Monday, September 14, 2015

Button Pushers

I was having a talk with my son this morning about what happens when buttons get pushed. He's having a little trouble making the right choice in certain situations, and I was trying to explain to him the importance of having a plan when a particular button gets pushed.

"The right choice doesn't happen by accident," I told him. "You need to know in advance what you are going to do if your buttons get pushed."

Suffice it to say that he isn't interested in my advice. But it got me thinking.

We tend to be people of reaction. Right choices don't happen by accident; we go into default mode, whatever that is for us, and end up rationalizing that we can't help the way we are.

Not true.

  • "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but power, love, and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7
  • "But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23
  • "Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Romans 12:1
We have it in us to live differently. We don't need to be hostage to our feelings and gut reactions, because while those may be what comes naturally, it doesn't always mean it's right. 

Someone today will push your buttons. Make your plan now so when the time comes, your response is driven by the Spirit, not the flesh. You can't always avoid your triggers, but you do have the tools to deal with them. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Plugged In?

I unplugged my laptop and brought it downstairs to work on a project, and within five minutes, had the notification on my screen to plug in to a power source or the computer would shut down.

Seriously? I just unplugged it. Then I remembered that I had pulled the cord out from the wall the other day because I had used the computer in another room and didn't want to leave a live power source hanging out of the wall. Call me paranoid. It's ok. :)

Anyway, in that moment of recognizing that my computer was only plugged in at one end, God brought to mind a picture to share with you.

What are we plugged in to? Are we plugged in at both points of power? 

Sometimes the Power Source is right there, like a live wire hanging out of the wall, just waiting for us to hook in, and we ignore Him. Just going about our business, slowly draining of power, not noticing the warning light flashing that if we don't plug in soon, we will be depleted. 

Other times we think we are plugged in, because we are busy for Jesus. Busy doing all of our activities in His Name, except that the other end of the cord is laying next to the outlet, not drawing any power at all. We are operating on our own strength. I think we've all experienced times like that. 

My prayer, for all of us, is that we will be about the business that He has called us to, fully plugged in to Him. That we won't mistake being busy for being plugged in, and that we won't miss the glorious opportunity He has given to have relationship with Him. 

I recognize that this is not an incredibly polished message, but I am trying to be obedient to the knowledge that when God gives me insight into something, He intends me to share it, not just say, "Oh, thanks God, that's cool."  Not lots of time for polish today, but always time to stay connected. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Outside the Fence

I admit to not being much of a gardener. My favorite part is deciding what to plant and getting it in the ground. Once there, I check in every now and again, watering when it starts to droop and making sure the weeds don't overtake it, my theory being that weeds act like camouflage; no critters realize there's actually good stuff growing in my garden.

The actual harvest comes like a surprising afterthought. Here's a picture of the tomatoes that seem to be doing their thing without a whole lot of encouragement from me, along with some beans, sweet peas, and cucumbers:

It's not exactly brain surgery...I planted some beans, tomatoes, sweet peas, and cucumbers, and that is what is growing in my garden. 

But stay with me here...we're about to go deep. 

Sometimes in life, we plant into certain fields and we stare and we wait and we see nothing. No evidence of anything growing at all. We plant into relationships, into events, into careers, into hobbies...all sorts of things that take our time and attention and seem to be, well, fruitless. 

Then, one day, we look, and something has happened. Fruit is borne. Only it doesn't happen in the way that would make sense to us. The Bible tells us that nothing we ever do for the Lord is wasted, that our efforts are seen by Him and appreciated, and that if we do not grow weary, we will see a harvest. 

This is the sight that greeted me the other day as I walked past my garden: 
This little guy is growing outside the fence. I did not plant him on purpose; he birthed from a stray seed left behind by a rotting tomato last year. A harvest where I wasn't trying to plant. 

I have a feeling that there is a whole lot of harvest that I didn't plant intentionally going on around me, if I just have eyes to see it. How about we look around together?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

New Directions

Who remembers that picture from the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy was standing, confused, yellow brick road glittering in many directions?

If I had on a blue gingham dress, that would be me. As it stands, I'm wearing the tie-dyed t-shirt I wear when coloring my hair and some ratty gray shorts. But the feeling is the same, and the horizon is filled with possibilities.

In case you are wondering why there are cobwebs in the corner of my blog and a fine layer of dust covering everything, I've been heading a different direction this past year. Last July, I was contacted by Lifeway Christian Resources to pray about serving as the City Coordinator for Living Proof Live Milwaukee with Beth Moore. It was one of those John Ortberg Get Out of the Boat and Henry Blackaby Experiencing God moments all rolled into one as I processed through the decision. Saying yes would definitely require me to shift some priorities, and be willing to follow God into new territory. But, as I like to say, "I'm nothing if not obedient. Show me where You are calling me to walk and I will walk there. Just don't stutter."

God didn't mumble or stutter in His call and this past year has been one of the greatest adventures of my life. I wouldn't trade this journey for anything. One of the biggest things I've learned is that God doesn't call us to something because He needs a task done, but because He wants to reveal something of Himself to us through that call.  It took awhile for me to realize that He didn't call me to this role because He's just smart. :)

But with Living Proof Live Milwaukee coming up August 14-15, another season of change is upon me. And here I stand in all my lazy summer morning finery, wondering which road to follow.

Maybe I'll just click my heels three times and see where that gets me...