Monthly Archives: June 2012

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

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Within the last few months I have had two separate conversations with two separate girlfriends about this topic:  Waiting for the second shoe to drop.  Both of my friends grew up in families where the men were either abusive or absent.  Both of my friends are now in loving relationships with wonderful men- one married, one almost engaged.  And both of them have told me that in the beginning of their relationship they found themselves picking fights with their man and doing crazy stuff just to drive him nuts.

One girlfriend said, “I couldn’t understand why I was acting this way, but I just kept pushing him and pushing him.  It was like I was trying to see how far I could go before he abandoned me.  I needed to know where his breaking point was.”

My other girlfriend told me that it took her years to build up trust in her husband, and in God.  She kept thinking, “Things are going too good… when is God going to drop the other shoe on me?  When is this guy going to walk out on me?”  She learned to trust the stability of God by learning to trust the stability of her godly husband.

Both men took the time and effort to prove their worth to the women they loved.  One guy said, “I’m not like the men in your family!  I’m not going to walk out on you.”  And that was that.  A solid promise that brought peace to the inner turmoil of her mind and heart.  She could stop waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I don’t know if there is a psychological term for “waiting for the other shoe to drop” but on some level most of us deal with this kind of fear.  Whether we believe in God or not, there remains a fear that the bubble will indeed burst someday.  Our past experience has taught us that no one is perfectly happy, or that happiness doesn’t last, or that when you are at the peak of your happiness that’s when disaster will target you.

At the root of fear is always a lie.  This fear is rooted in the lie that says, “God has it out for you.”  God doesn’t want you to be too happy.  If you’re too happy, you’ll draw the attention of a spiteful God who will focus his revenge on you in order to take you down a notch.  But it’s a lie.

God has told us that He is FOR us not AGAINST us.  He has come to give us LIFE ABUNDANTLY.  And he has our best interests at his heart, always.  “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11  This is the truth.  These are the promises of God with which you fight the lies of your great Enemy.  God doesn’t lie.

He’s on your side, so you can just exhale, Baby!  God is for you all the way!  There is no other shoe waiting to drop.  Happiness doesn’t have to be short lived, peace does not have to be temporary.  Joy is meant to be deep and satisfying. You can trust God, he’s not out to squash you like a bug.  He has good plans for you, Good Things.

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Worry Warts

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This is for all you worry warts out there.  This is what the Urban Dictionary says about the phrase “waiting for the other shoe to drop” which is the title of tomorrow’s’ blog:

To await an event that is expected to happen, due to being causally linked to another event that has already been observed. Gets its origin from the following joke.

A guest who checked into an inn one night was warned to be quiet because the guest in the room next to his was a light sleeper. As he undressed for bed, he dropped one shoe, which, sure enough, awakened the other guest. He managed to get the other shoe off in silence, and got into bed. An hour later, he heard a pounding on the wall and a shout: “When are you going to drop the other shoe?” Thus the term “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
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Do you ever have seasons in your life where you feel like you just can’t catch your breath?  Why don’t you just kick me when I’m down!!  Gesh!  What does a girl/guy need to do to catch a break around here?  Are you kidding me?  THIS on top of everything else I’m dealing with right now?  To use another cliché, when it rains, it pours.  Having experienced times like that, it’s only natural to feel like one bad thing can start a land slide of disaster in your life.
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But here’s my Oh-So-Profound advice from the movie “When Harry Met Sally”.  Remember when they are driving from Chicago to New York after college and he asks her, “Do you ever think about death?”  He then brags about how much he thinks about death in order to make himself sound like a deep person.  He says, “I’m just sayin’ when it comes down, I’m going to be ready for it.”
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And Sally quips back, “Well in the meantime you’ll ruin your life waiting for it!”
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You can stop waiting for the other shoe to drop, and tomorrow I’ll tell you why.  For now, just breathe… exhale… and stop worrying.  You’re not being buried alive, it just feels that way now.  You’re not being singled out as a victim.  You’re not being punished.  Hope is just around the corner… in tomorrow’s blog.

My Grandma said she’s getting a little leaky… it’s not what you think.

