Thursday, July 12, 2012

More Than 1 Winner

"Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity."
1 Timothy 4:12

This verse had a great deal of meaning for me when I was in jr. high and high school.  It made me believe that I had something to offer even though I was young.  What I didn't realize was that it would come back to have meaning to me later in life.  At the age of 32, I still have issues with people who think that I am "so young."  There is something that goes along with that phrase, in my mind, that says "You have no idea what you are talking about - you don't have the life experience that I do."  Whether someone is saying it that way or not, that is what my brain hears.  (Great for the self esteem!)

This brings up SO much for me.  Why is there this sense of competition with EVERYTHING in society?  "My house is nicer than yours."  "My car has more miles on it than yours."  "I ran longer than you."  "I have less body fat than you."  "I eat organic and you don't."  "My birth story was worse than yours."  "Your dishwasher went out?  Well, my dishwasher, air conditioner, and fridge went out."  I could literally go on and on and on.  I think it starts when kids are young - I can see it with my 5 year old.  We see it on Yahoo headlines - or in magazines that ask, "Who wore it better?"  What I want to yell is WHO CARES?!?!  Is that what we've boiled everything down to, that there is 1 winner?

I saw a preview of the new sitcom with Matthew Perry.  There is basically a competition within a counseling group about who's issue is worse and there is 1 person who wins.  That's how it is with the world we live in.  We are looking to one up people with who's issues are worse.  I am sure that I've come across that way and most times I don't mean it in a competitive way but on the other hand I will confess that if you've tried to one up me over and over again, I've done it back.  Again though, I say, Who Cares?!?!  Aren't we all entitled to say something without feeling like we've just lost a race?  Don't we all have something to offer?  I have had lots of life experience and I know that because I am not a true extrovert, people discount me.  It is incredibly frustrating.  So, I will surrender this feeling and look to 1 Timothy 4:12 for some encouragement.  I know that God has something great for me!  I am confident that He's got me covered and my story is just as important as the next person's.  And I'm incredibly thankful to Jesus that there isn't just 1 winner!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Stained Glass Masquerade

I was on my way to the car wash today and was listening to Casting Crown's Lifesong cd. One of the songs on the cd is called Stained Glass Masquerade and has a great message. As I was listening to it, it made me think of this great thing called grace. It is nothing that we can earn but freely given by God. The hang up I have is that we often don't have grace with other people which makes us hide inside ourselves. We don't want other people to know what is going on because what would they think. She wouldn't be my friend if she knew this, they won't want us around because my kid doesn't do this. There is a trap we find ourselves in because we are so worried about what other people will think - because we don't give each other grace.

The fact is, we all have issues and baggage and we all could benefit from grace. Why is it that we are SO afraid to show other's our weaknesses? We are so concerned with not being accepted because we don't accept others. The chorus of Stained Glass Masquerade goes like this:
Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

As I was listening it just hit me like a ton of bricks. We totally put walls around our weaknesses because if someone saw they would think less of us. Then, we slap on a smile like everything is ok. It goes back to putting others first, I think. If I can truly put that other person before myself, maybe then I'll give a little grace. In turn, maybe my defenses will come down...just a thought!

If you struggle with opening up and giving grace, you need to read the book "Bo's Cafe." Three great guys, who will openly admit that they don't have it together and have messed up, wrote it. There is just a great message about finding grace and trusting people with yourself. Hard, I know, because how many of us have been let down by someone we've trusted. But people are human, which means we sin, which means we'll be let down. It's part of the ride. What we do in response is what will define us. Think back to the beginning. God made Adam and wanted him to have a partner. He then created Eve. We were designed to be in communion with other people. God wants us to rely on others, to both be called and call people to the carpet when something isn't right. That's what Jesus did. Check out the gospels if you haven't in a while.

I guess what I'm getting at in all this rambling is that God has given us grace. We have done nothing to deserve it, so why don't we pass it along? How hard is it to cut someone some slack, especially knowing that you're going to need the same thing in a hour. Once we begin to give grace, then maybe we tear down our walls and let someone in. When we truly let them in, we are living how God wanted us to...and how amazing would that be!?!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I Needed That...

So, today is another blah day - I'm feeling kind of down and can't quite put my finger on it. For now, I'll blame it on the cloudy skies and cooler weather (which is fabulous at the same time). I went back and read some things that I've written and it is amazing how my days can fluctuate so much. Up one day, down another. I am so thankful that God is constant! I'm embarrassed that I am not so much.

I'm listening to the song Empty and Beautiful and didn't know yesterday when I found it, how much I'd need to hear it today. So, today I'm letting God fight the fight in me and finish the race because somehow I just can't do it. (Long sigh) What better news is there than knowing someone will carry you when you just aren't up to carrying yourself. Thanks God.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Empty & Beautiful

I came across this song, Empty & Beautiful by Matt Maher. The chorus says this:

You fought the fight in me.
You chased me down and finished the race.
I was blind but now I see.
Jesus, You kept the faith in me.

Isn't great to know that even when we mess up, Jesus is keeping faith in us? How reassuring that we don't have to be perfect!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why Didn't He Save Himself?

"You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days - so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you're really God's son, come down from that cross!"
-Matthew 27:40 - the Message

So why didn't he save himself? Why didn't Jesus, through God's power, get down from the cross - it seems like if he had everyone would have believed then. As I read this today, it was brought in a totally new light. If Jesus would have been saved, there's a good chance I'd "know," but not really "know."

