Awaiting Their Time

There is an essence to time. And one of the most fascinating and elusive aspects of time is timing. In football, a quarterback and receiver work relentlessly to perfect the timing of route-running and when to throw the ball where. In the kitchen, a cook seizes the right time to add seasoning, to flip the pan, to turn off the oven, to pull from the grill. Sometimes, in each of these cases, a second or a moment can be the difference between perfection and disaster.

When it comes to our lives, analyzing timing for the significant things of our lives cannot be easily understood or predicted, although we will try from time to time. But there are a few things that we can know, a few principles that can bring guidance and clarity.

We are in an ever-student state in this life. It is a fact given our limited mortal resource and capacity within and without. The choice is ours as to whether or not we will embrace this as a part of our lifestyle. This lends to the possibility of unreached potential, missed opportunities, unanswered callings.

But there are a couple things woven into this equation, if you will…a couple paradoxical items that some may think contradict each other. One is the willingness to step out, and the other is preparedness for that step.

Each of us is wired differently in our personalities and our physical make-up, and I believe this lends to how we come to center in our lives, where God is. I believe Christ knows exactly where we are and is ever able and willing to make the way to the Heavenly Father and with undying patience in our stubbornness, weakness, imperfection, fear, resistance.

But a question that looms in several of our minds is, how long does it take for us to make it to our destiny, or come to a centering balance in our lives, or fulfill what we are made for–or even figure out what we are made for? And how do we know when it is time to step out, if we even know which direction to step in?

If someone were to answer, you’ll know when you get there, they would be met with frustrated dissatisfaction. But they may be right. However, I think there is something that can help that answer make more sense.

If we feel a call or tug about something in our heart, we can assess what we may need to do to help prepare for that. But one of the most important preparations for fulfilling or pursuing something, especially if it is significant, is the preparation of the heart for deeper-layered surrender to God within. There is no getting around this, no substitute for it, as it is the ultimate preparedness for greater stewardship in our lives.

I believe this is the gauge of the track of our lives for preparedness more than skill or talent or ability anyone can have for something. And while I believe this is a lifelong process in and of itself, something we will never perfect until One Day when we are perfected by God, it is a door-opener and a path-maintainer. The more we operate from a posture of surrender, the better equipped we will be as a faithful, non-idolizing steward of things, great or small. And the more I believe we can maximize who we are in Christ to those we are serving or benefiting, no matter what the gift or call or vocation is.

I do not know when the time is for you or me to step out in any given circumstance ahead of time. But I do know that I will understand more clearly when those times come, and in the meantime, I can have peace in the process, making the most of where I am and what currently resides in my hands. And when I get too stirred within at staying where I am at, there resides the calling of the deep of God into the deep of my soul, go deeper, surrender a little more, and therein lies the door to a new experience, a new operation, a new place of service.

A hunger for humbleness and a realization deep within that everything is not for me, but Him: the more I grasp this, the more I find and experience my reason and purpose.

Picture: Japanese city courtesy of Bing search

Posted in Devotion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The First Time I Ever Did Lose

You’re at the park, with the kids, playing soccer. It’s the two of them against you taking turns with the ball close to the goal. They are mud-footed at best with their speed and command of the ball. They’re laughing and smiling and running and kicking and trying. One of them tries to be fancy with their footwork as you approach to defend…

I have always been so competitive. I have had to win at everything, no matter what it was, sports or not. Ask my sisters or brother. Ask my friends. Anyone close enough to me knows how I have been. If I initially lost at something, I figured out some way to disqualify the other person’s win, or to explain away something that proved I actually won. Or, if all else failed, it had to turn into a best of three series.

It even started when I was a baby. I did not even want to talk or walk or write at first, because I was not quite good or fluent enough the way adults were around me. I did not like to misspeak. I did not like to stumble. I did not like to miswrite. I remember vividly these feelings and thoughts, and I remember when I finally reached a brink of understanding that I had to do these things because I was going to need to master them, and I did not want to appear inept. So I was quite late on all three, especially speaking and walking.

Those were the first expressions of what would be the fabric of my competitive, perfectionist nature…a nature that I would eventually learn needed redefined, redirected, refined, and ultimately surrendered to the humble, beautiful ways of Jesus. Little did I know at the time that it would take well over two decades before I even began to understand any of this.

