One Wonderful Kindness

Jesus calls us to be light. Not to be liked.

The two words may sound the same, and I’ve done my fair share of confusing the two as I seek to be liked light in my community, but they are different. This side of Glory, they are so very different.

Those of us who long to be more like Jesus and less like us, are also called to a higher standard of caring for one another. Both the other that we know, identify with, and like, as well as the other that we don’t.

I come a little late to this discussion, but I’ve been giving The Pool Party incident a lot of thought. As I’ve wrestled with strong feelings about both sides of the story as it was initially presented in the media, I realized what it comes down to, for me. This is a story about the depth of our willingness to forgive each other and then pursue reconciliation.

And smack-dab In the middle of this whole news story, I find myself faced with the opportunity to, as a fellow writer I deeply admire recently wrote, “stay at the table”. As I read this article by Deidre, over at the Washington Post, I was reminded that we are invited to spread the Good News that Jesus came to restore.

By living that way.

By speaking that way.

And every single time we choose to love, by not engaging in an argument over who is on the right side of fence, and why, Love wins. Each time we lock eyes with the human on the other side of the table and stay in it, determined to find where our humanity intersects with theirs, Love wins.

Call me an optimist, but, I want Love to win.

Ultimately, of course, it does.

But, I’d like to see it win a few times here on this side of Glory, too.

On this side of the fence.

So, with each new conversation about who was where they shouldn’t have been, and when, or who should teach respect and who should learn it, I choose Love.

I choose to remember how many times I made choices that were so very wrong. Yet someone, somewhere, showed me kindness anyway. I choose to recall the times I should have been in control, but wasn’t, and was given grace.

And still are.

I choose to remember that it doesn’t have to be a “they’re wrong” or “we’re right” kind of discussion. It could be, it should be a discussion about how we can love one another better. It can be another golden opportunity to show wonderful kindness, much like we have been shown.

Not a dismissal of sin.

Not an ignorance of peril.

Not a diss of this or that or them.

But Love. And grace.

Like we first understood it, the first time grace was poured out over us and our own mess.

I might not understand the daily perils of being part of this group or that organization, but I surely do know that God’s grace is one wonderful kindness. I’ve experienced it a time or a thousand.

Have you?

One_Wonderful_Kindness_Missindeedy

Oh God…let me pass on your wonderful kindness to another.

Help us all to pass it on, one to another.

Yes indeedy.

It Only Took About Twenty Years

I attended a large blogging conference, a few years back, as a brand new blogger. One of the events that was pre-arranged was a “Birds of a Feather” breakfast. You essentially found the bloggers who you felt like you most identified with. I loved the idea of this. It was fairly easy for me to determine where I thought I fit in.

But, when I arrived at the table and everyone introduced themselves, I found that although we shared a desire to write humor, the ways we went about it were radically different.

I kept looking around and asking myself where My People were? After about twenty years, I’ve figured it out.

How about you? Who are your People? Aside from the ones who share your roof, what types of people make you feel the most comfortable?

I’m curious.

And also, nosy.

It never ceases to intrigue me how certain seeming types of people will feel most comfortable around folks who are nothing like them. I think of my funny friends who feel most comfortable with intellectuals discussing Academia and scholarly things, all the live long day. Or, the Think Tanker who whips out the one-liners faster than I whip out the Devil Dogs.

But, what really boggles my mind is how it took me so long to figure out what so many others realize pretty early on. Or, pretty easily.

When you find your People, you just know it. Some folks like to call it “finding your tribe“. Whatever you call it, when you finally do, you’ll find yourself feeling a sense of confidence that then allows you to float in and out of other groups of People much more freely, too. It’s such a great thing to experience.

And feel.

And know.

Are you already there?

If you aren’t, keep at it. You will make mistakes along the way. But, you will find the people who get you. They will be the ones that sharpen your thought process, lighten your load, and encourage you in all of the most important ways.

Grace allows for lots of wiggle room, here. I promise.

He gave me about twenty years worth.

31days_of_grace_button_missindeedy

This post is day 20 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

Click my 31 days of Grace button above to go check out the previous 19 days. If you want. But, you don’t have to. No pressure.

Chasing a Dream – Part 4

Dream_Chasing

 

Welcome to part four in a five-part series on Chasing your dreams. If you missed them, you can read part 1 here, part 2 here, or part 3, here.

 
I’ve been playing catch-up with some of my favorite magazine reading.  Although I can love me some People Magazine, what I really eat up are my Life Beautiful and Homelife magazines.  I was just finally getting around to the July issue of Homelife (I’m so very up with the times, aren’t I?) and I turned the page to discover an article entitled, wait for it… “Chasing a Dream” by Pete Wilson.  This little article packed one convicting punch.  My favorite quote from it, although there were so many wonderful nuggets to chew on, is the following:
 

“It means our confidence is no longer in our ability to achieve each one of our dreams, but in the strength and power of the God we claim to follow.” – Pete Wilson

 
I do believe that a verse I had chosen to focus on, back when I was considering chasing this dream in the first place, had slipped right outta my mind.  And I’ve had blurry vision ever since.  Are you still with me?  Let me share the verse with you, and then it might become more clear:
 

Do_Not_Despise

 

And I lost sight of that. I don’t know about you, but I do believe I was struck with a case of the good old fashioned “I Wants”.  I began to want what I wanted more than I wanted to keep my joy over the small beginnings.  And it was not good.  My stinkin’ thinkin’ began to spiral right out of control, with the possibilities for future growth.  My eyes glazed over with excitement at the prospect of a fame that could only come at some increasingly obvious valuable cost.  It was time with my family, for me.  What might it be for you?

 

You see, that’s the irony here. In my case, anyway.  Dreams almost always start out small.  And if God has blessed it, He is pleased – no – He rejoices to see the work begin!  That amazes me.  He loved the smallest among us and sent His son to encourage us to come to Him like a little child.  He loves the least, or smallest in significance, among us and commanded us to care for the widow and the orphan.  He clearly loves small things.  And, if we will allow Him to use us for His glory, He  tells us that He will honor those small beginnings and esteem them and bless them.

 

I do believe that God was confirming this message, yet again, for me through this article. And, this message has been popping up in so many different ways and on so many different occasions lately, that it’s a wonder that God didn’t just whack me upside the head with a 2×4 and get it over with!

 

Please, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t hanker for progress and growth.  As long as we’re keeping a few important things in mind, I believe God lets us loose to chase those dreams with abandon.  For Him!

 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”
Colossians 3:22-24

 

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”
Proverbs 16:2-4

 

Lord! Make me smaller and You bigger.  Help me to take my eyes off of the human prize and fasten my eyes on You.  The only prize that matters.  I’ll keep praying that and remembering how these small beginnings are just those.  Beginnings.  And that is certainly a worthy reason to keep chasing a dream.  Oh, yes indeedy!

 

Does this speak to you at all?  Are you feeling called to re-examine how you’re going about your dream chasing lately, or does it confirm that you’re on the right track?  I’d love to know!