The Show

photo (10)

“Character refers to who you are.  Reputation refers to who people think you are.”

~Emily P. Freeman

So often we move and act, aware of the eyes that seek us out  . . . convinced that the eyes are ever present . . . “Girl, somebody is always watching . . . .”  We overact or prepare to perform without even knowing for sure if the audience is present and attentive.  This hyper awareness has the potential to have us spending money that we don’t have to impress people we don’t know.  It can have us posting to blogs and social media sites our every move, especially the really triumphant ones, executive producers of commercials and vignettes about the great lives we live.  So often this awareness makes us sensitive to the people we encounter daily, devoted family and adoring friends but it mutes and blurries the sovereign God and the conviction of His Holy Spirit.  The presence of people, our busy world, its persistent distractions–both beautiful and destructive–have a way of confusing what’s most important and therefore making us actors on the world’s stage.  At the end of the week, we look back and wonder at some of our decisions . . . or we fight our way through the week, each day a struggle like Rocky Balboa pulling that huge, heavy truck uphill, knee deep in snow, because the temptation brought on by the curtain call beckons us daily, and to keep focus, to keep true is harder than we realize.  Those of us who are most caught up in the performance have made it to Broadway.   People expect a version of ourselves that is not true.  They can calculate what we’ll do next and they know where to expect us.  Not because we are so predictable as much as it is because we have done such a good job at showing ourselves, making ourselves known.  At the end of a life, these people look back and wonder, “What was it all for?  Where has it all gone?”  Being careful to develop your character according to the Father by the instructions given in His word can produce similar results (as it pertains to a sort of predictability), but the actions are Christ-driven, the purpose is Christ-centered and reward is so much greater.  Living character-conscious takes care of reputation.  You don’t have to throw yourself in front of the spotlight . . .somehow it finds its way to you, like gravity . . . like the wind, they obey their laws and everything else flows naturally to its sway.

I received an Emmy for my role in the show.  Actually, I have a wall full.  No condemnation if you were my co-star.  Let’s pray for each other today, that we would look to the Master Director for our roles and lines.  Love and grace, Frans. xxoo

Advertisements

Oh, Kanye!

“For me to say I wasn’t a genius, I would be lying to you and to myself.”

~straight faced Kanye West

kanye west

Ok.  So there is MUCH I could say about Kanye West.  The one thing I don’t want to come from this post is for people to think that I am supporting him and encouraging people to go out and buy his albums.  My first allegiance is to Jesus Christ and I try to live in a way that reflects such.  For me to encourage people to buy a Kanye West album would confuse what I believe and who and what I stand for.  That being said, as troubled, mixed up and confused as he is, the guy ain’t all bad.  He makes some good points.  Sometimes.  Like in his recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel.

So, I first heard about the interview in a conversation between the ladies of The View last week.  The table was split with differing opinions around the portion of the interview from which the above quote was taken.  Some of the women felt that it was appropriate for West to tout and give himself props and respect for his talent, skill and vast array of contributions.  Others felt that it was too much and that in general it’s better to let others tell you how great you are rather than tell the world about your greatness.  There’s a strong argument for either side but, for this one (JUST this one), I’m going with Kanye. . . kind of.

I thought of many things regarding Kanye’s comments after I took a few minutes to gather myself from laughing so hard at him.  Not that I thought he was joking, but the contrary.  The sincerity and seriousness in his delivery incited an uproar of laughter.  It was just that good to me.  Who says of themselves that they are genius?  In fact, most of my life I was encouraged to do the complete opposite and it (with suitable accomplices) produced a girl who struggled with low self esteem, low self concept, masquerading with false humility and an inability to appropriately accept a compliment.  So where I start to lean toward Kanye’s perspective is slight, but enough to say it’s okay to say you’re great . . .so long as you know why and how.

For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. ~Romans 12:3 (AMP)

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.   ~2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV)

It is no more right to walk around pretending to have low to mediocre talent when you know you exemplify excellence an area than it is to walk around replaying your own commercial on your greatness.  So many of us, present company included, need to be convinced, repeatedly, of the ways that God has gifted us thereby delaying our participation in His plans for us, and stubbing our effectiveness in being salt and light wherever He has placed us on the earth.  Kanye was on to something but, dear one that he is, until he comes to know, truly know Christ, he’ll only and always be great in his own eyes (as well as a devoted family and a few wool-eyed, adoring fans) and will be unlikely to cease his work of convincing other people of it.

