Monthly Archives: January 2012

Meet me in the moments of tenderness

It’s Friday folks.  Time for another 5 minutes of writing wild and free.  No second-guessing, no back-tracking, or other hyphenated words that stop us from being bold.  Just write.

Today’s word: Tender

Softness and joy

Love and freedom

Living life with your care

Hope and tenderness I receive from you

Eternal giver of life and hope

Tenderness from you

To me

From me

To others

Lord help me to be free to touch others

With the same tenderness I receive

Holding up hands with joy

Receiving

Giving

Loving

Joy

Tenderness

You gave your life away

So I could give mine away

And do the same as you

Do for each one that calls you

Father, brother, friend

And for those that don’t know you yet

Be with me now

Let us share this moment of tenderness

Full and free

A life received and given away

Without doubt

Without fear

Without shame

Meet me in the moments of tenderness

A quieter faith

Let’s dispense with a few facts about myself:

1. I have very strong opinions about many things.

2. I am not afraid to say what I think in most situations,

3. I will always tell you the truth as lovingly as I can will being true to points 1 and 2.

That being said, I am declaring today that I express my Christianity in a quieter way than I often express my opinions. And I am going to stop apologizing for myself to God, and to others about this quietness. It’s not that I feel shy about my Christianity, it’s quite the opposite. I feel bold and free in my walk with God. It’s just that I choose to be quiet about it for the sake of others. That is, until the time is ripe for honest discussion. In 1 Kings 19 God told Elijah to go to the mountain because He was going to pass by. Then the following happens:

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”

I believe sometimes God shakes the earth to get our attention. But I also believe that He mostly calls to us gently and lovingly, wooing us like a lover.

I want you to to know genuinely know me and what I’m like. I want you to trust that I am a woman of her word. So, that when I talk about my faith with you, you will know that I am being honest and true. That what I have to say is real and flows from the deep places of my heart. I want you to know that you are not just a notch on my belt that ups my score in heaven.

I see no advantage to being in your face about Jesus, unless we have that kind of relationship. I don’t have anything to prove to myself or to others about my walk. I keep no tally of those I’ve convinced to follow Christ. I’d much rather sit in stillness with you and let the gentleness of God convince you of your need for God’s love, than to say a thousand of the “right” things that do more harm than good. I’d rather water the garden of your heart with tenderness and care than to stab at it with hoes and pickaxes.

Even if that means someone else gets to witness the moment you meet God face to face.

I am content to sit and wait in quiet prayer in hopes that an opportunity will arise to express why I need God, and why you do too. I am content to let God do the wooing in His time and in His way.

So, all you quieter expressions faith out there, feel no shame in your quiet ways. Just be ready to say what needs to be said at the right time. And it will all be alright.

Color me eclectic

That’s a fun word to say. Ec-lec-tic.  There’s a little kind of punch from the vocal cords when I say it (probably from all of those hard c’s).  For those who would like a definition, eclectic means: deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.  That’s me all over.

I don’t have any particular style.  I don’t have any particular way of doing anything.  I am a mishmash (another fun word to say out loud) of experiences that color me eclectic.  I have always shunned the idea that I must conform to the standards of my society in how I conduct my life.  “How I conduct my life”, now there’s an interesting turn of phrase.  An orchestra is made up of an eclectic assortment of instruments following the conductors commands to slow down, go faster, be quieter.  Each instrument offering up their own unique sounds to make a well conducted song.  And how sweet that song can be.

Sorry. I saw something shiny.

Being the slightly crazy, out-of-sync-with-the-rest-of-the-world sort, I have collected together an otherwise unconnected assortment of philosophies and styles.  Bits and pieces from this, that, and the other thing.  Stuff that, within their collective of sameness are, in my opinion, somewhat boring.  By gathering together these tidbits in my eclectic basket of being, I am giving these tidbits new life, meaning, and purpose.  Put them all together like some crazy mosaic, and you have me.

I think God likes to do the same.  Only on a grander scale.  He seems to like to gather together people and churches that are individually unique with their own sound and style.  I think it is important to note here that I believe that God has presented Christians with core set of values to follow that should be the conducted same way by each person (1 Corinthians 13 anyone?).  Conformity to a certain way of behaving towards God and other people is very important to a fruitful faith (Mark 12:28).  But, how boring would it be if we all were the same in our expression of our faith?

Think about it for a minute.  What if the only music you ever heard was made up of one instrument?  Boredom would set fairly quickly.  How about if a mosaic was all one color and one kind of material?  Boring.

The unique collection of you  fits together nicely with the unique collections that are other people when the Holy Spirit is conducting the orchestra.  We have to stop trying to coloring other people’s pink blue, or stop trying to force another person’s instrument to sound like our own.  Sorry folks, no matter how hard you try, a trumpet will never, ever sound like a flute.  Instead we need to celebrate each person’s  contribution to the whole.  Let the Holy Spirit reign in your heart.  Let him conduct the orchestra the way it is meant to be conducted.

