Purposeful Faith

Tag - Joy

Dear Child of God,

Dear Child of God

To my Dear Child of God,

Please know that you are loved. You are greatly adored. You are special.  You are encouraged.  You are seen.  You are powerful. You have a sound mind. You have a future. You have a hope. You have purpose. You are secure.

Why?

Because of me. Because of your God.  Because of Christ, who accepted every ounce of pain, so that he could grant every ounce of grace. Grace has been lavishly poured all over you. Do you know what this means? You are entirely secure.

I am the definition of love. I take joy in my creation. I give life. I show the way. I  offer you truth.

Know this, dear child, know this:

I won’t leave you, ever.
I won’t abandon you, never.
I won’t forsake you, no way no how.
I will help you, always.
I will lift you up and exalt you at just the right time, just see.
I will hold your hand in hard times, I will.
I will guide you in all of your days, trust me.

Come. Come and receive.

Stop striving and come.

Stop trying and come.

Stop worrying and come.

Dear child of God, I love you. I won’t stop loving you.

Love Always,

Your Lord and Savior, your King of Kings, your All-in-All, your One and Only

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Softening the sharps and tuning up normal

softening up sharps

Post by: Christy Mobley

Proverbs 15:1  A soft word turns away wrath but harsh words stir up anger. (NIV)

I scurried into the store and  made a bee line for the customer service counter. It was the holiday season and I was in a hurry to find a specific gift.

There was one other lady standing beside the counter and several  customer service clerks meandering behind it. When I got to the counter one of the clerks immediately approached me and asked me if she could help. I no sooner got  the words, “I wonder if you could tell me where…,” out of my mouth before the woman standing beside me erupted into a soprano sounding hysteria. With sharp staccato inflections, she belted, “Is there something wrong with you? Can’t you see I’ve been waiting and you’re breaking in line? And… you’re taking my help!”

I felt the blood rush to my face and the hair on the back of my neck stand up as I glanced around and saw there was no line and plenty of help available. I have to admit my first reaction was to blast her right back with a big fat piece of my mind. But Someone bigger than me got the better of me. I almost couldn’t believe myself, when I turned to the clerk and asked softly, “Has anyone helped this woman? If not, will you help her?”

Someone bigger than me got the better of me.

Just as the key verse from Proverbs states,  the soft words I spoke turned away this woman’s wrath.

What made her act that way?  I suppose it could have been the holiday rush, too much to do on her to-do-list, or she might have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, but maybe, just maybe, what I witnessed was her normal.

I say that because thirty years ago she, might have been me. Because on many a day that was my normal.

I grew up in a family of yellers. Yelling doesn’t have to mean being loud. Yelling can refer to the tone of your voice as well.   Quick and sharp can sound harsh and brash.  I didn’t  necessarily like some of the tones played out  in my childhood but it was my normal. And you don’t change normal.

But God does.

In my early twenties, it was no coincidence that I married a peacemaker, my polar opposite, a man who could charm the skin off a snake.  Needless to say,  my often sharp and abrupt approach was a shock to his system. He would say to me, “Christy, the way in which you deliver a message is just as important as the message you deliver.”

The way in which you deliver a message is just as important as the message you deliver.

Those words gradually went from my head to my heart. While raising our two boys, and watching them grow, I was growing too  – spiritually. My deepest desire was for my boys to grow up to be godly men with gentle spirits. But whatever children see their parents do in moderation they will do in excess. It was then the Holy Spirit convicted my heart that if I was to be a brighter light I needed to have a softer voice.

Whatever we do in moderation our children will do in excess.

I needed to soften my sharp words and tune up my normal. To make this change I had to do 3 things, admit, commit, and submit.

1. Admit, I was a yeller. I had to admit my approach was often wrong.

2. Commit it to prayer. I couldn’t do this on my own, I needed to ask God for help.

3. Submit to accountability. Finally I had to have a few somebody’s to hold me to it. My boys were more than willing to oblige in that department.

Thanks be to God, He is still at work in me everyday changing me to be more like Him.

Today, I hope all my words will carry the sweet harmony of Jesus, whether it’s to family, friends, the bag boy at the grocery, the girl at the drive-through window,  or a hysterical woman in a department store.

