Soooooooo Tired

This is my experience lately. Maybe you can relate. Maybe you can’t. So here goes.

I basically am on the go at work from 7:30 straight through until 4 pm (taking 30 minutes for lunch).

From there, I headed south to the Goodwill on Highway 96 where I made some good $2 music finds. Those are always the best kind.

After that, I walked over to Bar-B-Cuties for a stellar dinner, including the world’s best fruit tea. If you’re ever at a Bar-B-Cuties, you should try it.

Following the grub, I went in the direction of a friend’s house where I attend a Life Group, but I stopped off at a pet store because I would have been super early to his place. I browsed and bought a little something for the cat.

After all that, I made it to my friend’s house and finally sat down. Then I was tired. Really tired.

It’s funny how that works. As long as you’re on the go, you don’t realize how drained you are. Not at least until you stop. Then all that activity catches up with you.

As much as I’d like to fall back a couple of hours tonight so I could sleep extra, that’s not the best kind of rest.

The best kind of rest is the kind Jesus promises to all those who are weary and heavy-laden. He says, “Come to me, all you who work to the point of exhaustion and I will give you real rest.”

Not necessarily sleep, although that is sometimes part of it. What Jesus means is the rest from striving to perform in order to measure up to some artificial standard (either your’s or someone else’s). It’s ceasing from feeling like you always have to do more and be more to be complete and fulfilled.

Jesus says, “I love you just as you are, not as you should be or as you wish you could be or how everyone else wishes you would be. Come to me, right now, just exactly the way you are, and I will get you to where and who you need to be.”

That’s true rest.

 

Django and Jimmy and a Busted Thursday Night

The bad news is that my Thursday night ended up being pretty much of a bust. Nothing worked out quite the way I had hoped it would. The good news is that I was listening to some great music while all my best laid plans went kaput.

First of all, the good. How can you go wrong with Willie Nelson AND Merle Haggard one one album? What you get is 14 tracks of awesomeness and some seriously old-school country music by folks who know what country music should sound like.

http://www.amazon.com/Django-Jimmie-Willie-Nelson-Haggard/dp/B00VXGTJMU/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1443750246&sr=1-1&keywords=django+and+jimmie+willie+nelson+%26+merle+haggard

The bad? I was supposed to lead a Life Group that met at the Starbucks on Franklin Road in Brentwood. I found out that it’s kinda hard to lead when you’re the only one to show up. Still, it wasn’t so bad. I had my pumpkin spice latte, Harper Lee, and Netflix to keep me company. Also, I did my fine dining with a chicken bowl at Chipotle (although I overdid the Tabasco Chipotle sauce just a tad).

The ugly was me showing up at Hudson Hall, thinking I would find a little peace and quiet, forgetting that it was Girls Night Out, which means No Boys Allowed and Me Feeling Like a Doofus and Doing My Best Joey Tribbiani Impression aka Not My Brightest Moment Ever.

Also, all the parking lights were out in the church parking lot, which was a bit creepy. Especially on a coldish, rainy night.

Back to the good news. Even though Thursday, October 1, won’t go down as the greatest day in the history of Greg, it still only lasts 24 hours. I get a new day (which just so happens to be Friday) tomorrow. I get to dogsit for some family friends in Murfreesboro over the weekend.

Life’s better when you count your blessings instead of nursing your wounds. Gratitude makes every situation better, because it helps you to see God in every situation more clearly.

Plus, pumpkin spice anything makes the day better.

 

Blindsided!

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I had a friend who got blindsided recently at her job. Basically, her boss sat her down and proceeded to tell her EVERYTHING she’s been doing wrong for the entire year.

I’ve had that happen a time or two where someone I know doesn’t give me any warning before reading me the riot act. I know you have, too.

Tonight in my Life Group, we talked about how Jesus has High Priest is able to sympathize with us in everything as He’s been through everything we’ve been through, temptations and all, and passed the test with flying colors. To put it in more churchy language, He didn’t sin.

If anyone could blindside us, it would be Jesus. He’s seen it all. He knows every false motive, every impure intent, every dark thought, every secret sin. He could sit me down and blast me into smithereens with everything He’s got on me.