Then, we will be beautiful to behold.

Slightly burnt toast

I am enamored with the phrase “slightly burnt toast”. Although, I am not entirely sure why. There’s a parallel somewhere in there between my life experiences and the phenomenon of slightly burnt toast. I’m gonna see if I can suss it out.

I love toast. Golden, crispy, all melty with butter (and sometimesb jelly). There’s something about well-made toast that just makes me happy and all melty inside. I’m a little fussy about how my toast is cooked. I don’t like it undercooked. I don’t like it overcooked (Sam I am must be around here somewhere). I like it to be the perfect shade of golden brown.

I don’t own a toaster due to the fact that I have about 1 foot square of counter space to do all of my cooking and dirty dish stacking. So, we cook our toast in the oven under the broiler. This can be a little precarious if one gets distracted easily(ahem) and forgets they are cooking toast in the oven. Sometimes my toast gets all crispy and black. Yuck.

I’m sure you can imagine my disappointment if I burn my toast to the point of carbonization.

But I’m not talking about toast bricks here. I’m talking about toast that is slightly burnt. Not quite black, beyond golden brown, but still somewhat edible (Especially if I slather it with cream cheese and jelly). Slightly burnt toast is not quite perfect in my mind. It is slightly left of my ideal. Not burnt enough to hate, but too burnt to fully love.

I realized the last time I made slightly burnt toast (which involved a little bit of whining to myself), that sometimes I feel the same about myself as I feel about slightly burnt toast. Not bad enough to hate, but not good enough to fully love. Tainted, slightly to the left of center, just a little off, a little too sinful, a little too burnt.

Sometimes I don’t feel good enough to be loved. By God, or by other people (mostly other people). I’m not perfect enough, pretty enough, popular enough, witty enough to be loved. I’m slightly tainted with my sins, idiosyncrasies, weirdness, genetic makeup, acquired habits, weight problem, opinionated mouth. The list goes on.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that I am not perfect because only one Man on this Earth was ever capable of being perfect. I also realize that I am a mostly okay person. But that slightly burnt feeling keeps me back from fully being who I was created to be. It keeps me back from fully expressing myself. Mostly because I crave to be loved by people. I am pretty sure God loves me the way I am, although sometimes I wonder. But that’s another story for another day

Sometimes I wonder why so-and-so doesn’t talk to me. Or why such-and-such (I have changed the names of people to protect the innocent) won’t even look my way. I imagine that it’s because I am slightly to the left of what I need to be to be their friend. But my Friend won’t let me settle there with my tent and campfire, burning my toast and cursing myself for it.

I get the feeling best place to be is right where God has me right now. Not looking for approval from those that aren’t meant to be my friends. Not comparing myself to my imagined “ideal” person. Instead, He pushes my thoughts towards the friends who approve of me. The ones who like and love me despite my deficiencies. The people who pick me up when I am down. The ones who make me tea and imperfect toast when I am sad. The ones who celebrate my successes with parties. The friends who take my delicate dreams carefully into their hands to encourage me. The ones to whom I can pour out my appreciation love and reciprocate with tea and toast. The people that God has put in my path. These folks help me to feel perfect, even when I’m not.

So, friends, don’t look for friends in the wrong places. Don’t compare yourself to your imagined ideal friend of those who don’t notice you. Rather, celebrate the friends you have. Make them tea and toast. Wipe their tears (or cry with them). Shout with joy at their successes in life. Tell them about your successes. This is what makes life golden and perfect.

More vivid than usual…

*Dust, dust*

*Scrape, scrape*

*Wash, wash*

Ah, that’s better.  It’s been a while.  Sorry little blog.  I didn’t mean to let you gather so much dust.  I am much less distracted now and wish to renew our friendship.  Will you forgive me?  You will? Oh, thanks!

What better way to celebrate my reentry to the blogdom than to do a Five Minute Friday?

Let’s write bold and free for five non-stop minutes shall we?  Excuse me while I get out my timer…

Vivid

God makes everything brighter and more vivid.  Everything shines to my eyes when God is involved in the details.  Sometimes I stand like a child, awed by the sun, blinking back tears at the sheer joy of it all.  How could I not?  God’s love can be so overwhelming at times, flowing into every nook and cranny of my soul, making everything cleaner, brighter, more vivid.  When God makes something more vivid, I can see minute details I never noticed before.  A bead of dew here, a friends smile wrinkles there, a word well-spoken right in front of me.  How can I not notice the glorious and grand details of His design when my vision is clearer, when life is more vivid than usual? My heart is beats in tune with the details of His plan when they are known to me and I see the brightness of His glory shining for my unfettered eyes.

Thanks for being here!

You too little blog!