But what a joy and freedom it was one day to finally begin to take enough courage to even consider that I had been prideful, hyper-demanding, controlling, and then consider how that affected my judgment, interpretation of truth and scripture, my conduct, and the overall direction of my life and how I handled that which I was a steward of. I’ll never forget the awkward embarrassment that first time when peering into this within, after having perceived a minute stream of conviction run across the surface of my soul from the Holy Spirit. (That is how seared my conscience was to this at that time.) And when I shared it with someone over the phone, they immediately reacted in joy and praise and thanks to God, bubblefully indicating how they and a couple other friends had been praying for me about this for a while. I ducked my head even lower in embarrassment.

But I was feeling it–that release from the grip of control and pride, which I would discover later had been birthed from and dancing in concert with their parents, unbridled competitiveness and perfectionism. And from that day, a growing appetite for humbleness has led to a change in approach to life, and an inner peace and release from weight and burden I had no idea I had been carrying unnecessarily all my life.

Some of you may be able to relate to this very well, and even may be somewhere on this path based on you being wired similarly to myself in this area. If you feel this is striking a cord, I encourage you to take some private moments with yourself and consider. Do not be afraid to be very honest with yourself. God will be a safe place for you to place everything, even if you are living out certain consequences or life situations based on your behaviors and choices that you cannot get out of at this time, or indefinitely. It is okay, because there will be great grace for you.

But to come clean with yourself is so golden. And then take what you observe to God, and ask His mercy over anything (and anyone) you mishandled. He will forgive you and even take the sore memories laden with guilt and shame and re-robe them with grace and healing, if you will be willing to offer them to Him as such.

And I strongly advise to remember balance and a discerning eye when observing the difference between natural make-up and resultant behavior. For instance, in my case, I had a disposition of competitiveness and perfectionism. And in my imperfect condition of human nature, I was bound to not operate these things healthily. The resulting behavior was pride, control, and extreme versions of self-condemnation and negativity, among other things. What I learned was that if I am competitive and have also a strong desire to be perfect, so-to-speak, I could find the God-given core of this and operate in it in a sanctified, healthy way. So, I discovered how to be competitive without being prideful, controlling, or domineering. I discovered how to maintain high standards of excellence in the way I perform things without being an unhealthy perfectionist (one could say I am a recovering perfectionist).

Granted, these things are lifelong journeys and processes (I really try to avoid using the word ‘process’ when I write and speak), and I do not speak this message with an air of having mastered or performed these things well or perfectly. But at least I am aware, and I see how to do this, and I have a great experience of true freedom and peace within as a result. A freedom and peace that only Christ and His way can provide.

So…there you are, facing that little one, dancing around that ball as if a star player, and you are close enough to kick the ball away from them. Then you remember how God has been tugging on your heart…

Go ahead. Let that beautiful little mighty-might blaze a slow shot on goal against you. And all not before using his or her amazing footwork and some unfair hand-checking to weave past you.

Go ahead. Let your heart melt with every kick. With every laugh. With every moment. Your heart will rise, and land, completely open, right in each of their arms.

Give in. Don’t miss this opportunity. You never know how long you will have it, or when it will come again.

Go ahead. Let them win. For in this loss of yours, you will have tasted the sweetest of victories one could ever imagine and experience.

Posted in Devotion, Inspiration | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Science of Faith

I want to believe with my heart the word of God, and allow the words of my mouth birth from that resolve of trust within unto the marrying of my heart to God’s…

A moment upon recent years of studies on the human brain…

The science of the brain is quite interesting as we learn more about it–at least to a point, for me. There is very searchable research showing the capacity and chemistry of the vast dynamics of the brain as it pertains to faith, change, recovery, healing and interfacing God’s Spirit. It is fascinating, and for a moment, very stirring and encouraging.

But then, a pause…

I proceed to discover a place where it becomes a little embarrassing for me. Because the more we learn, the more it really proves the fabric and DNA of faith…and I don’t want so much proof to have to be laid out before me in order for me to believe in God, and to believe God.

I want God’s word to be enough. First of all, because it is.

(Do I need any of the second-of-all’s that I have?)

I just want science as a tool to help connect with others. But not as a foundation of my faith. Science is part of the artwork of God. That’s it’s place. It’s not the source of my faith, it’s one of the mirrors of it.

