Monday Encouragement: Lay it down

 

Happy Monday!!!

And a safe and blessed Memorial Day to you.

This past week was tiring. And it capped a busy, stressful three weeks of disorganised project + tight deadlines. Not to mention that my current life is kind of tiring, being in transition and longing to move forward!

By the time the long weekend loomed ahead, I was in need of some refreshing and repair. I saw that my verse for Saturday was Matthew 11:28, and BOY did that sound like the right verse for me!

So my inspiration for this new week is laying some burdens down.

 

I’ve noticed that even after perfect weekends or holidays, I can walk back into the week hefting the burdens of past, present, and future right back on to my shoulders – as if the pause never even happened.

This week I’m going to try to be intentional about leaving them where they belong.

Be well. 

 

 

(If you are not familiar with Disciple, you can find them here: http://disciplerocks.com. They are a wonderful bunch of guys, and while most of their music is a bit less gentle than this, it’s all awesome!)

 

GONE FISHIN’

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Okay, I haven’t really gone fishing.

But I do need to back off my self-imposed deadline of one post every Friday. Just not happening this week.

It’s been a couple really busy weeks at work, which leaves with me much less energy to spend on the various other obligations of life, including (but alas, not limited to) writing.

So, I’m going to take a week off and work on regaining some energy and some ideas that are more fun than what I conjure up out of bleary eyed fatigue!

Let me therefore take this opportunity to wish you all a LOVELY week, and Memorial Day weekend!!

 

And by all means, if YOU feel like posting, leave a comment! I think I do have enough creativity and brain power left to reply to comments and emails.

Be well. 

Monday Inspiration: Never Give Up.

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Ever have those weeks where it

just

doesn’t

end? 

That is the last two weeks for me.

So, in honour of utter fatigue, I present a video that I watch whenever I’m exhausted or discouraged, because it reminds me that everyday miracles are real.

I don’t believe in comparing my struggles or flaws or pain to others’. What is a huge crisis for me might not be a problem for you, while you might be stressed out by something I would enjoy.

However, I find great value in taking inspiration from each other’s victories and discoveries, so I am grateful for Arthur’s story:

Never, ever, give up! Arthur’s Transformation

 

Be well. 

There is also a longer version, with more of the story (it’s about 9 minutes) if you’ve got that kind of time on a Monday! 🙂

Teeny tiny post. Sleeping now….

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Good day all, I hope you are very well!

I am well, but I am also BEAT. My goodness it’s been an intense couple weeks.

Inflexible work deadline + too few people + the need for close critical inspection of large documents = not a peaceful, reflective girl.

Not that I’ve been working 24 hours days; it’s just that when my day is done I better resemble jello, or the dawning of the zombie apocalypse, than I do a sentient being.

All this to say, I am NOT brimming over with abundance this week! 

And while I do have a great deal of authenticity, especially as the week wears on and I lose sleep, I think we’d best consider that too much of a good thing just at the moment.

So, rather than continuing to peck away at a post that has become  grim and aimless – common characteristics of the author on weeks like this – I’ll share some of my current  favourite articles by people who DO still have the capacity to string words together sensibly.

I hope you’ll find something interesting or thought provoking in them.

And I wish you a splendid, delicious, delightful weekend and week!! I hope to be back to full function next week…

After sleeping for the next two days!

Declutter Your Fantasy Self

The title intrigued me, then the article cracked me up! How much stuff are you storing for your Fantasy Selves?? Just last weekend I was flipping through my  Fantasy Artist’s collection of drawing books. (They’re small… they fit with the other books anyway… when I retire…) My Fantasy Card Maker on the other hand, has her own rubbermaid bin! That I’ve moved TWICE!

What Is An Enough List And How it Helped Me Enjoy Everyday

I had read this one a while ago, then came across it again in Joshua Becker’s post on the 3-Item To-Do-List. I was glad of the reminder. While I HAVE pared down my To-Do lists, I sometimes forget the ‘Why’ behind that, and that risks dreaded List Creep.

