where have all the people gone?

I am trying to find people, real people.  But I’m having trouble coming up with any. 

All I see are personas, preferred impressions of individuals who are pre-approved for public use.  What makes us show off these card-board pearly-whites in sports, in academics, in professional positions, and conceal our tarnished and dented gold? 

We jog in the dark, circling desperately, chasing a transient ideal that isn’t even related to who we are!  Why in the dark?  This is just sticking with me, are we so ashamed of the life we are that we can’t or don’t want to find out who we really are?  We would rather just keep circling, circling ourselves, trying to outrun and shed our life as we see it? 

Do we even see that who we are is not something to be worked out or built up?  Who we are is a treasure that only we can hold, our exact place in life is completely unique. 

God designed eternity around you!  All of history wrapped around your very existence, every moment crafted to bring you to the purposes, relationships, and experiences that weave your life together, beginning to end!  He loves us, loves YOU that much!

I bet God wishes His boys and girls would stop hiding from the truth of all they are!  Just open up to Him, run up the blinds in your den, turn off the ball game and i-pod, walk away from the diet books, cancel your daily trip to the gym. 

Get to know who God created.  They are some pretty cool people out here, ready to change the world; get acquainted!

Faithful

Ok, so I’ve forgotten how to be a Christian.  Gasp!  No, really, I did.  I’ve been caught up in a lot of stuff these past few weeks.  They were all “really important” too.  I had to go to the grocery store, had to take my friend to Karate lessons, had to co-write and teach a Bible lesson for 75+ middle school girls in county schools, had to buy another friend a coffee just because she couldn’t, I have to get together a fundraiser for another girl who needs help financially, I have to meet with all my family at least 4 hours each when I go home for break.  On and on and on…!!  But is all this necessary?  I’m not writing all this to blow my own horn (or am I??!) but to make a point:

I’ve been so busy, I forgot about God!  A couple of days ago, I realised I couldn’t remember the last time I had talked to God about my thought-life, about my grocery bill, about how grateful I was for another day; I had just been packing those days full of, lets be honest, crap! (Christians can say crap sometimes too!)  I’ve been “enjoying the fruits of God’s blessings” in my life, but I’ve made God sit in a separate buggy on this carnival ride!  How dumb is that!

So I skipped church.  Over the past weekends, I realized I’ve been carting people, catering, and focusing on “spiritual fellowship” with others more than the one Person, the only Reason we gather together!  Don’t get me wrong, we are called to come together, worship our King together and build each other up with prayer and thanksgiving.  But my wheels have been spinning in youthful relationships and prayer groups and share-time circles and accountability hours.

I had to get alone, quiet, still before my Creator.  He, the God of the Angel Armies, is completely infatuated with me, and I’ve been walking away, swinging the pearls of “righteousness” His blood bought!  I had to soak in wonder at His feet, drink in His words of wisdom, compassion and mercy. 

1st Corinthians 13:4-7 confronted me with God’s character: Love.  The way He sees me, the way He feels toward me, and every one of His children.  He sees everything I do, and yet He doesn’t keep track, doesn’t hold on to them to use against me later, when I’m asking for forgivness. 

He will never reject or abandon me.  He sings when I do choose right ways, and cries when I hurt Him with my foolish wrongs. He just lets it all go, and opens His arms to me in pure love. 

He has confidence in me!  He has confidence that I can do the things He asks me to.  What a feeling!  God has faith in me!  Puny little me.  What a reason to praise Him continually, to ask His advice, to keep up a running dialogue of all the things in my life; He placed them there to begin with, created them inside of me for a purpose! 

He’s just so big!  How else could I continue to grow in relationship with Him if I didn’t take time to just sit, and think about how incredible it is that this mighty, awesome, omnitient God finds me facinating, and irresitable!  I just couldn’t hear all of that in the middle of my “schedule” and good deeds.  I had to be quiet and worship by being still, by not doing, not serving for a moment.

