Life’s a funny thing though. Sometimes, the invitations we do not receive tear at our hearts so. Oh, we cry, we grumble, we do carry on.
You don’t? I admit I have. Funny thing though. Sometimes the invite I didn’t get wasn’t withheld for any of the reasons the voice in my gut tells me. You know that voice that lies to you? It is in there. I can assure of that.
Know what else? Some of those invites I didn’t get were for parties I know deep in my soul that I wasn’t really excited to attend, but my ego was reacting to more lies: “they should want me” or “even if I didn’t want to go, they still should have asked me” or “everyone but me . . . ”
LIES, LIES, LIES!
The trouble with lies like these is that if we listen to them and believe them they eat at our guts and make us miserable and TAKE OUR FOCUS OFF WHAT’S REAL.
That’s not all. When we focus on the gift the Lord didn’t give us, or the invite we didn’t receive, we dead bolt our hearts so that we cannot accept the special gift He has JUST for us and which is more than we can ever conceive it to be!
So, what to do when you’re feeling left out of the fun? Pray for those who are at the “other” party. Pray for those who have never been to a party, and be thankful for the party the Lord has in store for you at the right time! Tell Him how much you love the blessing of time together, just you and Him.
Oh, how He loves!!
Ah, I do love a challenge . . . there are many changing seasons going on in my life . . . spiritually, financially, and of course . . . it’s winter . . . which to face when they all must be faced. Hmmmm . . .
Well, for starters, it is not and I do mean NOT flip flop season:
It is true. I, a former yank (originally lived in MA) am now a southern belle (living in SC for 5 years) and I can tell newbie transplants from the rest of us because they still go without socks and wear shorts and flip-flops. Not me. My feet now get cold as early as December . . .
It’s true. I’ve faced changes of season a plenty since coming here. I’ve been seeking full-time employment for five years now and not found it yet . . . but I’ve had a number of temp jobs and at one I learned of a new kind of shoe . . . love shoes. A category I didn’t know? “Dress flip-flops.” It was on a dress code report. I never heard of such a thing. Cool.
I’ve enjoyed changes of spiritual season . . . being without income in a new place makes one realize, or it did me, what trusting in the Lord is all about and I sure learned my faith was weak, but I’m working on it. I believe He’s got a new season for me in my faith coming up soon along with the change in our weather . . . so I shall keep pulling up my socks and keep praying. When I first moved here I didn’t wear socks until February and didn’t pray as much. I’m learning. I’m changing.
Learning and changing are GOOD!
Growing up, I was led to believe that my church did things right while others did not. It doesn’t matter which denomination it is. I’ve since found many denominations share this opinion about their own sense of what “the truth” truly is.
I came across this quote this morning:
Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do — they all contain truths. – Muhammad Ali –
It reminded me of some courses I studied in college. I attended a Christian college and was “required” to take a world religions course. I loved it and opted to take more than one such course. You see, they taught us not only Christianity . . . not simply western religions . . . but eastern ones too. It was truly a “world” religions course. I was taught about some groups whom I’d been raised to believe were “evil” in their beliefs.
Know what? When you are put in a position to listen, to truly listen, to the culture and values and beliefs of another, you learn that we are all far more alike than we are different. I was amazed at the similarities I could suddenly so easily see as I compared and contrasted the many religions of the world.
This is not the place to delve into a long sermon on what I took away from each and every world religion I studied for it would be far, far too long for a blog post. I write this because rarely do I pick up a newspaper, click to a webpage, or switch on the television or radio without finding the “different” among us being judged and found lacking.
We judge one another, but we also judge the church . . . in my mind that is much the same thing since WE are the church, not the brick or wooden building with a few trees and a parking lot. You and I are the church and we carry its message to those who need to know it in our generation and the next. How can we do so when we seek to relate hate and indifference rather than truth? A tired cliché tells us the “truth will set us free.” Sure enough. Freedom. Isn’t that what we all seek?
Yesterday’s Gospel reading at my church spoke of difference, of the truth, of freedom, and of healing. You do not have to belong to my parish, my denomination, be a Christian, nor belong to any “organized religion” to admit those are things you seek. We all do. It was, in fact, creating a stir in the Gospel story told. Someone seeking those things was not “one of us.” He was overlooked, despised, an outcast. What was Jesus response?
In the reading Jesus was surrounded by a vast crowd including His chosen 12 and oh so many others eager to meet Him, to hear Him, to touch Him. One man, Bartimaeus, was blind. He’d been the despised one of which I spoke. Society at the time believed his condition surely was caused by some dreadful sin he or his people had committed? He cried out to Jesus believing He would heal Bartimaeus. Oh, the crowd had fits, even Jesus own chosen 12. Jesus, though, called the man to come to Him. Jesus didn’t care which “group” this man belonged to. He surely wasn’t part of any. Jesus didn’t overlook him as pretty much everyone else did. He healed the man and told him that “your faith has set you free.” Freedom, healing, acceptance.
We climb over, walk around, and pass by those who are different every day. We wrinkle our nose at how they “smell” and cover our eyes at the way they look. Our failure to accept them forces them to live as they do in many cases. Why do we not look at them? Could it be that if we looked into their eyes we’d see ourselves reflected there? Could it be that we’d see our own human weakness, often denied, staring at us? Could it also be that we’d see Jesus Himself looking back at us? We would see the Truth staring back at us for sure. We don’t want to see it. It is time we stopped denying. We are all different. It is time to embrace this and to seek unity.
The slipper beneath the bed
And seemingly without purpose.
It is lifeless,
There seems to be movement nearby.
Sure enough . . .
Now the slipper is no longer empty,
Is no longer motionless,
And has purpose.
Did it not have purpose all along?
By Martha L Shaw – Copyright 10-25-2012
Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone. – Miller Williams –
It is refreshing to see upbeat and positive words spoken on the differences among us. We were given different gifts by the same giver. This was God’s design and it is perfect!
I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap.
– Ani DiFranco –
All was bright in life for a time, fragrant, and fresh. Oh, how lovely it was to have those who gazed in my direction say “ahhhhh!” Then, things in life began to droop. My petals . . . where have they gone? At least my leaves are still . . . oh, no! Not my leaves as well?
How odd! Wow, it’s dark . . . day and night are all the same. What is to become of me? Hmmm . . . A new season is coming, someone said . . . I wonder . . .
Hey, something within me is feeling different, new! Maybe it IS a new season approaching . . . it is said that a period of darkness leads to a time when I will bloom anew! It simply takes the Master Gardener’s touch . . .
by Martha L Shaw – Copyright 10-15-2012
I want to believe this is true: