There is a grand heist going on right under our noses. We are being bamboozled, folks. Hoodwinked. Hornswoggled. Conned.
We need to change our inner voices. We need to tell our negative Nancy inner voice to "shut it". Because you matter. You are enough. And you are loved by God.
One of the things I worked on this past week during my Introvert Intermission was a personal mission statement. Sounds like fun, right? Doesn’t everyone spend their vacation working on personal mission statements? It was like taking an adventurous hike through the wilderness … of my mind. I got lost. A lot. Wide open spaces and no sign of life for miles…. You get the picture. Throughout September, our youth ministry taught on Legacy. It is hard for a 16-year-old to think about legacy. How do you think about legacy when you don’t have a ‘one-of-a-kind’ dress for homecoming and no hottie date to take you either. Your life is basically over. Screw legacy. But a 41-year-old…
For the past four Decembers, I have traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota with a team from our church. We partner with Wings as Eagles Ministries who live and work among the Lakota people on Pine Ridge. Pine Ridge is such a complex place. The land is vast and beautiful with the earth showing off her wrinkles without a hint of shame. The layers and gradations of colors in the chiseled and wind-eroded cliffs are vivid testimonies to the countless years that have passed. Oh, if these hills could speak – what stories would they tell.
Each year around my birthday I go on a week-long trip. It is an annual trip I take that I affectionately call my “Introvert Intermission”. It is a gift from my parents where I go away by myself and just enjoy the simple things like reading, the outdoors and silence. Glorious silence. My extrovert friends break out into hives when I describe it but after an incredibly busy summer of mission trips and lots of quality time with quality people, I’m usually counting down the days like a high school senior in May. A few years ago the day arrived and I hit the road to the place I would…
The story in Matthew 15:29-39 is a familiar story to those familiar with the Bible. The passage is most well known for the miracle Jesus performs when he feeds the large crowd. When I read it recently, it wasn’t the miracle that resonated with me. It was a simple phrase from The Message paraphrase: “…He called his disciples and said, ‘I hurt for these people.'” (vs. 32) In other translations it says Jesus had “compassion” for them – the same compassion Jesus demonstrates in Matthew 9:36 when “his heart broke” as he looked out over the suffering crowds.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11 I will always remember the birth of my nephew and my niece. With my nephew, I was in the appropriately titled “waiting room” – waiting with the rest of the family for that sweet lullaby to play over the intercom of St. Mary’s Hospital. The moment the song began I started to weep with joy. What we had been waiting for – much longer than…
When I was little, I always had a great fear of the dark. A paralyzing fear that would immobilize me if a strange noise was heard or my imagination went for a run. I slept with two night lights and a street light outside my window and it still didn’t alleviate my fears. Although I’m much better as an adult and sleep with no night lights now, I still have my moments of freak out. When do, I grab my flashlight in order to shed some light on the situation and keep the darkness at bay. Light makes sense of the dark. Light illuminates truth and diminishes fears.
Maybe if we believe God not only loves us but genuinely likes us, too, than maybe we would lighten up on the self-hatred.
The idea that there is nothing I can do to make myself grow spiritually seems so wrong. Yet so right.