What about you?  At the end of the day, don’t you want to be someone’s melody rather than their malady?

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Post by: Christy Mobley

From Complaints to Thanks

Post By: Angela Parlin

I stood beside their beds in the dark, praying for each of my 3 little ones while they slept. Every night on my way to bed, I whispered thanks to God for the gift of being their Mommy. But often tears fell, because I knew the truth of that day. And the one before.

I was discontent with that season of my life, and I had become an under-the-breath complainer.

I didn’t always like that this was what God had called me to do. Because it looked like endless wiping. Wiping counters, spills, bottoms, floors, always wiping.

With a preschooler, a toddler, and a baby, my days looked like finding messes by the handfuls, like potty training and nursing and living chronically behind in housework. It was harder than I’d expected. I loved my babies so much, and yet I wished away the hard parts of those days.

One day, after lunch, I stepped in a huge blob of strawberry jam on the kitchen floor. When I grabbed for a dishrag to wipe it up, I ran my arm through more jam on the edge of the counter. I looked up to see this little trail of jam, smudged across the kitchen cabinets, and started to cry.

I felt mad about the mess, about the way I couldn’t stay on top of 6 sticky little hands, mad at my kitchen, mad at jelly, just mad.

And then, I noticed a verse I had taped onto the fridge, written in beautiful calligraphy:

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV

The phrase, “this is God’s will for you” wouldn’t leave me alone.

His will for me then included days full of messes, all waiting for me to clean them up.

His will included a jelly-coated kitchen some days, and jelly-filled hands to clean.

His will included loving and serving three little people, much of which would be done from the ground, on bended knees.

His will for me also included giving thanks, even in never-ending, sticky-mess moments.

It’s easy to thank God when life feels good, when the house is tidy and the days go as planned. But thank God in the middle of the mess? I didn’t even know how. I hated messes.

I decided right then, to try, even though I didn’t really feel it. So I thanked God for the day He made, for the home we lived in, for three little people with small, sticky hands.

The more I thanked God, for both big and small things, the less I complained. And the more I enjoyed being a Mom.

I have to admit, I sometimes fall back into a spirit of complaint. But whenever I realize this and confess it to God, He is faithful to change my spirit, from being full of complaints to repeatedly giving thanks.

When we practice giving thanks in all kinds of circumstances, He fills our hearts with peace and makes us light with joy.

Do you need to confess a complaining spirit today? Will you begin to make a habit of thanking God in every situation?

Thank you Lord, for changes in perspective, for the ability to offer You thanks, even in jelly-smeared kitchens.

I would love for you to connect with me at my blog, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

~Angela

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Caution: How Not to be of The World (Part I)

How to not be of the world

We have a choice to make.  Do we believe the World or do we believe the Lord?  We have to live in this world, but we are smart to discover how not to be of the world.

Because the fact of the matter is that you can’t serve both.
You will either serve God or you will serve the world.

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.  (Matthew 6:24)

The world tries to tell us that we need to be rich, powerful, successful, beautiful, funny, outgoing and (fill in the blank).

But, as Christians, the World is not our maker  – and it is certainly not our master.

Yet, sometimes we act like it is.  It tells us what we need to believe, how we should act and what we should say.  And we follow in step. Its words can become louder than the Word of God – especially if we aren’t taking time to hear the Word of God.

The world’s magnetic pull draws us close and we tend to get consumed us with its standards rather than getting consumed with the one who holds all life, all love and all power.

The truth is, we can’t focus on two destinations.  It’s impossible.   You can’t drive to two places at once.  And that is exactly what we are attempting to do.  We say we are driving towards Christ, yet that enticing off ramp pulls us off our course.

We continually get distracted when we take our eyes off the road leading to Christ.

We follow signs that direct us to pleasure and enjoyment – and we get sidetracked.  We see the stop sign that offers a perfect moment to look at our needs in the mirror – and our voyage is halted.  We see a billboard that advertises a perfect face of beauty, riches and power – and we get thinking.  Then, we get lost.

Let’s not set ourselves on a crash course.  In order to do this, we must think about what we are thinking about – and we must think about what we shouldn’t be thinking about.   Likewise, we have to look at what we are believing – and not believing. Because, we either have our eyes set on Christ or we are swerving down the roads of the world, ready to head straight into a ditch.

