Expect Delays

I have a love hate relationship with technology.  I love technology when it QUICKLY does what I want.  I hate technology when it doesn’t work or takes longer to accomplish a task than I deem necessary.  Why doesn’t my phone navigate the variety of apps with the ease of the one on the commercial? Where did the rough draft of my blog go?  All I did was touch the screen? And why do I constantly need to reboot my wireless internet?  Frustrating!!

I am not good with glitches or delays.  (Those closest to me might say that’s an understatement!)  But what if the glitches and delays aren’t really my problem.  What if sometimes the real problem is that I am not very good with perseverance?  

Perseverance steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

There will always be obstacles that slow down and impede progress this side of Heaven.  I choose how I respond.  I can play the victim, throw a hissy fit and give up or I can press in, re-adjust and continue on my journey.  Oh that I would press on!

So what are you facing today?  Is there an obstacle in your way that is slowing down your progress?  Are you close to throwing in the towel?  Is it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel?

Now is not the time to give up but to press in and press on!  Remaining steadfast may be uncomfortable.  It may be the hardest thing you have ever done.  It may take every ounce of your energy.  Giving up control over timing is never easy but you can do this.  You can persevere because the One who formed and gave you all those crazy dreams is right there by your side and He is for, not against, you!

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

 

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)

 

Living Loved

Recently a friend of mine felt impressed by God to, “Live as a loved woman!” It’s easy to gloss over the depth and magnitude of what these words mean. Yes, I am loved. Jesus loves me this I know. God loves everyone. Kumbaya.

However, I must confess that many times I do not approach life from this place of ‘loved’. Sadly, I often live from the place of trying to ‘earn love’. Subtle as it may be, they are very different places.

Earning love is on-going, insecure and constantly shifting because it’s dependent on my behavior and circumstances which can be extremely inconsistent. On the other hand, loved is a gift which is secure, final, complete; a God centered place of grace that motivates and gives meaning to my life as I receive it.

So, how would our world change if we stopped trying to earn love and instead received and embraced the gift of true Love? What would life look like if you and I lived in this place of security and grace? What if we lived as loved people?

The Apostle John writes in 1 John 4:19, ” We love because He first loved us!” God loves you. He loves me. We are loved. And He calls out, “Live as loved people!”

Oh that it would be the most natural thing to do!

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

 

Square Peg Round Hole

Ever try to put a square peg in a round hole? Doesn’t work. A round hole is for a round peg. Seems pretty logical and basic, doesn’t it? It’s something a toddler can learn playing with any shape sorter toy.

Then, why as adults do we often live frustrated, aimless or stuck? Could it be that we have been trying to put a square peg in a round hole?

The goal of a shape sorter toy is to place all the varying shaped pieces into a box through a corresponding shaped opening. Similarly, there is a common goal and purpose for our lives; to glorify Love. Yet, we are each shaped uniquely and, therefore, how we each go about fulfilling our purpose will be unique. I can only live as me and you can only live as you. To live exactly as another is not possible. When we neglect to see this uniqueness and attempt to create carbon copies of each other we will live frustrated. It is like trying to place a square peg in a round hole.

Certainly there are basic principles that should guide and direct all of our paths. (The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal.5:22)  Yes, we can learn important things from one another. (As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Prov.27:17) However, even Jesus’ ministry, whose purpose is always constant and consistent, chose to manifest Divine Life in a variety of  ways; from placing spit-filled mud on eyes to speaking just a word, from over throwing money changing tables to touching the untouchables. Consistent in purpose but varied in outward manifestation.

Today may we remember that we are not a copy but an original. May we be bold and brave to live as ourselves and not someone else. And may we be free to be consistent in the purpose of Love but varied in its outward manifestation.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

 

 

 

There’s Just Something About a Name

A dear friend of mine was out for a run one morning and passed a ragged looking woman dragging a small suitcase.  LOVE spoke to her heart as she ran by and said, “She has a name.”  Faced with the choice to continue or turn around and acknowledge the woman, my friend chose the latter.  The woman lifted her downcast eyes in surprise as my friend approached.  Eyes now locked on each other, my friend was struck by how beautiful the woman was and said, “Hi, I am Susie. What’s your name?”  The woman’s name was Jane. “You are beautiful Jane. I have two dollars with me. Would that help you buy a burger or something?”  The woman’s eyes filled with tears as she accepted the money and the compliment. She was not invisible. She was not insignificant. She had a name.