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Josh bought me a new iPod a few years ago.  I really liked it, except that the battery never seemed to stay charged for as long as I thought it should.  After about 18 months, the thing died completely and would not be charged.  I looked everywhere on the darn thing and couldn’t find the little door where the battery could be replaced.  I thought, OK, maybe I have to bring it into the Apple store and let them replace the battery with a special tool or something.  Boy did I feel dumb when they told me that the battery COULD NOT  be replaced.  The iPod was meant to be disposed of after about 18 months, just thrown away, and then you buy a new one.  UNBELIEVABLE!

I had a hard time believing that in our day and age of Green-this and Reusable-that and Recycle-the-whole-world that this company just expected us to THROW AWAY our technology and BUY a new one every year or so.  But it is true.  The Apple company planned it that way to keep you coming back every 12-18 months for another purchase.  It’s called Planned Obsolescence.  And it’s an actual business technique promoted by the government (who else could be so dastardly?).

Interestingly enough, businesses didn’t start off thinking about making a crappy product in order to get you to buy more.  Have you ever said, “They just don’t make things like they used to”?  Well you’re right.  Things used to be made to last.  For example, The world’s oldest burning light bulb is in Fire Station #6 in Livermore, California.  The bulb, made by the Shelby Electric Company, has been burning steadily for 111 years (The Germans would have a coronary if that ever happened in Europe!).  It is in the Guinness Book of World Records.  The Shelby Electric Company built that bulb to last, but after a few years of declining sales someone said, “hey, if these bulbs don’t burn out sometime, we’re going to go out of business!”  At about that same time, the government was trying to boost unemployment.  They thought it was a good idea to make a law that says that things CAN’T last forever or else the economy would collapse.  So they passed a law forcing businesses to implement Planned Obsolescence to keep the workers employed.  (Here’s a Documentary called “The Light Bulb Conspiracy” explaining all this.)

It’s all part of a Grand Conspiracy Theory!  Think about it.  How can we have the technology to put a man on the moon, yet not be able to invent a nylon stocking that doesn’t run the first time you wear it?  How is that possible?  The answer is:  They are MADE TO RUN so you have to keep buying new pairs.  Same with your iPod, Apple has invented some of the greatest personal technology in the history of mankind… and they forgot to include a battery door on the iPod?  I don’t think so.  They want to keep you coming back for more.

Now what sounds like a devilish and devious conspiracy between government and big business actually has a Spiritual Application.  I propose that God is the “Mad Genius” behind Planned Obsolescence.  The idea originated with Him when he “invented” Mankind.  See, God rationalized that if He gave Man a spirit that could forever hold the Living Water that He alone provides, then Man would never need to come to Him to be refreshed and filled up again.  If filling the spirit is a one time thing, then we would never need to come seeking more of the Holy Spirit.  So he made the human spirit a little like a sieve.  As my Grandma used to say, “You have to keep reminding me, Honey.  I’m getting a little leaky.”  She meant that she wasn’t retaining things in her memory very well (I know that’s not what you were thinking).

This Spiritual Sieve that we possess was demonstrated physically in the Old Testament story of God providing Manna for the Children of Israel as they wandered around the wilderness for 40 years seeking the Promise Land.  God specifically told them NOT to try to save the Manna from one day to the next… it would spoil over night.  He told them that He would provide FRESH Manna Every.Single.Morning.  He was giving them a concrete, tactile image of how our spirits are MADE to be leaky.  We aren’t supposed to try to survive indefinitely on what God did for us yesterday or at summer camp or back in our youth group days.  He wants us to come to Him every day for fresh Manna, for a fresh Word, for strength for today.  We were designed to have leaky spirits, and like the Apple company who wants you to keep coming back for another iPod, God wants you to keep coming back for more of Him.

“He awakens me morning by morning, awakens my ear to hear like one being taught.”  Isaiah 50:4

Room Temperature Butter

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If I ever started a band, I might name it “Room Temperature Butter”.  But that has nothing to do with this blog.  I’ll get to the butter in a minute.

Since moving to Costa Rica I have noticed how much the weather was a part of our lives in Minnesota, or more specifically, how the weather is always the same here.  In Minnesota, I had a thermometer conveniently placed right outside my kitchen window.  I had another in my car.  I watched the news every night to see what the temperature would be the next day.  If I missed the evening news, I would check the weather channel’s website.  And I knew where every bank with a digital clock/thermometer sign was on my side of town.  Knowing the weather in Minnesota was an important daily ritual because on any given day the temperature can vary as much at 40* within a matter of hours!

