Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Psalm 46 tells us to "Be still and know that I am God." It sounds so simple, does it not? Be still. Do...nothing. Just exist. No agenda, no expectations. Why is this such a difficult task?

Our society so values efficiency. We judge how good a day was by how much we accomplished. How many items were checked off of our 'to-do' list. What great and mighty actions can we lay claim to. Yet, all this hustle and bustle takes away from the goodness of life. When I am too focused on household chores, I don't get to enjoy and treasure my time with Jameson. When we are too focused on being busy in the evenings, we miss valuable time we could be spending as a family. And, when we don't practice the art of being still it becomes hard to slow ourselves down and listen to God.

How often do we half-pray? By that I mean we talk to God, asking for His guidance, His help, maybe offering praise, but we don't listen to His response. How would your relationship with your spouse, your best friend, with anyone grown if you only ever talked to them, but never listened. It's hard to listen when the words aren't always audible, and when we are always distracted by the many things we need to be doing. So, when the tough times and big decisions come along, we aren't well-practiced in the art of listening to God's response to our pleas for guidance. It is hard to suddenly Be still and know Him when we are out of practice, harder still to hear His response.

I find myself right now sitting in a hotel room. Jameson is (finally) napping, Michael is in meetings, and I have some down time. Unlike at home, where I would be running laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning the house, I have a few minutes. Deciding what to do with them I thought "I could pray." Nothing the world would see as efficient or noteworthy, but probably the best thing I could do for my family right now.

So, the next time I try to fill my day from morning to night, or the next time I find myself wanting to judge someone for being lazy I need to remember to be still. The simplest thing in the world, yet often the hardest.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Facelift (Part 2): Generosity

So, what changes have been going on in my life? A lot! Some of you have asked me about the 'facelift' that I mentioned, and when I would post again. Honestly, I have thought about it a few times, but it never seemed the right time. Until now, so here I am. I definitely feel like there has been a lot of 'refining' going on in my life. Some changes still taking place, but I feel like I can start to process them now, and often for me the best way to do that is in writing. So, here goes...

Generosity. Giving. Let's start there. This may not come as much of a surprise, but a lot of times generosity does not come easily to me. In my life I tend to focus a lot on fairness. Who knows what early childhood event or trauma this stems from, but I look at life in a very transactional way, each side of the balance sheet has to equal out. Over the years we have been together Michael has inspired me to be more generous of spirit. He is always quick to help someone out, to offer to lend a friend anything at his disposal, to give of himself, his time, his expertise without expecting anything in return. I love this about him, and aspire to allow God to soften my heart. I fully believe that everything we have, material possessions, gifts, skills, abilities, are from God. They belong to Him, and He entrusts them to us during our time here on earth. So, I don't need to worry about looking out for myself and my interests; God is doing that. I am FREE to share, and to share generously.

This fairness mentality really came to a head with a new baby in the house. Even in the midst of the love affair I am having with Jameson, I found myself struggling with the lack of "fairness." Instead of enjoying putting Jameson to bed, or giving him a bath, I would focus on why I was always the one doing it while Michael could sit downstairs and relax watching TV. It wasn't "fair." When was my time to relax and unwind? I let bitterness creep in, until it hit me: this is a blessing! I get to put my baby to bed at night, read him a story, say his prayers, sing a song, etc. Much too quickly, the day will come when he won't need me for that anymore, and I will treasure the memories of these precious times. The devil was trying to steal that joy, by having me focus on what I wasn't getting instead of enjoying what a tremendous gift was right in front of me. This is just one example of the fairness sturggle, but a big one.

My goal, as it relates to fairness, is to fight it head on. When I start to feel myself reverting to a stance of looking-out-for-me I am going to choose to be generous instead. If I feel like I am doing more than my fair share, instead of complaining or fighting about it, I am going to take on more. If I feel like someone is asking too much of me, instead of being bitter toward them I am going to offer more. For me, right now, I feel like generosity is the opposite of fairness, so I hope to overflow with generosity to all those around me.

Easy? No. Worth it? Absolutely.