Refocusing

  
Blurs are often ended with the bluntness of a break. A single straw that interrupts the momentum long enough for sanity to creep in and remind me that I am more than this. 

In the quest for perfection, I lost sight of the adventure. In the race towards better, I steadily slipped into worse. In the pursuit of holiness, I forgot to trust in grace. Somewhere in between it all, I stopped breathing. I lost myself when I quit looking. 

Today, I’m thankful for the straw. Small fractals of light that shine through offense, wake me from my hypnotism. Freedom often comes when I least expect it. Thank you straw man! Lord, please block my path when I get stuck on auto-pilot. 

Light

Sunlight and Stark

Light, flooding in like waves of brightness

exposing, revealing all my doubts, all my fears

The ones I never realize I have until I’m paralyzed

Then I’m caught in the aftermath, thankful for the wreckage, wondering when I looked away in the first place.

So I wait silently as the light travels,

Moves through me

All my darkness forced to flee as bone and marrow split in light of truth

You alone are my refuge, my strength, my song and I will sing loudly

All at once, in the still of the morning, I find my focus again.

“My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5 NKJV

“By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you” Ephesians 1:18 AMP

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 6:22 NKJV

Bible Study

Sword Drill Steady rhythms that pulse from page to soul like life that courses through the veins. Deep within I feel it rise. It shakes me to know I am one of them…one of the wandering ones who could so easily forget and lose my focus. Gehazi, who would become leprous for two pieces of silver (2 Kings 5).

Hang on another day and breathe deep. Allow the ink and papyrus to awaken to more. Call upon the author for meaning and understanding. Make me a seeker, who would not just observe your wonder but embrace it. Life of God, consume me until I am hidden in your hand, tattooed upon your forehead like your word tattooed on my heart. Bind it on tablets of stone that I carry around my neck, before my eyes, in my being. I love your voice as you speak through words penned long before me. I love that you penetrate bone and marrow with meaning that is fresh every day. Speak Lord, I’m listening.

Of Life and Pinatas

My son just turned six as you can see by my previous post “Birthday Thoughts from a Mushy Mom”. In typical “mushy mom” fashion, I let him convince me that he NEEDED a piñata to celebrate properly. Even in the store while purchasing said piñata all I could think about was America’s Funniest Home Videos and how it seems nothing good can ever come from such a thing…which led to my thinking about how on earth I could convince my husband to help in this activity as usually it’s the man assisting who ends up getting whacked in conspicuous places.

My husband and stepfather proved to be very wise men. They configured a pulley system of sorts from which to hang the piñata while providing ample distance between them and the onslaught of small people swinging bats. This also provided the perfect opportunity to mess with the youngsters by moving the piñata at random times thus disorienting them. You can watch what happened as my nephew Malachi stepped up to bat in the following video

We spent a lot of time laughing that day and I’ve watched all of the videos I took of all of the kids taking a whack at it, and I’ve laughed some more. Still, the last couple of days it’s gotten me thinking…

I can’t help but think that often I’m just a kid with a bat swinging randomly hoping for contact. God’s watching and probably laughing at me from time to time. Maybe He’s even moving the piñata occasionally to see if I’ll stay centered & listen for the sound as the prize inside swishes around.

We all have blindfolds on. Maybe it’s just the concept that we see through a glass dimly until we see Him face to face. Maybe it’s just that we allow things to get between us and Him and cover our eyes. The biggest tragedy isn’t when we can’t see, it’s when we don’t listen. He that has an ear, let him hear.

The kids eventually succeeded in breaking open the piñata and enjoying its spoils and so will we as long as we patiently endure. “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.” Hebrews 6:15

Lord, help me to keep swinging and listen carefully.

The Correction Connection

I hate that I hate criticism!  I’ve always struggled with this. The smallest of critiques can make my brain shake. I know in my heart it’s ridiculous. I know the truth is that, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1. My head & heart have run laps around this mountain for years, but still I sit here in my office fuming over accusations that are trivial in proper proportion, but just the fact that my proficiency has been questioned makes me crazy. The fact of the matter is that I was not created to be fully proficient at everything anyway. Again, I know that, but this awareness does little to still the maddening quakes of my pride.

I’m not proud of this fact, in fact I’m questioning whether or not I’ll actually allow this post to exit my computer & enter the world of the living. I hate that I am proud. I hate that I have flaws; I want to be perfect after all. The sad truth is that the very desire of my heart to be perfect may be one of the most imperfect things about me. I remember being in the fifth grade & crying myself to sleep every night for two weeks because I got a “B” in Science on my report card. I kept that report card for years. There, lost in the middle of the monument to my “smartness” was a lonely little “B”. I realized a few months ago when I came across it in a drawer that I must be crazy for keeping it for 25 years but more so that I must be crazy that instead of taking pride in the accomplishments evidenced by all of the “A’s” staring back at me, I was ashamed of the lonely “B”. I kept this for all those years as a tribute to my perfectionism. Now I seek to kill my perfectionism & start a new desire for excellence without condemnation. With that, I threw the report card in the garbage can.

Why not start memorializing things that I’m actually proud of? No one really cares about what I got on my 5th grade report card anyway. To be honest, what people think about me doesn’t really matter. Whatever good I do, I should be doing for the Lord and not for men to praise me.

Matthew 6:3 “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”

Colossians 3:23 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men”

My greatest accomplishments are the simplest of things, the way I serve the Lord and my family as a wife & a mother, the way I abandon myself in worship and the moments spent in prayer that no one sees. The biggest mystery of all is that the best things are always born from the times I allow myself to decrease. Upon the death of my pride & my selfish nature, I can begin to live and accomplish great things. So why do I let myself get caught up in the criticism of others when I really desire to change from who I am and be changed into the likeness of Christ? 

I can almost see myself, lying down on the altar ready to present myself as a living sacrifice Romans 12 style, then someone questions my Budget calculations and I start kicking and screaming & hurl myself down from the wood and flames ready to fight and defend my math to prove to everyone that I am capable while God sighs, shakes His head and says “I guess we’ll be revisiting this lesson again”. I’m so glad He’s patient with me. It really is laughable that I waste so much time and energy trying to defend myself, when I have the greatest defender whose only requirement is that I do everything unto Him. He will gladly do the rest.

Lord, help me to acknowledge when my pride is trying to rise up & overthrow the village of my soul. Help me to deal with it quickly and stay right where I’m supposed to be, surrendered on the altar of your grace. There is no better way to live. Let me see that correction makes me better. Let me embrace it with an open heart & a willing Spirit. Help me to discern when it is true & I need to change or when it is silly and I need to ignore it, shake it off and move on. God, let me be so focused on YOU that everything else I do and say will be filtered by Your Spirit, then I won’t blow it.