Monday, August 27, 2012

Bro? Brothers? ...Brethren?

This week has been a rough one for the littlest sister. I won't go into details here, but she's been sad and her heart has been hurting. She's my sister. We're "cut from the same cloth"..."kindred spirits". When she hurts, I hurt. Physically and emotionally. I don't know if that's normal or unusual because I've never known anything else. I have 3 sisters, and we all not only love each other, but we like each other too. We enjoy spending time together. Whenever I go home, I always see a sister. I don't always see my friends, but I always see at least one sister. That's what we do. The oldest is coming through Atlanta on Thursday, so we're going to get coffee. That's what we do too. Coffee. It's our thing. Sister-friendships and coffee.

Anyway... thinking about how my sister's pain causes me pain and how seeing any of them happy makes me happy got me thinking about another family I'm in...the family of God. I taught in Sunday School this week, and our lesson was about how nothing can take us out of the family of God once we're in. It's the same type of bond that we share with our physical families. Just like nothing I do can change my DNA and make me no longer related to my biological family, nothing I do can change my status in the family of God. Once you accept His gift of salvation, you're in forever.

Paul writes to the Romans about how we, as Christians, should act...

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. 
Never be wise in your own sight. 
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 
Romans 12:9-18 

All those things in italics remind me of my relationship with my sisters. Or how it should be. That's how our relationships with ALL other Christians should be. With ALL PEOPLE even. The verse that confirms this for me is 18... "so far as it depends on you...". So many times I allow my self to get in the way and I don't let the love of God shine through me. So many times I base my actions and reactions on the actions of others. That's really not smart. Especially if that other person is not a Christian. 

I grew up fighting with my sisters. I still fight with my sisters. But if any of you decided to fight with my sisters, you'd have to go through me. Back in May, I wrote a blog about how stupid it is for us (Christians) to fight with each other when we're really on the same side of the battle. Ephesians tells us our battles aren't against flesh and blood anyway. And Exodus tells us that the Lord will fight for us, so we just have to be still (and not try to fight for ourselves). But here we are...fighting amongst ourselves instead of sticking up for each other like siblings. We don't defend each other against our enemy. We don't go to the Lord in prayer on behalf of each other nearly enough. We don't try to outdo each other in showing honor. We try to outdo each other in popularity and recognition and accolades. (Pharisees, anyone?) If possible, as far as it depends on us, we look our for ourselves. If our needs are met and everything we want is happening, then we'll be perfectly peacable with each other. If not, then the gloves come off and Lord help whoever is in our way. Because obviously our personal agenda is much more important than God's agenda, right? No. Not according to Paul in Romans 12. Paul says we're supposed to bless those who persecute us. What do you think that means we should do for those who love us? Good news. Read it again. He tells us. Thanks, Paul! 

Let me assure you that I do not get this right. Especially Even with my biological siblings. But I'm trying. Ask me about it. I'm trying to be more like Jesus. I want to be more like Jesus. And it sure is a process! Hold me accountable. And let's try to live like Paul tells us to. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Do you ever feel like your life is moving a lot faster than you'd like? Kind of the same feeling you got as a kid when you're riding your bike or a skateboard or a sled down a hill and you suddenly realize you're no longer in control? You have two choices: bail out or ride it out. Both carry their own dangers and consequences and uncertainties. If you bail, you might miss the best part, and who knows what you'll hit when you try to stop. If you ride it out you could end up hurting, or you could coast to a gentle stop. There's risk in both bailing and sticking with it. And whichever you end up choosing, you never know what would've happened if you had gone with the other option.

Life is a lot like that sometimes. This summer, someone asked me where I was from, and I just looked at them because I could not think of the right answer. My instinct was to say "Nashville", but I haven't lived there in a year and a half. So even though it's where I'm ORIGINALLY from, it's not the answer anymore. Even though I moved away a while ago, not living there is still an adjustment. Every. Day.

There are times that I think life would be easier if I just moved back. And it probably would. But when I chose to follow Jesus, I gave up on having an easy life. Following Jesus means that I have to be uncomfortable sometimes. So I find my comfort in Him. It means I have to be uncertain sometimes. So I find truth and certainty in Him. It means I have to be exhausted and spent sometimes. So I find rest in Him. If I moved back to Nashville, between me and the people who love me there, we could figure out what the whole rest of my life would look like. I'm sure it would be very sweet and easy. However, I don't want that life. I want the life that God has designed for me. I don't have a clue what that looks like past today, but I'm sticking it out and hanging on. I want to see where this one goes. I bail out of scary things a lot. But I'm not doing it this time. I know without a doubt that the Lord's plans for me are way, way, way better than anything I could ever plan for myself.

