Tag Archives: relationship

On The Rise

I want to share an astounding truth – I apologize in advance:

  • It’s not flattering,
  • It’s too sensitive for making fun or otherwise mocking (okay, almost too sensitive),
  • You’ve heard it before – from me,
  • It’s embarrassing.

The truth is, I fail.

What’s more, I fail daily.

Most of the time I don’t even realize I’ve done it again until I am on my face; dirty, often bleeding, and usually crying. Worse yet, I can be angry, hostile and ugly, as if I’d been wronged. Shocking, I know.

I hope nobody’s keeping score of how often I bolt ahead without God or checking with him – wanting to impress Him; essentially trying to earn His love.

Even if it’s happening, in all that humiliation I get to see myself as He wants me to be.

Health advisory; take a deep breath now:

… God wants me to just be – not do everything I ever knew how to do so I can fool myself into thinking I’m helping Him fix broken people in a broken world and before nightfall wind up an exhausted, painful, discouraged and often malodorous lump on (usually) the floor.

I’m sure this was not the only instance all week, but it’s the one where I spent time and energy trying to fix a pipe that wasn’t actually broken yet – while my writing awaited my undivided attention. Does anyone else do simple, sometimes ridiculous tasks trying to avoid an obstacle? I didn’t think so.

My options that morning:

  1. “Look there, Lord. That drop of water on that pipe could indicate a problem somewhere down the road. What do You think about that?” (I wait patiently on an answer, of course),
  2. “Who knows when Brother can get around to looking into this?  I am so good at juggling, it won’t be any trouble at all…”

Yeah, I went with option number two. Without mentioning the drip to God or thinking twice, I reasoned, “Oh, I can fix this, Yessiree, I see where this is going, what I can do. Heh heh. C’mon God, I’ve got this…” and off I went in a completely different direction…

Annnd again, before I even realize it’s happening I’ll have left the peace of my quiet place with God prematurely. I’ll bolt out, off balance and a mess before I start. Soon, feeling the gap widening, I’ll seek relief by working harder – cleaning something. Immediate gratification is today’s most common snare. Most of the best things in life require t-i-m-e.

Once I was done being all ugly over that big mistake, God showed me what I actually did – what I routinely do when I’m not entirely right with Him. Rather than simply sharing the observation with God, I began doing His job, minding His business and neglecting mine.

God didn’t let me go through all this because it’s cheap entertainment. He allows some things to happen if only to teach me to trust Him, to lean on Him and let Him do the work. I suspect He also appreciates a good laugh. But He never wanted me to go it alone and make myself feel prematurely old and tired.

He wants me to relax, let Him use me when He wants to, but mostly to see how He works all things out.

But what really melts my butter is how God is always waiting for me with open arms every time I realize I’ve spun off course – [sigh] yet again.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

So, we all get stuck behind our noses – lost in our frame of reference, as if ours is the only possible perspective. Anyone denying they fail needs to read the Book of Romans. Go ahead. But be warned, if you’re like me you’ll want to argue Chapter 3, verse 23 before really thinking about what everyone/all means.

Frankly, I’m thankful for that grace. Instead of always falling short, God raises me up!

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Romans 3:23, 24 (NLT)

 

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Filed under A Door Ajar

Flowing

I’d been in town long enough to miss “the gang” from church. I’m blessed with great friends, many from churches all across the country and we continue to keep in touch. But it was time to connect with the local church, meet people outside our family unit, engage in conversation and gain fresh perspectives on topics of interest.

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I don’t always find my niche right away. I’m all about relationship with Jesus, worship, studying the Bible, serving the community – and not much interested in dogma or following traditions for tradition’s sake. My habit is to return for services at each local church for at least three visits. The second church was walking distance, and an organization with which I’ve been aligned before.

Prepared for my first visits, I’d printed calling cards with my blog address and handed a couple out to people that seemed genuinely interested in the new kid in town.