But He doesn’t. He doesn’t choose to “blast” anyone. Hebrews says that Jesus as High Priest intercedes for His children. He prays for you and me.

Maybe that should change the way I act when someone blindsides me. Or when I feel strongly tempted to blast someone when I see all sorts of red flags popping up in their life.

The unfortunate part of blasting someone is that you might be able to seek and receive forgiveness, but you can never recall those words you spoke. You can never undo the wounds and scars you created. You can never restore the relationship to what it was pre-blast.

So maybe instead of letting someone else have it, try letting God have it. As in taking it to God in prayer, not blasting God.

PS Sometimes you need to vent out loud to God. He already knows what’s in your heart anyway, and He can take it.

PPS As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.

 

Holding It All Together

I had another epiphany of sorts as I was driving home from my life group tonight. It was one of those perfect Spring nights before the sticky humidity descends and decides to stay until October. I had Willie Nelson singing me home and I was meditating on what we had just talked about in our Bible study earlier. Then this thought hit me:

When you’re barely able to hold it together, remember Who is holding you together. Maybe it’s not so much about holding yourself together as it is holding on to God who can hold you together so much better than you ever could.

I thought back to what Mike Glenn said about the glory of God. Glory comes from a Hebrew word that carries the idea of gravity or weight. He said that in essence, God is the only One worthy of worship because He is the only One capable of keeping all the bits and pieces of your life from flying apart.

Idolatry is expecting anything or anyone to hold your world in orbit other than God. Sooner or later (hopefully sooner), you will find out the hard way that nothing and no one else can.

Some of you are finding out how true this is right now. It’s one thing to know about something intellectually and quite another to know from having lived through it. As much as I hate to say it, all of us will probably at some point find out in experience how true this is. Thankfully, God’s promises and words to us always hold up even under the most trying of times.

If you’re there, my advice is don’t try to be a Lone Ranger. Let other people in and then when your world gets better, look for people who might need your encouragement and support.

That’s all I have for tonight. As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.

 

 

 

 

When Helping Hurts: My Take So Far

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My church life group recently started a new study on the book When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. So far, I give it two enthusiastic thumbs way up.

The premise of the book is that poverty around the world can be traced back to four broken relationships: relationships with God, self, others, and the rest of creation. The book then goes on to say that where most people go wrong is to treat poverty solely as a lack of resources with the solution being to give money, food, etc., and treat the symptoms without addressing the underlying ailment.

One of the most convicting parts for me was reading about how in this American middle-class mentality there is an almost subliminal “health and wealth gospel” belief that God rewards faith with prosperity, therefore these people are poor because they are sinful, much like the disciples questioning Jesus about the man born blind and how it must have been either him or his parents who sinned for him to be like that.

There is a sense sometimes where Americans have an implicit “god-complex” about serving the poor, as if I am condescending to serve the poor out of my benevolence from my lofty spiritual position, like the Pharisee who praised God that he was not like those other sinners. Sometimes, I personally need to be more like the tax collector who acknowledged his own sin and deep need for God.

The reality is that both those in need and those in position to meet that need are equally broken, just in different ways. One may have a better coping mechanisms for hiding his brokenness than the other, but they are both equally flawed and both need Jesus.

For me, the biggest revelation is that poverty brings about a sense of helplessness and hopelessness and the solution is to help people see their innate worth as those created, redeemed and loved by God as those who with God’s help don’t have to remain trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty.

I suppose at the end of the day, we are all poor in one sense or another. Jesus says that it is blessed to be poor in spirit, realizing that we have nothing in ourselves to offer God but ourselves, for to those belongs the Kingdom of Heaven.

Trust me. The book words all this far better than I have. I recommend it to anyone who has a heart for the poor or the least of these.

PS Here’s a link if you want to buy the book. The cover is different than mine, but the content is the same. I’d go so far as to say this is a must-read for any individuals or organizations who want to work toward alleviating poverty in the most effective manner.

http://www.amazon.com/When-Helping-Hurts-Alleviate-Yourself/dp/0802409989/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424978877&sr=1-1&keywords=when+helping+hurts