Monday, March 30, 2009

Faith, Abandonment and Other Easy Things

"I may not understand what Jesus Christ says, but it is dangerous to say that therefore He was mistaken in what He said. It is never right to think that my obedience to a word of God will bring dishonor to Jesus. The only thing that will bring dishonor is not obeying Him. To put my view of His honor in place of what He is plainly impelling me to do is never right, although it may arise from a real desire to prevent Him being put to open shame." -Oswald Chambers

I have been thinking about these words from Oswald Chambers that I read in my devotion yesterday. When the leading of God conflicts with our understanding of God we are left questioning how well we really know God. You may ask yourself, "How can this possibly be the voice of God? This doesn't make sense and either God is going to look foolish or I am." I love the above passage from My Utmost For His Highest because it puts in proper perspective this debate in which we sometimes find ourselves. We must never put our view in place of His direction in our lives. This is easy to give voice to but excruciating at times to do. What makes it even harder is when you are concerned that your obedience will tarnish His reputation in the eyes of people you lead, maybe even your own children. And that is where faith must kick in.

Chambers goes on to say that "Faith is not intelligent understanding, faith is deliberate commitment to a Person where I see no way." Absolute, unquestioning obedience requires total abandonment of self which is so much more than lip service to a particular creed. It doesn't just ask for involvement, it requires an absorption of who you are into Who He is.
So, no matter how out of place or uncomfortable His leading in your life may be, your only response should be complete trust and unwavering confidence that He can handle the resulting consequences of your obedience. I don't know about you but I wrestle with this. And sometimes, it is just not pretty. But when it is all said and done, I can't help but come back to the simple truth of an old hymn "I once was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see." He changed me from who I was to who I am. And using the language of a changed life, He can speak for Himself.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Oh, The Things We Do To Entertain Ourselves


Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Jumbles

--So, I discovered the cure for migraine headaches this week. I like to call it my "I-feel-like -I'm-having-a-stroke cocktail". You take two Aleve, two Advil and two Tylenol and wash them down your pie hole with one liter of Mountain Dew. Oh, I exaggerate. A little. You really only need two cups of Mountain Dew. And you will be back to your old self in no time!

--I've decided that when you are fasting, watching Food Network is probably not a good idea. It is kind of like porn for the food-deprived individual. It might be wrong...but it feels so right!

--Fav quote of the week: "To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it." --Thomas Jefferson (read it a few times if you need is a great truth for the times we live in)

--I sat down on the living room floor one afternoon this week to play Pick up Sticks (yes, people do still play that game) with my youngest son. Before he threw the sticks down he looked me right in the eyes and said, "You had better enjoy this because one day you won't have little boys to play games with. Jacob and David already don't like to any more." I promise you my lip was trembling and it was all I could do not to burst into tears on the spot. Rip a mama's heart out, will ya??

--And finally, Dave Ramsey, in cooperation with LifeChurch.TV, will be hosting a Town Hall for Hope Meeting on April 23rd at 8pm. This is a free event during which he will be addressing the state of the economy, how we got here and where to go from here. I am a huge fan of Dave Ramsey and I especially appreciate the positive approach he has to what is happening in our country. With so much doom, gloom and hopelessness, it is nice to hear truth wrapped up in hope. Click here to get the details.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Social Media: How Much Is Too Much?

Our Adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in "muchness" and "manyness," he will rest satisfied. --Richard Foster

We live in an era earmarked by the most astounding technological advancements of all time. The winds of change in this arena over the past three decades have been nothing short of a whirlwind. What is most remarkable about all of this change and development is the sense of connection to others it has brought us. And while our ability to click a button and connect with one another across the globe through various social media most certainly has its merits, there are pitfalls that should and must be considered.

As wondrous as Facebook, Twitter and iPhones are, it is imperative that we do not allow the "noise" of these portals of community to drown out the quiet voice of our own souls and the solitude that the soul craves. Richard Foster wrote about the importance of solitude in his book "Celebration of Discipline", and it is a practice that we are in danger of losing in our hyper-connected world. We used to have quiet moments to think, reflect and still ourselves throughout the day; waiting for our dining companion in a restaurant, in the carpool line at your child's school, in the library, at the dentist office, in traffic, sitting in a coffee shop, or even while using the bathroom! But now we can Twitter, Facebook, read blogs, check e-mail or talk on the phone anytime, anywhere. Does everyone really need to know what you are doing all day every day? Could it be that we miss out on some "living" when we spend so much time "reporting" on our lives?

