Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fragile Energy ~ Top Ten Realities

I am woman; hear me roar. (I’m not sure who to credit that to). I want to do it all—my mantra that informs my decisions. Not good.

The invitation arrived in the afternoon mail. An ornament shower is planned for my friend who lost all her Christmas ornaments in the Waldo Canyon Fire. It starts at 7:00. A few hours later our couple’s group—Splendid Friends—plan our October get together for the same evening. It starts at 6:00. It’s my turn to host. No problem; I will ask our Splendid Friends to move our start time to 5:00 for this month. Time for dinner, and then I’ll take off leaving Bill with the hospitality and the dishes.

I share my plan with Bill. He catches on before me. “It sounds like you want to be two places at once”. Yup, he’s right. One of our sabbatical lessons is we’re not 40 anymore (we’re not even 50 anymore). Our limited energy demands choices. I email our Splendid Friends and ask another to host that evening. Top Ten, #1.

            2. Sometimes piano playing takes priority over counseling a    friend.
            3. My limited energy resources are interconnected. When I’m physically tired, my spiritual life suffers.
            4. I need to know and apply my personal restoration keys.
            5. The need doesn’t equate to the call.
            6. Every good idea does not need to be acted on today.
            7. Sometimes God wants me to sleep. I need the reminders of Psalm 16:7 and Psalm 127:2.
            8. Will I, can I trust God with that situation?
            9. Time and determination is required to slow down enough to listen to God.
            10. Consequences result from unwise choices.

I am sure there are more. What are some of your keys to using your energy resouces?

“Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep”.
Psalm 121:4
“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places …”
Psalm 16:6

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Power Sources

Electrician’s helper; go-fer; extra hand; pray-er ~ any of those could have described me last month when Bill was installing the electrical wiring in our cabin. Yea, it passed inspection the first time!

In the midst of unrolling wire—the right way—Bill attempts to explain to me how elecrticity works. I still don’t get it. I’m just thankful that when I turn a switch, a light comes on if our generator is running or the solar system is connected. There is no power plant available for the cabin.

Three energy options: a power plant (not an option for our cabin nestled deep in the forest), a generator, or solar energy. For electricity to function one of these must be operable. Not unlike me; I too have three energy options: my natural physical energy; adrenalin;  and God-power (my personal solar—Son of God—energy).

In my twenties and thirties, my natural physical energy served me well. Those were the years of being a new wife, young mom, and partnering with Bill in a growing campus ministry. Hospitality was a big part of those years. I loved it—still do. Questions about spiritual gifts frustrated me. I was doing a lot of things. Often I fell into bed exhausted, but a sound eight hours met the need and restored my energy.

Adrenalin is a gift from God—an emergency back-up power source. It kicks into action providing additional energy when needed. There is a deadline to be met; or a child needs to go to the emergency room. Suddenly I’m gifted with new energy. After the need is met, adrenalin quickly dissipates and I’m left drained—more tired than before. Like the purpose for adrenalin, our generator is the emergency back-up power source for our cabin. 

I’m learning to depend more and more on my personal solar energy—that which I receive from my relationship with the Son. It’s not about my energy; rather it is His energy flowing through me. The important question is not, How do I bear fruit? It is, How do I stay planted? Ministry is more abiding than activity. “I am the vine; you are the branches…” John 15:5.

The Son of God energy is guaranteed into old age. YEA! “The righteous … still bear fruit in old age;” Psalm 92:12-15. That is how I want to finish my course, bearing fruit even when my hair is silver.

But like the other energy sources, it can be depleted. I ask myself, How do I develop a life-style that is powered by God? What are the necessary components? Do you have some thoughts. I’d love to hear.

I’m learning:
·        All energy sources are limited.
·        All can be zapped.
·        All need to be replenished.
·        All serve good purposes.
·        Only one is guaranteed for life.

My desire is to live within the boundaries of the life-giving energy (the power) God has provided. 

“You make known to me the path of life …”
Psalm 16:ll (bolding mine)


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Live INside the Box, 2

This month is the second anniversary of Echoes of Grace. Live INside the Box  was the title of my first post two years ago. Since penning those words for you, I’m realizing that God has a plan for me as well as I blog my experiences.

A macro view of seven big lessons from the last two years:

  1. Be careful what I write. God will continue to develop me in those areas.
  2. The puzzle is always easier when the frame is done first.
  3. I’m learning to listen to God; solitude and silence are essential.
  4. The importance of community:
                       With my husband ~ Romans 15:5,6
                 With a few “splendid friends” ~ Psalm 16:3, The Message
                 With my larger local church community ~ Nehemiah 8:1-8

  1. I love facilitating Sabbath-Living Retreats (I’ve finally named them).
  2. I love writing this blog. It helps me organize what I’m hearing from God.
  3. I’m learning a life-style that feeds my soul.

“Individual people matter. Choice matters. However, we are meant to take comfort from being informed very carefully by God in His communication, the Bible, that He has kept a remnant alive in each moment of history. Genealogies show how much each individual mattered, yet think of the myriad people who names have never been mentioned, not only in the Bible but in any book of any sort, yet who are going to be among the ones to be honored because of being faithful in the little things. The word to each of us comes as a sweet trumpet note heard through a storm: ‘Keep on’…Keep on because you don’t have any idea what fantastic importance yours words and your actions or just your being has in the midst of history. Keep on because you have no idea of the enormity of difference your prayers for some ONE person is going to have in the midst of history.”
From Tapestry: the life and times of Francis Shaeffer, by Edith Shaeffer

“…the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,”
Colossians 1:25

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Me and God; Me and Others

I don’t remember my first thought after my physical birth. I do remember my first thought after my new birth; my prayers are reaching higher than the ceiling!

That amazing, freeing, joy-filled, simple thought spoke of me and my relationship with God with no baggage. It was complete, full, enough.

Then something happened over the years.
            Amazing turned into normal.
            Freedom turned into duties.
            Joy turned into dissatisfaction.
            Simplicity turned into complications.
Me and my relationship with God turned into me and others and what those others thought of me and God.

I know why it happened. My old baggage came with me into my new relationship. Some of that baggage wore the labels of success and popularity as the keys to life. It happened because the respect I held for some of my new friends caused me to put them on pedestals, rather wobbly pedestals. And it happened because early leadership opportunities in my new Christian community gave me a false sense of security.

Early on I knew there was a problem—discontentment plagued me. I tried to fix myself; I treated the symptoms with Bible study, scripture memory, even preparing talks to teach others about discontentment. Those good things buried my issues even deeper.

Finally I experienced my own personal volcano. God had my attention.
GOOD – I realized I couldn’t fix myself.
BAD – My plan: I don’t care; I will grin, pretend all is well, and bear my cross.

God allowed me to work my plan for a while, a long while, about two years. Then he gently began to intervene. He shattered me with his love. He told me of my identity. He whispered his desires for me in my ear. His word came alive again.

As I began to believe and receive his message, everything changed. The amazing, freeing, joyful simplicity crept back.

“You don’t see life the same. But the stories we tell ourselves can run deep. It’s one thing to have a profound experience, and it’s quite another to kill a lie that’s served you a long time. Especially a lie you’ve used to cope. Until you see God right, you’ll keep going back there”.  The Cure, page 42

“But to all who received him, to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God—“
John 1:12