I walk differently now. Instead of precarious and tormented I walk straight, sure of my foundation and full of joy that makes no sense. I can’t turn around and go back. There is no other path for me but the one where Jesus leads, as odd and mysterious as it seems.
One Less Angry Person
The world does not need one more angry person which is where I land when I look at evil and am offended instead of bold in His love for lost ones. When I focus on injustice, anger at people rises in me instead of hope in God’s bigness. When I look at systems embedded with chaos and lies, despair overwhelms me and I lose faith in His truth of redemption. I saw a picture in prayer one day not long ago. It was a young boy with superman eyes. Eyes that shined light rays at whatever he focused on and the light made what he was looking at come alive. He looked at a dead snake skin and the snake came alive. He looked at a wilted flower in the garden and it bloomed big and beautiful with life.
No matter how lifeless things first appear, our attention makes them grow. It empowers them to live. What we focus on grows. Choose carefully what to focus on because we have power. We don’t deny there is a dead snake in the garden but we can deny its power to live. We can deny its power to divert us from life. There are things in my peripheral vision that are threatening, fearful, or troubling but God is very clear with me on what I can entertain in my thoughts and vision. His word is clear on what must hold my attention. His ways are higher. He has given us power to call things that are not as they if they are. To speak life into the good bits of our garden, our environment, even our friends and family. Sometimes it’s easier to only see what is wrong or what the enemy is about, maybe because we have a habit of doing life this way, but there is another way, a way that brings goodness to life.
Perhaps if we’re intentional in where we focus our eyes and our attention, we can experience newness of life every day. We could honor each other by focusing on the good. In chaos, we could look for the one lovely thing, no matter how wilted and we could see it bloom as we watched. We could find good things in other people. See the opportunities in challenging circumstances. Remember our promises from God.
In researching the electron, scientists have puzzled over whether it’s a wave or a particle. The interesting thing is that when they look for a particle they find the electron is a particle, but when they set up the experiment to see if it’s a wave, they find the electron functions as a wave. Most curious. It appears to be both, or rather it is whatever the scientist is looking for. Which makes me wonder if it’s even possible to set up a truly objective experiment or if we become part of the answer because of what we’re seeking. Because of what we believe is true. Because of what we’re focused on, expecting to see. Perhaps all of creation, other people even, are wired to respond to the voice, the look of another. We are connected in ways we don’t even understand. Powerful in ways we have not recognized. Powerful to bring to life the darkness or light in our own lives and in the lives of others.
Thinking out Loud,
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Clothed in His Presence | Graham Cooke
How do you seek the Lord with all your heart? I know I struggle with how to define ‘Seeking God.’ What does it look like? Is it going off to a monastery in solitude and meditating quietly alone? Is that how I should separate myself as unto the Lord? As appealing as it sounds, and yes, it really does sound lovely to me, that is not what seeking at my house looks like.
It looks like getting up earlier than I want to and having a conversation with God, my heavenly Father who actually wants to talk to me. He doesn’t always stay on my topics, but He does show up when I take the time to wait. I’m not wired to wait well, but over time I’ve gotten better at it.
If I want to seek the Lord I’ve discovered I must create a space in my world where He is welcome. Where He can come and visit with me through His Word, through teachings of others, through my own prayers and through worship. Can He believe I’m in with all my heart, if I don’t set a time or place in my life where He is invited to talk without distractions?
I discovered making that time and waiting for Him were the hardest things to do. My life was so busy, so filled with noise, work, expectations and commitments that any extra time was a great luxury. In the beginning I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend that on God, horrible thing to say, but true. Surely God knew how busy I was? It felt wrong, it felt like an extravagance when I should be getting something done. Surely He knew all the things that needed to be accomplished in the next several hours. Would He really want me to simply sit quietly reading, praying and listening?
Yes, He knew and yes, He really wanted me to carve out a time to be with Him. The only way to know God, is to spend time with Him. Simple, right? One of the greatest fights I’ve had is to make a consistent time in my life for God. Everything, and I do mean everything, fights against it.
I saw a picture one day while I was praying. It was a water faucet. I saw my hand turn it on when I needed the water and off when I was done. I felt the Lord’s voice inside saying, “This is what life in the Kingdom of God is like.” I saw that everything I needed was sourced from God. When I needed water, financial resources, emotional supply, hope, peace or anything else that was missing, I could turn on the handle and it would come pouring out of heaven. Wow. What an idea. A true image that there is no lack in God. But I still didn’t really understand how I could access this supply.
One day while I was praying about our finances, I heard the question, “Do you know what the handle of that faucet is?” (See, how He seems to be off topic?) I didn’t know what the handle was.
“It’s stewardship,” He said.
Well, there was a sinking sensation inside my belly and my brain went off with thoughts of despair, because I am a bad steward of money. It has always been a challenge. A feast or famine sort of lifestyle has been my pattern and experience but in the middle of my internal chaotic thoughts I heard Him say—and I need to tell you this is the only time in all my life with God that He has interrupted me. Usually when I start fussing about something He simple stops talking and waits for me to be quiet. Not this time. He spoke right over my thoughts. He said,
“It is not stewardship of money that allows you to live resourced from My Kingdom. It is stewardship of My presence, of our relationship, that determines your connection to the Kingdom.”
Stewarding my time with Him. Whew. I was so relieved that He asked me to do something I knew I could do. He did not shame me for my past but encouraged me into a future of coming closer. Of learning His heart and ways that are so different than mine. He has mysteries, opportunities, strategies to share that I will never know if I don’t sit with Him and wait to hear what’s on His heart and mind. So most mornings you will find me sitting quietly listening, waiting and seeking. Spending the time to steward this spiritual relationship that I thought was my gift to Him but now know it is His gift to me. Join me?
Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart. Hebrews 24:7
If you feel out of practice you might grab a cup of coffee or tea, get settled and listen to God tell you how He loves you through Graham Cooke. | Expectations
Or read the post Healing Words from a Dialogue with God by Sylvia Gunter