Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Loving God: Good, Better, Best?

My small group recently finished a study called Morph, produced by my church. There are four modules, and we did the first one, called Love God. (If you click on the Morph link, you can create and account, view the content, and even print it for yourself.) I'm also reading Francis Chan's Crazy Love, which is life-changing if you're willing to allow it to be. And I'm trying.

After a pretty intense 8-week study, I had a sort of idea of how I was supposed to love God. And there are some people in my church who seem to do it pretty well. One friend, Karin, is one of those people who is LOUD in her love for God. She dances, she "AMEN"s in church, she writes of her passionate love for God on her blog.

Last night I was reading a chapter in Chan's book about people whose love for God outshines anything else in their lives. These are some crazy life stories. I asked God last night: why don't I love you like that, with that passion, that intensity, that fire? Help me love you more completely, God! Bring it on!

I got kind of a weird answer. Seems I'm not my friend Karin, and I'm not those other people either. I'm not wired like them; I'm wired just like me. My love may show in different ways. I'm not sure how that works yet, but I'm working on it.

While I was praying last night, and doing my best to listen to God instead of doing the babblebabblebabble that I'm usually guilty of, I heard Him... I heard Him tell me what I told you above. And then I heard a slightly different "voice," similar but different, that I knew wasn't God the Father. Somehow I realized instantly that this was the voice of Jesus. He told me that living with His love unleashed in my life doesn't tie me down; it unfetters me. It FREES me. I had this mental picture of shackles -- cuffs -- falling off my wrists and ankles. Then I remembered a well-known verse: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" (Phil. 4:13)

The next morning, when I woke up, I read the next chapter of Chan's book. In it he says that "our talk doesn't match our lives. We say things like, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,' and 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart.'" Um, W O W. Someone trying to get my attention?

There is power in these statements, in these promises, and we leave it lying there. We don't trust in God. We don't know that we can do all things, so we don't go into areas that require any more than our own puny strength.

I have one life. One. One life on this earth, and it's short. I don't want to settle. I don't want to forget the power that I've been freely given, the power that Jesus died and rose again to bestow on me.

God, please don't let me forget again.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (All of Them)

This post is shamelessly stolen from Vince's blog since I don't have an original bone in my body and I'm not ashamed to admit it. And I like maps and find it interesting to see where other people have been.

So here's where I've been:

visited 16 states (32%)

I've driven from Texas to California by both the northern and southern routes, thus filling in all those states, and I've driven to Illinois and Florida as well. I've flown to Hawaii and New York for fabulous vacations.

Unfortunately, the rest of the US remains untouched. I hope to make it to Alaska on a cruise next year with my fun aunt who's celebrating a significant birthday. I guess the rest of the country will have to wait.

What am I missing that I must see? Where have you been? Create your own map, post it and tell me -- or just post a comment telling me how many states you've been to.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What I Love: Today and Always

After a too-long blogging hiatus -- come on, we're all busy, but really? there's nothing to say? And yet I can carry on a conversation with a friend for two hours -- what do I come back with?

Well, with love, of course.

What do you love most? What do you love best about today? And what do you love best about your life in general?

I was thinking about this last night, but yesterday was just too busy a day to write a thoughtful post like that starting at 11pm, so any readers I have left (hi, Daddy!) had to wait one more day.

I'm sure you felt my absence for that one more day.

Without further rambling, here's what I love best about today:
  • It's raining. We've had a lot of rain lately, but as hot and dry as the summer was, I'm gonna love the rain for a long time.
  • I got to go to lunch with a co-worker and two customers, all of whom I consider friends. Some days my job is pretty amazing.
  • Tonight I get to meet with my small group, which is a great bunch of people that I get to love on and learn about God with. Some of them are folks I haven't known very long, but I really enjoy them.
  • Before small group, I'll be cleaning up my house. I love it when my house is clean. (I don't so much love the process, but the product is fantastic!)
  • Small group ends early enough that I'll have a little "me" time. What will I do? Will I make some beads on the torch? Read? Catch up with some Mythbusters on the DVR with my teenager? Do some beading? I don't know, but having an hour or two that I can do whatever I want makes me very happy.
And here's what I love best about my life:
  • My family. I have a husband who truly couldn't love me any more. I have two sons who couldn't be more different than each other -- and who are both amazing in their own unique ways. My dad calls himself a curmudgeon, which is true, but there's no curmudgeon I'd rather spend time with: he's as fun and funny and charming as he ever was. My sister, as different from me as my sons are from each other, is one of my best friends, and her hubby and kids are fantastic. My in-laws are wonderful. Even my crazy extended family, all 173,897 of them -- they're a lot of fun. That's a lot of stuff for my first bullet point, enough for a whole post!
  • Some of the silly material things that I enjoy: my house, my car, my cell phone (my first smart phone, and oh my gosh, how did I ever live without one?). Sure, I could do without any of them, and I have. But I'm thankful for them, just the same.
  • My health. In the last few days I've heard a lot of stuff about people that aren't healthy. A friend's mom is being treated for cancer. Austin's iconic homeless cross-dresser Leslie is hospitalized with a head injury. A four-year-old girl in Uganda needs treatment for a seizure disorder. I mean, sure, I have migraines and rosacea, but in the big picture? No big deal.
  • My friends. I have some really amazing friends. I've had seasons of life without close friends, so I try not to take them for granted.
  • And, of course, I love God, who I consider to be the source of everything listed above, plus the other dozens of things I didn't list. I don't love Him as well as I should, but I'm trying to do better.
What about you? What are you thankful for? What are you loving about your life, today and in general?