The weather is also an important topic of conversation in Minnesota.  Nobody really cares, but we use it as a filler topic.  Minnesotans don’t like to have heavy conversations and we don’t like awkward pauses.  We all carry about mental flash cards with small talk themes that we can impliment to ward off an uncomfortable conversational lull.  Deep conversations are like dessert for the one or two friends that make it past the 20 year mark, but everyone else nibbles on appetizer conversations.   “How’s the weather up in Alex?” is right up there with “How ’bout those Twins!”  If we happen to be having unusual weather for a particular season, this can easily consume months and months of conversation rations.  Minnesotans will talk about a hard winter for the next 25 years!  As a matter of fact, I still remember the snow drifts in 1983.

The dramatic changes in weather are also signals to change out the wardrobe.  One of my favorite seasonal chores in Minnesota is rotating the seasonal clothing.  I love getting out the boxes of clothes for the next season and feeling like I’m getting a whole new wardrobe!  I love that.  In Costa Rica we only change out our accessories.  When the rainy season starts we get out the umbrellas, rain boots, jackets and light boxes.  (That’s to avoid the depression brought on by 40 straight days of rain, I don’t know how Noah managed.)  When the dry season arrives, we use more sun screen.  And that’s about it.

Finally, the weather clearly defines the changing of the seasons in Minnesota.  It is one of the real beauties of our State.  Each season has its awe-inspiring moments that make you wonder if you could ever be truly happy without all 4 seasons.  Even if you don’t particularly care for one season, change will occur in a few months and you’ll feel it’s all worthwhile. It’s worth it just to experience the joy of spotting the first green sprouts peeking up from the winter sleepy garden, or admiring the breath-taking fall colored leaves that radiate with an internal brilliance, or spying the first snow flake or the season with a child-like thrill.  It’s worth it.

But here in Costa Rica our seasonal changes are less dramatic.  We basically have two seasons: Rainy (April-Nov.) and Dry (Dec.-March).  We have our weather jokes like most places do.  We say we have two seasons, wet and wetter. It’s the equivalent of Minnesota having winter and road construction.  We have certain flowers that bloom during various times of the year (I don’t know what allergen blooms in the “spring” but it’s sheer torture for me.).  We have certain fruits that come into season once a year (mango season is my favorite- just before Easter).

Our year is also broken up by religious holidays.  Semana Santa (Holy Week or Easter Week) is a time when all the hotels on the coasts are booked solid.  The church puts on pageants and parades, it’s quite the sight!  Schools have their long summer break over Christmas time from December to mid-February.  So many people plan vacations during that time as well.  If you stay in the city, there are festivals and parades and bull fights and tamales and fireworks to mark the season.  We even have our own version of the Holidazzle Parade minus the  -40*F wind chills.  Each holiday has its special ingredients that make up the flavors of Costa Rica.  (This is a video clip of the bull fights that we watch on TV all December long it’s hilarious!!)

Our temperatures are pretty stable in the 70s and 80s all year round.  What changes is the level of humidity.  In Rainy season it feels like I’m  breathing through a wet blanket wrapped around my head.  In Dry Season I enjoying the refreshing tropical breezes of the Christmas Winds.  My family back home balks when I complain about being cold when it’s 50*F here.  They forget that when it’s 50*F back in Minnesota, it feels good… outside of the house.  No one thinks it feels good inside the house.  Inside we have heat, fireplaces, carpeting, insulated windows, and blankets to keep the crisp air outside.  Here in Costa Rica, I judge the climate by the state of my room temperature butter.  When the butter is rock solid… it’s cold.  Butter doesn’t lie, People!  Unfortunately when it’s cold here, we don’t have heat in the house, carpets, windows that close all the way, or warm clothes.  It’s all relative, I guess.

So all of this is why compared to how Minnesotans talk about the weather in literally every conversation, Costa Ricans almost never talk about the weather.  It’s just not a topic of conversation around here.  It’s the same every day, so why talk about it?  It’s just not an issue.  It’s the equivalent of asking someone, “how’s your butter doing?”