So, as long as I approach it with the understanding that God’s word is my sole source and foundation, I can play in its garden till I’m bored.

Posted in Devotion | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Real Men in a False Reality – Voice of Truth Guest

A Voice for Our Time radio show, hosted by Charlana Kelly, invited me to speak to the issues surrounding men and integrity in American culture and society. With this show, we wanted to take time to highlight the pitfalls as circumstances from our pasts and presents, and what practical solutions exist on a preventative and responsive level.

In other words, how did we get to where we are as individuals, what can we do about it, and why we would even want to make changes.

If a man does not value the good and healthy values and ways of living more than the bad habits and behaviors available to him, any change he makes will be temporary, shallow and unsustainable…

Real Men in a False Reality: A Voice for Our Time

Run time: approximately 1 hour, with 2 5-minute breaks.

Posted in Crossover Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Destructive Power

“You lose yourself in all this…but you enjoy it. You are feeding them your precious soul. They say they need you and want you. This is toxic, and you know it. But…” -excerpt
How true…we have got to recognize the larger scope and picture of life, and re-dignify ourselves, coming out of these very little boxes people have put us in, and breathe again, dance again, live again!

feministtalk

By : Rhonda Nemri

They cut you. They cut you so deep, you bleed. But you don’t bleed to death. Just a bunch of cuts that become scars. You don’t walk away, you forgive them. Each time you forgive them, you think to yourself it will be better. When really, you’re handing them that power.

Now this power is so destructive that every time you legitimately have the right to be hurt and upset at them, they make you feel it’s your fault. Each time this happens, another scar is added. You try to walk away, but it’s that power thing that just can’t seem to go away. Whether you are with them or without them, they seem to have this power over you. You lose sleep, you don’t eat, you overly think, you lose yourself in all of this.

Each time you come back you hand them that power…

View original post 274 more words

Posted in Devotion | 1 Comment

From Bonds to Chains

This is just a short insert, more of a publicized memo that might be an enlightenment or encouragement to someone in the process of adding to my blog’s file cabinet…

It is tempting for me to make the following cavalier statement out of a place of vulnerability:

Maybe I should be like many other men…lazy, selfish, prideful, using physical intimacy as a hook to get what I want, etc. A few or more of these attributes…these guys have most all the good women, it seems. They have girlfriends who are so devoted, forgiving, forgetting the bad things, the bad habits, the lack of spiritual intimacy with God, the cheating, the lying, the abandonment. Because after all, they say they still love the woman. Yeah…maybe I’ll do that, and I could become physically intimate with a woman so she’ll be bonded and hooked, and maybe if she gets pregnant, I could become an absentee father, where she does all the caretaking, transporting, buying of clothes, and nurturing of the child. Yeah, let’s do that.

Seriously. I cannot help but shake my head at things.

Okay, so maybe this was my passive way of still making the statement without making it.

But I am using it to make a point. I think it is easy to connect with someone, whether it starts off good or well, or not, and to get bonded to them in a way that feels almost impossible to separate from if things die or grow apart or go bad. There are often external factors and social or cultural pressures that we may give into or hold high to influence us not to separate from someone we are not equally yoked to or we should not be with.

But even more powerful of a factor, a force, is the bond of the soul, which is especially forged in sexual intimacy.

These bonds are almost impossible to break, especially if there are children involved.

These bonds become chains around the heart, mind and soul. And as a further disadvantage to women compared to men in this situation, women stay more actively connected emotionally than men, because of the way they are made differently. Men do not lack the emotional connection. It just takes a more conscious effort to stay actively engaged. Hence, one aspect of the lazy man.

But we have a responsibility to God, ourselves, and our children if present, to do what is right by ourselves and our kids and in His sight and get out of an unhealthy or bad or unequal non-marital relationship, no matter what the guy (or woman) says, how long we have been with them, or what the situation is. And as difficult as it is, nothing is impossible with God. In fact, all things are possible to us who believe, particularly when it is His will and even command, such as being equal in heart spiritually.

And as hard as it can be to accept and actually try to do, the one thing that we have to remember is this is an example of humbly respecting ourselves, our bodies, our relationship with God, and our children if we have any.