RPP card

After the service on the next visit I was trying to appear casual with friendly greetings and nods while desperately seeking the Ladies Room. I saw a familiar looking woman waving and making a bee line across the crowded foyer toward me. My latte had my teeth singing Anchors Aweigh. Before I could ask her for directions she gushed,

“Roo, I’m so glad to see you! I meant to take a quick look at your blog…”

Sure I was breaking a sweat, “the best laid plans…” and “who has time to read lately? flashed through my mind.

Then she surprised me. “Well, I couldn’t stop reading. After chatting with you, I couldn’t imagine you in some of your stories!” My lower quadrant clenching, I couldn’t think clearly to respond. I smiled politely trying to not be too obvious looking past her for a sign – to a Powder Room.

Yep, she went on, “You can’t be a great-grand-maw. And some of the stories sound like you’ve been through h-e-double-hockey-sticks… I wouldn’t have guessed from talking to you… You’ve led quite a life…” My eyes began to well  – this was great for What’s Next, but all I could think of was, “Please Lord, don’t let anyone use that water fountain six feet away from us!

Even after she paused I couldn’t talk – ordinarily not like me at all. I’d talked with the lady a scant ten minutes including that very – long – moment. I literally lowered my head, checked my shoes, groping for strength and something to say more than I was actually praying. But then it came to me, the line I’d thought about for seemingly ages but never had the opportunity to say:

“Honestly, I loathe the thought of being known as ‘that poor woman who…’ Life is about What’s Next and making it better from anywhere…” For a nano-second I was pleased with the name I chose for my blog again. After a brief, dramatic pause I added, “Especially from a Ladies Room…” I hope I grinned sheepishly and didn’t grimace.

cup coffee hearts ABSFreepicsAfter I could relax again, we joked about ‘streams of living water’ and made a date to meet for coffee. She mentioned maybe I could show her what I know about blogging. That’ll keep us long enough for a latte. I have a feeling we’ll find more to talk about.

 

 

“…I see that the Lord is always with me, I will not be shaken for He is right beside me.” Psalm 16:8

 

Images courtesy *Unsplash, **ABSFreePics and original graphic by E.V.A. Lambert (c) 2016 for What’s Next

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Character? Check Yes or No

It’s been a while since I purchased real estate or a new car from a dealership. Still, I remember the stacks of forms during the process.

I typically annoy busy customer service reps, especially during health care transactions. I have always actually read everything before I sign – and I ask not only what a passage means, but how that’s different from Page x, y and z. Even twenty years ago the paperwork required for major expenditures concerned me. At the time I felt like signing my name somehow compromised my integrity.

In 1983 I drove my brand new Chevy off the dealership lot with only a handshake, my word to sign the loan documents “soon” and a phone call to my insurance broker.

Today it’s hard to remember simpler times when I kept a running tab at my town’s food and liquor store, mostly to spare me time waiting in the checkout line. I also ran a tab at the bar and grill. That was in Los Angeles County – not an obscure hamlet.

bar n grill

As recently as 1999, I presented my driver’s license to rent a moving van and learned it had expired years before. Mainly because the manager was on sight, my oversight cost me a couple of hours at the Motor Vehicle Department on moving day. Needless to say I detested my ID photo for the next few years.

Though we had credit cards even then, consumers commonly wrote paper checks to purchase goods, sometimes we swiped an ATM card, so I hadn’t shown my identification in years. People in the community knew me. But the fact that I never lived anywhere more than three years in my adult life makes that mind boggling.

And don’t get me started about how my hackles rise when doctor’s offices ask about my insurance carrier before they ask my name.

I long for the world where yes meant yes and no meant no; “Will you pay this when you get your check?” “Of course I will.” Once I accidentally bounced a check. The payee first assumed it was an accident and I confirmed it when I resolved the matter with a couple of personal phone calls. Once a victim of a forged check, I entirely recovered, cleaned up and forgot the whole incident in a couple of weeks – without involving a collection agency. Now I grieve for victims of identity theft.

people malled

So, now that we have advanced into the digital age, complete with cyber crime, global cyber espionage, social media stalking and identity theft, we are rarely certain about anyone. What have we gained when we have sacrificed character for the sake of convenience? It’s as if we no longer value character at all – it’s all about credit scores.

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Filed under A Door Ajar, The World According to Roo