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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A Word for the heart

It's ten days into the New Year and I’ve been mulling over a blog post by my wonderful mentor Mary Griffith about a word for the year. After reading her post and a few other bloggers' entries about the word God had given them for the year, I decided to ask God about a word for me.

The answer came quicker than I expected.

It both frightened and thrilled me. Frightened me because this is an area I’ve known God wanted to talk over with me for some time. And I’ve sort of avoided the discussion because it felt impossible for me to “do” what I thought He wanted me to do. But these past few days God has shown me that it’s not so much about me “doing” but me resting in Him and my word for the year will happen.

What’s the word?


And immediately after He gave me this word, He handed me a speaking engagement where my topic is none other than my word for the year. It’s about slowing the rush and enjoying the journey through knowing and enjoying Him.

Then He let the testing come to drive home His point.

In the past few weeks I’ve been blessed over and above what I could have asked or imagined. And with these awesome gifts has come a question.

Will you trust Me?

I keep saying, “Yes, Lord. I trust You.” And then I get busy trying to tie up all the loose ends of life... today. Loose ends like five years of scrapbooking pictures sitting in boxes begging to be put in my books. Homeschool lessons to schedule for next year. Books to read. A mom lit novel burning in my heart to finish before I jump into my contracted series. Sunday school lessons I’ve wanted to teach for a long time that require much of me to do well. Then there are the daily things of life that I hold dear…laughing with my children, snuggling with my husband, talking to my friends on the phone and by email.

I can’t do any of these well when I let the rush of “have to” get in the way of enjoying the journey.

So God had to exhaust me last night with the futility of trying to do it all and then show me today how life doesn’t work well if I refuse to obey His two greatest commandments.

Love God and love others as myself.

I’d put my agenda as my focus and missed the joy in the journey. I hadn’t loved God well because I decided to depend on me to get it done. I hadn’t loved myself well because I was sleep deprived and hurting with all the stuff I was putting on my shoulders. And I certainly hadn’t loved my most favorite others~ my family~ because I was grouchy and rushed in all I was trying to do.

So I took a nap.

And woke up this afternoon knowing for sure the Lord has so much to teach me this year! But I’m glad for it. I’m glad He never lets me get so caught up in my To-Do lists and agendas for long. He wants me to get this word for the year.


Enjoy the sunrises I’m blessed to see, the precious moments I have talking with my Daddy before the day swings into motion, connecting with my hubby, the sweet hugs of my girls, talking with my friends, and feeling the pleasure of God as I do the work He’s called and created me to do.

I can’t do any of that when I’m in rush mode. And I certainly can’t do any of it with my whole heart resting in the Lord. So ten days into the New Year, I have my word and the Lord has cast the vision before me with a clear reminder to simply trust Him.

My Daddy is not bound by space and time.

In fact, He has all my days and all the good works He created me to do in Christ Jesus already figured out. He’s not in a rush at all. And He provides the energy to do them as I rest and trust Him with a quiet heart.

My Daddy is God of the impossible.

I’ve seen it before and I’m sure I’ll need to see it again, but I know for a fact God can do more in one minute when my heart is depending on Him, than I can do in days and days of striving.

My Daddy loves me and will never stop drawing me to Him.

Sleep is a precious gift God knows I need. And God is a precious, loving Daddy who will do what it takes to keep me close to Him. Even wear me out so that I’ll see His way is BEST. Always. In LOVE.

The vision God cast before me, including my word for the year, can be summed up in one simple favorite phrase John Piper slightly altered from the Westminster Shorter Catechism …

The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.

Here’s to the journey! And enjoying each step…

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Keep a Quiet Heart

During this time of the year it seems so many people make and break New Year's resolutions, think back over the past year, look ahead hoping to make the New Year better, and yet there’s a vague sense that all isn't well. They feel...restless. Not sure why or how to fix it. So they get busy, get organized, pray more, do more, read more, and on and on the To-Do list grows.

Me too.

But today I'd had enough. I can't stand the static in my soul caused by the vague sense that something is wrong. So I prayed and wandered around in my thoughts digging up lies I'd believed in the past few days that were weighing heavy in my heart. Lies that are so familiar it bugs me to admit I'm still listening to them.

Lies as old as dirt, yet with a new twist. The “I’ll never be good enough” is now “I’ll never be a good enough writer—people will read my stuff and think it’s mindless drivel or full of sentimentality without any meat.” Or they won’t buy my books. Or I won’t win any awards or make it into a book catalog. Or this and that and even more of the other. An endless list of reasons why I’m “not good enough.” I already had a pretty long list of reasons before I added these writing ones.

The “I’m unlovable” lie has expanded to include the belief that I’m also a freak because my life isn’t a frenzy of activity during the holidays or any other time. And because I’m not busily involved with life, my kids are missing out and I’m not doing enough to serve. So I feel guilty. Add to that my comparing myself to talented authors and speakers whose biographies are filled with interesting accomplishments, and I come up short every time because I’m not doing enough. I’m not perfect enough, not nice enough, not skinny enough, not smart enough. And on and on the list of why I’m unlovable grows to unmanageable proportions.

I thought I’d dealt with these lists a year ago.

But there’s an enemy who doesn’t stop reciting those lists. An enemy who keeps whispering these lies are truth. So often they feel true. And often circumstances seem to confirm they are true.

Even though a tree on Calvary says different.

In the midst of realizing I was beginning to operate out of these lies again, a still small voice invited me to dance. I almost ignored it in favor of doing a Bible study that was on my To-Do list for today.

But the nudge was too strong and my heart longing too big to ignore the only One who could help me.

So I danced.

I told my Daddy all the things I’d believed while we swayed to the music. Then I started telling Him what I knew in my head was true. He stopped me there and spoke for Himself.

“You are my beloved child in whom I am well pleased.”

I stopped dancing and fell on my knees crying.

It doesn’t matter to God what my biography says or how many good things I do. I’ve learned I can’t keep a quiet heart when I’m busy. And when my heart isn’t quiet I miss times like tonight with God.

That I can’t live without.

So I listened to His whispered words to my heart and let them sink deep. Because what He says is all that really matters.

And He says I’m His. I’m my Daddy’s daughter regardless of what my flesh or the world tell me I should be.

The Great I AM is my Daddy. And I am His.

With that truth, my heart quiets.
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