I'm Making A New List

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I make lists more often than I eat meals. I make lists of random futuristic goals, I make unrealistic lists about things I’ll do today, I make bucket lists, I make lists of positive things to tell my kid, I make lists of people to reach out to in order to remind them I do not in fact hate them - I am simply a hermit - and I hope they are happy and breathing and all that jazz.  I make lots of lists.

There’s one list I don’t make anymore though. Maybe it is just a season, or maybe I will do this for life, but I am not currently working off of a list of ways to grow/serve/be like Jesus. I’m not working on my pride, I’m not seeking humility, I’m not trying to sand down my iron will, I’m not striving to produce fruit, I’m not wearing myself out with service projects – I’m not.

Jesus told us not to work for food that spoils, but for food that endures for eternity.  The hearers of these words, naturally, asked what work they needed to do to get this eternal food.  Jesus responded with a list of works they could do to earn it. (John 6:27-29)

1.     Believe in the one God sent.

End of list.

It can seem too easy. After all, of course I believe in Jesus. Check. Got it. Moving on. What’s next? Pride, you’re going down. Humility – I’m coming for you. Fruit – I’m going to produce more fruit than a ten-acre orchard, hold on while I make a list about it. Service projects – where you at? 

Believe in Him. Done and Done. Or is it? 

Do I believe in Him? 

Do I believe it is finished? If I do, why do I still get caught up trying to be “good enough” as if I could earn salvation?

Do I believe I am dead and I am living new life? Why do I still catch myself putting my own feelings and wants ahead of others.

Do I believe everything around me is temporary and I am made to live for eternity? Why do I still accumulate temporary stuff and accomplishments?

Do I believe I can and will love Him no matter the cost? Why do I still spend more time pleasing people than Him? 

Do I know His voice? Why do I still strain and question when I’m listening for an answer to prayer?

My lists of works to do for eternity is now this – Believe in Him. Believe in Him in every moment. Believe in Him in every situation, in every relationship, in ever hardship. Believe in Him when I’m filled with joy and when I’m filled with pain.  Believe when people love me and when people hate me. 

It’s a short list, but it’s the only one I need.  Believe in the one God sent.

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

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It will. It’ll show up like it does every morning, borrowed for us from the other side of the earth, to enjoy while it’s our turn.


You can count on that sun for another few million years, and you can count on our God longer than that.

The sun - it’s coming. And it won’t burn away every sorrow of night, every regret from the shadows, every grief endured before dawn, but it will be there.

Sure and strong and bright as it was the day before. No matter what changed, no matter what pain you are bringing to the next day, some things will be the same.

The sun, for one, will be the same. And sometimes that’s all it takes to get through the hard days - just one thing to hold tight to, one thing the night can’t take too, one thing the dark won’t steal from you.

It’s the hope of a new day. Of who knows how many breaking dawns, of limitless possibilities - the sun will come out tomorrow 

Pride: The Enemy Of Connection

Pride Enemy Of Connection Stevie Swift

I was watching The Amazing Race, a show with a tendency to highlight relational drama in editing, and something happened to pause me. I’ve been thinking about it for days now. 
The scene went like this:

In frustration, one partner was lashing out at the other with some pretty harsh words. The other partner snapped back with more harshness and, worse, indifference. 


But as he said the words, the camera caught something his partner could not see - he was wiping away a tear. 


He was hurt. 


The partner didn’t see the tear, only heard the words, and so only responded to the words. It was painful to watch. 
The moment highlighted for me why God hates pride so much. It unplugs us from each other, from Him - drives a wedge, disconnects.

We need connection. Every last one of us humans was created with the need to be connected with other people, to love them, to be loved.

Pride keeps us disconnected - it keeps us from saying “I was wrong.” “I’m not okay.” “I’m hurting.” “I need something.” “I need you.” Pride traps us in a cycle where self protectiveness keeps us from connection and lack of connection drives us to self protect even more. 


Feel free to pray this with me today: 
I hate it too, Lord. Shine a light on areas of pride in me - light them up and clean them out - I want nothing to do with that garbage.

STAY

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I see you. You are done.

People hurting other people over nothing, over stuff or money or status - over meaningless junk. Too much suffering for you to ever make a dent in. You see it. You feel it.


And you can’t take it. You want out. You didn’t ask to be here and you want out of this place. I see you.

And I see you - the angry one. You want out too. Out of the cycle of rage. Everything here seems to go the opposite of how you think it should and you can’t contain the rage that follows.

After the rage, more goes wrong, and more rage follows. You want out. You want to be done. **
I see you and I’m asking you to stay.

Not because things are going to magically get better, but because you’re right.

This world is meaningless and full of vanity. Things don’t go the way they’re supposed to and people walk all over each other to obtain what amounts to dust - it really is maddening.

But here is not home. There is more. God set eternity in the hearts of men - do you feel it there? Can you feel how you were made for more than this madness?

Stay.


If you want to spend all of yourself right now - spend it where it will echo in eternity. Spend it on someone else. Take what you have and ask yourself how you can use it to lift someone - to love them. **
This is not a waste, never a waste - stay.


“‘Meaningless, meaningless, says the teacher. Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.’” - Ecclesiastes 1:2



Fill That Half Empty Glass

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Fill that half empty glass right up to the brim.

Fill it up with time spent at His feet.

Fill it up by giving a hundred compliments.

Fill it up by buying someone coffee, or a cupcake.

Fill it up by doing those things you were created to do.

Fill it up with rest.

With hugs.


With laughter.

Fill it up.