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When We Focus on Our Failures

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I’ve been looking the other way. For months. At what point does a writer quit scribbling in journals? Quit tapping words into blank spaces? Even now, I can barely make these fingers move. I sat for ten minutes just waiting to open my online home. Why?

Somewhere along the way I told myself that this blog was an utter failure.

That no one was reading. That I was too busy. That the change I thought could take place in people’s lives by seeing life in a different way, a way I hoped to show people through my writing, wasn’t happening.

Ironically, this sticky place has occurred in the most interesting time of my life, when helping others write has actually become my career. A career I love.

For the longest time, I asked God if I was a writer.

“Do you really want me to write?”
“Will anyone even care about what I say?”
“Will they just see me or will they really see You?

After a while, I quit listening to His answer and answered for myself.

“No, no one is listening. No one cares. No, you are not a writer.”

And for six months, I have actually been dream grieving. In the six months that I have taken off from writing, a piece of me withered. This morning, I decided to look up. And to pick up my hands and write. I wrote despite my feelings.

I wrote about a crazed pixie Senior who wanted to beat me up when I was a freshman in high school. I wrote about love never realized, and another never meant to be.  I wrote a partial script. A scrap of a book series.

The point is, I wrote. As I wrote, my words blossomed. And this withered flower drank in a little piece of freedom. Freedom from the fear of failure and all its’ thug friends.

When we focus on our failures, we freeze.

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Held Together

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If you know me…you know I am not an organized person. Ahem. However, I do enjoy the office aisle at Wal-Mart. In case you haven’t noticed, Wal-Mart has finally gotten some vendors who like color. It’s a good thing because I love a deep, hot pink on just about any item.

Hot pink clothes, hot pink mag-lites, hot pink bracelets, hot pink pen holders, hot pink bows for The Artist, hot pink staplers, hot pink file holders, hot pink calendar sleeves, hot pink trash cans…Do I sound like Tom Hanks from the movie Forest Gump yet? 

And in my quest to organize my somewhat accessorized in hot pink office, I stumbled upon a massive box of binder clips.

You know, the triplet kind: small, medium, gigantic.

How have I lived 30 years and not been in touch with these binder clips?
How have I run my own business and not, daily, heard the crisp clasp of clip on paper?

It wasn’t a lack of knowledge, as the ladies in my previous office used them all the time. It wasn’t until I needed to bind something recently and my stapler ran out, that I even went looking. Technically, I was on the office aisle looking for staples, when I promise I heard the clips whisper, “Pick me. I can clip anything and you’ll never regret it as with staples.”

So true.

From that point on, it wasn’t a tough sell. How many times had I written, printed, and stapled only to find I had messed something up and needed to then rip out the staple.Staples leave holes. 

Binder clips leave your paper happy.

Could it be that in our lives, we have reached for the familiar rather than God’s best to hold us together? Our hands can find many things in this world to hold on to when we don’t feel fulfilled; when we don’t have peace. Sometimes, in our poor attempt to repair our own brokenness, we grab for wrong things to hold ourselves up. We hold on to other broken people, titles, familiar places, and poor habits; anything we can find to have a firm place to set our feet.

I see how easily this happens in my own life. It’s nice to be comfortable, but comfort is not always where God’s best resides. God is the only one that can truly hold us together, work out our problems, and gently bind up our pain. He guides us along right paths for His name sake. And only through Christ, can our lives, our emotions, our broken bodies, be fully held together and redeemed.Staples leave holes.
Jesus holds us together. 

“I will lead the blind on unfamiliar roads. I will lead them on unfamiliar paths. I will turn darkness into light in front of them. I will make rough places smooth. These are the things I will do for them, and I will never abandon them.” Isaiah 42:16

Prayer:

Dear God, so many of us are out seeking. There are those who have never placed their trust in You, and others who have known You for years, but their lives remain broken and full of holes. Lord, restore our hope in You today. Redeem the torn places, the holes that we have created through bad decisions, the craters that simply living on this Earth have made in our hearts, and the breached places in our minds that need Your truth. Turn darkness into light before us and make our rough places smooth. In Jesus powerful name. Amen.

Learning to Break the Rules

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I run my fingers over the keyboard seeking inspiration. It wanes. Some days the words seem stuck and I trip over my own need to connect with God the way I desperately want others to connect with Him.

God’s been showing me that when I can’t plug in to Him like I want, it’s usually because I’ve put some kind of rule on myself. Rules that He hasn’t even put on me. These rules are impenetrable walls of concrete. They erect themselves between me and grace. They are a impassable chasms that keep His mercy from entering in. They keep us under the law when we are under grace.

 Is anyone else like this? The pharisees were this way. The Son of God walked among them and yet they missed Him because of their rules. Their rules would lead them down a path of death. Too smart to live. Too foolish to recognize. Too bound by their rules to receive salvation. Could it be possible that the God of the universe is teaching me to break the rules?
Jesus was a rule-breaker. He dined with tax collectors, healed people on the Sabbath, talked with prostitutes, and broke societal norms.

And they killed Him for it.

I’m learning to break the rules a little more each day. And by the grace of God, this kind of rule-breaking is making me look more like Christ.

Will you break the rules with me today?

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