7/8/14 Morning Musing: The Opportunity of Sucking at Something

I counted this morning…this will be my 88th Morning Musing. That’s a lot of writing for someone who does not consider herself a writer…for someone who has jokingly referred to herself as a highly-educated illiterate for years…for someone who really doesn’t like to write and who doesn’t read to learn. As a matter of fact, I probably wouldn’t read my own writing (sorry Jackie…I know you said not to say that but I am anyway)…I prefer bullet points and then learning by touching. Nothing makes my eyes glaze over like a large block of text. So why? Why am I writing each of these musings? Sometimes it’s for me…sometimes I’m working through something…wrestling…and I’m trying to make sense of it. But most of the time, it’s not for me. Most of the time, I am asking God to put something on my heart if it will help someone I know…asking to be a tool in his hand…asking for a way to show him more and connect to those he loves more…and even though I am not a writer, I am finding that I feel fulfilled, challenged, and satisfied when I write.

Why am I telling you this? Glad you asked! I think that God can use each of us to make change on this Earth. Now bear with me, I’m not telling you to sell everything you have, uproot your family, and go into foreign mission work full time…unless, of course, you are hearing that from God. What I am saying is that our weaknesses combined with his strengths and the passions that he has instilled in us are an amazing combination. I mean, take me: I literally have brain damage from the poisoning a few years back, I am deathly afraid of public speaking/performing, I am the world’s slowest reader, writing was always my weakest area in school, and the thought that you all could be judging me harshly sends me into hives…and I am writing most mornings from thoughts entering this damaged brain and putting everything I think and feel out in public to be judged by everyone I’ve ever met…and some people I’ve never met. When I say it like that, I terrify myself! But yet, I am doing it.

See, I think we all are gifted with certain talents and abilities. Obviously, we should utilize those gifts in life. But, there is a lot to be gained through our weaknesses. Think of it like this: when an olympic gymnast is able to do a back hand-spring…people aren’t shocked and they don’t tend to take notice. But if my grandma suddenly did a back hand-spring, people would put her on the news! She would probably end up on a talk show. She would have a bazillion hits on youtube. Why? Not because a hand-spring is news-worthy…because people are inspired when they see someone rise above their weaknesses. People see God when he fills in where we are deficient. (Think Moses.)

Now the challenge. I think God wants to utilize each of us…our strengths and our weaknesses…to touch the hearts of others…to inspire others…to point others to him…to show each other love…to bring life to this world. I think there is something that we each shy away from that maybe we should be embracing…not because it’s comfortable for us…but because it is uncomfortable…because it magnifies him when our weaknesses are spot-lighted and the world gets to see how he fills in the void. What is God calling to mind for you that you are dismissing? What are you refusing to hand to God with open hands? In what area do you doubt his strength?

I am praying for each of you today to have a quiet place to calm your objections and listen to what God would ask of you. I am praying for each of you to experience the joy of obedience in your areas of weakness. Much love friends!

Beks

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6/17/14 Abstract Vacation Morning Musing: “Anybody Can Stand Atop a Mountain but Few Will Climb One” – Pepper Blair

Vacationing in Colorado has left me in awe of the beautiful earth we enjoy. There are drastically different views here than there are back home in Dallas. Hills, mountains, trees, animals, and stars…oh the stars…just to name a few. As we took on the drive from Texas to Colorado, I began to see some small mountains in the distance. As we got closer, those mountains began to look massive…until I could eventually see past them…the ones behind them were so much bigger and impressive…and the ones behind those were even bigger and even more impressive. This got me thinking about life and the obstacles and joys that I encounter.

See, I think that in theory, I’m ok with the thought of troubles and challenges in life…as long as it is far off, it doesn’t look that intimidating or difficult. But eventually, as I continue my journey, I get closer to the first challenge (mountain)…and the closer I get, the more immense it gets…the more it becomes all that I can see. I get so close to it, that I can’t see around it, I can’t see over it, I can’t see through it and I feel overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of it. The only way to get past the obstacle is for me to have faith in the one who led me here…so I climb…and I climb…and my muscles hurt…and my lungs are screaming for me to stop…and I climb…and my thinking begins to swirl…but I have two thoughts that aren’t swirling: “He is good.” and “I can trust him.” So I continue to climb…eventually the pain subsides a bit and there is a thrill to doing something that I’ve never done before and there is joy in being obedient. And eventually, through the pain and the confusion, past the hurt and the discouragement, there is the summit…and it is amazing. As I look at where I have come from, I can’t believe I was ever down that low. I can’t believe that I am standing here and have come so far.

Then, I turn and look in front of me, and I shudder. God…No…please no. When I was at the bottom of the first mountain, I couldn’t see the one behind it…it is easily twice as big. The top looks rougher. I can see that there is a lot more rock and a lot fewer trees. It’s foreboding. I start to think “I don’t even want to see the view from there.” But, I feel him tugging at me…”C’mon Bekah…you know the point of building muscle is so that you can use it…not just so you can coast and let it atrophy…dwindle away.” So, I start slowly…reluctantly. I keep coming up with reasons to stay in the valley between the mountains but I can’t ignore the tug that he has on me…so I go. I climb. All I can see is the rocky ground in front of me. It’s ugly. It’s hard. I don’t want to be here. I climb. Every once in a while along the way, I see a deer or a flower, and it makes me smile…God is sprinkling in some beauty in the midst of the struggle…in the midst of the pain…some encouragement which shows me that he is here…even in the midst of this ugliness…this struggle…he is here and his presence brings beauty. And eventually, I make it to the top. I can’t say the experience was fun…but I can say that it was worthwhile…because along the way, I experienced God. I heard him calling me forward. I felt his hand at my back easing me along when my strength was gone. I heard the footsteps of the deer that he sent across my path so that I wouldn’t only stare at the ground in front of me…so that I would raise my eyes to where he was calling me and see the beauty that is available to those who would allow themselves to see it. I saw the flower blossoming despite being surrounded by hard rock and smelled its sweetness. How was that flower blooming here? It appears to be growing right up out of the stone! Again, I look at how far I’ve come…I can’t even see the starting point anymore…it’s so far away and there are literally mountains in the way. I turn and look in front of me…more mountains.

