F.I.N.E

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How are you? Fine. I am sure many of you were greeted this way at some point this week. Either you said ‘fine’ or you got the reply ‘fine’. Typical, non-committal answer. I even gave it as my reply this past week. However, my friend said, “you know what ‘fine’ means right?” I had no idea.

F: Frustrated

I: Insecure

N: Neurotic

E: Emotional

So when you reply ‘fine’, you are giving a deeper insight into how you really are. I almost always say fine when I am not. It’s the answer when you don’t want to be real or go deeper or you don’t trust the person with your reality. Next time you say ‘fine’, think about why you are giving that answer.

I have been frustrated this week. I was given wrong information from a company and when I interacted with them, our transaction took so much longer because of the inaccurate info. I felt insecure this week when I joined a new book study. I only knew one person in the group and had previously met another years ago. It’s a bit daunting to sit in a group of 8 women and start sharing honestly. However, by the end of the time, I felt comfortable and I already know these are great ladies. For the purpose of this article, I am defining neurotic to be “unstableunbalancedmaladjusted.” Definitely unbalanced while summer schedules are kicking in and mom chauffeur is back on duty. As for emotional, that’s just a given these days.

I encourage you to answer directly when someone asks how you are. It will catch many off guard. However, you may be surprised at the conversation that follows. When you ask someone how she is doing, if she replies ‘fine,’ ask if they really are fine. If they don’t go deeper, that’s OK. If they do, listen.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

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You’re fired

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No one wants to hear that phrase. Trump popularized it with his “Apprentice” show. I am grateful I have never been fired from a job. I quit a few. In 5th grade, our classroom had a full government setup with jobs, a President, paying taxes, a store, etc. I learned how to write a check, how to balance a checkbook, how to calculate sales tax and much more. I had the job of a banker. I love numbers and math. However, after too many complaining customers (my classmates), I got fed up and tossed down my stack of papers exclaiming “I quit.” Like I said, I learned a lot in the class exercise, including how to control my temper and work with difficult people. It led me to eventually being a team manager in my profession as an adult. With that responsibility, came the possibility of firing someone. Thankfully it never happened. However, after the sermon I heard yesterday, I realized I have fired someone on a regular basis – God.

You see I’m a bit of a control freak. Every time I take control of my life without submitting to God, I’m firing God. Mark Pikerill, pastor at Christian Assembly church in Eagle Rock, shared an amazing sermon yesterday in his Fighting for Freedom series. Here is a link if you are interested – http://cachurch.com/sermons/weekend-message-june-16-17/. Mark, too, is a control freak and shared all the ways he takes control from others including God. This got me thinking how many times I have fired God.

“I’ve got this.”

“No problem.”

“I have my 5 year plan laid out.”

All these things are me handling it all.

Now hear me out on this. I don’t believe that I need to spend weeks or months praying over a decision. I know God has great plans for me to help Him further His kingdom and to create depth of character in me. He wants me to be more like Him in all I do. If I decide to go to college A over college B, it isn’t going to thwart His plans. I feel that if I am immersed in God’s word, aware of God’s character and striving to serve God, the choices I make will be a reflection of Him. I am mature in Christ. I’m not still drinking from the bottle. (See below for Hebrews 5:11-14) I can step out and make decisions. I do pray and ask Him to guide me or to protect me or to make His presence known in the midst of my life. So when I fire God, it’s a matter of me ignoring Him. Me living my life without time with Him. I’m not just avoiding asking Him what He wants, but every time I go out in the world and haven’t connect with God, I’m firing Him.

Last week I wrote about “More God.” I guess I am again this week. More God means I’m not firing Him so much. I may seem to be repeating myself, but it hasn’t fully sunk in for my life yet. Has it in yours? I usually need time to make a change. Incorporating God daily, I usually do. Incorporating God all day, I don’t do. I want to. I want more God. I want God to keep His job. He does it much better than I do. His resume is flawless. So friends, today let’s give God his job back.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

 

We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. – Hebrews 5:11-14, NIV

More God

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I wept on Friday. The service for my friend, Alice Pendleton was last Friday. The love of her family (all the way to great grandkids) filled the chapel. God’s word came from all of their lips. Alice’s influence, because of her deep, abiding love of Christ, touched generations. As most of us do at funerals, we ponder our own existence and influence on this earth. Am I as patient as I should be? Do my kids know God’s love abides in me and they too want a part of that? What do I need to add or remove from my life to make it more meaningful, inspirational, valuable? My answer was surprisingly simple: I need more of God.

I wake up, do my back stretches, make breakfast, feed the kids, and start on whatever chores are before me. Sometimes I find time to read God’s word or listen to a sermon before I get out of bed. Usually I check in with Him at some point in the day. I’m not getting enough God. I love Him. My life does revolve around His ways. I’m just not spending enough time with Him for Him to rub off on me more.

It’s summer. My kids are home. Woohoo. I love it. I am sure in a few weeks I’ll be using their slang and be up to speed on what’s hot in their music and video game lives. They will rub off on me. I want that from God too. For Him to rub off on me more.

I read a devotional on creating habits. The main point is, successful people create a habit and stick with it for the long haul. I need to stretch my back daily. If I don’t, my lower back will spasm and hurt. If I do my stretches, I am good. My doctor told me that most people do their stretches faithfully until they feel better, then they stop. They think they are cured. She said my stretches are for life. I can do that. If it keeps the pain away, it’s worth it.

So it is with God. I am devoted to Him and His word when I’m in crisis or a struggle. When the crisis passes, I give up that habit and don’t engage with Him regularly. I need to remember that my time with God is a lifetime commitment. Not only that, but I like it. I like God. I like learning. I like growing. I like worship. Why am I not making it a daily thing? A million reasons why but nothing more important than God. I seek to make this summer a time to solidify this lifestyle change. I want more God daily. I challenge you to use the “lazy days of summer” to add in a new way to connect with God. It can be reading His word (the Bible), worshiping, journaling, whatever works for you. I just know that life can only be better with more God.

Dream Big! Pray Big!

Dream Small???

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I am all about Dream Big! I close my blog with it each week. The other day I heard a song on the radio called “Dream Small” by Josh Wilson. The song messed with my head. I went home and printed the lyrics and pondered his message. The chorus is:

Dream small

Don’t buy the lie you’ve got to do it all

Just let Jesus use you where you are

One day at a time

Live well

Loving God and others as yourself

Find little ways where only you can help

With His great love

A tiny rock can make a giant fall

Dream small

 

OK. I get his point that the little moments in life make a difference. He even says in the second verse “Of course there’s nothing wrong with bigger dreams Just don’t miss the minutes on your way to bigger things.” I can get behind that. While I’m waiting for my novel to be published or to buy my beach house, I need to invest where I am today. I agree with that. However, I think I wouldn’t call it “Dream Small”. I say “Invest your all” or “Live fully where you are today” (that one doesn’t rhyme but it clarifies the message.)

I am grateful for the “small” moments in my daily life. Today I had a nice conversation with the checkout clerk at the grocery store. Last night I sent a text to a mom in need. I often pick up trash that isn’t mine. Those minutes aren’t wasted at all. They made a difference.

However, I must conclude that Dream Big is still the way to go. So just

Find little ways where only you can help

With His great love

A tiny rock set that giant where he lay

Live fully where you are today

(Sorry to change those lyrics Josh – I just can’t Dream Small.)

Dream Big! Pray Big!