Strength is a Process

There’s a rumor going around. It’s the “get (fill the blank) quick” ghost. It sounds great. Eat this thing for a week, chant this mantra, do this exercise, and *bang* you’re healed.

Yes, maybe over time it will make a difference. And yes, sometimes there are stories of instant success. But for the most part it takes a while.

Think about growing up. It takes time to walk and talk and chew your food and pretty much everything else. You may skip a step, but it still takes time.

This goes the same for strength building of any kind. People say it’s a no-brainer. Do this thing, change this factor, and everything will just work out. I say, it takes time.

You want to get to point B, even Z. You have to start with A. You start with nothing. You’re broken and you’re scared. Then it’s on to damage control, picking up pieces and seeing if the ground will hold me. Then, once things begin to get okay, you start to get comfortable. When you start getting comfortable, then you can start taking risks, because there is the notion that there is some semblance of net to catch you if you fall. It’s not a chronological process. You’ll go back and forth all the time. Maybe you’ll skip lots of steps and then something happens and you’ll sail back even behind where you started. It happens. Trust the process. Keep going.

Allow others the same grace. Oftentimes, we forget how far we’ve come and how long it took us to get here. To us, it’s overnight. But remember that it wasn’t. Be gracious and encouraging. Let others know your story. A realistic view of life helps more than you know.

Together, we can build a stronger, more beautiful world, except you gotta be in it for the long haul to make it happen.

 

Cupcakes in the Void

I teach youth on Sunday mornings. Great kids, but some can be a little bit like raptors at times. Allow me to explain.

There is a great scene in Jurassic Park where John Hammond reveals that the raptors routinely test the fences to see if there are any flaws in it, weaknesses through which they can escape and reek havoc.

We’re all a bit like that times. We habitually test the waters, seeing what we can get away with and for how long. We’ll keep tossing cupcakes into the void just to find out what sticks.

With that in mind, there comes a time where we as instructors need to put our foot down and say, “woah.” Otherwise, a student may walk right over us – or others. When that happens, not only will the lesson go by the wayside, but other students’ experience of it may be lessened as well.

We must keep our hearts and eyes open, allowing detours when needed and providing guidance when required. We, as instructors, are always learning ourselves. That’s how everyone grows.

Truth and Judgement

I am a child of light

but it’s so easy to be tempted into the dark.

In the dark there is judgement and fear,

in the light there is hope and joy.

Why do I stray?

I stray because I am human.

Yet, Jesus, who is divine,

always beckons me back.

Sometimes I fear God,

but He always welcomes me.

He must speak truth now and again,

cutting out what is evil,

but He always replaces it with good.

In darkness,

all there is is spoiled food,

appealing but rotten.

I rejoice in the Holy Banquet of the Divine,

it tastes as wonderful as it smells.

Every time I find myself starving,

He calls dinnertime.

How fast I run to His bosom,

into His outstretched arms.

I am His child, forever and always.

 

Absolution

What a wonderful word!

The idea of our past mistakes being forgiven absolutely.

Are there still consequences for our actions? You bet.

But now we are not stuck in the past,

having instead been given a new way truth and life in which we can walk,

a future of promise.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you.

Plans to give you hope and a future.”

-Jeremiah 29:11

Kicking Against the Goads

Saul was struck by light
on the way to Damascas.

“Saul, why do you kick
against the goads?” said our LORD.

It was at that moment that Saul realized
He had been worshipping God wrongly,
when only moments before he believed he
was serving Him right.

God needs to do that now and again:
show up in a beam of light,
pointing out where we have strayed.

Otherwise we grope about in the dark,
pretending it to have it all together
but really falling apart at the seams.

God does not want that. Not at all.
“Go to the house of Simon the tanner and be healed,”
he says.
Not once, but forever.
This is our God,
gracious, forgiving, just and good.

Drinking Dobrá with Jeremy

We sit in the tea shop. Jeremy reflects on his mission trip and the vacation that followed.

“It’s funny,” he said, “when I went to Kentucky, I wondered what I would do there, and they told me ‘just be.’ When I went to Hawaii, I was searching for a feeling, and missed all the wonderful things I did.”

Life isn’t one thing or the other. Every situation calls for a different response. The trick is to listen, to be present, and let God instruct us on the specific way we should go.