The Hallway and the Door

hallway

When God calls you to step forward and walk through the door He’s opening for you, you’ve got to be careful you don’t get stuck standing in the hallway.

In the hallway, you can convince yourself you’re not ready or you’re not good enough. Or maybe the door isn’t opened all the way; there’s only a sliver of light cutting through the shadowy hallway and that scares you. Let’s face it, you’d rather stay where you know what to expect. There are no surprises in the hallway except the occasional dust bunny parachuting from the ceiling to land on your head.

Or maybe you’re too busy. That’s right, you’ve got a dozen or so loads of laundry to do, the kitchen cupboards need rearranged, and the grass needs cut. Maybe you need to frost a hundred cupcakes for a bake sale, and you need to go to the store to buy a new surge protector for your laptop.

You can convince yourself you don’t have the time for the door and whatever is inside, so you tell God, “Today doesn’t work for me. Maybe tomorrow.”

So you busy yourself and hurry through the hallway to gather the dirty laundry. And while you’re doing that, you notice the photographs hanging on the walls. You stop and remember the past, the colors of those failures so vivid. You look away. It’s too painful. But when you turn, you find yourself reminiscing over another photograph, one you cherish. You wonder if things will ever be that good again. You feel out of sorts, mixed up, and confused like someone is playing Ping-Pong with your emotions.

Satan is doing all he can to get you to linger here so he can whisper his lies, wreaking havoc on your heart and causing every emotional outburst or breakdown imaginable. You see, then he’s not only discouraging you, but he’s stealing your time too. It’s a double whammy.

And let’s not forget how Satan loves to steal your time by distracting you. He’s going to whisper your to-do list in your ear, reminding you how all of those things are so much more important than some silly door. While he’s at it, he will probably tell you you’re not hearing from God anyway and that the door before you isn’t even for you; it’s for someone more qualified and capable. The enemy will tell you you’d better stick with rearranging those kitchen cupboards; someone might come over and see how you’ve got the canned corn mixed in with a box of rice and think you’re completely unorganized and a real slob.

But wait a minute. God pointed out that door to you, didn’t He? And you’ve been praying about it for such a long time, and now it’s opening…

Keep moving, my friend! Don’t turn back now, and don’t let your precious time get swallowed up by distractions, procrastination, or doubt. And don’t keep pacing back and forth with that to-do list in your hand, the one you made for yourself.

Go with the one task God has given you today. Move closer to that door. And if it’s not open all the way when you get to it, pray. Perhaps you’re to knock on it and it will swing wide open when you do.

And when it does open and you take that step and cross the threshold into God’s will for your life, you’re going to realize it’s so much better than hanging out in the hallway with a liar and a bunch of dust bunnies.

Instead, you’ll be living joyfully, immersed in God’s presence, and doing what He’s called and created you to do.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV.)

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11 NLT.)

Trust: After You’ve Been Hurt

bare tree (2)

If you’ve ever been hurt before, you know how hard it can be to trust again. You wonder if there’s another devastating blow around the corner, another crushing moment if you open yourself up again.

You’ve been burned and you’re not sure how to come back from it, how to recover anything good from the pile of ashes.

My friend, God sees the remnants. He sees what you think is hopeless. He sees the thick layers of anger and regret. He wants to peel those away, stop the bitterness from burrowing deeper into you, and bring something good, something powerful from all of this.

It may not be what you envisioned. It may not be where you imagined He would direct you. All He asks is for you to trust Him and follow His lead.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? Trusting.

Your heavenly Father understands. The day you were hurt, He was hurt too. When you fell apart, when the careless words pierced you, when everyone else left you to deal with it alone, He was the One who stayed with you. He never left your side.

God wants to lift you up. He wants to heal your brokenness. He wants to bind your wounds and restore your joy. He wants you to laugh until your tears flow and your side aches.

He wants to bring you back. Back to the life He’s always planned for you. Back to the life He created just for you before you took a wrong turn, before you listened to everyone else but Him, and before your spirit was crushed.

God wants to bring you back to the place where you can breathe again, sleep at night, and feel close to Him. He doesn’t want your fear of trusting to affect your relationship with Him. He has never let you down, and He’s not about to start now.

Letting you down or giving up on you is not in His character.

But loving you more deeply than you can understand and never leaving your side…not only is that the very nature of His character, but it’s what He does.

That’s a truth you can trust.

