Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Facing Fears--Again!

Don't have a photo for this post; you really need the authentic image of me in my lycra with my bike helmet to fully appreciate this adventure!

You may or may not know this about me, but I make a habit of feeling fear and facing it down. I am not talking about doing crazy antics but facing a fear that keeps me paralyzed from living life fully. Everyone around me gets to hear about how scared I am about whatever it is, but I have found dealing with fear face to face has helped me develop trust.

Two things I want to be clear on--
1.) I don't trust myself--I have grown in my trust of God.
2.) You can't be brave without being afraid

So how has facing fear helped me to trust God? I literally remind myself of several truths about Him:
* I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil 4:13)
* My times are in His hands (Ps. 31:15)
* Perfect love casts out fear (1 Jn 4:18)
...to name a few.

You can't be brave without being afraid. This statement has become a family truism over the years. When our eldest was 10 he would NOT go on roller coasters. A family friend took him aside at a theme park and asked him if he believed that God is all powerful and all knowing. Matt said yes... and the friend encouraged him with the fact that nothing is outside God's awareness so go ahead and take the risk; if it is your time to go, you'll go!

SO my big scary fear that I faced on Tuesday (and will face again I am sure) was riding my new road bike. This may sound really ridiculous to some but I am less afraid of riding the tandem with my husband than I am of riding my own bike! I have learned to trust him! Remember, I don't trust myself! The anticipation of traffic, mechanical issues, high speed wobbles on downhills, all gave me a sick stomach ache! But rather than allowing my fears to paralyze me and keep me from getting out there and riding, I confessed my fears to several people, asked them to pray for me and then I went out to ride.

I rode 20 miles without my husband anywhere around! (He was watching me via satellite though and he knew when I had arrived at Starbucks!)

Thankfully for my first venture there were no issues! A good friend was there to encourage my progress and be patient with me.

Will I do it again? Absolutely!

Will I be afraid? Probably until I get more comfortable with handling potential issues.

Did I get to know God more through this? Indeed! The peace that passes all understanding guarded my heart and my mind.

How about you? What fear is keeping you from participating in life fully?

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Understandings


I don't know about you, but for me every once in awhile something that I thought I understood suddenly takes on a whole new meaning. A light bulb moment goes off in my brain.

I had one of those experiences this weekend as we sat outdoors listening to the ancient words of King David in Psalm 63:

"O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly;
My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You,
in a dry and weary land where there is no water."

We were sitting in the shade on a well watered lawn, but the surrounding campground area was a dry desert. With that vista it wasn't hard to imagine the wilderness where David was hiding from his conspiring son Absalom. The entire psalm, or prayer, flows in a progression of praise to God, not because of David's circumstances but in spite of them.

It was pointed out that David was characterized by seeking God through the whole course of his lifetime, not just when things were tough. We were reminded of what Samuel said of David in 1 Samuel 13:14 " The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart,..."

That's when it occurred to me: David didn't follow God perfectly to be "a man after God's own heart" like I had previously thought. David was after God's heart. David wanted to know God. He wanted to have God's heart for His people, for his enemies. David was seeking God.

And that's what God wants! A heart that is sincerely seeking Him! Not a perfectly behaved, Norman Rockwell kind of a woman (or man in David's case) but a person who really wants to know God and to love Him and glorify His name through their days.

Wholehearted pursuit. Not "well maybe I will try this out and see if this Christianity thing works for me" but really being ALL IN. Following Him is an adventure of epic proportions. And it's okay to make mistakes along the Way! God expects us to actually. That's why He sent His Spirit to guide us on the Way.

So really, it's all about God. He desires a wholehearted relationship with us, He provides the means through His Son and He provides the strength and guidance for us to actually follow! And He gives us a heart of flesh and not of stone that we are able to love Him even a little. What a fabulous God we can serve!

I want to be a woman after God's heart. How about you?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sayings

Do you ever find yourself using a phrase again and again? I've been told I have "signature" phrases I use repeatedly:

"There is that" (in agreement with someone in a conversation)

"Be that as it may" (acknowledging a point in discussion that I probably don't agree with)

"Nevertheless" or "Regardless" (listening to our sons but then laying down the law)

I turned my daily prayer themed calendar today and the saying is pithy (good economic word--look it up)

"Let prayer be the key of the morning and the bolt at night" quoted of Philip Henry (1631-1696; British Nonconformist clergyman and father to Matthew Henry renowned Bible commentator)

His simple words give such a clear picture of the importance of prayer: unlock your day with and to God and close the door to the day locking it into God as well.

Now I would much rather be known for reminders to pray or to look to God in faith through life's challenges.


How about you?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Loss

I just learned of the passing of a young man from eternity present to eternity future. He had turned 21 a month ago.

The details of his death are not as important as the loss of his life here. I cannot fully comprehend the depth of grief a mother feels at the death of a child; that path has not been mine to walk as yet. I have learned several truths about grief that I've experienced:

"We do not grieve as those without hope..." (1 Thess. 4:13)

Those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord will be with Him in Paradise

"For to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8)

So we are with Him face to face!

God will not waste our grief no matter how deep and how long we grieve.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." (2 Cor. 1:3-4)

And that the mystery of this following passage will make sense in a way that it may not yet have:

"Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance." (James 1:2-3)

I am still learning the depth of the truths the Apostle Paul conveyed in his letter to the Philippians (for us it's referred to as Phil. 3:8-14)

But for now, I have tears. Momma tears, imagining never getting a hug and kiss from this son again. Imagining the empty chair at the holidays. Grieving as only One can fully comprehend.

"Jesus wept." Shortest verse with greatest depth.
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