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Feed the Body, Feed the Soul

The journey

I’ve been thinking about the correlation between the food we eat and the food our spirit needs. And when I learned that March 8th is International Women’s Day with World Food Programme, I thought this would be a good time to talk about being hungry.

I’m hungry most days.  Not because I don’t eat enough…more often because I don’t eat.  I’ll realize at 3:00 in the afternoon that I’ve had nothing, or perhaps half a banana, all day.  It’s not good for me.  It’s certainly not helped me slim down–in fact, it’s had the opposite effect.  I used to have good habits with food.  I ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day and built in the right snacks.  It kept the hunger pangs away and fueled my body effectively so that I was productive from morning til night.  But, not maintaining some structure has made me aware that I’ve lost the desire for breakfast, feel drained by early afternoon, and often make poor food choices in the evening because I’m hungry.

Ironically, my spirit has faced the same kind of neglect.  I used to have steady devotion habits.  Morning prayer time, steady appetite for  reading inspirational books, being plugged in with small group and Bible study, and praying at the drop of a hat during the day.  Like food, my lack of structure has left me feeling drained, untethered, and short on faith.

I think about my lax attitude towards food and remember that there are people starving the world over…even in my own city.   And there are people in other countries being tortured for their secret devotion to Christ.  I have no right to dismiss these gifts that others would cherish and make the most of.

I’m making some good strides in changing these things and with God’s help, I know I’ll get there.  I want to be hungry again…for all the right reasons.

I know I’m not alone in this.  What are you hungry for?

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Knowing When to Hit “Pause”

Hitting Pause

Hitting Pause

The two-week break over Christmas gave me some wonderful time to think about my life-plan, bond with my family and friends, and look ahead to what I want to do better in 2010.   And even as I walked back into the office on Monday, I noticed how much more laid back, happy, and inspired people were.  Why don’t we do a better job of making rest time a priority? 

Here are a few of my biggest takeaways from that time off: 

  1. Making good memories is easy-We didn’t have to take a lavish vacation to make some great memories this year.  Almost totally unplugging (there’s always room for improvement) and really focusing on family activities made the time pass too quickly, but offered some great events we’ll cherish for years to come.
  2. Saying “No” must happen sometimes-It’s easy to get overextended and allow that rat-race pattern to become routine.  Breaking away from some of the commitments really frees us up to be creative and at peace.
  3. We have to stop trying to be like others-This blog is a perfect example.  I wasn’t born to keep a blog updated-it’s not my life’s work or passion.  I got into it because I saw people I respect doing it and thought I needed to follow their path. But what comes easy for some becomes a burden to others.  I’m not going to post every day, or likely every three days.  Making peace with that fact has made blogging enjoyable again.  There are  areas in each of our lives where we must manage our own expectations and do what feeds our own souls.
  4. If we don’t like our lives, it’s our job to change it-Being passionate about our work, crazy about the people we are around, and happy with how we spend our downtime is our responsibility.  The Lord gave us a chance at eternal life, and the Bible gives us a great tool for navigation.  But no person, job, friend, or gadget will make the grass greener.  If life’s not going according to plan, we have to change it.
  5. Things don’t have to be perfect-Sounds simple, but some of us struggle with perfectionism.  Keeping a perfect house has become less important to me than making sure there’s quality family time.   And by reminding myself of these five points even now, I can truly appreciate the life I have.  It’s messy sometimes, but I’d have it no other way.

What revelations have come to you when you step out of the fast lane?

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Holiday Gift Suggestions

christmas_tree

Oren Arnold, a writer and newspaperman, beautifully captured the sentiment of gift-giving at this time of year in the quote below :

“To your enemy, forgiveness.  To an opponent, tolerance.  To a friend, your heart.  To a customer, service.  To all, charity.  To every child, a good example.  To yourself, respect.”

There’s a sense of wonder in the air.  The anticipation is almost palpable as we count down the days.  And opportunities to invest in the lives of others await around every corner.

Which of these gifts are you giving this Christmas?

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The Pleasure of Being Known

Knowing

I know you

A week or so ago, Mary Graham and Sheila Walsh were tweeting.  It’s wonderful to see the Women of Faith ladies interact, as it’s clear they truly are family.  In one of her tweets, Mary was referencing an artist on the tour and said to Sheila, “One of life’s greatest pleasures is in being known.  And she Knows You.”  That phrase has stuck with me ever since, and I’ve been pondering why God planted that little nugget so tightly in my mind.  I didn’t understand it until this weekend.  God knew I’d need to chew on it a bit.

In a very unplanned twist to our day, we ended up at Davis Kidd bookstore on Saturday evening. As we wandered downstairs to visit the kids’ area, I noticed folks setting up for a live performance.  I paused as a man uncased a beautiful bass cello.  You could tell from the worn wood that it had been a well-loved instrument.  At that same time, someone began warming up, and I knew we’d be staying to see whoever was performing.  Music moves me.  All music, and not in a small way.  God knows that about me.  I think music is one of His very best gifts to us.

The event turned out to be a tribute to a woman named Ruth McGinnis.  She and her band had been regular performers at Davis Kidd (and many other places), and she had sadly passed away from ovarian cancer in October.  I hadn’t seen Ruth perform before, and it was only when her quiet, gentle-spirited younger sister, Erin McGinnis Long, shared that I began to catch a glimpse of who this amazing woman was.  It made her death more real, but also made the tribute that much richer.  Through Erin, I felt like I knew Ruth. 

Thinking back over these past two weeks, here’s what I keep coming back to:

  1. We all want to be known.  We want a mate, friends, and our family to “get” who we are and love us, warts and all.
  2. We want to know others.  To understand what makes others tick.  To know their joys and pains before a word is spoken.
  3. Being known and knowing others is such hard work.  To get past the superficial is hard.  It takes commitment.  And sometimes, it’s painful. Most of the time, though, it’s truly rewarding.

But I think more than anything, we have this insatiable hunger to know and be known by our maker.  There are days when I struggle with both.  But after those bad days, I wake up thanking God that He hasn’t given up.  That, as in Isaiah 46:19, our names are carved in the palm of His hands.

Who knows you best?  And what keeps others from knowing you more?

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