So let go. Let go of the past. Let God peel away those thick layers of anger and regret you’ve been using as a shield to block the world from hurting you again.

And let God in.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3 NIV.)

“Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:20b NIV.)

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25 NIV.)

When God is Quiet During Your Brokenness

during the storm

Things can leave us broken with the pieces of our messy and shattered lives washing ashore. The things we counted on crumble like sand in our hands. People let us down. We feel forgotten or discarded. Or a great rescue we’ve been hoping and praying for doesn’t come.

It hurts. You lie awake at night, tears soaking your face and landing on your pillow. You talk to God. You plead for an answer. You ask Him what you’re doing wrong or what you should do to fix it all. You find yourself dropping to your knees and begging, crying out to Him for help.

But He’s quiet.

You wonder what’s going on and why He’s allowing this storm to rage, one that’s been thrashing against your heart for a long, long time.

Maybe you only see the pieces of what’s survived the storm and wonder what good can come from it. What can God possibly do with this mess?

He can do more than you can even imagine.

He can build something new out of your brokenness, make a new way, or lead you on a new journey. He isn’t limited by time or money or any of the resources you and I fix our eyes on, watching as it all dwindles and worrying if it will be enough.

He stretched oil for a widow and fed thousands from a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread. He can make ends meet. He can provide all you need.

He is, after all, Jehovah Jireh. The Lord will provide.

He won’t leave you alone to deal with your brokenness. He’s there with you. He’s always been there.

Perhaps He is quiet because He wants you to take a good long look at the mess that’s been swept up on the shore, to remember all the ways you tried to fix everything and how you came to the end of yourself; when you ran out of ideas and you couldn’t see how any good was going to come from such a terrible storm that left you utterly broken.

Yes, take a walk and remember what the dreadful mess looks like and how painful this walk is, so when the rescue comes (and it will come), you’ll experience more joy than you’ve ever known.

And you’ll know it was God who restored you and rescued you from the storm raging within.

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121: 1-2 NIV.)

 

The Ride With God

roller coaster

When I was MUCH younger, I went with friends to a popular amusement park where screams and the smell of greasy French fries hovered and the lines for the rides stretched on and on. Ever experienced that sort of thing?

Ah, yes. There’s nothing like waiting in line with some of your favorite friends for three hours to hop on a ride that will last approximately ninety seconds. You’re sporting your favorite sunglasses with a wad of money crammed in your front pocket, and you made sure to wear your comfortable sandals because you knew you were going to be standing in line for a long, long time.

Maybe your feet get a little sore as the day goes on and you regret not lathering on a healthy dollop of sunblock as the sun begins to bake your forehead and scalp, but you hardly mind.

Why? Because you’re spending time with some of your best friends and there is a lot to talk about. There’s lots of elbowing and wrapping arms around shoulders. You’ve all mastered a secret code when it comes to inside jokes, so the people weaving around you in line won’t have a clue that you’re discussing something personal and maybe even a little embarrassing. Perhaps you don’t even need the code but a certain look; the raising of an eyebrow, side glance, and the tiniest smirk leave you busting up uncontrollably in a fit of laughter and wishing you could step out of line just for a moment to find the restroom.

It’s a great thing, really, and you don’t mind the long line because you’re with friends and you know you’re waiting for something thrilling, something that will probably take your breath away.

You’re not ignoring your friends, focusing solely on the twists of the ride or the screams of those ahead of you. You’re not shushing your friends when they want to share their latest story of tripping and wiping out in a crowd or the last time a joke forced milk to come shooting out of an unsuspecting nose. And you’re not standing there with your arms crossed and a scowl on your face because the waiting is just killing you.

That’s what it’s like when you and I focus on what God is going to do for us and where He’s leading us instead of just being with Him.

How do I know? I’ve recently been convicted of this. A LOT.

I spend so much time complaining about the long wait in line and staring at the “ride” up ahead that I’m not even enjoying the One who is waiting with me. I’m not enjoying our inside jokes, laughing with Him about the time I tried to make a snow angel for Him and got stuck, looking like a turtle on its back with legs flailing. I’m not connecting with Him, recognizing those personal glances where we don’t even need to say a word to each other. I’m not standing in awe at the very idea that God Almighty chooses to wait with me in this line.

I’m too busy trying to figure out what the ride will be like. I want to understand it, study it, prepare for it, and then even plan how I’m going to respond. (Am I the only one who does this?!) Will I scream with delight or am I going exit the ride, pout, and complain, “I waited all that time for that?!”

