Tag: value (page 1 of 2)

Do You Feel Like You’re Wearing an Invisibility Cloak?

Do you ever feel like you’ve accidentally put on Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak?

A few years ago a couple of people made an appointment with me.  I didn’t know what their agenda was.  When we met all they did was ask me questions about a painful experience.

And then they listened.

And asked more questions.  And listened some more.

They asked, “and then what happened?” and “how did you feel?” and “oh no!” and “what can we do?” like it really made a difference to them.

And here’s the thing.  Yes, what was asked and answered was important, but the most transformative thing for our relationship was that when I walked away I didn’t feel invisible anymore.  It felt like I mattered.   What I thought, what I felt, the pain I had experienced made a difference to them.  Have you had an experience like this?

A few years ago my husband and I had the opportunity to spend some time with former President Clinton in a couple different contexts (no he would not remember my name!).  Regardless of what you think about his politics or his morals, here’s a man who makes people feel like they matter.

We were wrapping up an interview with him when he saw an African American guy with a saxophone that was about 189 years old in a back hallway.  Clinton got so excited asking this guy about the brand of sax he played, and the type he used to play, and the music he liked.  He laughed and they swapped sax stories and he asked questions and really listened.

Clinton was so present it was hard for his handlers to tear him away.  One of the most powerful men in the world.  And he was saying to this man, “I may be the president of the United States, but you matter too.”

This is Joe.

He’s a guy with Down’s Syndrome who has a great smile and a can-do spirit.  He’s the guy who sweeps the stairs at exactly the same time every morning at my health club.  When I first asked his name he looked scared, like he had done something wrong.

When I thank him each day for his great work he always looks a little surprised.  Today I took another step and asked him, “Joe, how long have you worked here?  Do you like your job?”

I’ve noticed Joe.  I’ve tried to let him know he matters.  But how many others do I miss during the day who are longing to be noticed?  Feeling like they’re accidentally wearing and invisibility cloak?

What if Jesus hadn’t looked up to see Zaccheus?  What if He hadn’t taken time to talk to the woman who touched the hem of His robe?

When is a time when someone made you feel like you mattered?  Who are the people you tend to overlook?  Who would feel affirmed if you asked a question and listened?

When God Seems Boring or Irrelevant

In our family, John makes the deposits into our bank account and I make the withdrawals. What can I say. We all have our gifts, right?

I’m not aware of the automatic deposits at the moment they happen, but I’m really glad the money is there when I need it.

The idea of holy deposits has been rolling around in my head since I spoke to a large group of young moms last week. I had prayerfully prepared and thought I had responded to the specific promptings of God when I chose my topic.

I talked about wounds, how we all have our mess, and the positive and negative affects of wounds. I shared my deepest wounding time and how God had met me in that time. Lastly I talked about the importance of being safe places for us to be authentic about our mess.

The day afterwards I was walking, kicking up the dry leaves that are starting to fall, and prayer processing (you know, going over stuff with God). I thought, “Gosh, when I was twenty-something with two toddlers I couldn’t have thought of a deep wound in my life. Maybe it was totally irrelevant for the majority of my audience!”

But God whispered, “Maybe I was making a deposit that will be important later.”

It made me think of a very low time in my life when I felt like I was done with God. I was walking in the Swiss Alps at dusk, basically yelling at Him about how I couldn’t trust Him any more. I was sobbing and when I had finally exhausted all my frustration I was still for a minute. That was all the Lord needed. He reminded me of the truth from His Word that He had deposited long ago. “I will never leave or forsake you.” No matter what.

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I hadn’t thought about that verse…well, ever, that I could remember. But there it was. A deposit, withdrawn at the exact moment I needed it.

There are days when I read the Bible or listen to a sermon and think, “Meh. Not particularly relevant to my life.” OR I get preoccupied with who it IS for.

But maybe God is making deposits I’m not aware of that I’ll be thankful for later.

There are other times when I’m going through an experience that seems dry, boring, unimportant or hard and I’m tempted to say “Lord, can we please get on with it??”

