We will pack a mental picnic
for years before we go.
Some will say the sky’s the limit,
but we will answer: No,
the mind was made to travel.
So, too, indentured hearts,
and knitted fears unravel
with adventure in the dark.
- “Come Picnic on Mars”
yet always renewed.
"I wonder what kind of finger and thumb God has been using to squeeze you, and you have been like a marble and escaped? You are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you, the wine would have been remarkably bitter.
To be a sacramental personality means that the elements of the natural life are presenced by God as they are broken providentially in His service. We have to be adjusted into God before we can be broken bread in His hands.
Keep right with God and let Him do what He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.”
I shy away from writing posts like this.
I cringe when I come across one written by friends.
But, let me throw out the ultimate cliche and say, “this is different.” This is love!
As God takes center stage,
purpose and principle align
and so do
Somehow, it all makes sense.
Somehow, it’s all joy.
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; we’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less; we plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals; we have more food, but less appeasement; we build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; we’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology has brought this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to make a difference, or to just hit delete…
the world has never felt so small and the heavens so big.
time and time again, i’m reminded of my shortcomings and neurotic fears. it’s like everything i’ve despised in myself for the past 23 years has been put under a microscope and then set on display. i’ve never felt so exposed. i’ve never felt so humbled.
yet how He loves. how He loves me.
nothing matters, except that He loves. and like a gentle wave His love will wash self from self. and in its place will be a disciple—emptied, purified, dependent and wholly trusting in His call.
i need this to be true. the upcoming year in laos is zooming and closing in around me. and as it nears, i’m realizing that i am nothing. and that is good.
Today during a 3-hour lecture about mission trip logistics and paperwork—something that had every reason to be boring and dull—I felt joy and the distinct feeling that this is what I am to do with my life.
Everything is exciting, hehe,
not at all graceful and brave like i thought i’d be. i’m such a fool.
…he who fears has not been made perfect in love. - 1 John 4:18
the truth in this verse stings now more than ever. i’m still so faraway from knowing what love really is.
Am I building up the Body of Christ, or am I looking for my own personal development only? The essential thing is my personal relationship to Jesus Christ – “That I may know Him.” To fulfil God’s design means entire abandonment to Him. Whenever I want things for myself, the relationship is distorted. It will be a big humiliation to realize that I have not been concerned about realizing Jesus Christ, but only about realizing what He has done for me.
"My goal is God Himself, not joy nor peace,
Nor even blessing, but Himself, my God.”
Am I measuring my life by this standard or by anything less? - My Utmost For His Highest
Again, the questions persist: Who do I love? What do I believe?
Ask yourself, and be honest.
I’ll be honest, right now the answer is me. I act, think, speak, know, love, believe, wake up and fall asleep to…me. I know exactly what that leads to: fear, pride, frustration, worldliness. And yet I keep spinning madly on. And yet, and yet, and yet.
What can I say except that I will come back in faltering half-steps and stuttering apologies, humbled and awed by His awesome grace. I will come back, and He is patient. (Thank You, God, for being patient.)
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. - Romans 8:37
A little boy tripped over a crack in the floor and rolled onto his back, crying. He cried, clutching his leg with one arm and reaching out to his mother with the other.
Over and over again he wailed, “Mommy.” That is, until something caught his eye and distracted him enough to bring his crying to an abrupt halt. I noticed there were no tears on his face.
He resumed his crying, continued lying on the floor and reaching for his mom. She watched him, fully aware that he was okay. Still, the little boy cried. With a sigh, she finally conceded and walked over to him, picked him up, rocked him back and forth, wiping invisible tears from his cheeks and kissing his unhurt knee. Immediately he began to smile, pushed himself out from her arms, and resumed his play.
I saw this today and realized this little boy is me.
Yes, the past two weeks have been difficult, but I’ve made them near impossible. I’ve been lying on my back like a spoiled and stubborn child, clutching my heart in exaggerated pain, feigning helplessness and despair when the Lord of all knows that I can stand up. After all, He’s the One who equipped me with His own great love, yet I spurned it in favor of prideful weakness.
During these trials, I’ve been telling myself to “take courage, take courage.” But what did I do? I wailed, anguished, and forgot Him.
Forgive me for being so weak.
Forgive me for falling and remaining fallen.
Forgive me for not looking up, and then not getting up.
Forgive me, and renew my heart.
[Be confident] of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. - Phil 1:6
all the pats on my back about doing mission work
all of the i’ll miss yous and
you’re doing such a great thing remarks
the questions and wows and whathaveyous—
all of it has turned me into such a mess of a selfish person.
as if i weren’t selfish enough to begin with.
and i’m disgusted with myself.
i don’t want to talk about it.
i don’t want to think about it.
i don’t want to be this inflated person.
what happened to humble? what happened to “the calling”? what happened to God in all of this?
from pity to pride to utter distraction, i’ve come to such a dark and disappointing place.
Have you read Jenny Hollowell’s wonderful short story “A History of Everything, Including You”?
and do we just prefer to err on the side of apathy?
i mean, it’s pretty clear that we’re all tightly wound up in a brittle, suck-you-dry, fleeting success-based system. like that one game, temple run, we rundodgejump from one level to the next (is that how the game works?) in order to avoid being
falling prey to getting killed by(?)…okay i don’t know how temple run works.
point being—i don’t like it.
it all feels like one big game, this whole system, and we all play along like mindlessly obedient pawns with no other choice. frightened to death of not “succeeding” and making it to the next “level.”
but really, are you aware of it, too? then why do you obey it? i’m asking sincerely because sometimes i get scared that it’ll catch up to me.
dead eyes, pursed lips, hunched shoulders, mind on wallet, fingers locked on phone—always in a hurry.
sometimes, i see this all around me and realize with a shudder that it has caught up to me, that all of the above is probably reflected in my own face, body, and heart.
sometimes, i experience this dead feeling and realize that i’ve handed my precious life over to the machine. God-given, beautiful life. life that’s dripping in purpose, possibilities, the sweetest grace, and heart-pounding, inexplicable LOVE.
i spent the first half of my life stuck on the frustrating, stuck part of all of it. i was opposed to it but resentfully trudged along because i felt like there was no escaping it. recently, i flipped the page and i see color now. out of left field, He entered my life and life isn’t dull anymore. it never has to be again. i’m getting close to tackiness so i’ll end with this:
“And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.”
- Donald Miller