7/21/15 Morning Musing: It’s Not a Window! It’s a Hole You Made With Your Sledge Hammer!

“When God closes a door, he opens a window.” This phrase has bothered me for a long time. I mean, he’s God! Why would he make me sneak through a window like a burglar? That isn’t what I would expect from God who has been telling me that he alone has put value in me…that I am his beloved bride…that his son defied death in order to make me pristine for him. Why would he then ask me to sneak out a window like a criminal that has something to hide? Why would he treat me as though he is ashamed of me even though my sins have been separated from me as far as the East is from the West? The answer? He wouldn’t.  

I think that we use this phrase in order to allow ourselves off the hook for our frantic lifestyles. Think about this: It’s summer break and I am having so much trouble having quality time with people I love because we are all so busy with camps, classes, vacations, swimming, running errands, doctor visits, trying to get a workout in, cooking dinner…add our work schedules to the mix and the rental house that I’ve been trying to get ready for market again and it has been downright overwhelming. On top of that, I have girlfriends that are as frenzied as I am and they are still planning to add more to their lists of responsibilities while confessing that they are already frazzled as it is.  
Enough! It is time we stop pretending that staying busy adds value to ourselves or our world because it doesn’t. All it does is rob us of our most valuable and limited resource…our time. We can’t get it back and it is dwindling for every single one of us.  
What does this have to do with the phrase about the door and window? Glad you asked! I think God does close a lot of doors for us…but I don’t think he does it in order to just make an obstacle course out of our lives…I think he does it out of love, protection, and a desire to help us make the most of our most limited and unpredictable resource…our time. Maybe instead of frantically looking for a way out when God closes a door, we should choose to sit down in the quiet and just be with God. Instead of defining our value by how much we can accomplish during our time here, we should define it by what can be accomplished IN us during our time here. Instead of sneaking out through a window in order to keep our delerium-inducing pace, we should recognize that love and peace is waiting for us in the very place we are trying to escape.
How are you doing with this? Is life flying by at a break-neck speed? If someone had to determine your priorities and the only data they were given was how you spend your time, what would they believe you love most? Least? How do you feel about that? Is it true?
My prayer today is that we would quit buying into the lie that we must be busy in order to be valuable. I am praying that we would learn to quiet the noise of our busy lives…that we would quit looking for a way out when God closes a door…that we would quit viewing intimacy with our God as something that is not urgent (because when we stop communing with the God who is love, we will forget both how to extend love as well as how to receive it.) Much love friends,

7/6/15 Morning Musing: Deference Instead of Difference

About a year ago, I was taking a CHL class and was surprised by one of the students in the class. He was a really big guy with an even-bigger chip on his shoulder. He was dressed a bit oddly and had died his frizzy hair a blackish-red color. I’m not one to worry about any of that and thought nothing of it until he brought up his “appearance” in class multiple times. He talked of how people were always afraid of him and it wasn’t fair to judge him by his appearance. (To that much, I agreed.) He then went on to explain how when he stares at people or stands really close to them, it makes them uncomfortable…but how that was their problem and not his because he has the right to look and be where ever he wants to. While that is true, it is also untrue…
I asked him a simple question that really set him off: “Where do your rights end and the rights of others begin?” Just asking this question agitated him. He began talking rapidly about how he can look anywhere he wants to look and he can be anywhere he wants to be and went on to explain what all of his “rights” were. He was so frustrated that spit was coming out of his mouth as he spoke. This went on for a bit until I made the statement, “Well, I think it would be a real shame for you to be so busy ‘demanding your rights’ that you end up losing your life in the process.” He stopped and stared at me for a second. “What do you mean?” I responded that what seemed to frustrate him was that people would make assumptions about him being an unsafe person. The problem was, somewhere between his demanding of his rights and the vehemence with which he argued his position, he was becoming the person that people were afraid of. Add a weapon to the man and that was a troublesome combination. I pointed out to him that I was only about a third of his size…whether he was armed or not, he could easily present a lethal threat to me if angered. At what point, would he think it wise for me to pull my fire arm? (Because honestly, after he struck me would be too late.) He thought about it for a moment and then I could see all of the air go out of him. The class went on to actual appropriate topics and the instructor thanked me after class for handling that discussion the way that I did. I don’t know if he ever received his CHL or not.
What is the point? Well, let me start by saying it is NOT a political point at all. My post is not about gun control or the second amendment. What I am concerned about is the prevalence of people who are busy demanding their own rights. This is not new. It is not related to just one issue. I just think that we, as a society, are missing the mark: If we are worked up over just the “rights” that benefit ourselves, we have missed something. Over the past couple of months, I’ve heard people defend their “rights” to hate who they want to hate, to not be P.C., to say anything they want to say, etc. To that I would like to say “Yes, that is legally your right. However, would you say that everything you have a right to do is good?” 
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being. (‭I Corinthians‬ ‭10‬:‭23-24‬ NKJV)
How are you doing with this? Do you find yourself stuck between what you want and what you have? Do you justify things to yourself with phrases that start with “Well, I deserve…” If you studied your finances, how much would you say is dedicated to people outside of your family? When you hear about things in the news, do you begin to justify the criminal actions of people because you identify with them in some way? (Socially, financially, racially, etc?) When you vote, do you vote for the candidates that aim to benefit everyone or is your criteria more self-focused? Instead of being busy demanding our own rights, how might we use our privileges to benefit others? In what ways, could we defer our own rights in order to bring blessings to others?
My prayer today is that we would set our hearts and minds toward the benefit of others. Instead of seeking what benefits ourselves the most, I am praying that we would joyfully defer and lift others up instead. I am praying that instead of seeking out and demanding our rights, that we would search for ways to defend the voiceless and marginalized and thus take a step closer to Jesus.  

Much love friends,