What if we raised fearless kids? Can you even imagine the possibilities of who they could become and the things they might do? It is possible you know. I heard this statement, but wanted to verify the research myself. Did you know that there are only two fears, the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling, that we are born with? The other fears we collect along the way. With that being brought to light, how do we raise children without teaching them to be afraid? Even more challenging, how do we not transfer our fears onto them?
We can go to the scriptures and look up verse after verse on fear. We can read about people who should have caved in fear, but did not. What is their secret? How can we go another way, unlearn fear and find our way out? Perhaps it is where our eyes are focused. These days a headline can send us into fear mode, but where did this come from? Maybe somewhere along the way we lost sight of who is in control.
King David was very familiar with situations that could cause great fear and he penned words to help us refocus. “I will lift up my eyes to the hills- from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2). He is our help and we can lift our eyes, hearts and minds above the fear. If not, we will become dizzy spinning in reaction to all the fear opportunities that bombarded us everyday. If we spin, we do not move forward. I know this all too well. Sounds like a strategy right out of the enemies playbook, don’t you think?
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Sonof God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 NLT
Today is the day after the resurrection and this verse keeps coming to mind. The concept of our old self dying with Christ, is hard to grasp, much less live out. Maybe one question we could ask ourselves in regards to this old and new life is who does the world see, me or Christ? If I am honest, you have seen much of me because I did not always choose to live “trusting in the Son of God”. How misguided one can become in thinking God would give his Son to die for our sin, but no more. Like he would just leave us humans to figure out this mess by ourselves. That is not the loving Father I know.
As we celebrated yesterday, I thought about Jesus leaving the borrowed tomb and his grave clothes too. What if we asked the Lord what old self still remains that needs to be left behind? After all, we are loved, our sins are forgiven and we have been given a new life. We are free to live loved and whole. What keeps us from trusting His love and death? For me, I would say I was asking the wrongs things to give me life. What would you say keeps you from living?
Today we celebrate Good Friday, the day Jesus died on the cross. Knowing the Resurrection did indeed happen on Sunday, does not change the significance of this day, but I have missed it so many times. This year feels different. The weight of the day is real. My mind keeps dwelling on the helplessness of those that watched who love him. Maybe you know that feeling too, of watching someone you love suffer. Will there ever be a good day again? On this side of suffering, I can say with all honesty, yes, there will be many.
I am learning suffering does not need to be qualified or compared; it is not a contest any of us wants to win. It is part of being a human and something we all have in common. Perhaps the difference is what we do with what we now know because of the suffering, a decision each must make.
Maybe today if you know someone in the middle of their Friday, you can give the gift of listening and offer the reassurance that Sunday will come. Each experience is different and a good friend knows this too. When the room feels dark, a gentle word or even silence, cast a soft light, almost like a candle. May the Lord use our glow from suffering to bring him glory this Easter weekend.
Over two thousand years ago, on a Saturday much like today, Jesus had died and lay in a borrowed tomb. I am so thankful that it was borrowed and not permanent. Trying to place myself there, I imagine wanting to be quiet. What words do you exchange after what your eyes have just witnessed? How do you explain the grief that crushes your heart? Yes, I would be silent. And if I had listened and believed Jesus was who he said he was and is, I would have found a place to sit by the tomb. Silence and waiting would have filled my Saturday.
Where do you find yourself today? Maybe the reminder of death hits very close to home, for you know the day after death too. So today we can wait together. It seems appropriate to tell the Lord how I am feeling about this waiting after death. He already knows, but somehow telling him opens my heart. I do not expect answers, for that does not bring back life. What I will receive is peace in the waiting and know this is not the end of the story. Sunday is coming….
My friends and I gathered at our favorite coffee shop this morning to unpack the week and life in general. Each of us bring Christ in us everywhere we go, but we have all been shaped or influenced differently. I thought today as I drove away, how freeing it is to let people just be themselves. No agenda, but to listen and speak when it seems right. We laugh or cry sometimes, but we speak honestly and relax in safety.
