Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What do we attach our value to?

The other night before I went to bed, I snuck in and checked on my son, Gabe.  He was nestled in his bed, peacefully sleeping the night away.  Like other moments when I have seen my kids sleeping, a great sense of delight bubbled up from within me.  I stood there watching Gabe, soaking in the value of this little person in my life, and in those moments it was as if God silently conveyed the message that my eyes to see Gabe's value is like the view that God has of my own value.  Gabe, and me, are valuable, loved, and not alone.  This is not something we earn, it is given to us.

This struck me.  God used this moment to cut below the surface of ideas I mentally agree with about His love and presence given to me.  My thoughts followed a sequence like..."I am valuable when I am asleep.  God does not get bored with me and leave when I go to sleep.  My value does not change when I sleep and stop 'doing.'  Wow!"

From this experience and others, I am finding that I deeply hold to an idea that my value is connected to what I produce, if I succeed, or what others think of me.  These are the gods that I look to for indications of my value, or my worthiness of love.  Yet, God has already declared me valuable, and is already faithful and committed to actions for my good.  May God continue to strengthen me, and you, so that we can learn to receive and rest in the love, value, and presence that He gives to us!

What roles, responsibilities, or people do you look to for an indication of your value?  When might you talk to God or another about this?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Eyes to See

My mind feels full of topics and tasks this Monday.  In this, I’m experiencing that God is inviting me to be with Him in my dizzying drive to accomplish, achieve, and finish.  This weekend God was inviting me to experience Him, and rest, while playing various kinds of games with Gabe and Olivia.  Initially, God gave me the grace to notice my resistance to taking a break from the home projects my heart and mind was drawn to.  Then, I noticed impatience and frustration rising in my heart, while trying to teach or play these games with Olivia and Gabe.  My desire to accomplish, my impatience, and my frustration became walls that separated me from moments of enjoyment with my kids.  They separated me from intimate and enjoyable interactions with these dear ones.  They were barriers holding me back from actually experiencing the present moment with my kids.

As God gave me eyes to see this, I attempted to open to my kids…but, this was not an easy task!  It was painful. God had given me eyes to see my own limitations, but then I experienced how difficult it was to change my pattern of behavior.  I felt some anxiety, and I felt a little lost, not fully knowing how to change, or how to act differently.  Yet, as I quietly conversed with God in those moments, it seemed like God gave me eyes to see small, appropriate steps that I might make at the time.  And, there were small changes…though they felt microscopic.  However, me, Gabe, and Olivia experienced those moments differently.  Those moments were more intimate, more gracious, and more fun than if I had not had eyes to see how I was avoiding a life lived with my kids, in the recognition of their needs, limitations, and maturity.
This experience has challenged me in my relationship with my kids.  It has also encouraged me, as I experienced God getting into the nitty-gritty of my life.  God was/is at work so that I can experience a greater quality of life, giving me eyes to see relational dynamics, and even eyes to see the next baby-step to take in my relationship with my kids. 
What painful awareness might God be giving you eyes to see?  
How are you talking to Him about those new things that you see?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

"Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing -- sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death -- can take that love away." Henry Nouwen

I am loved by God.  You are loved by God.  Yet, I have found that deeply believing and living out of this truth takes time and attention with God.  It is a relational and experiential process.  It is not limited to a knowing of facts and phrases from the Bible, but includes personal experience of the God described in the Bible.

My history, where most of my actions were motivated out of a desire to earn love, has developed powerful habits of behavior.  I am finding that I must enter into an experience of relationship with God that trains me otherwise.  Yet, I find that this process is a slow nurturing of trust and faith.  I have experienced that I need God to slowly help me trust His love.  Only then can I courageously consider more and more of my heart and life with Him and others.  Without this, I am naturally prone to ignore, suppress, and even deceive myself about the truth of my attitudes, motivations, and behaviors.  As I ignore and suppress bits of me I reject the truth that I am loved, and my life is given to the joy-stealers of fear, anxiety, and worry.

Where might God be at work to remind you of His love for you?