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Posts Tagged ‘character’

So the speaking engagement is done, I had memorized eighteen of twenty-four verses of Psalm 139, and not one rotten tomato was thrown … I would say it was a success.

After it was over, it was …

SO,

SO,

SO

good to get home on Saturday and have the time to write again! I thought I would go crazy for the past two weeks when I simply utilized guest posts and re-posts for this blog.

As I was preparing last week, I happened to hear someone on the radio talk about character, and who we really are … when no one is looking or listening.

DoGood1

In the midst of my preparations the one thing that kept coming back to me was not how well I prepared for that speaking engagement. What matters is how I live when no one is looking. God will speak through my brokenness but how well do I speak through it?

I found it hard to pay attention to the trivia of my preparations, because I was pretty certain that whatever God wanted to be communicated would come through my lips no matter what I did to prepare. But how do I speak through my brokenness? What do I communicate, how do I live when there are no eyes on me?

When there are no eyes on me, except those of my Creator, that is who I really am … from the inside out.

Oh, my daughter went to the store and picked up a great dress for me to wear as I spoke, and she loaned me her denim jacket too. I had showered, done my hair, and make-up. I had prepared fully for what I wanted to say, and had my props. I had even asked my the special people in my life to pray.

But, at the end of the day, God already had all of the details covered.

More than that, He knew the status of my heart … the one place of preparation that mattered the most.

The event was good, and I felt personally good about my part, but what was best about it all was this message that kept me in check … that it is who I am, and what I do, when nobody is looking that is of more value to God than what I say and do in front of a crowd.

“Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24

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When I grow up I want to be a ….

That question always flashes me to my mother singing that famous song by Doris Day;
“Que Sera, Sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be”

From an early age we ask little ones what they want to be when they grow up. Usually they respond, a fireman, a teacher, a nurse, a policeman, a mommy. As these children grow up and enter school they are exposed to so many more future possibilities; a paleontologist, a librarian, a janitor (all those keys), a doctor, a bee keeper. Then they hit high school, and the possibilities seem endless.

What do I want to be?

Through the years I have wanted to be a mommy, a teacher, a nurse, a special needs assistant, an architect, a doctor, a counselor, and a writer (with a really good editor, who could deal with my poor grammar).

At thirty-nine (with four years experience) I am still asking myself that question. I have had tasks, jobs and titles that have paid the bills and fed my soul. I have worked as a Draftsman, an office assistant, a residential care aide, and an educational assistant.

As our kids are becoming older, I find myself asking that question now again, with the same unknowing vision of the future.

My most favorite jobs so far have been stay-at-home mom, (approaching it as a serious job, with no soaps and bon bons for me) and working with students as an Educational Assistant. But, I can see the nest emptying in the next few years, as our kids ‘get a life’ of their own. I also recognize that I have gone as far as I can in my ‘paid’ profession, and wonder if it can sustain me and my undiagnosed ADD for another twenty years or more.

I really do not know what to do, but I know that whatever I will BE is already there.

Who we will be, who we are, has far more to do with our character than our education and skills set. Who we are is a combination of our strengths and weaknesses, past accomplishments and failures, our beliefs and how we put them into practice. Who we are is foundational in discovering how to best use the passions and abilities we have within us.

So, now what?

“Whatever will be will be, will be … que Sera, Sera”

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Our North American culture (and probably many other cultures, but I only know this one) aims to eliminate that which results in disorder or flaws, and replace it with … perfection.

I think this all started with erasers, which led to white out, which led to the delete key. From our earliest beginnings we have been trying to deny what is reality in living a life of personal choices … that we are going to make mistakes. And from our first bad choice, in the garden of Eden, we mere humans have been making mistakes, and living with the consequences of them.

Everything within us longs for good predictability, with only good surprises. Good surprises like a bonus on our paycheck, or a storm day resulting in no school, or all of our kids being out of the house at the same time, or all of our kids being home at the same time … time of life changes what defines good surprises for us …

And that is true too, that our phase of life, changes our perspectives on what is a good surprise, or a good interruption. Our phase of life also changes how we see perfection. When we look at a newborn we delight in their chubby legs, but when we look at our adult cellulite (and lets face it, at a certain age, it is a given, heck, even JLo has cellulite … but, I digress, again) we shudder. When we are dating we look at our significant other as flawless perfection, yet only a few years (okay, days) into the marriage, we start to pick their flaws out.

So, is there perfection? Is it possible for perfection for one to be perfection for another? Maybe, just maybe, what we see as perfection is simply the reality that perfection is in the eyes of the beholder?

When we start to recognize the lessons of disorder and imperfections, then we start to learn how to live. Also, if, we could eliminate the imperfect from our lives, what might we miss out on?

Without touching that hot stove, as a child, we might not have learned the need to prevent burns, nor might we have learned that our mother’s try to protect us from harm.

Without the experience of failing a test at school, we might not have learned that studying helps us to succeed in school.

Without the experience of having problems with those most near to us, we would not have had the opportunity to work through the problems, towards more healthy, prosperous relationships.

Sometimes what we planned just does not go as we had thought it would. When that happens we can be left with such discouragement. We long for the normal, the amazing. But, life often substitutes unsweetened tea for sweet tea, and we feel as though our thirst for our dreams will never be quenched.

One of the things I love about being the wife of a pastor, is that I attend more than the average number of weddings, funerals and anniversaries of fifty years and more. On the one hand I get to attend the weddings of people who still have every dream and hope of amazing, flawless marital bliss. On the other I get to attend the significant anniversaries of couples who know what it is to keep on going, even when the amazing is substituted for boring or just getting by, flawless is substituted for bad noises and bad smells, and marital bliss is replaced with disappointments, sorrows and struggles.

Then, to culminate my experiences of weddings and anniversaries, are the funerals. When I sit at a funeral or memorial of person who has lived a long life. I read the life story of the deceased, or see a slide show of their life, and it is then, in the mundane of real life, real commitments, real work that I see real perfection. Not the visually, outward perfection that our society tells us to strive for, but inward, character rich perfection of a life well lived, with and for those around them.

THAT is the perfection that I want to strive for … and I will do so rather than occupying my time pondering cellulite, wrinkles and age spots.

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