But what about God? How does it look from His perspective? Is He standing by our side, watching us as we focus on the ride? Is He trying to speak to us, but we’re too busy shushing Him because we want to hear how others are reacting, what they’re saying after they exit the ride and walk away?

Forgive us, Lord.

Maybe instead of focusing on what God has planned for us, what the ride up ahead is going to be like, we can fix our eyes on Him right now. Right here in line while we’re waiting. Sure, we can be aware of the ride. We know it’s there. We’re not oblivious to it. But maybe we can stop staring at it, stop trying to figure it all out, long enough to really see Who is standing with us; to appreciate His gentleness, to see His smile.

Maybe we can spend the time in line to relive some favorite memories with Him, to remember one of His many rescues in our lives. Maybe we can share with Him how much we appreciate the fact that He never leaves us to stand in a long line of strangers all alone. (How difficult would that be?!) Perhaps we can talk with Him about the ride, expressing our joy and anticipation, but remember to thank Him in advance; knowing He’s the Creator of the ride and it’s not only going to take our breath away but will leave us leaning in closer to Him as the air comes back fuller, deeper.

And when it’s our turn to hop on the ride and buckle our seat belts, we wouldn’t even think about not scooting over to make room for God to sit with us. We wouldn’t even think of not sharing this ride with Him, not wanting Him to be a part of it, of leaving Him to stand on the platform while we ride alone or with someone else.

We want God to be right there with us as we climb higher and higher and as the twists and turns leave us breathless. We want Him to be right there, holding our hand when the thrill shifts to fright. We want to laugh with Him and experience the view with Him.

Really, we can’t imagine riding this ride without Him.

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11 NLT.)

 

 

 

 

 

It Makes Perfect Sense to My Heart

snow flowers

Sometimes things don’t make sense to me. Why is snow falling on the delicate flowers in our yard and melting the moment those flakes land, before I can get a single photograph?

And why did God allow me to write about the pain Jesus endured on the cross, my own heart torn in two (read here), but not about the joy of Easter morning so my heart could overflow with joy?

Perhaps He wanted me to stay at the cross awhile longer, so I wouldn’t dismiss it after a day or two; to be still at His feet and really take in the gravity of Jesus’ actions that day. For me. And for you.

And really, only God knew about today; the snow falling on the timid flowers and the question I would ask. “When, Lord?” He knew my question before I asked and told me today it’s time to stand up from the foot of the cross.

I imagine lifting my hand from the rough wood, cherishing Jesus’ blood that soaked in to my own fingertips, and closing my hand; holding His sacrifice closer in a more profound way. I look upon His face once more and close my eyes, allowing the image to burn into my mind; so when I feel bouts of selfishness or discouragement, I will close my eyes and see Him and remember what He has done for me and how much He loves me.

It’s time, so I stand from the foot of the cross and remember Jesus had to be carried from it. I wipe the tears from my face and thank Him for the freedom I have to stand, and the life I have here and now as well as eternal life.

Finally, I’m going to do what I’ve been desperately longing to do since I first knelt here: I’m going to run to the tomb.

I’m going to imagine running to the tomb like I’ve never run before because I want to be bathed in the light that glows brighter than the street of gold reflecting upon me. I’m going to run past every distraction, past all the things I need to do because this is where I need to be. And I’m going to stop at the entrance of the tomb, a place that should be dark, and I’m going to be thrilled at the sight of the empty tomb permeated with light. A light so pure and heavenly it cascades like water flowing over the rocks on the ground, washing over me.

And I’m going to stand in the light, letting it warm and heal all of my brokenness; the sensation of it dancing across my skin. I’m going to close my eyes and visit the image of my Savior on that cross. Not because I’m struggling with selfishness or discouragement, but because I don’t ever want to forget. And I want to be totally aware of the striking contrast of what I have seen and what I’m about to see:

I open my eyes and see Jesus Christ, my Jesus, standing before me in all of His radiance and glory. He is so tender and kind, and so mighty, and I realize He is smiling. I am in such awe that my Lord and Savior is actually smiling at me. His eyes reflect everything pure and lovely and holy. I struggle to stand in His presence, but He steadies me. We gaze upon each other as if we’ve known each other all along, as if there are hidden words we share when we look upon each other that belong solely to us. My heart tells me, it’s all true.