Please do not read into this that I am against any of these things. I do, however, think we must be very careful to control the place that these "connections" have in our lives. Silence, solitude and quiet thought is essential to our well-being, to our growth and health as Christians and as human beings.

So, ask yourself-
Are you more "connected" than you should be? When was the last time you connected

"I love people. I love my family, my children . . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that's where you renew your springs that never dry up." -Pearl S. Buck


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What??? No Post???!

Please remember that I have changed my posting schedule.

I will post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Sometimes....I will throw in a surprise one.

You just never know about me...

You can click here to see the original post about the schedule changes.

See you back here tomorrow...oh, how I love ya!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Sexy Church

I read an article over the weekend about a church in the rural Alabama town of Good Hope that really grabbed my attention. Apparently Daystar Church's pastor of nine years, Jerry Lawson, has launched a month-long teaching series called "Great Sex: God's Way" and has even rented billboard space in their tiny town to advertise it. And some folks in Good Hope are feeling less than hopeful about it.

The concerns that were cited are, and I am nut-shelling here, that "sex should be discussed at home and in schools-not in church", "this is just a fancy marketing scheme to get people to come to their church", and finally-and I quote- "Paul said preach the Gospel. Talking about sex ain't gonna get nobody to heaven." The last quote was from another pastor in that town.

Jerry Lawson took over the leadership of Daystar Church, which was then running less than 100 in attendance, and has grown that church to over 2,000, which is more than Good Hope's total population. Forgive me for once again tossing my opinions about but, friends, as I read these criticisms of Daystar Church, I smell a Pharisee or two.

Certainly there is much debate about church growth strategies and then there is the whole "mega-church versus small church" discussion that I find more than a little tiresome. This is just wasting breath arguing over non-essentials when the church should be about making disciples-not critiquing how other churches are going about making disciples. Sheeesh! It would seem to me that the issues some are having with this church in Alabama are more about that issue than about sex. But for those who are troubled with the church addressing the topic of sex, I have just a few words. WAKE UP!!!!

As a former pastor, I have spent countless hours helping couples deal with sexual issues and it IS a topic the church should address. Jesus didn't just commission us to "preach repentance." He commissioned us to make disciples (Matt28:19-20) and, while that begins with repentance, it does not end there. We have to teach people how to live, how to grow in vital relationship with God and then in relationship with others. God made sex. He is not offended or embarrassed by it, and He wants married people to enjoy it like crazy!!! If the church refuses to talk about it, the problems won't go away and the destruction of marriages in the church will continue to be equal with those outside of the church. We must equip the people in every area of life and see each come to a place of wholeness and healing that each might, in turn, bring the very same healing and wholeness to those in their own sphere of influence. ( 2Tim 4:2)

What do you think? Should the church address issues of sexuality?


Sunday, March 22, 2009

I Am Confessing My Love Affair...

I lived for four and a half years in Lake City, Florida....a little town that did not have a Chick-fil-A. And it was torture. I wrote letters and e-mails to their corporate offices in Atlanta but always they said no to putting one in Lake City. I now live in Columbus, Georgia where there are three Chick-fil-A restaurants and I thank God for bringing this gift to me. Because, friends, I LOVE Chick-fil-A and I finally found someone who can express my passion...


Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Jumbles

--Let me start this off by letting my tens of readers know that I am going to be changing my posting schedule (pronounced shhhhedule...I am feeling rather British today). Beginning next week, I will be posting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only. I am backing off a bit to spend more of my writing time on another writing project. This means, of course, that I have to make my three posts a week more of this silliness and nonsense. Yeah, we all know that won't happen. I am a pied piper of sarcasm and nonsense, especially on Fridays.

