Category Archives: Gratitude

Starving. With a mouth full of food.

My children tell me they’re hungry all. day. long. Often they’re just thirsty. Or bored. Sometimes they’re actually hungry. And sometimes, they have the audacity to tell me they’re hungry WHILE THEY’RE EATING.

Owen regularly asks for more food while he still has half a plate in front of him. Molly even had an apple in her hand and, chomping away on a mouthful, said, “Mommy, I’m HUNGRY.” Exasperated, I said, “Stop ASKING for food and just EAT the food you already have IN YOUR MOUTH.”

My kids tell me they're hungry all. day. long. Sometimes WHILE CHEWING A MOUTHFUL OF FOOD. What does this have to do with your prayer life? This discovery rocked my world.

And with that, the nugget of truth I chewed on for fifteen minutes last Friday circled back around and found me today. (You can click here to read it real quick if you missed it.) As one who has surrendered to Jesus, the Bible says I have received the gift of His Holy Spirit. The Bible also says the fruit of this Spirit is

love.

joy.

peace.

patience.

kindness.

goodness.

faithfulness.

gentleness.

self-control.

Soooo, pretty much everything I ask God for all. day. long.

I guess the reason I ask God for these is because, well, mainly because I don’t feel like I have them and He’s God, so, duh. But also because I’ve learned these qualities are not for me to “produce.” He is the vine; we are the branches. We do not PRODUCE the fruit of the Spirit – we BEAR the fruit of the Spirit. This is an important distinction.

But there’s another point the Lord seems to be driving home to me — while it’s not a matter of me producing, it’s NEITHER  a matter of me asking Him for more. How many times a day do I ask, beg, desperately plead for

more love!

more joy!

more peace!

more patience!

more kindness!

more goodness!

more faithfulness!

more gentleness!

more self-control!!!!!

Just like when my daughter pleads for food while she holds a snack in her hand – or even has a bite IN HER MOUTH… She doesn’t need to beg me for it. SHE HAS IT. What’s left is for her to do what people do who have an apple: taste it. eat it. enjoy it.

I don’t need to muster up and “produce” more love, joy, peace… and I don’t need to beg God for more of it either. I HAVE IT. What’s left is to do what people do who have love, joy, peace… I need to YIELD to it. Abide in it. Not squelch it. Wait, not “it.” HIM. These qualities are the fruit of a Person inhabiting my heart. I need to yield to HIM; abide in HIM.

What if, instead of waking up in the morning and pleading, “Please, Jesus, give me patience today. Please, Jesus, give me joy…” – what if I wake up with, “THANK YOU, Jesus, for the patience you’ve put in me. THANK YOU for the joy you’ve placed in my heart. May my life today reflect what’s true!”

May I courageously yield to God’s Spirit, and thereby courageously receive, accept, and abide in what has already been deposited into my heart.

IMG_4880

#firstfridayfinds: It.

first friday april 2014

It’s the first Friday in April, which means I’m linking up with Elizabeth at Words and Wonder for first friday finds! Ready? One verse, fifteen minutes, and… go.

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thess. 5:24)

I’m not sure where to even begin with this verse. It jumped off the page to me amidst many other marks and underlinings. This verse speaks peace and hope to my heart – as I sit here on my couch with a cup of coffee and my notebook.

But what will it look like as I go about the rest of my day?

The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

God has called me. No, wait. Not past tense. God calls me.

He is faithful.

And He will do it. It. What’s the IT? What’s the IT He calls me to, that He’s faithful to do in me, through me? How often do we ask, “What is God’s will for my life? What is He calling me to? What is IT?”

What if I don’t know what God’s will is? What IT is?

Ah, jackpot! – if we jump back just a couple of verses, we find a pretty clear place to start: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

Joyful. Prayerful. Thankful. This is God’s will for you – and me – in Christ Jesus.

“But you don’t know what my day has been like. You don’t know what my life has been like. How am I supposed to be joyful? prayerful? thankful?”

It’s time to remember this isn’t a call to muster up righteousness in my own strength. He who calls me – to be joyful, prayerful, thankful – is faithful, and He will do it.

May I yield today to the God who calls, the God who is faithful – and experience the wonder of Him doing something in me that I couldn’t do on my own.

 

Savor: What I learned about God from a chocolate bar.

It's nothing new for me to consider chocolate a spiritual experience. But this time it went a bit further than normal. If you love dessert AND inspiration, you don’t want to miss this encouraging read.

I’m feeling a little queasy. Possibly because I just took down 2/3 of a Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Bar with Caramel, Black Sea Salt, & 70% crack cocaine cacao.

I really only meant to have a delicate little square. You know, practice the art of “savoring” rather than “gluttonously inhaling.” But the square didn’t break evenly, so you know, I had to make it even. I tried to break off the stubborn little corner, but then that broke into half of another square, and so I had to even that up, and let’s just say it didn’t end well.

The Aftermath

This little incident reminds me of when I was younger and decided to give my Barbie a haircut. (At least I didn’t do this. Just sayin.) It probably started off pretty well. But then I had to even up the sides… and then even up the back to match the sides… and then even the sides to match the back again… you could say this also didn’t end well. (Remember the buzz-cut Barbie, Mom?)

Am I the only one with this peculiar habit? This need to keep picking at stuff, adjusting, improving, fixing  – to the point that I can’t even enjoy it anymore?

What is it for you?  Is it the outfit you changed eleven times and then ended up late & stressed? (I’ve heard people do that. I wouldn’t know.) Or maybe it’s that your house never looks quite right? Or your hair that won’t obey? Or your kids? A friendship? Your marriage?

Why do I do that? Take a good thing and basically kill it with my perfectionism? Because that’s really what it is, isn’t it? All the picking/adjusting/improving/fixing? Really I’m perfecting. Or trying to, anyway.

This might be controversial, but hang with me for a minute: What if we chose to let people off the hook. What if we let people – and things and ourselves – just be okay? I mean it. Like, what would you try, what could you enjoy, if you didn’t have to do it perfectly?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t work hard and give our best. But giving my best and being perfect are not the same thing. (Dang, can I even start to believe that!?) I don’t want to abandon excellence; but Lord help me, I need to stop pining for perfection.

Paul said,
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.”
(Philippians 3:12, The Message, emphasis mine)

What if we stop straining for perfection, and start reaching out for Jesus – the Perfect One (who, yes, has already reached out for us).  

caramel gloryIf I’m seeking perfection in this life, I am doomed for decades of disappointment and discontentment. The journey is messy. People are messy. Relationships are messy. Houses are messy. And Barbie hair is hard to cut straight, and fancy chocolate bars don’t break evenly.

I want to savor more in my life – even if it’s messy and uneven! The broken parts let the caramel spill out! And that’s just, yum.

Leonard Cohen: Anthem