How to Hold On, When Life Hurts...

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Things Are Not As They Should Be

She walks in with a limp. Her left hip exaggerated, her right leg dragging behind. It’s noticeable and I find myself staring. I want to look away, but there is something in me that keeps at it. It’s not how different it looks than those of us who walk ‘normally’. It’s not the speed at which she moves. It’s this tugging, this longing, the way she stirs my soul. 

Things are not as they should be.

It’s the same tugging I feel when I hear of brokenness half a world away and half a block away, and half a heart away in my own life. It’s the same longing that aches when the cancer comes back in our friends and acquaintances. It’s the same stirring when I hear of marriages on the rocks and shame ripping lives apart. 

Things are not as they should be. 

Relationships don’t work as they should. We create things, but for wrong reasons. We find our creations lacking, even as strive for their perfection. Our work doesn’t come together as we’d like and our ruling and subduing stands to fail, each day. Our bodies fail us, our bosses assail us, our lives stand to do everything put prevail… Or so it seems. 

 

Things Are Not As They Should Be… BUT they will be! 

We have this deep sense within us that things, yes, all of life is not as it should be. 

And so this longing, this ache, which comes as I see her limping reminds me that while things are not as they should be, they will be as they should be. 

 While she limps in and shiftiness takes over, she steps to the seat and finds rest.  As I watch her sit, I find this longing as a type of prayer. 

Come Lord Jesus, come. Things are not as they should be. Make them as they should be… 

 

 A Memory of The Garden of Eden

This prayer is from a deep place. It comes from a deep heart memory of  the garden of Eden. 

Eden, this place where things are just as they should be. 

Eden where all wholeness and harmony found its place among relationships and work and creation and humanity. 

Eden where God walked among his people freely and humanity knew experientially, in a fitting and deep way, their Creator.  

Eden, this symbol of how things are meant to be. 

We long and ache because we remember our origin.  We ache and long because we know that all we see, all we experience, all we have here, isn’t all there is. 

For there is beauty beyond the ugliness. There is peace beyond the chaos. There is hope beyond the despair. There is grace beyond the condemnation of life.

And so when we long for things to be made right, what we long for is for God to remake us, for God to create again a new heavens and a new earth, with all the goodness and generosity of Eden.

This longing resides in the promise that yes, these longings will be fulfilled. Everything will be made right. 

Not all is lost, friends because while things are not as they should be, they will be. Hold on, dear ones, because it will all be restored. Hold on because a new heavens and a new earth IS COMING. 

These limps- physical and emotional, spiritual and intellectual- yes, YOUR limps, they will be restored, healed, made whole again. 

We, who walk with limps and live with aches, will run and leap with abandon when it’s all restored. We who find ourselves broken in so may ways, will be put back together, and not just that, but given newness and lightness, as if we never were broken in the first place. 

 

Hold ON… Your Restoration Is Coming! 

When the pain seems unbearable. Hold on, for it will all be restored. Christ our Savior is making everything whole again. 

When the disease eats away, and deteriorates quality of body and quality of life. Hold on, for it will all be restored. Christ our Healer is making everything new again. 

When the heartbreak of loss comes knocking on the door. Hold on, for it will all be restored. Christ our Lover is making everything fulfilling again. 

When the confusion of relational conflict finds its way into your life. Hold on, for it will all be restored. Christ our Friend is making everything fit again. 

When your work just isn’t working and you hit roadblock after roadblock to move forward. Hold on, for it will all be restored. Christ our Creator is making everything move again. 

When you’re shut down or put down or kicked down. Hold on, for it will all be restored. Christ our Way is making a way for everything, including you. 

Hold on, my friends, hold on. Eden has been placed deeply in our hearts. So deep that the Enemy can’t take it all out of us. This is why we long, this is why we ache. 

Hold on. 

 As you hold on, help those in your life who are limping to walk a little lighter. 

 Remind them, all things are will be restored. Eden will come again, with Christ’s redemption painted all over the atmosphere. We will breathe wholeness, live wholeness, be whole again. 

 Hold on, hold on, hold on… Christ is coming and with his coming, it will ALL be made new again! 

 


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If you're longing to find meaning in the midst of the mundane in your own life, I have a gift written just for you. My e- book called Jesus and Spit: Seeing the Miracle in the Mundane is yours FREE when you sign up here. Join me on this journey to discover the miracles God has in your ordinary life! 


The Power of the Promise of All Things

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God Works for OUR Good

 

Sometimes the bad days get worse. And it’s hard to see God in it. It’s like he’s everywhere but our lives, our days.

When you lose our job and the bank is calling to take away the house. When the diagnoses are compounded.

When you need hope and help, but it just seems a bit hopeless and you’re left helpless.

When you’ve worked hard, but it’s not paying off. When the relational conflict you thought couldn’t get worse, does.

 

Take heart, friend. Don’t give up… for we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

All things.

 

When your kid gets sick for the third time this month and you’re shuffling from doctor to doctor to figure out what it is, God is working for the good.

And my friend, when the bottom drops out of your life and you’re not sure where to turn, God is there too, working for your good.

When your co-worker who slacks off gets the promotion instead of you, God is working for you good.

 

God Makes the Impossible, Possible

 

Some days, people will tell you it’s not possible.

No, there is too much red tape.

No, there are too many hoops to jump through.

No, we’ve come to the end of the line.

No, we’ve exhausted all resources and come up dry.

It’s impossible.

This thing that you’ve given yourself to, there’s no way to accomplish it. This person you’re committed to, no matter what. This endeavor that you believe with all your heart is the way to go. And you come to the end and it seemingly fails.

 

Take a deep breath because that’s just where God shows up. Because we can trust that when humanity tells you…this is impossible. God answers back…with ME all things are possible.

 

All things.

When you get the diagnosis that doesn’t look good. With God it’s possible.

When you’re working desperately to get a child the resources they need to succeed, and you’re coming up dry. With God it’s possible.

When you’re stuck in a relational standstill and don’t know how to move forward. With God’s it’s possible.

 

God is the Peacemaker

 

Some days it seems like peace is a galaxy away. The wars get worse, and the fighting continues. All around us, people are in conflict- fighting themselves, their classmates, their parents, their enemies.

Where does it stop? How far will it go? We ask ourselves. When will reconciliation take place? Where will hope find its way?

Take a moment to pray, for into the strife is exactly where Christ’s presence is ushered. Into the violence, Jesus walks promising to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth.

 

All things.

To the bullies and the bullied. To the perpetrator and the victim. To the bomb maker and the bomb dropper. To the law breakers and law enforcers. To the women. To the men.

When Christ’s presence shows up, reconciliation is ushered in. When the diversity strips, Christ’s presence brings unity, reconciliation, peace.

 

God Makes Us Conquerors

Some days it seems as if we are kicked while we’re down. It’s like the prisons we’ve built around our lives to seemingly keep us safe, end up shackling us further.

The struggles come with no end in sight. When it seems like we’ve come against the same walls again and again and they keep getting taller and taller. When no one seems to be on our side, and everyone seems to be against us.

Take heart for, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

 

All things.

When the enemy lies and tells you you’re never going to conquer the things that are killing your soul. When you grab that bottle once more. Or step on the scale once more or open that webpage once more, sin engulfing you a little bit further.

Christ is bigger than sin, stronger than sin. He is the one who conquered all DEATH. It’s in HIS power that you can conquer these things.

 

God Holds Your Life Together

Some days it seems as if everything falls apart. The dishwasher breaks and the plumbing gets backed up, and your kids fight, and you can’t seem to hold it together.

When you’ve come to the end of your rope, yourself, your sense of security, and it’s seemingly all gone. When the business falls apart, and the boss calls you to reprimand you for making a mistake, and the relationship you’ve poured yourself into is suddenly over.

Take a deep breath, for this Jesus, this Christ, He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

 

All things.

When the baby gets sick the same day you have a big presentation, and you leave in a fight with your son or daughter.

When nothing seems to be going your way, and you’re certainly not sure how it’s all going to shake down. Christ will hold it all together.

Certainly, if he can keep the molecules of your body together, your skin on, your blood pumping, all on it’s own, than certainly he can keep all the details you hold so dear, TOGETHER.

If he can keep the earth spinning- just so- on it’s axis so we don’t all slip off the face of the earth due to the weight of gravity, then certainly, he can keep the events and relationships of your life TOGETHER.

 

God is the God of Abundance

Some days it seems like it’s not enough.

Not enough time.

Not enough money.

Not enough help.

Not enough support.

Not enough skills.

Not enough.

Not enough.

When the bank account runs out too early in the month. When the project manager announces they’ve cancelled the project. When you wake up feeling like you still could sleep for six days and not have all the energy you need. When you’re to the end of your own goodness and in need of something outside of yourself.

Take a moment to pray. It’s then, right then, that we can trust that…God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. He will show up for you and provide for you all things.

 

All things.

When the fridge is empty.

When your creative juices stop flowing.

When you come to the end of your resources and need more.

 

For we have a God who is the great provider, and in God’s economy, there is more than enough; even and especially when it seems to be otherwise. For all our needs-is the promise. Everything we need, will be satisfied, will be provided for. Wait for it, friends. See how God will show up and provide. Because certainly, he can and does and will again.

 

Some days it feels like we’re disqualified- From blessing, from hope, from health. It’s like everyone else has a place, has a purpose, has things going for them. And we dwell on that.

 

And yet, these words, come up again and again in God’s love letter to us.

ALL THINGS… This means all of life, all of YOUR life.

Each piece and each category.

Christ is IN it all.

Christ is ABOVE it all.

Christ is ABOUT it all.

Christ is found BEFORE it all.

And it’s Christ who is BEHIND all of the details of our lives.

 

So, today, this week, this month. When you’re in need or at the end or finding yourself broken take heart, take a deep breath, take a moment to pray. For ALL things means your life too, in all the power of its minute details and the glory of it’s ordinariness.

 

* Scripture references used in their order- Romans 8:28, Matthew 19:26, Ephesians 1:10, Romans 8:37, Colossians 1:17, 2 Corinthians 9:8


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Is There Truly Never Enough?

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There’s not enough time in the day, I mutter to myself. Rushing to get lunches made, shoes on and out the door for school. My calendar and schedule are full. My to-do list overflows at the brim. I place it all on me… I must get it all done. But at the end of the day, my soul reverberates what my lips muttered that morning. Not enough. Not enough time.

 

And we go through our days like this, don’t we? Not enough time to do the things we want to do. Not enough time to spend with each other. Not enough time to take care of the things put into our care. Not enough time for, well… living.

 

It’s not just time that seems to be scarce these days. Money is tight- at every turn. Resources seem to run low, and the timing of it is worse. Our energy seems to wane, exhausted we run towards the quickest fix- caffeine for some, a power bar for others. We can’t seem to create for ourselves what we need most, time, money, resources, energy, relational capital.

 

This scarcity some days wears on me like an achy muscle. Always there and getting worse by the hour.

 

How do we live when there’s not enough?

 

How will the quality of life be rendered when with each passing day, there seems to be less of what I need?

 

I turn towards the news of the day, and find that all around me, scarcity seems to rare its ugly head. Not enough protection in our schools for students, not enough good teachers to go around. Not enough patience on either side of legistration. Not enough time to listen, so we push our agendas on each other. Not enough understanding and willingness to see another’s perspective.   

 

Not enough. Not enough. Never enough. It’s the anthem of our culture, the theme song of Target, Amazon, and the local grocery store.

 

And yet…

 

The God of Abundance

When we turn to scripture we see a different story. The tune is different, the lyrics to the God song strung throughout this amazing story is that God is not a God of scarcity, holding back from us goodness, provision, and resources.

 

No! He’s the God of abundance, of overflow, of making something out of nothing, of praising the widow for the heart in her little offering.

 

We have a God who brought the throws of creation into being with the rise and fall of his own voice. We have a God who thought up great oceans and mountains, and then called them forth. He is the one who over and over again in scripture takes what people have, and makes more- the four thousand, the five thousand, the widow, the wedding party, the faith of the father and the mother, and even the waves in all their power.

 

And so, why? Why do we hesitate to believe in the power of abundance not in our days or our wallets, or our calendars, but in God Himself?

 

The Reality of Abundance

The reality in each of our lives is that of abundance.

 

Not because we have so much, but we have a God who can make much of our little.  Not because the time and understanding and resources are overflowing but because in the hands of God, our lives ARE taken care of.

 

Yet, the reality is God knows what we need- be it healing, a listening ear, time to be faithful to what He’s called us to, money to take care of the thing put into our care, or energy to put towards them. Friend, not only does he know what you need, but He also is constantly striving to provide for those needs.

 

In the midst of this truth, though, this truth of abundance, we get tripped up, don’t we? We see the lack of resources, the lack of time, the lack of listening ears and we decide we need to take matters into our own hands. We need to push and to strive, conjure and coerce, and we end up exhausted, soul tired, and at the end of ourselves.

 

Each time we end up this way, know this: Our God is waiting for us to turn towards Him in our sense of emptiness, our defeat, our lack, and allow Him to remind us of being the God of abundance.

 

Turn Towards His Abundance

Not only can He create more time for us, He is the Creator of the beginning and the end of time. Not only can He provide for us, but all we have is His to begin with. Not only is God the one through whom our whole life is held, but all of life around us is held in His grip too.

 

Scarcity is the language of the culture- our spinning out of control, addicted to busy culture. Scarcity screams at us at every corner. But scarcity doesn’t have the last word. Scarcity is not the end of the conversation.

 

Adbundance, overflow, more than enough. That’s the language of our God.

 

Your reality is not stuck in the reality of culture. No, your reality is held in the hands of a loving, more than capable, Almighty Savior, who is not only aware of the slipping through the cracks moments of your life. And who then reaches low to catch the things that slip- holding them in grace, providing in his mercy, and treating our lives with the reality of abundance.

 

So friends, don’t let scarcity have the last word.

Turn towards God whose truth is abundance.

Overflow, enough, and grace is available. Today, now, in this moment and the next.

By his word, he can bring just what you need this week. And gladly will! 

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If you're longing to find meaning in the midst of the mundane in your own life, I have a gift written just for you. My e- book called Jesus and Spit: Seeing the Miracle in the Mundane is yours FREE when you sign up here. Join me on this journey to discover the miracles God has in your ordinary life! 

Stop Waiting For Someday

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He rolled his eyes when I clicked the scanner on it. Blissfully in love, we were registering for items for our wedding. Dan was realistic. “Babe, what is that?”

 

“It's a turkey platter, we WILL need this someday.” I said emphatically,  smiling back.

 

 “It's obscenely huge. We are not going to use that thing, and where will we put it in our little apartment?”

 

“We will find a place. Plus you're going to be happy someday that I won't have to spend $50 on a turkey platter when we need one.”

 

Eventually we ended the conversation and moved onto scanning towels and tools, adding them to our wish list. It was ten years ago and around Christmastime this year, we moved that turkey platter a ninth time…  

 

I have used it once. For veggies… at a Super Bowl Party. Not even for a turkey!

 

Each time we moved, Dan suggested we get rid of it. He's right, it's obscenely huge and we’ve only used it once.

 

Every time I open the cupboard it’s kept in, I think about it. I think about using it. And then I justify it, someday, we’ll be glad we have this.

 

And I'm sure we will…right?

 

Someday…

 

On some level moving this turkey platter feels like parts of my past life, where I would collect things I would do someday, read someday, be someday.

 

I would tell myself someday, when I have it all together, I'll have something to contribute to another’s life.

 

Someday, when I have the time I'll become a writer.

 

Someday when I don't have school work, then I'll be more present to my life.

 

Someday, when the relational complexities go away, then I'll be able to be a good friend to that person.

 

Someday, when we get our life in order, we’ll be able to reach to others different than us.

 

But just like I kept telling myself someday, I’d use the turkey platter, and then didn’t.

The somedays in our lives don't ever become a reality without intention and planning.

 

I hadn't used the turkey platter because I haven't gone out and gotten a turkey to roast, or thrown a party large enough to put food on it. I didn't give to a particular friendship because I wasn't intentional about making the strides to pursue reconciliation in it. I didn't write because I waiting for the perfect time to become a writer. I didn't believe that an incomplete person is a more powerful mentor than someone living with the façade of perfection, and so I waited until I would be in a more perfect place.

 

I waited and waited and missed opportunities. I waited and waited and missed finding myself in deeper ways. I waited and waited and missed out on the blessing of opening myself to a different way of life.

 

Someday Won’t Come by Waiting

 

But that's the thing, the someday is a myth. Someday is all smoke-screens.

And the myth that someday you’ll really start living, is holding you back from the life God is calling you to.

 

The someday won't become a reality until you're intentional about taking small steps to make it happen.

 

If you’re anything like me, then know this, you aren’t alone. Even the people of Israel struggled with the myth of the someday. In the book of Jeremiah, the people tell God that someday, they would make a life for themselves, when they were back in their original place, their beloved Israel. For certainly, they couldn’t make a life in exile. They told God that someday they would put down roots again, but not until God put them back into their glory days.

 

And God in his wisdom responds by saying, hmmm… Someday is a myth.

 

Today, I have things for you to do, and ways for you to be a community.

 

Plant crops where you are, you're going to need something to eat. Marry your sons and daughters off, for they need to start new families who bring up their children to know me.

 

 I have things for you TO-Day that you wouldn't believe. Ways that I will show up, but you can’t be too focused on the ‘someday’ or you’ll miss me in your midst!

 

In the book of Jeremiah God calls the people to put down roots right where they are. Not waiting until they find a better place, or are in a different place.

 

This calling from God to the people of Israel is a call to believe that God is working in the moment, now.

 

It’s a call to believe that God isn't just going to meet his people in a far-off place, different than where they are now. God’s provision in their lives would be more than enough for them today as they would need.

 

For TODAY,  and not just for someday.

 

Discard the Myth of Someday

 

The writer of Hebrews echoes Jeremiah’s words when he says, “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion…”

 

And that's the call for us too. Discard the myth of the someday. God is calling us to put down roots too. Listen for his voice today. God is calling us to live now, today, this week, in the light of God’s provision and protection over our lives. Not worrying about the future will bring or waiting until things are different to act.

 

Maybe you’ve been waiting for healing, to really become active in serving others. Today you can pursue healing, and not just someday. Today you can pour into another, in your incompleteness and imperfection. Walking with someone who knows they are imperfect is much more powerful than someone who thinks they have it all together.

 

Maybe you're waiting to pursue a passion you have until you're in a different life situation- when the kids are older, when you retire, when work slows down. It won't happen until you take small steps to pursue it. Block out a Saturday morning. Get a sitter. Plan it. Put 15 minutes a day towards this desire. God may use your passion for his kingdom, today, this week, this year.  But he cannot use it until you take the steps to intentionally start.

 

Maybe you're waiting until your have a bigger space to host people and build community. Maybe you’ve spent too many evenings alone, wishing it was different. Pick up the phone and invite someone over. God can work just fine through a pizza box and a cramped living room. Humility and openness in life are all the ingredients you need to start building into relationships.

 

You can keep waiting until the perfect time, but the perfect time may not come and you will have missed out on the goodness of God working through your willing and imperfect life. You can keep waiting, but you may end up doing just that. Waiting, and waiting and waiting.

 

Today you have been given the gift of NOW. Take the leap, take a small step, but start somewhere, today.  Make your some-day, to-day.  


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If you're longing to find meaning in the midst of the mundane in your own life, I have a gift written just for you. My e- book called Jesus and Spit: Seeing the Miracle in the Mundane is yours FREE when you sign up here. Join me on this journey to discover the miracles God has in your ordinary life! 

 

 

How to Truly Measure Significance

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Is My Life Significant?

 

I’ve sensed it for a while now. The dread. It’s building… Errands. The dreaded errands. Run to the bank. Grab valentines for the class party. Drop off the library books. Whew!

 

I arrive home only to find I’ve forgotten to buy a necessity for our family.

 

I sigh heavy, knowing these things only drain the minutes of my day from doing something I would deem as significant. Reading with my boys, laughing with my husband, making the house hospitable for our evening gathering, writing- putting words to inspire and draw people deeper, onto page.

 

But it’s not just the dread, beneath this dread, I get this nagging suspicion. There’s this sense that day upon day of mundane tasks and things won’t actually add up to a significant life. This is the real dread. That my life won’t actually end in significance, that it will end in the mundane tasks.

 

 

People with Significant Lives- Aren’t Like Me...

Surely, people who are “out there” inventing programs and machines that will change people’s lives- that is significant. People who are investing into the next generation- that is significant. People who save people every day- first responders and police officers.

 

Yes, that is significant work, I think.

 

I tend to think that surely THOSE people who have found greatness in our society have special anointing or circumstances, which has catapulted them towards a life of significant impact. Their lives are nothing like mine. They are the special ones. Maybe you, too have thought this way.  

 

We watch the world class athletes on the Olympics and see the gold medal runs, and yet, don’t see all the monotony of the runs they put in day after day, twelve and fourteen hours in the cold, training their bodies to compete when no one else is watching.

 

Comparison Sucks the Power Out of Our Lives

 

And we don’t see that their lives are actually very normal. They too live very ordinary lives. But the difference between them and us is what they’ve chosen to believe about and do with their ordinary lives. And that has made all the difference.

 

Because when we compare our lives to those we see around us, it makes us forget about the power we already have. This comparison diminishes the power of OUR lives. The one glorious life we have to live. Comparison it’s like a vacuum, sucking all the power out of our own lives for the sake of trying to live someone else’s.

 

We even hail the great leaders and people of faith we find straddling the pages of scripture.

 

And rightly so. But also for the wrong reasons.

 

We hail them, thinking they were so great for what they did, or accomplished, but we forget the deepest truth about many of them: that they were just ordinary people who allowed God to use their ordinary lives for his Kingdom work. Most of the heroes of our faith were just like us.

 

David was a misfit, a scrawny boy, who worked in the most mundane of professions, sheepherding.

 

Joseph was the little annoying brother.

 

Moses was the adopted one.

 

Sarah was a really old woman.

 

Anna was a woman, an outcast.

 

Matthew worked for the IRS.

 

Peter was a fisherman.

 

Mary was a teenager.

 

When we view the lives of those in scripture this way, they're not exactly the high and lofty lives of significance that we hail in our society. But just because the circumstances of their lives weren’t ideal for impact making, or so we may think, they each had one thing in common: they had a God who specialized in using the ordinary nature of life to do great things.

 

 

Significance: An Eternal Perspective

 

And it makes me wonder, is all this talk about lack of significance, really a lack of eternal perspective?

 

I open up the book, and read this.

 

Emily Dickenson (one of the greatest poets of the 19th century) spent the majority of her life in a modest house at 280 Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts…Dickenson rarely left this home, but inside magic happened. Nearly two thousand of the greatest poems the world has ever known were penned at 280 Main Street. From her upstairs bedroom, looking out through two large windows she crafted lines that broke the mold of American verse. She defied convention and poured her soul into these elliptical appraisals of life, loss and death. And the world was changed. – Joshua Dubois

 

Floored, I think, Yes! This is exactly what significance means… 

 

In fact, only about a dozen of her poems were published during her 56-year lifetime. She didn’t know the significance of her work, when she was penning it. But that didn’t mean that she stopped writing.

 

Emily Dickenson’s aim wasn’t to become a great poet- remembered for many generations after her death. Her aim was to describe the world, and her experience in the world as best as she could.

 

Worrying about the significance of your work, can derail you from the important work you’re doing in your ordinary life.

 

 Merely because your life doesn’t seem to be making a great difference or impact or because you don’t see the effects of your life, doesn’t mean God isn’t building something great through you. Focusing on the effects of your life isn’t the point. The point is showing up and being FAITHFUL today.

 

Your job is to stick with God, listening to His voice, being faithful to His calls- TODAY, while it’s still called TODAY, as the book of Hebrews encourages us to do.

 

 

Your Ordinary Life: An Incubator for Greatness

Look around, the space where you are standing, sitting, is an incubator for greatness. – Joshua Dubois

 

The fact that you have agency and power in your ordinary everyday life, means your life still has great significance. Merely because you are alive, the God of universe has stamped your life, and has deemed you as SIGNIFICANT! You have been created by a deeply creative God who has given you the life you have. It is a life infused with divine circumstance, giftedness and blessedness.

 

You can stay focused on all the reasons why you aren’t as equipped or set up as the people you admire. You can focus on all the reasons why you’re just normal and ordinary.

 

 OR you can take your one unique and precious life and choose to believe that God is attentive enough to your life and determined to use its ordinariness to make deep reservoirs of impact in the world.

 

It’s up to you. It’s all about perspective. This side of heaven, we probably won’t know the impact our life has on the lives of others. But remember, that’s not the point.

 

This one life you’ve been given IS an incubator for greatness. Great, maybe not in the eyes of the world, but deeply significant in the eternal Kingdom, God is building, here and now.

 

Today, in the ordinary, you are called to faithfulness. You are called to living this one glorious life, in all its monotony, in the midst of the mundane and the ordinary- with everything you have. Not to make a name for yourself, but for the sake of Jesus, who is working in and through you for the sake of building His Kingdom.

 

Today is the day you stopped believing that you don’t have anything to offer because you’re too young, or too old or that you aren’t as qualified as the next person to be used by God, or because your circumstances are preventing you from it. Anyone can be used, especially YOU!

 

Today is the day to step into your ordinary life, because it is indeed an incubator for greatness, and the power of God is backing you each step of the day.


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If you're longing to find meaning in the midst of the mundane in your own life, I have a gift written just for you. My e- book called Jesus and Spit: Seeing the Miracle in the Mundane is yours FREE when you sign up here. Join me on this journey to discover the miracles God has in your ordinary life! 

How to Slow Down in the Midst of a Busy Life

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It’s a baking in the hot sun, dirt under our fingernails, sweat on the brow sort of day. My husband, Dan, and I are carrying large paver stones onto an open dirt patch in our back yard. Roots from an old Phoenix palm tree block our way. We dig, and cut. Dan heaves the axe over and over again, breaking up the root knot.

 

These roots, they go deep.

 

With each paver we place, leveling the ground becomes more difficult as the roots break the ground, leaving uneven, tippy surfaces to try to smooth. I grab the plant clippers- I’m sure that’s the technical name, right?- and cut, cut, cut again at the roots. Never ending, they seem.

 

Then my boy scampers over. “I want to cut.” He announces. Good helpers, these boys of ours are. I hesitate, knowing how difficult the cutting has been for me. Then I look up. In the background, the clear blue sky, sun penetrating. But in the foreground overgrown vines are winding and weaving their way through the dark slats of the fence.

 

“You want to cut these?” I ask with a smile, pointing to the vines? “Oh, yeah!” He responds.

 

We set him up high on a bench so he can reach, trimming back the vines. I turn my attention away, back to the dying roots, interrupting my efforts at a flat patio. And as I do, I find healthy green leaves dropping onto my shoes.

 

Soft laughter accompanies each leaf that falls, and as I look up, I see my boy has taken to cutting off all parts of the vines, even the good parts. I walk over to examine the plant creeping its way into our yard. The green looks healthy enough. Curly shoots shimmering in the sun.