When you know that you are great because you have believed and received Christ’s great sacrifice and walk in the ways that He has especially and specifically called and gifted you for His purposes there are certain benefits.  Namely, you don’t suffer from identity crisis– you know who you are and whose you are.  The chances of you identifying yourself by anything other than who God says you are, are slim.  Should satan grab hold of your mind and cause you to question, you reach for your manual (the Bible) for reminders.  You greet each day in light of your calling and you surrender your purposes to His will for your life.  You stand up a little straighter and you dare not compare yourself to others because you realize that you have your own work to do.  As provocative as it may be to hear Kanye call himself a genius, believers in Christ are tied to greatness in an unshakable way and we don’t have to shout it out.  But when He reveals His glory to us time and time again, we seem to do that anyway because we come to understand that our greatness is but a mere, faint shadow of the power source enabling us to show up everyday.

I’ve posted the last part of the interview here.  Watch it if you’d like but, save a psych eval from an unprofessional, after watching it I have compassionately added him to my prayer list as I sincerely feel for him.  I posted it because as Kanye was talking about what his mother told him to believe, I could only think about my relationship with Christ and what my heavenly Father, through His word, has told me to believe.  Can’t go wrong with that.  #tryJesus

Photo Credit:  http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/06/20/kanye-wests-yeezus

His

All my fears and inhibitions fade away when I recognize . . .

. . .that I am His . . .

. . .my identity is in Christ . . .

. . .who I really am is in Christ . . .

. . .everything I need is in Christ . . .

. . .Christ is my source. . .

. . .Christ is my self-esteem . . .

. . .He is BIG in me!!!!

Hallelujah!  You are BIG in me!!!!

…… lying with the quiet calm that comes with the end of a day.  It’s rather late, so perhaps you won’t read this until morning but my mind is swirling and looping with all of the events, conversations, people and responsibilities that filled my Monday.  However the thought that keeps circling back to the front of my mind is my identity in Christ.

I can sense my savior’s urgent message for me to identify myself by no other standard than by the word of God.  And I believe He wants that for you as well.

I was sharing with the ladies in bible study tonight that for so much of my life I have been running from being labeled a statistic, running from my past, past mistakes made and poor choices executed, doing my best to define and position myself so that I can control how people see me and therefore what they think of me.  I have been able to accomplish and have some good things in my time but they became the standard by which I identified myself.  If I were to list even a couple of these things it would only be perpetuating the very thing that the Lord is trying to get me to pull away from: identifying myself by the standards of this world.  I am nothing more and nothing less than what the word of God says that I am.  I draw my strength, my value and my identity directly from the heart and mind of the almighty God.  

Now, how does that sit with you?  Does finding your identity in Christ and not in the pieces of the American Dream you currently do or don’t possess scare you?  If you lost absolutely everything you have today, perhaps your own version of a Job experience, would you have any clue about who you are?  Take heart.  He wants us to know the truth about ourselves.  As I explore His word to find myself, I am taking refuge in the fact that I am completely His and I’m putting this on repeat:

Tonight I Tripped Over a Barbie Doll

It was pitch black dark in the den.  After a long day, tired and frustrated I was making my way down to the breakfast room for some sense to be talked into me.  For some words of prayer to be spoken over me.  And there she was.  Just a smiling.  All sprawled out on the hardwood floor like that’s where she belonged.  Like I was in her way.  Of course because it was dark, I got a little nervous about what exactly was lying on the floor that sent my feet into an impromptu jig that could have rendered my body bruised and scratched tonight.

Then I realized it was her.  And a funny thing happened.

I didn’t get mad.  I didn’t think about how she got left there or who it was that should have picked her up.  I fought the temptation to use that as a time to run that movie in my mind where I play the thankless mom who cleans up after the girls and cares for the huni and am often overlooked.  Because it’s a reality show that plays on repeat in my head most days.

But not tonight.

My immediate thought was gratitude and thankfulness.  I smiled at that ole barbie.  Because I thought about my little girls and the great joy that they bring me everyday.  I thought about how much fun I have playing with them and how much happiness I receive when they are happy.  And let me tell you, after a day like today when we run out of time for afternoon naps and have to endure each other in our sleepiest, crankiest of states, these were gooooood thoughts to dwell on.  And a sure blessing from God and a sign of His growing me that these were among the first thoughts to spring into my psyche.