God calls us to focus.  To keep our eyes on Christ.
To avoid looking at what everyone else is doing, being, and saying – and to instead see Him.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God (Hebrews 12:2 The Message)

When our eyes are on Christ, they are not on the world.
And, when our eyes are on the world, they are not on Christ.

Lets fix our eyes on the One who provides all direction, all hope and all purpose by keeping focused eyes.

  • Focused eyes understand He is the One who provides all good things.
  • Focused eyes, let the world become blurry.
  • Focused eyes allow God to magnify the right ministry opportunities.
  • Focused eyes spend time connecting with God on the daily basis.
  • Focused eyes see those that need love.
  • Focused eyes are focused on the needs of others before themselves.
  • Focused eyes are not just focused on TV.
  • Focused eyes understand that God has big plans for them.
  • Focused eyes know that God is greater than any circumstance.
  • Focused eyes know that God has not forgotten them.
  • Focused eyes know that God is alive, well and aware of all things.
  • Focused eyes know God will rescue and restore.

Focused eyes do not veer off the road.  They steer clear of potholes.  They avoid dark areas.

The result is a life that is full of Christ, abundant in love, strong in purpose, weak in pride, engaging in relationships, authentic in grace and powerful in faith.  We all want this.

When we meet Jesus, we want him to turn to us and say, “‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21)

When our eyes are focused, we won’t miss out on what God has for us.  The opposite happens – we see ourselves and our lives with amazing clarity.  We receive the goodness, the peace and the love that God has in store for us as believers because we are not sidetracked.  We need not fear because the Lord will keep us safe.

how to not be of the world

Stay tuned for Part II where we will discover who we are in light of our God.

How to Run Hard for the Lord

How to run hard for the Lord

God doesn’t answer based on what we want, he answers based on what we need.

We may think we need peace and he says no, you need trials. We may think we need joy – he says perseverance.  We may think blessings – he says endurance.  We may think money – he says contentment.  We may think appreciation – he says love.

I was on the hunt for “encouragement”…

After my “big rejection”, an amazing friend who is wise beyond her years, strong in the Lord and faithful to his call, sent me this verse:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”  Hebrews 12:1

I think she wanted to encourage me in my race, to help me with endurance, but what God revealed was something far deeper and even more convicting.  Let me explain…

I love a good race.  I love competing and I love pushing through my personal barriers physically and mentally. I get the idea of running a race for the Lord.  Why?

I feel ready to give it all. I feel ready to explode off the starting line and to push no matter what my body feels.  I want to arrive at the gate of heaven and fall in front of my King with a fast beating heart, with sweat on my brow. I want to fall before him out of breath, knowing I gave it all.  I don’t want to have an ounce of push left.

I want this so badly.  But still, I get caught looking at the sidelines. I look at the crowds of people telling me to follow them, I look at my own inadequacies and I pump my arms with pride.

God knows this.  He sees this. And, as any fine coach would do – to make me the best runner for his kingdom – he trains me. He pushes me.  He sends me through hard training days; days with some pain – some trials. These trials serve to mold me into a champion runner for his kingdom.  They strip me of my own ways and the world’s ways – to make me more like him, the ultimate champion.

Even so, sometimes I wonder, despite all this, why I still slow down?

And, this was why Hebrews 12:1 was so powerful.  It was this part…“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.”  

God bugged me with this verse to see that: I can’t run loaded with weight.  I have a part in this race.

Sin weight slows me down.  It trips me up.  It keeps me from Him.

And, when sin is strapped on, its burden is heavy.  It’s consuming. It stops us in our tracks. It distracts us and trips us up.  We can try to pretend it is not there, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t.  

God is faithful to keep bugging us to address it.  When we do, we grow.  If we don’t, we fall.

I may have been trying to run a “victory”, but sometimes a “failure or a disappointment” ends up being the greatest “victory”. Why? Because as we fail, we can see our own faults and we hear him whispering, “Confess.”

I didn’t want trials.  I didn’t want pain.  I didn’t want rejection.  I didn’t want humiliation.

God said, “It’s not about you. Confess.”

I confess Lord, I have sinned.  I want all of you.  I can’t mentally pursue the race you have set before me when my mind is weighed down by my own desires and my own sin.