 

But as I look closer, I see it. A brown, dead looking branch weaving in and out of the fence posts, the whole length of the fence. And then cascading on top of the dead brown branch, a healthy lime-green branch, sending nutrients out to each curly shoot, and each green leaf.

 

 

Stay and Be Nourished

That’s what stops me in my tracks. Closing my eyes, I see it. This… this green branch, it’s a living parable. It brings me back to Jesus’ words about staying, abiding, remaining.

 

This is what it means to REMAIN.

 

In the book of John Jesus instructs his disciples to REMAIN in Him. He likens their relationship with him to that of a vine and the vine’s branches. Just like what I had stumbled across in my backyard.

He, this Jesus, is the vine. Those who follow him, are the branches.

He states plainly, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

This stopping, has made me contemplative. With a heavy sigh, I begin to understand even clearer. This LIVING parable.

Remaining in the green vine, THIS is what brings life.

Being connected to Jesus, THIS is what sustains life.

 

Disconnected from Nourishment

And yet so many times I find my life dry and brittle, dying like the branch intertwined in the fence. Without the fence, this branch too, would be thrown, with the force of gravity, to the ground.

And it makes me wonder, why don’t I just REMAIN? Why don’t I come to the vine for nourishment?

I’m cocky. I’m prideful. I’m too obsessed with MY way of doing things.

 I think I need to do it on my own.

Pull up my own bootstraps.

Get strategies for coping.  Ease my own anxieties. Live in the midst of this mundane life-on my own.

And yet, this, this living parable right on our back fence, was a call. “Come back to the vine, my daughter.”

Ah, yes. This, this is what remaining means. Don’t go far, but stay.

Stay connected to the Holy Spirit.

Stay connected with the words of Jesus resonating and reverberating through the comings and goings of my day.

 

My Go-To in the Midst of  A Busy Life

When I get busy, my go to is my list. Organize it. Make sure you know what’s happening. Organization is good, of course. But it’s not the BEST thing when done apart from the Vine.

What if just before the list making I reminded myself, that apart from the Vine, Jesus himself, I can do NOTHING.

I can’t even make that list, that brings some sanity, without Jesus. I can’t breathe without his willing me to do so, nevertheless think about how I might love those around me!

Remaining is a state of the heart, hurry is a state of the body.

This staying slows the body and the soul.

Hurry is produced by handling life on my own. Busy, is just a sign of the schedule. I can be busy without being hurried- by remaining.  

Instinctively, I know that I can’t do it, and yet deceptively, I’m convinced over and over again, that I’m capable of much, much more than I am.

And yet to slow down is to stay, abide, remain.

We might have a lot going on in our days. Things that God has called us to. But, the way to produce fruit in that, isn’t to conjure it up on our own.

 

All We’re Asked to Do, is to Stay- Stay with Jesus

 You see, each day we have two options. First, act like we can do it all on our own. And like that green leaf my son cut from the vine, the life in it will last for a bit- a day, maybe two.

But eventually in the hot sun of life, apart from the vine, the leaves on the branch of your life will wither.

Going through life by pulling your own weight, getting it done with sheer willpower- it’s only going to take you so far, before you run out of nutrients to keep you going.

 

The second option is to find Jesus’ words as comfort and as the key to life.

Remain open: listening for the voice of God in the midst of the activities of our days.
Remain surrendered: giving God’s voice presence in the midst of the voices of our culture, the voices of our past, and the voices of condemnation which strive to have us stoop to their level.
Remain connected: meditate on God’s truth in the midst of work, in the midst of messy relationships, in the midst of not knowing what to do.

For in this, is our lifeblood. In this is our nourishment. In this is our EVERYTHING. 


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Today Is the Day of New Possibilities


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No One Told Him He Couldn’t

 

We walk into the expansive gym- ceilings to the sky, open air echoing with the sounds of pure delight, a little chaos, and the pounding of small feet on the mats. My boys bound around, not a care in the world, looking for their next thrill.

 

As we walk around the gymnastics equipment, my oldest zeros in on a spring board and a bar. “Hanging makes me strong, Mom.” He insists. And so, I follow him over, my youngest trailing behind.

 

The older one, bounces and catches the bar, with little effort, his height an asset to the apparatus. But then, I notice my younger son eying it too. With confidence, he gets in line to wait his turn on the spring board. If my brother can do it, then certainly I can- he must be thinking.

 

He follows the pattern his older, taller brother followed… run, bounce, catch.

 

 Run, bounce… fall.

 

The pattern didn’t follow suit.

 

All smiles, he got back up, walking to the back of the line again- determined to try yet again. When his turn comes up, he runs, bounces… and… falls. Yet again, his pattern is different. He still smiles when falling. The thrill of the bounce and flying through the air is enough motivation to get him right back in line to try yet again.

 

Ten. Twenty. Then thirty times, my boy tries.

 

No one has told him he can’t. No one has told him he won’t get it, and so instinctively he knows, if I keep going, eventually I’ll get it.

 

I stand in awe at this tenacity. His frustration level didn’t rise.

 

He just kept trying.

 

A few times his fingertips hit the bar, and that was reward enough to keep trying. But, as I watched, I realized there was something I could do help. With his height, he needed the spring board just a touch closer to the bar. So, we made the small adjustment.

 

Run, bounce, fall. Again and again. Until… Run, bounce, SWING. Run, bounce, SWING.

 

Smiles a mile wide, we laughed together as he hung there like a monkey. You bet I celebrated when he caught it, again and again.

And you better believe I celebrated when he kept trying and fell.

 

Because it wasn’t the accomplishment that thrilled me, but his confidence.  His confidence that eventually, if he kept trying, he would get it.

 

When Were You Told You Couldn’t?

 

And that’s the thing, as kids we did things, we practiced and practiced. We tried and tired until somewhere along the way we were told, or we told ourselves that we COULDN’T.

 

We were all artists in first grade, but by seventh some are and some aren’t. We were all ninjas climbing ladders, and monkey bars in third grade, but by ninth, some are athletes, and some aren’t. We are all learners in kindergarten, but somewhere along the way, some are deemed “book smart” and some just… “have other strengths.”

 

But the reality is God is always about doing new things in us, bringing out new fruit, shaping us for new endeavors. He never says, we can't, or we shouldn't try because... we might not succeed.

 

The God of New Possibility

 

Even in the midst of failure, and especially when it seems like there are parts of us that are dying, even then he is the God who whispers… “keep going, I’m by your side!”

As we see in the book of Isaiah, God is the God who brings new possibilities out of the dead ends and the impossible, and the things we were told we just… couldn’t.

 

“For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

 

 

Don’t you see? It’s not our doing that brings the newness, the fruit, or the possible, out of the impossible. It’s God!

 

The fruit isn’t always the point of growth, because that God’s doing. Our job is to keep trying, keep getting back in line for another shot at the spring board, and to pay attention to where God might be aiming us.

 

The fruit is a by-product of the effort. Sure, success can be an accomplishment, but not the ONLY accomplishment.

 

While it’s true that people are given different gifts and talents, that doesn’t mean we can’t grow other skills; and that certainly doesn’t mean we don’t try new things. In fact, because God is the God who brings new possibilities and new fruit to once dead talents, skills, and abilities, We better be on the lookout for the NEW things that God is growing in us.

 

 

You Can Always Try Something New

 

Remember your life is not static, not set in stone. You can always try something new.

 

Whether you succeed or not, I don’t think is the purpose of trying.

 

Seeing the growth of who you became in the midst of a project, may be the point, regardless of whether the project was a success or a failure.

Who you became in the midst of falling over and over again, may be just what God wants from your efforts. And our God is the One who is always about making us into who he created us to be.

 

 

The God of Endurance and Encouragement

 

So today, if you’re discouraged with the amount of time and care and energy you’ve put into making a change in your life, or forging a new path, or just digging deep into the things God has called to you in this season, but you don’t see the fruit of your labor…. just yet, be encouraged.

 

With each new step, you take you have a God who walks beside you. Yes, celebrating the times you catch the bar, but also celebrating the effort you gave, the attempts you made, and for showing up to your actual life in the first place.

 

For he is the God who gives encouragement AND endurance.

 

He’s by your side today, this week, this month as you endeavor to live a faithful life. He’s by your side, cheering you on today, this week, this month as you work towards fulfilling a dream, or making a change, or raising a forgotten relationship.

 

Keep going today, friend- for you have a whole crowd of people in line behind you trying new things, seeking to be faithful, and longing to see God in the midst of it all.

 

Keep going today, friend!

 

For you have a God who is not watching far off in the stands, but is right next to you, whispering, “Keep Going. You can do this. Be faithful. I’m doing a new thing in the midst of the process.” 


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If you're longing to find meaning in the midst of the mundane in your own life, I have a gift written just for you. My e- book called Jesus and Spit: Seeing the Miracle in the Mundane is yours FREE when you sign up here. Join me on this journey to discover the miracles God has in your ordinary life! 

The Four Small Tweaks to Make A BIG Impact

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Why Doesn't Change Stick? 

When we desire to live intentionally, often we start out with grand plans. This time of year, many people embark on goal setting missions- evaluating and seeking to make changes in their lives, families, work, and finances. Reflection and evaluation are indeed worthy ways to spend our time.

 

The trouble is that most people seek to change a lot of things all at once, and end up frustrated after a short period of time because their grand plans aren’t coming to fruition. It’s not that their labor is in vein, it may just be that the changes they want to make, grouped together, are too lofty to attain. Frustrated and discouraged many give up too early to see any progress, progress which can be a great motivator to keep going with the change.

 

In fact, most people join a gym in January, only to go a handful of times and never keep up with the habit. Why is that? Why are big goals so hard to attain? I believe it’s due to two factors. 

 

First, we have the wrong motivation.

When you don’t know why you are doing something it’s hard to stick with it. And when your ‘why’ for working towards the thing you’re aiming towards doesn’t line up with what you value most deeply in life, it becomes even harder to stick with.

 

Second, our goals haven’t been broken down into attainable parts. 

In order to become intentional about your life, you must start with where you are, where God has called you, not where you’d like to be, or wish you were.

 And then from there, make small, incremental changes.

As Katrina Kenison has said, “Meaning and purpose come not from accomplishing great things in the world, but simply loving those who are in front of you, doing all you can with what you have, in the time you have, in the place you are.”

 

The Power of the Small Tweak

In fact, the most lasting change in your life is going to take place through what I call the POWER OF THE SMALL TWEAK.

 

Small tweaks. Not the big drastic change, but small, incremental changes. I believe that these small tweaks have the power to make the biggest impact in your life.

 

Small tweaks when consistently practiced over time become habit, and habit becomes lasting change. While your season of life, and life stage may come with constraints of time, money, relationships, or resources, you still have within your actual life the agency to make small tweaks to move towards the intentional life you want to live.

 

Four Small Tweaks

 

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1.     The Small Tweak of Time-

One of the biggest excuses people give for not changing or not pursuing the things they may be called to do is this: “I don’t have the time.”

 

I’ve always wanted to write, but I don’t have the time in my schedule to. Or I know I need to take care of my body, I just don’t have the time. Or I’ve always wanted to go back to school, but with my season of life, I just can’t right now…. I don’t have the time.

 

This may very well be a legitimate reason. As I mentioned earlier, I’m very aware that some seasons of life bring with them constraints, constraints that we need to pay attention to. But, using the power of the small tweak of time, you can make progress towards living intentionally in an area you’ve wanted to make progress in.

 

The small tweak of time uses the power of 15-30 minute increments to make progress towards a goal. In this small tweak ask yourself:

 

What 15-30 minute chunk of time is already built into my schedule that I could use differently?

 

Many people have 15 minutes right after work to wind down, or 30 minutes after the kids are put into bed. Some have 15 minutes right before bed or 30 minutes right after the kids leave for school. How might you use that 15-minute chunk of time differently?

 

Instead of scrolling on your phone, what else could you use that time for? Clearing a cluttered space in your house? Putting down those words you’ve been meaning to write? Reflecting on your day in a prayerful way? Making that phone call you’ve been putting off?

 

15 or 30 minutes may not seem like a lot of time, but small incremental change happens in small incremental chunks of time.

 

 Last year I wanted to train with my husband for a 200-mile bike ride. A lofty and huge goal for someone who had never cycled before. Most of the time the goal felt very daunting and unattainable. How was I supposed to not only do the ride, but also get my body in shape for the ride?

 

What I found was that the small tweak of time made all the difference. Originally, I had thought I needed to ride the bike in the mornings, which proved challenging with everything else that I needed to do during that time of the day- getting the kids ready for the day and off to school, getting to work, and making the plan for the day. But I found I had time in the evenings after work, and after the kids went to bed, to get on the trainer, and ride my bike.

 

We lived in Seattle at the time, and it got dark around 4:30 every evening that winter, not to mention most days it was too cold to ride outside. But using time I had, and a little creativity got me to the place where once the weather got bearable to ride in again, I wasn’t starting from scratch towards this lofty goal.

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2.     The Small Tweak of Triggers-

The second small tweak is to pay attention to your daily rhythm and use that rhythm to trigger or remind you of the change you want to make in your life.

Remember: small changes consistently over a longer period of time can create a BIG impact.

By paying attention to your daily rhythm, you can find things you do consistently, that either you could change slightly or that would trigger you to work towards the change you desire in your life.

                                                                                                            

For example, you may want to incorporate building relationships with your neighbors into your life, but don’t know where to start. Use the natural action of pulling into your driveway from work, as a trigger to work towards that change. Take 5-10 minutes after getting home, but before going inside, to go knock on a neighbor’s door and start building a relationship.

