Christian, don’t miss what Jesus calls you to this week

two women sitting on chairs beside window
Photo by Christina Morillo on Pexels.com

I hit an emotional low this week. Last week I crashed from the adrenaline of responding to this pandemic in my church, community, family and hospital. This week I’ve cried. A lot.

The normal low-level fatigue I live with has become high-level. The irritability that signifies my depression has been showing. Hot tears have been spilling over my eyes and fiery darts of faithless thoughts have stung my swirling mind. I’ve found myself very tempted to hide in a batch of devoured hot brownies. I’ve vacillated between wanting to hide from every day’s grim new statistics of the spread of this virus and the death and destruction it’s brought, to busying myself with organizing my week, writing lists, setting goals and calling on people I care for.

And it hit me today. This is Holy Week. This is a special week of reflection and remembrance. And I’ve been missing it. I’m like the crowds around Jesus when he entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. But today, Jesus got my attention.

My sister called me today and reminded me how God saved her. In her words, “You didn’t give up on me sis. When I was mean, you kept calling, visiting, sending cards and notes. You never gave up. You listened to me. You made me see that Jesus is real, not just a religious idea.” Her words shook me awake.

I believe that the Jesus who entered Jerusalem a couple thousand years ago, setting in motion a series of events that would lead to his crucifixion on Friday and his resurrection on Sunday, is alive. And lives in me. I believe he suffered this week those millennia ago so that I could experience the freedom of the glory that only the children of God experience (Romans 8:20).

This week the world is suffering. She groans. I groan. But as the world writhes under the pain of a pandemic this Holy Week, God’s children look to Jesus, our older brother, gone before to save us.  We share this week with Jesus. We are in him and he is in us. He is redeeming our suffering. And we are sharing in his glory. It’s a beautiful wonder the world longs to see. And it’s a reality the children of God have been commissioned to invite them into.

This week my pastor called his congregation to pray for and specifically tell another person what Jesus has done for them. To be honest, intentionally setting out to tell my friend what Jesus has done for me via phone call or text or video (because doing it face to face isn’t safe) and inviting her to follow Jesus with me feels a little crazy. It feels a little bit like I might look foolish. I might be misunderstood. I might be mocked. I might be rejected. I might be… cut off.  Like Jesus was, for me.

Jesus is the best thing that ever happened to me. And He’s the best thing that could every happen to any of my friends. And if I love them like Jesus loves me, I’ll look all those possibilities in the eye, and like Jesus I’ll set my face determined to go there.

There is no greater love than one would lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). And there is no greater way to lay down my life for my friends than to give up whatever might happen to me if I determine to intentionally and faithfully love them well and invite them to follow Jesus with me.

I pray that like Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem this week, determined and knowing what he had to do to reconcile me with God, I will set my face toward someone else, determined to lay my life down that they could experience the freedom and glory of Jesus.

 

Confessions of a white evangelical woman

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I guess the people that decide such things would categorize me as a white evangelical. Depending on what you read or who you ask, in our current social context, that might sound like I’m a Trump-voting, Religious-Right, conservative Republican.  I’m none of those.  But I am white, and I am a Christian- by the amazing grace of God in Christ! I guess I am evangelical in the sense that I believe the good news that Christ died for our sins and I love to tell others that good news in hopes that they might come to their senses like I did and follow Jesus. But in the social context that seems to connect the idea of being a white evangelical with being a bigoted, Christiandom, Culture Warrior  I want to be a light on a hill, driving out darkness and helping others see.  If I want to be a light, I first need Jesus to heal my blindness.

My pastor recently said something like, “Blind spots in a Christian’s life are not areas they struggle with.  Those are just usually areas where they don’t want to repent of sin.  Blind spots are just that. You’re blind to them. You don’t know they’re there.”

If I’m going to be aware of my blind spots I’m gonna need someone to point them out to me.  When it comes to being a white Christian in the U.S., I need my black, Latino, Asian, Indian and Native American friends to show me where I’m blind to my lack of love and burden-bearing with them.

MLK Day is one of those holidays where I feel haunted.  I feel a perpetually, present gnawing in my gut to get at what’s dividing me from the people of color (POC) in my life. Honestly didn’t think anything was.  But the more I hear the news and see the Twitter posts of Christian POC who are living with the history of the U.S.’s oppressiveness towards them, the more I realize I am not bearing this burden with them. I have no idea how they feel.  But I want to.

Dr. John M. Perkins said, “There is no reconciliation until you recognize the dignity of the other, until you see their view- you have to enter into the pain of the people. You’ve got to feel their need.

