I had the privilege of sharing a teaching with my church family this last weekend. Something near and dear to my heart, what it means to develop a global awareness, why it’s important, and some ways we can do this and make a practical difference in the world.
This video is Part 1 of a 3-week discussion series on Mosaic Chapel’s Value #2, “The Transformed Self.” During Part 1, we explore self-awareness, including the importance of knowing and owning our story, how our emotions are a gift from God, how self-awareness effects our ability to practice self-care, and how the journey of self-awareness is also the journey of engaging the Holy Spirit.
In the gospels we read how Jesus was always around people. He had a life full of relationships. Always talking, drinking, eating, relaxing; sometimes entertaining his guests and sometimes being entertained by them. What is fascinating is that these relationships were not based on these people holding to the same theology and doctrines as Jesus did. In fact, it’s safe to say that none of them believed like Jesus did. Yet he was always in the company of people, and these connections became very deep and heartfelt relationships.
It seems to me that if we truly want a life full of loving relationships, we need to care less about what doctrines or world views people believe and more about the actual person. When we let our love for others be what unites us, we begin to have a life full of meaningful relationships.
Seeking out relationships or fellowship based on doctrinal agreements is a sad and ineffective substitute for love. What we need to do is choose the more divine way. The way that allows love to be what unites us to others, for that, I honestly believe, is the way of Christ.
One of the dangers with religion is it can so easily fool you into believing you’re living your life, when in fact all you are doing is going round and round in circles, doing the same thing week in, week out, talking to the same people, speaking with the same language, talking about the same things.
There is a whole world of random and wonderful people and things to experience, but until you give yourself the liberty to live your life free from the trappings of religion, the danger is that you end up just doing what is comfortable, what is endorsed by the church leaders, what is already programmed for you.
I think Jesus broke this mold, this religious idea of life, and stepped fully into the reality of life around him. He got out and lived his life with people, all kinds of people. Not as a missionary or holy roller, but as a friend, as a fellow adventurer in life — as an equal.
Theology is interesting, fascinating, in fact. I spend a great deal of my life pondering it. But the theology we share and expound upon is still just a clanging gong in the ears of people if it does not first inspire our lives to actively transcend the social, racial, political, and religious boundaries around us, and to live a life of love. This, I believe, Jesus modeled.
Jesus knew God better than anyone, yet he did not live with his thoughts always stuck in Bible verses and theological studies. Rather, he was present in the moment, right there, happily engaged with a diverse variety of people and enjoying their company.
It was precisely because he knew God better than anyone that allowed him to truly live in the moment. He valued the interaction of people, of all people, and it did not depend on what kind of people they were, or what kind of theology they held, of what kind of social standing they had.
What does this show me? It shows me that I need to be careful I don’t become more in love with Bible verses and theological musings then I am with the people in my everyday life. It shows me the real value of knowing God is seeing the divine value of connecting with and loving the people around me.
It shows me that I don’t have to be a religiously sanitized person to be approved by God. Rather, I need to fully embrace my oneness with God to the point that I don’t mind getting messy if I happen to be in the presence of a messy person; more than that, it has allowed me to accept that I am a messy person, that parts of my character are flawed and parts of my personality awkward…and that’s just fine. I realize more and more that the value is not in my appearance or reputation, but in interactions I have with others, genuine connections, where I can feel my heart is fully alive.
Life is a gift. It doesn’t work like a program. I works like the wind. You have to let it take you where it flows, and though you can’t take hold of it and control it, you can experience its power when you let it set sail to your life, and when you embrace the journey as it is: An uncontrollable experience. A divine drifting. A wild adventure. A walk of faith, full of unique strangers waiting to become new-found friends, one step after the next.
Gratitude and Thankfulness, it can change us. I have been doing Christian Life Coaching with women the last 13 year and it is one of the most powerful things we can do to transform. Click the link below to see the video of a dear friend and I sharing the importance of Gratitude.
As most of you know I work for a non-profit and we need your help! Will you watch my video and considering joining my tribe, the 20 Tribe?! Thanks in advance!
Here is the link to my recent sermon/message on overcoming shame…
Here is the message I gave recently at event locally called “Words for Wives.” So thankful to share my heart on seeing God as Heavenly Father.
With my first kiddo I was young, scared and unsure of anything other than I loved this thing growing in my belly with a fervor I couldn’t put into words.
Carrying my second baby was tough. Not one day passed that I didn’t get sick and I spent the last 3 months in and out of the hospital hooked up to IV’s…man was he worth it though.
My third baby grew deep in my heart and not in my womb. That time seemed like an eternity…14 months of wait and struggle, tears and joy. Is there such a thing as a fourth trimester? In adoption I believe there is!
The first two gave me stretch marks as I awaited their arrival; the third gave me memory marks…dates etched not into my skin but into my head and heart. The day we sent him back to Ethiopia, (after hosting him for a month) the day we heard he was sick in the orphange but couldn’t do anything about it 8, 217 miles away , the day it was “official” but I couldn’t quite yet hold him. The day I sat in a small damp and dusty court house in Addis Abba Ethiopia hoping the judge would say yes.
As I reflect on the marks that each of my children have left on my body, my heart and my mind, I see them differently now. I see them as beauty marks etched into my soul by the one who knew my story all along. These beauty marks are scratches, scratches into a sneak peak of what heaven will look like. Where heaven and earth meet for a moment.
I would not trade the lines on my tummy for anything, my bulging belly brought me joy unimaginable. I would not trade the lines around my eyes and mouth for anything, brought to me by many smiles, many years and lots of tears. Tears as they head to college, tears as they head to school in America for the first day, tears as they head to high school and the clock ticks loud in my head…
I stop often to reflect on all the ups and downs and everything in between. I fight daily for the strength to be fully present in the present. I won’t get this day back, this year back, this time back. I may never again have one in fifth grade, this one will never be a sophomore again, I many never again get to have late night talks with one about what med school to apply to…I hold the moments close. I hold the current close as memories flood my mind…med school…what about when you wouldn’t let me brush your hair but only let Daddy do it before preschool. Homecoming dance?…what about when your only stress was where your yellow “feely” blanket was? You want to play what instrument in band? What about when you first came to us and all dogs were “baby doggies” instead of puppies because you didn’t know the English word.
The memories, the marks. The beauty marks that I treasure to the depths of my soul. Scarred by grace and love for which I am beyond grateful.
What marks are left on you and in you that you need to embrace and celebrate? The ones on your skin or the ones on your heart?…
My challenge for myself in 2016 is to continue to lean into the “scars” of life and let the beauty in the markings be my joy.
James 4:14 NLT How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog-it’s here for a little while, then it’s gone.
James 1:2-4 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.