It’s funny how often I realize that I am wearing a mask, disguising deeper motivations and thoughts from those around me.  I don’t mean to, in fact, it has been one of my “goals” this year to be more transparent in all of my relationships. 

It seems to be the little things about myself that I try to cover up, the habits, quirks and whims that I think might be confusing, or disagreeable to others.  I guess it is the little things, imperfections and inconsistencies that bother me most for others; measuring myself against those invisible standards of perfection “normal” or “popular.”  As much as I “claim” freedom from the “standards of this world,” I hang on to them pretty tightly in my private ways. 

I’m looking at this facade I’ve been holding in front of me, like a tissue in a rainstorm, and I’m ashamed; ashamed that I don’t treat myself better, like God does.  Why can’t I see the way He loves me?  The way He accepts me?  The way He smiles at me through allof my moods and quirks?  He designed me this way, every oddity and humor, to be just Me.  If He created me, all those things that I don’t like about me are in me for a reason, either to be worked out of me, or to keep me humble.  Regardless of why they are there, I’ve got to stop covering up who I am.  I’m afraid that if I keep hiding it from everyone, I’m rejecting the lessons God wants to teach me, rejecting His understanding of the beauty of my life.  That sounds vain, but that is the way God sees me (I’m learning.) 

“Unique” really does mean “different” no matter how much I try not to look like it, that’s what I am.  Just  Me.

take a moment

I just wanted to share these songs with you, their amazing anointing and message of God’s love. Listen to them twice, and close your eyes the second (or 4th or 6th time) and soak up the word of God.

video   How He Loves UsKim Walker / Jesus Culture  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoC1ec-lYps

christ for the nations - my beloved   christ for the nations – my beloved  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZ0AdeQJ3Rc

satisfying or advertising?

(You might see this post twice, but I decided it needed to be on the front page too)

Ok, so if Christians are supposed to be content, and full in Christ, finding our All in All in Him, completely satisfied and at peace, and all the other stuff that we throw at situations, what is up with all the “Christian Singles” networks?  I’m serious, and am interested in this and opinions. 

www.christianmingle.com, www.eharmony.com, familylife/romance,  on and on!!

Christians are to be focused on Christ, His work, His plan in our lives.  We sing countless songs about how He is enough, He satisfies us, no one can love us like He does.  And yet, websites that are supposed to be “Christian” communication sites are plastered with singles’ adds, blind-date fun opportunities and compatibility tests. 

Is it just me, or are we missing something???

oppinion

I have a friend whohappens to have Cerebral Palsy, C.P. Her name is Joy.  We spend at least 2 afternoons a week together, usually sometime during the work-week and Sundays at church.  Joy is a petite woman who makes her way through life with deliberation and a fiery independence.  Her sometimes rebellious body is supported at all times either by her hot pink walker, her manual or motorized wheelchairs or her arm-brace crutches.  Joy lives on her own, is enrolled in U.T.C.’s graduate program for computer technology, takes Karatélessons, works with several ministries in different area churches, and councils via her undergrad degree in pastoral ministry, and speaks at any opportunity across the region on topics from handycap etiquette to spiritual warfare. 

I am struck by 2 things when I am with Joy.  The first is the absolute drive that stems from her spiritual depth, her relationship with and complete trust in Christ. She is confident that with rest and careful perseverance, she CAN do anything through the power of Jesus in her life.  The second thing is theinsatiable appetite for a life saturated in Christ, doing His work, loving the way He wants her to, giving and sharing whatever He wants her to at the first opportunity.  She truly lives her life to the full, freely giving her very life into His hands every day.  

She never questions her condition, in fact becoming almost offended when well-meaning church members try to approach her to pray for her healing.  “This is the way I am” she tells me in exasperation after visiting churches on speaking engagements.  “They think I need to be healed, when I am whole, and I have work to do.”