Not sure if that makes sense, so here's an illustration I came up with. I can't tell you how many times I've told Reagan not to push her chair away from the table (with her feet.) We've easily been telling her this for 6 months, but she continues. She briefly realized we may be right because she almost tipped her chair backwards and fell the other day. There was a look of shock in her eyes - or as I'd like to refer to it, "Man, they were right." It's just another example of touching the hot stove. We can tell our children so many times, but sometimes until they experience it for themselves they don't really "know."

We need to experience God, not just hear the stories! If God had allowed Jesus to get down from the cross and "show them," faith wouldn't matter near as much as it does because people would be passing along an "I was there" story. You'd have "faith" in what others were saying, but not in the face that Jesus is God's son, raised from the dead after dying for me! Jesus was crucified and scoffed at and later died on the cross. He wasn't spared. God knew what he was doing. (Which is ALWAYS the case!!) He knew that we would really come to know him, not as a story, but as a father, friend, counselor - the list goes on. It's kind of like having a pen pal. You write and communicate and read and get to know each other that way. There is anticipation in getting the next letter and one day meeting this person. The cool thing about God is that he's written us a letter - the Bible. It is just now, that I am almost 30, that I am starting to take the time to actually read this letter. I'm telling you, in the same stories that I've read and heard 100 times, he is revealing new things to me. I know that if you ask God to reveal himself to you, he will. And even cooler is that one day - I get to meet him! How amazing!

If you haven't taken the time to really read the Bible, you should. Even if it takes you 2+ years (as it will for me). God is there and just wants you to know him - not just hear the stories. Read them, experience God in a new light. He'll reveal himself to you like you've never experienced!

Man - God is good. I am feeling renewed today, which is what I really needed! Thanks God, for revealing yourself to me and putting things in a new light. I am so thankful that Jesus died so I could experience you!

Monday, June 22, 2009


So, I was thinking about all the different impressions we encounter. There are first impressions, dental impressions, final impressions, impressions on those you date, we seem to be making some kind of impression with every breath. I have to say that I've realized something about these impressions. It's just not worth it.

Yes, there are inevitably impressions that will be made. These are unavoidable. But here's some background on me. I was never really the "popular" girl and questioned a lot of time if someone liked me or not. I was always so worried about making a good impression on friends and not saying anything that would embarrass me that I probably didn't show those friends who I really was. Now, some of them did see - but with others I hid it all I could. Even today, I find myself doing things or saying things to try to impress other people. Come on! I am almost 30 years old, surely this isn't the case. But sadly, it is. I was thinking about a couple people that I've tried to impress so they would "notice" me as a worthy friend. I've come to the conclusion that if I have to try this hard, maybe the friendship just isn't worth it.

At my Bible study last week a very knowledgeable friend was talking about a conviction she was experiencing. She said she felt convicted to be the same person in each setting. You know, we've all done it - wear our different "hats." This is who I am at work, at school, with this group of friends or that group of friends, or worst of all, this is who I am at church. I could totally relate to her. I think we all need to just be the same person, no matter what. I don't want to be one way at home and another at church. I am who I am.

This phrase reminds me of what God tells Moses when he finds out he is going to Pharaoh about releasing the Israelites from Egypt. Moses asks what he should call God if the Israelites ask what his name is. God's answer is "I Am Who I Am." So Moses was going to tell them that "I Am" sent him.

If you really look at those words, they are so incredibly powerful. God is calling himself "I Am." To me, this just shows how unwavering God is. He is the same then as he is now. He is truly the example of being one all the time. He doesn't change his hat depending on who he is. He wasn't one God to Noah and another to Moses. He was and is the same.

I think I am going to try to live like that. As one person - the same person to my daughter, to my husband, to my friends. I think if I do this I won't feel the need to impress people anymore...and that, my friends, will be a great feeling!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


So I am feeling kind of "blah" at the moment, well for the last few days really.  The strange thing is, I couldn't really put my finger on it until I just read my friend's blog.  She was talking about how we plan and then things don't happen according to our plan (go figure) and we know that.  So in response we try to let go and try to do our best knowing that God's timing and plan are SO much greater than ours.  But it just isn't easy.  She continued by hitting home what I have probably been failing to do these last few days of blahness - surrender.

There are a few different circumstances swirling around me that I really thought would be worked out be now, figured out.  But they aren't.  Just as much of a mystery (and frustration) as they were 2, 6, even 9 months ago.  So, I am reminded by my dear friend who (probably without knowing it) knew exactly what I needed to hear.  I'll surrender every day, every hour, who am I kidding - every second!

I know God's plan is so much bigger and better than mine.  He's shown me that over and over and over.  This is a journey.  He is preparing me.  For what?  I'm not exactly sure.  I know that I need to get to the other said of the mountain, but I can't even see the top from where I stand.  The good thing about this is that I know God is just a step in front of me, with a path laid out.  He waiting patiently for me to take the next step, to trust that he has the right answer and is guiding and directing me ever so softly.

My friend and I will be ok.  Maybe we'll lean more on each other in the coming days and weeks and months.  We'll get this lesson God is trying to teach...for now, I surrender knowing that my plan is not near what His is!  I take comfort in that!!