There is just something about a name. A connection happens when someone knows our name. We are no longer just part of the crowd. We are identified and given uniqueness. For some this need of significance can be so strong that great extremes of good and, sadly, evil are done to make their names known.

So then, what if you and I sought to purposely ask people their names? What affect could that have; to know and be known even just a little?

We don’t have to go far to find those who long to be seen and known. Perhaps that person is staring back at you in the mirror. Well, LOVE is not a respecter of persons. He knows Jane’s name and you can be confident that He knows yours as well.

Today may we see ourselves and others with the eyes of the ONE who intimately knows us. May this knowing emboldened us to action; to recognize and give Divine significance to those so desperately in need. It cost my friend two dollars and 30 seconds of her time to pause and be a light under that bridge. A seemingly small act of kindness, but to LOVE, absolutely beautiful.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are mine.” Isaiah 43:2

Drifting Away

When you hear the word drift what images or thoughts come to mind?  Do you imagine lying on an inner tube, relaxing as the current takes you downstream?  Drifting is wonderful if it is a hot day and you are on a small body of water where the shore is in reach.  But on a vast body of water?  It may start out relaxing and enjoyable but when you open your eyes and the shoreline is difficult to see, now that’s another story.

Drift……to be carried slowly by a current of air or water; a continuous slow movement from one place to another.

Mission Drift: The Unspoken Crisis Facing Leaders, Charities, and Churches by Peter Greer and Chris Horst is an intriguing book about the slow changes occurring in an organization that lead it away from its stated purpose and identity.  They call this mission drift.  However, it isn’t just organizations that can suffer mission drift if they aren’t careful.  You and I can as well.

In what areas are you drifting right now?  Sometimes it is hard to identify because drifting is subtle and slow.  Over time, if left unchecked,  it has the power to lead us off course and into some dangerous territory. There are a number of ways  we are prone to drift from our purpose or mission.  Probably the best way to identify those areas is by asking and honestly answering:

Does what I think, say, and do line up with who Love says I am?   

This question is not meant to bring condemnation.  It is intended to keep us alert and  focused on the things that we each are designed and created to do. For when we live in our purpose lives are healed, reconciled and edified. When we live in our purpose life is peaceful in the chaos, hopeful in the depravity, and joyful in the pain.  When we live in our purpose our Creator God is the focus and He is glorified mightily.  And this is really what life is ultimately all about.

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

 

The Solitary Place

Ever feel like you are in the solitary place?  It’s the place where nothing exciting appears to be happening.  It isn’t necessarily a dry desert place but it isn’t the place of abundant fruit either.  It’s the place where old ways of doing things just don’t seem to work.  It’s the place where ‘no’ is the answer of the day  and ‘yes’ has yet to be revealed.  It’s a place that feels silent, lonely and forgotten.  It’s the place where accusations are given voice and doubt knocks on the door.  “Did God really say….”

The solitary place.  It’s the place of work unseen.  It’s the place where roots grow deeper and stronger.  It’s the place that breaks the old way of seeing, hearing and doing things.  It’s the place that says ‘no’ to those things that once were necessary and vital so that no idol is formed.

It’s the place where the old is swept away and new is conceived!  It’s a place of excitement, anticipation and surprise!  It’s a place of intimate fellowship with the Holy Spirit!  It’s the place that says, “You are here because I love you and need you.  There is a storm coming and I need you strong.  I need you firmly rooted and grounded.  I need you to be shelter; to be food and nourishment!”

The solitary place.  It’s the place faith, hope and love take root.  It’s a place where Love abides.