--Although one of the main objectives of this blog is to expose and do away with sexism in the church, I am about to make a sexist remark and so I am apologizing in advance for any potential offense the following remark may cause. Sick little boys and sick grown men are all the same inside: whiny. Now, I realize there are exceptions so do pardon my painting with such broad strokes. But I do have extensive experience with this so please don't try to convince me otherwise. I'm just saying...

--I had never seen "The Nightmare Before Christmas" until last night. If you haven't seen it either and you feel you might like to rent it, please lie down until the urge passes. Spend your money on something more a down payment on a nice root canal.

--And finally, here is my nine-year-old son's bedtime prayer from last night: "Dear God, thank you for today even though I have been sick and feel like crap. Please heal me and David and help my Daddy make lots of money on his job. Hanging up now. Amen"

Yeah...I laughed out loud. Have a beautiferous weekend! (I made up a word just for you, Sharon)


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Adventures in Parenting

I wanted to write something for today's post that would be deep and inspiring, yea even life-changing. But then I said "Nahhh". You see I have two sick kids and one other who wishes he were sick so he could get out of his school work.

No such luck!

I met our new doctor yesterday and oooohhhhhhh how I miss our old one! (Heather, where are you?????) Then I followed her directions to the diagnostic center where my son would be getting a chest x-ray and I learned that being able to prescribe narcotics and such does not necessarily qualify one to give directions. Yeah, I got lost. My husband suggested I call the office back and ask someone else for directions but I knew in my current state of PMS that I would most likely wield my sword of sarcasm in a less than life-giving way. So I refrained. And I found the diagnostic center on my own because I am just stubborn like that. I also decided that I would not let my new doctor's inability to tell her left from her right dissuade me from trusting her medical advice. I may later regret this decision.

Turns out my young son does NOT have pneumonia but our new physician still feels it necessary to have us give him the antibiotic she prescribed. My son showed her, though! After taking both pills for day one he then proceeded to throw up.

Everything in his stomach.

All over the trashcan.


Because if you are that close to a trash can, why bother to lift the lid when you can, instead, splash the entire contents of your stomach all over your shoes and pants, the trash can AND the cabinet behind it. Good plan.

You would have been proud of me...I just laughed and then cleaned it up. Did I mention my PMS? And because I am a good mother, I curled up in my bed with my son and watched three hours of Orcs murdering each other with every form of sharp weaponry. I actually do like "Lord of the Rings", but I am more in a "You've Got Mail" frame of mind right now. I did, however, cheer loudly when Legolas slid down that flight of stairs while shooting arrows at Orcs. I so would have face-planted half way down the stairs and been brain dead on the spot. Ring? What ring?

There you have it. I know. You are overcome with inspiration. Just lie down. I promise you it will pass.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Come Aside...

I read recently that the Chinese pictograph for "busy" is two different characters: heart and killing.

This is reason enough to take a look at your life and evaluate how you are living it.

Are you doing as Jesus instructed?

And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." -Mark 6:31

Sabbath, or rest, is the womb where His words to us come alive and we are transformed.

And where our hearts come alive.

Is your heart dead or is it alive?

Are you "coming aside" to rest or are you pushing rest aside that you might get more accomplished?

There will be those in your life who choose not to rest and call it a "good work ethic." Do not let their dead, busy lives overshadow your own. Work hard and then come aside.

Come aside for rest and for a heart that lives.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Skin of Knowing

"Many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it. Love is just the skin of knowing." -from The Shack by William P. Young

Last night, as I drew a tepid bath for my fevered little boy, I was swept away to some moment in the winter of 1970 when I was just a baby and my mother was my hero. I don't actually remember that long ago night, I only know the story of it so well that it feels like I can remember what happened. I was very, very sick with a fever of over 105 degrees and my father, then a Secret Service Agent with the federal government, was out of town, leaving my mother alone with my older brother and sick little me. Mama told me how she called the doctor and they told her to strip me down to my diaper and walk me around outside in the snowy night until my fever came down. And so she did. She walked me about in the snow, holding on to my burning-hot, diaper-clad little body as I chattered and hallucinated and she cried and prayed.