It doesn’t make sense why the Son of God should die for me. But it makes perfect sense to my heart: He loves me.

And He loves you.

Thank you, Jesus.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12 NIV.)

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (John 15:9 NIV.)

 “They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!’” (Luke 24:2-6a NIV.)

 

 

 

Put on a Little Color

socks

When I was a teenager my favorite attire was anything gray, dark gray, or light gray. You get the picture.  It would drive my Grandma nuts, and I’m pretty sure my Mom wasn’t too happy about it either.  Grandma would always say, “Why don’t you put on something with a little color?”

So when I heard God whisper that very same thing to me the past few days when I went to my closet, I thought, Really, Lord? Okay, if it means that much to You.  I found myself wearing turquoise one day and red the next. But something still wasn’t right.

Then I realized He wasn’t talking about my shirts but my socks. Okay, I’m about to reveal how goofy I am, so please be kind.  I am a fuzzy sock kind of girl.  The crazier the colors, the warmer and thicker, the better.  I mean, I wear them as long as I can until summer hits and my feet feel like they’re in a sauna and I have to pack them away for cooler days.

But why would God tell me to put on a little color and wear my crazy socks?

Because sometimes I take things way too seriously. I worry a LOT about the people in my life, circumstances I can’t control, writing deadlines, the food I buy, the fabric softener I use. I stress about money, our daughter’s braces, the car getting stuck in the driveway, and what needs fixed around the house and when will we be able to get to it.  I check and recheck my email (waiting to hear on writing projects) until frustrated sighs leave my lungs and hover over me like the Goodyear Blimp.  Meanwhile God is patiently waiting, sitting on the chair beside me, wondering when I’ll stop this frantic nonsense and turn to Him.

Worry has become a way of life for me, and God is telling me to knock it off.

He wants me to laugh more. He wants me to loosen up, let go, take a deep breath, get back into the kitchen and slide on the floor, turn up those 80’s songs I love so much and start doing my ridiculously silly dance moves while no one is here. No one.  Hmmm.  God is here.  And like any good father, He wants me to get silly and have some fun, to relax my grip on the reigns of my life.  Actually, He wants me to hand them over to Him.  Not just sort of, kind of, here you go and then snatch them back.  He wants me to really give them over to Him, so I can sit back and enjoy this ride we’re on together.

Sure I’ve got work to do. A lot of work.  But God knows if I keep stressing, keep overthinking, keep trying too hard, that I’m not really trusting Him to work things out the way only He can.  It means I’m still trying to do everything in my own strength which means I’m going to fall flat on my face, lying there like a pig in slop wondering what just happened.  Not fully trusting God is not really trusting God at all.

Lord, help me to trust you more and forgive me for my doubts.

Yes, I’m going to put on a little color today; a little more joy as I concoct a new gooey chocolate dessert just for fun that I’ll have smeared all over my face in no time. I’m going to giggle like the little girl I used to be (who loved walking in mud puddles, the mud oozing between my toes) as I dance in my fuzzy socks to the music I love. And I’m going to listen for the sound of my Heavenly Father’s voice as He laughs with me, giving me a big hug when I laugh myself into tears.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”  (Matthew 6:34 MSG.)

Wake Up and Live Courageously

bold

Are you living courageously, boldly? Or are you hiding in the corner of your life, hoping those vultures circling overhead will move on, peeling away those cold shadows they’ve covered you in?

What vultures?

Fear, doubt, shame, anger, regret…calling.

Wait a minute. How did “calling” get in there?

Perhaps that’s what terrifies you the most and is keeping you cowering in the corner with your face buried against the wall, your hands over your ears. Perhaps you can live with a little fear or regret but God’s calling on your life is daunting, terrifying, and brings about some serious panic attacks while you’re hunkering down, praying for this calling to pass and land on someone else.

But don’t you know your calling is where God wants you to shine?  Your calling is what you were born for, what He created you to do, and where you will live with unspeakable joy.

God has matched your life with your calling. All of your past experiences and your current struggles are about to collide with the future God has planned for you.  Perhaps it will cause such a shockwave, such a shaking, that it will be felt clear across the world.

Sound a little scary?

Don’t worry, my friend. God is with you.  You know He promised He will never leave you, and He never breaks a promise.  Never.  He is the solid core of your calling.