I wrote a post awhile back after hearing a radio broadcast on NPR about the African American wax museum in Baltimore, Maryland.  In that post I talk about my desire to listen to my black neighbors, co-workers and friends and to not be quick to say something to defend myself or make things sound better.  I just want to listen.  I want shut my mouth and enter into the pain of the people upon whose backs this country was built.

I never used to think about racism. I think about it a lot now.  I hear our President.  I see my elderly, white patient’s stand-off-ish reactions at work to the Nigerian doctors and Eritrean nurses who care for them.  I go to church, and I see mostly white people.  I go to the gym down the street and the grocery store and I see very few white people.  I drive through El Mirage, which is predominantly Hispanic and I see no grocery stores.  No kids playing outside.  No church.  I long to have personal relationships with POC where I can bear burdens with them.  I long for my church to be multiracial so we can be a more accurate sampling of the Kingdom of God which is made up of people from every tribe, tongue and nation.

So what am I doing about it?  I am blessed to work with doctors and nurses from all over the world.  There I have formed some professional relationships and early friendships.  But I want to go deeper.  I want to bear burdens.  I had coffee with a brilliant Nigerian nurse I work with a while back.  We talked about racism, being Christians, marriage, temptations we deal with… it was good.  But I know I need to go further. I’m praying about it.  Asking God to show me how I can be a minister of reconciliation to my Hispanic, African, Asian, and Native American neighbors.

On the way home from the gym I listened to this YouTube playing of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s sermon: Why Jesus Called a Man a Fool.  In his sermon he compared America to the fool Jesus spoke of in Luke 12:13-21. He was right.  And the spirit of America, where we build barns to store more of our wealth, has affected me too.  I have grown up in America as a white evangelical where the themes of being a conservative republican were preached as equally as the need to read my Bible and go to church.  I have never known oppression because of the color of my skin.  But I’m beginning to see the people around me who have grown strong under the oppression of America’s foolishness and I am emboldened by their strength to confess my blindness and follow their lead in speaking the truth in love- boldly, humbly, despising the shame of the fool.

 

 

we need to listen. and shut our mouths.

The other day while driving to my oldest son’s baseball game, this story came on the radio.  It’s about the producers memories of going on a tour of The National Great Blacks In Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.  She recalls with audible disturbance, the traumatic memory she has from her school tours through the museum which depicts lynchings and a slave ship as well as segregation and slavery.  Its one of the few times everyone in the car was silent.  Three white males in the car 47, 14, and 12. And myself a white woman.  It really hit us all.  My pubescent sons’ mouths were gaping and at one point my youngest announced, “This is horrible!  Why would people do that?”  I turned the volume down and asked the boys to imagine that they were born and raised in a country where in recent history white people were segregated, lynched, abused, treated like animals and made to be slaves?  That’s the history that my black friends in the U.S. live with.

People like me and my husband and sons we have no idea what that feels like.  That’s what “white privilege” means.  It doesn’t me we get a hand out or hand up.  It means we don’t live with a history of oppression against people who look like us in the country we call home.

I know folks are upset about NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.  And I know people are quick to defend police officers (so am I… I’m married to one).  But we white folks need to listen.  We need to listen to stories like this.  And to the stories of our black neighbors and co-workers and friends.  We need to listen.  And shut our mouths.  We may have good arguments.  But especially those of us who call ourselves Christians need to put our hands over our mouths and listen.

I have nothing but respect and prayers for our veterans and military servants.  I love my country.  But my country has a history of sinful oppression of people of color.  What we hear in the news and see on T.V. and post in our social media is not going to stop the blood of the slaves from crying out in their descendants. We need to lay down our lives and listen. We need to stop being Job’s friends to those who are bearing a bitter burden.  We need to love our black neighbors.  And give our lives for their restoration to wholeness.

This is the way of Christ, our God and Savior who wasn’t white.  This is the way of the God who calls peoples of every tribe, tongue and nation to be his children.  This is the way of Jesus, who drove out the proud money-changers and proclaimed, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations”? And you have turned it into house of robbers!

 “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” -2 For. 5:18-19

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger… -James 1:19 

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how Christians can be like any other spiritual person and how they can stand out different

James and I spent most of yesterday and this morning in historic Jerome, Arizona.  We stayed at the Surgeon’s House, a bed and breakfast run by a very sweet lady named Andrea.  

