Tuesday, August 17, 2010

No Keep-backs

1. something that delays progress: something that reverses or delays the progress of somebody or something

2. shelf or recess in wall: a place in the wall of a building where there is a shelf or recess

We all experience setbacks thoughout our entire life. As children we get potty-trained but still have a few accidents. Or get held back a grade. Or just when we get our finances in order, the car breaksdown. Sometimes the setbacks are major. A heartattack. A cancer relapse.

What about spiritual setbacks? Your prayer life gets sweeter and deeper and then all of a sudden you sense nothing and hear silence. Or an addiction you thought God had helped you get through comes roaring back... with 70 more demons in tow.

What then?

The past few weeks have felt like I was headed in reverse with the parking brake broken off. I didn't understand why it was happening (I hardly ever understand what God is doing during the refining). But instead of getting all bent out of shape and whiny with God (and yes... sometimes I do whine to Him) I prayed very simply "God, do not let these setbacks keep me back."

Setbacks do not have to be keepbacks. Far too often we stop moving after we've taken a few steps back. "Oh well... I guess it doesn't matter now." But it does matter. I realized just how much it matters.

Immediately after I prayed those words, I saw David - slingshot in hand - ready to kill Goliath. I saw a catapult being pulled back. In my little self-absorbed, limited perspective all I see is that it looks like I am going backward. Experiencing a setback. From a wider perspective being pulled back a short distance can be the potential force that propels you exponentially farther forward.

David's stone had to go in circles before being released to fulfill its purpose.
Peter denied Christ before becoming the founding leader of the church.
John had to be exiled before he recieved the revelation.

And I...

...simply have to willingly be pulled back
held by tenstion
ready and willing to be catapulted foward.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wise Words for the Weary

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”

My weeks feel non-stop most of the time. I'm sure it's similar for all of us. I am up before 6am and get home after 7pm. Just in time to get things together for the next day, clean up, check email and go to bed to do it all over again. And the inbetween time keeps me going non-stop with paperwork and phone calls and the gym. By the end of the week, I am exhausted. That's when I get hit.

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago” -Friedrich Nietzsche

I know exactly what Nietzsche means. Thoughts and issues I felt were securely behind me rear their ugly head and I am left in the middle of a mental, emotional battle I have no energy to fight my way through. But somehow... I make it through and rest is very important in that. Without rest things seems much bigger and often more out of proportion and I am likely to overreact or get overly emotional about something that in 2 days won't even matter anymore.

Why wouldn't the enemy come back when you are weak?

The more and more I read that quote - the more I find myself clinging to it. If only in the moment I could remember that this enemy...this battle was already won and the best way to win again is simply to step back and regain strength.

“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.” - Mother Theresa

This my friends is what we are sorely lacking in these days. We get tired of loving and simply give up when it gets to hard, too exhausting.

“One may go a long way after one is tired”

And maybe the best encouragement of all to keep going...

"Come to me, you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." - Jesus

Monday, August 2, 2010

Every Word of This is True

Seriously… I couldn’t make this up if I tried. And I have some pretty strange things running through my head. So, come on into my world, take a seat and let me tell you what happened yesterday.

I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself and quite sleepy I decided to lay down and close my eyes for a little while. I flung myself on the bed and immediately felt that heavy, half-asleep feeling… you know where you can still hear things but you can’t move or talk. I thought I heard a very faint knock on my door, but it was so faint I just figured it was someone knocking on the neighbor’s door. Then I heard a sound like my apartment door being opened. I listened a little more intently, didn’t hear anything else and once again assumed it was someone else’s door.

Then the unmistakable – my door closing a bit hard.

I jumped out of bed. Started looking out the windows to see if I could see anyone, or a strange car. Nothing.

Yeah… I know. Why wasn’t my door locked? Most of the time it is, but for some reason I didn’t lock it when I came home from brunch. But I digress…

Door now locked, I grab my cell phone and computer and head back into the bedroom. Now a nap is out of the question. Within just a couple minutes I heard someone trying to open the door again. Now, I was getting a little freaked out. Within a minute or two, I heard the quiet knocking again. I hesitated in opening the door, but I was curious. And I assumed they weren’t going to go away until I found out what they wanted.

And this is where it gets weird… I open my door to find… a very pudgy little boy, about 6 years old. I am staring and him and he at me. I asked him if I could help him. He puts he finger up to his face like he’s thinking really hard and looks back at me and says, “I’m looking for someone.”

“Oh are you looking for another little boy?” There is a boy across the hall, that’s probably where he wanted to be.

He just stared blank eyed at me. Shook his head no.

“Do you know who you are looking for? What they look like?”

The staring continues. He looks around bewildered.

“How would you like me to help you?”

Finally, he says in a quiet voice, turned sideways, not quite looking at me. “I am looking for a sexy woman.”
What!?! Did I just hear this little kid right? I am now, if I wasn’t already, completely blown off any sense of rationality and clear thinking. And all I can think of to say to this kid, who isn’t giving me much information to help him with is, “Well, she doesn’t live here.”

He looks surprised and unsure… or something like that. Who knows what was actually going through this boy’s mind? I’m not even sure what was going through mine. He again turns, hunches over grabbing his stomach and says in an exasperated voice, “Where DOES she live?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know how to help you. I guess you just need to keep looking. Good luck.” And with that I shut the door on the little boy looking for a sexy woman and locked it.

And still today I can’t make sense of it. I am sitting here thinking…. Really!?! I love that a strange boy showed up at my door outta nowhere. But ummm…. God…. I think you need to tweak the age & height a bit.