Category Archives: Calling

How to be Brave

He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell the disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.”… So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell the disciples. Matthew 28:6-8, emphasis mine

Fear does not disqualify me.

And the absence of fear doesn’t make me brave.

Jesus makes me brave.

Jesus offers joy. And JOY TRUMPS FEAR.

Jesus doesn’t always eliminate my fear. But He’s stronger than fear.

There is good for you to do in the world, to bring to the world. Will you be brave?Oh, He is stronger. Oh, that I would remember.

Remember.

Remember.

Remember.

Remember I love you.

Remember I made you.

Remember I know what I’m doing. I don’t make mistakes.

And I Am trustworthy.

Remember I have given you a gift. It is not just for you. It IS FOR YOU. But not JUST for you. There is good for you to do in the world, to bring to the world.

Remember you love to __________________________________.

You love __________________________________.

Remember you love Me and you have heard My voice. You know My voice. You recognize My presence – even though you sometimes ignore Me.

Remember you’ve been entrusted.

Remember I never called you to do any of this apart from Me. You were never expected or intended to do this on your own.

Remember.

Remember, not how to be brave. But Who makes you brave.

(Now crank this up and believe it.)

To run with patience.

Is there a phrase or a Bible verse you’ve heard so many times you go on auto-pilot when you hear it repeated?

As a runner, I’ve long had a bit of Scripture tucked away with special affection: let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...  I grasp for it when I push for the finish line in an actual race or need a swell of courage in the face of adversity.

That being said, I haven’t felt pressed to call upon “perseverance” lately. Perseverance calls to mind overcoming something difficult or momentous — a fight or a battle. But I haven’t felt like the world is coming against me. I don’t feel like I have a big finish line on the near horizon.

I’m just kind of… in the middle.

And then I saw it. The same familiar verse, translated nearly identically, but one word jumped off the page and shoved me right out of auto-pilot:

“And let us run with PATIENCE the race that is set before us…” (Heb 12:1, KJV)

Life doesn't always feel momentous. Sometimes you're just... in the middle. Here are 3 important keys to living well on the long road.

Patience.

It’s not so different from perseverance, really. But the word stirs something different in me. Patience calls to mind the miles nobody asks about. The middle 15 of the marathon. The flat road that isn’t necessarily hard but it’s there, and it’s just kind of… in the middle.

Sometimes the Lord gives me a “theme word” for a season of my life. Last year, hands down, the word was courage. So far this year, it looks like PATIENCE may be the word. (Gulp.)

What does it mean to run with patience?

Well, to run WITHOUT patience means two things. Either:

1. You speed up because you’re excited or nervous, and you blow up your pace, compromising your ability to make it up the next hill, let alone to the finish line.

2. You drop out because you’re bored or distracted, and you can’t really remember why you ever thought this was important to begin with.

So, how do we run with patience and avoid blowing up or dropping out?

We must:

1. Embrace the process.  Whatever you’re doing, there’s always going to be a “middle” in there somewhere. And if you’re staring down at your feet, or just an arms-length ahead, the middle can look pointless, confusing, or just plain boring. Keep your head up — looking around and ahead doesn’t have to be a sign of distraction. It can be an act of gratitude. The Bible says to fix our eyes on Jesus. Where do you see Jesus?

2. Identify priorities. The “middle” is an easy place to check out and just go through the motions — and some important things can be missed. It’s crucial to fuel well during this time — if you wait until you’re thirsty or woozy from dehydration, you’ve waited too long to fuel. What re-fueling stations do you need in place to keep you on pace for the long haul?

3. Silence perfectionism. “I’m not going to do it unless I can do it right.” This sounds like a solid mantra – until it paralyzes you in perfectionism and procrastination. There are some things you’d love to do, but perhaps you can’t do them “all the way” in this season of life. Stop crippling yourself with a misguided assessment of what matters and what doesn’t. Instead of shelving your dreams until you can pursue them “all the way,” declare this your training ground. How can you log miles in this season?

Let’s encourage one another to run with patience – and live well on the long road. Share your thoughts in the comments!

The Lie That Steals My Voice (and yours)

God has given you a voice. And your voice? IT MATTERS. It's a gift that has been entrusted to you. And YOU must choose to be generous with it & SPEAK UP. But there’s a lie that threatens to silence your voice & mine. Read on to uncover the lie & find your voice.My friend Elizabeth posed a writing prompt last week:

“When I hear the word ‘new’ I think of…”

When I sit down to write, I often brush thoughts aside with the argument, “So-and-so has already written about that. I need to write something NEW.”

Maybe you’re not a writer. BUT YOU’RE A SOMETHING.

In what ways do you silence yourself because “that’s already been thought of. or said. or made. or done?”  By doing this, we tell ourselves that our offering – whatever it is – is only valuable if it’s NEW.

We LOVE New. And New’s first cousin, Best.

But God reminded me of something this morning:

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

If my goal is to write something NEW, as in something that’s never been written about, then I need to hang this up right now. There is nothing new under the sun. 

And if I’m only willing to offer something when I think it’s the BEST thing the world has ever seen on a topic, well, that’s awfully presumptuous now isn’t it?

The point isn’t to write something that’s never been written about. The point isn’t even to offer the best or most profound thought on the topic.

The point is to ADD MY VOICE to the conversation.

And the same is true for you.

You’d be hard pressed to think a thought that’s never been thought before in the history of all time. Or bring ANY sort of offering that’s never been offered before.

The question is, has this offering – whatever it is – has it yet been offered by YOU?  Has YOUR voice rung into the conversation?

God has given you a voice. And, your voice? IT MATTERS. It matters and it’s a gift that has been entrusted to you. And as your gift, YOU must choose to be generous with it and SPEAK UP.

And then, when you speak up with the voice God has entrusted to you — be it a voice spoken in words or art or hospitality or service or WHATEVER AVENUE YOUR SOUL USES TO SPEAK — somehow, even though there is nothing new under the sun, God breaks through and declares:

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19a

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:5a

From the beginning to the end, God is the only One who can make something out of nothing – and who can take the tired and used up and MAKE SOMETHING NEW.

Offer yourself – offer the voice you received FROM Him, TO Him. And be amazed at what He will do.

What would you offer if it didn’t have to be the newest or the best?