Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Let's Be Real {Three Word Wednesday}

I just posted about how it's a paradox that we put on a show in order to connect.

It's hard to be real.

We all want to be known, to have a relationship with someone based on full disclosure and acceptance of who we really are. But we have a hard time doing that.

Because it is hard to be real.

Being real, genuinely letting down your guard, is like the dream where you are standing on a stage, naked, and you can't figure out why you feel so raw and exposed, but you are just standing there looking stupid and everyone is staring at you with that blank, boring-into-your-soul stare. Instead of freaking out, you pull an "Emperor"  move and act like everything is normal. After some nervous chuckles the show goes on and you wing it, all the time feeling that coldness that comes from being exposed and not being in control of the response.

It isn't easy being real.

You can't control how other people will react to your transparency. It can leave you feeling raw and vulnerable. Exposed.

But we are made by God for relationship. If we withdraw, we are not functioning the way God intended.

We need Him.

We need each other.

Community. Support. Fellowship. Relationship.

So let's do the hard thing, the brave thing. Let's be real. And we'll see how God moves in our lives for our good and His glory.

Linking up with others for:

Five Minute Friday :: Real

It's Wednesday and I'm doing last Friday's prompt. But there's no judging here, right? We are just letting it all go down on paper for five minutes, and then encouraging each other.

Click here to see what this is all about, if you'd like to join us.

Last Friday's prompt was:

  It is such a paradox that we put on a show for others in order to connect—and we are made for connection—and the very show we put on sabotages our ability to connect. Even if we are successful, we doubt the realness of the relationship.

 Because, we think, if they knew the real us, they wouldn't love us. They might not even like us.

 And so the whole thing becomes a big circle that traps us and we wonder why we feel so empty. But the truth is freeing, and that is what it really means to be really real—to tell the truth about who we are.

No wonder so many of us feel adrift in this world, coasting around on the parts we play. No wonder we come undone when the act is over and we are left alone with our true selves.

But there is One who knows us better than even we know ourselves. He sees the real us, but it isn't what we see. His perspective is what He created us to be, what He knows we can be, if only we will lay down the roles we play and surrender to His unconditional love.

Maybe that is what being real truly is. Letting go of the act that keeps us stuck and grasping the freedom He offers.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Book Review: "The Ancient Path," by John Michael Talbot

From the inside of the cover jacket:

"The First Epistle of Saint Peter," writes Talbot, "tells us that we are a spiritual temple built of 'living stones.' The early Church Fathers represent the first rows built upon the foundation of the apostles. And that sacred building project continues throughout history to our time today. But it rests on the Fathers. It depends on them."
I was intrigued by the subtitle "Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today," which includes St. Augustine.

And I was hoping this was going to put the teachings of said Church Fathers into modern prose so they would be easier to ingest. (Especially since, as a mom of three children, it is hard for me to find enough time alone to have a coherent thought, let alone to be awake sufficient enough for comprehension.)

I am disappointed. This is more a book about the author's journey from being a Protestant to becoming a Catholic. It does contain much scripture, but it also contains Catholic doctrine--doctrine which I believe is extra-biblical (such as Mr. Talbot's annulment of his first marriage by the Catholic church, because the Catholic church determined it was not a "valid" marriage, even though he had a child by his first wife).

That being said, this is an interesting and well-written read. If you are familiar with John Michael Talbot's music, and you would like to get to know his spiritual story (and explore some Catholic doctrine), then this is the book for you. It is not something one would purchase simply as a spiritual reference book.

Disclosure:  I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Words of My Mouth

May I always remember that today becomes tomorrow and that my present becomes my past. 

Each moment, I am charting a legacy for my children—what do I want them to remember? What do I want them to learn and to model—impatience? Selfishness? Self-centeredness? Self-pity?

Or do I want them to be patient and kind and loving and respectful, to live with a servant's heart?

The latter, of course, is my desire.

But do I live with that goal in mind? It is so easy, when I am tired, for my heart to turn inward. (And I am tired a lot.)

Only when I look up, when I keep my perspective in the right place, will my attitude and actions line up properly with the Word of God.

Help me, Father! Keep me from willful sins—may they not rule over me.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer," (Psalm 19:14 NASB).

Linking with others at:

Friday, March 6, 2015

"A Sudden Glory," by Sharon Jaynes {a review}

Back Matter:

"Do you long for something more in your relationship with God?

The good news is that “something more” does not mean “doing more.” God is not waiting for you to get your spiritual life “right.” He wants to be with you right where you are.

The real question is not “What does God want from you?” but “What does God want for you?”
Sharon Jaynes understands what it’s like to have a “glory ache”—a longing to experience God’s presence on a daily basis. She also knows how easily working for God can get in the way of intimacy with God. And she’s discovered that we tend to make our faith journey much too hard.

In A Sudden Glory, Sharon uses Scripture and story to help you erase the line between your “spiritual life” and your “daily life” as you enter the sanctuary of God’s presence even in the middle of your busy, messy day. Here you will find your eyes opened to moments of sudden glory in which the Creator assures you of His love as you live and move and have your being in Him. Here you will discover true freedom—the freedom of experiencing God in a deeper and more intimate way than ever before."

I waited a while to read this because I am busy with so many other things—homeschooling, keeping everyone in clean underwear, keeping food in the fridge, unclogging toilets, etc.

I finally decided to clean out my school library recently because I'm parting with books and curricula that have piled up over the years. That is when I rediscovered this book.
Sharon's book is not a quick read. She writes in a way that requires you to concentrate on what is written and to think about the content.The theme of the whole book is that God is speaking to His children all the time—and we will hear His voice, if we take time to listen.

I love many of the quotes in this book, such as:

"We an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." (C. S. Lewis, as quoted on p 90).

"Because we approach the gospel with preconceived notions of what it should say rather than what it does say, the Word no longer falls like rain on the parched ground of our souls." (Brennan Manning, as quoted on p 97).

These two quotes sum up the overall content of this book, which the author wrote to help us to see the "glory" in every moment of our lives.

If you are feeling numb to God and missing His glory in your life because you are weighed down with cares, this is a great book to check out!

(Thanks to the publisher, Multnomah Books, for a free copy of this book. This review is my honest opinion.)

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