Watching her walk through life, I am reminded vividly of the way our walk with Christ is supposed to look.  Each step considered, inspected for the correct direction in the steps He has ordered for us.  The weight of each movement supported wholly by the incorruptible frame of salvation and the word of God.  We must concentrate on our walk, the alignment of our whole body, mind, heart, spirit and flesh, to keep in balance to take the next step toward who we are becoming. 

While leaving a restaurant today after church, several people smiled sweetly at us, holding the doors and murmuring gentle greetings.  I could see the thoughts behind their eyes as they looked at me with sympathetically sweet expressions: “what a good person you are, helping her like that,” as though my driving a friend to eat was an act of heroism.  Joy and I just laughed together inside the car.  I am just grateful to have such a precious and amazing friend in my life.  I just hope to soak up all that I can.

Small World After All?

I just finished watching 2 movies, Friday night, what can I say.  Both were stories about “grace”: Amazing Graceabout William Wilberforce, the British lobbyist who essentially gave his life for the abolition of slave-trade in the Commonwealth, and Maria Full of Graceabout Maria Alvaréz, a 17 year old Colombian who sold herself into one of the forms of modern slavery, drug trafficking. 

I was so amazed by the first movie, reminded of the horrible things that the human race has done in order to “get ahead”  all in the name of patriotism, building its individual kingdoms.  Listening to the fiery words and the passion with which W. Wilberforce pursued his convictions to abolish slave-trade was so moving, so inspiring that it made me wish I was alive then to take part in such a cause.  Things are so different now, especially in America, it seems that we don’t have such enormous things to champion.  Or do we?

Maria Alvaréz was only 17 years old, working full-time in a factory in Colombia to try to bring money in to her struggling family – struggling by the standards of “beyond poor” in the U.S.  She became a drug mule to bring in extra money, ended up stranded, ill, saw her friend gutted (pardon the French) for the drugs she was carrying after the drugs themselves killed her, and pregnant.  The story was based on thousands upon thousands of accounts of girls, boys, men, women and children in that country alone. 

This is the glorious and hallowed “21st century” where all are moving toward a bigger, better, brighter tomorrow…?!!  It is?  Really?  I’m sorry, I just can’t sit here on my big, white, American posterior and say how proud I am to live here, or grateful for technology, or gripe about presidential choice or lack thereof when there are still such things going on SO CLOSE TO ME!!??  I can’t even begin to describe the emotions and thoughts that are welling up in me right now. 

I am NOT anti- anything American; I love this country and the blessings we have in it.  But every American is a citizen of this world, and issues like this are not ended when the 7th grade teacher hands out the last quiz paper on them.  I know I’m sounding a little radical on this, but that’s the way I feel about it right now. 

It seems that there are causes, enormous causes, that need a voice, that need persistence action, long after W.W. had his foot in it.  If that’s what the makers of this movie wanted to do, they did; stirred up thought, exposed need and abuse, disturbed and dismayed.  More power to them!  Maybe they and the people they “stir up” are thinking and acting crazy, irrationally moved.  I pray that whoever sees this portrayal and any other situation will be moved beyond the rational, moved to action to somehow begin to affect change in our  world.  Maybe a little more crazy is what is needed??…!!

I recommend both films, especially the second

it is powerful and provoking beyond description.  Watch it, think and share with others, please?

Thoughts?

together again

Apparently I have created a ghost blog, oops! That’s what happens when you forget your password, folks!
I am still me, the sticky-notes of life are still being stuck up on the wall, but now MyWeblog site is under the domain/administration of my real blog, www.stepq.wordpress.com
sorry for the confusion folks! Love to have you follow me, where I was supposed to be going, once again! :)
further proof that we’ve got to write everything down! Ha! Oh the joys of growing older!
Fish oil and prunes anyone??

Haha! Happy Writing Everyone!

