Trying

I love working with my son.

Mind you, he drives me crazy sometimes.  It’s possible that I drive him crazy, too.  But, I doubt it.

We were working on reflooring the one bathroom in our house.  After tearing up the old flooring, we both looked at the bare wood before us and then glanced at each other as if to say, “what do we do now?”

“Have you ever done this before?”  Nope!  Neither one of us had done that type of flooring.  And so we walked away from it.

A day later, I put in the floor and put in the new toilet.

Here’s a secret that most people that do remodeling won’t tell you.  We haven’t always done or ever done what you might want us to do.  What you are asking for probably could be done by you almost as well as it can be done by me.  The only difference between us is that I will try it.  Most of what I have learned, I learned first by doing it wrong.

I still make mistakes.  If you look closely, you will see imperfections in most of what I do still to this day.

That’s ok.

And it’s ok in life too.

Most of the experts we praise in life still make huge mistakes.  They are flawed.  They fail.

It just doesn’t stop them.

So, are you looking at something that God wants you to do?  Are you seeing something in front of you that you know is doomed to failure, simply because your hand is in it?  Are you afraid of your future?

Yeah, I’m not actually talking to you right now.  I’m talking to me.

Feel free to listen in.

Jump.

Fly.

Try….

You might be a speed bump!

Chilling…

I work in a factory and have been very vocal about my faith.  I argue and witness and pray.

It felt like a slap the other day when one of them said, “you know for someone who knows the way, you sure act like a speed bump.”

I had been joking around, laughing, having fun, picking back and forth.  I, for the life of me, don’t know what I said.  All I know is, I heard that response and my world stopped.

I know I’m not amazing.  I know I’m as human, as flawed, as broken as any other person on the planet.  But, I pray and hope that my life, my words, my actions would point them to Jesus.  I also know I will fail, sometimes badly.

So, what do I do now?  What do we do when we’re faced with the fact that we have hindered people from seeing Jesus?

God, I come to you, admitting freely that I am not what I should be.  Holy Spirit, I say, with tears, that I have gotten in the way of you and expressed things other than your love and desire for every human being.  I have let anger and bitterness build walls around me and kept my heart closed to you and your voice.

Fill me again, live through me, smooth me out so that others can see you clearly.  Let me speak only what draws them to your presence.

Who gets the credit?

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows the triumph of great achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt

So I keep replaying the end of the Super Bowl in my mind as I listen to those on both sides of the fence, those disappointed with the failure of the Seattle Seahawks, those amazed at the triumph of the New England Patriots.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles…”

Reality check: a 3-6 inch difference in either the placement of the ball or the angle of the receiver and Pete Carroll becomes an instant genius, a skilled coach and strategist. Tom Brady is trounced for his two interceptions. Seattle is the greatest team in the history of the NFL. Ok, maybe not the last one.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood…”

That ‘s what I love about the quote from Teddy. We don’t deserve any credit. Our criticisms of what should or should not have been done are silenced. Our insight and blather are just that, so much Taurus faecus.

“who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…”

In our criticisms, we take on the voice of our enemy. He is the one that condemns and ridicules our every decision. He is the one that keeps us from moving as we second guess ourselves and live in fear of failure.

“… but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows the triumph of great achievement…”

What is your dream? I think we offend God more by asking too little than from asking too much. He is our Father. He knows every hair on our head and every dream in our heart. He knows better what we can do in Him, what He can do through us. He calls us to it.

“… and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

You may fail, but what will He accomplish in your failure. You may win, it is His desire for you. People may laugh at you, question your sanity, outright fight against you.

Just get in the arena.

I’m Angry With You God!

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I’m reading in Leviticus right now and finding that I’m responding emotionally to the Law.  So many things made you “unclean.”  And if anyone touched you or your clothes or your bed or the pot in your hand, they became unclean too.  Rules that made everyone treat disease as if it was the sick person’s fault, dictums that made everyone treat each other with distrust and distance.

So why did You do it God?  Why make rules that could only lead to hatred of each other, hatred of self, hatred of life?  Why enforce a weight that no one could bear?

The Priest could touch goat’s blood to purify the altar.  But if a man touches the seat that a woman has been sitting on during her period, he is unclean.  It just seems crazy.  We’re left with either isolating ourselves from humanity, being unclean or lying about it.  We become unloving, unworthy or a hypocrite.

And, though it seems unrelated, why did You let Jesus be flogged before He was crucified?  Why did He have to wear a crown of thorns?  Wasn’t it enough that He died for us?  Did He have to bear so much pain before being nailed to the cross and bearing the excruciating weight of our sins, my sins?

Holiness.  The righteous demands of a Holy, Loving Father.  The Law that can only lead to failed attempts at self-righteousness or abdication of our place at His side.

On Valentine’s Day, in the year 2014, I live because Your holiness was so exacting that I had no other choice than to accept the blood of Jesus, not just dripped out of the sealed wounds on His hands and feet, but gushing out of His head, His back, His shoulders, His side.  I weep because You took this for me, my Jesus.  And I live because God’s holiness is answered.

Thank You, God!