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faith

the heart behind my words

Posted in faith

I can be an overtalker. An anxious rambler. I sometimes fear awkward silences, and I can hardly let an uncomfortable situation sit.

There’s a frantic urgency to overreach with my words, to extent an apology or clarifying statement or burst of emotion.

I’ve known this to be true throughout my life, but lately it’s been flashing bright like Vegas Neon. And truthfully, I’m bothered by it.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21

I’m disturbed by my fear of discomfort in a conversation. I’m weary from my need to explain myself completely and entirely, to cover all my bases, to fix a situation immediately.

I wonder about pride, and how it could be a root issue here: the need to be sure I’m understood, the desire to make sure I’m not seen as wrong or confused or behind the curve.

Once I get going, words like a garden hose rush from my lips. Usually resulting in regret or self-doubt or disappointment, sometimes condemnation before Holy Spirit catches me.

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unmuddle the simplicity of the gospel

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All of this I suppose is just a way to say to you that if what’s in your eyesight when you look up is what everyone else is doing or thinks you ought to be doing, clear the way, friend. Clear the paths around you, unmuddle the simplicity of the gospel. It is Christ who cares for you and cares for your provision, far more than you can ever care for it. So let the dead things drop, find out what they are and let them drop. via

Clear the paths around you, unmuddle the simplicity of the gospel.

Is the theology I live by rooted in God’s Word, or my own version of the gospel?

Driving home the other night, Holy Spirit impressed, You can’t manufacture spirituality, growth, or intimacy. 

Gracious conviction.

Listening to all the podcasts, reading all the books, being aware of others’ opinions and learnings gives an air of growth, because I feel knowledgable or capable. But knowledge doesn’t always champion intimacy in my relationship with Father God.

OR… am I listening, reading, and spending my energy to honestly and desperately use them to enlarge my God-lens?

Every time you close another door—be it the door of immediate satisfaction, the door of distracting entertainment, the door of busyness, the door of guilt and worry, or the door of self-rejection—you commit yourself to go deeper into your heart and thus deeper into the heart of God. Henri Nouwen

Encountering God minute-by-minute is what changes me, not continually stuffing my mind with others’ words, or measuring faith by someone other than Christ.

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Cheer up. He is calling you.

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Do you know the story of blind Bartimeus? It’s in Mark 10…

Then they reached Jericho, and as Jesus and his disciples left town, a large crowd followed him. A blind beggar named Bartimaeus (son of Timaeus) was sitting beside the road.

When Bartimaeus heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Be quiet!” many of the people yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When Jesus heard him, he stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.”

So they called the blind man. “Cheer up,” they said. “Come on, he’s calling you,” Bartimaeus threw aside his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked. “My Rabbi,” the blind man said, “I want to see!”

And Jesus said to him, “Go, for your faith has healed you.” Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus down the road.

This story of Jesus healing Bartimeus has become a call to prayer for me.

Weird connection? Stay with me.

My perspective on prayer has changed drastically in the past few years. I used to live in the camp that my prayers had to be well-put-together, with the right words, quoting scripture, asking for the best things, etc.

Now, through grace and Spirit-led discoveries, prayer is ongoing interaction with Father God. I invite Him to join me in my breakfast or morning jog. I ask His opinion before I speak or enter a meeting. I share frustrations, fears, and disappointment with Him on the spot, whether I’m driving, talking, or washing dishes.

The gift of praying, Holy Spirit inside us as a constant Companion, is so beautiful, so profound, so revolutionary.

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how i’m missing out on deeper joy

Posted in faith, wellness

The best way to destroy your joy in anything here on earth is to seek it above God. Marshall Legal

I am seeing this truth show up in my life more and more. I think it’s A, from God pursuing my soul, beckoning me into the depths of Himself, and B, from my own desire for satisfaction.

It’s showing up in the way I eat, how much sleep I get, how I spend money, the way I see the world.

Food. I miss out on a lot of life when the enjoyment of food, or appeasing my appetite, becomes an idol. It’s hard to concentrate when my stomach is growling, self-control is challenging, I overanalyze decisions because I want a meal to be a great part of the day. Eating emotionally, when I’m bored, sad, frustrated, distracted… leaves me consuming mindlessly (and probably not very healthfully). I don’t think this is the way God designed nourishing my body to make it run best.

Entertainment. Movies, tv shows, books. If I turn on the television every time I feel tired and want to ‘check out’ from life, my mind gets fuzzy, I stay up later than necessary, I feel numb and unmotivated to my daily tasks, disconnected from mindfulness. Too much of even fun entertainment or a good story causes me to be lost in a sea of details that have no real bearing or benefit to my well-being. Come on.

Money. I admit to finding enjoyment in shopping. No crime or harm there. I like purses and sneakers and funky jewelry. But if what I look forward to each week is spending money and acquiring stuff (no matter how cool)? Lame-O. It falls flat every time. Sure, it deceives me and makes me think it’ll satisfy my longing for…

For what?

Ah, yes, THAT is the question.

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younger me, don’t live so afraid.

Posted in faith

Lately, I’ve had reason to look back into my middle and high school years and self. And those are the words that come to mind:

Girl, don’t be so afraid.

This past weekend we celebrated my only niece’s 13th birthday with a blessing brunch, we dubbed it. My encouragements (things I would’ve told my 13-year-old-self today) to her were:

  1. You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, and not everyone will like or love you, and that’s okay.
  2. You will never regret choosing Jesus and His way of doing things, over the temptations, tendencies, and promotions of the world.

In all honesty, I walked through middle school and early high school years timidly, paralyzed with fear of making a mistake or being thought of as out of the culture-loop. I was insecure about my appearance because I was afraid of being confident and feeling beautiful exactly as I was, believing the lie that comparison was better. I was afraid of letting the weight of who I was – my hopes, dreams, quirks, passions, interests – bear on those around me, for fear that I’d be judged or put on the spot.

I didn’t idolize the ‘popular group,’ or even want to be one of them, but I did want to blend in, and be someone other people wanted to be around. 

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