Chasing God

Peter hawk

It seems like I try too hard. My husband tells me that all the time. Close friends say it too. And yes, I’ve heard God whisper it to my heart quite a few times. I’m like that little puppy dog who chases his tail and falls over, worn out and dizzy.

A rather silly example: We have a hawk named Peter (yes, I named him, and no he’s not really ours). Peter has been flying around and landing in our yard for the past two months, and I’ve been chasing after him (not literally!) in order to get a picture of him.

But nearly every time Peter shows up, my camera is in the other room, or I’ve got on the wrong lens, or I forgot to delete some pictures and that little card that holds a thousand or so photos is blinking “full,” refusing to let me squeeze in just one more picture. Sheesh. Chasing him down for one picture has been a real chore and has left me with his oh-so-lovely, and yet blurry, portrait you see above.  🙂

We chase a lot of things, don’t we? Maybe not literally but we sometimes over-analyze, over-think, and maybe try too hard or worry too much about things we think we should have or need to get done. It’s kind of like chasing butterflies with a pole and no net; exhausting and unproductive.

And sometimes when we get tired of all that running around and chasing after things, well, we’re not above using a hammer to smash those square pegs of our lives into those round holes just to try to make something come together. We like it when things come together. When things are happening and moving forward.

But when it comes to God, we don’t have to try so hard. (Cue happy dance!) We don’t have to work ourselves into a tired frenzy. We don’t have to chase God down like He’s running away from us. It’s not like this is some sort of hide-and-seek game and He’s cheating, hurrying off to find another hiding place when we get too close.

God wants a relationship with us even more than we want one with Him. All we have to do is honestly seek Him.

And when we do, guess what? We’re going to find Him. And we’re probably going to discover that we need to take a moment and catch our breath.

Not because we were chasing Him down and we’re winded, but because being in His very presence can leave us breathless and totally in awe.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV.)

Put on a Little Color


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.)

A Great Restaurant


Have you ever been to a restaurant that is just perfect?

I mean, you get to wear what you’re comfortable wearing and you know you fit in, the music is just right and the kind you like, and the food is out of this world.   You get to come as you are, drained after school or dirty after work, and sit at your favorite booth in the corner and relax while someone takes care of you.  It’s like you can breathe and just be you.

And maybe you have food allergies (like me), and this place is ready and waiting for you.  They know how to make gluten-free rolls and dairy-free cake, and they know how to avoid cross contamination so you don’t have to worry.  They know how to take care of you.  Imagine that, you can eat good food and not worry about getting sick.  Amazing.

Too good to be true?  It’s not.  I’ve been there.  Lots of times.  The food is like nothing you’ve ever tried if you haven’t been there before.  And the staff?  Well let’s just say they love on you the moment you walk in and keep on doing it even after you leave; they’ll tell your friends or coworkers to tell you they miss you when you’re not there.  Oh, and this restaurant is open 24/7 so you don’t have to worry about a strict schedule when your own schedule makes you crazy.

The “restaurant,” my friend, is God.

You can go to Him anytime, exactly as you are with all your weaknesses.  No worries.

He nourishes and encourages you in ways you can’t even imagine.  (If you’ve buried something deep in your heart, some pain or need, God sees it and meets it just so you’ll know He is with you.)

The “staff” are those who love God and love His children.  (Note:  They’re praying for you when you close your eyes and walk on by, claiming this “place” doesn’t exist.)

So let me tell you my friend, I found this great place

Actually, the Owner wanted me to tell you.  He’s hoping you’ll take your hands off of your ears, you’ll open your eyes, and you’ll come on in.  He’s been expecting you.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”  (Psalm 34:8 NIV.)

The Smallest Details

tiny detail

God is in the details of your life.  Do you believe that?  Do you really believe that the Creator of all things cares about the smallest details of your life?

Let me tell you. He does.

I had a writing deadline to meet this week and I was working on getting all the details in order. But then I hit a brick wall called a synopsis.  Now for some of you, I’m sure writing a one page summary to cover an entire novel is no big deal.  But to a newbie such as myself, I’d heard so many negative things about it that I was dreading the process.  So I fretted and stressed and worried.