The 100 year old Surgeon’s house used to be the headquarters for nurses working for the local hospital before it was used as home of the chief surgeon at the hospital in the 1930’s.  The house and town have quite the history.  I’ve never stayed at a bed and breakfast so I have nothing to compare it to, but this is most definitely the best experience I have ever had in staying at a hotel or resort.  You don’t go to the Surgeon’s house to stay overnight.  You go to retreat into quiet rooms and gardens full of comfy seats, art, books, plants, Koi fish, the sound of water falling, and the views of the entire valley and red-rock features on the horizon.  You go to walk the switchback, uphill streets of Jerome, visit quaint shops and historic sites (which are everywhere) and come back to a quiet home with open doors and the aroma of freshly baked goodies waiting for you.  It was honestly the best experience I’ve ever had for a getaway.  Which I’ve only done once or twice in the last 24 years, and never without kids.

Being there, and speaking with Andrea- who I took to be an odd but very nice spiritualist/mystic 60 something woman at her mention of being blessed by “Mother Earth” and her reference to her past life as a mermaid (she wasn’t joking), energy fields, “Darma” and the tattoo of a moon and star on her forehead as well as the Nag Champa incense burning in the dining room- stirred up some thinking about my life as a Christian and as a wife. 
Andrea was a perfect hostess.  She was hospitable, warm, accommodating and an amazing cook!  You really couldn’t ask for much better.  The only thing I didn’t like was the smell of the Nag Champa.  But any who, as we were leaving today I was thinking about how nice this lady was who obviously did not worship Christ.  I thought about how people loved going to her place and how kind she was.  How was she different than a what Christ calls us to be?  
I’m not talking about doctrine (obviously Mother Earth and her past life as a mermaid don’t line up with our Triune God and the hope of resurrection we have because of Christ and his atoning work on the cross).  I’m talking about how she deals with people’s sin… even her own.  This nice woman is going about her business in a very high-quality way.  But the thought crossed my mind, “What does she do with people’s sin in her life?  What is her response to the sin of others against her and the things about her she knows are shameful and wrong?” The difference between a nice woman like this who’s into spirituality and such, and a woman (or man) who has been captured by the love of Christ and is in the process of being conformed to his image is the way they respond to sin.  Andrea had created quite the sanctuary for herself and the guests she chose to allow into her home at a price.  But what did she do with sin?
We Christians could be like Andrea, and our claims about Christ wouldn’t seem to be anything more than another kind of spirituality.  We can go about our lives, trying to create a comfortable place/space/life for ourselves and only allow in those we choose at a price (they have to make it worth it to let them in, i.e. make our lives easier/more comfortable/richer).  But Christ in us wouldn’t be seen.  His unique claims to being the Way, the Truth and the Life and the only way to know God and be in a peaceful, loving relationship with him would be muted by our “nice” lives.  The only way we stand out in the world of “good” religion or “nice” spiritualism, even atheistic moralism, is by the way we respond to sin.  
I tried explaining my thinking to my husband on the way home while we were discussing Andrea’s spirituality.  I said, “The way Christianity tells of God is that God, who has everything and is in the highest place of honor, lowered himself to lift up others.  Other religions and spiritualism has to isolate itself from others to seem nice and attractive.  They don’t go get low into peoples lives and let the messes those people have fall on them and love them through it, bearing it and dealing with it in love.”  I thought about how when you look at the world and the people who are going to the hard places and the poor places and the dangerous places, it’s mostly Christians.  Not people like sweet Andrea.  People like Andrea go to places like Sedona and Jerome and let people seek out their “enlightened” way of thinking.   And we Christians can be just religious-right conservative versions of Andrea if we don’t put our Christianity rubber to the road of people’s messed up sinful lives.  
We don’t have to go to Africa to do it either.  Although we may.  If we’re married we have a sinful person to take up our crosses and following Jesus in loving daily.  How we deal with the sin in the lives of the ones we’ve vowed to stay with until death do us part is one area where we can let Christ in us be seen as something totally other, different… holy.  Christ died bearing our sins.  He calls us to take up our cross and follow him daily.  Christians die daily to see others freed from slavery to sin.  
The Christian doesn’t hide from sin. He runs to it. In love. To die bearing it. In the Spirit of Christ who paid for it. So many try to train, tolerate or ignore people’s sin. Christians run to people in their sin in the Spirit of the One who bore it.
So driving home, I thought about Andrea, and my Christian life, and looked at my world-weary husband, laden with a load of sin and shame as he drove us home.  It’s not a nice marriage I’m running for here.  It’s his freedom.  