Savage, Audacious, Relentless

I really want to write a blog tonight. I really should write a post, about how incredibly full my mind is of the incredible things I’m learning about humanity, hope, prayer, discipline, obedience, and perseverance. I would write it, but I just can’t get the stuff sorted out between all the lessons, lists, oopses, responsibilities, and crossed-out post-it notes.
If I were to write a post, it would be full of the incredible, tiny ways that God has interrupted my life in the past months. It would talk about the horrible frustrations of decisions between myself and me, my ugly romance with my own plans for the future, and the beautiful agony of surrender to Divine knowledge of my eternal purpose.
I would write about finding my voice, shaky, cracking, declaring life and hope when my head didn’t quite believe the words. I would write about the ecstasy of walking blind through pain and sorrow hand in hand with Christ and His family, of how sweet tears can be in the company of broken sinners much holier than me.
In 3 words, faith, hope, and love.
Savage faith, audacious hope, relentless love.
Maybe one day these post-it notes will get connected.

Until then, persevere, listen, and pursue One, Christ. Only.

Following, Flowing, and Believing

 

My words are so insufficient in comparison to others’ with lifetimes of obedience. So I’ll let them share my heart and the steps that I’m daily struggling to follow.

 

“’My goal is God Himself…

 at any cost, dear Lord, by any road.’

at any cost… by any road… means submitting to God’s way of brining us to the goal.

There is no possibility of questioning God when He speaks, if He speaks to His own nature in me. Prompt obedience is the only result.

When Jesus says, ‘Come’, I simply come; when He says, ‘Let go,’ I let go; when He says, ‘Trust God in this matter,’ I trust. This work of obedience is the evidence that the nature of God is in me….

 

It is through the discipline of obedience that I get to the place where Abraham was and I see who God is. God will never be real to me until I come face to face with him in Jesus Christ. Then I will know and can boldly proclaim, ‘In all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee.’

 

The promises of God are of no value to us until through obedience, we come to understand the nature of God. We may read some things in the Bible every day for a year and they may mean nothing to us. Then, because we have been obedient to God in some small detail, we suddenly see what God means and His nature is instantly opened up to us.

‘All the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen…’ (2 Corinthians 1:20).

Our ‘Yes’ must be born of obedience; when by obedience we ratify a promise of God by saying, ‘Amen,’ or ‘So be it.’

That promise becomes ours.”

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest 

Who do you think you are??

 

“wake on up from your slumber” need to breathe

Ok, ladies and gentlemen, I beg your pardon for just a moment, but I need to get something off of my mind and into your systems!

I have recently been bombarded by conversations, messages, and frustrated individuals in various stages of bewilderment, self-doubt, and fear about the future of their lives. Nothing new, I realize, we all hit points in our journeys that seem unclear, days we wonder why we even got out of bed we are so frustrated and confused about our circumstances that we can’t even match our socks let alone figure out where we are going in life. I’m not talking about downplaying the difficulties of navigating meaningful career choices and family drama; that stuff just stinks up everybody’s bathroom at some point, no question.

However, I am and have been extremely surprised at the sheer number of folks who seem to be walking around in a cloud of self-defeat, fear, and confusion. They are convinced that they have lost before they have begun, have no idea where they “want to be” because while they disagree with the messages of their society’s definitions of success/satisfaction/worth they do not believe that they are capable of reaching into their own ideas and shifting around some things to find what they really want. They have choked on the idea of fitting in but have – albeit unintentionally – accepted the defeatist attitude that because they don’t fit in they can’t ever find a “fit” and have taken on the identity of a “nobody”.  Just because the “right” job, the “right” boss, the “right” house, the “right” person, or the “right” calling/obsession has not walked into their lives they have little by little chipped away at their self-esteem until it’s the dust under their feet. They walk around with a death-grip on their umbrella of “I can’t” and spout complaints and fears and worries and negativity about their circumstances, relationships, or lack thereof and wonder why they don’t want to get out of bed in the morning. And the worst part is, they can’t see the potential that they really do have to be world-changers and they don’t even know it.

