Jul 272016
 

“Your reality is like good medicine” were the words of a song which I woke up to on repeat in my mind.  And then the song turned into a thoughts about a challenging “reality” moment I encountered with my daughter a couple Sunday’s back.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23-24

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were stil ltrying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10 

I was having somewhere between a teaching and all out frustration moment as I went over the “do’s and don’ts” church etiquette with my 7 year old daughter.  Do-“stand when everyone stands during the worship songs.”  Don’t-“Drink your tea during worship time.”  Do-“Sing the words to the songs.”  Don’t-“Talk to your friend.”  Don’t-“Go to the bathroom.”  Do-“Close your eyes during the prayer.”

Check. Did my good Christian motherly duties.  At the time, basking in what felt to be some amazing “training up my daughter in God’s Ways”, I held my head a little higher than before.  Our family row was looking.  Good.  (Oh and nothing could be wrong with this, “I’m too good for my britches”, scene.)  We were doing all the right things, at the right time, in the right way.

At this point, by the grace of God I was able to step off my pedistle and look down for one moment.  And I smiled.  Differently.  Deeper.  Better.  Truer.   Than before.  Because my smile this time wasn’t based on how other’s would see us.  Or how my daughter was responding positively to forced “do’s and don’ts”.  It was based on what I witnessed as I watched my 7 year old daughter respond with spontaneous/made up motions to the worship song we were singing.

I sang “Jesus paid it all”- her arms elongated out so wide her face was stretching right along with them.  I sang, “All to Him I owe”-her hands moved crazily all around in a circular form.  I sang, “Sin had left a crimson stain”-her clinched fists on her heart and face in despair.  And finally, “He washed me white as snow”-her clenched fists opened fiercely and broke open.  Freedom.  In.  Jesus.

This was an act of authenticity and freedom in my daughter and her relationship with God.  She was doing her own thing.  She was responding to Him.  Not because of what anyone told her to do.  Not because of what would “look good” to those around.  Simply because she was being herself.  With her loving Father.  And loving every.  minute.  of.  it.

5 questions to test your authenticity in your relationship with God and others

  1.  What are my motives in making decisions?  What is your process you go through when saying “yes” to a particular commitment, activity, decision?  Does it involve weighing in how other’s will respond to you or think of you if you say “no”?  Does it involve what you will get out of it selfishly or what you might get in return if you do it?  If so, you are not being true to yourself, them, or your God.  Respond with “yes” only in obedience to your Master God, who is the only one you are serving.
  2. Do my actions match my words?  We want to not only speak truth in love to others, but show it as well.  Are you the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting friend or just a nice voice over the phone?
  3. When was the last time you “made a fool of yourself” for Jesus?  Following our God is risky and when we step out in faith/out of our comfort zone we don’t always respond in a typical, earthly standard sort of way.  If we are never “looking strange or making strange decisions” in the eyes of the world, we are probably living more by sight than by faith.
  4. What does your time with God look like?  If it is a “going through the motions” based on “checking off” the list of devotion, bible reading, prayer based on self imposed or other’s imposed rules and standards, it may be time to mix things up a little.  Maybe it’s time to be spontaneous with God and “bust out some motions to the worship songs” or go on a coffee date or walk in nature or spend time with Him doing what you love to do with a friend.  Take time this week to get out of the “box” and do something new with Jesus.
  5. What am I afraid to approach God about?  If you can answer this genuinely, then you are at a great place.  Because the cool thing is He already knows about this and wants to love you/help you through it.  He always in “gentle, gracious and humble”.

“Reality is like good medicine” my friends (in which I always seem to find out the hard way of pride coming before a fall.)  But if we allow our loving God to search and test our hearts and motives and come to a place of repentance for our yucky stuff, then we will live in that sweet spot.  We live in the reality of our song from above, “Sin had left a crimson stain”-meaning we all are sinners, but we have hope because… “He washed us white as snow” through His death on the cross.  The Holy Spirit gives us the balming medicine to “lead us into all truth” about how we can have “more of Him and less of me”.  Don’t resist this reality and good medicine He offers!  The more we lean into the reality of who we are and why we NEED Jesus, the more freedom, peace and joy we will experience.  The more abundant life and purpose filled living we will walk in.  May your day today be one in which you run to the arms of your loving.  heavenly.  Father.  And may you run with grace to Truly. be. yourself.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 112015
 

 

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

The goal is always to get out on time to go to church.  I will admit this “on time” phrase usually equals varied meanings between my husband and I.  Blame it on our different upbringings, varied personality traits, or lack of similar priorities, being early/”on time” has been an area I continually seek to improve in and yet you may not know it since failing miserably continues to be my norm.

As much of a task master as I felt I was being on this particular Sunday morning, it wasn’t enough to actually get us all in the car leaving plenty of wiggle room.  My husband has helped me see the beauty of “Wiggle room”. Wiggle room creates space and overall peace instead of anxiety and hurriedness when attending any activity.  Makes up for unforseen traffic.  Creates an ease of mind from those you are meeting with.  Promotes positive characteristics of dependability, respect, and consistency in which others see and value in you.  But.  I.  Still.  Wiggle.  Out. of having wiggle room as I head out the door most days.