Isolation is the dream-killer, not your attitude

I’ve read some of Barbara Sher’s books and although she makes this point clearly, somehow I never fully got it. This is a 20 minute TED Talk, so I know that isn’t handy for everyone in a busy day, but it’s pretty cool, and very funny, if you have the time.

I think it’s also a good reminder of why ‘community’ is worth preserving, or even restoring.

REST

Okay, okay, I know I’ve already shared this baby, but I’ve got to tell you, this song got me through this week. And I admit that the concept of rest has developed an almost hypnotic appeal….ZZZzzzz..

 

Be well. 

 

 

Monday Pondering: the real reason

crocus-292306_640   HAPPY MONDAY!

My small group is working through a book called The Artisan Soul, by a guy named Erwin Rafael McManus.

There is a splendid little section in the third chapter that says:

“Religion is our response to God from a perspective of coercion and compliance. … God is, however, profoundly misunderstood.

Worship is not something we are called to so that God can reinforce his status. It is his way of calling us near. …

He wants us to realise that while we thought all he wanted from us was the work, it was actually an invitation to come near and know his love.

Whatever your week holds, may you find rest, and blessing, in laying down the unnecessary work and knowing the necessary love.

Be well.

 

 

Someone Else’s Words: Reposting a blog that I think is relevant here

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Good day all,

I’ve thought long and hard about how to discuss this topic, and how to address an excellent blog post that I ran into a few weeks ago, and the best solution that I can come up with is simply to add my support to what Dr. Coyle has written by reposting it:

A Letter to my Christian Friends who are Anxious about your Religious Liberty

 

I hope you’ll take a moment to look through it.

I’d happily just repost the full text here, with appropriate attribution, and leave it at that, but I suspect there is some sort of blog ethic against that.

The author makes many valuable points. And she indicates a path out of fear about the current state of our world, out of striving anxiously about our rights. A path that is correct, that is based in eternal promises.

The most significant point, to me, is that other people having civil rights and liberties is not the same as mine being threatened or taken away.

I feel sometimes that we are so very far from understanding what it means to be oppressed that we’ve come to view any risk of discomfort as an assault.

It’s no longer enough that I have the right to believe as I believe and practice my beliefs so long as they don’t harm you. Now  just knowing that you have the same rights I have, though you don’t believe the way I do, is an assault on my civil liberty.

That is a dangerous place to get to.

The concept that church and state should be separate except when it’s MY church, is all fine and good when MY group happens to be the majority. But I can’t be sure that will always be the case.

At the risk of being melodramatic, it’s a bit like the Niemoller statement

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

I don’t want to get to that place.

But even if that were not risk, I agree with Dr. Coyle that I have a responsibility as a Christian to not put others in that place either.

And for more than one reason.

I AM obligated as a Christian to treat others as I’d want to be treated, yes.

I’m also obligated to display the image of Christ.

But perhaps the most important reason comes in Dr. Coyle’s note:

I must say to my fellow Christians that lots of people are tired of hearing us whine and blame and squabble and demand our own way. People will be much more inclined to listen to us when they can actually see us:

partnering across divides to feed the hungry;

advocating for a hopeful future for all children;

demanding justice for the oppressed;

challenging the abuse of our planet;

working to include the marginalized;

and maybe even baking cakes for our neighbors’ weddings. 
Maybe even “bake for them two.”

Call me crazy, but I just can’t shake the suspicion that living as Christ commands us to is meant to be the key to our success as his image bearers.

Be well. 

Happy Friday the 13th!!!!

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Okay, I realise it’s not REALLY a holiday, but it’s one of my favourite days, and I think we can always use more holidays!

And really, isn’t FRIDAY enough to celebrate, all on its own?!?!

I hope YOUR Friday the 13th is extraordinarily blessed!!

May you find a way to make at least one part of it BEAUTIFUL!

Be well.

Monday Encouragement

Happy Monday!!!

