Tag Archives: faith

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 words aren’t enough…

I am not very good at defending what I believe or giving convincing reasons for my faith. A while ago I was in a discussion with someone and I became totally tongue-tied and could give no better reason for believing in Jesus than to just say, “Because… I do”.  For some reason I was thinking about this earlier today and for one moment thought, maybe I am crazy, but then I remembered sweet, consistent, reliable Puddleglum from The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis.

Puddleglum said to the witch:

“One word, Ma’am” he said coming back from the fire; limping because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.

Even if I can’t explain why, I would rather spend the rest of my life following Jesus and trying to live like Him, real or not, than follow anyone else!

Jesus help us to remember that most of the time we don’t need any words;  when words fail us, we only need to believe in You, love You and follow You.  We need to have faith so You can shine through!

The only thing good in me is Jesus!

I heard the song, The Only Thing, by Ronnie Freeman for the first time tonight while listening to Pandora.

I loved hearing this song, and it was yet another reminder for the importance of humility. I know my heart and I know that I have proudly accepted many undeserved compliments (from others and from myself) throughout my life.  No matter what my life looks like to myself or others, I have to remember that I am still the least of thieves and yet Jesus still loves me and is in me. The more I superficially build myself up from these good deeds and compliments, the further I push Jesus away, but once I remember or realize that everything thing good in me is because of Jesus I pull closer to Him.

Ephesians (2:8-9) “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”

Jesus please keep reminding me to be humble so that I can pass Your glory on to You!

It is Our Best Life… let’s pass it on!

The Little Way

I watched a movie about Saint Thérèse of Lisieux last night, Thérèse.  I loved it and loved learning about “The Little Way”.

Below is a definition I found online for “The Little Way” of Saint Thérèse.

It is an image that tries to capture her understanding of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, of seeking holiness of life in the ordinary and the everyday.

I have been thinking about this a lot today and I think when you empathize with someone it can naturally guide you towards “The Little Way”.  In the movie Saint Thérèse was very considerate and aware of her family and then later of her fellow sisters.  She attempted to help others in ordinary and everyday moments without ever expecting anything (a thank you or even acknowledgement) in return.

I think when you empathize with someone, really attempt to see things from their perspective, it can help you to move beyond the expectation for a thank you or acknowledgement of what you then do for that person since you now can more fully appreciate the difficulties that brought about their current needs in this moment.  I think once you are released from this expectation you can then truly find joy in meeting their needs (serving them) in that moment without the weight of what you will receive (your expectations) on your mind.

I know I still have a lot to learn about “The Little Way” of Saint Thérèse, but these are are my initial thoughts.  I hope to learn more when I get a chance to read the autobiography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul.

Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if we could all truly let go of “me” and focus on “you”?  I think what we would find would be Our Best Life because even if I really let go of me, Jesus won’t let go of me… He wants us All!

Perspective shift

We went to the park the other day to take a short hike with the girls. As we were all getting out of the car and unfolding the stroller a woman was walking by with two small dogs. I was just about to look up and say hello when she dropped her wallet and said in a very angry and exasperated voice to herself, “This has been the worst f*****g day, can anything else go wrong?” She picked up her wallet and stomped past us through the parking lot. It was only 10:30 am, and I thought to myself, unfortunately she still has most of the day left for things to continue spiraling out of control. Obviously I only saw one moment of her story and it appeared to be a very bad moment, but it made me think about perspective and if a perspective shift could have helped her through the rest of the day.

Perspective is defined as a mental view of or outlook on a situation.  I think a perspective shift can change almost anything.  When I don’t know someone else’s full story it is difficult to suggest a perspective shift, but hopefully a personal story will help make my point.

A few weeks ago I was out on a Sunday evening on my way to return a movie. I turned onto the highway feeder road a little too quickly and hit the curb with my rear tire. The tire immediately blew and luckily I was just about 200 yards from an open gas station. As I was pulling in to see if they could help me change my tire I was thinking, It serves me right because I made the turn too quickly, as if this was punishment for my poor driving. A really nice young man changed my tire and I was on my way.  The next day I went to buy a new tire and the man at the store strongly suggested replacing the other three as well.   I took a look at the tires and if you know about the penny test to check the treads then you will understand how necessary it was for me to get new tires when I tell you that there was nowhere to even put the penny.  As I was pulling away with four new tires I could have been complaining about the hour I had just spent waiting for new tires or the money I had just spent that I had planned to use for something else, but instead I thought to myself, Thank you God for making me get new tires since I wasn’t going to find the time to do it without your help.

Despite some of the terrible things I see in the news, I try to keep my perspective shifted  and continue to believe it is Our Best Life and I hope you do too?  If we all believe it is our best life would the news change?

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

The joy of suffering!

I saw a movie on Saint John of the Cross the other night and at the end he said, “Love the suffering.” I have been thinking about this a lot since watching the movie.

Saint John of the Cross spent about 8 months held captive by his superiors, imprisoned in a tiny closet. This was his suffering, but he saw it as his joy to be given unlimited time to contemplate Jesus.

