Lead from behind, but don’t forget to follow from in front!

I was running today and as I was running I was thinking about St. Patrick’s prayer

Christ be with me
Christ be before me 
Christ be behind me
Christ be within me

As I was thinking this, I thought about the miniature Jesus I used to imagine living in my heart when I was little and laughed at myself.   Then I imagined Jesus running in front of me and running behind me and thought to myself, what a beautiful circle that makes and isn’t it amazing that when Jesus is running behind me He wants me to follow Him!

I hear the saying and use the saying,  Lead from behind, a lot, but I don’t think I have ever heard someone say, Follow from in front.

I don’t think following from in front is easy, but I think it is extremely important.

Take a look at Jesus’ Warriors of Love, women in abusive relationships.  They are not considered leaders according to our man-made criteria, but we should see them as leaders in how to love others recklessly, how to love others as Jesus and God love us despite our flaws and terrible actions and treatment of others and ourselves.

Take a look at the slaves world wide.  They are not considered leaders, but we should see them as leaders in resilience, strength and the faith as they go on living one more day with every dawn.

Take a look at the people of any third world country.  They are not considered leaders, but we should see them as leaders.  They lead us daily in gratitude as they give praise for clean water to drink, a simple meal placed before them and whatever shelter God has provided for them.

Finally, take a look at the sweet and generous widow in the bible.  She was not considered a leader at that time.  She was seen as a quiet and small follower, barely noticed by the powerful leaders at that time, but Jesus saw her, talked about her, placed her in a position to lead from behind, reminding us yet again to Follow from in Front.

Mark 12:44
They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.

I think when the leaders and followers get mixed up as a lot of us are now, leaders, leading from in front and followers, following from behind, we very easily get lost and it becomes very hard to find God.

Let’s get out of the desert, let’s end this aimless wandering, let’s begin following the real leaders of our world.  The poor, the oppressed, and the children.  They have big things to teach us if we are willing to listen!

So many of us have been trying to lead from in front.  Jesus please help us to have faith and trust in You and our fellow brothers and sisters so that we can complete your circle and remember to follow from in front.

St. Patrick!

I didn’t know anything about St. Patrick before reading an article about him today.  I am sure there is still a lot more to know about him, but what I read, I loved and I wanted to share it with you.

Our Heroes: St. Patrick of Ireland by Edward Hoyt

Towards the end of the article Mr. Hoyt says that he has been sitting in the first person for far too long when saying St. Patrick’s prayer.  This was yet another reminder of how I was saying “It is MY best life” for far too long.

This is the version of St. Patrick’s prayer that I want to say.  I hope you will join me!

Christ be in our hearts every time we think of anyone
Christ be in our mouths every time we speak to anyone
Christ be in our eyes every time see anyone
Christ be in our ears every time we hear anyone 

Saying “It is Our Best Life”…

I started saying “It is our best life” every morning and every night on Jan 23, 2012.  If you have read the background or the first post on this site, you already know that before this date I was saying “It is my best life” on a regular basis.

About a week before Jan 23, 2012, I posted a note on facebook for my friends.  In my note, I gave them the background and then challenged my friends to say “It is our best life” every morning and every night for a month.  What I didn’t tell anyone at that time was that I was scared to start my own challenge.

At that time, my life was good.  My husband had recently taken a new job that allowed him to be home more.  My girls were happy and healthy and attending a new school that we all loved.  Since moving to a new city, I had reconnected with a college friend who quickly became a best friend.  Life was good and I was scared to rock the boat.

The whole week before Jan 23, 2012, I stopped saying “It is my best life”, but I did not say “It is our best life” either.  I waited until the morning of Jan 23, 2012, but when I woke up that morning I whispered “It is our best life” and I meant it.

The fear of having opened a unwanted can of worms with my new mantra “It is our best life”, didn’t go away for a few weeks, but I kept saying it.  No worms showed up, no axe fell and by the end of the month, I had formed a habit and my old mantra “It is my best life” was gone.

The challenge for my friends came and went without much follow-up, but I was hooked and I kept on saying “It is our best life”.

By Easter 2012, I had found Jesus and come to the realization that I hadn’t known Him before despite having thought I knew Him.  I love Him so much!!!

Now as Easter 2013 approaches and over a year has passed since I started saying “It is our best life” and close to a year has passed since I truly fell in love with Jesus, I look at my life and I almost don’t recognize it.  I have never been more deeply in love with my husband!  I have never been in such awe of my girls and the amazing things they say and do.  I don’t think I have ever been so relaxed, as much fun or full of so much laughter with my family!  I know I have never in my life been full of so much gratitude.

