believe her for more…


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Most of us want to be believed in. To be trusted with much. We like others to make an investment. When they do we feel worthy. Less shame. These investors likely come and go…but the impact God allows them to make on our life remains.

And when it gets dark outside and insides tremble with pain…we seem to need our investors all the more…

Nothing stretches out a nagging sense of unworthiness like difficult circumstances…and at the pinnacle of unworthiness lies shame.

Shame kicks us when we’re down. Shame works it’s way into our souls and leaves us holding tight onto our value. Will the tough time snatch it away? It can’t. But sometimes we just know that it might.

Maybe you, like me, have a difficult time believing in yourself. Maybe patterns that have been misunderstood all your life leave you weary and carrying a backpack full of rocks that say you are broken-too far gone-unhelpable.

If we truly want to move forward, we lean heavy into our investors, but only for a period of time. The ultimate goal of making an investment is that there will be a return. A gain. The investors job is not to give endlessly into our pool of broken ways – it’s to provide ample resources for success. They believe us for more until we can believe in ourselves.

Then there’s Jesus. Resource rich and impeccably generous. He sees our faulty ways of being and loves us the same. The wisest investor, not out of necessity, but because of grace. The only one who believed us for more even before we spoke the language of His ways.

Because of Him we don’t have to be afraid of what will happen if an investor runs out of resources, drops the rope, or simply moves on.  The sustaining love of Christ is and always has been the totality of our enough. Circumstances may in fact decrease our value for a time being, but God always provides a double portion return. With him, your ways of being never disqualify you. They make you capable.

So maybe we can all thank God for our investors. Those who walk with us until we swallow worth and redemption. Those who never ran away from our mess or pain. And maybe when the time is right we will return the favor in new and sparkly ways as a small part of someone else’s really awesome Jesus thing.

 

perfect peace…

perfect-peace

I’ve always had trouble with peace and gone about creating it different ways. Maybe I can organize peace. Or perfect circumstances and they will become peace. Maybe if I feel good enough I will find peace. Finding peace has become my endless quest for more. Until I slowed down….

I was challenged by a book I read, Present over Perfect, to slow my roll. Because peace is rarely about more – and often about less. Peace is enjoying what is in front of you to its fullness rather than going out and trying to find it elsewhere. It’s a gift inside of you. You don’t have to hunt for it or perfect the endless files in your briain until you finally  find it. No…peace is what God said it is…it surpasses understanding.

Peace is about centering your heart and mind on God’s Word and willingness to accept the present. Peace is always available. We have to allow our brains space to let it in. Peace is about giving our hearts and mind over to God. It’s sinking deep into the moment of life and soaking it in. It’s letting life be what it is.

The past is gone and the future is fleeting. All we have is the present to make peace the most active and understated greatness we can ever experience. Peace is both simplistic and incredibly complex. It’s enjoying what God has for you without rushing off to assume he doesn’t have complete control over what is coming next.

When the big UPS truck pulls up to deliver Monday with all of it’s problems and worries, you can deal with it then. Take the package when it arrives and stop trying to track the delivery. Instead make space to allow the moment to be what it is. That’s the key to letting God’s perfect peace rule over your heart and mind.

Set the files aside. Strength is not always found in understanding. Be still. God is in fact Holy. And He will assume the roll of your understanding when the time comes. Allow your heart some space to rest. Enjoy your perfect peace.

because it’s okay not to be okay…

grace

It’s okay not to be okay, but it’s NOT okay to stay that way.

I remember hearing this phrase in middle school. I don’t know if it was a Baptist thing or what…but it was clearly a part of my church upbringing. To most people this meant grace. It meant redemption. It meant forgiveness, second chances, and opportunities for improvement. But I had on a thick pair of distorted glasses. And filtering through my lens this statement meant it’s okay that you sucked at life in the past but you better get it together NOW. Don’t ever make a mistake. And if you do hide your baggage and bury the ashes. No one should EVER know!

And so I did. I was excellent at stifling the dirty within. Preaching the Jesus message but suffering under a weight that felt like forgiveness was just a lie. Maybe it was good enough for other people, but not for me. I was the one who had stayed that way. The one who knew right from wrong and wasn’t strong enough to defeat the flesh. The failure.

