Jan 212015
 

 

Gotta love those proud parent moments.  The one’s in which the only grateful thought keeping you from playing the “Shame Game” for the rest of the year is, “Atleast no one else was around to witness this gold star conversation.”  Not to toot my own horn, but I had one of these this week.

It was a “normal” week day (for us this means school, work, meals, shopping, quiet times and the girls’ “squirrel dancing” all took place).  I had this genius idea to bring my computer out front to check some “to do’s” off the list, while concurrently watching the girls ride their bikes in the street.  At the same point my brain was giving myself an imaginary pat on the back for living out an upstanding example of the multitasking mother, IT happened.  My gold star parenting moment.

My youngest daughter rode up to me and stated the question that has not left my mind all week, “Mama, do you love your phone or Jesus more?”  Right.  There.  My.  Heart.  Sank.  And then I proceeded to give a quick answer of, “Well, I love Jesus more honey.”  Because that was the right answer.  My daughter rode off as I thought back to all the times today and in days past my cell phone had been my priority.

I decided to close my computer after that conversation.  Frustrated with technology sapping me of relationships.  I thought to myself, “Was my relationship with Jesus my priority each day?  What message am I communicating to my family and others through my actions (not words) of the things I value most?  How can I live a life of being present with the one’s I am face to face with, not the one’s over cyberspace?”

I love that we serve a God of grace.  Who never shames us into submission.  Or forces us into intimacy.  But instead has an always extended hand.  Patiently waiting.  For us to grab it.

For this year of 2015, my word is “reliance”.  Webster’s defines reliance as “the state of needing someone or something for help”.  Like minded words are: anchorpillar, dependence, standby.  

For me, the picture that goes with my word of the year is one of the extended, open, welcoming, warm hand of Jesus.  Our God is THE one to rely on.  For strength. Help.  Comfort.  Direction.  Wisdom.  Worth.  Peace.  And Purpose.

So when I am not relying on the Lord, what am I relying on?  I have found out.  “Myself” is the answer.  It is so fitting that all the Webster’s words opposite of reliance are:  independence, independency, self-dependence, self-reliance, self-sufficiency, self-support.  When I let go of the hand of Jesus, I choose to rely on myself.  

But isn’t it a comforting thought that weakness and reliance are not like minded words.  The above words coupled with Webster’s definition of “reliance” are one’s of strength-“anchor, pillar”.  So we can be sure that relying on/holding onto the hand of Jesus puts us in a category of strength.  The bible confirms this as it says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This “reliance relationship” is what I desire.  To be priority.  Over all other crazy “distraction balls” hurled at me daily as if I am in a dodgeball game.  So I am putting a name to my top 5 distractions

  1. Cell phone
  2. Household chores
  3. Computer-Amazon, email
  4. A friend’s request to get together
  5. Work tasks

These distractions consist of everyday, even necessary activities, technologies, projects and people.  And each one is not bad in and of themselves.  But the problem arises when I rely and act on my own impulses, expectations, and control rather than obedience to the Spirit’s voice.  These distractions are my “acheles heals”-areas I know I am prone to prioritize above God’s will for me in the moment.  And in these moments when these distractions reign above God’s promptings, or the distractions have so overwhelmed my brain and I am not aware or asking for God’s decision, I am telling God I love “my cell phone” more than Him.

Sweet Jesus, may I today “keep in step with Your Spirit”.  May I prioritize loving You and others above my distracting cell phone.  May you see me as faithful as I do my best to be obedient to Your voice and commands.  May I recognize Your extended hand beckoning me to come.  Rest.  Find help.  Find peace.  Find true fulfillment and love.  As the distractions of this world fade away in light of Your glorious face.   

What distractions keep you in “self reliance” mode rather than reliance on God mode?

What might God be beckoning you to take His hand to do-trusting and relying on Him for strength?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 132013
 

IT HAD BEEN YEARS SINCE I DROVE DOWN HWY 99 TO MY HIGH SCHOOL STOMPING GROUNDS.  I was on my way to pick up a forever friend for a girls weekend.  It had been too long since we had the opportunity to deeply connect.  Kids, activities, ministry, and distance have a way of causing years to pass quickly.

The scenery around me ministered to my soul.  I turned the dial down on Chris Tomlin’s song, “How Great is our God”, and began to sing my own.  A new song.

I thanked God for the green, green trees.  I thanked Him for the blessing of forever friendships.  High School lockers, choir concerts, mentor coaches, cheerleading competitions, and science fairs.

I sat with memories of the past.  But not all the memories were positive.

Failure to be in the “cool crowd”.  Failure to make the team.  Failure to step out and love the least of these.  Failure to see myself as beautifully created by God.  Failure to see the hurt inflicted by my sarcastic words and gossiping.   Failure to stop abusive relationships.

As I wallowed in this regretful place, I noticed the turn to my high school.  There were so many new houses, trees, flowers and signs.  I almost missed the high school because I didn’t recognize the new surroundings.

But not all of the terrain had changed.  I smiled as I drove by the massive cement building which held my indoor softball practices.  Where I tried over and over to get that drop ball pitch.  With mounting feelings of anxiousness, knowing the first game was tomorrow.

Then I sensed God whisper to me, “I make ALL things new.  Not just some, but ALL.”

God doesn’t make some things new and leave some old, like my high school stomping grounds.

He has taken my past failures and sin.  He has torn down ALL these “old buildings”, and has replaced them with “new buildings”.  Which are built on the firm foundation of Christ.  New buildings spring up all over as Christ lives in me.  “New buildings” are the fruits of the Spirit in my life.

A Father’s letter to His daughter:

I am a God who is all about new.  I am doing a new work in you and in the world around you.  You are new in your mind, heart, attitude, and actions. 

You may have a tendency to be drawn to respond out of what was successful or beneficial in the past.  To rely on human tradition and expertise. 

Throw out expectations of how things have been and how they should be.  Get rid of what you know and rely solely on Me to guide and equip you.  Be ready to act out of your weak area’s.  Humble yourself and respond in obedience. 

You WILL see fruit when you are connected to me.  I WILL be glorified in my ability to move the Kingdom in ways you find peculiar.  

Get ready to learn.  I am a unique God and My ways are unique. 

Trust me.  As I  fulfill the purpose I have for you.  Trust me.  As I build a new Kingdom.  Trust me.  In new ways. 

Now walk, my daughter, in courage and strength.  As we embark on a new journey together.

 You make ALL things new.

Rev 21:5a “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make ALL things new'”. (Bold added)

2 Cor 5:17 “He is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!”

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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