Getting Back Up

7 04 2014

I took a tumble. I’ll be okay, but I am stiff, sore, and a little embarrassed. Most of the time, we aren’t aware of gravity’s power, but every once and a while its truth is reaffirmed in bruised knees and bruised egos.

Fast forward one week. It was time for me to go back to the place where I fell. I was nervous. Everybody had seen me fall. What would they say? What did they think? Still sore, I wasn’t sure I could do what was required. I prayed for courage, stepped in the door, and learned a powerful lesson about getting back up.

The people who greeted me did so with grace. There was no drama about last week’s excitement. They didn’t dismiss it either. They accepted me where I was, and together we worked to take the next step forward.

My Jesus Resolution today is to get back up. We all fall. It is one of life’s realities. Getting back up means drawing a new starting line. Where you are doesn’t matter as much as which direction you are going. We can spend our time being upset that we fell, or we can get back up, hold Jesus’ hand, and take the next step.

A Learner

4 04 2014

This has been a learning week, a growing week, a week to pause and measure the size of the heart that I want to have. There are lots of things that come to mind when we talk about following Jesus, but one of the most important, yet least mentioned, is the willingness to be a learner.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29

Here are ten things I want to dedicate myself to learning from the Teacher.

1. How to have a more generous spirit

2. How to be more courageous in the face of fear and uncertainty

3. How to be more thankful in all circumstances

4. How to love more and judge less

5. How to be slower to sin and quicker to repent

6. How to be more aware of God’s presence

7. How to be more bold in proclaiming His name

8. How to laugh more, worry less, and rejoice always

9. How to recognize the extraordinary in the ordinary

10. How better to live a cross-shaped, resurrection-empowered life

My Jesus Resolution today is to be a learner. Being a life-long learner isn’t something that happens by accident. It requires the deliberate choice to listen, follow, and be transformed by the wisdom of God. It demands humility, wonder, and a heart that is willing to be shaped. The people that I know that are the best teachers are, first of all, wonderful learners. Learning isn’t about finding the obscure fact or studying to be a know-it-all. Learning is about becoming more like Jesus and inviting others to join you on the journey.

The Middle of the List

2 04 2014

Complicated, overwhelming, multi-tasking – do those words describe your day? Your life? We run from appointment to must-do to have-to-have, leaving our souls weary and our hearts shattered. We struggle to get one more item on our to-do lists crossed off before we fall into bed exhausted, setting our alarms so we can get up and do it all again tomorrow. Waking in the morning, we jump back into the complicated balancing act that makes us feel like failures before we even start.

I used to believe that I would have time to live my life when I got to the end of my to-do list. In childhood, I would do my homework before I could go outside and play. In adulthood, I found myself using the same system. Work first, and when you are done, then there will be time to enjoy the moment, soak in beauty, be creative, and savor the sweetness of today.

One day, I realized that I was missing my life because there is never an end to my to-do list. Every day brought something new. For every item I crossed off, two more appeared. Discouraged, I prayed about my fear that I was missing the life I was working so hard to build. Early one morning, there was a quiet answer – learn to live in the middle of the list.

My Jesus Resolution today is to live in the middle of the list. The same kinds of things that are on your list are on mine. All those things that are necessary to living our lives, taking care of our families, and doing our jobs. Living in the middle of the list means making room for the small joys, the glimpses of beauty, the moments of love, and the power of friendship God sprinkles into the midst of laundry, deadlines, and going to the bank. A busy life is not the same as a rich life. A busy life always has its eye on the end of the list. A rich life delights in what it finds in the middle.