Blessed with the Gift of Flight

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Parrots in the Aviary

You wanna hear something sad?

Last year we went out to the coast and stayed at a hotel that had an aviary on the grounds.  I like birds, so I was excited to go see what kind of tropical birds they had on display.  They had beautiful Tucans and all kinds of parrots and peacocks and owls and some kind of vulture.  My favorite birds were the Scarlet Macaws.  There were mango trees above the cages, shading the birds, and some monkeys were in the trees eating fruit.  Of course those greedy monkeys never finish a whole mango before they drop it and reach out for another one, so there were all these mangos with just one bite taken littering the ground under the trees.  So my kids and I picked up a few green mangos and pressed them against the side of the Macaw cage.

Those big birds got all excited.  They would use their big, sharp beaks to scrape off bits of mango through the fence.  We just had to watch our fingers.  It was a lot of fun to feed them.  But the sad thing was that there were taller trees around the aviary and they were full of flocks of wild Macaws.  They were absolutely stunning in their freedom.  It was such a contrast to the caged birds we saw in the aviary.  The caged birds didn’t actually LOOK any different than the wild birds, but they lacked that sense of majesty and awe that we saw in the wild birds.  I felt bad for the caged birds who watched their cousins fly away wild and free, being just what God made them to be: Awe-Inspiring.

Pressing Mangos against the fence

In our ministry we have the opportunity to cast vision in the local church.  My husband travels around Costa Rica training lay people and pastors on how to start small group Bible studies on University campuses.  The cool thing is that sometimes at his seminars there are other kinds of people- not just students- ordinary people who have regular jobs but they’re interested in reaching out to their co-workers.  That’s really cool for us, because they are taking our ideas and expanding them, seeing potential for application in their lives, and getting excited about sharing Jesus with their co-workers.

But the frustrating thing is when we find these willing co-laborers trapped like a Macaw by a pastor who tries to control them.  Sometimes pastors can be very controlling of their people.  Sometimes people feel like they need to ask their pastor for permission to do ANY kind of ministry, even if it’s outside of the church.  For example, many of our students tell us they must ask their pastor’s permission before they start a group on their campus.  We’ve also had other adults in the church tell us they want to start a Bible study among their co-workers, but their pastor won’t give them permission to do it… so they don’t!  Some people who WANT to do something big for God feel like those caged Macaws looking wistfully at their brothers and sisters who fly freely above them.  They long for that type of freedom and mobility, but they feel caged and tied down by an authoritarian leader.

But really, this is mostly a type of culture clash for us Independent Americans who don’t like anyone telling us what to do.  We need to learn that “process” is not always a bad thing.  Most people who live in a Group Centered society like many of the Latin American societies, don’t find this to be a problem.  For them, they see themselves as a member of a group and they want the support and authority of the group leader behind them before they step out and try something new.  This works fine if the pastor is generous with his power and truly passionate about expanding the Kingdom of God.  This works fine if the group member isn’t frustrated and discouraged by the slow process of gaining approval and consensus among the group.  Sometimes it’s only the missionary who sees this as a problem.

It’s a fine line that must be balanced by us missionaries.  We come to a new culture with an entire life time of cultural baggage that we don’t even realize we carry.  We have our own ideas about how things should be done.  And if we aren’t careful, we can turn our cultural presumptions into Doctrine.  (Isn’t Efficiency in the Bible somewhere?!?)  Sometimes it’s best if we just sit back and let the people do it their way.  We present a new idea and let them hash out the details of how this should be done and what this will look like in their world.  The culture we are working in has it’s own set of processes and procedures, and it’s not a good idea to try to short cut these steps.  It’s a challenge for us missionaries to give the pastors freedom to lead in their own way and it’s a challenge for pastors to release their people into ministry.  This is not an easy thing to do.  Power is a heady thing, and sometimes it can lead to abuse.  Working together in building the Kingdom of God means opening up the cage and letting the birds fly free. It’s a hard thing to do.

