Agitation flooded my senses and it started to spill forth. A friend asked if I was okay and I was honest to say I’d had enough at the moment. I love to be helpful but there was a breaking point; being able to help versus being inundated with so much I could no longer effectively help anyone. In my stressful state I knew it was time to step away. I put everyone on hold and took my hand sized football to try squeezing the stuffing out of it. (Employers give these things away probably thinking it will keep the outbreak of violence in check.) It was time to walk away.
Taking inventory of my attitude, I quickly recognized my need and spent a few minutes alone to replenish my peace, strength, love and understanding. It’s easy to have my battery drained if I am counting on myself but I am plugged into heaven. If my King Himself needed refreshing, who was I to do things any differently?
Luk 5:16 As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer.
Blessing…check, opportunity….check, motive….hhhmmm, need to check that!
Ever been so absolutely sure about your heart only to have a dark corner exposed unexpectedly? I was so caught off guard by a feeling I couldn’t define, I immediately took it to the throne room to inquire….”what is this Daddy?”
I felt so much pain when He showed me, tears came and I just wanted to be alone. I am never alone though. His precious comfort came to wrap me up; again I learn how much I am loved. With my best friend, I released my confession and left the darkness behind me once more.
I could hear an unfriendly voice try to draw near and I put up my hand immediately. With language of authority I deflected the sounding lies wanting to come in. Instantly they diminished and could be heard no more. Motive……check!
Pro 3:3 (Message) Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.
Then the rains came, torrential; sideways to pound against the windows of my house. I sat in front of one of the windows with a cup of coffee and looked out into the weather. In all the chaos of the storm I can’t help but think “cleansing”.
A quiet time to ponder in the hours I am typically “doing other things”; not today, today I was to reflect. The downpour just kept coming and as I watched, it seemed to grow in strength. About mid afternoon the sunshine broke through the clouds and a high wind blew. Without hesitation I went to stand in the middle of these winds, receiving all their message. Refreshing.
Psalm 104:4 (TNIV) He makes winds His messengers, flames of fire His servants
“Pick me, pick me, pick me!” I love that scene from the movie Shrek and I have laughed over it many times. What a representative statement of our need to be noticed. As we mature and grow in our spiritual lives, we come to understand the best way to be seen by our heavenly Father is not to seek out attention for ourselves.
As a middle child myself I have to say, “what?” How can one get fed if we don’t squawk the loudest? (The nature channels have taught us it’s the loudest baby bird beak that gets the food!) By feeding, I mean attention. Our natural inclination of nourishment is to be noticed. Isn’t that love after all? Maturity in faith asks us to deny this very characteristic within ourselves; thus the teaching of “how to die to ourselves!”
Why wouldn’t we want that pat on the back for doing something good for someone else? What is so wrong with that? I scratch a back, I get mine scratched too.
The nourishment offered by immediate recognition is limited. It has a short shelf life. To keep getting attention from the world around us means we have to keep topping ourselves and the effort becomes exhausting.
What a revelation to find rest and relaxation in “not being seen”. If no one sees you do something, there is no pressure to perform acts of kindness. This is where the fun really begins. These become like “covert operations” and your role takes on some intrigue. Now it’s you who gets to pick the mission target, date range and gift of love to be delivered.
Our nourishment is now sustainable. Our attention comes from the inexhaustible resource.
Mat 6:4 That your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
The hungry heart is in all of us…denial is futile but still we go about our lives searching for substitutes of that deeper thing, don’t we? How you feed yourself in this area is personal and I get that, but it’s no secret. Everyone around you can see the way you feed your craving, just so you know. Ask your friends, and if you have healthy relationships, feel free to ask your family. None will hold back. Most are anxious to point out your short-comings for sure. Before you ask, prepare your heart….”do you really want to know?” When you hear those answers….”what will you do next?” I figure if you are willing to ask, then perhaps you are searching for something more than substitutions for love.
