Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Thoughts on "When Jesus Isn't Enough"

After I read this post last week, I asked myself "Is Jesus Enough"? I thought about my life and my relationship with Christ and at that point, decided maybe. If I'm being completely honest (thanks Simon Cowell for ruining that phrase forever) I wasn't sure. Do I rely too much on the things of this world and not nearly enough on Him?

But I want him to be. I want him to literally be the air I breathe. The force that sustains me each and every day. I want to be willing to lay it all down for him.

I wanted God to just tell me to sell it all and move to Africa and help the orphaned children, the sick and and dying, and live in the same place as they do. I wanted to prove myself in some dramatic gesture. Maybe then I would "get it". Maybe then my answer would be "Because I have Jesus." However, He's not asking me to do those things. Why?

I believe God called me to THIS time and THIS place in the history of the world. We are to glorify Him just as much with what we have as others do with what they don't. I think it's actually harder for me (personally) to live in this tension of "having" while others do not and not feel guilty about it or hold onto it so tightly God can't use me to pour through.

So after more reflection and prayer, I asked myself again this morning: "Is Jesus enough?"

Yes. I couldn't do this without Him. I wouldn't do this out without Him. He is the air I breathe.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

God's Ways Aren't Very American

Some days you have encounters with God that leave you thinking. The kind of thinking that leaves your brain in a slushy mess, but at the end you feel revitalized because it caused change. Somewhere in the crevices of my brain some of my God "knowledge" made it's way to my heart.

This past November, our family went down to serve with a local ministry (The Tapestry Project) that helps provide care and housing for marginalized women and children. The day consisted of helping these sweet families gather food for the upcoming holiday and then sit on the lawn and enjoy lunch with them. I was able to wait with several families and talk to them about what they did and how their children were enjoying school. After the food was bagged up we either helped them to their houses or cars. I got to hug some necks, tell them "thank you", and walk back feeling like I had done something, even if it was little.

I had helped one woman (who had five children ranging from 17 to two) to her modest home that day. Her place was cozy and warm (really warm, she clearly did not like the cold) and I looked around. Modest, but she had what she needed. And as we drove away that day, I thought, "God, thank you for taking care of my family the way you do."

And then God... "Why is the way that I take care of you any better than the way I take care of and provide for these people? Are you better because of it?'

Ouch.

If I had been a balloon, I would have deflated on the spot. And really, I did. I didn't even know how to respond to that. So, I didn't. I have, however, been thinking about it ever since.

In America, we are taught "If you work hard, and make good choices, you can have and do anything." Our blessings are up to us. That's great, except it's not entirely true. Yes, your choices make a difference, but I know plenty of people who work hard and make as good of choices that they can and still struggle to make ends meat. I know people who do little, but have been born into privilege, and according to the American way of life, are "blessed".

God's standards are not American. His blessings are more than I can understand because they go beyond what I have been "taught" my entire life to consider as blessings. And still, He blesses me in ways I can't see with my heart because He loves me.

And that right there, His love, sacrifice, faithfulness, is the biggest blessing of all. I know this in my head; I pray true understanding continues to trickle it's way to my heart.

Psalm 144:15 "....Blessed is the people whose God is the Lord."

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Journey into Mentoring: A Beginning

During this past year Craig had a message series on mentoring. In essence everyone needs to be a Paul and everyone needs to be a Timothy. Mentor and be mentored. But what if you have never mentored or even been mentored? What does it look like exactly? Where in the world do you find a mentee or mentor and when you do, what then?

"Hi, my name is Robin. I'm going to be your mentor for a while. Why don't you lie down on this couch and tell me your deepest concerns while we go through God's word verse by verse and interpret the meaning within."

After that little scenario flashed through my mind at church, I decided maybe mentoring wasn't for me. And pretty much washed my hands of it...until our small group met the next night. One of the young ladies in our group expressed she would really like a mentor. Actually, most of us expressed that sentiment, and all the wonderful things that would come out of a relationship built on that premise. And there it was, the small tug in my heart. You need to ask her if she would like you to mentor her.

For those of you who know me well, I was NOT about to go up to this woman and put myself out there like that. No way. What if she said no? What if she said yes and I completely screwed her up? So, I nicely explained to God that I was happy to do it! As long as she approached me. Then end.

And you know what? She did not approach me. The nerve. (I'm kidding)

So, there it sat for a couple of months. No one went anywhere. Until the subject came up again and the tug was there again. Sheesh. God was so not going to let this go. At that point I asked her out to have a drink and chat one evening. I had the whole speech planned out in my head ending with, "And if you don't feel like this is for you, I totally understand and won't be upset." I might as well have been giving her the Costanza, "it's not you, it's me" scene.

God love this woman. She not only accepted, she seemed legitimately happy about it! Score!

Which brings us to now. We've met a couple of times. After the first time I thought, "Hey, I think I can do this!" After the second time it was more, "Oh, Please God don't let me completely mess her up."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Same Song; Different Verse

Last year at this time I posted about my three words for the year: change, action, and wisdom.  I wanted to be different in so many ways at the end of 2010, and I can say without hesitation that I am a changed person. But, I'm in no way where God wants me to be...yet.

I do realize this life lived out in Christ is a lifelong process. If I ever feel as though I've arrived, then I'm probably literally sitting at the feet of Jesus singing his glory for eternity. I almost kept my same three words in 2011. But really, change is good. So, without further ado, my words for 2011.

"Yes": Such a simple word really. I was watching a Kay Warren video this past fall and she was commenting on how we have such a hard time saying Yes to God. It's as if we are afraid that God will allow something really bad to happen to us once we do. She called it the character assassination of God. I don't want to assume God is going to allow bad things to happen to me just because I fully surrender to His will. Bad things are going to happen whether or not I say yes. I want 2011 to be a year of "yeses" to God. Take me, show me, mold me. If I look more like Jesus at the end because of that simple word, then YES!

"Trust": This word goes along with my yes. Because I really need to trust God. It's so easy to say things like "God's will is perfect." "God is Good", or "His Grace is sufficient for me." All those things are in my head, but I need for them to be in my heart. I want to truly trust God this year when he leads and where he leads. I'm asking the Holy Spirit for help on this one. I can't just Jeanie blink it into existence. (Although that would be very cool.) I think we (The Holy Spirit and I) are just going to have to walk this road together.

There is no third word this year. Two is enough. More than enough for me to try and wrap my brain around and plenty for God to help me with.

Yes, Lord. I will trust you.