It is easy to want joy, peace, contentment and blessings.  It is easy to want encouragement and motivation, but God is operating from the throne of all knowledge, all power and all sovereignty.  In his seat, he sees yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He knows precisely what we need to finish our race. He knows precisely what will hold us back from finishing.

He wants us to be champions. He wants us to run with speed and power and strength.
He wants us to finish strong and joyful. 

We are more than just conquerors in Christ Jesus.

What baggage holds you back?  What do you need to confess?  What trials might God be using to train you?

When we confess, God has a greater gift in store.  The gift of speed and endurance that helps us run our race unencumbered.  

Bible Verses for Perfectionists: Finding Your True Worth

bible verses for perfectionists

I try to so hard to “do good”. I try so hard to keep everyone happy. I try so hard to keep things in order, to make others feel good, to do things the right way, to be all that I can be – and to be who others want to see.

I try and I try and I try.  But, I fail and I fail and I fail.  It can be tiring.  It leaves me worn, discouraged and wishing I could be better than – me.

Even worse, I notice that in my pursuit of perfection, I tend to hurt others. I don’t want to do this.  But, I do.

It is a common day, when simple words of feedback, turn into living giants of criticism. They come and tower over me with pointed fingers, telling me that I am not “good enough”, “talented enough” or “wise enough” to handle life.  They push me to strive harder and reinforce the idea that I am failing.

Why do we let these giants hold so much power?

When we seek to set our own worth, we fail.
Because only One defines worth.
Any worth found outside of Him is worthless.
God writes the definition of who we are – and why we are. 

I may seek worth in bills paid, things in order and a happy family, but God gives us his worth. We are worthy because we are his children, loved and fully accepted.

God has a greater glory is greater than our manufactured version.  His glory surpasses expectations. It exceeds our wildest dreams.  It is bigger than you or me.  But, we miss seeing it when our mind is focused on our perfect ways.

His glory unfolds in the midst of weakness.  In the place of imperfection.  In the land of mess. 

God is greater than our perfect.  He shows up in our faults.  He is present in our weaknesses.

This is where beauty is unveiled; and I want to see it.  Christ makes my imperfect – perfect.   Perfect in Him, as I trust Him.

I want this better way.  Let’s remind ourselves of God’s truth as we move towards him with authentic, open and receiving hearts.  He will be faithful to touch us in just the right way.

Bible Verses for Perfectionists:

1. “It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect” (Psalm 18:32)
His strength is power.

2. “Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (Hebrews 10:14)
We are being made holy.  We are a work in process.

3. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? (Psalm 118:6)
He is greater than any barrier that stands in front of us.

4. Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 103:8)
His mercy does not end for us because he loves us.

5. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God… (Eph. 2:8)
Grace is always ours, even when we fail.

6. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
He made us beautifully. We can believe this.

7.  For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
He holds us and loves us; his hand won’t let go of us – ever!

8. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
His ways are easy, when we truly are in them.

9.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23)
We are not perfect.  He is.

10. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Cor. 12:9)
Let us be weak, because we can then be strong in Him.

God doesn’t view our weaknesses as obstacles to closeness with him;
he sees them as opportunities for growth as he loves us.

 

 

 

How To Stop Comparing Once and For All: 3 Tips

How to Stop Comparing Once and For all

I recently read a famous author’s article and thought, “I could write a better story than this.”   It’s embarrassing to admit.  My words were spoken through a heart of jealousy.

Comparison, like a teeter-totter, lifted me higher than she was – for a moment.  I felt good. I felt high. I felt powerful.  And then, as fast as I went up, I came crashing down.

As I began my descent, a little voice asked, “If you are so good, why aren’t you like her? How come you aren’t doing what she is doing? Why bother Kelly? You don’t measure up. Quit.” Slam.

The impact of comparing can be shocking.  It often leaves us discouraged as we fall to the ground, feeling disappointed in who we are.  Up and down the teeter-totter goes – feel good, feel bad, feel high, feel low.   What goes up must come down. 

So, how do we gain lasting steady confidence? How do we beat the up-and-down rhythm of comparing? How do we deal with ourselves when we feel less than?  It is time you found out how to stop comparing.