I am not “bashing” anyone, anything, or running over issues such as clinical depression, hormone imbalances, or severe trauma or loss. Don’t misunderstand me. Hear me.

If you are hurting because of loss or abandonment, recognize it. Grieve it.

If you are broken from abuse, get to a safe place with safe people, and name the abuse and admit it. Grieve it.

There is healing in grieving and elements or mile markers of that grief.

However, I am particularly concerned for the groups of people who have just gotten stuck in a rut of self-doubt, confusion, misdirection, and negativity.

At the risk of being politically incorrect, Hear me also.

There is more to you and to your life than you currently believe there is.

Before you start shaking your head, ask yourself this:

Who told you that you were not beautiful or handsome?

Who told you that you could not achieve your dreams?

Who told you that your were unworthy of real love?

Who told you that you would never amount to anything?

got an image of who, where, and how those labels came to you?

Now, hear this!

THOSE WERE LIES!

You have every right to be loved for exactly who you are.

You have the capability to achieve your desires and dreams.

You are an incredible individual who was created uniquely for this time in history and there will never be another you and no one can ever fulfill the purpose you have. You were no mistake.

You are fully capable of achieving amazing dreams and fulfillment in your life, your family history, your past choices, and your present doubts have nothing to do with where your future is going unless you allow it.

If you are dissatisfied at work, change your attitude, change your tone, be diligent in the small things, rejoice in the abilities that you do have instead of fussing and pining over the bigger things you wish you had. Hard work and positivity are hard to ignore, and contentment is priceless. Set goals for yourself and don’t baulk at the first opposition; Edison stated that he didn’t “fail” at his first several hundred attempts to create a light bulb, rather he said he just found several hundred ways not to make one.

You do not have to settle for second best relationships. Real love is sacrificial, other-focused, truthful, and unconditional. Anyone who manipulates you for affection does not love you. If you are manipulating someone for their love or others’ for their approval of you or another, that is not love.

Your relationship status does not define you. You are an incredible individual! Full of thoughts, hopes, dreams, and potential all on your own and completely capable of pursuing those things on your own as well as with a life-partner. The moment you accept the thought process that you “have to have”… another person, thing, job… in order to reach your fullest potential, you have lost the battle for the companionship and fulfillment you so deeply crave. You’ve declared them/it a crutch and removed the humanity and vitality from their relationship with yourself. Such relationships will NOT be fulfilling, but rather the opposite, because neither one is a “whole” but only a part of what they could and should be together. Why settle for “good” when you could have “fantastic”!!?

I am not going to apologize for this rant.

I care too much about these random, various and sundry individuals and groups to let this go unsaid.

You are amazing individuals! Crafted and formed with THE deepest care and precision imaginable by a loving Creator for right now, right where you are!

His plans are to bring abundance and love and joy and fullness in your life, not for your to wallow in self-defeat. All the self-help books in the world try to vaguely point to this in a non-offensive religious way, but the truth is:

God loves you. He sacrificed His only Son for you so that you wouldn’t have to be separated by the sin-filled world and life that we are born into. And if you believe in your heart and say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord of all and ask Him to be Lord of your life and show you how to live, He will save you from sin and begin to heal your pain. If you have been ignoring it all as myth, or rubbery practices for the “weak-minded”, just stop talking yourself out of what you already know – you need a Savior, and you can’t do this life on your own. Talk to Him, Almighty all-knowing always present God, just like you’re talking to your best friend. Tell Him you want to know Him.

Tell Him like you told your mom about the weeks worth of dirty socks you hid from her under the bed for 3 weeks after she asked you for them. He already knows, but talk to Him anyway; He’s after relationship, not formality.

If you’ve been “walking with the Lord” for a long time, quit resisting Him.

