It’s A Good Feeling When . . .

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It’s a good feeling when you can finally be you– the real you– with no shame or embarrassment. That you can be a full-on goober and not care what anybody else thinks. That you can be the ultimate anti-hipster and go against all that is hip and trendy and not give a rat’s . . . tail.

It’s a good feeling when people walk out of your life and you can smile and wave goodbye and move forward. When you know the people who mind don’t matter and the people who matter don’t mind. The people in your life are God’s blessing to you. When He removes people from your life, it’s often a bigger– though underappreciated– blessing. You never really know what He protected and saved you from when He did that.

It’s a good feeling when you’re content with who you are and realize the best things in life can’t be bought or sold or even valued. When you hear your Abba’s voice and decide that that one voice speaks more meaningfully to you than all the other voices of popularity and fame and success.

It’s a good feeling when you can finally forgive yourself for not being all things to all people, for not being perfect all the time, for being a forgiven sinner and not a first-rate saint. It really is a good feeling when you can not only hear God calling you His beloved in whom He is well pleased, but receive it and live out of it and never ever get over it.

So go live boldly. Make big mistakes and fail ridiculously. As one of my favorite quotes from a movies goes, “Have the courage to fail big and stick around and make ’em wonder why you’re still smilin’.”

And most of all, go out and love being you because not even you can love being you as much as God does.

 

Expensive Mistakes, Shame, and other Random Tuesday Night Thoughts

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Have you ever made an expensive mistake?

Immediately, I think of the movie Elizabethtown and the character Drew Baylor. He created a shoe which ended up costing the company he worked for close to $1 billion. It was, in his words, a fiasco.

There’s a great line from the movie:

“As somebody once said, there’s a difference between a failure and a fiasco. A failure is simply the non-present of success. Any fool can accomplish failure. But a fiasco, a fiasco is a disaster of mythic proportions. A fiasco is a folktale told to others, that makes other people feel more… alive. Because it didn’t happen to them.”

Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe your mistake wasn’t worth $1 billion. Maybe it was worth $10,000. Or maybe it just ruined a relationship. Or a reputation.

Maybe you feel the familiar nagging sensation of shame, never overpowering but always there, lurking nearby.

Tonight’s guest speaker at Kairos spoke of how two different people in the Bible dealt with shame in radically different ways:

Judas betrayed Jesus and ended up hanging himself, while Peter denied knowing Jesus and ended up hanging around. Not only that, the shame turned into an opportunity for God to use him in ways he probably never would have thought possible.

The speaker said something that I’ll never forget. He said something to the effect that Judas hung himself by his shame because he didn’t know that Jesus hung on the cross for his shame.

The cross means that shame has no more power over your (or my) life ever again. Shame has lost the power to speak into our lives because Jesus took those failures, those fiascos, those worst moments upon Himself on the cross. He took them to the grave, but when He arose on Easter morning, He left them behind, utterly defeated and powerless.

You are not defined by your fiascos or those moments of shame any longer. You are defined by what Jesus did for you and by who you are now in the power of His resurrection. You are defined as beloved child of God in whom He is well pleased.

Shame is all about your past. Jesus wants you to go forward and live in the future He has for you, not in that past any longer.

 

Things I Love 3: The Trilogy of Terribly Named Blogs

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I continue with my list of things that I love, things that may not seem like such a big deal, but are present and daily reminders of the goodness of God in a thousand small ways. I will pick up where I left off with #57.

57) Not feeling the need to be friends with everyone so you can have deeper friendships that have more meaning.

58) When you hear a sermon that speaks directly to you and feels like it was written specifically for you.

59) All the black and white episodes of The Andy Griffith show.

60) A well-timed pun.

61) Finally being comfortable in my own skin.

62) Being able to laugh at my own goofiness and not be bothered by the fact that I’m a goober 99% of the time.

63) That all the future promises of God are as good as done.

64) GPS that keeps me from getting lost on these hopelessly and gloriously confusing roads in and around Nashville.

65) That  nothing, absolutely nothing, will ever separate me from the love of God in Jesus Christ.

66) Taking all my size 34 jeans to Goodwill because they’re way too big for me now.

67) Scottish, Irish, and British accents.

68) The fact that I’m taller than Tom Cruise.

69) People who get me.

70) That the people who matter don’t mind and the people who mind don’t matter.

71) Reading through The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings every single year.

72) Ditto for The Hobbit.

73) My very,very red New Balance running shoes that are super-duper lightweight.

74) Anything Patty Griffin has ever or will ever record– even if it’s singing through the phone book alphabetically.

75) That no one is beyond the reach of God’s love and that it is never too late to start over.

76) The movie Elizabethtown– and anyone who has actually seen it and appreciates it the way I do.

77) Wearing my red chucks, i.e. my very red vintage-style Chuck Taylor Converse high tops.

78) Any worship song by Hillsong, Kari Jobe, or Chris Tomlin.

79) A good quote from Mother Teresa.

80) That I promise in the future I will try to think of better titles for these blogs.

The Art of the Mix Tape

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The art of creating a perfect mix tape is becoming more and more of a lost art. With the advent of iPods and digital music downloads, it’s easy to rip all of your music on to one device and set it on random.

But to sit down and agonizingly pick the right songs and put them in the right order to create a mood is not as easy as it sounds. Whether it’s for a road trip or for a special someone or for falling asleep or just for sitting alone in the dark, there’s a science and an art to creating a mix tape (or CD, if you will).

You can mess up a mix cassette tape and record over it (but after a few times, you lose the audio quality). With burning a CD, you have to get it right the first time.

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Anyone can put together a collection of all the top songs of any given time period. But to select songs that define a part of your life is a completely different matter. They have to be songs that evoke tangible feelings and memories that take you back to a specific time and place and conjur up details of where you were and what you were doing when you first heard that song.

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About 10 years ago, I created my own collection of mix CDs based off a radio station I was listening to at the time. It was one of the first independent/alternative-to-the-normal-top-40 stations I had ever heard and I was instantly smitten. I got introduced to groups like The BoDeans, Susan Tedeschi, Iris DeMent, Cowboy Junkies, Wilco, and many more artists that I had never heard of before. My musical trajectory was forever altered during that year.

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I can still listen to those CDs and remember what I felt when I first heard those songs, my hopes and dreams and aspirations. I wouldn’t call them perfect by any means, but they serve to encapsulate a time in my life.

If you need guidance on how to put together a mix tape, I suggest watching the movie High Fidelity. Also, movies like Juno, Elizabethtown, and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist have soundtracks that might suggest ideas for what songs to put in a mix tape.

Just have fun with it and try not to over-analyze it too much. Go with what feels right. Also, let me know what songs you put into your mix tapes and CDs. Who knows? I might be inclined to make one for myself.