Tag: Nehemiah

Do You Feel Too Small?

The other day I was working in my “office” and this was my view.

I posted this on Instagram:

Do you see the two people in a canoe on the far side of the lake? They remind me of the first line in a book we used to read to our kids: “The world is big, but I’m so small….”

This morning I’ve been thinking how we can feel “small” in a way that says “insignificant”, or we can feel “small” in a way that says, “Wow! Be inspired. You are part of something bigger than yourself, held and loved by One bigger than yourself.” Whether you’re a teacher or a boss or a mom, I pray this Monday that you have a sense of being part of something great!

Two of my favorite Bible verses seem like they might be at odds with each other.

“I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” Nehemiah 6:3

“Who dares despise the day of small things?” Zechariah 4:10

The thing is, our “small things” may also be the “great work” we are not to be distracted from. Our “small thing” may be showing up for a commitment when we don’t feel like it, listening longer than is comfortable, bringing a pot of soup to someone who feels tired and alone, reading a Bible story to a toddler… In each of our small things we have the opportunity to love well, to reflect the character of Jesus, to make an eternal impact.

What is your small thing that is also a “great work” God has given you today?

Three Ways to Fight

My husband John has been in the leadership boxing ring with a maddening challenge for the past couple years.

I’m on the sidelines, literally jumping up and down, shadow-boxing in our kitchen and yelling “Go to the mattresses!” when he reports the latest crazy atrocities at the end of a day.Unknown

I’m a DO-er!!  I want to take out an Uzzi and FIX this now!  Ok, as a Jesus-follower that might not be the best plan, but for the love of justice!!!

Trying to ratchet back the passion and put on the mantel of patience John seems to wear so easily, I’ve been reflecting on the different responses to THE ROCK AND A HARD PLACE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGES I see in Scripture.  Here are three I’ve come up with: Continue reading

What to do When You’re Stuck, part one

Years ago, when we were newly married and just learning to play golf, my sisters-in-law and I were on a course together while our husbands played ahead of us.

Other than sister-in-law, Rose hitting a tree and having the ball careen back over her head, farther away from the hole than where she started, the day might have been uneventful except that sister-in-law Betsy had the bright idea of driving the golf cart through a sand trap.

Golf carts, in case you were wondering, are not dune buggies.  Their wheels spin like the blades of a fan – a lot of movement, but no forward motion.

I’ve been been thinking of that spinning-wheel-spitting-sand-stuckness lately because that’s the way I’ve been feeling.  

Stuck is not a feeling unique to me.  If you’re not there now, you probably have been.

  • Maybe you’re stuck in a job you don’t like.
  • Stuck in a relationship that’s not healthy.
  • Stuck in a financial hole.
  • Stuck with a problem that seems unsolvable.
  • Maybe doors seem to be closing and you can’t find the proverbial open window.  They’re all closed too.

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In my personal “stuckness” I’ve been re-reading Nehemiah and trying to apply some principles from his life.

Nehemiah is the guy who was wrecked by the report he received in exile that the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins.  He is the leader who God uses to oversee the rebuilding of the walls.  Look at just a few verses from the book of Nehemiah:

“I prayed before the God of heaven. THEN I said…”

“I prayed to the God of heaven AND I answered the king…”

“We prayed to our God AND posted a guard…”

Here’s the thing that strikes me most deeply:

Nehemiah never acted without praying and never prayed without acting. 

For some of us, our tendency is to major on problem-solving.  Strive, fix, do, without inquiring or submitting or listening for the counsel of the Know-it-all-Guy we say we want to give control to.  So we spin our wheels often digging in deeper in the sand.

For others, the temptation is to do a lot of praying and reflecting and “put it in God’s hands” assuming that means He’ll magically do all the work and we can go sit in the lawn chair with some ice tea, thank you very much.  Abandon the golf cart for someone else to deal with, as it were.

I tend to fall into the first camp – fire, ready, aim (to use a different metaphor).  So here’s what trying to apply this Nehemiah principle is looking like these days in my life:

I pray early each morning.  And by that I mean I rant at God a little bit in my journal, telling Him about all the stuckness in my life, in case He hasn’t been paying attention.

And then I ask Him what He’s going to do about it, and what He wants me to do about it.

And then I try to pay attention to the constructive choices I can make, circling back to God to say “So what do you think about THAT?  Whatcha gonna do now?  And how close are we to getting out of this sand trap?”

Maybe as you pray, the action God will prompt you to do is to get counseling, or take a Financial Peace class, or apply for a job, or find a mentor.  

PRAY, ACT, REPEAT.

If only that was the magic formula.

But wait!  There’s more!  Next post…

In what ways have you been (or are you) stuck?  What helped?

 

 

Another Take on Prayer

I’ve written before about how baffling prayer is to me.

And how I stink at making itwork.

Still, I love to talk to God, but I can zig zag like a pinball.

I can be Aggressive – confidently naming “promises”, boldly reminding God of what He has said in His word, in case He might forget or choose to see things differently than I do.

or Passive – open-handed,waiting on God with a pious (or resigned, martyrly?) “Thy will be done…like whatEVER Lord…”

or Rote and empty like when I rattle off the Lord’s Prayer at warp speed while thinking about what I need to get at the grocery store on the way home from church.

The other day I listened to our friend, Gary Haugen give an incredible talk on prayer.  His definition has been rolling around in my brain ever since.  He said prayer is:

Talking to God about what we’re doing together.”

Continue reading

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