Monday, February 13, 2012

It's Always Tea Time

It’s an old illustration but the same hot water that will make you a cup of tea will also make an egg hard and a potato soft. The point is not the process but what you add to the pot. Boiling water is neutral. It’s just water. I choose the outcome by what I put into it.

Each result is definite. And each result is an absolute. Tea bags in hot water will make tea every time. Eggs in hot water will make hard boiled eggs. Potatoes in hot water will make mashed potatoes.

How does this information affect me? I’m going to get into hot water occasionally (okay, regularly). But the question is: what result do I hope for. Making my heart hard seems undesirable. Getting all mushy seems wrong. Expressing my life, the essence of who I really am, into the water would be more natural, don’t you think. I don’t have to worry, or try to force an outcome. I don’t have to fear what’s going on or try to control it. I simply let what’s in me come out.

Now that brings up a very important consideration—what’s in me? Maybe I don’t want others to see what’s in me. Maybe my outside doesn’t match what’s inside and I’m afraid for the inside to show. It could be I’ve worked very hard at creating an image I hope is believable. Well, that’s why I often choose the other two outcomes—hard or soft instead of natural. I don’t want my natural to show.

We spend so much time getting the outside to be presentable, we often forget that the inside is really who we are. Thus, the reason for hot water. Hot water isn’t to frustrate us, punish us or consternate us. Hot water is to reveal who we are.

Since I know hot water is coming, I think working on the inside of me is a prudent use of my time today. Tea anyone?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Seeing in the Darkness

One of the greatest principles of faith I ever heard was: Never doubt in the darkness what God has revealed to you in the light.

Darkness is not the time to question. It’s the time to trust. Just because we can’t see clearly now we shouldn’t begin to discount what we have seen previously.

How do you navigate in a dark room once you’ve turned out the lights? By memory of what was where when you had the lights on. You remember a chair was to your right, a table to your left. You slow down when you go through where you remember a doorway being. You proceed cautiously, but you still proceed because know where things are.

Stuff doesn’t move around simply because you can’t see it. If you stumble over it, it’s because you forgot where it was.

So it is with the truths of God. They remain constant, fixed. Darkness doesn’t make them move or go away. They stay put.

If the lights go off, don’t panic…trust. The God of the light is the same one present in the darkness. David said, “Darkness and light are the same thing to You.” (Ps 139). Just because I can’t see Him, doesn’t mean He isn’t there.

Until the lights come back on keep reminding yourself what you already know to be true. That darkness is no time to begin to questioning God.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Why Am I Here?

Ever feel trapped? Like being sandwiched between what is and what you know could be? You see both sides clearly. You know which is better. You even know how to get it there, but it’s out of your hands. Every day you envision the possibilities, only to get snapped back to reality when someone reminds you your job description doesn’t cover such privilege.

Solution one: just settle back and do what they hired you to do—your job and nothing more. Show no initiative, look for no answers, stay within your cubicle. That’s probably easy for them, but for “big picture” folks, for those who see everything interconnecting, who let the paint run over the lines in order to blend in with the rest of the scene, it’s misery. Like watching the clarity of Blue Ray when you’d prefer everything less distinct and more natural. Just do your job.

Solution two: keep dreaming but expect to be frustrated. There are a lot of pooh poohers out there. Those who have little imagination beyond their limited scope. They can’t even grasp the concept of there being anything except the box, much less risking the effort to think outside it. They are neat, everything in place, calm in the water, do what’s expected kind of folks. They’re great for filling in the blanks but ask them what the words in the blanks mean and they have no answers. You’re better off just keeping your thoughts to yourself.

Solution three: look for the reason God has you there. Frustration grows when we lose purpose. If I have to have surgery to fix a problem and I lose sight of the end—problem solved—I will grow frustrated with the pain. If my truck develops a problem requiring it to go to the shop and I have to struggle through the day without it, my frustration will grow unless I envision getting it back fixed and usable again. If I become infuriated with diet and exercise (writer’s imagination) I have lost sight of why I’m doing this.

Solution three gives me the means by which I can go on—a purpose bigger than my frustration. I can violate God’s intentions and end up where He doesn’t want me (free will), but once I am there God’s intentions crank up again. He has a will concerning wherever I am. It may be for me to make a difference where I am. It may be for where I am to make a difference in me. Either can be highly rewarding, however, we may not know which it is until after it’s over.

What I’m called to do is live faithfully in the great not yet—the time within which I have no clue why I’m here or what’s going on. I must look beyond the frustration to the higher goal of honoring my commitment in order to be faithful to the God who loves me and calls me according to His purpose. If being faithful becomes my goal, every day can hold amazing treasures God will help me find.

I don’t have to worry about where this is going or where it’s been. I only have to deal with where it is and how I fit into that moment.

God help me get my eyes off of myself and onto You and your intentions. Save me from my own inflated sense of importance.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Borrowed Words I Need Today

I read Michael Hyatt’s blog this morning and thought his thoughts were higher than my thoughts. He wrote of changing our attitudes. Since attitude has a life-altering effect on how I see my life and live my life, considering these truths may make a difference today  wherever I go and with whomever I connect.

    • I am not here by accident. God sent me. To these people. At exactly this time.
    • That’s because He has a purpose; therefore, I have a purpose in being here.
    • Through Christ, I can do all things. He has given me every resource I need to succeed.
    • I have the energy, the passion, and the message to make a huge impact—now and for eternity.
    • What I have to share today is vitally important. It matters. To them and to their loved ones.
    • Those that hear it will be changed forever. Years from now, they will look back on today and say, “It started here.”
    • By God’s grace, I am prepared. I am strong. I am energetic. I am outstanding. My heart is wide open. I will connect and make a difference!

I cannot remain the same if I believe what I have just read.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

When Giants Fall

I just read the story of David’s battle with Goliath. I get much more from it now than I did when I was a kid. All I can remember from those early days was how courageous David was. Standing before a giant, limiting your weapons to a few rocks, promising everyone how successful you were going to be…David became the poster child for fearlessness.

But now, I sense something more. The story is not about courage, it’s about faith. David did what he did, not because he was confident in his capabilities, but because he trusted God to be God in His behalf.

You don’t need courage to trust God. You simply need willingness. Trusting God brings courage. David’s experiences with the bear and lion did not teach him warfare, they taught him faith. He learned how God can be trusted. Those experiences were David learning he could expect God to accomplish what concerned him.

On the battle field, standing before Goliath, David said this battle was not about him or Goliath, but it was about God accomplishing His purposes. David knew it wasn’t his abilities to sling a stone that would save the day. God would. David’s decision was to let God accomplish His purposes through him. That placed the focus where it needed to be, where God could get the honor.

When everything’s over for us and we look back over our lives, we’ll see it wasn’t about us. It was about Him being God in our behalf. So in the meantime, learn to trust Him to accomplish what concerns you.