To Be, or Not to Be

I could be invisible.

Well, not literally. I don’t have a magic cloak or anything.

But I realized yesterday that I could go through a day or more without seeing or talking to another human being.

My husband travels, so when he is gone, I am home alone.

I work out of my home office, alone.

I communicate via email, skype, facebook, text, and phone.

I could actually get through a day without speaking or seeing anyone.

Banking? Direct deposit, online transfers, and ATM’s.

Gas the car? Self Serve.

Post Office? Self Serve

Eat? I can go to the self check out line at the grocery store.

If I don’t want to cook? I can go online to Panera Bread, order my food for rapid pick up, pay with a credit card on line, and then run to Panera Bread and pluck my order off of a shelf without talking to anyone.

My life could be reduced to keypads, keyboards, and credit cards.

All for convenience.

All for saving time.

All for the sake of modern technology

EWWWWW!!!

Although sometimes being invisible sounds really inviting, it’s not healthy. It’s not sustainable, and well, it’s just plain BAD for you and it’s bad for others.

Arguably, one could be in the middle of a crowd and be invisible. One could even be with one other person and be invisible. Watch people at a restaurant… but I digress…

We are human beings. BE-ings.

Be what, exactly?

Be alone? With over 7 billion people on the earth now, we are hardly alone.

Be secluded? Difficult, but not impossible.

Maybe God invites us into BE-ing with others.

Be a kind word.

Be a gentle touch.

Be an encourager

Be an interested listener

Be a compassionate heart

Be the eyes of one who cares

Who can you BE somebody for today? You don’t have to be groundbreaking, super holy, awesome to just BE.

Maybe that cranky clerk at the DMV needs a friendly smile. You may be the only person who will see past the crank and into the heart.

Maybe the high school kid at the fast food place is bullied. You may be the only person today that looks him in the eye and makes him feel valued.

Maybe the clerk at the grocery store just had a customer yell at her. Your kindness and patience may soften the harsh words she just heard.

MAYBE by interacting with people instead of keyboards, self-serve and self check lines, and online ordering, you (and I) can make a difference in someone’s day.

Dare ya.

Double dare ya.

Be a human being today.

Rock someone’s world.

Beauty From Chaos

Steampunk. There are a lot of definitions, but I like this one:

Steampunk art mixes modern ideas and technology with those from the past, namely the Victorian Age, when the Industrial Revolution was in full swing and steam was a major source of power.

Maybe I relate to Steampunk. Mixing modern ideas with those from the past. I am particularly drawn to the steampunk art.

I feel like steampunk art.

Beauty from chaos. Beauty from a bunch of gears, nuts, bolts, pipes, washers, thinga ma bobs, doo-hickys, and whatchamacallits.

Most mornings, I feel like a pile of those things, heaped in the middle of the floor of this world.

Not much to look at.

No parts seem to work together.

Not even sure where to start.

We, you and me, have our own personal steampunk artist, though.

Our artist looks at the pile of junk, old stuff, the thingys and the doo-hickys, and the whatchamacallits, and sees beauty.

Our artist starts carefully choosing pieces out of our personal piles of chaos and putting them in a special order.

Our artist adds new parts, modern ideas, stretching us to learn and grow as our old parts work with the new.

As our artist works, we try to help.

We rearrange parts to meet our needs.

We resist some of the new parts. They are uncomfortable. They feel weird against our well worn stuff.

At the end of each day,

Our help may have hindered, but not stopped, our artist.

Our artist has not been able to use all the thingamabobs, doo-hickys, and watchamacalits. but..

At the end of the day, our chaotic pile of junk has been lovingly formed into a resemblance of the artist’s own heart. We are still beloved artwork, gazed upon with deep pride and devotion by the artist. Our artist, the artist who created us from the beginning, bids us rest so the chaotic pile of junk can be shuffled and restored each new day.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

My Word

I gave up making new years resolutions.  It seemed counterproductive, and I was just setting myself up for failure.  Whatever resolution I set for myself was usually broken within a week.  Eat healthy, be less sarcastic, exercise more..human goals that were just unattainable for my human self.

Instead of a list of goals now, I choose one word.  Well, actually, the word chooses me.  A word that pings in my head and starts to grow and settle into my life until it curls up in my heart.  They are growth words, words that are smaller in my life than they should be, ones that God wants to work on with me.

Several years ago, my word was Emmanuel. “God with Us”.  Not a goal, but a reminder with each breath of whose I am, where my strength and protection comes from, and the source of my joy.

Thirst.  My word for 2014.  It started with a thirst for the word of God. It grew to thirst for community. Thirst for deeper relationship with Jesus.  Thirst for understanding justice and privilege.

Listen.  The word that choose me this year is listen.   Not sure where God is going to take me with this, but as it takes hold in my life, I will be learning how to slow down and listen to God, listen to my colleagues, listen to my family.  Be present in the conversation. Listen in silence. Maybe even listen to my own heartbeat.

What one word is bouncing around in your head lately?  What is God whispering in your ear?

Walk with me on this one word journey.  I would love to travel with you as this year unfolds and God is revealed in unexpected ways.

The Perfect Fit

My daughter, Lauren, is a runner. It’s not genetic. I will only run if something is chasing me, or if dark chocolate is involved.

I like to walk. For over a decade I have worn a certain brand of shoe, made especially for women. I am terribly loyal to them. There is some pain in walking, though. I develop painful blisters and callouses on my toes after only one 2 mile walk. I know this, so I bind my toes in moleskin or Band-Aids to help stop the blistering. I have been doing this for over 10 years. That could be the definition of insanity.

Just last month Lauren needed new running shoes so we went to the Greenville Running Company (GRC). The store had a cool machine you could step on and have your feet analyzed. I don’t run, but I like cool machines, so I hopped on. I bear most of my weight on my heel, I have really high arches, but the big surprise is that I need a size larger in running shoes than I normally wear.

Thanks to a really knowledgeable staff and a persuasive daughter, I left the store with beautiful red running shoes that I was assured were great for walkers. And, they were a size larger than I had been wearing for over ten years.

What a difference the right size makes!! A perfect fit. Now I take walks with no pain, no bandages, no blisters. Thank you Karen and Jeff at GRC!

Why did I finally make the change, when I had been living with pain for so many years?

  1. Someone cared. Lauren encouraged me to try, and to not settle, but to go for better.
  2. Someone knew their stuff. The staff at the running shoe store was knowledgeable about their product and taught us the hows and whys as they fit us in our shoes.
  3. I tried. I slipped on the shoes and walked around in the store. WOW. Even in that short time I could get a glimpse of what I had been missing… the perfect fit.

So where is my perfect fit this year, besides my pretty red shoes, of course. God has called me to be a mobilizer, and I love that. But there are so many other daily opportunities, too. Where are yours?

Where is your perfect fit this year? Is God urging you to step out of whatever is binding in your life so that you can be a part of ministry in your neighborhood, your community, the world?

Find someone who knows their stuff.  American Baptist International Ministries is dedicated to serving volunteers. Their volunteer team lives to encourage, engage, and educate God’s people as they seek to serve. We are accredited members of Standards of Excellence of Short Term Mission (SOE) http://www.soe.org. They have met the seven standards, and continue to strive for excellence as they serve God and you.

TRY! You never know what fits until you try. I am pretty sure my new shoes weren’t God ordained, but trusting in God’s call and faithfulness is. Maybe your perfect fit is as simple as rocking babies at a day care, or a hospital in your own community. Pray about what God is asking of you.

It’s a new year! Step out of your old shoes and into new. Join me; let’s keep each other company as we walk 2015 together!

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17