So, what is the point of all of this mountain climbing? Well, I think that there are lots of points:
1. What I want and what God wants doesn’t always line up…when it doesn’t, I’m the one who is off.
2. Living a human existence in a broken world sounds fine and good until I encounter a little resistance…a little pain…then all of my big talk and toughness withers.
3. When my strength is gone…that is when miracles happen…that is when his strength gets to be shown to me. (Why do I keep trying to do things in my own strength again? My strength sucks! Why can’t I seem to remember this one?)
4. Beauty, there is so much beauty around if I am only willing to take my eyes off the struggle and look around. For some reason, it feels like I can control the struggle more if I stare at it…the hard, rocky ground…but control is an illusion that I have created…I have no control…and as I try to control it, I miss out on the gorgeous evidence of God’s presence. So, I’m learning to look around…to really see the beauty in the simple things…but this requires practice and discipline…it doesn’t just happen on it’s own.
5. It is easy to put off happiness until I am at another mountain top…but I think that would have me missing out on a lot. There are times when I think am supposed to concede that God wants me to hang out on the side of the mountain for a bit…take a look around…see who might be around me needing some help getting adjusted to the mountain life.

So, how are you doing with this? Have you had miserable climbing experiences in the past? Are you climbing now? If you have never struggled through the climb, it’s coming…what can you do to prepare yourself now to keep your focus where it belongs? What mistakes have you made in past climbs that you would like to do differently going forward? Do you still see the beauty regardless of where you are in the process? Can you recognize the muscle that has been built in you in past climbs? How can you make sure to retain that muscle you have built? Do you ever consider what the point of the struggle and the pain is or do you just try to numb it and push it aside?

I’m praying that each of you recognize the true source of your strength in struggles and that you are able to catch some glimpses of the elusive beauty in the midst of your struggles and know that God did that for you. Much love friends.

Beks

This one was a bit stream of consciousness…I hope it makes sense.

6/2/14 Morning Musing: Caught in the Act

Even though his eye was red and his breathing was wheezy from allergic reaction to the puppies, he still picked up the little pooch and gently nuzzled it…not because he loves animals the way I do…but because he loves me so deeply. I’ve gotta tell you, there is nothing sexier that when a strong man voluntarily softens himself to be gentle with animals or children or anyone weaker than himself. Stan does this with regularity and it still makes my heart beat a little faster every single time! Oh my! Tempered strength is so attractive!!!!

I remember how the guy kept going on and on and on about what a “pro” he was in softball. You know the type, bulldog mouth but a candy…uh…tail. He was bragging and bragging and then couldn’t actually perform as described. Then, Stan quietly took his turn at bat. The outfield moved in on him because he’s not that big of a guy…and without all of the noise of the guy before him, he burned them all…hit it to the fence and left them all gaping at him. He swiftly ran all the bases and then trotted into the dugout without all of the hoopla of the guy before him. We weren’t married yet then and I was still getting to know Stan but…that made such an impression on me…his quiet confidence was so attractive! I remember him telling me later that if you are really that great, you won’t have to do your own bragging because other people will do it for you. Oh my! Quiet self-confidence is so attractive!!!!

I remember Stan building a patio in the back yard…it took several days of work and he had lots of heavy lifting to do. The kids wanted to help him…and…well, as it always is when kids help…it slows down the process. But Stan saw the big picture and wanted to cultivate an attitude and culture of service in Team Massey. So, he allowed himself to slow down and elongated the already-long process in order to let the children help him create the patio. With the patience of Job, he created a beautiful and sturdy patio for us to enjoy for years to come as well as creating a sense of ownership and service in our children. They shared quality time together as they worked shoulder-to-shoulder. Wow! Wisdom, patience, and foresight are so attractive!

The point of this musing is two-fold: The first point is that it is possible to actually be the kind of person that inspires others to be better. This isn’t accomplished through “demanding what you deserve” or thinking only of yourself…it is achieved through selfless sacrifice, love for others, and being slow to speak but quick to act honorably. The second point is that it is good to be an observer of the people you love. It is good to try to “catch them doing something right.” With Stan not seeking attention in these circumstances, it would have been easy for me to over-look them and not show him appreciation. It would have been easy for me to focus on the times when he was short-tempered with the kids or when he didn’t thank me for whatever tasks I was doing at the time. But, our relationship was strengthened and Stan felt more known and seen because I took the time to study him and see the motivations behind his actions.

So, how are you doing with this? Can you honorably and selflessly serve the people you love without looking for appreciation for your service? Can you quiet yourself when you really want to brag? Can you let your actions speak volumes more than your voice ever could? What about observing your loved-ones? Are you their greatest observer? Do they feel known and appreciated? Do they feel like you are looking for the best in them instead of only trying to catch them at their worst? How could you improve your relationships in this area?

Praying for love, wisdom, and peace for you all. Much love friends.

Bekah