May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.  Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.  May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.”  ( Ephesians 3:17-21)

Unhindered…live the masterpiece!

Who are you Jeb Bush?

Who are you? Simple question. Not so easy to answer.

Recently I had the opportunity to ask this question to former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, son/brother of two Presidents. Many people think they know who he is based on his family. Word on the street is that Jeb is thinking of making a run for the White House. If so, I want to know who he says he is. When given the chance I inquired by saying,

“You aren’t your father. You aren’t your brother. Who are you? In a sentence or two, can you tell us who Jeb Bush is? Who are you at your core? What is your personal mission?”

He looked at me thoughtfully and  replied, “Wow! Now that is a great question. No one has ever asked me that before.” After a long pause he said, “I have never thought of that. I guess I do need to differentiate myself from my brother and dad.” .After another thoughtful pause he proceed in a lengthy attempt to answer the question. I can’t recall the specifics of what he said, but I did get the impression that he loved his family deeply and compromise was important to him.

How do you and I hinder ourselves when we aren’t able to articulate who we are? We can be certain that if we can’t do it others will eagerly step in and do it for us. We leave ourselves vulnerable to being tossed and swayed by every whim, popular opinion or desire of others. This can easily get us off the path we desire and are designed to be on. Then, one day we wake up and ask, “How did we ever get here!”

What would life look like if we could clearly and concisely articulate who we are? What comparison, anxiety and regret could be avoided!  What empowerment, peace and freedom could be released! Think of the time that could be saved, all that could be accomplished and the dreams that could be fulfilled!.

Who are you? Strip away the roles you play, the jobs you perform and the place and family you come from. What remains true about you? What makes you, you?

Not sure? Start with the One who created you. What does He say?

It’s a beginning and it all begins and ends with Him.

Unhindered…Live the Masterpiece

Unhindered

You are a masterpiece. You are no accident, no mistake. You are not unwanted and unnoticed. You are the Creator’s most outstanding of creations. You are one of a kind. You were chosen before the foundation of the world was created. Your inmost being was fearfully and wonderfully knit together. You arrived at exactly the proper time in history. You are a treasure of great worth, a pearl of tremendous value. Never before and never will there be another as unique and magnificent as you. You are a Masterpiece!

Masterpiece. What a beautiful word. What would life look like if you and I truly believed and embraced this? How would our world be different if we were not only to be the Masterpiece but live the Masterpiece?

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are His MASTERPIECE, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do!” Eph. 2:8-10

It is very clear that salvation, life, is found in no other place than Jesus Christ and faith in His death, burial and resurrection. Salvation is from grace alone. God didn’t and doesn’t wait until we have it all together and doing all the right things to extend His love and life to us. God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

What’s the purpose of good works then? It’s here that we often get confused and misunderstand their role in our lives. Good works do not give or ‘keep’ us in salvation. Never has. Never will. When we think they do we can get mighty self-righteous or become pretty discouraged and hopeless.

Good works are how we display God’s glory. A masterpiece reflects and displays valuable and priceless characteristics. It is the artist’s most outstanding and brilliant work. We are God’s living masterpiece. When we move and operate in the gifts and talents He has given us we can’t help but display Him. We actually become a sweet aroma of God to those around us. We become salt and light. We become a city on a hill that can’t be hidden. We draw others to Him and we cover this earth with His’s glory!

I have heard it said that our ultimate purpose in life is to know God and make Him known. Put simply, faith in Jesus Christ is how we know God and good works is how we make Him known. However, how we each make Him known, how we live the Masterpiece, is as different and unique as each person. To live the Masterpiece is to respond to God fully as the person He created and redeemed me to be. This is what Bob Hamp of Freedom Ministries calls true freedom.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews12:1

We each have a race to run. The specifics of the race are unique but the outcome is to be the same; Glory to God.

Unhindered is a place where you and I will be stirred up, inspired and encouraged to discover and run the Divine race marked out for us. Our world is filed with people craving and looking for purpose! It’s time to rise up and be the persons we were created to be!

UNHINDERED…live the masterpiece!