 

Okay, if you’re anything like me, Monday may not be your happiest day, so a little encouragement may be in order.

I know some Mondays require a rousing energy injection, but this week I have a tight deadline on a big project, so energy isn’t a problem, but peace and tranquility are in short supply.

So on THIS Monday, I offer a quieter, gentler encouragement for anyone feeling a similar Monday strain.

One of my favourite songs from one of my favourite bands: REST

 

On this Monday, I wish you the opportunity to feel that what you must do matters, and to enjoy doing it.

Be well. 

 

 

If you are not familiar with Skillet, you can check them out here:  http://www.skillet.com. A word of warning though, REST is an unusually quiet song for Skillet!! 🙂

(If you’re one of those folks in need of an energy injection today, you might try Monster.)

The whores all seem to love him

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There’s rumors He even thinks Himself a king, of a kingdom of paupers, simpletons and rogues; the whores all seem to love Him, and the drunks propose a toast. And they say, “Surely God is with us. Well, surely God is with us.” Rich Mullins, Surely God is With Us, The Jesus Record.

 

It’s easy to rewrite Jesus. At least, it seems to be easier to rewrite Jesus than to live with the reality of him.

I’m fascinated by the ways Jesus gets rewritten. 

Some of us tidy him up, making him much more respectable than he apparently chose to be during his time here, while others water him down, making him far less passionate and real than the Jesus his contemporaries would recognise.

I am not sure why blowing up part of the image of Jesus and minimising or blurring the rest works for so many people. I suppose it provides a more comfortable fit, if you don’t look too closely at what you’ve done. But to me, it robs the story of a lot of truth, and a lot of opportunity.

A cozy, manageable Jesus who accepts all beliefs, all choices, all actions as equally true or correct, who doesn’t mind much of anything and doesn’t want to offend anyone, doesn’t fit the Jesus of the Bible.

That Jesus would have had little reason to endure excruciating torture and execution to reconcile a fallen world to a perfect God.

That Jesus wouldn’t have said such uncomfortable things as ‘No one can come to the Father except through me’. Or even ‘then neither do I condemn you‘ – I mean, what would there be to condemn?

Unfortunately,  a proper, respectable Jesus doesn’t quite align with the record either.

Jesus didn’t generally associate with ‘the best people’. In fact, when he did happen to run into the best people, he usually so deeply offended them that they promptly set about considering how hard it would be to  bump him off.

I know I’m not the only one who cheers when Jesus rubs the noses of the Bible Story Pharisees in their arrogance and legalism.

But far from being an example of wrong in their day, the REAL Pharisees were the best and brightest of the religious Jews of their time.

Rich, successful, educated, and deeply religious, these were the folks you’d only dream of being if you were a good dedicated believer of their time. The megachurch pastors, the celebrity Christian writers, the Bible scholars of their day.

And the people Jesus hung out with?  The poor, the illiterate, the uncouth. The town whore. Brawlers and thieves. The homeless guys panhandling at Judea’s intersections.

Our stated goal as Christians is to be like Jesus.

But let’s be real: if asked to select our dinner companions from a lineup of wealthy Christian celebrity, renown Bible scholar, town whore, a couple of homeless guys, and an unscrupulous IRS agent, who would we REALLY pick?

I’m not suggesting that Christians ditch all our current friends and realign our social calendar to look like Jesus’, but it does kind of make me wonder if my view of ‘acceptable’ or ‘valuable’ is more narrow than is safe under that pesky ‘judge not’ clause.

Much as I prefer to look at my own sin and think “Well at least I’m not as bad as… the town whore … the drug dealer… the politician …”  according to everything the Bible says, I am.

Compared to the perfection of God, there’s no difference between me and any of them.

Or any difference there is, seems to be much less important than my similarities to the Pharisee!

 

(By the way, if you aren’t familiar with Rich Mullins’ music, the rest of that song quoted above is even more delightfully, irreverently thought provoking. As is ALL of his music.)