As we drove to church, I calculated in my head if we would be able to squeeze in a stop at Dutch Bros and still be early/”on time” to church.  I asked the head “time keeper” in our house.  He said, “Probably not since the line is always super long”(what he is also saying is since we left with no “wiggle room” we have no time for extras).  But what to my wondering, Mint Mocha desiring eyes should see, was no one in the drive through at Dutch Bros coffee.  It.  Was.  Ordained.  By.  God.  My hearts desire could be fulfilled in this moment.  And this little before Christmas cheer encompassed my deepest soul (okay, maybe a little over the top, but sometime you need to drive the point home.)

As we pulled right into Dutch Bros we were once again greeted by a curly haired barista girl with ear to ear smiles and questions about our days plans.  We rolled down the girls window to let them give the low down to her.  My oldest daughter’s response to the, “What are you up to today?”, question was short and sweet, “Going to church”.  The barista was polite with her response but didn’t seem to share our same Jesus values.  My youngest daughter didn’t want to leave it at that though, she felt some more details should be included, “We go to church right over there at the Safari Sams building.  It’s real fun.”  My husband and I laughed a little and were somewhat surprised by the barista’s next comment, “That’s cool.  I try to get to church when I can because whenever I have gone I feel real peaceful.”

My husband and I discussed afterwards this somewhat unexpected portrayal of how an unbeliever (most likely) encountered the peace of Jesus when entering a church building.  And how this Peace, His peace, would be the very reason to go in the first place.

There is nothing like the peace of Jesus to be THE protector of our hearts, mind, and soul when in a time of unknown or trial.  This world, and the prince of this world, works overtime to cause fear and doubt as various troubles hit us.  I love the way Jesus loves and protects us from all the scary “what could be’s” of the future, “what should be’s” in our now, and let downs of the “what will no longer be’s” of past losses, and gives us His peace.  His peace overcomes.  His peace quiets us.  His peace speaks rest and hope to know it all is and will be well.

Thank the Lord for the protection of peace He offers you today.  And then receive His gift of peace in those places which currently trouble you.  Including plenty of “wiggle room” in your thoughts to have your mind renewed by His perspective.   Building in enough “wiggle room” into your agenda for the day to allow for those “God ordained” appointments He has for you.  And as your time is spent wiggling your mind, heart, soul and feet to Him, it is time never wasted.  His peace and love are always “on time”, just when we need them.

When has the Lord’s peace protected you from fear?  Will you thank Him for doing this?

In what relationship, troubling thought, or current trial do you need the peace of Jesus to overcome you?  Will you ask Him right now for His peace surpassing all understanding?

In what part of your typical day/weekly schedule are you prone to become too busy/distracted/burdened and are in need of some Jesus “wiggle room” to be included?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 292012
 

We are about to enter a season of purple.

Seriously. It’s not just my opinion! The Church even says so.

The liturgical Christian church uses color to help us think about different rhythms in our life

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with God. Purple is for preparation, and we’re heading there this Sunday for four weeks of purple loveliness 🙂 (See previous post for the significance of purple to me.)

Kids latch onto and love the liturgical colors materials in the atrium (the space where we host a weekly contemplative Bible and prayer experience for kids). They relish the solemn procession when it’s time to change the color of the cloth on the prayer corner table. They sing the colors song at the top of their lungs and ask to do it again and again. And they sit in silence as we unveil one color at a time and introduce them to the great variety of ways we can enjoy God’s presence.

White is for celebration, for the great feasts of Jesus—the feast of the nativity and the feast of the death and resurrection of Jesus. White like light.

Purple is for preparation—the time before the feast when we are getting ready.

Green is for ordinary time, or growing time. The time after the feast. We humans may have a penchant for drama (God too at times?), yet most of the liturgical year is green.

(That slow and steady growth that unfurls in the midst of the ordinary must be worth something.)

And Red is the color of great love—it’s for Pentecost, or the feast of the Holy Spirit. The One who pours the love of God into our hearts.

Even though advent means coming, these 4 ish weeks before Christmas are all about waiting.

My first pregnancy was culminating during advent, and 12 of those days of waiting were after the due date. I so wanted to be vibe-ing deeply on the peaced-out Mary-the-mother-of-Jesus channel. It could have all been so holy and meaningful.

It wasn’t. I was grumpy and resentful and anxious.

Isn’t that how it goes with waiting?

Deeper down feelings show themselves. Our sense of our own power is rattled. Purple is stirred.

Our guts groan.

Can we let it be? Knowing that the space in us and in our lives is womb? That something is growing in there

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room inside is the point?

Or will we rush around with preparations, avoiding feelings, taking control and trying desperately to make it all holy and meaningful?

When I was training to be a catechist (guide) for the Montessori-based kids experience I described above (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd), there was an emphasis on the “prepared environment.” Most of the guide’s work is getting the atrium ready so the kids can work independently while the catechist plays butler where needed.

But when I went through the second round of training, my teacher mentioned this idea of catechist as prepared environment. Whatever it is we do to make ready the external surroundings, can the children find a spacious, grounded center inside us?

That’s a question I’m holding this advent. I am hoping I can stand the agitation of my “internal purple” that space and waiting inevitably bring…

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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