And when I started to pray, I stopped myself. This is dumb, I thought. I don’t want to bother God with this. But the clock was ticking, the deadline was approaching, and after researching a few different places and seeing opposite instructions, I was desperate.

So while I was taking my daughter to school, I prayed and asked God to teach me how to write a synopsis. I even laughed while praying because of course God knows how to write one!  There’s nothing He doesn’t know!!

After I got home, I checked my email and guess what I had in my inbox? The recent blog post from the literary agency whose blog I follow.  The topic?  The synopsis!!!

You see, God can and wants to work in all the details of your life, even the smallest ones. He wants you to know how much He cares about you, and He wants you to see Him work. Don’t stop yourself from praying because you think your request is silly or not worth His time.  YOU ARE worth His time. He made that very clear when He sent Jesus to die for you.

So don’t hold back! Go to God and thank Him for all He’s already done and then ask Him to work out those details you’re struggling with.  You may just find yourself sitting at your computer screen with your mouth hanging wide open.

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever!  Amen.”  (Philippians 4:19 NLT.)

Guilt or Love?


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I allow guilt to tag along and even climb up on my back. (Keep in mind, guilt is not the same thing as conviction where we’re definitely going against God’s will, and He’s letting us know about it.)

Guilt is like this monster with jagged teeth crunching when it whispers in my ear, insisting I’m doing it all wrong and reminding me how I’ve failed so many people. And every time I listen to it, it’s like it’s feeding off of me, getting heavier as my soul starves and I lose more of myself.

I’m pretty tired of it. I’m pretty tired of worrying about what other people think and the guilt that I’m letting someone down no matter what I’m doing.  I’m tired of trying to live up to other people’s expectations of what my life should look like.  I’m tired, tired, tired.

Am I the only one who feels this way? I don’t think I am or God wouldn’t have brought this up to me when I prayed and asked Him what He wanted this post to be about.  So let me ask you:  Are you hauling around the same guilt monster who’s getting bigger and bigger and you’re wondering how long you can last under its weight, wondering how long before it crushes you completely?  What in the world are we supposed to do?  I’ve been praying…

We stop focusing on people and really fix our eyes on God. It sounds easy.  It makes sense.  But doing it is a whole other thing.  That means when someone asks and maybe even expects you to do something, you go to God first and ask Him what you should do.  If He says, “Yes,” then go ahead.  But if He says, “No” or you don’t have any peace about it, then respectfully decline.  Be very clear that you are honestly trying to follow God’s plan for your life.  If people get mad at you for that, pray for them.  They’re probably hauling around the guilt monster’s cousin, overload.

Let me be clear. I’m NOT saying we shouldn’t serve and help others.  We absolutely should!  But if we are motivated by guilt and not love, are we really serving others or are we just trying to outrun the monster?

How can you tell if you’re motivated by love or guilt? Are you praying and asking God to lead you in all you do or are you so worried about letting others down that you run ahead of Him and agree to things without waiting on Him for an answer?

Here’s an example He showed me: If you were to give someone flowers out of guilt, the flowers may as well be dead.  There’s no love, only obligation as if you were saying, “Here.  I did this for you.  You’re welcome,” as you walk away feeling relieved.

But if you’re serving out of love it would be like picking flowers for someone because you saw something beautiful you wanted to share with that person. There’s excitement and joy in giving those flowers.  There is no guilt involved, only love for that person.  (Monster?  What monster?  Love is the antidote that makes it shrivel up and fall right off your back!)

And we shouldn’t feel guilt when we seek God and refuse to be sucked into the people-pleasing centrifuge. You know, where you’re stuck against the wall and you can’t move or do anything new, not even what God has gifted or called you to do.  You’re stuck doing the same thing or stuck doing all the things other people bring to you to do.  What about what God wants you to do?  There will be no time for that.  You’ll be too busy focusing on the crowd around you, their demands, and their wants while God waits.  Maybe the world is waiting too.  Waiting for you to show up and be who God created you to be, and who we all need you to be.

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”  (Galatians 1:10 NLT.)