Thank you Jesus for making all things possible!  I believe Our Best Life will only get better as more people believe it is Our Best Life!

Lamp posts

I have been thinking a lot about John the Baptist.  I am inspired by and in awe of him.  He rejoiced as his followers/disciples left to follow Jesus.

He was like a lamp post along the path.   He clearly understood that he was not the goal, but instead a guide, directing his pupils down the path toward Jesus.

Since I started looking for a teacher I am finding teachers everywhere.  Therefore I have now started wondering how to figure out which teachers to listen to and learn from?

I think the answer lies in our first teacher, our first lamp post, John the Baptist.

I think…

  • We need to look for someone, something to inspire our ongoing search for Jesus.
  • We need to look for a teacher who is willing to humbly share the job of teaching us with others.
  • We need to look for someone who will understand that one day the relationship might change/grow from student/teacher to friends and then rejoice in this change/growth.
  • We need to look for someone who knows and understands that they are lighting our paths… they know they are not the final destination and they don’t want to be the final destination because they understand that this desire would hold them back in their own search for Jesus!

Jesus, thank you for John the Baptist!  Please help us to rejoice from the depths of our souls as others find You, just as Your first lamp post, John the Baptist, did!

Write it in the stars!

I am reading a book that talks about soul mates.  To enjoy this book you have to first be open to the idea of reincarnation.  If you can consider this with an open mind, then the book talks about the fact that you might not spend every life with your soul mate.

While reading this book I was thinking about this a lot and it made me wonder… what if my husband and I aren’t soul mates like I have always thought?  What if we are just heavenly acquaintances working together in this life? This thought made me so sad.

Fortunately, I usually bounce back pretty quickly.  I was sad for about a day, but then I decided there is no way for me to truly answer this question and maybe the answer hasn’t been written just yet anyway… maybe our free will comes into play as the question is slowly answered over the course of our lives through our thoughts and actions.

Therefore I am going to return to my original belief, that now has a little more substance and thought behind it.  We are soul mates!  Believing this with more conviction than ever, I now want to continue loving him, but loving him more, continue caring for him, but caring for him more, and continue connecting with him, but connect with him more. I want to find my joy in bringing him joy!

Then when this life is over and our souls meet again… we will have so much love in our hearts for each other, so many wonderful memories shared and so many lessons learned together that we will be soul mates… we will have written it in the stars!

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Constant competition is exhausting…

I went to get my hair cut today.  I went to a new place and they had an opening for me.

The available stylist was very friendly and asked if I had children so we talked a bit about my girls.  Then she told me that she had a new granddaughter, and pulled out her phone to show me a photo. Just as she was holding it up for me to look at she said, “I’m sure my baby is prettier than all of yours.”

I just laughed inside, smiled, took a look at the photo and truthfully told her that her granddaughter was indeed beautiful!  The remainder of the appointment was nice and she did a great job trimming my hair and adding some shape back into it.

I didn’t really think about her comment again until later, but when I did it truly exhausted me.  I was momentarily stunned all over again to realize that this lady I had never met was wanting to compete with me over something that is completely impossible to compete at.

Then in the next instant I was overwhelmed with memories of myself attempting to compete over ridiculous things throughout my life. How exhausting?  How pointless? How annoying for other people… sorry about that. :)

Jesus… thank you for opening my eyes today even if only for a moment.  Thank you for the reminder that I want to live Our Best Life and in Our Best Life there is no need to compare or compete because we are all seen with Your eyes of love!

Bottles at sea…

I have been a recluse over the last few months.  I haven’t had much interest in seeking out or calling my friends to talk, watching the news, or even sending out Christmas cards to my friends and family.

Today while I was running I was thinking about this and wondering why?  The thought crossed my mind that maybe Jesus has been sheltering me.  Maybe He has been protecting me from the competition and constant comparison of the world by taking away my motivation to talk with my close friends and others who could spark envy, competition, or comparison within my heart.  Maybe He has been giving me time to grow stronger and really imprint upon my heart the necessity to stay outside of the race going on in our world while still fully living in our world.

