Behold! It is NOT about me!

Behold! It’s not about me….

I have been writing, praying, and asking for prayers regarding a particularly troubling situation. This situation culminated in a series of weekend discussions which had the potential to revert to old, unhealthy ways of dialoguing (which is a nice way to say, fighting).

It was late on Saturday night after the discussions. It was the time of night when I knew better and should have been asleep. In the aftermath of a stressful event I began to second-guess myself. There were points I should have made more clearly. Arguments I should have thought to counter bad thinking. Names of people I should have remembered.

I was “should-ing” all over myself.

And then…God is the God of the “And Then.”

My friend and high school tennis partner, Rachel called. Rachel and I were tennis partners in high school. Rachel played the forehand side. I played backhand. Our game plan was simple. I would keep ground strokes going until the opponent had been worn down and would either hit a soft lob or a weak short shot. At this point, Rachel, with strength and confidence, would annihilate the ball, the opponent (sometimes both opponents at once), and win the point. Her serve was so powerful that we rarely lost her serve. Pretty soon our match became just a math equation of tallying up the points and games at the right time to equal victory. Because she was the stronger player on the forehand side, I gave deference to her. This dynamic continued off the court to our conversation Saturday night.

Several years ago, social media, and then visits reconnected us. My daughter loves bowling with Rachel. Her guacamole is legendary. It had been months since I’d spoken with Rachel. And here, in the late, late show hours of Saturday night she called. She has known about the decades’ long battle I have been fighting.

I grabbed the phone and blurted out, “same old, same old…why aren’t the verses I’ve been praying working!”

Rachel, calmly said, Maybe it is not in God’s timing. Perhaps He kept your mouth closed for a reason.

There it was. The truth from a trusted source.

Rachel’s response caused me to wonder: Do I need the verses “to work” to prove to me that God exists? Do I require them to work to prove that He is there for me?

Hasn’t He, in sending His Son, done enough? (As if God works for me. As if I command God. God, please forgive my arrogance.)

Behold! It’s not about me…

Maybe it is not in God’s timing. Perhaps He kept your mouth closed for a reason.

Well, when my mouth is closed, it is difficult to insert my foot in it.

We are each given unique talents from our Creator.* We cultivate these talents and perhaps rely on them in place of God. Perhaps when we come to the end of our rope of talent, it is then that we arrive at the end of ourselves. Then God’s Grace remains.** And it is a gift beyond measure, no matter what my inflated sense of self says otherwise. It is Enough. Enough is better than Ego.

God will give you the right words at the right time.Matthew 10:19 NLT

because I will give you the ability to speak, along with wisdom, that none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. ~Luke 21:15

Perhaps the opposite is also true: when we have no words that come to mind, perhaps silence is needed.

I am still asking to learn the lessons of living in the space between the ideal and the actual, continued conflict, and its latest event from this weekend. But one thing is clear…because of Grace, He is at work. Still.

 

 

 

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*Romans 12:6-8
**2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday Words for The Soul ~ August 24 ~ The 1 Thing Grace IS

GraceIsGodsBest

Been carrying this around and loving the sentiment more and more as I re-read.

The start of school has brought so many meetings with their emphasis on “benchmarks,” “goals,” “outcomes,” etc… In short, the emphasis is on what to do to earn promotion, tenure, an “A”, or the proverbial brash brass ring.  When I re-read the statement above in light of fluorescent glare of meetings I am so grateful that, because of grace, God is not in the continuing benchmark business!

What is our response? Praise Him. Love, Serve, and Tell others about the Gift (with a capital “g”) of Grace!

Because Jesus is humble, He calls us not to serve ourselves, nor live for selfish advancement. ~Os Hillman

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More Monday Words for the Soul

a word from The Sponsor ~ August 23

God will give you the right words at the right time.Matthew 10:19 NLT

 

because I will give you the ability to speak, along with wisdom, that none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute. ~Luke 21:15

 

As I continue to abide in the space between the ideal and the actual, I continue to press for a change in a tender matter. Over the next few Sundays, I will share my constant companions–the verses and lessons learned from faithful survivors and prayer warrior friends. My faith-filled friend, Pam, shared with me this website of encouragement, I hope it helps you as much as it helped me. It is called Hope for the Broken Hearted and there is also a Facebook page.

This excerpt below is from J.M. Farro, who I do not know, but from whom I have learned so much.

“As you minister to others and have an impact on their lives, Satan and his evil cohorts are going to try to discourage you. Make up your mind now that when he puts people in your path who criticize you and find fault with your message that you are going to go straight to God with your doubts, fears, and insecurities. Ask, ‘Lord, is this from You, or from another source? Help me to respond exactly the way You want me to.’ Be open to correction–but not to condemnation. If after heartfelt communication with God, you discern that the criticism is not from Him, shake it off and move on. Remember that you’ve got a job to do. The last time I went to the Lord after receiving some criticism, He asked me several questions: ‘Did you pray and ask for My help beforehand? Was your heart right when you delivered the message? Was your goal to help others, to draw them to Me, and to glorify Me?’ As I answered yes to all of them, He told me–‘Then enter My rest and leave the consequences to Me.'”  ~J.M. Farro

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Additional words from The Sponsor

This Weekend ~ August 22 ~ Rest

TodayIWillRest

Here is the link to Hope for the Broken Hearted if you would like to learn more

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See additional weekend ideas

Mid-Week Question: Can you live in the space between the ideal and the actual?

What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Can you live in the space between the ideal and the actual? When you see an injustice, a change that needs to be made in the life of another, a loved one perhaps, can you enter into the change arena? Most of us can leverage the energy of love to be an advocate.

But then …

Things don’t always work out for the best, despite the pithy admonition.  At least not on our timeline. That is where the real grace is needed. Grace, then to stay to minister when circumstances are less than ideal or just flat out wrong. Grace to not give up and abandon those in need because, “well, I gave it my best shot.”

That’s why bereavement experts say to check on folks who’ve lost a loved one at the 1, 3, 6-month marker. That is why AA has chips at recovery intervals. That is why we push through the desert of rotten circumstances in search of the well, the one refuge.

I am not talking about fatalism. I am not talking about refusing to see damage, trouble, problems, challenges. I am not talking about “putting on a happy face” or “looking the other way.”

I am talking about abiding with others who have a need. We need you. Abiding with those who need longer to heal, to recover, to get healthy, and even to speak up for themselves.

Abiding and Finding the well, the respite, the energy to minister, finding, the well of Saint-Exupéry.

It is so difficult to do this. I was about to give up myself until the nudge of a strong friend gave me new energy. Energy to stay in the space between the crisis and the relief. To accept a timetable not of my choosing.

If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is live in the space between the ideal and the actual.

But, because of grace, it is possible.

Might you share how you live in the space between the ideal and the actual? The verses or practices that help you persevere–Between the need and the change?

Habakkuk 2:3
John 15:10
1 John 2:27
Romans 12:13
Psalm 62:8

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Other questions

Monday Words for the Soul ~ August 17

Follow your passion. The rest will attend to itself. If I can do it, anybody can do it. It’s possible. And it’s your turn. So go for it. It’s never too late to become what you always wanted to be in the first place.

Here is a lived experience example of this quote in action:

https://i1.wp.com/www.dw.com/image/0,,18489286_303,00.jpg

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More Monday Words for the Soul

a word from The Sponsor ~ August 16

 And if you stay on course, keeping your eye on the life-map and the God-signs as your father David did, I’ll also give you a long life. ~1 Kings 3:14 (MSG)

1Kings 3:14

 

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Additional words from The Sponsor

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