It didn’t stop after middle school, or even high school, or college, or even now that I have a successful practice. The worn out message and the dysfunctional way I processed stuck. It looks different. I might call it fear of making a mistake, or perfectionism, or approval addiction – but it’s the same thing. The nagging feeling that everyone else moved forward into awesomeness and I stayed that way. 

Turns out other people feel that way too…

Like everyone else has their stuff together and somehow we missed the bus. That something went terribly wrong. That we must work unbelievably hard to cover up the ugly.

And when it interferes with our lives we call it depression, or anxiety, or PTSD, or OCD. And there is a VERY biological component to all of these. But there are also generational ways of being that aren’t easily disregarded. Our parents needed things orderly, their parents needs things pretty, their parents parents truly believed it wasn’t okay not to be okay – and so on and so forth and all of us just did what we had to do to survive.

Here I am listening to It is Well with My Soul wondering how it took me this long to realize this is true. That the first part of the message is just as important as the last. That it is okay not to be okay. And maybe it’s not okay to stay that way is less about never making a mistake and more about resting in knowing that even when I do make mistakes, Jesus doesn’t let it define me. That he sees me as perfectly okay. More than perfectly okay. Perfectly loved. Perfectly blessed. Perfectly equipped. Perfectly flawed in all the weak weak ways that push me to call on His strength and power. Power made perfect in weakness. That Jesus is good with me just the way I am. That He died for you just the way you are. That it can be well with all of our souls because it is indeed okay to not be okay because Jesus doesn’t let us stay that way.

And so looking through the dysfunctional lenses of our past, entangled among fears about the present, maybe we can all just decide that life doesn’t have to be pretty. That the cross was never a pretty thing in the first place. Maybe we can just all agree to accept each others ugly because life was never perfect anyways. And that’s more than okay.

 

Because it gets pretty loud in here…

quietOne thing we often fail to associate with anxiety is how dang loud it is. Different than the loudness of the washing machine as it rumbles in the middle of the night when you forget to wash your kids field trip shirt. Or the barking of the dogs that wakes you up out of a profound deep sleep. (Although these are two of the most annoying noises I can think of). I’m talking about the endless chatter that takes place inside those of us who worry. Who over think. Who crowd everything that belongs in present out with endless troublesome chatter about the past and future. Those of us with anxiety.

As I read Zephaniah today, pondering this internal banter and looking for answers about how to turn down the volume, I came across this verse…

He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.   Zephaniah 3:17

It’s a verse I am familiar with. One that makes me smile often. But I thought of it differently today…in particular the part where it says he will quiet you with his love.

Because when I look at my own anxiety – it often takes different forms and I experience it in different ways – but at the center of it all swirls a few nagging questions – Am I loved? Am I good enough? Will people see my vulnerabilities/failures/mistakes and decide they don’t want or need me?

So I look for reassurance. Or more of something. One more person to tell me I did a great job. One more accomplishment. One more great session. One more like on Facebook. One more spin on the achievement merry go round. Maybe this last turn won’t leave me dizzy and instead will allow me to finally hand down the verdict that I am indeed “okay”. But it never happens. The cup may temporarily fill, but it quickly drains and begs for more.

But Jesus…He wants to do this quiet thing. He wants to still me with His love.

Why? Maybe He knows I’m not perfect…even when I drown myself in internal expectations that say I have to be. Maybe He wants me to rest in being known rather than running after something I have to earn. Maybe that’s why salvation and unconditional love are a free gift? He meant them to be enjoyed in the still and quiet moments rather than constantly sought after by fallible souls surrounded with flesh.

And so this Sunday rolls over me like Sunday’s often do. Getting ready for the week where I will spend much of my time tending to an internal back and forth. Did you do enough today? Did you make too many mistakes? Will people love you? What will they think? Judging action after action and phrase after phrase. Trying to surmise if I will prove myself worthy of love or affection. But this Sunday I am more cognizant of the fact that I have a choice. The remote control is inside of me and if I choose to attend to God’s voice who says I am already enough, I might be a little less exhausted. I might find peace. And so might you.