Resolutions

Happy New Year!  Yes, it is the beginning of a new year and the time when many of us set goals and resolutions for ourselves.

Some of us are fairly disciplined and can maintain action beyond the 30-40 day mark to actually form a positive habit in our lives. Others are not so disciplined and will have abandoned our goals in a couple of weeks. Still others of us are so disillusioned and disheartened by our past inability to stick to a resolution, that all goal setting, dreaming and vision casting are simply abandoned.

Certainly there a number of reasons why goals are discarded.  But what if one reason we fail to stick with our goal and resolution is because it really isn’t ours to begin with?  We just think it is a good idea because everyone else is doing it. But maybe your admirable resolution isn’t something I am physically, financially or emotionally capable of achieving at the moment. Guess what…that’s ok!

Or, what if the goal is for us but the manner we try to achieve it doesn’t fit? What if we are adopting an execution plan of another instead of seeking and implementing one tailored made for us? We may have similar goals, but the way I achieve mine may differ than yours. The action plan of someone who thrives on solitude and structure to accomplish a goal looks vastly different than the one who needs people and variety. And that’s ok!

And what if sometimes it just takes awhile to figure out what works well for us. That’s ok too.

Maybe this year it is time to have a bit of Grace for ourselves and others. Grace to grow and learn. Grace to develop our Divine gifts and talents uniquely. Grace to know that each is fearfully and wonderfully made and Grace to call that forth from one another.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

” Let us consider how we may spur one another to love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

 

Hanging it on the Wall

ArtPrize!  Downtown Grand Rapids is once again transformed into a city wide art gallery. The competition hosts 1500 artists in over 160 venues and brings 400,000+ visitors to the downtown area. It’s an incredible event that celebrates imagination, creativity and vulnerability. Art … Continue reading

Intimidation

Fifth grade.  Middle school.  A building full of 5th-8th graders, 10-year-old children to 14-year-old puberty stricken adolescents. Whose bright idea was this?

It wasn’t so bad at first.  I wasn’t the only ‘child’ in the school.   There were other short, skinny, knock kneed, flat chested girls.  The problem was I didn’t know them yet.  My friends were the woman childs and apparently I wasn’t fitting into the image they wanted to present to the rest of the school.

Ignore the child.  That was their first line of attack.  I was a bit naive I guess because that didn’t work.  Stand at the door and when the child enters stare at her and tell her you’re gonna beat her up.  Now that got my attention!  I stayed away.  However, just to make sure I received the message and didn’t wander my skinny behind back onto their path, they met me at the entrance to school many mornings and reminded me.

Intimidation – to force into or deter from action by inducing fear.

Intimidation can take on many forms.  It can be extremely harsh like bullying or sly and subtle like being tongue tied by someone’s status or gifts.  The goal is always the same;  to make us timid and discourage us from action. It is a major weapon in the war against Love and an obstacle to living the fullness of our masterpiece.

Unfortunately our world is full of intimidating forces.  Everyday we see and hear the most devastating consequences of those who do not comply.  Often that alone has the power to silence and suppress our gifts and voice.  It is about survival.  Who in their right mind would choose to suffer such great lose?  Keep quiet, comply and stay under the radar.  But is that how we are created to live?

In fifth grade the intimidation finally stopped.  In reflecting back to the reason, it is clear that I chose to believe I had value and something to offer. That belief was affirmed by a beautiful vocal music teacher. She saw the natural gifts and talent fashioned and birthed in my DNA and she validated and called those gifts forth.

In what ways are you being intimidated today?  Are  you are feeling timid and fearful?  Are you are being intimidated into not expressing the gifts and calling you have been bestowed?

You may never have a music teacher by your side, but you do have Someone more powerful.  He is the Lion of Judah and when you and I choose to live this masterpiece He has created HE roars and all that seeks to suppress and silence, even death itself, will never prevail.

To Him be the glory forever and ever!

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

“They were stoned,: they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword….The world was not worthy of them.”  Hebrews 11:37-38

Rum pum pum pum

Everyone needs a good gut laugh now and then. You know, the kind that melts stress, gives the old abs a workout and adds some depth of character to the face.  I got just what I needed when the non-profit organization I Like Giving sponsored an event featuring comedian Michael Jr.

This guy is funny.  Very funny.  What made him so memorable to me, however, was the way he intertwined Truth throughout his comedy routine.  He shared how God challenged his approach to comedy and the subsequent mind shift that transpired.  Where as before he would  seek to get laughs, now he simply presents his gift and gives the audience the opportunity to laugh.  He isn’t seeking to get something.  He is seeking to give something.  This approach has opened doors to ushering laughter into places where laughter is hard to come by; prisons, homeless shelters and child group homes.  Boy does this challenge and speak to my heart!

How do you and I use our gifts? Are we looking to get or to give?  If I am looking to get there is incredible pressure on me to perform.  I can easily try to control, make things happen and force the outcome. Ouch!!   But in giving there is none of this pressure.  I am responsible for just my part.  Now that’s freeing!  What is it that I am trying to get anyway?  Approval, recognition, rewards in Heaven?  I might very well receive these things. They may be byproducts of my obedience, but where is my focus?  On me.  If I seek to give instead, the focus and honor shift to the One who gave me the gift to use in the first place. He is glorified.

Present my gift and give.  Reminds me of the little drummer boy.  That little boy presented and laid his finest gift before the King. Then the boy picked it up and played his best for Him.  Rum pum pum pum.  And HE smiled.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!