 HOW TO STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS – 3 TIPS: 

1. Anticipate the Lure of Comparing & Preemptively Fight

Thoughts of comparison are like a fly, they often land on us before we realize – and are gone before we can take action.  What are we to do?  We need to fight the lure in advance – before it even lands. We do this by examining our areas of vulnerability.

Examine Yourself:
 Where do I feel less than?
Where do I feel prideful?
What do I feel I am lacking?
How have I failed?
What areas of my life do I normally fall prey to “comparing”?
What are are my greatest dreams? Hopes?
How can I pray for those who are doing better than me?
How can I encourage those who are doing better and less than me?
What can I be thankful for?

“Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD.”  (Lamentations 3:40 NIV).

We are wise to open the door to our vulnerabilities and to welcome thankfulness in our lives.  When equipped this way, we can more easily shut (and lock) the door to the temptation of comparing.

how to stop comparing

2.  Bless & Decompress.  

One of the greatest things we can do to combat comparing is to pray.

When we pray, we find a better way.  When we:

Pray for our weaknesses, we find strength.

For our failures, we find hope.

For our dreams, we find new doors.

For our pride, we find authenticity.

For those in need, we find love.

For those more successful, we find a softened heart.

For those less than, we find charity.

For eyes to see like Christ, we find faith, hope and love.

We pray and God answers us with eternal rewards – lasting, meaningful and transformational rewards.  Prayer changes us. Rather than looking for how much value we get, we start to see how much value we can give.

Instead of seeing our size compared to man, God shows us our size compared to Him. 

 He can – and will – bless many.

He is not an either/or kind of God.  So, we can stop comparing, pray big and dream big for others!

how to stop comparing

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11 NIV)

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21)

3. See Yourself as God Sees You.

“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  1 Sam. 16:7

To think that we will ever be without weakness, without hardships, without areas that need improvement, is not reality.  God created each of us with both strengths and weaknesses.  And, although the world tells us that we need to shape up or ship out, God just wants us to rely on Him in the midst of pain.  He wants us to look at ourselves created in his image.

We are wise to embrace who we are in Christ (click to learn more),

to believe his truths and let them  sink into the depths of our souls.

He created you uniquely and he loves you uniquely.  He wants you to rely on Him.  To trust Him.  To draw near to Him.

He knows what he is doing.  Posture your heart towards him and trust him to manage the rest.  You are a work in progress – and he won’t finish until his masterpiece is finished.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on
to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Phil 1:6)

***BONUS TIP:  Embrace Grace

No one is perfect – not one.  Jesus didn’t die for us to be perfect; he died to extend us grace.   We are growing more and more into the likeness of Christ, but it is a process.  God has you covered – with the blood of Christ.   Rest your deficiencies in the arms of Christ. He desires to hold your pain and work them to accomplish his goal in the most exciting exhilarating ways.

Now that you know how to stop comparing, trust him and let go of the up and down ride of comparing that only serves to leave you wind blown and frustrated.

Now that you have learned how to stop comparing, be sure you don’t miss Part I (The Shocking Truth about Comparing) & Part II (3 Ways Comparing is Bad) of the Comparing Series.

Finding Lasting Peace: The Secret (That You Probably Are Not Doing)

Find lasting Peace

Wake up.  Drink coffee. Spend 5 minutes with God.  Rush to get ready.   Handle day’s work or home activities.  Drive.  Pay bills.  Have some difficult conversations.  Think about lunch.  Think about life.  Think about money. Dinner.  TV.  Think about health. Think about the future.  Brush teeth.  Think about family.  Think about worries.  Think about fears.  Sleep.  Wake up.  Repeat.

It is no wonder that we don’t feel “lasting peace”.  Life feels like a rat race that never ends.  And, our minds are like a gerbil that goes round and round and round in a wheel that is constantly spinning.

Day after day, we hurry hoping that something changes.  Hoping that maybe we will get enough, buy enough or eat enough, to make ourselves feel enough.  But, no matter how much we consume, life never seems to satisfy. 

Isn’t there more than this frustrating cycle?  Didn’t God intend for us to have lasting peace, more joy and more purpose?

The answer is yes.  He has so much more for us than worried rushed peace-less living.   

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)

If we really want lasting peace, we are wise to think about what we are thinking about. 

