Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Comfy Slippers

Comfort.  Most of us gravitate toward it - we love our comfy beds, our comfy chairs and our comfy slippers.  We love the comfortable feeling of walking into a room and knowing everyone.  It just feels good.

Comfort is a "state of being relaxed and feeling no pain".  There is no struggle, no inconvenience.

Unfortunately, this is not a word that was used in Hebrews 11, when reviewing the Hall of Faithers.  These people were not comfortable.  Abraham was afraid several times for his safety; he had to wrestle with the idea of offering up his son; Moses was terrified to speak up; and Rahab was a prostitute.

I think these champions dealt with these situations because God cares more about our character than our comfort.  If you are a parent, you know that there are times when you allow your child to feel a "sting" in order to develop his or her character.

So, I think that these character building lessons are learned in our discomfort, or sometimes in everyday situations through inconveniences.  You know what I mean - things go wrong.  Teachers or bosses are unfair; people say things about you, a friend betrays you; people fall short of your expectations.  Yep, this is life.  Discomfort sets in.  How do we respond?

What about inconveniences?  I have always wanted to make my home a place that is welcoming for my children's friends.  But, there's noise, a mess and the expense of food.  Or what about welcoming people into our already busy life, extending our precious time?  Inconvenient?  Absolutely.

I'm beginning to discover that if I opt for a world of comfort and convenience I never fully mature in character, because the whole point of the Gospel is to follow the example that Jesus set for us.  The Bible tells us that earth is not our home.  Our home is in heaven.  We are just traveling through.  We are ambassador, here to represent our heavenly home and our heavenly government.  When people meet us, whether in church or outside of church, they should be able to see a bit of heaven in us.  And it may mean that we might experience some inconveniences in the process.   Timothy says that "we should be rich in good works and generous...always being ready to share with others."  I started thinking, "Who can I share with?"  "When was the last time I was inconvenienced for the sake of the Gospel?"

As we live in a time when so many people have hearts that are anxious, unsettled, constantly striving and directionless, God has the answer.  The solution is simple...God wants us to live His way.  Not our way, seeking to please ourselves, living to get our own way and seeking after what is comfortable and convenient.  As the perfect parent, God wants to develop maturity and character in us.  And we are so blessed when we follow his plan. 

But we have to choose to have discomfort in our lives at times.  We have to choose to be inconvenienced for the sake of the Gospel.  We have to choose to say "yes" to be the example that Jesus has called us to be and to walk in both the power and the character of the kingdom that we represent to this world.

How can you be inconvenienced for the sake of the Gospel today?

For further study, read Galatians 5:19 - 26 Msg

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Crazy Bus

Taking my son to his first carnival seemed like such a good idea.  It was a Saturday afternoon and I thought the crisp autumn air would do us both good.  He was only about 2 1/2 and I couldn't wait to take pictures of him on his first ride.  I placed him in his stroller and we walked through the park.  I could see the excitement on his face.  Then we came upon the Crazy Bus. 

I thought it was a kiddie ride that went back and forth, so when my son ran to get on it, I let him.  The ride started, and it did go back and forth...and then it went up, up, up!  My child was 30 feet in the air with his little head looking out of the big OPEN window at me.  He had nothing more than a thin little strap on his waist holding him in place.  In that moment I panicked!

What kind of mother was I - how could I allow my little baby to go on that dangerous ride all by himself?  What if he stood up?  As his little head popped out of the open window and he looked way down at me, I loudly said, ever so calmly, "stay sitting down, baby, don't stand up".  I began to pray and continued praying the whole time the ride was in motion.  It seemed to last an eternity!  I wanted to scream, "Just stop the ride and bring him down!" But I did not want my son to see me panic, so I remained calm (on the outside).

When he got off the ride he had a BIG smile on his face and ran towards me.  Emotionally exhausted, I scooped him up, secured him in his stroller and headed straight for the car.

God taught me a valuable lesson that day.  My child is in God's hands.  There was nothing I could do while he was looking down at me from the Crazy Bus -- I had lost control.  And it's in those moments that I have to trust God to take care of my children. 

How do you react when you feel "out of control"?