Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cross My Heart…

Part of the delay in posting here was that I had made a declaration several months ago about promising to post more often.  As days, weeks, months passed, it felt more difficult to post because I wasn’t keeping true to my word.

Source/Notes: The collected works of Aldous Huxley (1953 edition) 
But I’m letting go of that right now. I’m human. I say things with good intention and sometimes I don’t follow through.  That little voice always tells me, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” I have to balance that with “What is the intention?” Do I intend to post on this barely-read blog? or Do I intend on being gracious and loving toward humanity? One of those, I know you would agree, has a bigger weight to it than the other.  But to me, they tend to carry the same weight. It’s rooted in one of my strengths called Belief.  So it’s something that I’m working on.  (I seem to always be working on something….)
If I don’t find myself worthy of forgiveness, why should I forgive you?
So as I peck away at the keyboard this morning, I may not have anything really big to say, but in writing this, I’m offering myself forgiveness and finally taking it.  It’s one thing that I find extremely difficult to offer myself and honestly I’ve never been good at offering it to others either.  I guess it makes sense.  If I don’t find myself worthy of forgiveness, why should I forgive you?  But I’ve been consciously working on the forgiving others part - and I’ve found an enormous amount of freedom in that.  So it should only make sense that if I can forgive myself freedom would also follow.

"No blades, no bows, leave your weapons here."

What a revelation.  Sometimes something so simple is so incredibly hard to see when you can’t even bare to look at your own reflection.  I seek freedom from so many things in my life.  I have accumulated a mass weaponry to fight for that freedom.  My arsenal increases often.  I fight with a purpose.  Sometimes the battles are long and drawn out.  Blood is spilt, and close to death I’ve come.  I’ve even given up, dropped my weapons and fallen to my knees.  I’ve stayed broken and wounded for days, weeks, even years at a time.  But I fight.  I wipe the blood and sweat out of my eyes, I pick up the most peculiar weapon I have at my disposal and I stand.  I may not be able to win the war yet, but this battle, this battle, I will fight with every fiber of my being and eventually I will win. 

Jim Barton [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The army I have set against myself is large, as dense as an untouched forest.  But even in the densest forest the light peeks through in certain places.  And I know, I know, I know, there will come a day when I can look back and the only thing I see will be a stream of light beaming through that cleared path reminding me of my freedom.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stuff Rules

Downsizing from a three bedroom house to a small one bedroom apartment is difficult.  Especially when "stuff" rules. 

I'd like to think I'm a pretty organized person.  I enjoy lists, plans, timelines, etc., but my dirty little secret, as it turns out, is that I'm addicted to stuff. 

I'm addicted to stuff.

I thoroughly enjoy finding purposes for items that they may not have been intended for.  I love finding a use for something that is completely odd and weird (kind of like me - see my post "Odd is Beautiful").  I'll turn that paper grocery bag into a serving dish, those boxes of film reels into a bedside table, and that empty vase flipped over and filled with funky pipe-cleaners as the base of a lamp.  "Oh, yeah, I'll take that bag/box of (insert useless items here).  I can do something with that."  Yep.  I'm that person.  Not always are the items useless, though.  My grandma gave me a huge bundle of vintage skinny belts and I have used them as bracelets (but how many bracelets does one need?) and even as belts (shocker).  I had every intention of making something out of the rest of them.  But as I remind myself, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." 

So going through every box, bag, trunk, chest, shelf, drawer, cabinet, bin, purse, pocket, jewelry box, etc., adds another paver to that road, more paper to the recycle bin, more trash into the landfill and more stuff to the garage sale.

I have been struggling intensely with the idea of downsizing and getting rid of stuff.  My thought is always, "Maybe I'll need it later."  And I have always easily justified it as a way of being a good steward of what I am given and being responsible with money.  I tell myself that if may not need it now but if I do need it at some point then I don’t have to spend the money to buy it.  How could that be wrong? 
 "Maybe I'll need it later." 
Have you ever read the story about the guy who has this awesome land which produces such an abundant harvest that he tears down his tiny barns and builds huge ones to store it all?  He is keeping it all so that he has all he needs for several years and can sit back and just enjoy life.  Smart guy!  Except for the fact that he dies the next day.  I've read that story a hundred times - studied it and been taught about it and the lesson that is always shared about it is that the guy was stingy - he was all about himself - didn't share it with anyone, kept it for himself and died a selfish, selfish man.  Makes sense. 