Lucy and I are feeding mangos to parrots

Ravioli and a Nap

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There’s a two story building that I pass on my commute to work in the mornings.  The top half of the building is a gym for women.  I always see a crowd of women waiting on the balcony for the gym to open.  They all look like they are friends, like they’ve known each other for years, like they enjoy seeing each other every day.  I always feel a pang of jealousy when I see those women in their spandex work out clothes and towels thrown around their necks.  They look like they are going to really have a good time, like they actually enjoy what they’re about to do.

And that makes me jealous because I hate to exercise.  I WANT to like exercise, but I never have liked it.  I am uncoordinated and I hate sweating.  And I certainly don’t want to do those two odious things IN FRONT of other people.  This introvert can’t think of  anything else more painfully humiliating.  No thanks.  But I still would like to be a part of those women who congregate on the balcony of that building every morning.  That gym is like the Cheers bar for the women in that neighborhood.  They make exercise look fun.

But I have another problem with this scene.  The shop below the gym on the street level is a bakery.  Oh Mylanta!  Why would anyone put a bakery below a gym?  To make money that’s why!  This set up is a win-win for both the bakery and the gym owners… maybe they are owned by the same person!  So these women go work out and then they have to pass the bakery on their way out.  Bread is my Achilles heel, my Kryptonite, my one true love.  I absolutely can not say no to fresh baked bread.  To do so would defy nature.

So even if I did join that women’s gym and become a part of that group of friends, I would never lose any weight.  “I can’t understand why I’m working out and GAINING weight.  Do you have any butter for this baguette?”  Maybe this is just a problem with how I THINK ABOUT working out.  Like I’m missing some positive thinking gene or something.  I don’t know, but I really DO think I’m missing the thing that gives people the “runner’s high”.  Never in my life have I felt good after exercising- I always feel like crap.  I always want a nap afterwords.  Then all day long I’m exhausted.  Isn’t that just the opposite of what’s supposed to happen?

So I really connect with this comedian, John Pinette, when he says he has a chant when he exercises.  He’s thinking,”If I just live through this next 45 minutes I’m going to have Raviolis and a nap.  Raviolis and a nap.  Raviolis and a nap…”  Good thing there’s not an Italian restaurant next to his gym or we’d be in the same sinking boat.  He’d bring the pasta and I’d bring the bread.

Second Guesses Don’t Count

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Every once in a while I second guess myself.  Most of the time I am totally sure of my impulsive self (get it?).  Most of the time my actions are completely congruent with my vision for my life, where I think I should be going and the kind of person that I’m trying to become.  But every once in a blue moon the stars align and I’m hamstrung with self-doubt, paralyzed with indecision.

This cosmic even usually occurs in a Walmart within the first week of arriving back in the United States.  We have Walmarts here where I live, but they aren’t the same.  They are purely functional.  If you want a plastic spatula, a laundry basket or a bag of Kitty Litter then a Costa Rican Walmart is your place.  All the basics are here.  Walmart is just a grocery store on steroids.  For example, they have an entire aisle of yogurt and another complete aisle of coffee products and milk in unrefrigerated boxes.  Here I never feel paralyzed with indecision because my choices are quite limited.

I’m still so frustrated with my reaction to shopping when I go home.  The minute I set foot in a big store like Target or Walmart I feel the count down to a migraine beginning.  It’s a race against the clock.  I better go in there with a list or else I’m doomed.  This star-crossed shopper has been known to leave the store without buying a single thing simply because I couldn’t make a decision.  I know it’s time to leave when I hear my decision-making brain cells start to sizzle with the over load of information.  Sensing fear, Self Doubt sees its opportunity and pounces on the weakest of the herd.  It takes me down like a predator to its prey.

I found the Emergency Exit… in the middle of a forest.

This happens in my Spiritual Life too.  I don’t know how many times I’ve prayed, “Lord, you have to make your will SUPER clear to me, ’cause I’m not hearing you so well right now.”  I make a move in one direction and doors start to open.  I usually take this as a sign that I’m on the right path and keep moving along that route until I hit a wall or come across a fork in the road.  Usually I live by the philosophy that if you don’t hear anything new from the Lord then you just keep doing the last thing he told you to do.  No new instructions mean “keep on keeping on.”  Stay the course.

But sometimes I’m pushing on doors and they are opening smoothly when suddenly I’m griped by that old self doubt.  I second guess my decisions.  “Oh my word, this might actually happen!”  I gasp.  “Am I ready for this?  Is this really what I want?  Is it too late to back out of this commitment?”  I get cold feet.  This thing takes on a life of it’s own!