But maybe you’re looking back and seeing all the things you tried to do and failed: that college class you took and dropped, the job you quit after a month, the new bowling league or softball team. Maybe you’re even looking back at the way you worked so hard to plant a garden a few summers ago only to find little critters chewing the vines of your cantaloupes and testing every strawberry.  Perhaps you wondered, “Why can’t I do this?  Everyone else can.  I tried so hard.”

Why?  Because God doesn’t want you to be like everyone else. He wants you to be like His Son, Jesus:  obedient.  And that means obedient to your calling.

You see, your calling isn’t something you try just because everyone else is doing it or something you believe in because your neighbor’s brother’s nephew’s wife thinks you’d be good at it. And it’s not some vulture waiting to strike and pick you apart, leaving you shredded and desperate to return to the safety of your corner.

That would be the enemy trying to scare you off. Satan would rather see you trembling in the corner than living out God’s calling for your life and shining for Him. Remember, your calling could possibly shake the world.

So what exactly is your calling?

Your calling is God’s hand working in your life through your past and present and reaching out to you as He whispers, “This way.  Come see what I have for you.”

It’s time to take His hand. It’s time to wake up to your calling and live courageously.  And it’s time to wake up the world.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  (Joshua 1:9 NIV.)

“He created each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” (Ephesians 2:10 MSG.)

“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1 NIV.)

The Flame and a Wet Blanket

flame

You know if you light a candle and toss a wet blanket onto it that the flame would die, right?

Then why are you allowing yourself to be the wet blanket that extinguishes the Holy Spirit’s flame in your life?

Gulp. I’m writing this for me too.

You see, I’ve been stopping the Holy Spirit from working in my life. I’ve been reading Scripture and praying, but somewhere along the way I lost all of my joy; that wonderful fruit of the Spirit.  I gave in to past failures, guilt, and discouragement. The joy was mine but I forfeited it to my emotions and to any problem that came my way.

When I realized my lack of joy was not only hurting me but was quenching the Holy Spirit, I apologized to Him and asked Him to forgive me. And then I asked Him to help me get my joy back.

What joy am I talking about?

The joy that comes from cranking up some music and singing along, off-key and loud. Better yet, making up my own songs about mushrooms while cooking my breakfast and doing my silly dance.  (If you don’t remember what that is, it’s the dance where I hold my nose and with one arm raised over my head,  I wiggle my way down to the ground…well, not that far…I’m no spring chicken.)

I found joy in listening to a heavy rain falling on our rooftop and in admiring the rust-colored leaves that ignite with color when the sun hits them.  I revisited the joy in a hot cup of coffee, a cozy blanket, and a Christmas book…yes, I’m there already! I’ve discovered joy in listening to my favorite Christmas song (here I go again) while driving during a rainy fall day and later filling the house with the smell of sugar cookies baking in the oven. And I relearned the joy in laughing at myself when I got stuck behind some heavy furniture in the corner of our bedroom while cleaning, tears streaming down my face.

So let me ask you: Do you have joy?  Have you laughed a real laugh lately?  I’m not asking if things are perfect in your life; things will never be perfect on this side of eternity.  But you and I have a choice to buy a ticket and get on Satan’s roller coaster ride of emotions where we only experience what those highs and lows dictate and the lies he whispers in our ears, or we can choose to take God’s hand and go slide on the kitchen floor in our socks with Him until we crack up and are singing praises to Him.

Of course we can acknowledge that the furnace is broken down, the car needs snow tires, and that they’re downsizing at work. Having joy doesn’t mean we stick our heads in the sand and ignore those things.  It just means we take those problems to God and trust Him to handle them and lead us through them.

And in the meantime we get to have joy.  That’s right.  We can watch the flame burn brighter, flicker and dance as we laugh, and the enemy cringe when we toss that wet blanket into the dryer instead.

“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19 NIV.)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV.)

 

A Shabby Little Pedestal

pedestal

Has someone carelessly wounded your heart?  Maybe you spend time every day wondering what went wrong, what you could have done differently, or how you can fix it now.

Maybe you’re not supposed to fix it.  Maybe, just maybe, God wants you to move on because He’s protecting you or because He has a better life for you up ahead without that person.

But let me ask you this:  Did you put this “someone” on a pedestal, idolizing him/her?

God doesn’t want you to have an idol in your life, my friend.  And anything you put above God is an idol. Anything.

That’s right.  Money, success, and possessions can all be idols.  I think most of us get that.  We understand we shouldn’t make those things a top priority in our lives.  But what about another person? Gulp.