Our thought processes determine our feelings and our actions. If we are worrying, fearing and consumed with things of this world, we will feel fearful.  We will lack lasting peace. If we are focused on God’s truth, what is noble, what is right by his eyes, things that are pure and lovely and admirable, we will embrace lasting peace.  We will live lasting peace.

It is no wonder that God tells us how to think and then he follows it up with “…practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil. 4:9)

God calls on us to be obedient in our thoughts.  Not perfect, but obedient.  When we focus on what he values, he blesses us with himself and his presence.  We don’t need to reach for some new thing to fill us with peace or contentment. We need only to reach up to him.  God comes as the answer in our quest for lasting peace.  His requirement?  That we trust him at his word.   That we focus our minds. That we think and dwell on things that are uplifting and true.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

When we obey, we have a chance to witness God’s faithfulness.  He will come and grant us lasting peace in our hearts.   He will make himself at home within our mind because we have prepared it as holy ground for Him to reside.   As a result, we will find a place of safety, a place of refuge, a place of escape – as we sit in his presence.  

He will refresh us in him.   This is true and lasting peace.

God is the ultimate peacemaker.   This is who He is.

When the rat race has you running on empty, welcome him into your mind and let him fill you with his peace – that transcends all understanding.

 

Rules are His Tools

“Mikey, don’t stand on Maddie’s stroller.  Mikey, step down.  Michael, now!”  He looks at me and steps up higher and higher, until he starts to lose balance.  When I see the stroller tip backward and Mikey slam on to the ground, my heart drops.  If only he listened.

His sad eyes look up at me. Through the tears he asks, “Mommy, why?  Why did I fall? Why did you let me Mommy?”

I want to grab him and yell, “Because I told you to get down.  Why didn’t YOU listen to me?”  But instead I say, “I am sorry you fell.  I love you, little Mikey.  It is important to listen to mommy.  I am watching out for you when I tell you things. I want you to be safe.”  I give him a hug.

How often are we like Mikey?  How often do we push the boundaries just a little bit more?  We think, I can get away with this – I’ll be ok.  We want to do things our way.  We fool ourselves.   We think God isn’t watching.  We think he won’t punish us.  We think we can work our way around consequences with a little smart thinking.  We think that grace will just entirely cover us, so we are okay.  But, even though by grace we are secure in heaven and with God, consequences to our actions do arrive.  When they do, like Mikey, we often look up at God and say, “Why God?  Why did this happen? Why did you allow it?”

In many ways, we never grow up.  We are on the verge of tipping over our own life strollers because, in the moment, it feels worth it.  We step up, just a little higher, right to the very edge.  Why?  Because, many times, we view God’s commands as restrictions – rules – set in place to hold us back from fun, pleasure or relief.  These “rules” rain on our parade. We step up a little higher on our strollers; we take the risk.  Let’s see what happens!

Then, we down we fall.  We fall flat on our face and we feel hurt.  Like Mikey, we tend to miss the point of parental guidance entirely.

God lovingly, laid down directions for our lives to keep us in areas of safety.  He doesn’t want us to drive into places of fear, pain, and consequence.  He gives us a roadmap, so we can drive with an idea of where we are headed.  With this, we know exactly how to get there and what is involved.  He informs us of the places we shouldn’t venture.  Why?  Because we may get hurt, we may encounter bad people or we may get stuck.   We may even miss our destination entirely if we go our own way.  His directions are not given to demand his way, like an authoritarian dad.  His directions keep us from pain, shame, guilt and regret.  Even more, they are to offer us joy, fulfillment and purpose as we trust him.

He offers us the route to help us in our commute because he loves us.  If only we would actually see it this way.  We see his commands as rules, he sees them as tools.  Tools to help us, to guide us and to keep us in places of contentment, peace and purpose.

When we drive within the lines of the boundaries he has set, we will find safety.  We will live lives that are focused and purposeful.  As a result, we will effectively love God and love others more because we are not walking around as hurt vessels.  We are walking as loved children who are protected and secure in the path that God has set before us.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),  “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”  (Ephesians 6:1-3)

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:25)

God has perfect directions, or laws, for our lives.   Let’s keep our strollers upright as we walk hand in hand with God towards the destinations he has set before us.

 

 

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