That’s when my prayer switches from “God lead me” to “God give me courage!”  Of course I want him to stop me if I’m wrong, correct me if I’m off course, and keep me from making a bad decision.  But when self doubt and fear come knocking on my door, I need courage to stay the course and not go running back to what is familiar and safe.  I commit my way to the Lord again and pull out his promises to strengthen my resolve.

“The steps of a Righteous Man (Woman) are ordered by God.”

“Direct my footsteps according to your word, let no sin rule over me.”

“A man’s steps are directed by the Lord.  How then can anyone understand his own way?” 

Then I breathe deeply and resolve to Keep on Keeping on until I hear differently from the one who orders my steps.

When it looks like the Bad Guys are always winning…

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Don’t bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked.

In no time they’ll shrivel like grass clippings and wilt like cut flowers in the sun. 

Get insurance with God and do a good deed,
settle down and stick to your last.
Keep company with God,
get in on the best.

Open up before God, keep nothing back; 
he’ll do whatever needs to be done: 
He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day 
and stamp you with approval at high noon. 

Quiet down before God,
be prayerful before him.
Don’t bother with those who climb the ladder,
who elbow their way to the top.

Bridle your anger, trash your wrath, cool your pipes—it only makes things worse.

Before long the crooks will be bankrupt;
God-investors will soon own the store.

Before you know it, the wicked will have had it;
you’ll stare at his once famous place and—nothing!
Down-to-earth people will move in and take over,
relishing a huge bonanza.

Bad guys have it in for the good guys,
obsessed with doing them in.
But God isn’t losing any sleep; to him
they’re a joke with no punch line.

Bullies brandish their swords,
pull back on their bows with a flourish.
They’re out to beat up on the harmless,
or mug that nice man out walking his dog.
A banana peel lands them flat on their faces—
slapstick figures in a moral circus.

Less is more and more is less.
One righteous will outclass fifty wicked,
For the wicked are moral weaklings
but the righteous are God-strong.

God keeps track of the decent folk; 
what they do won’t soon be forgotten. 
In hard times, they’ll hold their heads high; 
when the shelves are bare, they’ll be full. 

God-despisers have had it;God’s enemies are finished—
Stripped bare like vineyards at harvest time,
vanished like smoke in thin air.

Wicked borrows and never returns;

Righteous gives and gives. Generous gets it all in the end;

Stingy is cut off at the pass.

Stalwart walks in step with God;
his path blazed by God, he’s happy.
If he stumbles, he’s not down for long;
God has a grip on his hand.

I once was young, now I’m a graybeard—
not once have I seen an abandoned believer,
or his kids out roaming the streets.
Every day he’s out giving and lending,
his children making him proud.

Turn your back on evil, 
work for the good and don’t quit. 
God loves this kind of thing, 
never turns away from his friends. 

Live this way and you’ve got it made,
but bad eggs will be tossed out.
The good get planted on good land
and put down healthy roots.

Righteous chews on wisdom like a dog on a bone, rolls virtue around on his tongue.

 His heart pumps God’s Word like blood through his veins; his feet are as sure as a cat’s.

Wicked sets a watch for Righteous, he’s out for the kill. God, alert, is also on watch—

Wicked won’t hurt a hair of his head.

Wait passionately for God,
don’t leave the path.
He’ll give you your place in the sun
while you watch the wicked lose it.

I saw Wicked bloated like a toad,
croaking pretentious nonsense.
The next time I looked there was nothing—
a punctured bladder, vapid and limp.

Keep your eye on the healthy soul,
scrutinize the straight life;
There’s a future
in strenuous wholeness.
But the willful will soon be discarded;
insolent souls are on a dead-end street.

The spacious, free life is from God,
it’s also protected and safe.
God-strengthened, we’re delivered from evil—
when we run to him, he saves us.

~Psalm 37 The Message Version

“I am not worthless, You are not worth this”

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All the words in bold are scripture verses from the book of the Bible called Song of Songs, or Song of Solomon.  It’s God’s love song to us, so I thought it was appropriate to highlight some powerful verses when talking about Love.