The moment you start looking to another person for answers, comfort, and overall guidance first instead of God, you’ve got a problem.  This includes your spouse, your children, your parents, and your BFF from way back when.

You see, God is jealous for you; not in a crazy way, but in a loving and serious way because He wants what’s best for you.  He knows He can love you more deeply and protect you better than anyone else ever will.  He knows your heart.  He knows you.  (In fact, He sees you right now as you’re reading this.  He’s pretty amazing like that.)

And God knows He can fulfill you, comfort you, ease your pain, bring you joy and lots of laughter, hold you when you crumble, lift you when you slip, whisper when you’re alone, take your hand and lead you the right way, sing alongside of you, and bring you smiles from the inside out.  And His love isn’t something that is here one day and gone the next.  It really is forever.

All He wants is for you to love Him back.  First.  He’ll give you enough love to share with those around you and you’ll learn from Him how to love them even more.

But until God is first in your life, things can be pretty painful.  I know.  I’ve been there.

For a long time, I went to everyone BUT God.  I didn’t think I could hear from God, not really.  And I thought the things that mattered to me wouldn’t be that important to God, so I tucked Him away in a corner in my life. Maybe later, I reasoned, I’ll go to Him.

But from the corner I tried to keep Him in, God started to peel away people from my life. At first I felt hurt and abandoned.  Then I realized God was the One who was really hurting.  I hurt Him every time I picked up the phone or ran to someone else with a problem or exciting news.

I’m not saying God doesn’t want us to talk to those we’re close to…of course He does!  They’re blessings from Him.  But if they come before God, if their opinions and advice come before His, we’re in trouble.  We may as well find ourselves a fat piece of wood and start carving.  We can label it “idol,” stand the thing up on a pedestal, and admit we’ve got a problem.

So how can you make this right with God?

First, tell Him you’re sorry.  Then ask for the Holy Spirit to help you every time you feel the urge to run to someone else first.

Before long, you’ll be excited to have a little alone time with the Lord just so you can pour out your heart to Him.  You’ll find yourself singing to Him in the car, laughing because you hit a horrible note and you know He’s smiling anyway.  You’ll drop to your knees to thank Him when the good news you’ve been waiting for finally comes.  And you’ll feel His arm around you, His hand upon your head as He pulls you close when you break down and cry because someone has been careless with your heart once again.

Maybe while your heart is healing, God will open your eyes to a new blessing, making that pain fade like an old photograph in a discarded album.

And God will be smiling upon you because you will finally realize His throne in heaven casts an awfully big shadow on that shabby little pedestal.

“You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.” (Exodus 34:14 NLT.)

Don’t Lose Your Fizz

 

fizzle

Have you ever tried one of those bubbly vitamin drinks? You stir the powder into a glass of water and if you wait long enough, the fizz will die down and you can drink it. That’s fine for a drink, to let the bubbles dissipate so they don’t tickle your nose, but what about the fizz in your life?  What do I mean?

Let’s say you’ve had a dream your whole life, possibly (and hopefully) a God-inspired dream, and you feel like you’ve hit your head against a brick wall time and time again trying to make it happen. You’re no closer to your dream coming true today than you were two, five, maybe even ten years ago. You’re tired and bordering on giving up and trashing the whole idea.

You’ve lost your fizz, my friend. That spark. That bubbling-out-of-you joy that the world needs. Please don’t give up. Get it back.

How do you do that when it’s flat or so stale it’s worse than the bag of chips you forgot to close last week that’s hiding out in the back of the cupboard?

You go back. That’s right. Go back to the last thing God said to you about this dream, about this task of yours.

What I’ve found, if I may share here, is that God will not tell me the next step until I finish the last one. I believe He told me in December to, “Finish what you’ve started.” What does that mean for me? Gulp. Finish the novel I’ve been working on for over a year. Do it. Get it done. Sit down and write. Yes, do the hard work. Quit worrying about the outcome. Finish it.

And do you know what I’ve found? When I started to do the work, hard as it is, the fizz came back. I started to share my love for writing with our little girl who is now writing her own story! (Proud Momma alert!!) And I’m finding there is more joy in the second draft than I would have thought: imagine you’ve got the structure of your house built and now you get to clean and decorate it!

So if you’ve lost your fizz, go back to God. He knows all about the fragile state of your bubbles and how easily they can pop. And He also knows just what you need to get them back, even to overflowing, bringing even more joy than before.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NIV.)