 

Or maybe the change you’d like to be more reflective on your life, hearing God’s voice and direction in a clearer way. By using daily activities such as opening and shutting doors, putting in a password on a computer, or unloading the dishwasher as a trigger to pause and ask a question of the Lord and listen for his voice, you could incorporate times of reflection into your life very easily.

 

I have used the time I put my kids to bed each night as a trigger to pray a blessing over them, since the time they were babies. I have also used sitting down at my desk as trigger to pause and listen before beginning to work or write.

 

Whatever change you want to make, listen to the wisdom of the small tweak of triggers.

 

What action can you attach to the change you want to make, so you're reminded of the change anytime the action occurs? 

Incorporating change into something you already do every day, can make all the difference in how easy it will be to implement the change into your life.

 

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3.     The Small Tweak of Intention-

Change doesn’t happen on its own. In fact, as creatures of habit, breaking into new ways of living can actually be a hard task. Any change, will require you being intentional about implementing it.

But this intention doesn’t have to be something big you muster up- it can actually be a small tweak you make, in small moments. By changing how you think about something, you can intentionally set yourself up for working towards that change.

 

Let me explain.

Say you want to change the way you eat. You aren’t going to automatically do this. By using the small tweak of intention, you can make it easier to implement this change. Instead of shopping the grocery store by aisle, shop first for the things you want to start eating. You may end up winding around the grocery store to find the things on your list, but by being intentional about what you eat, you will first fill your cart with healthy options, and won’t have as much room for the things you want to give up eating.

 

This can work the same way with a budget.

By setting a set budget before you enter a store, you are intentionally setting yourself for sticking to what you had planned. The small tweak of intention could be implemented using a calculator to add up the prices of the things in your cart, so that you aren’t surprised when you get to the check-out line, what the total is.

These aren’t very big actions- using a calculator in the store, filling your cart with things you want to start eating first so there isn’t as much room for the things you’re giving up- but through the power of the small tweak of intention, incremental changes can be a reality in your life.

 

What do you want to change in your life and how might you intentionally tweak your life (remember small tweaks) to make that change stick?

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4.     The Small Tweak of Invitation-

Lasting change doesn’t happen most often by pulling up your bootstraps and doing it by yourself. The small tweak of invitation brings the power of relationship into the process of change.

By inviting another person into the change, you give yourself the boost of another person’s encouragement, voice, and challenge to work towards the change we have in mind.

 

By not inviting people into the change we have in mind, not only are we left on our own to ‘figure it out’ but, we deprive ourselves of the help and encouragement we could have if we simply use the small tweak of invitation.

 

Imagine that you’d like to change the way you are talking to your kids, but you don’t tell anyone about it. If you’re in the habit of using a certain tone of voice with them, it’s going to be hard to just change it by your own will power.

But if you know your spouse or a friend is going to ask you about it, you will be more likely to be reminded about it, because you have an outside voice reinforcing the change you have in mind.

 

Or imagine for me that you’d like to reach your goal of having a more open house, and inviting people over for dinner more. This goal, because it involves other people at the core, can be made exponentially easier through the power of invitation.

Just tell someone close to you that you’re working towards building relationships. They may even do a lot of the work of bringing friends over, helping you in the process of building up those relationships.

Who might you invite into your life to support you towards changing? 

Small tweaks reveal that change can be broken down into manageable steps.

Tweak your time. Tweak your triggers. Tweak your intentions. Tweak your invitations.  

And watch the power of the small tweak move you closer to living more intentionally, and with a greater sense of living the life you are called to be living.

Faithful. Connected. Full of Life. 

 

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If you're longing to find meaning in the midst of the mundane in your own life, I have a gift written just for you. My e- book called Jesus and Spit: Seeing the Miracle in the Mundane is yours FREE when you sign up here. Join me on this journey to discover the miracles God has in your ordinary life! 

How to (Not) Miss Your Life...

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I Almost Missed It

I remember vividly the short days between when my son started standing and when he started walking. I remember them not because I paid attention so intently to them, but because I almost missed them.

He’d crawl over to the table. Hands and knees in sync, chasing the wind to get there as fast as his little legs can carry him. Then up on one knee, he’d smile and squeal, anticipating the victory coming to him. Both knees would stabilize him, as one foot came underneath him, then the next. Finally, his whole body would straighten up as if to shout to the world, “I’m not as small as I seem. See I can stand!”

My boy would do this over and over and over again practicing what it was like to be upright, what it was like to be on level ground with the rest of us. A seemingly small act- practiced over and over for accuracy, to master it just right, to give his little life more confidence and a new perspective.

Some days I’d catch glimpses of it, what he was doing, what he was learning, how he was becoming BIG one stance at a time. But a lot of days, I took it for granted- this small thing, this small beginning. He was my second, so I knew what was coming, the cruising and then the walking. In my impatient moments, I missed the weight of the small thing he was doing.

And yet for his life, his one brilliant, glorious life- it was no small feat.

It was BIG, it was really big.

 And so, I began stopping to savor the moment, savor the bigness camouflaged in the small act of standing on his own.

Slow down, Shannon. Pay attention. I sensed the Holy Spirit beckoning me through this little one’s smiles and squeals.

The small things matter. Remember, this.

I almost missed it.

I had forgotten the importance of the small beginning. Thankfully I was reminded by the Voice of Wisdom, the Voice of the Holy Spirit.

The ways in which you string words together, they matter. The tone with which you speak, it matters. The ways you start, the ways you finish, the ways you love in all the in between times.

 It matters, oh, it matters.

  

But Do the Small Things Matter in My Life?

We have a hard time knowing this, living this out, don’t we? We, like the people of Judah, wonder if we are making a difference.

We wonder if the ways we are working are actually changing the world.

 We wonder if the two minutes we took to stop and really engage in conversation with our co-worker matters in their day.

We wonder if the monotony and faithfulness of sticking it out when relationships get hard, will truly pay off.

We wonder if the small changes we make at the beginning of the year, especially if they feel like sacrifices, will be worth it at the end of the year.

We wonder if what we do each day, will matter ten years from now.

Will the diligence we put into honing our craft today, make a difference down the road? Will the books read and the kindness shared and the love we lavish on our kids, amount to building up the next generation of leaders?

We dismiss the work we do, the small acts of love, the small ways we create each day. We find what we’re doing is not a ‘great’ as the next person, or as the people or organizations we hold on pedestals. 

In doing so we come to despise our own life’s work.

 

God Rejoices in the Small Beginnings

When they started to rebuild the temple, the people of Judah wondered this, too. Will rebuilding the temple do anything? Will rebuilding the temple to worship the Lord bring us the healing we’re looking for? Will rebuilding the temple lead us back to the glory days of power and prestige, or will the days of exile always haunt us?

And into that wondering, the prophet Zechariah, the voice of God to his people, Judah, speaks to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah at the time.

After commanding the rebuilding of the temple, the Lord speaks these words to his people, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand,” (Zechariah 4:10).