I picked up a few free songs on NoiseTrade the other day.  One song is called The Last Time by Kate Monaghan.  Check it out.  You might like some of her music.  Songs are really powerful things for me.  It’s the lyrics that draw me in, the poetry of a song that captures me.  This song is a break-up ballad.  These lines caught my attention though:

“Cause I am not worthless, you are not worth this.  Now matter what you say about me.

Cause I am not worthless, you are not worth this.  You’re not worth what I’ve done to myself.

Cause I am not worthless, you are not worth this.  You’re not my problem anymore.”

Even though I’m past that angsty teenage-heart-break phase of life (Thank God) I like the poetry of these lyrics.  They hold an important truth about the lies that we listen to and believe even as adults.  The very direct approach is that this song is about a girl singing about a loser boyfriend.  The indirect approach is any one of us throwing off the lies that have entangled us- telling that Snake that hisses in our ear to shut up and go away.  He only speaks lies.

“Do not arouse or awaken Love until it is ready.”

In the beginning, believing the lie that “I am worthless” leads a girl to give away things that she should never give away.  Then she settles.  She settles for less than what she’s worth.  She continues to tear off chunks of herself to feed to the lie, like feeding bread to hungry ducks.  The lie gets more bold and more agressive with each gulp of flesh, each pound of flesh.  What have you done to yourself, Girl?  You’ve starved yourself.  You’ve inserted things into your body that don’t belong there. You’ve given away more of yourself than you intended.  And now you are less, even less than you thought you were.  He doesn’t love you any more, he likes you even less.

“Catch the little foxes that ruin the vineyard.”

Little lies lead to bigger lies.  Little indulgences lead to large indiscretions.  The slope is steep and slippery.  Satan keeps lying to her.  He entices her to cut herself.  Then he accuses her for doing it.  You’re worthless.  And now look what you’ve done.  Didn’t I tell you you were bad?  That Snake won’t stop with just one bite.  He strikes over and over again.

What can she do?  How do you fight a Liar?  With the truth.  What truth do you know?

“I am not worthless!”  “I am my Beloved’s and he is mine, his banner over me is Love!”  Swing that sword, Girl.  You are Loved!

“I am not worthless!”  I sing with gusto!  I sing with personal conviction of one who knows she is loved.  “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come away with me.”  Fight, Girl.  Fight!  You’re worth it.

“I am not worthless.  No matter what you say about me.”  I know who I am.  Like a child who has been bullied, my Father God rises up in holy fury and flies to my rescue when I cry for Him.  Like a Momma Bear on the rampage, God defends me from the Liar.  I know who I am.  I am a precious child, valued and treasured.  Precious.  “How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter.”

Girl, you are not worthless.  You are the precious daughter of the God-King.  You are a Princess!

 Feel loved, feel wanted, feel desired… You are not worthless.

You can’t please everyone

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People hide Facebook friends because they’re too cheerful or too negative or too political or too much of a sports fan… You can’t please everyone.

The youth group is too spiritual or too fun… You can’t please everyone.

The drums are too loud, the organ is too old fashioned… We’re trying, but we can’t please everyone.

Service is too long, too short, too early, at an inconvenient time for the baby… There’s too many of you, we can’t please everyone!

The parking lot is too big I don’t want to walk that far, no it’s not big enough I can never find a spot… Take the bus, we can’t please everyone.

We want more stuff, but we need more storage space for the stuff we never use… Yep, you guessed it, can’t please everyone.

I loved the blog, I hated the blog… That doesn’t surprise me, I can’t please everyone.

You’re so honest.  So fake, I bet that’s not even your real name… *sigh*, I can’t please everyone.

Missionary-pastor’s wife, you’re not doing enough.  Mom, you’re doing too much… I’d rather please just you.

Taking the kids out for dinner.  Give them a choice:  McD’s or KFC.  One of each and the third wants Subway… who’s driving this crazy train anyways?

Children of Israel crying to God, “Deliver us from slavery!” for 700 years.   Now complaining, “Why did you take us from Egypt?!  Let’s go back!  I miss garlic.”

Fickleness.  There are some who would special order from Life, if they could.  You can’t please everyone.

Aside from God, who are the 2 or 3 people in your life whose opinion actually matters?