But as I reread that story, I realized I was doing the exact same thing as that man did.  I was keeping things around so that I wouldn't have to worry about how I was going to be provided for later.  I was securing my future and masking it with stewardship and responsibility.  After all, couldn't one argue that the man was just being responsible for his future?  The lesson I learned is this:  I have given my life to Jesus and I say that I trust Him with every aspect of my life.  He has done miraculous things in my life, in the practical and the spiritual.  But in this thing I am telling God that He isn't enough for me.  That "stuff" still rules a part of my life.  Letting go and getting rid of things is a gesture of my faith in Him.  It's incredibly clear to me. 

  I was securing my future and masking it with stewardship and responsibility.

So I will trudge along, discarding piles and piles, and after that, discarding more piles and piles, dishes, furniture, cd's, clothes, jewelry, more furniture, and even more stuff. 

I want to trust God entirely.  I know I'm not alone when I say I lack faith.  And for me, this purging of stuff, is a test in faith.  To trust that God will take care of what I need, not what I may need and that memories are not wrapped up in things.  He graciously reminded me:  " does not consist in an abundance of possessions."  I want that life.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The truth is...

Because we want to change the world.

That is the honest answer to the question we have been asked numerous times within the last several weeks.  The question:  Why are you moving to California?

For whatever reason, that is not the answer I've (or we've) given.  We usually answer something like this:  "We miss it."  "We are ready for a new adventure."  Blah, blah, blah.

But honestly, the real answer is because every Sunday and Wednesday when we sit and watch the Mosaic live stream, we are crawling out of our skin with desire to be a part of that community.  Their goal is our goal:  To change the world by starting with changing the most influential city in the world - Los Angeles.  To show the beautiful people of that city who Jesus really is and how He can infiltrate an industry, many industries, a city, and the people He so deeply loves with love.  How we, as Christ-followers can thrive and be different, be full of His life and light in a city plagued with rejection, success, hopelessness, hopefulness, wealth and poverty, influence and affluence.  How loud love speaks through our words and actions and that we long to follow the greatest commandment of all:  Love one another. 

So, why is it so hard to give that answer?  Because it sounds insane.  Because one could argue that you can change the world from wherever you live and it doesn’t have to mean that you leave your awesome 3-bedroom-with-a-huge-yard-and-2-car-garage-incredibly-affordable-home, your entire family and some really awesome friends.  Of course that is totally plausible.  People do it everyday and God uses them incredible ways.  

But the only explanation to that longing, that aching, of being a part of a tribe that we feel so closely connected to is because that's where Jesus wants us to be.  That's the reason.  That's the explanation.  It doesn't mean we won't miss our incredible family that we love so much.  It doesn't mean we won't be questioning ourselves when we feel lonely without them, or crazy in our little place, or when tightening our belts so tight we are uncomfortable and maybe even a little miserable. 

We are ready for a new adventure.  There is truth in that.  We miss California.  There is truth to that too.  But we want to change the world, and for us, that means becoming a part of a community where we can do that.  No, they don't even know we're coming.  But God does.  And since He's the one in the midst, the one driving that community, we are sure He knows and is more than ready for us to get there.  We are pretty sure He's been waiting on us for a while. 

City of Angels, here we come.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Sometimes Blogger's Apology

A Sometimes Blogger's Apology

"I've been meaning to write.  Actually, I've written about 100 blog posts in my head since my last post. A couple have made it to the page, one is still sitting in draft mode here, forever to be unpublished… maybe.

I've neglected posting, but thought about it often.  And now, so much time has passed, I feel silly in asking you to "check out my blog".

But I will begin again.  I will promise to post more.  I will do my best in keeping that promise.  I will likely fail.  But thankfully, the few people that happen to read what I right will continue to do so.  (Isn't that what family and best friends are for?)

So here we are January 21, 2014, 9 months from my last post.  I'm sorry it's been so long.  Thanks for "checking out my blog".   I'll post more often, I promise."