The disciples of Jesus left their families, their lives, to follow Jesus and many observers at that time thought they were crazy and that they would suffer or were suffering, but Jesus was their Joy!

Once you truly follow Jesus is it even possible to suffer? From someone else’s perspective it might appear that you are suffering, but from your own perspective are you really suffering?

I think the song, You Can Have Me by Sidewalk Prophets says it beautifully

If You’re all You claim to be
Then I’m not losing anything
So I will crawl upon my knees
Just to know the joy of suffering

Therefore if Jesus is our joy then I think it is already Our Best Life.

If He is not then can we say It is Our Best Life with the hope that this daily prayer will help us find the right path to our joy in Jesus?

I think the answer is YES, start saying it and see where it takes you.  I think it will circle back around, but go ahead and try it for yourself.

 

A few more thoughts on empathy…

I was watching a documentary about different types of love and relationships a few months ago, and they brought up empathy as a key building block in relationships.  I agree with this, but what really got me thinking was the wording used when defining empathy.  In the documentary empathy was defined as the ability to put your self aside in order to identify with or experience the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another.

When I heard it defined with the additional wording of PUT YOUR SELF ASIDE, I immediately thought of when Jesus said to deny your self.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

Did Jesus mean for us to empathize with others when he said to deny ourselves?  I am starting to think this is what he meant.

In the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, ” You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

How can one truly turn the other cheek?  Is the answer to this also empathy?

If you resist your anger towards the person who has struck you (Are you denying yourself?), and instead attempt to empathize with that person, understand that the obstacles and difficulties of their life, their story have brought them to this moment and that although their physical anger was finally triggered by the current moment shared with you, their emotional anger has probably been building for quite some time and has very little to do with you.

Once you can empathize with this person, does it become a little easier to deny your self/deny your anger and turn the other cheek?

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  It is “Our Best Life”, let’s say it, believe it, live it and wish for it everyday for EVERYONE!

 

The connection is confirmed!

I have been very lightly reading about dark matter for the last three years since watching a movie about it.  I didn’t know what it was or have any simple theories, but I found it interesting to read about and would always check-out an article when I came across one.

Last weekend I had a dream that led me to watch a few episodes on www.netflix.com regarding the universe.  In the last five min of the 3rd episode they briefly mentioned dark matter which led me to do a quick google search since I hadn’t read anything about it in at least four months.  The article I found was posted the day before…

It is truly AWESOME!!!

Please read the article, but a quick summary is that since dark matter does not react with light it has been completely invisible to us until a group of Japanese Physicists came up with a way to produce an image by tracking how light was bending as it approached earth from 24 million galaxies.  This image produced gives a visual of where dark matter is in space for the FIRST TIME!!!

Guess what they found…

Dark Matter forms a web CONNECTING everything in our universe!!!  Before reading this, there was no question in my mind that we are all connected, but this CONFIRMS IT FOR ME!

Connect with, include, befriend and love anyone and everyone so that the web of dark matter will continue to grow and eventually we will all be encircled in an invisible web (but a truly physical material as proven by science) or net (as my sister would say) of LOVE!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46387769/ns/technology_and_science-space/

I am a friend!

I have been wondering how to include EVERYONE.

When I pray for Our Best Life, my intention is to include EVERYONE (NO EXCEPTIONS), but how can I then best apply this intention to my physical life (LIVE IT)?

I think attempting to get as close to “I am” as possible is the best way to apply this prayer into physical reality. As soon as I say, “I am a graduate from Purdue” or “I am a wife” I have put myself into an exclusive club that does not and cannot include EVERYONE.  Obviously these statements are true, but the less I use them to define me, the closer I am to reaching the true and complete “I am”.  The problem arises in the fact that “I am” is a very abstract way of defining one’s self physically so I then started wondering what is the least exclusive, but a less abstract way of attempting to get closer to “I am”.

The one I came up with is “I am a friend”.  If you can be a friend and accept friendship from EVERYONE (NO EXCEPTIONS), then I think you are getting closer to “I am”.

Therefore after this long and complicated thought process I have looped back around to exactly what our pre-school teachers taught us, be friends with EVERYONE!

Say it, live it, believe it and IT WILL BE!  It is Our Best Life!

 

The one path, our path!

I have been thinking about Our Best Life a lot over the last two weeks.  I am finally starting to see!  For those of you who are already there, thank you for humoring me as you read this with a joyful smile and excitement in your heart.

I am imagining our world covered in billions of little paths crisscrossing all over the place, and now I can finally see the one large path that has been created by the convergence of many small paths.  This one path is not paved in gold, but is a beautiful dirt path surround by fields of wild flowers and green grass covered in dew and glistening in the morning sun.  We are in awe of the mountains we see ahead, but our joy as we walk down the path is in the relationships we build and the soul mates we meet.

Say it, live it, believe it and IT WILL BE!  It is Our Best Life!