Why do you think His commands are such when it comes to relationships and equality? It is not Him being dictatorial or limiting our fun. It is Him protecting our hearts and our futures. And our future generations. They need to be in the right type of home and atmosphere, and learning the right behaviors and ways. And your actions, your lifestyle, not your words, are their primary teachers.

The wonderful thing about God and His grace is that you can start right where you are. Right now. No matter your past, your choices, what brought you to where you are, nothing. Because even making a change, turning your heart and ways now, can be a beaming light and testimony and impacting work of the Spirit of God on your children if you have any, and those who witness the change in your life.

It is never too late. It is never too late to give your whole heart. To change your direction. To change your situation. It may take time. It may take a miracle. But you and God are a beautiful team and couple together. Do you hear me? I am talking to you.

Come to your senses. Come to yourself. Take a long look around you. Is this what you want? Is this what you were made for? Is this where you belong? I am talking to those who know they are lost or out of place somewhere within. Those who are in bad or dead or unhealthy dating relationships. Those who have been broken and have not bounced back or mended within. Those who are stuck in a bad way, bad habits, bad situations. Those who feel empty inside or distant from God.

Come to yourself. And now let’s come home. I will walk with you brother, sister.

Posted in Relationships | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

That Special ‘One’

We see movies and read books about it. Sometimes we hear people’s stories that resemble closely what we have imagined it to be.

Whether there were flashing lights or just ordinary circumstances, people can just know things in their hearts when they meet someone of significance. There is something to be said for when you know you have met someone who is like no other to your heart whatsoever, that one in a million person, even once in a lifetime.

There are handfuls of people who are amazing and unique, and unlike anyone else. In fact, of course, we all are like that.

But there is a difference between meeting someone who is so unique and coming across someone who is so innately uniquely engaged with you deep within. There is a difference between observing someone to be so special and seeing someone matching your heart and soul so naturally and rightly in a way you have never experienced before.

Except perhaps in your imagination, or dreams, or prayers.

But I never in my lifetime thought I would live to see the day where someone who had that experience–I mean truly, not only planets beyond their previous experience, but matching so much what they perceived deep in their heart and life they were supposed to look for and wait for–was willing and able to walk away from it.

I was always told (perhaps mostly by my own brain) that if you ever have that experience, that person, that moment, that you do everything you can to embrace it, to search it out with God and pursue it, even if it takes a long time of effort or slow change of circumstances before it is even possible to develop. I mean, even if the person is not in a place at the time to embrace and pursue the fellowship, they could at least leave a promissory note of confidence by indicating their interest in one day if the other is still available. Right?

But I in fact saw someone recently turn away from what they had said was something like this to them. It blew my mind that they were able to do this.

Perhaps one would call me a dreamer, or a romantic (in the classical or the contemporary sense). I do not know that I prefer to call myself as such. But what I do know is I would like to say I believe God and what He puts in the heart, even if it requires an unusual amount of faith or unorthodox pursuit. And that would stand to include special relationships. Moreover, I understand true, healthy, lasting relationship is a three-way street, where all three parties must be in unanimous agreement for the personal compatibility as well as a unifying direction for the relationship and its future in marriage and service. And it requires a permanent surrender to loyalty and work.

But is not natural chemistry that extra intangible ‘something’, that ‘it’ that cannot be clearly defined, that is able to be the key catalyst for all the rest to be?

So when observing my friend in this situation, I could not help but wonder where they really were in their heart. It caused me to reflect on my own life, past and present, and everything God has used to help me learn about relationship.

I know it is possible to be in a place in life where we literally are not able to receive or even fully see blessings and good gifts. I guess I just imagined that someone who was a one-time pearl or gem might be the exception to how that goes.

In part because I have seen people do crazier things for much worse. People have shirked responsibilities, shed healthy values, set aside good morals, and so much more to have their desired mate. It stood to reason in my mind that if the person was like a good or godly dream come true, this would be a no-brainer.

I was wrong!

I guess I see a clear example of how important it is to first truly search your heart and ensure you really want the right type of person.

Then, when having established that, to spend significant energy changing your life and becoming the right person yourself.

Without these two things, you will in fact miss it, except for the possible grace of a second chance. I say, Why wait? What are you waiting for? Change your life!

Matthew 13:44-46

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Posted in Relationships | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments