Whatever you are facing, whatever you are carrying today you don’t have to do it alone. Matt Chandler challenges us to get real, with ourselves, with others, with God. You don’t have to do this on your own. It’s a message that bears repeating because when the chips are down it’s one I tend to forget. It hits on all of the posts that I have begun in the last week and remain unfinished on paper and in my mind. Grace. Mercy. Pride. And Healing…
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Things have been busy lately (to put it mildly.) Tonight, I am excited to share my newest project with you, the book trailer, in addition to offering my WordPress readers a special discount. Enjoy and thanks for reading!
What if I stumble? What if I fall?
While yesterday’s post (A Reflection) was challenging let me follow up today with some encouragement. I am not perfect. I don’t know anyone who is. My Christianity is very real which means that it in turn is flawed and laced in humanity. But I am living a love story, one in which I have found grace, mercy, and forgiveness on those days when I find myself stumbling, struggling, and ultimately failing. I can’t do anything to earn God’s love and in all of my shortcomings He continues to pour out His love and forgiveness because I have accepted His gift of grace, salvation for a struggling soul.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8 NLT)
On those days when we find ourselves needing a re-do or a mulligan remember what Charles Stanley teaches on the subject of second chances. “Sometimes your burdens may seem endless. You repeatedly go through the same trial, making the same mistakes. The last time through, you thought you had truly mastered this area of your life. However, now you realize that it continues to cause you pain.
You question if God has abandoned you or if you have displeased Him so greatly that He would allow this suffering to persist. You wonder if you will ever learn the lesson God desires to teach you.
Take heart; the Lord loves you, He is with you, and He will never forsake you. He allows the trials in your life because He desires to give you freedom through them and show you His love.
He is drawing you close through this repeated problem. Do not despair. Cling to Him and He will fill you with His love.”
In return, all we can do is reflect this love to a broken world in search of second chances and show them through your walk, imperfect and stumbling though it may be, the gracious forgiveness you, yourself, have received.
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!
Now that we have that out of the way, here is the deal today. I wanted to post something and had nothing. I also was past due for my scheduled run and have been wanting to hit the roads but it’s HOT so I started up my hamster wheel (aka treadmill) and instead of being struck with inspiration I hurt. Every step of the first two miles.
Before I even made it through the first mile, through gritted teeth, I said “Ok God. I have nothing here. Please pour your Spirit out and fill me. ” I had nothing to give physically and no divine inspiration. I was ready to quit and then my mom’s favorite song came on and I closed my eyes (you can do that when you are running on a treadmill) and just took a deep breath and let the song wash over me. It was like a fist that had been wrapped around me was releasing and when the song was over I played it again.
As the miles continued to pass my brain was lighting up with ideas like fireworks on the 4th of July and I was trying to type and run and be sure I didn’t forget any of them. I had been trying to force this, trying to do it on my own and I should know by know that every time I try to do it that way I will fail. This is what happens when I try to take the reigns. But as soon as I stopped and asked God He was right there. When we ask for more of Him, He will never disappoint us.
Today I just want to encourage you, take a deep breath, then close your eyes and let the grace of God wash over you from the song that saved my run (and my writing) today. I hope that it blesses you as much as it did me.