"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 NIV

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Gazing at Myself

I miss them a lot - people I could have helped but didn't. Individuals who are in need, and like the first two characters in the Good Samaritan story, I walk around.


Truth from two thousand years ago actually applies to my everyday life. It hurts to learn I am often compassionless. (Yes, I am aware that is not a word. But, it should be.)

Why do I walk by? My eyes are not searching to meet the needs of others. They are too busy looking in the mirror. My gaze is steadily focused on me when I worry. Everyone else moves to the periphery, out of focus and ignored.

This is not what God desires. This is not what I want either. At least, in my head it's what I say I do not want. But the heart - the heart and the time and the effort and the money speak true intentions the loudest.

What do I actually miss when I spend my time looking at my own reflection? I miss the broadening of my world view. I miss the blessings I could receive from helping others.

I miss the chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I miss love in it's purest form.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27 NIV)

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17 NIV)

Creator of compassion, forgive me for my lack thereof. I know my gaze needs to shift from me to others countless times each day. Please guide me gently back to showing others the kind of love you show me. Amen.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Different Than Them

It's hard to be different.

Doing what everyone else is doing seems like a good idea at times. Then, I wouldn't draw attention to myself. Then, I could blend in with the crowd. Then, I wouldn't worry about what others thought about me. I'd be just like them.

Then, it hit me. One little explanation in a book of a word I'm so familiar with. Apparently, I have not stopped to gaze directly at the meaning of this word.


For I am the Lord your God; 
sanctify yourselves therefore, 
and be holy, for I am holy. 
(Leviticus 11:44 NRSV)

It means set apart for the work of God.

Set apart. Different than others. Separated from the crowd. This is how I am told to live. Yet, I worry about being the very thing I am instructed to be. Why?

Because being different takes courage that I sometimes lack. Standing up when others sit draws attention to myself. Living without caring what others think is not normal, but it is a step down the path of peace.

Lord, you tell me to be holy. It seems like such a lofty goal. Help me not to worry about being the way you want me to be: different, set apart for you. Give me courage to keep my eyes on you instead of on them. Amen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Feeling Deeply, Fearing Nothing

The woman pauses a moment in her words of appreciation to a servant of God, overcome with emotion. While wiping a tear from her eye, she apologizes. "I'm sorry. Just a moment."

And I cringe - not from the show of emotion, but from the apology. Why do we do that? Why do women feel like our tears are something to be ashamed of?

I'm sorry. Sorry for what? Sorry for being human? Sorry for loving someone enough to have it affect my life? Sorry for showing you the truth of what I am going through right now? 

My own struggle with tears has been long and yes, sad. For years I was unwilling to shed a tear in the presence of another. Whispers of weakness clenched my heart tighter, the genuineness of my feelings locked away. My worry? What will they think of me?

I came to a point where I realized it did not matter. What mattered was that I was going to explode if I did not open the dam gates.

The truth is, I was created with the ability to feel and express. They are gifts from a God who does the same. At times I hurt deeply and am tempted to hide. Other times I have been overcome by love so completely, I could not lift my tear-stained face from the floor.

That is what gives life its richness. That is what helps me heal. That is how I connect with the world around me. That is how I reflect the glory of who God created me to be.

For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out... (Isaiah 42:14 NIV)

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. (Psalm 82:2 NIV)

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,     
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,     
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance...
                (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 NIV)

Creator of all human emotion, help me honestly express who I am without fear of the judgements of others. Amen.