Who’s in Control?

reactive

Reactive, by definition is the tendency to react or to be characterized by reactance. I think most people I know fall into the category of chronic reactors. We so often relinquish control to others or our circumstances. We see it in the lives of those terrified to move because they are so afraid of what others will think. We see it in our relationships as we react in anger. We are driven by words hurled toward us by careless humans, who unwittingly (or with intent), bite with condescension or malice. We are so easily wounded and broken. We are selfish.

Ben Carson says in his book Take the Risk,

“The more rights you think you have, the more likely someone is going to infringe upon them.”

“It wasn’t until I backed off enough to take myself out of the center that I realized reactions like that [anger/negative reactions] were not signs of strength, but rather indications of weakness. Such reactions meant I was letting other people, the environment, or circumstances control me, and I decided I didn’t want to be so easily controlled. But if I took myself, my rights, my ego, my feelings out of the center, I couldn’t be.”

“Once I was able to take myself out of the equation, to look at things from other people’s perspectives and not feel that all the rights belonged to me, the things that could make me angry were suddenly few and far between.”

When we are brave enough to stop thinking about ourselves and put others first, we may find that we gain the power and the freedom that we’ve been searching for. No one can hurt us if we don’t let them. All it takes is the wisdom to know that we are loved completely and fully by the creator and we can move beyond reaction to freedom and begin to go beyond “me” to “them”. Be free today!

 

Prayer for Today

Green

Lord, let my hands be ever ready to serve.

Give me your eyes to see the broken and your balm to bring comfort.

Let the voice of my will be silent when your mouth opens

Let me guard my motivations so the outflowing of my heart and hands are pure

May I never be afraid of risk or movement

May wisdom lead as I submit to follow

Let love be my beacon, strength come from my weakness, truth be my anchor and peace go before me

You increase as I find myself hidden in the wonder of your grace

Take all of me and use me

Have your way as I remain forever grateful.

 

Hope

Water Drops on Slab

Steady rain pelts, swift and monotonous, on the roof above me
I feel the water purify, washing away the old, carrying with it the promise of hope
Standing singularly like a monument on the horizon
Lingering long enough for me to reach
Long enough for me to believe

Hope, that droplet swiftly coming near
Waiting for me to see it
Impact, as it falls to form in my soul a place where ignition can take effect
As lightning follows the particle to the earth
A blaze begins with a solitary moment
Hope springs from the cleansing of past colliding with the promise of now.

The Map

Coffee

There’s something about the promise in a morning. A new day peaks over the mountains that stood, ominous, dark, hours before. There’s opportunity inherent there. There’s hope that maybe today will bring with it all the things we’ve been searching for.

That’s why I’m making a diligent choice to sit for a moment, still, with coffee in one hand, treasure map in the other

seeking.

 I may not know what adventure awaits me today but I know the means of survival are right here in my grasp, the living word of God, breathing before me

leading me.

It’s wisdom better than gold or rubies making me better.

Proverbs 8:10-11 Receive my instruction, and not silver,  And knowledge rather than choice gold; For wisdom is better than rubies, And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.”

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Messy

Messy

As I was cleaning up smashed strawberries and bananas off of the floor under my son’s high chair this morning, it hit me…not just the peaches he was chucking at my head…also the realization that life is messy. There’s really no way around this fact. Sure, I’m in the thick of it, with four kids at home and a full-time job and ministry obligations. There’s always something more to be done and some inner voice telling me I’m not doing it all well enough. But I think all of us have an element of “mess” in our lives. It’s that stuff that always comes back, the house, the bills, the relational problems, whatever it may be.

I, for one, tend to rail against the mess hoping if I grimace enough, it will all go away and sparkle in the radiant light of my annoyance. This approach rarely works. Go figure…The better approach would be to realize that the mess has purpose and accept it. The mess serves to make me better and if I’m better at the end of the day, then it was all worth it.

For me, the mess tends to ‘mess’ with my psyche. I am my own worst critic. Consequently, I can be so hard on myself when the mess is too grand for me to tackle in a day. Sometimes, I find myself on my knees in the morning scrubbing day old fruit like this morning, as today’s peaches fly like rockets. And that’s okay.

There’s an odd little story in 2 Kings chapter 2:23-24. Elisha was going about his day and some young dudes decided to mock him and call him “baldhead”. Elisha turns around and looks at them and curses them in the name of the Lord and bears come out of the woods and eat them up. Elisha just keeps on going to where he was headed. Weird right? I’ve heard a lot of commentary on this passage, and honestly, I never thought too much about this passage and just attributed it to Elisha being sensitive about his receding hairline. Plus, how dumb to mess with the man of God! Today, I’m thinking a little differently.

We all have those things that we are sensitive about. Mine is my inability to “properly” quell the messes that confront me. I fight with myself regularly as my internal accuser tells me I’m failing. Today, I’ve learned to stop arguing and just pull an Elisha. When the mocker comes, I can stare it down and curse it in the name of the Lord. I can do this because I know who I am. Elisha was so much more than a bald guy. I am so much more than my mess. So I can boldly stand at the edge of the woods that would seek to drag me down and bury me deep in shame and insecurity and I can call on something higher than myself to deal with the problem. I don’t need to fight my own battles, I need to rest in who I am in Christ and keep going.

I don’t know what mess is mocking you today. It could be flying peaches, anger or even addictions, but I do know this, there is a defender who loves you deeply. He will help when you call upon his name. You never have to face this life alone. I pray your day is filled with cleaning, smiles and bear calling…and those flying peaches may be sticky, but don’t let them bring you down.