Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On Kindness, Fasting, and Not Being Weird

So this is the longest I've gone in between blog posts and it feels super weird. I've had so many awesome ideas for posts but have not had the ability to write for a while. It all started with my laptop finally giving up. After a nice bath and a few unintentional collisions with my floor it seems to have crashed. As my husband put it, I got the "dreaded blue screen." Whatever that means. I wasn't too bothered since my husband has a desktop and I can access the internet through my TV (don't ask me how). However our remodeling project timetable got pushed back a bit. My house has been in total upheaval for about two weeks. Everything from our living room, including TV, got squished, literally, into my husband's office. For over a week we've lived without TV and computer...and survived! I can't say I missed it all that much except for, of course, not being able to blog. Having a DVR helps. Without it, I would have missed Downton Abbey and Biggest Loser. My patients was rewarded when I did finally get to see the season finale of Downton Abbey. But I digress.

I left you hanging last week with a post about doing a random act of kindness every day. It was quite the experience! I got my kids involved, which was so fun to see their little minds turning over with ideas full, of all things, KINDNESS! Our first day we wrote a nice letter to our mailman with some treats. Not sure how he liked it but they were gone the next day! We handed out cupcakes and made special phone calls to friends long overdue. What a wonderful way to prepare for Lent. I can't say anything super dramatic happened. It was the small things. The good, inside feeling we got that made it worth it. I loved intentionally turning my thoughts to others. I was surprised and disappointed to realize how hard that is.

This also leads me to my next topic. Lent. Wow. Let's just say I couldn't have picked a better time to give up coffee! EEK! This is true love, God! A house full of feverish, super cranky kids who can't watch TV, a sick and stressed husband, all exposed before a practical stranger working on our house. Mama needs her coffee! Since last Wednesday I haven't had a drop. Why? I've begun to realize that at least for me, Lent really comes down to more of Him and less of me. I express this through fasting something I really enjoy. It's been tough. Harder then I thought it would be. But I'm thinking that's kind of the point right? I don't think God is taking some creepy delight in my being miserable. I think He is loving that my heart gets turned toward Him at a time of day that I'm normally thinking of only myself. He breathes life into my soul and most days I've forgotten about coffee. Honestly, now that I think about it, the only times I've really craved it are the days I haven't first started my morning off surrendered to Him. Interesting...

Am I saying coffee is sin? Um...NO! But for now, I'm more then happy to let it go.

Our projects are somewhat back on schedule and our house is somewhat back in order and life is getting back to business as usual.

A couple of weeks ago I went to this amazing worship service. I walked in feeling burdened with a heavy heart. Hard to describe with words but since this is a blog I'll try. My relationship with the Lord feels like a roller coaster sometimes. Not because of Him. He's steadfast. And I've grown a lot, because even though outwardly as this roller coaster ride goes along, inside I feel an unfailing love consume my heart that leaves no room for doubt, which was always there but I didn't see it. Still, this feeling of wondering if I'm enough, if what I'm doing is enough, looms over my mind. I walked in feeling that way, I walked out feeling refreshed and enlightened but still feeling heavy. The worship service was actually part of three day conference. So stinkin' awesome, by the way. During one of the sessions something clicked inside me. This realization that I'm not weird. That feeling "spiritual" isn't weird. So, I am dramatic sometimes (my husband would say, "Sometimes?") and I know this can turn people off and distract. I'm working on that. But "hearing" from God is NOT abnormal or weird. In fact I'd say the opposite is true. Not "hearing" from God is abnormal. Who are we anyway? Aren't we His? Why would  He call us into relationship if it was just going to be empty and one-sided? Why did He go through all the effort to not speak with us now that He can? He actually wants to speak to us! He wants to walk with us and talk with us daily. And not just that, He wants me to hear Him when does speak. He wants to pour out His Spirit into our lives in ways that completely change us. A part of me came alive sitting there.

I'm not weird.

I'm not perfect either. The weight of my imperfections gradually started to creep back into my mind. What do I do God? I'm so screwed up. I have so many issues and so many problems.

At this point in my conversation with the Father the most unusual picture came to mind. What I felt like He was telling me is something He's told me in many different ways. Through the Bible, through different pictures, from words from others.

It was this idea of pressing into Him. We're all messed up. Imagine us being covered in junk but the closer we get to Him the stuff just flies off, really with out any effort on our part. Sometimes the more light I walk in the more I feel my junk is exposed. Actually it seems like these times are kind of organized. (Like God has a plan or something.) I may walk in relative darkness in one area of my life for a while when He shines His light into it and "it" is revealed. Suddenly I'm filled with a heavy and contrite heart but because I've walked this way so long it feels natural. It feels apart of me. What am I to do? What are You asking of me? I always have this feeling of being willing to do whatever I need to but with out a clear direction. I'm at a loss. What He's telling me is, the direction is towards Him. That's all. That's the answer. That's all He really wants from any of us. It's just for us to move in His direction. Walk towards Him. Press in when it's hard and you seem to be walking head on into hurricane winds. He's using that wind to knock junk off. If my focus is on Him and I'm leaning in closer, that stuff can't stay in my life.

It's Jesus. It's always been about Him. If there's a problem, He's the solution. If there is a question, He's the answer. If there's a gap, He fills it. It seems so simple. I think it can be. I know it can be hard some days but it's times like these, when I'm fasting, that I realize how simple it can be. If I can say no to coffee, I can say yes to Him. If I can intentionally look for ways to be randomly kind to someone, I can be intentional about following Him.

Let's press in today.

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