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Thursday, November 8, 2012

What if That One Thing Never Happened?

What if that one thing never happened?
The thing you regret.
The hurt that’s hard to forgive.
The memory holding you back.

I’ve heard people say they have no regrets.
It’s hard to imagine a person who’s reached the wise-old age of 50 (snicker here, because that’s me) and doesn’t look back wishing she could change something or other.
We know God forgives. (Yay!)
We also know we must forgive, although we struggle with that idea sometimes.

So…when God forgives sin, is it still in His view? The Word says “…I (God) am he who blots out your transgressions…and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25) 
Blots out? Wow. Sounds like they’re gone! Vaporized.
The problem, as I see it, germinates in me. Can I forgive myself—or the other person—the wrong or mistake or choice? Is it still hanging around me in a never-to-be-forgotten picture frame? Do I look at it longingly each morning, just so I don’t forget? If so, I’m definitely not forgiving like Jesus.
If God forgives my wrong—and He does—I must forgive others. I can’t hold something against someone else. Even when I think I’m justified in clinging to it.
Which makes me think…if I’m not holding wrong against anyone—including myself—why don’t I just go ahead and forget it ever happened? Live as if it didn't happen.
No grudges. No pity parties. Gone. Vaporized.

Which makes me free.
At peace.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Battle Cry!

Do we need a battle cry?
Everywhere we go, voices are yelling out: This politician lies! Vote for my candidate. Drive this car and you’re cool. If you do this, you’ll be beautiful. Charge this, it’s priceless.
Pretty soon, all the voices become a giant blur. A roar in our heads.

So what is a battle cry? A “war cry”, according to Merriam Webster’s.
Am I alluding that there’s a battle going on? Yes! A big one. A battle for our souls, our devotion, our peace of mind. When was the last time you were silent long enough to hear that “still small voice”? The roar has been getting bigger and wider.

We can’t fully imagine the realm and ramifications of our spiritual battles. Do you have a battle cry against the forces of evil?
In 2 Chronicles 13, Abijah, with an army half as large as the opposing one, stands on a hillside and boldly pronounces, “God is with us; he is our leader.” He warns them not to fight against the Lord. Refusing to listen, the warring side surrounds Abijah’s group, front and back.

Remember, it’s 2:1. Now things get interesting.
Abijah’s army could have run at this point. I might have. Instead, three things happen. One, they cry out to the Lord. Two, the priests blow their trumpets. Basically they’re saying—we’re gonna win this whole deal. And three, the men yell out a battle cry!

That makes me want to shout! I already did when I read it this morning. If it makes you want to shout, do it! J
This analogy of victory is so cool. *Call on the Lord. *Play an instrument or sing to the Lord—I would call this worship. *And let out an absolute battle cry.

“Praise God! Holy is the Lord!” We do have a battle cry. Whatever it is, it will be your own. A personal cry of victory. Trusting in God even though the circumstance before your eyes might not “look” like victory. We will shout, knowing the Lord God is fighting our battle!
“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10: 4

“Holy is the Lord!”
What is your battle cry?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Fall in the Mud

Sometimes things don’t turn out the way I’d hoped.
A job doesn’t pan out. The car breaks down. I can’t attend that special event. No one notices me.

Life is filled with ups and downs. Disappointments play teeter-totter with success. Confidence and insecurity duke it out in a game of tug-of-war.
Should minor bumps in our lives define who we are? Do we allow today’s discouragement to affect how we live tomorrow?

In the movies, we’ve all seen the humorous scenario where someone is chasing a person or an animal, and down they go, right into a soupy brown wallow of mud. It’s good for a laugh. But the person falling down isn’t laughing. We see delight in it because it isn’t us!
The mud is there. The person falls in, often getting a face-bath of muck. And the thing is, they hop up and continue chasing the dog—or whatever. There’s something about shaking ourselves free of the grime and getting back to the business of living. We’re not going to stay in that situation, covered in mud. It happened. Get on with life. Take one step forward in front of the other until your footing is steady again.

These things do test us. Some would even say they add character.
I guess laughing long and hard after a setback might be the perfect solution. But for most of us, it’s going to take a day or two before we’re ready to laugh about falling in the mud.
As a believer, I know God has a good plan for my life. Some things that happen I don’t understand. But I don’t want to wallow in the situation, regardless. Even though I’m tempted to.

Oh, boy.
What I need to do is get up and get going. Again. And again.

Annie sings that old familiar phrase, “The sun will come out tomorrow.”
Bad things do happen. But so do good things. Sometimes, lots of good things. And we call these blessings.

Occasionally, there’s a mud hole. A flop. A loss. A disappointment.
So I say to myself, get out of the mud asap. Trust God. Walk forward. Good is surely on its way.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Laugh More

I say we need to laugh more. Not to just be happy, but to really belly laugh when we hear something funny. When did we become so self-conscious about letting out a good chortling laugh? Did spit fly out of our mouth and hit someone? Did a friend say we laugh too loud? Squeal like a pig?
I love to hear people laughing out loud.
Everyone knows someone who has a distinctive laugh. High-pitched. Santa-Claus-like. A drum roll. When you hear that person laughing, isn’t the immediate reaction a smile across your face—or a raucous laugh out loud moment of your own?
I worked in a school where one of my coworkers had a delightfully contagious, signature laugh. Every time I heard him chuckle, it brought a giant grin to my face. I love hearing people laugh with joy and abandonment. It’s freeing. It’s contagious. It’s blessedly childlike.

We’ve all heard the comparison that children laugh hundreds of times a day, while adults laugh 15 or so times a day. Why are we so serious?

While many of us live stressful lives, trying to provide for our families, building a career, pursuing goals, the de-stresser really is free. Its name is laughter!