This job of being mom and wife is hard.  And everyday carries with it a new challenge, a new opportunity for me to get over myself and enjoy this life I have been given, to see my children and husband as gifts, not burdens and to realize that I am so blessed to have this family of mine.  On the sunny days and the rainy ones.  While the babies are napping and when they’re running off of remnants of last night’s sleep.  Oh, Pamela.  That you would count it all joy.

Tonight I tripped over a barbie doll and instead of wanting to throw her out of the nearest window, I smiled, placed her in her “bed,” and thanked God for the little girls who clamor to play with her each day.

Rock on all you wives and mamas out there.  You are never overlooked.  He longs to be gracious to you and He always sees you.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

Joining the Sunday Community

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)10 and find out what pleases the Lord.

11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible,14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  ~Ephesians 5: 8-20

Linked up with the Sunday Community today over at Jumping Tandem for a Sunday of encouragement through the word of God.  Check it out.

Wednesdays with Beth: Filled to the Measure

It’s Wednesday so that means we get to tune in to Life Today and hear what the Lord is speaking to us through Mrs. Beth Moore.  If you watch the program regularly and have done so for a time, you may have already seen this one before.  I have seen this one and the story she tells in it has been referenced by others who have seen it.  But this video still came right on time for me.

God’s sovereignty and providence is sure.

I had an experience just last week that just seemed so weird but, in the moment, I was so sure that I was being prompted by the Holy Spirit to be obedient to the things He was speaking to my heart.  I wrestled with myself and the personal cost of my obedience all the way up until Monday for sure and then finally, I just decided to let it go and trust God to confirm for me if I had indeed heard Him or if I was just a loon.  And with just the seed planted in my mind that I had misheard and was wrong, acting crazy and unable to hear from the Lord, satan had a field day and really put in work to discourage me.  But God is so faithful, Frans!!!  I know that I have some readers who are not Christian and to them all of this talk compels them to think, “No ma’am, you actually are quite loony.”  But something happens when we engage God through His holy spirit, allow His words to abide in us and we respond to the call. . .   We get to participate in the divine.

Check this out:  http://lifetoday.org/video/filled-to-the-measure-3

Been worshiping to this song since we sang it during church service on Sunday.  One of my faves from Hillsong.  Hope it blesses you.

Oh For Shame . . .

I’ve been doing the Esther study written by my Fran, Beth Moore.  ;0) In the week three video session, she says this:

“One of the most important parts of fulfilling your destiny will be your transparency.”

Now, I loves me some Beth Moore, but I was quite irritated when I heard her say this.  In a room full of other women eager to hear the word of God, I wanted to shout, “Hey Siesta, mind your own business!”  :0/  I was just so frustrated that the Lord would be using her to, once again, make me uncomfortable with the covering I had afforded myself adapted by and from shame.  ugh.

Has anybody out there ever struggled with being ashamed of themselves other than me?

Those of you nodding your head yes, know the things that we do to try to make ourselves feel better and look better.  But it never works.  God is authentic and He came that we may have life and have it to the full (see John 10:10).  Operating under illegitimate shame cannot work in tandem with His work for us to have an abundant life.

But hold on!  Help is on the way!

There are two kinds of shame: legitimate shame and illegitimate shame.

“Legitimate shame is the same inner experience as biblical humbling.  It is the recognition of our state as desperate and our response to our rebellious condition as deplorable, deserving condemnation and death. . . Legitimate shame, in other words, always leads to a sense of being lifted up by God to possess what is surprising, unnerving, and undeserved. . .Shame is experienced before the one I’ve entitled or given the right to judge me.  Ultimately, that is the prerogative of  God alone.  To give that privilege–in essence, the opportunity to bestow or retract life–to anyone other than God is idolatry.  This concept helps clarify further the difference between legitimate and illegitimate shame.“~Dr. Dan B. Allender

If you have sinned, repent, receive God’s forgiveness, and move toward Him.  Do not take direction from our great ancestors, Adam and Eve,  who sought cover through fig leaves and hid from Him (Genesis 3:7-8).  Satan knows what he’s doing.  When he can convince you to walk around with a lowered head, feeling less than who God says you are, and living beneath what God has for you, not operating in your destiny nor getting any closer to it, he’s won.

