types of meat, poultry and fish. At this point I believe I am vegetarian, not vegan. We’ll see.
(About five years ago, out of the blue, God asked me to become a vegetarian and I stuck with it for about two years. Back then I felt he wanted me to understand about addiction. I just wanted to be obedient. Just as mysteriously, He released me from that eating style. However, I had a sneaking suspicion I would commit to being vegetarian for life at some point. And now I am.)
Well, it’s not necessary for you to agree with my choice, but if you haven’t figured out how limiting being conflicted is in your life, please re-examine your motivations, behaviors and results. Two of the tell-tale signs that I didn’t recognize for years was being indecisive or taking too long to make a decision. Of course there is the old flip flopping back and forth too.
God is not a God of confusion and He has given us a sound mind. We may say we are confused or conflicted, but I would suggest that often we know the answer. We simply don’t want to accept it. We may say we are hesitant because we don’t want to hurt someone, or we don’t have all the facts or we haven’t heard from God. Those may be true. But if fear, of failing or succeeding, is really what’s holding you back, recognize it, push it aside and hear what’s in your heart.
1 “The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeedthey were very dry. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.”
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. 6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am theLord.”’”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
9 Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”’” 10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.”
My Pastor was preaching on Ezekiel 37. I’ve heard the passage preached many times. But this time, one phrase jumped out at me. God asks, “Can these bones live?” What I heard was, can what has been dead/impossible come alive/be possible? Only God can know the answer to the miraculous. Ezekiel was so wise and humble to know that when God suggests the impossible, it’s never about what we can do to accomplish it.
Ezekiel’s response was simple. “Oh Lord God, You know.” In that I heard, “Lord I have no idea, but I know you do and you are able. I trust you.” That resonates in my spirit these days. It feels like He suggests the impossible to me everyday. My humble whisper is “Oh Lord God, You know.”
Is He asking you about some “dry bones”?
Last weekend I had one of the best times of my life! I was staying at the Chicago home of a best friend from college. She and another college buddy had planned a private book signing for me at our buddy’s home. My hostess and her husband are gracious and generous. Their home is decorated in authentic Asian wall art and sculpture from their time in Hong Kong. However, the best decoration is their mutual love and respect wafting up to the ceiling like the curl of smoke from the Tahitian Vanilla incense gently filling the foyer. Their relationship is the sweetest I’ve seen.
I had been a bit anxious about the event. However, once I arrived at O’Hare, my jitters settled. My hostess and I reached our buddy’s home to find a fancy and fun spread with everything from shrimp to Sprinkle’s cupcakes. We had time to catch up a bit before the event began. I greeted each guest with a hug and committed to remembering and using every guest’s name.
Ultimately we had about 20 attendees. I opened by talking a bit about myself to provide some background. Then I read an excerpt from Turning Blue to Blue. I opened it up for questions and a wonderful exchange began. Everyone contributed to it. I sold about 21 books and made at least two new friends. Most significant, my confidence regarding speaking to strangers, increased dramatically and I was inspired to challenge myself to accomplish some other projects I had been avoiding.
Thanks to my four Wellesley College sisters for their tremendous support. It was a wonderful evening.
By the way, I only muffed one name. Sorry Jeff.
COMING SOON: A Day at the Museum
Yesterday I agreed to attend a networking meeting hosted by a friend. When he said it was at 7:30 am, I thought he was joking. Who wants to meet new people at 7:30 in the morning? I agreed for two reasons: I wanted to support him and I backed out the last time he invited me to a networking event. (And that one was at a reasonable hour.)
I also thought I might get a free bistro-style breakfast out of it.
Now, it’s not that I’m not up at 7:30. On the day before, I had a load in the washer and had been on my knees to scrub half the grout lines in my kitchen’s ceramic tile floor by then. But I was unwashed and wearing only one of my husband’s shirts.
So at about 11 pm last night, I told myself, “I’m going, but if I hit any major hurdle, I’ll bail-out.” This removed some of the stress of picking out an outfit, getting my directions and navigating morning traffic. If I couldn’t match up an outfit, if the closet had caused my pants to shrink again, if anything needed to be ironed, I was off the hook.
I continued that mantra as I laid out my clothes and prepared to shower this morning. I calmly checked Mapquest.com, which said it was only a 21 minute drive. “Hmm, wonder if that is what I will really find.” I headed out at about 6:55 am. As I was cruising up the tollway, I thought more about why I was risking having to deal with commuter traffic and a roomful of strangers. Was I kinda dumb, gullible, a pleaser? Would I regret using the gas and toll money? Then, suddenly my whole outlook changed.
I said to myself, “Hey, I’m up, showered, dressed, and out of the house before 7 am! My morning has tremendous possibilities. Even if I were to wipe-out in the meeting, (which I won’t) afterwards I can go find a place to write and think and plan for a few hours.
Interacting with other humans before 8 am is what super successful folks do. Hey, networking is what super successful people do. O.k., regardless of outcome, this is a worthwhile adventure. And Pastor asked us to prepare for a breakthrough this week. I suppose I should do something different to help usher that in.”
Well, there was no free breakfast, but I connected to seven out of about 20 professionals. They are people I want to partner with, can learn from or become their customer. We will see what develops.