Posted in Faith, Family, Inspiration, trust in God

Getting Organized

It’s probably not surprising to those of you who know me well enough, but the truth is, I have a slight Monica complex. Those of you who were fans of the hit TV series, “Friends” will understand immediately when I refer to Monica’s “secret” closet. If you didn’t watch the show, Monica’s character was a bit obsessively compulsive about cleanliness. If anything was dirty or out of order it drove her absolutely nuts. However, in one episode (spoiler alert!), we learned that even Monica has her hidden messes when her boyfriend, Chandler, discovers her secret stash of junk tightly piled into a locked closet.

While I’m not nearly as obsessed as Monica was, I think my family would agree that especially when people come over, I want things the way I want them — preferably neat, and tidy. The issue is that on a regular day our family is not naturally that way and despite having two teenagers living under our roof, I might be the worst culprit. Before company comes, we’re making the mad dash to clean up the kitchen island and the bathroom counters before we scrub them down. I’m shoving who knows what into random drawers and hoping no one will need to open them for any reason. So for 2019, one of my key goals is better organization behind the scenes. I want to know that I don’t have to fear someone opening my secret closet and discovering what a mess we really are underneath.

As I’ve been starting this behind-the-scenes reorganization project, the thought occurred to me that I wonder how many people feel like this about a potential relationship with God as well. Do we think we have to get everything cleaned up and in perfect order before we can approach Him and invite Him into our lives? Do we fear like Monica and I, that He will discover that we aren’t always living a life that is neat and tidy behind the scenes?

Well my friends, I have good news for you. He not only already knows our messes, but He loves us despite them. Because of sin, we will never be perfect and our lives will never truly be neat and tidy. He not only knows it, He sent His son to die on a cross because of it, all because He loves us — disorder and all. If you are delaying pursuing a relationship with Him because you think you need to get yourself more organized before you reach out to Him, I’m here to tell you, don’t. His amazing love and His grace are the greatest organizers of them all. And just as Chandler assures Monica in the Friends episode that he doesn’t love her because she is organized or not, our God accepts and loves you as well, mess and all.

Posted in Faith, Family, trust in God, Uncategorized

It’s Not About Me

5FCC8903-44E8-4731-8ECF-19F369067BFEOver the past few years, I have had the joy and privilege to see God at work in a friend’s life. I have watched her intensely study the word of God and immerse herself in Christian reading. She has served in a variety of ministries at our church, often in a leadership role. She has ministered to the poor both locally and overseas, and that joy of serving has spread to her husband and her children in ways I know she couldn’t have even imagined. I see God’s light in her and I continue to be both proud and inspired by her example.

To be honest, I get frustrated too; not with my friend of course, but with myself. I get angry that my relationship with God seems so two steps forward and two steps back. I feel sad that even in my immediate family, faith is a topic of great debate. While we challenge each other with our different viewpoints, we don’t always agree on how following Christ should look. Our family has served in different capacities; but if I’m being honest, my kids are not eagerly seeking opportunities to serve right now. In a growing place of restlessness, I sometimes look around me and ask God, “What am I doing wrong?” In that moment, He hits me with an answer that feels a bit like a two-by-four to the forehead, “IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU.”

When the realization hits, I acknowledge I’ve done it again. I’ve let my need to control everything around me spin me into a state of anxious chaos. I have let that slick salesman of evil (also known as Satan) plague me with fear, rob me of my joy, and put doubt in my head. Instead of trusting God’s perfect plan, I am relying on myself to make things happen according to what I think they should be. As the admission sinks in, I once again realize my continued need for His grace and remember Romans 9:16, “It does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”

Do you struggle with trusting God’s plan and battle against the enemy of control? I recently discovered this prayer of surrender by Thomas Merton and I really love it.  I hope as you read the words, they bring you peace wherever you are in your own journey. God bless and easy breathing.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.