Let Him show you HIS best for your life. Let Him bring out all the best things in you. Don’t stand there on the sideline telling Him “you’ve got this” and “it doesn’t hurt” keeping Him at arm’s distance when you are really broken and angry mess who just wants to have control of “your” life. Here’s a clue: IT WAS NEVER YOUR’S TO BEGIN WITH! Your life is NOT about you! His ways are higher and better and sweeter than your ways and plans could ever be! Just because you can’t see the end from the beginning doesn’t mean He can’t, nor does it mean you should try to take matters into your own hands. (“oh Lord, show me what to do… but I’m going to do this because I can control it and it looks safer than waiting on an answer I might not like”… ya, that worked last time, didn’t it?!)

Read your Word, then just make like Niki and do it.  There is so much more available and possible in your life, if you would accept that you are not in control, but that a loving God IS.

You are precious.

You are priceless.

You are loved.

You belong.

Don’t ever settle for anything or anyone who tells you any different.

 

Ok, rant over. 

Some Days…

So, some days you’re over It. You’ve moved on, packed up all the old stained emotions, favorite memories, and worn out pieces of It that you’ve been meaning to get out of that spare closet that you didn’t want to acknowledge were STILL in there. Some days you’re powering through the to-do lists, the appointments, the details, and all the other tacky responsibilities that make up adult life. You’ve boxed, tagged, and double bagged your It and think it’s tightly stuffed in an inside back corner of the garbage truck that’s grumbling away from you down the street. And just as you breathe the sweet sigh of fresh clean relief and turn to go back inside your quaint new existence, sans It, you look down just in time to see but not stop yourself stubbing your big toe on that same stinking old It. And you are incredulous, hopping around on your one good foot glaring and yelling in angst and confusion as It just sits there, a mute pile of everything you’ve worked so hard to forget, to let go of, to walk away from, glaring up at your bruised ego.

It’s still here?!

How? Why? How dare It!!

And you stomp your foot and point and shake your finger to the winds, telling It every possible mode of transportation that It can take to remove itself from your presence, permanently! You shout, you jump up and down like a small child and cry out for It to Leave You Alone!

And there It sits, in bulky silence, until you circle fidgeting feet and aching toes around It, and finally sit down on the stoup beside It.

There’s really no time to sit on a stoup in a busy adult-life. There’s barely time to sit for a lunch counter stool let alone the luxury of a stoup.

Stoups are where conversations are made, futures are painted, and wisdom puddles along. You have no room for stoups to take up today! You’ve swept up and polished so everything is seamless for the lists and charts and details that make up your flow. Stoups are the reverse speed bumps that make you late and smudge your mascara.

But It’s not moving.

So, you sit down next to It on the stoup, and begin to untie the knots you were so careful to use. And you hug your knees, flex the resentful toe, and begin, again, back through the bags, the box, and all It’s many, worn, familiar smelling chapters of It and It’s part in your life.

One by one, the hours slide by, the to-dos are left undone in their neat stack on the counter, the must-have’s stand alone by the ream of unmet tacky needs by the back door.

And you sit, ensconced for an afternoon on the stoup, smiling as you finger the unpacked contents, removing “return to sender” labels, and smiling as the odors and colors fade and meld with some days and today.

Why are you Here?

I’m really not an Old Testament scholar, really, not at all; Moses makes me feel inferior, the book of Numbers puts me to sleep, and I just get mad at Adam every time I read about his 900+ years of repercussions “She made me do it…”, can’t help but get a little peeved. But I’m trying to learn to dig and listen more.

So I was working on hammering out some quiet time this morning, between all the other issues, responsibilities, and ridiculous  things that I find myself doing, none of which I have time for, and I came across an interesting passage.

1 Kings 19

Elijah, to be honest one of my favorite prophets, has just received what he feels is the last straw, a promise from a very real and long standing enemy that he will be dead very soon. Actually, it’s a threat from the wife of King Ahab, Jezabel, and I think it’s here that the phrase “hell hath no furry like a woman scorned” was first coined – Elijah was afraid that he would see that in action in a very personal way in the near future. So he has run away from danger into the wilderness of a neighboring countryside, and is for all intensive purposes, at the end of his rope.

