Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Subtle Shifts

The other day I was reading a great book and driving.

Maybe I should restate that. I had been reading a great book but now I was driving but I would have really rather been finishing my book. I was to the last 15 pages and the mystery was finally going to be untangled but, I also had to be somewhere, so I was driving and the book was sitting on the passenger seat just waiting...

Waiting for what? you may ask: I was waiting for a red light.
I was hoping for red lights on my trip this day because I knew I'd have enough time to read another page and be closer to all the answers!

Wouldn't you know it, not a single red light the entire trip!

What was interesting though was how a subtle shift in my thinking changed my entire perspective on traffic lights. I remember the same thing happening when my son was small and loved trains; suddenly living where there are tracks everywhere wasn't as bad as it had been before.

While we love shows like Extreme Makeover perhaps it wouldn't take as much as we'd think to change the joy we have in our days.

I'm sure that if I could think that exercise is fun and vegetables are more desirable than chocolate there would be good changes in my health. If housework was viewed as satisfying and fulfilling instead just a necessary evil that I'd be happier with the never ending dishes and laundry.

The more I think about it, the more I think that if tiny little attitudes could shift they would have big impact.

Have you ever been the recipient of an unexpected smile or small kindness as you've gone about your day? Did it not give your spirit an unexpected boost?

The recent term that could describe this could also be "thinking outside the box". What if I changed my thought processes and already reached conclusions about just a few simple things?

I don't know. I really don't. There are no conclusions here today, just a curiosity.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Square Holes, Square Pegs


I'm so excited! I was just being teased that it didn't take much to get me excited: but I'm choosing to take that as a compliment.

I'm amazed how God watches out for me in all things, even those that are very little.

In the past 24 hours I've gotten an email that was encouraging where I was discouraged, a phone call giving me legal advice that will save me from many headaches, and a visit that resulted in the weeds being gone from what I'm calling my garden and a dozen new transplants all snuggled down into my dirt: and all these things came from the friends in my life.

I don't know anything about legalities or flowers (except that they're so pretty and tempting in the store this time of year and I get them home and they're just not happy at my house) yet where I have these holes in my abilities, God's provided others who have these strengths.

The expression is typically "like a square peg in a round hole" but my Father is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17) and this day He's blessed me with the realization that while He is the provider of all my needs, often He sends His provisions through my friends.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Water Daily

I am a simple minded person.
I am visual.
I am forgetful.

I've just gotten a beautiful hanging plant. I carefully brought it home and placed it on the hook and it looked wonderful!

The next morning it was all withered and curling up against itself. So I watered it really well and it perked right up and again looked great.

This morning it's all curled up and withered looking.

Hmmm.

What a great plant!

Here I thought I was getting something to brighten up my yard and what I've actually gotten is my own botanical reminder.

I am just like my plant in that I need to be watered daily. It seems no matter how great the day before has been, how abundantly I've been satisfied and filled that the next morning I'm dry and thirsty, and when the sun is beating down on me, I need even more water.

I easily relate to the psalmist when he said "My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water" (Psalms 63:1).

And then there's this promise for me. "(If) you would ask me, I will give you living water!"(John 4:10).

So each morning as I walk out to water my plant I will be reminded to come back in and take my Bible and seek water for my own soul. And as the day progresses both my plant and I will be nourished and full of life.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Honesty

Honesty

It seems like it’s been a common thread in my life for the past few weeks beginning with an Adult Sunday School class on that topic. What does it mean to be honest? What about “don’t ask, don’t tell”? What if I lead you to believe something is true that isn’t even though I never actually say that it’s true? What if I know something that I don’t share that you should know? What is our responsibility as Christians to be honest, totally 100% honest?

We didn’t have many answers, I think we raised even more questions and a lot of stories about how these different types of “honesty” have played out in our personal lives, and what effect being honest has on those around us and what they think of us. We looked at scripture and saw that there is no deceit at all in God: well that pretty much answered the question of how honest should we be…

So I found myself on the phone with someone very upset about how they perceived I’d treated them and hearing them say “tell me honestly do you have a problem with me?” The whole Sunday school conversation came back to me, how we are as honest with people as what we think they’re capable of hearing.

Through all this I’ve realized something that is true for myself: I want to know the truth, the whole truth. I would much rather be told that something I am doing is irritating someone to no end than to continue doing it thinking that it’s not a problem. I would rather you, as my friend; hold up a true mirror to me of what you’re seeing that just telling me what I want to hear.It might sting, it might even hurt, but I’d rather know than be operating under a pretense

It’s the old “Do these pants make me look fat?” Okay, sometimes it is just fishing for a compliment, but often it’s a genuine question to someone whose opinion we trust – tell me if I look bad here, before I go out and look badly before people I want to impress.

There is freedom in conversation when you know that you’ve agreed with the person you’re talking to that you’ll be completely honest in your answers even if that would appear to be offensive or hurtful. When you know that they will tell it like they see it and not just how you want to hear it.

So tell me the truth: tell it gently and kindly, and give me time to acknowledge that it hurts and to deal with it but speak truth. When we do, we give others and ourselves a rare and precious gift in a world where” political correctness” reigns.

I have friends like that. I hope my friends appreciate my being like that and although it’s not always pleasant, the truth always has the ability to make us better, and isn’t that what we really want: friends who watch our back and friends who are enriched because we are their friend?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Who IS this Boy?

They’re calling him Rob.
The coaches, the other players, calling my son Rob.
That’s not his name.
It’s Robbie.
For 10 years he’s just been Robbie.
Well I guess they just don’t know.
It sounds so strange.

They’re still calling him Rob but now it’s because now he’s earned it as his nickname.
He “robbed” the other team twice tonight, with two double plays.
He was chosen as the game’s MVP by his coach and given the game ball.
I don’t think he’ll be falling asleep before midnight he’s so excited.

I watch this Rob on the diamond and I hardly recognize him, long and lean in his baseball uniform: intense in his concentration, light and quick on his feet, cheering on his teammates, the first to pat a guy on the back and say “good job”.

Is this the same kid that leaves socks and books all over the house? Is this the same kid that eats dinner and is starving ten minutes later? Who makes copious lists of sports statistics and sets up fantasy teams and plays whole games with them in his mind? Is this the kid who finds his way onto my lap every time we sit down to watch TV? And jumps onto my bed every morning to wake me up?

Robbie is the kid I know, this kid who’s just changed into footed polar bear pajamas and wants me to come and kiss him good night.

This is my son.