But again, maybe God is making deposits I’m not aware of that I’ll be thankful for later.

I’m grateful we have a God who knows the beginning from the end and beyond. He loves us beyond what we can ever comprehend and is always making deposits of great value into our lives.

Just what I’ve been thinking about this week…

 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.  Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1:13-14

Moving Through a Crowded Life, part 2

One of the scariest moments I’ve ever experienced was standing in the middle of Paris on Bastille Day.  I was packed, shoulder to shoulder with one million people like…well like one million people smushed together.

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One spooked tourist moving quickly and many would be trampled to death.

Reporting on that day, CNN didn’t see individuals. It saw a crowd.

But Jesus doesn’t see crowds.

Jesus saw me in the middle of Paris, His beloved child who has blue eyes, and is a little goofy, and is afraid of being left out and gets impatient easily.

I wonder if the woman in Mark 5 felt the same way. Was she afraid of being trampled? Or just afraid of being overlooked by Jesus and a crowd with more important priorities? Was it hot and dusty? Was she perspiring with hope?

Monday Jesus let Jairus, a synagogue ruler interrupt Him, but he was a man, and an important man. What about someone like you or me, who’s just…ordinary? Jesus is heading to Jairus’ house when He gets interrupted again.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

30 At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”

31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ ”

32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. 33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

The woman was a distraction to Jesus, but He moved slowly enough through the crowd to notice and respond to her as an individual too.

I love it that Jesus saw the woman who touched Him, and Zaccheus in the tree, and blind Bartimaeus waiting by the roadside…The unimportant folks like you and me.

He sees you, and you are oh so precious to Him. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. 

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In the middle of a crowd or all alone in your room.

A discipline I sometimes try is to stand at the edge of a crowd, or on a balcony and just look. Look for anyone who is standing alone or looking uncomfortable and then go to them.

When we truly see and value others, maybe it’s a small reminder that Jesus does too.

 

4 Benefits of Hanging With Sheep

My family has accused me of being a tiny bit obsessed with sheep. IMG_3678They’re tired of me yelling for John to stop the car on foreign roads so I can take a picture. But they’re cute. And I feel like sheep and the guys who hang with them have a lot to teach me.IMG_3537

In a community of young married couples I shepherd (unintentional pun), we’re studying David, my favorite Bible guy.  He was a musician, a leader, a poet, a crappy father, a great friend, a soldier, an adulterer, and…a shepherd. In short, a renaissance man before the renaissance.

Of all his roles, the one I love the most, the one I learn from the most, is shepherd. Continue reading

When the Holy Spirit Whispers “What about you?”

This is my copy of a drawing I saw last week that has haunted me.

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At the International Justice Mission Global Prayer Gathering (What a mouthful!), a staff person from India, now a lawyer, shared that he had been born into the lowest cast – a Dalit. He was considered a non-person.

He shows a drawing of what his grandfather was required to do. He had to walk with a broom tied around his neck, trailing it behind, so it would wipe out his footprints, leaving the impression that no one had been there. Because he was “no one”.

My first response is horror.  How could anyone treat others like that??  But then that pesky Holy Spirit whispers to ME:

“What about you?” Continue reading

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Dear Comparison,

I’ve decided it’s time.  I’m breaking up with you.

No, it’s not me, it’s you.

And no, we can’t still be friends.

You seduced me by whispering sweet nothings in my ear about “better than”.  You flattered me with “friends”, “followers” or awards, “likes”, “favorites”…

But you’re a two-faced lover and now I see the real you.  Those sweet whispers easily morph into ugly taunts of “not as _____ as”.  Subtle accusations that lead to envy and discouragement and an unhealthy soul. Continue reading

The Words you Hear

This past weekend my husband John and I preached together at our church.  It’s always such an overwhelming and…sobering (?), scary (?) privilege to preach and ask for God’s voice to drown out anything of “us” that might distract.

We spoke on Mary and finding joy in the midst of any circumstances.  That was all fine, but then God totally messed with me.

