April 24, 2011


Can I be honest?

It is far too easy to just coast through life. Too easy to get caught in the day-to-day tedium, to let the little things take over and become urgent.

I woke up this morning, and thought two things:
1. Thank you God that you died on the cross, and
2. I need to lose weight.

Do you know what I gave more stress and emotion to? I don't want to answer that . . .

How scary, that the fleeting things of this world can take over so quickly, when the Gospel is of utmost importance and there is nothing more precious than a relationship with Him.

I want to be captivated, so swept up in the beauty of the Gospel and the beauty of the cross that everything else fades . . . and I give more weight to my relationship with God than my relationship with the scale (and other silly things).

The skies lay low where You are
On the earth You rest Your feet
Yet the hands that cradle the stars
Are the hands that bled for me

In a moment of glorious surrender
You were broken for all the world to see
Lifted out of the ashes
I am found in the aftermath

Freedom found in Your scars
In Your grace my life redeemed
For You chose to take the sinner's crown
As You placed Your crown on me

In that moment of glorious surrender
Was the moment You broke the chains in me
Lifted out of the ashes
I am found in the aftermath
And in that moment You opened up the heavens
To the broken the beggar and the thief
Lifted out of the wreckage
I find hope in the aftermath

And I know that You're with me
Yes I know that You're with me here
And I know Your love will light the way

Now all I have I count it all as loss
But to know You and to carry the cross
Knowing I'm found
In the light of the aftermath
"Aftermath" - Hillsong

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith . . .
-Philippians 3:7-9

But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
-Isaiah 53:5

April 23, 2011

I came to a realization . . . or an awakening the other day, and it wasn't pretty.

I have been going through the motions lately in a few areas of my life. Now, when did that happen? I feel like we arrive at these places, only to look around and wonder when the transition from intentionality to complacency transpired.

Intentional. Purposeful. That's how my life should be, yet sometimes I find myself in this rut and can't remember how I got here.

I don't know another word for intentionality, so I'm going to use it over and over . . . isn't it funny how much it can make a difference?

Intentionality can make or break - almost anything. Think of your relationships, your small group, your job, your house, etc. etc.

Chances are, your friendships and relationships did not just happen by accident. Both parties put in some kind of effort to maintain that relationship, and if you work at it, it can be wonderful, ever evolving and growing.

If you were going on a date, would you prefer to have someone who is thoughtful and paid careful attention to detail beforehand - choosing a restaurant he knows you like, dressing to a T, greeting you with flowers? Or, would you rather go out with someone who just "showed up" to a McDonald's and didn't think to brush his teeth or shave (or change clothes from the night before)? And then expected you to pay?

My walk with Christ can be ever evolving, changing, growing for the better. If I choose it to be that way.

My small group can be dynamic, growing, changing, challenging - if I choose to lead that way. Or, I could just show up (like I feel that I have been lately) and just go through the motions . . . and let things stay static.

I believe that intentionality improves everything, but it is definitely the harder road. It is so easy to just float through life and let your feelings, desires, emotions, fears, etc. take over.

The problem with intentionality is that it takes conscious effort, time, dedication and planning. In the ideal situation it is also selfless, giving, and challenging.

Have I become so focused on my own comfort or fear of failure that I have let go of being intentional?

April 16, 2011

Clarity for 0.125 seconds

I am chronically guilty of . . . comparing myself to other people.

As one of my friends pointed out last week, comparing yourself to others can be a joy killer.

I know it's true, yet I still fall into the trap of this cycle way too easily.

Sometimes, I am right where I need to be. I'm not worried about the future, I'm trusting God with it and focusing on the present moment. I'm reflective and thankful for where I am, for what God has given me in provision - meeting my spiritual and physical needs. My soul feels content and secure.

And then, I go and mess it up . . .

There will always be someone who has a better personality than me, someone who is prettier than me, more talented, more successful, funnier, smarter, stronger, bolder, more spiritual, more mature, someone who has the things I think I need but don't have, someone who eats whatever they want, doesn't work out and still manages to look like this . . . I could go on and on . . .

Then I find myself feeling like a failure, hopeless . . . that I will never obtain the things I want (or think that I need). I must be missing out - I am way behind in life. I must be doing something terribly wrong because I see other people my age way ahead of me . . .

Sometimes it's easy to forget that God is working in each of us, and sometimes our pace is different than our friends or whoever we're comparing ourselves to. Sometimes it's easy to overlook God's provision and work in our lives because we're too busy looking around and coveting what everybody else has, or where they are in life.

I get so frustrated at myself for struggling with the same things over and over. I get so aggravated for struggling with contentment so frequently. But you know what? We are supposed to depend on God daily . . . it's not a one-time transaction and we're left to wander around our whole lives self-sufficient. We are brought into this beautiful relationship where we can call Him "Abba", Daddy - every day [Luke 11:1-11] . . . we are to pour out everything to Him - to trust in Him and wait on His timing . . . [1 Peter 5:6-7]

My struggles, my weaknesses are actually a blessing because they allow me to depend on Him, rather than myself. My imperfections glorify Him . . . when I lean on Him instead of striving to be self-sufficient.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
-2 Corinthians 12:9-10

And every now and then I have a moment of clarity where I realize that maybe I wasn't built to crank out push-ups every morning . . . maybe my size is OK and maybe it's healthy to have more than 5% body fat and I should just let that dream go . . . . nahhhh.
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