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Friday, November 29, 2013

I can't play the drums

Have you ever listened to the words of Christmas carols? I am blessed to live in a city with a radio station that starts Christmas music at the beginning of November and plays it 24 hours a day until at least the day after Christmas. What JOY!

(Sidebar: When Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” comes on the radio, I totally geek out with toe-tapping, finger-pointing, rhythmic, tone-deaf singing.)

I love this time of year. We get to see family, give gifts, gather and mingle with people we may not have seen in years. I love it. But I think it all needs to be viewed a specific way, a Godly way.

The Little Drummer Boy, originally known as “Carol of the Drum” by Katherine Kennicott Davis, has forced me to put my entire Christmas into perspective. The last few lines have literally pierced my soul.

“I have no gift to give // that’s fit to give a King (read: THE King).”

When we have no resources, nothing to our name, nothing to offer the Savior of the World, the Living and Breathing God of all Creation, how do you give a gift?

“Shall I play for you?”

Have you had the awesome experience of realizing what gifts God has given to you? Do you use them as an offering to praise and serve our Lord? Shouldn’t we? Dancing, singing, cooking, sewing, organizing. Anything that feels like a ‘natural’ ability is truly a gift from God, and should be used as such, don’t you think?

“I played my drum for Him.”

Isn’t it easy to just do instead of give? I can do my job, I can do dinner, I can do the laundry. But how do those glorify God who has blessed me with a career? Who has given me the ability to make edible food for my family? Who’s given me a family to have laundry to do! Do I have the right heart in all of my actions? I can certainly complete each of these things, but how am I glorifying God in those moments?

“I played my best for Him.”

That’s the difference. If I take my God-given talents and don’t use them to the best of my God-given ability, then I’m not doing what I’ve been blessed with doing. If I haven’t given my best, I’m not truly giving to God. I am checking off my tasks and getting things done and am still tired and when I turn to talk to God about my day, I sometimes show up empty handed. What did I do for Him? What did I do my best for Him today? I want to always be able to tell Him what that was.

“Then He smiled at me.”

This, to me, is the equivalent of “Well done, good and faithful servant (Matt. 25:21).” Can you even fathom the joy you will feel in God’s grace and mercy when you give your best and it makes Him smile? I cannot wait. I want Jesus to look at me trying my best for Him, and I want it to make Him smile. Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

When Lightening Strikes

God works in incredible, mysterious ways. Too cliche'?

I guess the only reason I think that is because for the last month, I have had my heart turned, softened and readied. I don't know what for, but I am eagerly awaiting my next direction. It really dawned on me during the amazing lightening storm we had here in North Texas two days ago.

Mike and I were sitting outside with Celia late at night watching the storm roll in and then back out. As I was attempting to watch for lightening and simultaneously converse with my husband and watch/interact with my daughter, there was a phenomenal show going on around me. While not exactly a distraction, Mike and Celia had diverted my eyes from storm watching. I would see the sky light up, but I'd missed the real show - the lightening. I'd shrug and go back to my previous distractions, since they seem to be very important and I love quality time with my family.  The sky lit up, I looked only to miss the lightening again. Once I started to miss the "Wow, look at that" and "Oh, man!" lightening, I started to get frustrated... at the lightening. Why can it not just show up when I look, and patiently wait until then so that I too can be part of the show?

I realized, to my own disappointment, that the only reason I'm missing all of the cool stuff is because I've moved my attention to other things that I thought were important. I had decided that I would participate in this storm watching to not really participate. I feel like that's how the last 20 years of my Christian life have been. I signed up, I was ready for the show, for God to do something spectacular. And when it took too long I'd divert my attention. I would see the flash from the light of other people's blessings and look up to miss what God had done.  Over the years, this would cycle. Go to Disciple Now, get focused and wait to hear the Holy Spirit, get bored, divert, repeat. Go to summer camp, get focused, wait, get bored, divert, repeat. (I have more than enough examples of how I diverted my attention since 1993. Let's not hash that out right now.)

I started to stare at the sky with a steadfast determination to see this lightening storm. I did not want to miss anything else. I waited. And waited. And waited. I never saw anything. That doesn't mean that lightening doesn't exist, or that when it's seen it's not beautiful. It just means I chose to focus on other things while I could be focused on something amazing, and I missed amazing for fleeting, worldly gratification.

My walk with God has been about the same. I want God to do amazing things in my life (like I don't have enough amazing right now? Have you seen my kids?! Who could want more?). I want more. I want to know God more and uncover new mercies and grace and discipline and love from Him. Every.Single.Day. I know that He gives me all of this and so much more every day, but I get so distracted. I divert my attention to things that are momentarily fulfilling, but do not satisfy my soul. I have to stop myself a million times and remind myself that if I look away from God, I'm going to miss it.

There is a little hint of sorrow and disappointment in myself. I can't even imagine all of the things I missed because I was looking for satisfaction elsewhere. Knowing what I know about my God, I am newly committed to watching this storm called life and never diverting my attention from The One who actually has control of it all. I'm going to spend my time learning, focusing, retaining the blessings and knowledge. And I'll wait. Maybe until Kingdom comes, maybe until tomorrow. Now I know. Wait, watch, prepare, learn and when God says, "Now," we are blessed beyond compare. Way beyond compare. I am not going to miss this.