Fast forward thirty-nine years and here I am with my own little boy, fighting his high fever and understanding what my own mama felt all those years ago. And as I look at his flushed face that is so like my own used to be, I am moved by this small reflection of me and my husband. You don't just love your child because he is yours. You love your child because you know him so very well and his delicious uniqueness is divinely irresistible. And I remind myself that this same mystery exists between God and me and He invites me to truly know Him that my love for Him might expand. He knows and loves completely, a reality that I do not pretend to understand, but that I do find irresistible.


Monday, March 16, 2009

A Small World After All

We had a great time of ministry in Florida last week and during some down time on one of the days, we took our boys to Disney World and a few other Disney parks (it was a long day!). And as much as I love roller coasters, I love seeing old friends even more. We were just heading past Cinderella's Castle when I spotted two former students(back in the day when we were youth pastors) and their baby daughter heading our really IS a small world after all!!! This is Charlie and Miki Chastain and their sweet daughter, Isabel. They are missionaries to Russia with the Mission Society and you can check out who they are and what they do here.

Aside from the fact that this is not a flattering picture of me (it IS still all about me, right?) I was so excited to see old friends and snap a photo that means so much to me. Charlie is also an amazing guitarist and was the earliest influence on our middle son who is now completely obsessed with guitars. You never do know what fruit will come from the convergence of your path with someone else and I am thankful for what God is doing with Miki and Charlie and for the mark they have made on us. Do pop over to their website...they are living big and making a difference. And that is more breathtaking than Cinderella's Castle!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gimme a Break

Alrighty, my bloggy friends, I am taking a little break. This is my last post until Monday because I am currently down in Florida for a few ministry meetings and a day at the happiest place on earth. Gotta love a little Disney! Please come back on Monday...I will be here. I promise not to wear my Mickey Mouse ears or my Disney princess tiara. I heart you all.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Caped Crusader Grew Up!

Yesterday was the 14th birthday of my middle son, David. He is 5' 9" so we see eye to eye now and he has a deep voice, hairy legs and a haircut I would have never chosen. My hubs and I have always called him Dave the Brave because he was so fascinated with super heroes as a little boy. When he didn't have on clothes he would still wear a cape of some sort even if it was nothing more than his baby blanket draped around his shoulders and fastened with a clothes pin. Now his shoulders are always draped with a guitar strap and the world he lives in is no longer fraught with evil villains, but riffs he is trying to master.

Where does the time go? And how has that little boy with the glow-in-the-dark smile and the big imagination become a young man with such big dreams? I so love having three sons. I love the privilege of watching them change and become. And I have to bite my tongue sometimes and remember that listening to my teenagers is far more important than lecturing, fussing, and rubbing their noses in their mistakes. That is what God does for me. Although He encompasses all wisdom and knowledge, He never beats me up with His words. He never rubs my nose in my failures. Instead, He invites me to draw near to Him, to know Him intimately and to be loved. And He lets me feel the consequences of my actions. What a great parent God is and I run to Him every day as I try to follow His example. I thought the "terrible twos" were one told me about the "heaven help me they are teenagers-now what??" Some things you just have to figure out on your own!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Extravagance of Compassion

I was thinking about compassion yesterday. I remember reading somewhere that the word compassion literally means com (with) passion (suffering). So compassion really isn't about sentimental feelings or pity, but rather it is sharing in the pain. It is suffering with someone. How many of us really want to sign up for that? I struggle with it, wrestle with it even, like with a big alligator that I think might eat me if I let my guard down.

I used to visit a nursing home every Sunday morning for about a year and a half...maybe two years. During that time I got to know some of the men and women who lived there, many of whom had no family, and my heart would just nearly break every time I walked in the place. Every single time. I would sit with some and ask about their children and grandchildren and their deceased spouses. Most were quite philosophical about being near the end of their lives and I was often struck by their quiet acceptance of it. Sometimes the ones who were the most overlooked and neglected by their own relatives were the sweetest and kindest, and they made me feel as if I had given them the world when all I had done was sit with them, look into their eyes and enter into their reality for just a few minutes. And I always thought that, with each visit, it would grow easier to have communion with such deep pain , but it never did.