Maybe this is just my overactive imagination, but I still like this explanation, because today I finally called one of my best friends.  I was so happy to talk with her and hear about her life and what she has been doing over the last few months.  While we were talking though I felt myself being pulled back into the race, not because I compete with her, but because she has so many wonderful plans and ideas.  She is an amazing mom and wife.  She will soon be back in the workforce and I am sure she will someday start the amazing business of her dreams.  In our 30 min conversation we covered all of this and following months of talking to only the same small group of people, I started to question my plans or lack of plans, my ideas or lack of ideas and began to worry about where I am headed.  Luckily, although I felt myself being pulled into the race, I was aware of it which I hope is a start for keeping myself out of it.

As I was running home, I pictured all of us as bottles bobbing in the sea.  As bottles in the sea we don’t realize that it is impossible for us to sink as we are tossed about in the waves, dunked under water, and crashed into each other.  We are all fighting to stay afloat even though it really isn’t possible for us to go down.  Then by the grace of God, sometimes we float into a secluded harbor where we can see the beach and we know that true peace exists.  The waves slowly wash us in and then drag us back out in a repetitive motion.

Jesus thank you for the safe and secluded harbor You have given me over the last few months.  Please help me to remember that no matter how many times the waves pull me back, I am a bottle filled with Your spirit and I can’t sink.  Knowing this gives me faith to brave the open sea again and brave the waves with a new perspective.

Maybe on my next trip in You will bless me with a job to help You bring a few more bottles into Your peaceful shores!

Stop counting!

A friend of mine was talking to me today about a couple that she knows.  She was telling me how their relationship didn’t seem fair and how one person in the couple appeared to do 90% of the work.

I have been thinking about it some more and obviously I don’t know their whole story, but from the outside it appears that the beauty of their relationship lies in the fact that the two involved are not counting.

I think once you stop counting, the percentages can’t be calculated and they don’t matter anyway.  What matters is the teamwork, knowing you have a teammate who has your back and wants to support you and love you.

Jesus please help us to stop counting, work together, and remember that we all have unique gifts to contribute which can’t be quantified anyway!

Fearless

What scares you?  What scares me?

Can you verbalize it?  Do you even know what makes your heart start pounding, your blood run cold and your eyes glass over?

I don’t think I know for myself.  I am fearful of sitting down to think about and fully realize what scares me.  A few things sit on the edge of my mind that I am aware of, but I don’t want to verbalize them.  I don’t want to think about them for fear of them coming to be.

How do we attempt to live fearlessly with these fears lurking in the shadows of our minds?  I don’t think we can, allowing them to lurk gives them power over us.  I think we eventually need to realize these fears, accept them as our fears and then believe through faith that if these fears come to be, God will still lead us through the valley to an even higher mountain beyond.

Habakkuk 2:4 says it and Paul repeats it in Hebrews 10:38, “The just shall live by faith.” By faith is the way God planned for us to live out our lives, day in, day out, minute by minute.

I want to live fearlessly… I want to live by faith!

I have work to do, and if you are not already there, I hope you will join me, my friends!

When are we awake?

I am not sure if you hear a lot about waking up or about the next great awakening, but I have heard quite a bit about it in some of the documentaries I have watched in the last few months.

When I talk about awake, I am talking about being consciously aware of our ego and critically questioning our personal actions and whether these actions are being driven by our egos.  Then making an effort to minimize our ego’s influence over our actions.

The first book I read about this was, A New Earth: Awakening to  Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.  I loved this book and I still consider it one of the first books of my own personal journey, but as I continue down my path I still question am I going the right way, am I waking up, will I ever be fully awake?  For me, I think it is a daily effort to wake up.  I still get caught up in worries about the future, regrets of the past and feelings, choices and actions driven by my ego.

One thing I have noticed though is that I feel more awake and more alive on days that I celebrate the joys and successes of others.  A news story was mentioned on my radio station the other day that helped me more clearly define a day when I am feeling more awake, Facebook Envy:  How Cruising can Kill Self Esteem by Wendy Sachs.

This story talks about how cruising Facebook can kill your self esteem when everyones life appears to be better, more fun, more exciting than yours.

This made me pay a little closer attention to my own activity on Facebook and I do think that I am more awake on days when I “Like” and comment on my friends photos, comments, shares.   Choosing to “Like” my friends activities is my quiet and small way to celebrate and be excited for them and the joys in their lives.

I am not sure when we will all wake up, but since so many of us are now connecting on Facebook, let’s use it as a platform to celebrate each other, support each, and love each other rather than a platform for comparison which will only plant the seeds of envy in our own heart.

James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Jesus please help me to wake up a little more every day so that someday I can fully share in the celebrations and joys of all of my brothers and sisters throughout the world!