This morning Christine Caine tweeted this:
"To avoid burnout, 
ensure you are doing what God wants you to do, 
not what everyone else wants you to do."

So that's what I want. What God wants. Not what I want for me. Not what you want for me. I want what God has. The End.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Piano Lessons?

Dear Parents,
When your 7 year old cries and begs you to let them quit piano lessons, say no. They will regret it when they're 25.
A 25 year old who regrets quitting piano lessons at age 7

Lots of thoughts today. Most of them are disconnected from the others. It's Thursday, and some weeks Thursday is the best. This week, Thursday is weird. All day long, strange things have been happening.
Here are some examples:
  1. This morning, I sat still in traffic for at least 20 minutes. When I finally reached the reason for sitting still, I found 3 police cars and one "civilian" car with no hubcap. ...really? 
  2. When I was getting off the interstate, a policeman walked across the road in front of me and I almost had to come to a complete stop to let him cross. There were no cars behind me. He couldn't just wait? 
  3. Yesterday, I spilled coffee down my dress like a normal person. Today, I spilled coffee up my nose. Yes. This is real life.
  4. My office building smells like pizza and a hot glue gun, but my desk smells like perfume...which I did not wear today.
  5. Most of what I've touched today I have either dropped or knocked over.                                                 Exhibit A (at least it was empty): 


So that's what my Thursday has looked like so far. I like rockin' Thursdays more. On a brighter note, I did learn something new this morning, and everyone I've talked to on the phone has been pleasant! Also, I haven't sneezed yet. My coworker and I consider the day a success if we can make it to 2pm or later without sneezing. Well folks, it's 2:15, and I'm sneeze free. So far. Success.

On an even brighter note, one of the blogs I read really resonated with me today. Katy Brooks writes about Jesus and fitness and pretty things and health, and I like her. You can find her blog here. The post I'm referring to was actually from last night. Katy writes about how being concerned with your body image is really living a life of bondage, and I needed to read it. Maybe you do too. Even if you're a boy. It might help you (boys) get a better handle on how we (girls) think sometimes. Or don't read it. Totally your call.
Anyway, I just think Katy is spot on. We do live a life of bondage even though Jesus took our punishment and has set us free. We are so dumb!

So my prayer for you today is that your Thursday is beneficial even if it's weird like mine. I hope it's taught you something or helped you grow or allowed you to invest in someone else. My prayer for you AND me is that we would live in our freedom and not be stuck in the bondage of our humanity. Praise God for freedom!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

what growing up SHOULD be like

I think I'm supposed to be an adult. I'm 25. I moved away from my family and friends. I've had a big girl job for a year. "Adult" makes normal sense, right? I don't feel so adult though. I feel like I'm growing into and out of strange things. So I decided to make a list. :)

Things I'm growing into:
  1. Tucking my shirt in
  2. Wearing black & brown together
  3. Flossing consistently
  4. Budgets
  5. Self-discipline
  6. Multivitamins (don't worry. they're still gummies...)
  7. Wearing cardigans almost every day
Things I'm growing out of:
  1. Eating sweets
  2. Giggling
  3. Passive Aggressiveness
  4. Wearing makeup every day
  5. Over-accessorizing (thank you, Jesus, for this one)
Don't get me wrong. I don't think these things are bad. I just wish they were a little more exciting. I've been thinking a lot lately about things I wish I was growing out of. So I made a list of those things too.

Things I would grow out of if the world were perfect:
  1. Getting mosquito bites
  2. Shaving
  3. Badly fitting jeans
  4. Blisters
  5. Spam Emails
  6. Bad music
  7. Indecisiveness
  8. Acne
  9. Allergies (particularly sneezes)
  10. Bitter people
  11. Fear
  12. Inhibitions
  13. Dying phone batteries
  14. Fake people
  15. Budgets (...i just really hate them.)
  16. Losing my tan
I'm sure I could think of more things I'd like to grow out of, but I'll leave it there for now. I feel like it's a good sampling. And the world is not perfect, so I'm still forced to deal with these things. If you look at the big picture, they're not so bad. I'm blessed. And sometimes spam emails make me laugh.