As a pastor I was accustomed to seeing the hurts of others. It was my job and my great privilege to listen, to roll up my sleeves and get down into the dirt and disappointments of others, to help them when I could and hold them close when I could not. But for me this was a stark, raw suffering that I could scarcely look upon and there was not a single Sunday that I didn't want to turn and run back out to my car and drive away and pretend that no such pain existed. I am not proud of that, but I won't lie about it either. The deep suffering of others is often blinding, suffocating and repelling and it is only when we are in vital union with the One who was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief that we can look upon it, reach out and touch it, and even enter in. To suffer with another is the most extravagant of gifts and not one we can give in and of ourselves.

And then, when my own mother became terminally ill and I could visibly see the life being stripped from her by the ravages of cancer, I stopped going to the nursing home. I had overwhelming suffering now living with me under my own roof and it was more than I could bear to go and watch the dozen or more little ladies and gentlemen that I had grown to love slip away. The loss was too much. And I knew that it was okay. My beautiful friend, Palma, would continue to go and love them up close while I wrapped my arms around the deepest suffering of my very own mother. Such times give us the tiniest glimpse through the eyes of God. We truly could not bear more than the slightest sliver of what He sees. What about you? When have you glimpsed suffering? How did you enter in and how did it change you? I would love to hear your story...


Monday, March 9, 2009

Making Room For Creativity-Part 4

If you are just tuning in here, we are wrapping up a series of posts on creativity and the importance of creating space in your busy life for those juices to flow. To catch up with where we are, you can click here, here, and here.

Now that you have taken control of your schedule and trimmed away the excess that was crowding your time, what is next? I'm glad you asked. Now you can allow yourself the luxury of moving about in the new "space" you have created in your days and weeks. Obviously you cannot "schedule" creative flow or determine when an inspiration will come, but it is very important to allow regular times of uncluttered freedom to explore the creative recesses of your heart. As a writer, I cannot just wait for a moment of "creative inspiration" to hit me. I have set aside regular times to just write regardless of how I feel. And it has been through this routine of being faithful to exercise my gift that I have found the sweetest inspirations. The regularity of it has proven to be a catalyst for creativity. Then, when an idea for a writing piece hits me at an inopportune moment, it is second nature to just grab that notebook I have with me at all times, and jot down my ideas and thoughts so that I can revisit this place when I have another pocket of time.

I do not have a long list of creative gifts, but many people do, so how does that highly gifted person choose where to devote this time? The answer can be found within your own heart. Where does your heart pause when it wanders through your field of deep desires? What things do you find your thoughts fixating on in moments of unrestricted mental wandering? Erwin McManus says that "When you are passionate about God, you can trust your passions." Don't be afraid to follow your heart. Because He fashioned it, what is in there is often where He wants you to invest your time and energies. In following your passions you may find that God will open doors of opportunity that you never believed possible.

I have a friend, Clay Miller, who is very gifted in video production and God recently opened a door for him to do it full time. Clay made room for that creative gift in his life and then God made a way for him to make it a career. How great to do what you love and get paid for it!

The most important thing is to make room in your life and then don't look back! Do not give guilt an audience in your life. When God is ordering your steps, you can give yourself to creativity with complete abandon and you can know that, in your most creative moments, you are reflecting the very image of the Creator God! Now don't just talk about it, be about it!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Beautiful Desolation

John 20:29 "...blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."

I became a Christian in 1983 at the age of fifteen. I am a strong personality with very definite opinions that I have to bite my tongue at times not to share. I saw God change my life in such an amazing way that it NEVER crossed my mind to doubt Him. Ever. Until recently.

I have struggled with my beliefs in the past six months in a way I have never before known. And it has rocked me to my very foundation. I have made poor choices in the past and then had the unpleasant experience of living with the consequences of those choices, but I can deal with that. It is an expected life equation. In recent months, however, I have realized that God has brought me, by His own Hand, down a road that is unexpectedly desolate and I have been left questioning the very bedrock of my previously unyielding faith. My forty years of life have never been a cakewalk...there has been much disappointment and heartache and I have learned to befriend failure rather than resist it. There is much to be learned at that great destination called "the end of yourself". But this...well, this is different.

