Thursday, September 29, 2016

Topics we Don't Often Discuss

There are things in life that we don't often discuss with others. Topics that we just don't see as being something we talk about with others.

I've realized recently that when you're single, the list of these topics seems to be longer. Most decisions you make as a single person, only have input from others if you intentionally ask for it, as there is no one else living in the direct results of those decisions. And it's easy to get in the habit of just making them yourself.

I experienced this recently in picking a topic for a Bible study. I can't say what the rest of the group thought, but I know I was quite indifferent to the topic. I wasn't opposed to it, but it didn't really catch my interest either.

It took me a while to figure out why. It was a topic that I don't generally talk about with others. My decisions in this area have little to no impact on other people and its been that way for almost 10 years. As a single person, I've just made the decisions as best I can in line with God's Word and moved on. So, the idea of studying it and discussing it with a group just didn't connect and seemed a bit strange to me.

But, I've also realized that this can easily become a dangerous thing. If there's an area of life that's always kept completely private from other people, it becomes an area where the enemy can easily get us off track. We have no one challenging us on it and helping us see when we're getting off track.

There are other areas where I've been far more intentional about building in accountability and community. But this was an area where I'd never before considered the need for it and that's probably more dangerous than anything.

No matter our life circumstances, we weren't made to walk the Christian life alone. We need each other. And in same areas, especially those we don't normally talk about, we need to be intentional about creating that community where we can talk about them.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

God's Love & Care for Us

I've often wrestled with the question of why God cares so much about my life. I mean, in all of history and all that is yet to come, it can seem a little strange to think that I'm important enough for God to care about the details of my life.

But Scripture makes it pretty clear. Psalm 139 tells us that God knows our thoughts and our words before we speak them. And that there is no where we can escape from His presence. Matthew 6:25-34 tells us that we have no need to worry because God will look after our needs if we're seeking Him.

When I reflect on Scriptures like these, and many others, I'm often overwhelmed by the truth of it. It changes everything. My worth doesn't come from doing significant things for God, it comes from seeking Him.

God knows me.
Sees me.
Loves me.
Cares about what's going on in my life.
That changes everything for me.

It's worth reflecting on for each of our lives.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

When you Don't Know what to Write

What happens when you don't know what to write?

That's the question I've been pondering for the last few weeks as I've slowly run out of things I've written to share here. I usually write a few weeks ahead of when I'm actually going to post something. It takes the pressure off if a week is suddenly really busy and I don't have time to write. It also gives me time to make sure my writing is clear. But, these last few weeks I've watched as the things I have ready to post have gone up and haven't replaced with more writing.

Every time I've sat down to write lately, one of two things has happened: I've either drawn a blank on anything I could write about - and just stared at a blank page for a long time. Or, what I've written is far more personal than is appropriate to share here. That's led me to my current dilemma . . .

What happens when you don't know what to write?

. . . especially when you feel called to write . . .

. . . especially when you usually can't stop yourself from writing . . .

Maybe the question is more accurately, what happens when you have a blog that you feel like God has called you to use and you don't know what to write?

I've started to wonder if writing has seasons of sort. When I look at my post history, I can see times when I wrote lots and times when I wrote very little. Maybe there are seasons to writing, just like there are to life.

Truth be told, I'm starting to wonder if the season of writing line up with the seasons of life in a way. Some seasons of life it's easier to write about for others to read than it is for others. Not that you're learning more in one season or another, but sometimes there's not the same freedom to share those lessons in some seasons - at least not yet.

So, what do you do when you have a blog and you don't know what to write?

Any person who has used any online platform will tell you that if you don't keep adding new content you'll lose what ever audience you have for your content. But, that's never been my motivation for posting anything here. I'll be honest, seeing the number of page views and comments on  my post is nice, but if I was doing this for that reason, I would have quit a long time ago.

When I started this blog, I didn't see myself as a writer. I was the one in school who struggled with English classes, and got easily frustrated with writing assignments.

I started this blog because I felt like God was telling me I was supposed to. I wasn't sure why, and I wasn't sure anyone would read it. But, as I did, I realized God was showing me something He had put in me that I wasn't aware of, and I needed to be using it for His glory. That's always been my goal, and I know I haven't always done it well.

And now, I have no idea what to write, but I don't feel released from this yet. I don't what it means, or what the future of this, seemingly small, part of my life looks like. All I have is questions about this right now. And that's okay. I'm continually learning that obeying God in the little and the big things is about trusting Him with the details when I don't have any idea.

Back to my question: What do you do when you have a blog that you feel like God has called you to use and you don't know what to write?

I guess the answer is to give it back to God. To let Him have the control again.To trust Him.

We learn to do this with those things in life that seem small, because then we're ready to trust Him with the big things when He asks us to.

Thursday, September 1, 2016


I've been preparing for a study I'm leading at my church this fall. The session I just finished watching the teaching on was about our need for people. How we need people in our lives, and we need to commit to them and fight for those relationships.

It's a topic I've written a lot about over the years I've had this blog. It's such an important thing in our lives as believers. It took me back to some of the early posts I wrote - specifically a post I wrote about community in November 2007. As I re-read it tonight, I was struck by the thoughts I wrote then.

Today is a re-post of an old one, but one that I think is incredibly important.

Honestly, I think that the only way we can begin to remove that masks that we so often wear is to begin with small groups of people - whether this is a group of close friends, a Bible study group, an accountability group, or whatever. We need to have those groups of people in our lives who we can go to and be honest with . . . and who will be honest with us as well. Without these kind of people in our lives, what hope do we really have of moving beyond the "image management" that we have gotten caught up in? I honestly don't believe we have much . . . not that I want to be depressing, but I think it's true.

I know for myself, I've grown up in the church and often believed that what other people thought was important. So, the morning getting ready for church could have everything go completely wrong, but the moment we turned into the parking lot . . . smiles on everyone's faces and the answer to how things were going was "great" . . . even if that wasn't the truth. Not exactly honest . . . but I've talked to others who had the same experience growing up.

But, I've also experienced the opposite . . . I had the privilege of living with some incredible girls for the two years that I was at Bible college. And I saw how . . . at least most of the time . . . to move beyond this "image management" metality. First of all, when you have 40 girls, two to a room, with one big bathroom at the end of the hall you see more and hear more about people just due to the living situation. But, I also never knew one of them to ask how you were doing and allow the answer to just be "fine" or "good" or "ok". The standard answers were not enough . . . and usually the questions asked were more specific than just asking "how's it going?" as you passed someone.

That was a learning experience for me . . . but it was good!

I think we need to start having those people in our lives who will ask us how we are and want a real answer. I think we need to start having people in our lives who we give permission to for them to ask us the hard questions. I think we need to start having people in our lives who are not afraid to say something when we're headed for trouble.

And if this is going to happen, we have to be these kind of people for others in our lives as well. We need to be willing to speak up when we're concerned about a friend or ask the tough questions. This isn't a one way thing . . . it has to go both ways.

Right now, we each need to find people who we can be completely honest with in our lives.

Who is this in your life?

If there isn't anyone who you could trust in this way, what is the next thing you can do to move towards having these kind of people in your life?

I asked myself these questions recently. I count myself lucky to be able to say that I do have people who ask me the tough questions or speak up when I'm headed for trouble in my life now. But, I haven't always . . . because it takes a risk to do this . . . to trust some people enough to be this open and honest with them. But the rewards of doing so are huge . . . and far outwiegh the benefits.

So, I challenge you . . . find these people in your life and develop these kinds of relationships. They won't happen overnight . . . so get started! Or if you have these people in your life already . . . continue to develop those relationships.