Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goals, Resolutions and the New Year

"The common begin- but it's the uncommon who finish" ~ Donna Otto

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. The thought of them makes me think of people joining a gym and only working out once, or purposing to read more and only getting half way through a book. So, I’m usually not one to really make them- or at least make the cliché ones. There have been years in the past that I’ve made resolutions, and, just like the rest of America, I rarely follow through with them. It’s almost like we’re predestined to fail by the culture we live in. We’re told skinny is beautiful, and then bombarded with hamburger and pizza ads. We’re told that its important to be educated and highly intelligent, but then celebrities like Snookie, who are praised for being stupid and brazen, are the ‘it’ girls in media. The whole culture is a prime example of the “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality. And, it sets us up for failure. It’s only the truly focused, determined and motivated that accomplishes their goals, and maintains them year in and year out.

I don’t want to be causality to cultures double-minded ways. I don’t want to endlessly yo-yo from resolution to resolution- hoping and praying that I’ll be able to somehow ‘stick with it’, only to fail a week later. I don’t want to wallow in the guilt of failing and beat myself up for not accomplishing the goal. So, this year I’ve decided to make a goal to finish my goals. I don’t mean goals like going to the gym more often, I mean life changing goals that my motivation is more then societies peer pressure. I’m not making goals that aren’t doable, or setting myself up for failure by having unreal expectations. I’m taking it slow and easy. I’m making daily choices that will directly get me one step closer to accomplishing the goal I’ve set before me. Will there be days I fail? Yes. But, the beauty of it is that I can pick back up right where I left off. No harm done. No unnecessary guilt. The point is to reach the finish line, not to reach it in record time or in perfect performance.

So I suppose this year my ‘resolution’ is to become more disciplined and to persevere. This time next year I might not be able to say that I did something extraordinary or that I 100% completed every goal I have for myself. I'll pick new goals up through out the year, and some goals I'll drop due to them being unrealistic or unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. But, if I can say that I persevered and disciplined myself to daily make the choice to move forward, then that’s a success in my book!

Monday, January 17, 2011

For Darci....

I have a dear friend who is pregnant. The poor thing has been ready to pop for weeks, and yet, the baby hasnt come. Sunday morning she thought it was gonna happen- contractions where coming heavy and quick, and she was praying that it would be the day! But, it wasnt. In fact, she still hasnt had the baby. It must be miserable to feel that way- waiting with expectancy, but feeling like its an eternity for this new beautiful baby to enter the world.

I've never been pregnant, and dont plan on being for quite so time. My husband and I have a few years before we walk down that road. The thought of bringing a life into this world and caring, protecting and giving my life up for it just doesnt seen quite right, yet. Someday it will, and when it does I'll be the happiest mother-to-be there ever was. But for now I'm content pouring my love and life into other things.

Today, however, pregnant is the only way I know how to describe how I feel- spiritually speaking of course :-) As I've been thinking about my friend, I realized that pregnancy isnt just a temporary physical state a women is in when she's with child. No, you can be pregnant with a great many things. Pregnant with hope, pregnant with regret, pregnant with stress, pregnant with ideas. The Bible says in James 1:15 we can even be pregnant spiritually with sin- "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin;and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." All of those things- spiritual and emotional, are conceived, grown and birthed through our spirits just like a baby is in its mothers womb.

For years and years I've had a growing desire, a burden in my heart for great things. Those things I wont share here, for they are still young and tender and not ready to face the world. But, just as a mother nurtures the growing baby in her womb, I've felt the Holy Spirit nurturing these dreams in me. There has been the hope and excitement of the dreams being conceived in my spirit, the growing pains as God has stretched and molded me, and the expectancy waiting for those dreams to come to fruition. There are so many days I'm so anxious. I just want to see all these dreams come bursting forth! I want to see how they'll look and play out in my life. But, its then I'm reminded those dreams are not yet developed. No matter what the idea, it needs to grow and mature in me, for if it comes out to early it will not be everything it could have been. The conception and birth of something within us spiritual can play out in so many different ways, and wont be the same every time. Unlike the birth of a child, who we know will come in 9 months gustation, we never know when the birth of a spiritual concept will come. God is the author of our hopes and dreams- and he has everything planed. It will come, in his perfect timing.

So, today I'm praying for my friend- that she'll deliver this baby soon! And, I'm praying for my own "spiritual baby"- that dream that continues to grow inside of me. Not for it to come soon, but for it to come in God's perfect timing, because then and only then will it be exactly all its suppose to be.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Sometimes you love something so much, it hurts...

I never really fully understood that concept until I started dating my husband. As corny as it sounds, for the first time, I felt what it meant to really love someone so much that you ache for them. I remember one night while we were still engaged, he had eaten dinner with my family and was getting ready to go home. Something came over me and the thought of "what
if this is the last time I ever see him?" rushed over me. As I hugged him
good-bye, I felt myself memorizing every aspect of him, because I didnt want to forget, if, God forbid, I'd never get to hug him again. In the darkness of that night, I ran my fingers over his face so somehow by braille I'd learn every curve of his face, dug my head deep into his shirt so I could commit his smell to memory, hugged him tight so I could remember the feeling of being in his arms, and kissed him with more love and sincerity then I had in a long time. After he left, I went to bed with so much heart ache. Not because I was going to loss him, but because I loved him so much I couldnt stand the thought of facing a day without him. I was truly lovesick for him, in both the joy and beauty of love found and the grief and ache of love if it where lost.

That moment came and went, and of course, I dont live my life with that sort of clinching heart ache that keeps me in a state of turmoil. But, ever once in a while, I'm reminded of what it would be like to loose someone I love dearly, and I'm once again overcome by that same pain I learned so many years ago. When I experience heart ache like that, I cant help but wonder if thats how God feels for us- when we're far from him. If we experience even a fraction of the love here on earth that God feels for us, how much more then does he yearn and ache for us when we're apart from him?

Its such a big 'trend' in the Christian world to talk about God's love for us, and at times, that truth can overlap other much needed theology in our worship services, sermons and books. As a result, its easy to overlook his love because its thrown at us until it becomes the 'norm'. I've found myself being hardened, and even impartial to the truth of God's love, because its become common place to hear it time and time again. Its then I have to stop and sometimes look at things through a different angle.

Often times view the love of God like the love of a Father (which is so true, and a beautiful analogy), but not being a parent myself, its hard for me to sometimes grasp that. Putting on a different pair of spiritual glasses and looking at it a different way helps me see God's love in a whole new light. If I can see His love for me like that of a forlorn lover, one that yearns, cries and is deeply lovesick for me, then would my heart be so hard? I know just a microscopic portion of pain and heartache in loving my husband, how much more does God love and ache for me? His love is so much bigger, broader, deeper and truer then any love that comes from my heart or anyones heart here on this earth. How His heart must ache for those that are lost, and for us who know him, but are far away. How many times have I ignored him? There have been countless days when I've not even acknowledged his presence! How it must grieve his heart, for his beloved- the one he yearns for so deeply- to neglect him!
After seeing that faint glimpse of the tremendous love He has for us, how can my heart not be melted? His love is so deep... "...For love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away" Song of Songs 8:6b-7a. His love is more then I can ever imagine. If I can comprehend just a taste of it, then maybe a glimmer of the lovesickness He feels for me will overwhelm my heart for Him, and I'll chase after him harder then I ever have before.

How He Loves
By John Mark McMillian

Verse 1:
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

Verse 2:
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…