Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Voice

I was walking the other day and I realized that I couldn't hear the birds singing or the wind in the trees because there was road construction going on and the sound of the heavy machinery was overpowering everything else. And then, something occurred to me, fears are often like heavy machinery. They come in loud and overpowering until you feel as though there is no escape from it. They drown out the beautiful sounds of the world around you until you feel lost in a sea of noise, fear and distraction. But then I realized something, just because the machines are trying their best to overpower everything else, the birds are still there, the breeze is still dancing in the trees and the snow is still crunching under my feet. Just because I've stopped listening for it doesn't mean it has left. You just have to train your ears to listen over the construction so that you can hear the symphony all around you. Fear is relentless and if you give it power you will soon be sitting in the corner with your hands over your ears begging it to stop. What we must realize is that God promises to be with us always and He says that there is no fear in Him. So, when the fear begins to drown you out, you have to stop and listen. Listen past the clamoring thoughts and distractions in your mind. It says in the Bible that God doesn't always blare His words at you, He wants you to listen for them. Moses was expecting God to come thundering from the mountain tops, but He didn't. Moses had to wait and listen for that still small voice. So, when the fears and doubts begin to scream at you remember that though they may be the loudest, that doesn't mean they are the truth. God designed us to be in communion with Him. When we listen to the fears and believe them we stop communicating with God, the source of truth and peace. So, my challenge to myself and you is to start training your mind to listen for the still small voice. It is not going to be easy, because the fears aren't going to just give up, but listen past them and don't give them the time of day. Because the more time you give them, the more real they will sound. So, laugh, love, live and start listening for the still small voice.

1 Kings 19:12
"Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice."

"The key to change is to let go of fear." --Rosanne Cash

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Perfectionist

I must admit something, I am a terrible perfectionist. When someone is hurting, I want to make it better. When I don't understand something, I want it laid out in clear, precise terms. When I fail, I take it personally. In other words, I like to be in control and when life is not in perfect order I don't know what to do. And today I realized something, I can't be in control of everything. As I look back over my life, I realize that I have all to often been legalistic. I've tried being a perfectionist for myself, others and God. I believe that Jesus died to save me from my sins and yet I still keep trying to measure up. I've given my life to the One who created it and yet I still try to hold on. I try to attain some unreachable standard, and I can't. I realize that I still look at God as a task master, someone who is waiting with a list of "To Do's". When the truth is, God sent His Son to die, so that the "To Do" list could be erased. My perfectionism has gotten in the way. It's okay to strive to be our best but what we must remember is that our best will never be good enough. That's why Jesus died. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn that gift, we just have to take it.  The list that is in our heads, the list that makes us feel hopeless, the list that feels so long is not God's list at all. The only purpose that this list serves is to make us feel hopeless and defeated, because no matter how many things you mark off the list it will never be enough. So, that is what I have learned today; perfectionism is only going to get in your way, because you can never be perfect enough. So I'm going to have to let it go. I'm going to have to let some things be messy and some things be unanswered and I'm going to have to trust. Because I know the hope that is in Jesus Christ, it's for you and me. Don't let perfectionism get in the way of the beautiful life of freedom that is waiting for you.

Ephesians 2:8-9
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Jump

      The girl is standing on the edge of a cliff and tears begin to roll down her face. It feels as though there is no more hope. For her beautiful meadow has come to an end and there is nothing before her but a great drop. She is discouraged for it feels as though there is no choice but to go back, the canyon is simply too big. And then suddenly, He appears. At first she does not see Him and he quietly watches the conflict play out on her face. Just when she is about to turn back He places His hand on her shoulder and asks, "What's wrong?' The girl looks at Him with tears in her eyes and replies, "What do you mean, 'what's wrong?' It's obvious, I can't go forward any more and I'm going to have to turn back."
          He shakes his head and with a slight smile, says, "No you don't. There is always hope and moving forward is the only way to truly live. You just don't see how, because you are looking at the canyon. You're gaze is downward not upward."
          The girl looks up and sees nothing but the sky and wonders what He means. Then He takes her hand and says, "The only way is forward and right now it seems impossible, because you are not fully trusting Me. It is easy to trust when you know where you are and how things are going, but it is times like these that your trust and faith will be tested. Are you willing to step out regardless of how you feel about the circumstances? Are you willing to trust Me even though you don't know what lies ahead? Are you willing to trust Me even though your mind is saying that the only way is backwards?"
         The girl looked at the canyon and it seemed so very big, and then ever so gently He took her hand. "I'm not going to make you do this alone," He said. "I promise to go through it with you. You just have to make sure that you keep a hold of My hand. When you let go of my hand and your trust wavers, you'll start to feel as though you are spinning out of  control. So hold on tight, I promise I won't let you go." And so, she took his hand and without looking back, she jumped.  
         Have you ever been there? At that place where you feel as though you have no hope and that the only out is back. Forward seems scary, because you have no idea what's out there. Your mind is screaming at you that it is not the right move and the enemy would have you believe that if you take that jump you will be lost, because he doesn't want you to win. But the One who created your heart, knows these struggles and He doesn't promise that they will go away. But He does promise to hold your hand through them. So today, stop looking back--It's not an option. The Lover of your soul is waiting for you to take His hand and trust Him. Your mind may scream at you, the world might tell you you're crazy. But look into His eyes and see the love that He has for you and Jump. You won't regret it.

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

"Faith is two things: Either you'll take a step and find your on solid ground. Or you'll learn to fly." --Unkown

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." --Unknown