“Foolish” Wisdom

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27, ESV).

This verse is on my mind today because a number of things in my life seem “foolish” by worldly standards right now. Hoping against hope to see dreams and promises of God fulfilled despite no visible sign that they will ever become reality – no doubt, no back-up plan, just belief and trust. Feeling I should stay silent in a situation where everything in me wants to speak up. Raising money to publish a book that may not sell many copies, and perhaps even choosing a more expensive publishing package than others that are available because I feel like God is directing me that way. Even writing a book about discovering and walking in our God-given identity and purpose seemed foolish because I still struggle so often with that very idea.

All of these things seem crazy – and maybe even downright foolish! – when I look at them with my own perspective. My own “wisdom” tells me to guard my heart and be realistic with my hopes and dreams, to speak up and fight for a valued relationship, and to find the cheapest option available for everything to ensure I’m stewarding my resources well. I suppose that’s the reason God made sure that Proverbs 3:5-6 was included in the scriptures:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (ESV).

I don’t understand God’s thought process. I don’t know exactly how any of these situations will work out. I don’t have a clue why He is leading in the way He is. My job isn’t to understand; it is to hear His voice, trust, and obey. As I seek first His Kingdom and do what I believe He is asking me to do, He will take care of the things that I can’t change or even understand.

Do you have areas in your life where God is asking you to take a step that seems foolish to you and all of those around you? Are you holding back your obedience until you understand His reasoning for such a request? Are the voices around you telling you there must be another way?

Today is a good day to choose God’s kind of foolishness. Decide today that no matter what anyone else thinks, or even what you think, you will take a step of faith. Let’s allow God to use our “foolishness” to show His wisdom today, even when we don’t understand yet!

The Pain of Being Still

I’ve had a difficult time writing today. Not because I have nothing to say. (I’m pretty sure that is a rare occurrence for me!) The problem has been my inability to be still.

 I have done something to my back, and for the last couple of days, sitting still has been nearly impossible. As long as I’m up and moving around, the pain radiating from my lower back into my legs is manageable. When I have tried to sit or lie down for any length of time, the discomfort has grown to the point that I physically cannot stay still.

Thankfully, the pain is easing slightly this afternoon, and I am able to sit down and put some words on the screen.

As I thought today about what I might write when I was able, I began to think of other times in my life when I have experienced a different kind of discomfort in being still. There have been so many times when I occupied my mind with anything and everything I could find or kept myself busy in any way I could think up to avoid being still with my thoughts.

 Have you ever been afraid to be alone with your thoughts? Have you experienced the discomfort of being still?

Typically when I experience that discomfort, it is because there is some thought or feeling I need to face. I keep my mind busy with television or music or Facebook or sometimes more productive tasks – anything I can find to avoid facing the issues I don’t want to deal with. I find it interesting (and often annoying) that God rarely lets me get away with avoiding the issues for very long. I’ve lost count of the TV shows which He has used to speak to me about the very things I’ve immersed myself in the show to avoid!

The thing is, I know that the sooner I allow God to bring things to light and speak His truth in the midst of the pain, the sooner I can be free to run with Him again. The world tells us that staying busy is the way to be productive, but I have found that in these times when I’m staying busy for the sake of busyness, the most productive thing I can do is to be still and let Him remind me that He is God in my circumstances.

And now, friends, as I get up and pace my flat and do some stretches to find relief, I invite you to be still and see if there is discomfort or pain for which you need some relief. If you find yourself unable to be still, I encourage to ask God for His help to face the cause and let Him bring healing and peace.

Five Year Plan?

Have you ever made a five-year plan? I have been asked on a number of occasions where I see myself in five years, and I always marvel at the people who are able to answer that question with more than a mumbled, “I’ve no idea…”

There are days when I wish I had some idea of what my life will look like five months from now; other days even five weeks seems like a stretch! I have spent much of the last fifteen years of my life (since graduating college) with only a vague idea of where life might take me beyond the next three or six months. Sometimes I have reached the end of that three or six month commitment with no clue of what I was going to do next.

In recent months, I have grown to like the idea of a five-year plan more and more. I still love adventure, but I’ve begun to long for a more settled kind of adventure. Maybe it’s because I’m inching closer to the latter half of my thirties, but I would love to have a more definite idea of what God has in store in the days to come.

I know some big picture ideas of what I believe God has spoken to me about my future. Those ideas include music, writing, marriage, and discipleship among others. The trouble is, some of those have been a part of my ‘five year plan’ for nearly a decade and a half. One or two of them have already been a part of my life, and I pray they continue to be. Some seem to be on the verge of breakthrough into new levels, and others seem no closer than they were fifteen years ago…

The thing about this idea of the five-year plan is that it makes it a challenge at times to live day-to-day. There is a tension in me as I begin a season of prayer over the next month specifically for God’s direction on some of these big picture things He’s put in my heart. On one hand, I would love to know where the next few years, (or even the next year!) will take me, and I hope that this next month will present new open doors and opportunities to move forward into more of what He has in store for me.

On the other hand, I find it so easy to get focused on the big picture and how the future might be, that it’s difficult to commit to things for today (or a few weeks from now). As these big things hover just at the edge of breakthrough, it is easy to put off making decisions or doing things today because “what if ___________ happens tomorrow?”

 I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. I’m not even guaranteed tomorrow. So, as I embark on a time of more focused prayer, I want to dream about what God has in store for the future, but I don’t want to focus so much on then that I miss out on now. May God help all of us to find the balance between dreaming and doing.

God’s Handiwork

This gallery contains 16 photos.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I thought for today’s post I’d share some photos from outings I’ve taken with friends during the last eight weeks. One thing struck me as I was going through the photos: The God who spoke all of nature into existence, took time to form each of us by hand […]

Cease Striving…

I’m a day late with this post… I started to write a number of times yesterday, and the attempts covered four very diverse topics. As you can tell, none of them made it very far because nothing was posted. I fretted off and on throughout the day about being late with a post, and by the time I had to leave for a meeting, the page was once again blank.  

I had planned to try and get something written when I got home at nearly 11:00pm, but my brain was still swirling with too many potential topics and the happenings of the evening. It was after 12:00 when I gave up on the idea of getting something written before I went to bed. For the first time in months, I would just have to be late to post.

Last night, during the meeting, I started to think about one of my favorite verses in the Bible: Psalm 46:10. Many translations start the verse with, “Be still and know that I am God.”

It may seem crazy to say after calling that one of my favorite verses, but honestly, I don’t really like that. Maybe it’s just me, but I find those words an easy excuse to sit and do nothing while waiting for God to show up and do His thing. “Be still” paints a picture in my head of just sitting and twiddling my thumbs, but I am fairly certain that isn’t at all what is meant to be communicated by this verse.

In the NASB, the verse reads, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” That paints a completely different sort of picture in my head. It is not an excuse to sit idly by and wait on God to move. It speaks to my heart an invitation to be a part of what God is doing, and to do my work in His strength. Striving comes from trying to do things in our own strength, trying to control things ourselves instead of allowing Him to be God in our circumstances.

The other thing I love about Psalm 46:10, is that God WILL be glorified in the nations and on the earth. That is a certainty that doesn’t depend on my abilities or zeal. We are invited to be a part of seeing that happen, but it is as we “cease striving” and allow Him to work through us that His name is lifted high!

I was striving to write yesterday, and I got nowhere. Instead of settling my mind and asking Him to speak through me, I was determined to get words on the screen and fulfill my self-imposed duty to post on time. 

What are you striving to accomplish today? Maybe you need to stop and let Him guide you and empower you for the task ahead.