Around the house and Charlottesville

Current happenings:

1) Today is my first day of unscheduled activity since July 1st.  I napped.  Read a book for leisure. And went to the gym late.
2) Yesterday I received a $2000 scholarship from the Sun Health Foundation for use towards my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. I’m very thankful there are people in the community who give their money to invest in nursing students.  These people are often the patients cared for by the Banner hospital system.  And as one of their donor’s put it, they would like us to be better nurses when they’re in our care.  I can appreciate that.  I want future nurses who may care for me to be better nurses too, which is why I love having students when I work. 
3) After talking with several nurses I work with I decided to call Grand Canyon University to look into their RN to BSN program.  Turns out those nurse’s gave me good advice.  Grand Canyon won’t require me to take any additional math and I get a tuition discount for working for Banner hospitals.  Yay me!
4) The front covered patio project is nearly completed. The actual patio and permit for that project has been reviewed by an inspector from the county and passed inspection.  There’s no longer a timeline pressing my husband to get the project done, but there are still endless projects to be done.  We both feel relieved just to be done with the patio/permit/inspection process. And it looks really nice.  James definitely has a gift for quality craftsmanship.  Next, the siding and landscaping of the front yard will happen, but for now, the before and after pics look like this.
THE BEGINNING OF THE PROCESS
IN PROCESS
PASSED INSPECTION & ALMOST FINISHED!

Current even thoughts:
The events in Charlottesville Virginia sicken me.  As a white, Christian American I feel the need to stand on the rooftop and shout at the Alt Right and white supremacy groups wearing their stupid costumes and spewing their violent, evil agenda:  YOU BROOD OF VIPERS!  
I would like to simultaneously shout to my neighbors:  THAT IS NOT CHRISTIANITY!  Christ is the Lord of peoples from every tribe, tongue and nation.  Heaven will be ethnically and beautifully diverse.  There is no such thing as white supremacy.  White supremacists are terrorists using the name of God, Christ and the Bible blasphemously.  
It bothers me A LOT that our president is quick to tweet attacks on people for all sorts of things but he needed two days to think about the facts before Luke-warmly speaking out against the violence in Charlottesville.  He needed to stand up there and say, “White supremacists are terrorists among us and they will not be tolerated!”   If a Muslim gunman ran into a building shooting people at a club he wouldn’t have flinched at calling it Islamic terrorism.   The evil that people do in the name of God is evil, no matter what religion they use to defend it. 
I love the Christ I have never seen and worship the God of the Bible.  I believe he is the way, the truth and the life, but I don’t believe that means everyone who calls on the name of the God of the Bible is a Christian.  Nor do I believe that every person who calls upon the name of Allah is a terrorist.   There is a very scary evil in the hearts of every human being, that unchecked by the grace of God is capable of the atrocities we see in every ethnicity.  
I don’t want any part of racism.  I want to find deliberate ways to bring healing and reconciliation to the people of darker pigments and other cultures in my neighborhood, workplace, community and country.   I feel like under our current president, the efforts of real Christians shining the light of Christ in this dark world is increasingly in direct opposition with our historic right-winged political affiliations.  
The United States of America is a country built on the backs of African slaves.  The history of racial discrimination is in our roots and its still producing the evil fruit of violence and hate towards people made in the image of God.  As a white person I want to be part of laying an ax to the root of racism that is part of the culture I take for granted every day.  Charlottesville has me thinking and praying about ways I can do that.

I work in an environment that’s very diverse.  My little street here is pretty white.  And in this rural street of a major metropolis it’s easy to not think much about racism and my role in bringing reconciliation where there has historically been division and pain.  In an article I read the other day I came across a suggestion for how to bring hidden thoughts about racism to light by inviting friends and neighbors to discuss the goings on in Charlottesville.  I think that’s a good place to start.  

eyes on the Author- the every morning struggle to walk by faith

I don’t wake up full of vision and motivation.  Actually, what motivates me most is the idea that my french press and single-origin coffee from Guatemala are just minutes away from awaking my senses with it’s warm, toasty aroma.  And on those days when I get my stiff, puffy-eyed body out of bed and make my way to the cabinet to prep the press with my favorite coffee and find we’re out, I feel great motivation to get dressed and drive to the local store so I can hurry up and get back home before too much time has passed and get my coffee going.

Basically, coffee motivates me to get up in the morning.

Mixed in the grogginess between eyes open and that first cup of coffee I remember who I am.

I am not my own.  I am a Christian.  The weight of meaning in that word falls on me like gravity on the fledgling attempts of a young eagle to fly every morning.

