Sméagol’s Dilemma

Remember Sméagol from The Lord of the Rings trilogy?

He had that special ring that gave him great power, but in return for that power he invited Gollum into his life, an evil presence reeking havoc upon Sméagol’s soul. *Spoiler alert* His addiction to the ring ended up destroying him.

It’s easy to look at this poor, sad creature and write him off a pure fantasy, but the truth of the matter is we all have our rings, things that made us feel empowered or important, helped us survive, but in the end will end up destroying us.

Be mindful of these things. Each person has a different one. Often you can find it when it is taken away, so be mindful and aware. We are called to live an abundant life in Christ. Beware the roadblocks and thrive!

Jonah 4

You may or may not be familiar with the life of Jonah.

Jonah was a prophet way back when. God tells him to go to a place to Ninevah to preach to the people there, that they would stop doing all the bad stuff they were doing and instead do good. Jonah receives his mission and runs away, taking the soonest ship to the furthest town. En route, he hits a storm and, in a moment of conviction, asks the crew to throw him overboard. Not knowing what else to do, they do just that. Jonah is swallowed by the sea creature a la Pinocchio and spends three days in the belly of the beast. At that point, he has a change of heart, asks God for a hand out, and God does just that. The creature spits him out and he high-tails it over to Ninevah to ask them also to turn their lives around. In no short time, they do.

And all ends happily ever after, right? I wish. No. Many retellings of Jonah’s life end there, but his life extends to another chapter. In this chapter, he is sitting on a hill looking over the just-saved city of Ninevah, hoping that God will change His mind and blow it up. “Please, Lord, isn’t this what I thought while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and one who relents from sending disaster. And now, Lord, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live,” says the prophet. Despite all that Jonah has been through, he still wants the Ninevites to die and for God to take him with them.

Fortunately, God doesn’t grant Jonah’s request. Instead, he lets Jonah sit in the hot sun for a good, long while until Jonah is about to faint. Then, He grows up a plant to cover Jonah’s head. Jonah loves his plant because the comfort it provides him. God allows him a moment of solace than kills the plant.

Jonah flips out. When God asks him if his anger is justified, Jonah is 1200% sure that it is. At this, God asks a follow-up question, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in the night and perished in the night. But may I not care about the great city of Ninevah, which has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?” With that, God drops the mic and Jonah’s story ends there. We don’t know how he responded. In truth, we don’t need to. This is God’s question to us. We all have plants in our lives, things we put in priority over the people all around us. Are we brave enough to let them go and selfless enough to see the needs of others, even if those needs belong to those we don’t see eye to eye with?

The challenge is simple. God is waiting for the answer. Don’t be a Jonah. Answer the call.

Your Clothes Are Lying to You

Sometimes you’re too tall, then too shot

then too fat too thin

you’re the wrong color the wrong shape

or just the wrong feel

Even the same size even the same cut

will betray you depending on the day

Remember always, you are inherently beautiful

no matter what your clothes say

Tension Check-in

The crown of your head: your connection to Heaven

In between your eyes: all that you think and see

Your throat: what you say and ingest

Your chest: where your lifeblood and passions flow

Your core: balance and breathing

Your lower abdomen: your gut and loins

Your lower back: base of the spine, your connection to the earth

Are any of these out of whack? Where are you twisted and tense? Breathe deep. Relax. Get centered.

It’s the whole body we’re seeking to repair. Like any good vehicle, it only works best when all is in check.

People Are Watching

“I couldn’t do that, people are watching”

It’s exactly because people are watching that we must do it

Do what is light and love and true

For if we do not, if we are silent,

we silence the Holy Spirit inside us

the voice, our Jiminy Cricket,

that instructs on all that is pure and good and holy.

Do it so that people will see,

for their sake and for yours,

a taste of something good