Can’t Hide Love – (Earth, Wind & Fire)
You want my love and you can’t deny
You know it’s true but you try to hide
You turn down love like it’s really bad
You can’t give what you never had
Well bless your soul, you can fool a few
I know the truth, now so do you
The sunshine came through today, shoving aside all “gray matter” that had seemed to be stealing away my joy. For fun I rolled down the windows of my car before getting on the freeway. Fresh air pushed staleness out. I turned up my stereo to blast away a resounding “tell me something good; tell me that you love me”.
Arriving home I was surprised by a lack of leaves in my front yard. They had been choking my lawn but the weather hadn’t been amiable to do anything about them. I was even more impressed with the fact my lawn was mowed. Although I hadn’t heard from my husband, he hadn’t indicated he would be off work early. I wondered if he wanted to surprise me, but I didn’t see his truck.
Walking up the sidewalk I could hear a lawnmower from the neighbor’s backyard. It dawned upon me the manicure was a gift not of our own making. A conversation later confirmed this. I was left humbled once again about the very goodness I am always in awe of. I hadn’t even offered up a prayer for this chore need. “So this is what favor looks like today?” I thought.
Pro 8:35 For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the LORD
“Go to hell!” A screaming curse I haven’t heard to my face in a long time. My thoughts had been jarred recently about such things. How many times had I said that to someone I wondered? Did I ever mean it? Until recent years I can’t say I ever believed it to be a real place in existence.
Controversial topic for sure but one we shouldn’t avoid if we really are about “the good news and love”. I loaned a new friend a couple books of testimony from those few persons who have been allowed to share their encounters. I don’t doubt hell to be real. It’s just not my nature to scare the living daylights out of people with discussion. I doubt I’m doing them any favors with my silence, but it’s not an easy subject. There is always a word that rings in my heart though….Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire (from Jude 1:22-23a). It’s not too difficult to understand what the fire represents.
Thinking about what I’ve said in past anger now makes me take inventory to speak aloud the mercy needed. I wonder just how many can be snatched from the fire with my prayers offered in love?
The art of romance is finesse and timing. Too much and one can become wary. Too little and one begins to doubt the sincerity. I have been wooed ever so gently. At times I thought I’d be sick to my stomach from my own desires. Every nerve in my body feels electrified by nearness. My eyes scan horizons for beauty. I lay still in the night waiting to hear those whispers of love. My heart races unexpectedly when my love shows Himself, that I may recognize His beauty.
For all the ways I am drawn toward Him, I falter in my own understanding of just how much I am loved. I live the impossible dream. No man can love me this much, but it’s not man who calls me forth into this romance.
Words of the King “…You have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes…” SoS 4:9
What insights lay within, and yet sometimes the only way to draw them out is by asking questions. I like to think of these things as deeper thoughts we know, but haven’t yet brought to the surface for attention.
I have often been inquisitive about when Jesus asked his crew, “Who do they say I am?” Not for a moment does God not know the hearts, thoughts and words spoken by all men, so I was left to dig into this more. What was He looking for?
I didn’t have to look too far. Some great mentors put into the path of my life often teach by asking me questions. They already have the answers but rather then give me their own interpretations, they help walk me into personal revelatory experience. There is just a special joy and enthusiasm when you finally “get” the message being relayed.
Jesus already knew what people said of Him, but He especially wanted Peter to understand what a precious revelation had been given to him. It is wonderment to me that the God of the universe, and beyond, desires to teach us individually and personally.
Mat 16:15-17 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”
In a field of long ago, two friends made a promise to one another; a friendship that would have eternal ramifications. One was the son of a king who had willingly relinquished his earthly authority, knowing the favor of heaven to be upon his friend. They both walked away from that field with an understanding, but without ability or freedom to communicate openly their love or friendship anymore.
It rends the heart to think of them weeping together over this bond that would never be broken, but could never be enjoyed again upon the earth. How painful to sacrifice one’s own desire for the good of another, yet it is the greatest act of love one can offer.
1 Sam 20:17 (Message) Jonathan repeated his pledge of love and friendship for David. He loved David more than his own soul!