Tag Archives: inspiration

Keeping Still In A Frenzied World

inspirational scriptures

The past several months have been brimming with activity. Much of life for everyone these days feels like this – a frenzy of hustle. In my younger days, hustle and flow was my routine – push it until it is done or it breaks me, whichever comes first. But the Lord has been taking me down a new path, teaching me that there is a time for everything, and everything in its time. Not that I still do not get after things, but He has been showing me to put more of a strategy and wisdom into what I do, when, how, and who.

Relocating to our new city of Austin is an adventure and exciting, yet intermingled with the sadness of moving on from our beloved Dallas home and community. And then there’s just sheer exhaustion. But the joy of even sitting in a home of boxes, and the peace of a beautiful yard that was lovingly planted before our arrival, it makes all the sacrifice and struggle worth it. The yes to the open window and desiring a home where more blessings can be outpoured outweighed the tears in closing the door that was no longer where we were called to be. I still miss my Dallas friends and family very much. And my Louisiana and Michigan friends and family for that matter. #sigh

Bigger picture though, there is one. I’ve become a student again (Teacher = God), being taught a lot lately about something that I don’t do very well, keeping still. And keeping silent (or at least trying harder to) when there is every desire and reason not to be. I come from a line of people that work hard and are industrious, and we are not afraid to tell you what is on our mind, so raw hustle is in my nature. But it can become at odds with the humility with which the spiritual life needs to be nurtured.

Inside it is like a tug of war most days. Ego: I want, I need, me, me ME! Spirit: Relax, surrender, let GOD do it!

If my Grandma called you a hard worker, you had won her respect. It’s in my DNA – go, go, GO! If I don’t know how to do something, I work until I figure it out. If I set a goal, I chase that sucker down. If I am on a mission, kindly move aside or you’ve been forewarned.

And then boom, a week from moving, a silly distraction and I misstep into a badly sprained ankle. Noooooooooo.

Years of horseplay and sports, and I nab my first sprained ankle comes right when my hustle was in full swing. Now I realize that there are far greater physical sufferings that my community may be dealing with (I am praying for you!), but I do not like to compare, as I’ve read and it’s resonated that “comparison is the thief of joy.”

I’ve had on my big girl pants for a good deal of the past five weeks, yet the inability to walk for me right when that big dream we’ve been readying ourselves for at least the past five years to enjoy, well, it has brought me to the cross in a new way. Even after only experiencing just a taste of it temporarily. I have deeper understanding and appreciation for the suffering of the immobile, particularly my Mother when Bone Cancer robbed her of even being able to cross a room without aid. #deeprespectandprayers

It becomes even more painful when the noise of our age comes into play. The world tells us we need to work harder, faster, better, stronger. We need to stretch and press and go after everything and be more. You need to accept, go with the flow, do not question the world but be accommodating and always be whatever is the current thought or expectation of the day. Pull yourself up and make yourself something that the world cannot deny. Get after it!! And yes, we need to do our part. Yet what did the Lord tell the Israelites in their fear and complaining.

“The Lord himself will fight for you, you have only to keep still.” – Exodus 14:14

God wants to do everything for us, but there are moments when we must keep still and allow Him to do it. How must we participate in this act?

By giving our consent, “Lord, fight for me.”

There is a discernment as well as spiritual + mental maturity that comes into play here. Knowing when to move, when to be still. When to speak, and when to be silent. When to fight for something, and when to walk away.

I’ve had to fight my way through many things in life, and as the only girl in my family with three older brothers, my brain programming says, “Fight for it.” But in reality, the surrender to lay things down and leave them in the Lords hands to do the bidding is the source of my true battle. Can you relate?

The Lord has shown his glory and power many times throughout history, but people take it for granted. There is so much happening in the world right now that reveal deep woundedness that is festering and bleeding out. There is a darkness that can feel as oppressive and obstinate as Pharoah and the Egyptians.

But was it not the Lord that raised up Moses? Didn’t he take the Israelites, HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE, through slavery, forty years in the desert, and through the Red Sea? And in the end, HE TRIUMPHED!

Much has been in my mind and heart these days. The time for writing is scarce, yet the Lord moved in my heart to share a bit for now.

Holy Trinity, Sweet Mother Mary, fight for us!!

Taking on one more thing whenever I feel stretched often may feel like a monstrosity, but in these times, God has been moving in mysterious ways. I look forward to sharing more about a great work that has been developing out of established partnerships with a small, faithful, uber talented group of people that I deeply respect and admire. Stay tuned for that.

Until then, I pray that God will remind you of his power and glory, and that you will allow him to fight for YOU.

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Feeling Underestimated?