He’s been “in ministry” all his life, doing all the right things. He’s seen just about every incredible miracle that God could use to wow and woo His people back (and every one of them turn and run away from Him) and has been threatened with and experienced just about every kind of bodily harm imaginable at the hands of those who don’t really want to have him around.

So, at this point in chapter 19, he has just basically sat down under a tree and said, kill me now, I’m done, I’m no good, I quit, and falls asleep hoping to just die. 

I’m thinking, ok, I’ve been there… 

So what does God do? He wakes him up to feed him, twice, so He can take Elijah even farther into the wilderness that he’s on the brink of; 40 days and nights of travel to be exact, to the Mountain of God, Mount Sinai to meet with him.

Sounds pretty amazing, right? I mean, God provided for him by an angel to feed him breakfast in bed that gave him supernatural strength enough to travel all day and all night for 40 days! I’d get up and get my happy on if an angel brought me breakfast! 

But, when he arrives, GOD asks him, “what are you doing here, Elijah?”

God, as in “of the universe”, asks him a direct question! My reaction would be something like, umm, umm, err, umm, anything You want?? But I love the earthy reality that Elijah has in his walk with God. He is 100% honest.

Elijah confronts God with, “I’m tired, I’m abused, there’s nobody else left out here on my side, they are all going to hell in a hand-basket, and now they are trying to kill me too!” That’s a pretty bold statement, after facing all the trials and supernatural provision that God has given him, he still stands there, bare-faced, and lets loose his angst and frustrations.

I can almost here the whiney and irritated tones in his thoughts, why am I here?? You brought me here! You dragged me through this! Maybe because they are so much like my own when I’m aggravated at and with God’s actions in my life.

     Why am I here? Because of You! Because of Your ideas about following Your plan and giving words to people who don’t want      to hear it, reaching out to others who could care less about me, I’m here. Because of doing “right” all the time, because of standing up for “good” and being responsible. Because of being nice to the weird guy at the grocery store, not flying mad at the lady who slammed her door into mine in the parking lot and sped off, for not giving the young parents behind me in line with the screaming and controlling kid the stink-eye. I’ve tried and tried and still, I’m knocked down and Still You Ask Me, why are you here??

After Elijah’s rant, God tells him to stand outside on the mountain in front of God (strikes me a little like a holy-time-out). He then reveals His incredible, supernatural power through storms, earthquakes, and brilliant displays of sovereignty in the earth.

Then, He calls in a whisper to Elijah; here I see a change in Elijah: he covers his face, and then goes out to meet with God. He recognizes God’s sovereignty, and he humbles himself and acknowledges that He is Holy, and wholly Other than Elijah.

And God asks the question, again; why are you here?

This is what grabbed me, Elijah’s answer did not change, he said exactly the same thing as before; I’m hurt, I’m alone, I’m tired, I’m afraid. But you can feel the heart-change in him. He’s calling out to God, same place, same fears, same frustration, but that act of covering his face shows his attitude change; you can almost hear a softening in his request for help.

I’m hurt, I’m alone, I have everything and everyone stacked against me, but You are God, and you are holy, and You are Sovereign.

Here’s the kicker, God doesn’t offer him a resolution directly. He doesn’t give him a direct answer.

He instead gives Elijah what He wants him to go and do next. He has marching orders: Go anoint kings and your eventual replacement.

No explanation, no “I’m sorry you feel that way, but here’s why I’m doing this, and let’s hug and eat a cookie”, just a directive. In reality, to complete the new directions, Elijah has to go back through the same wilderness and on into another one (Damascus); it gets harder before he can even complete the new task. 

Elijah has nothing to hold on to except the history with God and His ways when he leaves this place. He doesn’t know that :

Eventually, these anointed kings will provide the solution to his personal safety problems – they go to war and end up killing everyone threatening him.

Eventually this person he’s supposed to anoint will take his place and that he will ultimately taste heaven like few others ever have – he is succeeded by Elisha and then translated into heaven instead of dying.

