Oh…It REALLY Isn’t All About Me!!

Over the past several months, I’ve become more aware of how random nudges, choices, and bits of information come together to knock my socks off. I’ve started noticing that when I let them, they position me at the exact right place, at the exact right time, to receive a huge blessing.

This is happening all the time!

Just this weekend, a girlfriend and I went to dinner and to see one of our favorite bands in concert. We planned this out months ago – picked the restaurant, made reservations, the whole thing. As we drove past thousands of fans who had already gathered and made a line to get in, we felt a little disappointed knowing that we would not be seeing the show very well. At the restaurant, our reserved table was in a corner by the bar workers and the back patio door. Again, we felt a little disappointed because the place has so many cool niches to sit in, and this wasn’t one of them…but we were happy to have a place to sit and catch up. As we settled in, we happened to look over and see that the person sitting closest to us, right across the walkway, was the lead singer of the band we were going to see with his beautiful wife. I admit there was a certain smugness at that moment. We both felt pretty darn special, feeling blessed and favored by our Father with this gifted encounter. That is normally where I would stop, pleased and thankful that this happened for us, for me.

I am somewhat shocked and extremely happy to report that my perspective has shifted once again. This encounter was super fun, true, but in the end it was not about me. We were positioned there for more than our entertainment. I really believe we were put there to be a blessing to our brother and sister. After we welcomed them to Dallas, we privately prayed protection over their relationship and their ministry. You’re welcome!

I want to think I’m getting a little quicker on the uptake these days, but I realize he’s been trying to get me to this place for a long time now. It started with writing this blog…taking me out of my comfort zone to share what was being given to me, things I would prefer by nature to treasure in private. For a year and a half, I have received so much more by being open and vulnerable. I am seeing that the more I give for him, the more he gives to me; the more willing I am to share, the more he shares with me. So…thanks for bearing with me as I learn to listen.

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
~Jesus, Luke 6:38

Playing My Position

Father forgive me, for I sometimes want to play other people’s positions.

I just attended a 3-day women’s conference that blew my mind. I was inspired by women who confidently strode up and down the stage proclaiming truth and victory. I was impressed with the dozens of women who sacrificed hours, weeks, months of their lives to create a beautiful atmosphere for an encounter with the Lord. I was excited for the thousands of sisters who walked in, wide-eyed and expectant.

Sometimes I get a little too focused on what other people are doing or experiencing, and feel like I must be missing out on something. After all, I am certainly not able to do everything I love to see you doing. Sometimes I think I should help you play your position, or (ha!) that I could play it better than you do. I forget that we are all on a team, that we are each supposed to be playing our own position.

Dissatisfaction has been a lifelong vulnerability for me – there has been a deep yearning to know my own position. Inadequacy was a constant companion, and it makes more sense now.

I’ve been trying to play someone else’s position most of my life.

Today I am so thankful for a reminder of who I am, and where, and why. I have an appointed zone to maintain and nurture. I have my relationship with the Lord, my family, my career, my neighbors, my girlfriends, my home and all who enter it, my finances, my children’s schools, service to my church family, and (in a way, dear reader) you. That’s more than enough for me to handle today! When my eyes stray from this zone to “help” someone else play their position, who am I helping?? I am keeping them from learning the game, and I leave my own zone neglected and wide open for attack.

This is such a no-brainer – I’m not sure why it takes me so long to really get things sometimes. At the conference, there were some amazingly gifted singers, poets, dancers, musicians worshipping the Lord with their talents. Every time they performed my heart would leap, and I found myself wishing that my children would experience or be part of something so beautiful. At one point, I felt God take my face in his hands and say, “Stop worrying about them! That heart leap was for YOU. YOU learn how to dance for me, and they will follow!” Oh how I love my Father, my friend, and his gentle reminders to play my position.

Dance, dance, dear Shulammite, Angel-Princess!
Dance, and we’ll feast our eyes on your grace!
Everyone wants to see the Shulammite dance
her victory dances of love and peace.
Song of Solomon 6:13

Baby Talk

Parenting. There is nothing that has helped me understand the whole “it’s not about me” concept better than being a mommy, especially being a mommy to pre-teens.

I’ve made so many mistakes in their lifetimes but, for the most part, I’ve been a pretty good mama. I’ve always seen them as little people in my care (or future big people), not as possessions. I’ve tried to understand their motivations and personalities instead of blindly imposing my own on them. I never talked down to them, but have been careful to speak to them at their own level.

This has gone well, but there is a new change with this pre-teen phase. There’s been a shift from teaching and training to real-life implementation. They are becoming more and more independent, making their own choices, creating their own lives.

I was thinking about it today and realized something. My constant adjustments to tone, level of obvious involvement, expectations, and propriety have largely gone unnoticed by them. Their whole lives have been a giant morphing. Also:

  1. No matter what age my kids are, I could not possibly love them more.
  2. My love for them grows every day.
  3. There is no greater feeling today than having a pre-teen hand intertwine itself with mine without my prompting. And oh man, in public? I’m beside myself!

Any time I have new thoughts about parenting, I run them by my relationship with my heavenly Father to make sure they are legit. He has so graciously met me where I am. He speaks my language. His assignments and his rewards are deepening based on my ability and level of maturity. Our relationship grows richer with each day, each trial, each blessing, each conversation. What a blessing to know I can fill his heart to bursting just with the turn of my face and my outstretched arms.

He led me to a place of safety;
he rescued me because he delights in me.
Psalm 18:19

Pure

It’s been a long process, but there’s a new understanding in my heart. It finally moved down from my head!

I am perfectly, completely, unquestionably pure in his eyes.

Once I learned to stop judging myself and striving for human approval, I made way for the truth to settle in. I’ve been cleansed by the last pure sacrifice. Every heavy debt I keep insisting on carrying around has been paid. What foolishness and, really, what pride to hold on to it…as if I require more punishment, or deserve more forgiveness, than you.

Never consider unclean what God has made pure.  Acts 10:15

Here’s a word for those of us who tend to focus on our imperfections and wallow in our shame: In heaven, there will be one body with scars, and it is not yours or mine. He alone has paid for the right to carry them.

Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. 1 Corinthians 1:30

For the last two and a half years, I have been in the process of serious refinement. I’ve allowed him to heat up areas of my life, to reveal and take away things that keep me from who I was created to be. Layer by layer, each cleansing taking me to a new place of abundance.

Bless our God,
Give him a thunderous welcome!
Didn’t he set us on the road to life?
Didn’t he keep us out of the ditch?
He trained us first,
passed us like silver through refining fires,
Brought us into hardscrabble country,
pushed us to our very limit,
Road-tested us inside and out,
took us to hell and back;
Finally he brought us
to this well-watered place.
Psalm 66: 8-12

I know this process will continue as long as I allow it, for the rest of my life! The refinement process is hard and time-consuming – something you would only bother to do with something valuable at the core. I’m so thankful he thinks we are worth the effort! 
 
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
Ephesians 1:4