Several years ago, a co-worker gave me one of those little inspirational Hallmark books for my birthday. The title seemed a good fit, “Laughter & Latte: Joyful Inspiration for Women”.  I never really cuddled up with it to read many of the reflections. To be honest, it quickly settled among my “bathroom books”. You can even see some of the dust still left on the cover.

Image

But this week I could really use some “joyful inspiration”. On Sunday, I got that Holy Spirit urging to go and pick up my little Bathroom book. I now know better than to write off or question those little promptings, so I did.

“Feeling Underestimated?” was the title of the excerpt from Laurie Beth Jones’ book, “Jesus in Blue Jeans.” OK, you’ve got my attention. Here is the short story across those two pink and brown pages:

The media escort who accompanied me on the Los Angeles stop of my most recent book tour was a woman about five feet, two inches tall. A petite blond with movie star charisma, she disclosed during our conversation that after she had been mugged and later car-jacked in Los Angeles, she had become a black-belt kickboxer. Now, when she and her husband encounter rough situations, her six-foot one-inch husband whispers, “Go ahead, honey, get ’em. I’ll hold your purse.” She says she actually enjoys the feeling of being underestimated.

Unless you are dealing with people who daily recognize and acknowledge the miracle-working power of God, chances are very good you are being underestimated, and more significantly, chances are you are underestimating yourself.

When we have access, through prayer and meditation, to all the gifts and knowledge of God, we can be relatively confident that whoever is challenging us is underestimating us. Our responsibility in difficult situations is to harness the power of God in us and the power of God everywhere.”

When I later shared it with my husband, we laughed through the part where the husband says, “I’ll hold your purse…” After all, who more than my partner, and my Confessor, knows what “kickboxing” the spicy passion of this five-foot three-inch Tomboy can unleash. God help us.

Yet it is not about believing and proving what we are capable of. Even Jesus was and still often is grossly underestimated. But, what if we embraced everything as a gift — recognizing that all we are, have, and can do is because of our Maker. After all, as His children, do we not have access to the miracle-working power of God?

This verse was shared with me this week, and I have since paid it forward; but take a moment to reflect on great power of God to work in and through you.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the HOPE to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his INCOMPARABLY GREAT POWER for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty STRENGTH, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

– Ephesians 1:18-20

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Be Willing to Risk

GoAhead

This felt right for a Monday morning post.  Depending on whether you’re a half-full or half-empty kinda person, this may either be a spark to inspire or a little kick in the pants at the beginning of the week. Reflect on the image for a moment. It embodies that feeling of teetering on the edge of risk. How sound is this decision? Where does it lead? What if I fall? What will I do once I get there?

If you were to divide up what your efforts are spent on, I wonder how big the pie would be in the area of “being comfortable”.  As a person that holds my fears and insecurities close to my chest and navigates carefully to avoid having them exposed, I’m not here to cast stones, but rather am trying to work on sorting through them all in order to become the best version of myself. Honestly, I’ve struggled with perfectionism for years, thinking that my accomplishments, jokes, skills, etc. would hopefully secure people’s good opinion of me. But God help me, life is so restrictive and exhausting when I can’t make a mistake and need to please everyone all of the time. I am one who cares often too much – the lot of a passionate temperament, for better or for worse.

Like my friend in college used to say in his best Gospel preacher voice,

Jesus did not say pick up your lawn chairs. He said, “Pick up your CROSS.”

While one can apply this “GO AHEAD” to stepping out in big ways, like me leaving my job recently to pursue running a start-up business; to say it’s only about taking big plunges is missing the point. There are so many little ways (yes, like my favorite Little Flower, St. Therese would say) to risk…

Go ahead and take the initiative to learn something new by just beginning to do it, and don’t give up.
…and not beat yourself up for making a mistake.
…and call (not text) that friend that has been on your mind, but you haven’t talked to for so long.
…and make some time to really unplug, be silent, and really try and hear God’s voice.
…and dust off your resolutions, writing 3 goals in a place you see daily that you want to achieve between now and December 31st.
…and begin to take control of your health, make time for yourself and work on implementing at least one healthier choice.
…and ask that troubled person if they are OK, and REALLY listen.
…and think of your biggest dream, and map out 1 step towards getting closer to it.
…and tell that person you hardly ever do, an incredible compliment of something you admire about him/her.
…and ask that person who eats lunch at their desk everyday if they’d like to join you today.
…and tell your partner that thing that has been pressing on your heart that you’ve been avoiding.
…and [INSERT YOUR OWN HERE].

It’s true, you never know what could be on the other side – until you try. Perfect joy may await you across that daunting trek…

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