The odd thing about all of this is that He has guided me to, and then through, great pools of difficulty in the past, but this time is different because I am also at a place in my own soul of great burnout. Having soldiered through four remarkably painful tornadoes in recent years, I failed to take note of the effect of those cyclones on my heart and soul and then take appropriate measures to see myself through the necessary healing and restoration. And so now I am in a helicopter of His design, being given a birds eye view of the damages. No one enjoys pictures of the landscape after the storm rips through because it leaves you feeling, well, helpless. Exactly.

The other ugly truth is that I have been more loyal to my notions of Him than I have been to who He really is. I have been serving the American God who takes care of my every practical need and fills me with such great joy and who keeps me from all the pain and anguish that others around the globe live in daily. But that is rather like looking at a the Grand Canyon through a pinhole and thinking you have beheld it's beauty and immensity.

It is times like these that I wish like anything that I were an opaque work of art on His pottery wheel rather than the transparent window that I am by His design. I want to run away and hide so others cannot see what I am seeing inside of myself because to my eyes it is offensive and humiliating. In truth it is a thing of beauty that has not yet taken shape and He loves for others to look on as He works His miracles. So I thought I would let you have a look at what He is creating out of my own desolation.

And thank you for taking the time to stop by.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Jumbles

It's been a strange week, so let's just jump on into my thoughts. The water is mighty fine.

--After our southern blizzard this past Sunday, my kids and I had an interesting day on Monday watching the shimmery, white evidence melt away into sunshiny oblivion. Kind of sad, really. No matter what room you were in, you could hear the steady trickle of melting snow coming from the edges of the roof. What was interesting was that it didn't really sound or look like rain but rather like someone peeing from the roof. Yes, I said "peeing" sue me.

--Fav quote of the week: "Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business, frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by a self-anointed elite." --Ronald Reagan (I know...I am on a Reagan kick...I love the Gipper!)

--I have been watching "Gone With the Wind" with my three sons this week (yes, they were forced) because one of them has been studying the Civil War. I think it makes what often seems so clinical and sterile in a history book come alive and become "human". It has been fascinating to see my boys react to the horrors of that war and what it did to people, how it changed them. Even though it is a "Hollywood" depiction of war, it still drove home some points I was trying to make as they studied the facts. It really is a movie everyone should see once in their life. And surprisingly, they really enjoyed it. Counting the five inches of snow on Sunday, that makes two miracles in one week!

--"Oh, Ashley, you do love me don't you?? Say it, Ashley, tell me that you do love me and we can run away together." Oh. Sorry. It's stuck in my head.

--And speaking of shallow women and the men who love them, my boys were especially amazed at the number of men falling all over themselves in the presence of Scarlett O'hara when she was clearly shallow and manipulative. Why not choose Melanie who was so good and pure of heart and pretty, they wondered? Ahhhh, I have done a good job raising them....

--And finally, my Christmas cactus (and, yes, it is definitely a Christmas cactus) is covered in a profusion of beautiful, red blooms on this fine March day. When did I enter the twilight zone?? Merry Christmas everyone!!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Making Room For Creativity-Part 3

If you are popping in here in the middle of this series of posts on creativity, feel free to go here and here to catch up on parts one and two of making room in your busy life for your creative gifts. Today we are talking about what to do after you have decided to prioritize creative moments and you have made your inventory of what is and is not truly important for you in this season of your life.

Now, take that list of things you do that God never called you to do but you assigned yourself to do anyway, and begin the process of eliminating them from your schedule. Please, pick yourself up off of the floor and breathe into a paper bag if you need to. You are not going to die and neither are the people that you are afraid of disappointing. Instead let this reality sink in...if you are devoting yourself to tasks that God never called you to, you are setting yourself up for burnout and believe me, people, that is not a pretty sight. Creativity aside, streamlining your life is something that every person will benefit from because overcommitting yourself is slow suicide. Wouldn't you rather disappoint a few people than disappoint God by doing it your way rather than His way? Next, pick up the phone, write that letter, or have a sit down with the people you need to meet with to gracefully withdraw from the excess in your life. Go do this now. I will wait. I said GO!!!

