Tag Archives: God’s grace

What are you holding on to?

20130808-092857.jpgMy son battles with stress-induced anxiety.  When under pressure, he becomes hyper-sensitive.  Everything is enhanced and he will become very aware of any ache, pain, or sound to the point of maddening distraction. He is on sensory overload. He becomes agitated, begins to shut down, and cannot see reason.  He also avoids, at all costs, that which is causing him the stress.  It literally slams on the brakes of his life and our family.  In exasperation I have talked, I have pleaded, and I have yelled.  (I am not proud.) I have prayed over him, prayed for him, and prayed with him.  Yesterday we found ourselves in the middle of one of his firestorms and I finally looked at him and asked that one simple question…What are you holding on to?

He is reaching out for help with one hand but the other hand refuses to let go of the frustration and agitation.  Have you ever found yourself in a pit like that and it seems that no matter how much you climb and struggle you only get deeper?  What are you holding on to?  It is only dragging you back down, slowing your progress.  God is not going to pry it out of your hand. You must open your hand and let it go.

I love the story of the mountain climber who, when stranded, hanging by a single rope with nowhere to go but down, he finally yells in desperation, “If there is a God up there, help me.” To his ultimate surprise and astonishment an immediate reply was forthcoming.  “Yes, ” said a thundering but kind voice, “I will help you.  All you have to do is let go of the rope.”  The startled mountain climber thought about this for a moment, and again raised his eyes to heaven and asked, “Is there anyone else up there?” Author, Gerry Boylan puts it this way.  “I am seeking God without seeking God’s help.”

Stop fighting.  Stop struggling. Wave the white flag.   Release the death grip of control.  Surrender.  The actual act of surrendering is the easiest thing you will ever have to do. Getting to the place where you are ready to surrender may, in fact, be the hardest.  Your victory comes through surrender.

Father, you know what is on my heart today.  You know what I have my fingers clamped around, what I am unable or unwilling to let go of.  You know what my heart is holding hostage.  Please change my heart Lord.  Help me to loosen my grip and let go.  Help me to forgive, to move on, and most importantly open my eyes  so that I can see the freedom that surrender brings through your salvation.  Through You Lord, and only through You, I know that I can claim victory.  Lord, save me!

More than a cliche (Troubled Waters, Part C)

20130805-093401.jpgWhen I started on the first Troubled Waters post on Saturday I had no idea it was going to lead to two additional posts. It wasn’t until the first one was finished and I re-read it that I thought, yes, God comes to us in our troubled times, all we have to do is cry out to him but that isn’t quite the whole story. Peter’s prayer, “Lord, save me!” was prayed as Peter was seeking Jesus in the midst of the storm. Peter took the first step, Peter was following Jesus’ command, Peter got out of the boat! Which led to Part B yesterday. I woke up this morning and was going to just post a “Still Moment” but found my spirit troubled by some of the lofty words of yesterday’s post. We have all heard the saying “If you want to walk on water you have to get out of the boat.” Oh, ok thanks. That clears it all up. What does that even mean? Christians can be great at going around and spouting off clichés. Be anxious for nothing, pray for everything. (Biblical yes, but is it backed up by any “meat” in their own life or is it just off the cuff advice to combat your deep-seeded anxiety? Take two of these and call me in the morning type advice. And oh, by the way did they offer to come alongside and pray with you over it?) So as I re-ready yesterday’s post, I felt it a little cliché to say, “So I will go, out into the crashing waves, out into the deep to meet Jesus. If that means trying and failing, at least I have failed while trying.” Very well put but what the heck does it even mean? I am calling myself on this one because I hunger for more, for the nuts and bolts of faith.

I don’t have this all figured out and I will never claim to. God’s ways are higher than our ways. We try to understand Him in the only capacity we know how, which in turn puts Him into a human-size box and He is so much more. Infinitely more.

Here is what I should have said…

Father, I love you. I want to seek you and I want to obey your commands. I know that I don’t always do a good job. Sometimes I see something shiny and I get distracted for awhile, but You, in your mercy and grace, always bring me back around to what You have planned for me. You bring me back into your will. Please forgive me for the times when I have failed, when I have been distracted, when I have chosen my own path. Lord, you see my heart and my secret thoughts, and you know that sometimes the things that you ask of me are daunting. They are big, and they are primed for failure and disappointment and I am driven out of my comfort zone. Please remind me on those days that was what you were trying to teach Peter. That is what walking on water really is. It is conquering whatever is impossible, whatever is terrifying, through You. It is where you are waiting to display your power through me, and where you are waiting to show your love to me. Please help me to become more like you. I want so much more than to live in clichés. Lord, save me!

Today, I challenge you to do the same. Get back to the nuts and bolts. Strip your faith back down to the basics where it is just you and Jesus, alone on the water. What would you say to Him? And more importantly, listen for what He is saying to you. Where is He leading you? What “water” is He asking you to brave? I know sometimes its hard to hear Him through everything else clamoring around you. It’s why I started running. It’s why I started writing. Please, just be still…

An Undignified Runner

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There are a lot of songs I love to run to. One song in particular is called Undignified and is always sure to get my feet moving a little faster when it comes on. The version I run to is actually from the children’s worship team cd at our church. The first time I heard it I couldn’t help but want to sing along, and maybe even (gasp!) dance. It is very simple in lyrics but the message is a good one.

I will dance, I will sing, to be mad for my king.
Nothing Lord is hindering the passion in my soul.
And I’ll become even more undignified than this.
Some would say it’s foolishness
But I’ll become even more undignified than this.

This song is based off of what David has to say about dancing in front of the Lord in 2 Samuel 6:22, “Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes!”
When I run to this song I can’t help but think of the Friends episode, The One Where Phoebe Runs. Here is a quick clip

We all need to be a little more Undignified in our walk (or run) with God but being undignified can also mean being embarrassed. I don’t like to be taken out of my comfort zone let alone going even further, as David says, to humiliated in my own eyes. But outside of my comfort zone is where I can find God because I stop relying on myself and begin relying on Him. This is the reason we don’t like to run with the Phoebe’s of the world. It is embarrassing to us, as fine upstanding formal “runners,” and people are certainly watching us and the fear that someone might see us and then judge us for our unorthodox style, is very humiliating. That isn’t how “runners run,” so instead we opt for the straight laced approach and avoid those “free spirits,” just like Rachel did. We have taken God and religion and made it clean and neat and in a much larger sense unapproachable to the Phoebes. That is what we have done though, not what Jesus did on his days here on Earth.
The disciples didn’t always get this either so we are in good company. They were found throughout scripture saying get these kids out of here, get these sick out of here, get these sinners out of here. They completely missed the point of why Jesus was here in the first place. When Jesus was at Matthew’s mingling with the “scum” of that time period he was rebuked by the Pharisees, and Jesus’ response… “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.” Then he added “Now go and learn the meaning of this scripture. I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13)
We often have the spirit of the Pharisees. We shush those “Phoebe runners” shouting for the help of Jesus, we look the other way when they run by, because we are so caught up in ourselves and appearances, so caught up in our own “Jesus thing” that we are missing it! And not only that, if we associate with them we might be confused for being one of them. Totally missing what we have been called to do. Go and make disciples…Be the salt and the light.
So here is to running with a little less self-consciousness and a little more self-confidence in how we are called to run the race in the first place, flailing arms and legs and all! Here is to getting undignified!