Friday, April 29, 2011

Back to the Basics

I was reading an article the other day about a new machine that actually scans your body and tells you what size clothing you would wear at many participating retailers, such as Old Navy, Eddie Bauer, and Talbots. It seems (as we all probably know) that the clothing industry has many issues when it comes to maintaining a standard of sizing.

Well, as I read, I began thinking of just how complex life has become. In fact, within this article, I read something that made me mourn the loss of a simpler time. An Eddie Bauer store manager was stating how accurate this machine was, and how "’s really good for the customer who’s time-starved, which we all are." 

How did we get to this place? How is it that technology–advances that were supposed to make things run more efficiently–have made our lives so stressful and nearly impossible to execute every task on our to-do lists?

I love to watch movies set in the "prairie days." Watching a horse-drawn wagon, with women in hand-made dresses and little girls in their bonnets, men with leather work boots that actually had "boot straps," and decent, sturdy hats that doubled as an umbrella when the rains came–leaves me with a sense of longing for a simpler time.

Of course, it is that time again, when I have my mini-greenhouse set up in my dining room, filled with my little seedlings, who are all striving to grow and mature. And the best part about it is that it takes time for these things to happen; as it should be. I am not the person who is just brimming with patience, believe me, but I recognize that some things need to take time.

We can't expect to mature overnight, just as my seedlings can't grow into a fully-grown and producing vegetable plant in a day. In our spiritual lives, it is the same way. We cannot expect to grow in a few hours, after hearing a couple of good sermons, or feeling a warm and tingly moment in the Holy Spirit. This takes time, and I think that God has meant for it to be that way.

Louie Giglio once said, "in God's economy, waiting is a very vital part of the process." I couldn't agree more. I believe this is a lesson for all of us to learn, and maybe, just maybe, we will take a good inventory of our lives and scale back on the "things" that suck our time away. In everything we do, we do it for the glory of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

So if you find that you have just too many commitments, I encourage you to scale back a bit, and remember that you only have to do what God has called you to do.

Another trap many Christians fall into is that of "doing for the Kingdom." Many people take on too many projects in the name of ministry. And while this in and of itself is not bad–believe me, we ALL need to serve–sometimes we can get swept up in the "doing" instead of the "abiding." God will not love us more if we serve on one more committee. He will not love us less if we step back from leading that small group.

His goal for us is to abide in Him, grow in relationship, and from the overflow of the love He pours into us while we are spending that amazing time with our Father, to serve. It all comes from Him, not us. Serving in our own strength is just as effective as working for our salvation. It cannot be done. 

So take some time, evaluate what it is in your life that is sucking away at your sanity, and do a little spring cleaning. Simplify. De-clutter. Fall back in love with the One who first loved you, while you were still a sinner. Have a peaceful morning with a cup of coffee or tea, and open up that Bible. Read; let Him pour His love into you.

Peace and love to you all.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Majesty of a Tropical Spring Day... But Still...

So, it's been a long time between posts... which I tend to do once in a while. I hate that I do it, but then I think about how far-from-perfect we all are and I cut myself some slack. Onto today...

Today is one of those gifts from above, like where you step out to your porch in the morning and go, "Wow. This is the day the Lord has made!" Amidst the mundane moments of March, and the apathetic April that we had begun, God decided to remind us of what He truly loves to do for His children. So He swooped down this morning to touch our faces with the light and warmth of the sun. 

Our temperatures here in America's Dairyland (Wisconsin, for the dairy-free crowd) rose to more than 80˚ F. Yes they did. 

Currently, the sun is shining, and there are, really, no clouds in the sky. It is a picture-perfect reminder of the perfection that our Lord truly is. And today, I sit in the coffee shop, typing away, sipping on an extraordinary iced drink, and think to myself... "why in the name of Mike am I indoors?"

This is what I am looking at right now. 
Well, something I ponder today is commitment. I meet each week with some dazzling ladies, to grow together while honing our sharp-shooting skills as writers. And today is our day. Rain or... shine. So many people might say, "Well, yeah, but for the next ten or so days it will be back down in the 50s again. Go out and enjoy this day!"

And while I understand that mentality, today's pondering has brought me to an entirely different place. I am glad that God, in His infinite and perfect, unending love and patience, did not skip out on me because I lacked... something. Because truly, He has everything He needs.

God has all of the angels in the heavenly realms to worship Him, and if there is something down on this green (and getting greener!) earth to be done, He has ultimate power to do anything on His own. If perfection is what He's after, well... Enter Jesus. 

So why is it that He still holds my hand, keeping me from falling, (Psalm 37:23-24) and loving me each step of the way in this journey called life? Because I am something--someone--that He loves to pour Himself into. I am His beloved and He is mine. He is committed to me in each step I take.

So while today is a beautiful day, and I have been glancing outward every few moments... I will continue to make good on my commitments... Even if something "better" comes along. Because His love has stayed by my side every day, never faltering, never swaying. Like the warm, heady breeze that beckons me... Haha, maybe we'll have writers' group outside today. ;-)

Enjoy whatever day He has given you today! For each day you wake up and you're still here is because He still has a purpose for you. 

(In case you're wondering... Psalm 37:23-24 says this: The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in His way; though he fall, he shall not be cast head-long, for the Lord upholds his hand.)