In our sermon I shared about an experience I had had the night before.  I went to a dinner celebrating the birthday and an anniversary of sorts for a dear friend of mine.  Each of us gathered there brought a word or words to share that communicated some of the incredible value our friend has brought into our lives.  As we shared, our words were written in gold marker on a glass hurricane with a candle inside to be a reminder to her when she lights it, that words like beautiful, effervescent, intentional, and wise advisor describe how God is using her in the world.  It was a privilege to speak these words of truth to my friend.

In our sermon I said that most people don’t get to hear words of value and affirmation spoken over them by friends like that, but God desires to whisper His words of love to us every minute.  Mary’s joy and peace came from the fact that she knew who she was and whose she was.

Continue reading

Top 3 Secrets to Winning the Name Game

Ever see the Antiques Road Show?  You know where people bring in stuff from their attic?

The chair they bought at a garage sale, or an ugly picture they’ve never liked that’s been handed down in their family and they ask the experts how much the item is really worth.  People are usually surprised when items are worth much more than they think.

I’m going to let you in on a secret.  In church world, we may not have antique art, but there’s a valuable skill that’s worth a fortune in spiritual collateral that few people talk about.

The real way to be a superstar in church world isn’t jewels in your crown from selfless serving, or stars on your Awana scripture memory chart, or how many people you’ve “prayed the prayer” with.

What’s most valuable in church world?

Names.

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More specifically, name recall.  It’s Olympic gold.  It’s Sampson’s hair.  It’s Kryptonite in the hands of Lex Luther only used for good.

Here’s how it goes…

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The One that Jesus Loves (More than Me)

Confession:  Every once in awhile (read: way too often), I look at ______, or _______, or _______  and I compare myself and come up short and decide I’m going to throw in the towel.

No, nothing drastic, but just I’m just going to quit “showing up”.

Jesus clearly has gifted “them” more, is using “them” more powerfully, loves “them” more.

I decide, yep, I’m going to give up writing or parenting, or setting goals, or mentoring or exercising or speaking or being available, or risking…

This has prompted me to question, “What is it that inhibits and what is it that inspires us to live our unique story?”

What motivates you to become a better version of yourself?  To celebrate the work God wants to do uniquely through you?

And conversely, What is destructive to your true self – the self that finds meaning in being a beloved child of God?

This is not a new struggle and I know I’m not alone. Can I get an “Amen!”?

As I’ve been talking with God about this yelling “Lord help me figure this out! Now!”  He brought to mind this little exchange in John 21 (remember John is writing):

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them…When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”  Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

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You know how John has that irritating way of referring to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved”?  I wonder how that made Peter feel.  Was he tempted to buy into the lie that John was the ONE (the only one) Jesus loved?  More than anyone else?  Was he tempted to compare and be blinded to the ways that Jesus loved him and wanted to use his unique gifts, temperament and experience?

Jesus basically says, “Quit looking at his his life, his “likes”, invitations, followers, hits, gifts, retweets, his family, his successes or failures and look at Me.

Because I have a story I want to write through you that I can’t write through him.”

I believe Jesus says that to us too.

And so we can say: “I’m the one that Jesus loves.  And so is he.  Or she.

God has given me a unique voice and a valuable story.

And God has given them a different voice and different valuable story.”

You have gifts and relationships and experiences and a platform that I don’t have.  That no one else has in the exact same combination.

I pray you’ll move into this Monday celebrating that you’re the one Jesus loves and is using in a way that He can use no one else.

What’s one thing you can celebrate about your unique voice today?

On Stopping and More Tortillas

I stopped and talked to the homeless guy yesterday.

Yeah, that guy I’ve written about before. Ever present.  With the sign.

I drove up the ramp off the highway and the light was green so I didn’t have to stop and sit in the car next to him and his sign that reminds me he’s hungry and homeless while I wait.

I didn’t have to stare straight ahead, pretending I didn’t notice him.

The light was green.

The light said “go”

But I sensed the Spirit saying, “Stop.”

Ugggghhh.  I had a 23 second argument with God.

Continue reading

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