I think we should all let out a good ole belly laugh today. Read something funny. Share stories with siblings or cousins from when we were young and carefree. Watch an old comedy, like Bill Cosby or Don Knotts. Or go to a funny play!

And when you laugh, don’t hold back. Let that loud, exuberantly boisterous guffaw bubble up from your belly. Laughter is so good for us.

And besides, it’s fun. J

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why Write?

Why do we write?

Many of us started writing when we were teenagers—or even younger. Do you remember how fun it was to imagine and dream up stories? How easy it was to pretend you were all of the characters? Most of us began writing more diligently as adults, but I know there are some who continued writing through all their years. I'm so impressed when I hear of someone who's journaled for years without stopping. How I wish I'd done that over the course of my half-century. Recently, I read an article in the newspaper about a husband and wife who'd been writing each other a letter every single day for over a decade. Isn't that amazing? What a beautiful real-life love story!

For those of us who call ourselves writers, why do we write now?

Do we still have the joy of writing as we did when we started out? When we felt delighted with our imaginations and our ability to write freely about anything that popped into our minds?

Or has thinking about writing, and writing about writing, become a drudgery of words?

Now, I believe you can write whether you feel like it or not, and most of us have done that. But what about the why of writing? Do you still feel “called” to write? Is there something inside you drawing you to your computer screen—or the faithful legal pad and pen—as if it has a mind of its own? As if the story is calling you? Or has writing become something you better do every day or your writing skills will certainly shrivel up like a prune?

For me, I want to write because I want to write.

I want to write because I experience joy in writing. It's a part of me I can share. Like a lady who has amazing hospitality and shares her tea and cookies with friends, I want to share the stories inside of me.

If I fall into the rut of writing just to write, I need to step back a moment in time to when I first started writing, or when I first thought of myself as a writer. I need to refresh my memory about the love affair I have with writing. To cherish it. To allow the joy to fill me back up.

Sure, we all have days when we don't want to write—or do much of anything else.

But this is writing we're talking about. We are so blessed to be able to work and play at the art of writing and sharing our gift. So let's have fun with it!

Why do I write?
Not because I can't not write. Not because I have to.
I write because I love to write!!

How about you? What compels you to write?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Good Stuff

I've been reading health books lately—The Gluten Effect, Metabolism Miracle, Seven Layers of Health—plus visiting a plethora of websites discussing health issues. And the bottom line is, to be healthy, we must fill up with good food and clean water.

For too long I've taken a fast-food approach to home cooking. I call a cake made from a box a homemade dessert. Instant potatoes? Definitely a home-cooked entrĂ©e. Soup from a can? Yes! Kind of makes me cringe. What it really comes down to, if it doesn't come from the earth—or a tree—or a healthy living animal (I do eat meat) it isn't the best choice.

Most health books are shouting out a universal message: we need to eat better! Too much bad stuff is happening to the food we buy at the grocery store. I've got to fill myself with healthy, living food—or I'll continue to suffer the consequences.

And then, just as quickly, my mind dashes off to an important correlation. While food intake can make a startling difference between me feeling great or not, what I fill my inner self with is dramatically affecting my soul's inner strength, stamina, and well-being. What do I fill myself with? What programs and movies am I inhaling? What talk am I participating in that fills me with anger, frustration, or stress? Are the things I read, watch, and spend my time doing beneficial to my spiritual growth? And will a quick meal of worship and hearing a word on Sunday morning be enough to feed me and make me strong throughout the week? Is it the kind of good-stuff nutrition I need to walk through my life? Or is the quickie Sunday morning stuff kind of like fast food?

We need to fill up with the good stuff.

To live strong as a believer I need to fill myself with the fullness of the Lord in my house, in my own closet place, throughout the day, before I go to sleep, and the first thing when I wake up in the morning. To know Him personally, I need to be filled with His anointing oil—the best oil in His kingdom—and let it seep into my pores, into my bloodstream, and heart.

Did you realize, if you divide your body weight in half, that's how much water, in ounces, you should be drinking a day? That's a lot of water! Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, and our blood is over 90% water. Impressive. We must daily replenish this supply.

And so it is, for our minds to be renewed, our hearts to be recharged, our lives to be changed, we need to fill ourselves with Jesus daily, to rest at our Father's feet daily, to be filling up with the Holy Spirit's presence daily.

A little taste of healthy eating isn't enough. We have to be radical about it if we want to see a vibrant change in our body. And so it is in the spirit. A little spiritual fast food won't suffice.

We need more. I need more.
More, Lord.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mirror Talk

Do you ever stand in front of the mirror and remind yourself of something? Sometimes I do that. Sometimes I have to tell myself the same thing over and over until I start to believe it. And even then I wrestle with myself over the idea.

You may think that's really silly. And indeed it does seem that way. But as I talk to myself, it's good to hear someone say the words--even if it's me--and I know that over time, my inner self will begin to realize the words are true.

Now, I won't tell you all about my mirror-side conversations, but I will share one thing I say on a regular basis. I look in the mirror and boldly proclaim, "You are a writer." 

You might wonder why I would need this ritual when the definition of a writer is "one that writes" and I do.

Maybe it's because my personal definition of a writer is more who writes successfully. Or one who writes for many to read. Or one who can write the first draft exceedingly well.

People say writers write every day. And I don't. People say writers write because they can't "not" write. And that simply isn't true for me. Sometimes I go a couple of months without writing anything besides emails or posts in twitter.

I wish to be that person who writes snappy and cool every day, where the words flow like honey off my spoon. But so far, that isn't me.

I'm a playwright, in the process of editing my 18th stage play--and yet, I still need to tell myself "I'm a writer." 

It is humorous.
But one of these days, I may actually believe myself.