I feel myself falling.  Falling. Squawking out a cry, “Help!  Help Lord!  I am yours. Let me hear your loving kindness in the morning lest I be like those who go down to the pit!”  Sometimes sooner, sometimes later, but never failing, my faithful Helper and Friend, my God, my Father, the one who made me a Christian and bought me out of slavery to the law of sin and death, he swoops down and lifts me up on his everlasting wings.

He’s teaching me to fly.  To soar on wings like eagles.  To walk and not grow weary.  To run the race set before me as a woman finding her identity in Christ, as wife to James in a difficult marriage, as a mother raising men, in a community and time full of the “treasures of Egypt“.  And when he finally lifts me up I see the wonder of who He is and what He’s done and what He’s doing in me, I can face the day.

I don’t always get a chance to reflect on the truth of what God has done in calling me his own daughter like today.  Usually the day marches on and I struggle to fix my eyes on the One who wrote this story. He’s the author of my faith, and since he is, he’s also the one who will finish the story he started in me.  He’s not an inconsistent blogger or an aspiring writer.  He’s the author of life, and the writer of faith, and the one who began this good work in me.  And he will be faithful to complete it.

Every morning the struggle is real.  And that’s no cliche.  I need to get my eyes on Jesus every morning and remember who I am, and the promise that He who began this good work in me will be faithful to complete it.  I need to remember that God gave me life in Christ and I am destined to be with him forever.  I need to remember because I’m called to die daily.  I’m called to follow Jesus in taking up my cross daily.  I’m not here for my best life now.  My life is not all about me and getting all the pleasure and comfort and ease I can squeeze out of the day and people in my world.  I’m a Christian, my best life is already and not yet.  I taste it here in every little resurrection, when I deny bitterness and embrace forgivenesss, when I deny ease and choose serving, when I feel the sorrow and the pain of my own sin and others’ sins and rejoice in the promise that the One I love, who I have never seen, He will make all things new.

If I could just get my eyes on the Author today I’ll be OK.

“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” – Hebrews 12:1-2

Sunday Thoughts

I want to be a better writer.   I’ve decided to challenge myself to a series of writing prompts, which I plan to post here.
Writing for me is a way to digest life.  Reading what others have written is like going out to dinner.  Journaling is like making my own meal.  Writing publicly on a blog is like having everyone over for dinner.  I want to have my own food truck/catering biz- freelance?  And maybe even my own little hole in the wall restaurant- book?  If I am going to reach those goals I need to sharpen my culinary, uh-hem, writing skills.  No more margarine.  Time for real butter.   Maybe the challenge of writing prompts will help me refine my menu.

Today at Valley Life Church Surprise, the guy who leads the team that helps people get connected at the church, Michael, preached about the second commandment from Exodus 20. 
It always hits me when I’m at church how strange we are.  We Christians.  I mean what we do on any given Sunday in most Christian church gatherings.  We sit and listen to someone proclaim truths gleaned out of reading a book that is thousands of years old.  Our souls sing… hence for many raised hands, eyes closed, tears flow.  We sing songs about God’s sovereignty and power and grace and love and we sing amazed.  We eat bread and drink juice and remember Christ’s sacrifice.  We confess our sins and weep over them and rejoice at forgiveness and the help we find in the scriptures and each other.   I mean, I don’t know first hand what happens in gatherings of Muslims or Hindus or Buddhists, but from what I read and hear, these religious gatherings are more like corporate prayers. Memorized prayers and chants.  But not adoration in singing and proclamation of God’s self-sacrificing, heart-changing love.  And for the irr-religious, its even more weird what we do.  A morning spent singing songs of praise to the unseen God for an act done in history 2000 plus years ago that has changed the course of life for a millions of people from the inside out, causing them to no longer live for themselves but for the One who died for them?  Why?  Why not just clean the garage.  Or binge on Netflix.  Or work on your golf game.  Why do all that stuff?
Listening today to the comparison between the God of Israel and the multiple gods of the peoples Israel lived amongst (and got entangled with) I realized thousands of years may have passed, but the God of the Bible and his people still stand out in a world full of idols as different.  And we still get entangled in idol worship.  John’s closing sentence at the end of 1 John is a relevant and needed message that we shouldn’t pass so easily over:  Little children, keep yourselves from idols.  
The God of the Bible wants all of me.  My heart.  My affections.  My love.  He has given himself to me in covenant love.  No easy access idol that makes me feel good about myself for a little while should ever get between God and I.  
I start my online Introductory Algebra class on Tuesday.  I have no idea how this will work, but I am anticipating lots of hair pulling and frustrated Facebook posts.  Hopefully at the end of summer I can test into the math I need to get into the BSN program.  
Math is my nemesis. 