Now, don't you feel better? What? You feel guilty? Ignore it...just like big hair and parachute pants in the '80s, it will pass.

Tomorrow is Friday and, as always, I will post my random and occasionally disturbing thoughts. It is a low-cal, fat-free, yet tasty little treat. I will wrap up this series of creativity posts on Monday. I just hope you can contain yourselves until then. And thanks for being here with me. I heart you.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Making Room For Creativity-Part 2

We have been talking about creativity and finding some room in your life to just be you--the wildly or mildly creative creature that you were made to be. I find that allowing times to create does for my soul what exercise does for my body. Afterward, I feel a sense of peace and calm and I know that I am healthier for it.

Sooooo, where should you start?? The first thing to do is take an inventory of your life and the things to which you are currently devoting your time. Take a good, hard look at the things, people, or activities that are currently earning a spot on your calendar and one by one decide which ones are non negotiable and which ones can be evaluated further. The trick with this type of exercise is allowing yourself to consider the possibility of saying "no" to things that are either unfruitful, or which completely drain you. If you are someone who has a difficult time saying no, then this will be especially difficult for you, but do it anyway. This is not about being selfish, it is about being balanced.

Now, take the list of negotiable activities and decide what can be eliminated from your schedule. When I do this, I take my list and put it before God and I ask Him what He would have me do. One of the most precious commodities we have is our time and it really takes the pressure off to let Him direct our steps in this process. Since He encompasses all of time, He is most certainly able to lead you as you prioritze yours. It is helpful to remind yourself that Jesus was not motivated by human need but by the voice of His Father. During His time on the earth, He did only those things that God directed Him to do and nothing more. Why should our lives be any different? You need to get clear with God about what He is telling you to do and do only those things. Nothing more.

Let's sum up....inventory your current commitments, decide what is non negotiable, get with God and decide what things you have on your plate that God never told you to put there. Now, get back here tomorrow and find out what is next! Are we having fun yet??


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Making Room For Creativity-Part 1

In an earlier post I wrote about the importance of making room in your life for your creative gifting(s). Everyone has the ability to create in some form or fashion because we are made in the image of God, the ultimate Creator. But what if you are unsure of your own creative abilities? Maybe you have wished all of your life that you could sing, paint or play an instrument like someone else that you admire. Those are beautiful gifts to be sure, but there is a much broader horizon on the sea of creative talents than just those more recognized abilities. Rather than try to make some exhaustive list of viable creative giftings, let me instead ask you one question. If money, time and circumstances were not obstacles for you, what would you want to do? What is the passion(s) of your heart?

I call this the hot button question and I LOVE to ask people to answer it. Very often the answer to this question will help you to identify your creative gift or at least guide you into an area where you may discover some hidden creativity. Perhaps you have never entertained such a question and you don't have an immediate answer. You are not alone. Many people get so caught up in earning a living that they lose touch with who they really are, what ignites their soul. If that is the case, take some time and let your heart out of it's cage and see where it takes you.

Knowing what you love to do is step one. Making room in your life for it is the next step. Over the next few days I am going to write a series of posts on making room in your life for your creative gifts. I hope you will come back so we can explore it together.

So tell me...what is the passion of your heart??


Monday, March 2, 2009

Fleeting Snow Angels

My good friends at The Weather Channel predicted 1-2 inches of snow for Columbus, Georgia but, friends, we got nearly five inches at our happy, little home yesterday. And it was glorious! Those of you who live in the great, white north can't appreciate my excitement and, truly, I can see how snow could grow wearisome . But for those of us in the deep south, yesterday's snow was a gift and we enjoyed it to the fullest! We threw snowballs, made snow angels and attempted to make a snowman, but our boys were more interested in launching snow missiles at us. Good times!

I know the clock ticks at the same rate for all of us but when you have children, it seems to race by at a breathless clip and if you aren't careful, you miss the most priceless gifts that come wrapped up in the plain, brown paper of the everyday. Play-Doh, crayon drawings on the fridge and snow angels are fleeting...don't wish them away.