We serve such a loving God.  Even after Adam and Eve sinned, God was there to correct and deal with the sin but He was also there to provide.  He got rid of those pitiful fig leaves and “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)”   Every attempt we make to act independently of God will render us pitiful.  Whatever your fig leaves are, drop ’em.  Let Him clothe you in His love.

Photo found on Google, from http://rockthenations.deviantart.com/art/sadness-64267947

Anything?

Saw this today in my email from (in)courage.  Got me thinking . . .

Check it out.

Jennie Allen was also featured on Life Today with James and Betty Robison today.  Today she spoke about her bible study Stuck and she had some very relevant insights.

Today was the first that I had heard of Jennie Allen but her current project, Anything, really spoke to me and I thought that you may enjoy it too.

Risky prayer to pray, “God, I’ll do anything.  I’ll give you anything . . . even the very thing of which I am most afraid.”

Or is it?

Are you desperate enough for God to pray that prayer?

Wednesdays with Beth: The Law of Kindness pt. 3

I love that Sophia Petrillo.  She is a mess!  The way that she can come back on her roommates is priceless.  And she gets such a kick out of it too!  I can see the look of satisfaction on her face every time she “gets” someone with her venomous tongue.

The nature of the show is set so that no one really gets hurt by Sophia’s comments because, most often, they don’t really pay her that much attention.  The issue is that there are too many of us who are taking cues from Sophia and passing out tongue lashings every time we get a chance.  But when we do it Sophia’s way, which may feel good and just in the moment, we miss out on the opportunity to be a part of the divine.

On today’s segment Beth Moore tells a very intriguing, encouraging and heart warming story that you must hear.  She points to the ultimate example of loving kindness and how God leaves no stone unturned when it comes to taking care of us and showing His loving kindness toward us.  And I know what she’s talking about.  I’ve been able to be a part of some of that myself within the past few days.  It’s amazing.

I really love me some Sophia but the thing is, when I “get” somebody, I don’t really feel as satisfied as she seems to do when she does it.  I need some real tools to fight with out here in crazy land!  I need some help and sustenance for those times when I really want to give someone a piece of my mind (knowing full well that I need every ounce of brain matter that I have left) at the expense of my peace of mind.

Lord, please show me more of your loving kindness so that I have more to give away as I make myself available to be a part of your divine plan for my life and the lives of people around me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Check it out:

http://lifetoday.org/video/the-law-of-kindness-part-3

Accountability

I have two little girls and they are sweeeeeeeeeeet and sooooooo funny.

Izzie, my oldest, is often off doing her own thing and she engages her little sister, Ava (affectionately known as VaVa) when she wants to.  :0)  She loves her little sister and she always wants her around, but sometimes she doesn’t act like it.

Izzie has a habit of exploring parts of the house that VaVa is not allowed to entertain.  One of those places is the stairs.

Izzie has enough skill and stamina to play on the stairs, within reason, but Va, not so much.  She gives us a scare every time she goes near the stairs because she is apt to fall and we don’t want her to get hurt.  She enjoys being on the stairs but she could be happily playing, giving no thought to the stairs and then her sister will sashay her little self over there and it’s like kingdom come.  Oh the stairs!  My favorite place!  And it begins.

It’s the same with the kitchen cabinets.  Iz takes a peek in and the Va is like oh, yeah, what’s in there anyway?  Let’s explore!  Iz takes to my blinds and Va is there, the dutiful supporting lady, ready to do whatever it is that they are trying to do as they rattle the wooden-like slats against the doors and windows.  Even though she’s only two, we try to impress upon Iz the importance of being a good leader and setting a good example for Av because she’s watching Izzie and wants to do everything that Izzie does.  Iz doesn’t quite get it, but she’s trying.

It’s funny how accountability can work that way.  It seems that most often we think about accountability in a very self-centered manner;  how we can use our relationships to make us answerable for the way we live and help us accomplish goals and better ourselves.   But, like it or not, we are always answerable to someone about something.  Our behavior should compel people to the good and we have to be careful to live like we know this.  God requires that we love one another and that we take care of each other.  One way to do this is by the example we set for others to follow.  It could mean freedom or bondage for someone.  It’s such a big deal.

19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 5:19 NIV)