A plumb line was used to measure and make sure a foundation was level, to make sure it was straight. Just the act of picking up the plumb line to begin making the measurements for the foundation, this was something God took great delight in.

He rejoiced in seeing work BEGIN.

In God’s eyes, a small beginning is not small at all. The small beginning is significant.

 The small beginning, the small work, holds the power of God to bring flourishing to your little corner of the world. 

 The small beginning, the small work, is a line in the story of your life, and one line in your story can be powerful in the epic tale of God’s activity in our world.

The day of the small beginning, the day of the mundane and ordinary work, this is not to be despised, but rather offered back to God. From the outside our small acts of love, our small intention to reach out to another, our small diligence to create beauty and work towards flourishing, is BIG.

It’s not big because we make it that way; no, far from it. It’s big because God holds the power to exponentially multiply what we pour out, weaving a grand story bigger than us, wider than our small lives, and more significant than anything we could amount to on our own.

  

Your Day of Small Beginnings Matters

The day of small beginnings or small middles or small endings, matter, because it’s really not about us at all.

These days, words, and acts matter because in some mysterious way, they contribute to a Kingdom grander, and fuller than we could ever imagine.

These small things we do and create, with great love, point to world the power and wideness of a great big God, who is deeply entrenched in each pore of our little lives.

 And that my friends, is something to rejoice in.

So rejoice today, in the time you take to cook a meal, which will nourish the bodies in your home. A small deed, with large impact.

Rejoice today, in the ways you plug away at the creative endeavor your heart has been aching to make. A small act of beauty, with glorious impact in the hands of God.

Rejoice today, in the small progress you see in your child as you patiently encourage and love them into their growth. A small moment of virtue, piling up into a positive and grace filled relationship.

Rejoice today, in the small words you say with intention and great love, to a spouse or friend or acquaintance. Small words, which you may never know the impact of, but may remain, etched in another’s heart.

The smallness of your life- in the grand scheme of the world’s bigness may not seem great. But, friends today, do not despise the day of small beginnings, because you have the power of God’s grand story backing each small thing you engage in today.

The impact of these small things, we may not see this side of eternity, but we do know those small acts will go straight into eternity, and will somehow, some way count for the flourishing of Kingdom of God.

And that is a big thing, indeed!

 

Photo Credit: Haley Phelps unsplash.com


If you're longing to find meaning in the midst of the mundane in your own life, I have a gift written just for you. My e- book called Jesus and Spit: Seeing the Miracle in the Mundane is yours FREE when you sign up here. Join me on this journey to discover the miracles God has in your ordinary life! 



Your Actual Life is the Only Life You Have... So, LIVE it!

 Photo credit: Eric Patnoudes  unsplash.com

Photo credit: Eric Patnoudes unsplash.com

What if I told you that you already have the life you long for? You know, the one you dream about? Would you believe me? Chances are, if you haven’t paid much attention to your life, you probably wouldn’t believe me.

 We all have expectations for ourselves, and our lives; we have dreams we seek to attain.  We have images of who we think we should be. In and of themselves these are not bad things- these dreams. They can make us seek to live differently than we are, and make us change in some good ways.

But when something that isn’t a reality becomes your focus, you lose the ability to accept the life you have. In my experience, when chasing a life you think you want, you tend towards living a hustled, worn-out, and discontented existence.

Expectations for a life we SHOULD be living will always rob us for the life we actually have.

Here’s the thing: I’m all about crafting an intentional life, making time and putting your resources towards the things that MATTER. But in order to do this we need to stop trying to live in the should’s and start living in NOW.

 

 How the Fear of Missing Out Robs You

Living to meet the expectations of SHOULD will always rob you of the heart of why you are doing something. SHOULD is an external expectation put on you, often by someone else, and sometimes put on you by… you.

Maybe, you are an excellent marketer, but your parents or spouse or mentors believe you SHOULD work your way up to senior management. So, you work with these expectations weighing on your shoulders, each day, unable to fully put yourself into your work as a marketer, because you’re striving for something beyond your real actual life, NOW.

Or you believe that to truly live out your faith, you have to something big and public FOR God. So, you live with the burden that you’re never enough, and are never going to match up to the ‘great’ people who have lived sacrificially. You fill your life with seemingly good things, but all under the guise of needing to do something public and great for God.

And then here’s what happens: Maybe you’ve lived into that SHOULD. Maybe you work hard, and finally get what you’ve been longing for- that job, that house, a baby, a marriage. And then you find that reality doesn’t match your dreams of what it would be like when you finally ARRIVED. So, you start longing for the next stage, and the next thing, and you miss what’s right in front of you.

Not only is the fear of missing out real, it’s so real that it can rob you from living your actual life. Somewhere along the way, we stopped believing in the power of our actual lives. When we don’t believe in the power of our everyday, ordinary lives, we forsake the gifts right in front of us.

The life you long to live is possible. You long to live connected to those around you, present to the joys and the challenges of the day, and wide awake to the lessons that inevitably come in life. This is possible, and not only that, but it’s possible in the life you have right now.

 

You Don't Need Someone Else's Life

If you’re like me, and many people I know, somewhere along the way you started believing that in order to truly live, you had to have a DIFFERENT life- like someone else’s life. You envied their life, or lived in shame and guilt at the life you actually have, because well, it wasn’t theirs… it… was… yours.

But you don’t need someone else’s life or the lives you see on Instagram. 

You need to live your life.  Your actual life is where God longs to form you. His formation of you, happens not in someone else’s life, but in YOURS. In the heartache and anxiety, in the joy and laughter.

You see, the people God surrounds you with are the people God wants to use to form you. Not someone down the road, not the image of the person in your mind. But the actual people. We gloss over this so much.

We think we need to have different friends, a different boss, different kids, or a different family- because those in our lives right now just aren’t the people we thought they would be. We think “this is all there is?” And miss the power of these relationships to be the material for our formation, our being drawn towards God, and our ability to live wide awake.

 

Comparison Is Robbing You of Your Life

Your actual life is the only life you have. So, why are you longing for someone else’s? I’ll let you in on a little secret…their life isn’t as good as their pictures looks- just like yours isn’t just like the life you have in your mind.

But, giving up these images- this comparison to other people’s life is key towards living YOUR real life. We can’t live our real lives, when we’re constantly comparing and seeking to live up to someone else’s expectations for ourselves.

So, give up the comparison.

It’s hard at first, doing this. But starting to live your actual life means you start paying attention to the life right in front you- something you can’t do when you’re seeking to live up to an unattainable expectation, or when you constantly tell yourself someone else’s life is better or more fulfilled than yours.

You have the life you long for. But you have to accept your actual life for what it is- in all its mundane ordinariness. Living someone else’s life, or someone else’s illusion of your life, will always rob you of the goodness of your real life. So, start living contented.

Living contented starts today. You can do it.

Your actual life, can become the life you’ve always wanted-when held, turned over and examined for what it is- a gift through which you are changed, formed, and used for the sake of others.