Sojourning Sheila

I’m thinking of changing my blog title to: Sojourning Sheila {and so I did}.

What I write reflects who I am. Six years ago, when I started blogging, I was inspired by the beauty of making a home and being a helper Imago Dei.  I’m still inspired, yet, refined. Several years ago, my vision of being a homemaker (albeit inspired by scripture) had begun to crowd out who I really am- a sojourner; not finding here any continuing home, but rather looking to the eternal home promised me in Christ.

Psalm 39 is a template of my recent life.  Spiritually, the rhythm of things {the last 7 years} has been harmonious with David’s expression in Psalm 39.

I was off course and I realized it at the correction of my good Father. I decided to shut my mouth and guard my ways, hence a nearly complete backing off of all my blogging and writing 4 years ago. But when I don’t write, when I keep my mouth shut, a fire burns in me. I have told others I feel as though God has shut my mouth. He has.

 “I am mute; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it.”

In the past year I have begun writing publicly more often again.  And every time I write here, and see that title: A Homemaker’s Meditations, I am reminded of my previous obsession with being home and my off-course plan from which my Lord has lovingly corrected me (although like David I have often felt his discipline has consumed like a moth that which is dear to me- even so He is exceedingly good.  Blessed be the Name of the Lord!).

Yesterday we received keys to our new fixer-upper home.  It was as I drove there that the words of Psalm 39, especially verse 12, washed over me like clean water.  God has moved us there.  Doors have been shut that seemed to be unshutable.  Doors have opened fast and wide that seemed very likely to close.  And there’s fear in the air hissing it’s temptation to grab hold tightly and yet the Prince of Peace pervades, pushing back fear like an invisible shield.

This world is not my home
I’m just a passin’ through.  
My treasures are laid up 
Somewhere beyond the blue.

If a man has Christ and nothing, he has infinitely more than if, without Christ, he has all the family, finances and security this world offers!  I have Him.  I am His and He is mine!  I can hold every thing He gives me with an opened hand.

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in.  Aim at earth and you will get neither. – C.S. Lewis

Quieted,
Sheila

Three days into my flash-flood week

(My Music/Metal-Detecting Man and his sons)

I got up at 4 AM yesterday to *try* working out before going to work. I gave it a try. Unlike cleaning up my diet, changing my workout time to 4 AM had no beneficial effect other than feeling wide awake and ready to go at 5 AM. By 10, I was ready for a nap.

I really didn’t think I’d wimp out that easy since I usually get up at 5, but I guess that one hour makes a huge difference.  Maybe if I gave it a good 2 weeks I’d get used to it, but I’m not gonna. 

So today I stopped at the gym after work.  That works better for me.  I just need to get in the habit of going after work.  Working out is not a stress-reliever for me… it’s a stress builder.  I know lots of people say they work out as a release, but for me, working out is crimp in my plan- my plan to slow down, read, write, think, walk, breathe and write some more.   I work out for the same reason I brush my teeth and eat my veggies (actually I like to eat my veggies)… it’s good for me.  It’s definitely not my hobby.

From the moment I get in my car after church on Sunday the commencing week hits me like a flash flood.  Before I know it, it’s Thursday and I’ve got no blog post to show for it. Smile.  I seriously feel like each day that I don’t write I don’t fully digest that day’s benefits and lessons.

I’ve been thinking on these quotes:

Contempt is conceived with expectations.  Respect is conceived with expressions of gratitude.  We can choose which one we will obsess over- expectations, or thanksgivings.  That choice will result in a birth- and the child will be named either contempt, or respect. – Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

Making someone else feel smaller so that we can feel larger is antithetical to the Christian faith, a complete rejection of the Christian virtues of humility, sacrifice, and service.  So often Jesus left the crowd to minister to the individual, while we rationalize leaving the individual- particularly our spouse- to curry favor with the crowd… If a man or woman is unrelentingly ambitious, willing to ignore or to sacrifice a spouse as they pursue their own agenda, they will almost undoubtedly be unrelentingly ambitious toward others as well, bringing them on board to serve their purposes, not to engage them in mutual kingdom service. – Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

Well my world-weary Music Man is home from a 14 hour mentally-grueling day.  Now would be a good time to leave the crowd to minister to the one.

Quieted,
Sheila