He had to obey God in order to receive the fulfillment of God’s promises, and eventually the answers to his requests.

There were no shortcuts,

There is no mention of the provisions that were made for the journey back through the wilderness,

It was still a 40+ day journey back,

And there was no mention of how he was supposed to find these people and complete these tasks, it was going to be hard.

Just do it. Obey.

What an attitude adjustment comes with that beautiful, rhetorical question: Why are you here?

 Obedience now, so that God’s plans are fulfilled in others’ lives, so that His plans can be revealed and fulfilled in my life as well.

 This doesn’t mean that my issues and problems are resolved. Even as I grab onto this nugget that I am part of a larger scheme, I still have to walk through some stuff. I still have to navigate people and tasks that are less than my ideal of agreeable. But, I know that there’s a better result waiting for me at the end of all my attempts, near-misses, and grunts than if I just went my own, whining way. 

Why are you here?

Are you broken, abused, tired, frustrated, walked over, burned out? You just want God to answer that question for you with some cosmic sticky-note? I know the feeling! I get it, really! I want it all to work out for my good now, I want the Easy-button that brings my rock-solid career, solves my relationship problems, house-trains my dog, and zaps the extra pounds from my life forever! I want a game-plan and a reason for the plays I’m supposed to make.

Instead we get things like: Go here, do this, rest now, breathe, study now, because you can’t see the mess and mayhem around the corner that’s going to bring you to your knees.

Take this mindless low-pay job because the co-worker next to you is losing their child and they don’t know if God is real anymore and need your prayers.

Go to the coffee shop and study your devotional that you don’t have time for in your busy day because the guy that’s job-searching at the next table needs you to share a word of encouragement with him.

In the middle of my messiness, I have to come face to face with the Sovereign God of all creation, the Creator, and ask Him to change my heart, to change my attitude from a tantrum to submission.  I have to be willing to walk through whatever wilderness of difficulties may be surrounding me – either from my own choices or those of others – and trust that because I’m listening to the Father and moving in obedience to Him, He is preparing the solutions to my problems and suffering even as I make the choice to continue to obey Him. 

Why are you here?

My guess is, it’s nothing to do with what you thought it was. But it will be so much better than you could ever imagine.

“For I know the Plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”.

~ Jeremiah 29:11

Simplify

I had a few hundred words written, creative, interesting and intriguing words about an experience I had recently through my job. But I realized that they were all about 1 person, me. I still think there was an experience that needs to be recognized, but with fewer personal pronouns.  So, here’s the revised snapshot. 

Hands, mind, and eyes busy, feverishly working on reports, letters about communication about “important facts” about things and people and places, and calendars to organize, connect, and invigorate the thoughts involved in those people, actions and reports on the actions.

Phone rings.

Weak, unknown voice and sniffling on the other end, asking for the universal “help, please”; and something else in tone, desperation? hopelessness? 

On my end, hands are still, silence; listening to a story, tragic, frail, frozen between desperation and abandonment, crying out for someone, anyone to offer the last chance, but resigned to receiving yet another denial – so, very down that either answer seems to bear the same outlook. 

I am so, so sorry. 

Phone crackles with sobs. Hands are now flying through pages, numbers, reassuring addresses, comforting names, links to worlds outside of the black hole that is trying to swallow the voice on the other end of the phone.  

“Thank you.” 

We pray a simple prayer; we cry together as God touches the raw and arrested hearts, amen. 

Then it comes, like an ancient elephant dragging his wrinkled, baggy legs across the room and out the door,

“I had almost lost hope; God is still here! thank you!” 

The phone drips with a happy mix of tears and gentler breathing.  i hang up my end,  the shared door to each others’ worlds closed; we are stronger, fuller, better, still connected. 

Mind is quiet, in awe. Eyes are wet and still stinging with another’s tears. Hands are still. 

Be still, and know that He Is God.

 

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