Another thought crossed my mind, as tensions swirl in our country, how grateful I am for friends that just let you be you. I also know the importance of letting others be themselves too, but that has not always been the case. Maybe I am finally getting comfortable in my own skin and who God uniquely made me to be. Peace settles in and so many insecurities fall away. We cannot give what we do not have now can we? We could all use some peace these days and a place to be ourselves. May we all be people of peace in the days ahead in whatever way the Lord leads. May we also be courageous enough to listen well and be ourselves. Seems to me the world could use some original thinkers, who authentically show up just the way He has made you to be.
“Don’t settle for having an opinion when you can be an example.” – Maria Goff , Love Lives Here
I am reading this book again and came across this powerful sentence last night. Is that not incredible? What a great motto for us, especially today. Opinions can be used to divide us, but being an example can bring us together. Which do you think we need more of? Another question would be, what do you want to be remembered for, your opinions or your example?
When I think about my mom, it is not her opinions that come to mind. She tended to be more quiet. What has stayed with me is her example in so many things. She loved Jesus in her own unique way and seemed to always be working things out with Him. I am thankful they are face to face now. She gave incredible, thoughtful gifts and knew how to celebrate well. When it came to aging, she said we would grow old gracefully and did just that until she died. When you are beautiful you just are.
So today I am thinking about what matters and what will last. Maybe we can all be a bit more quiet with our opinions and more thoughtful in our examples. Besides, opinions change like Texas weather and can be just as stifling. An example can bless generations to come, long after we are gone. Perhaps we must all decide if we will settle or be.
One of our girls and I were talking about her playing soccer. I was reminded of her short lived soccer career when she was little. She sure looked cute and had the most colorful uniform. When we signed up and then got assigned to a team, the coach got my email address wrong. Somehow we found out about the practice and game, but we missed important details. The coach was a bit frustrated with me, but I did not know what we were suppose to know. How can you know if you have not been told or shown? I only did what I knew and fell terribly short of what was expected.
Doesn’t this make you think of people who have never heard about God or known someone who is a believer? They are only doing what they know, living from what they know or have been shown. Why do we get so frustrated when people, who are lost, actually speak and live lost? As believers, we can ask God to show us who to talk to, give us the words He wants us to say, begin a relationship and maybe even get to invite others into the Kingdom. It is not a team to be on, but an eternal relationship that will make all the difference. I hear the “uniforms” are pretty incredible too.
Our kids love to play outside. It is pretty common for one of them to come inside because they got hurt. When there is not any visible sign of injury, my first question is “Where does it hurt?”. Sometimes someone else caused the injury and other times it just happened because of playing. The result is the same, they hurt. This made me think of us. What if we started asking a different question when we sin or someone sins against us? What if we asked this to those who are living a lie? I know when I think over the many, many times I separate from God and go my own way in anger, selfishness, etc, there is something I am hurting over. This could change our homes don’t you think?
“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2
Do you ever have those moments when you are anticipating something and then out of nowhere, the unexpected happens and cancels hope? I had misplaced my hope and I think that made the situation that much harder. We have all experienced this I know and with each disappointment, the recovery seems to come faster. It is just frustrating to still be in this training process. The truth of who God is remains the same and I can trust Him sinks deeper each time. He is a safe place to place my trust. I do not have to understand and I know He has the whole picture in mind, not just today. My vision is so limited.
Turns out He was protecting our family in what appeared to be a cancellation. He was shielding us when I did not even know we needed it. What an incredible Father we have!
“Earth’s surface is a field for grain, but its depths are a forge firing sapphires from stones and chiseling gold from rocks.” Job 28 (MSG)
I got a picture once of being in a dark well and waiting for others to drop blessings down in a small bucket. And then as if someone dropped down a headlamp, I began to see the hidden things that would have been missed if I did not have the much needed light. I began to dig out treasures of truth, far more valuable than any worldly riches. Sometimes I was able to send these treasures back up and bless those waiting on the surface. It became more of an adventure and excitement. Everything changed with this new perspective.
Maybe you too find yourself in a season of darkness. Can I just say that the awareness of His constant presence will provide the light you desperately need. A good place I found to start is by telling Him the truth about the darkness you feel. Hand it to Him and watch and see what He gives you in exchange. The trade does not seem at all fair, but then neither does grace.