Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Didn't Listen to God on Tuesday

We had a staff retreat this week and were sent away alone to think through how the way we do ministry effects how we connect with God.

Two words came to my mind: creatively and frantically.

Psalm 63: 1-8 has been on my mind for the past couple of months and it popped into my head again, so I read it, totally worshipping through and agreeing with every part, as usual.

This is Psalm 63: 1-8:
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
   as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
   beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
   my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
   in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
   and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
   and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
   and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
   your right hand upholds me.

When I was done reading, I sensed God saying, "But that isn't how YOU would write it." So...I put it into 100% honest words that were my own and then felt God prompting me to share it because it wasn't only for me. I chickened out...actually, I disobeyed God. I've repented, and now here it is.

Maybe it's for you, too:

O God you are my God; frantically I look around for you;
  my soul would probably want you;
  my flesh is too busy to care,
  as in an overcrowded city where there is too much noise.
So I have tried to connect with you at church,
  with my limited knowledge of your power and glory.
Because you generally take care of me, I will do good things in your name.
So I will make you look good - until I get bored;
  in your name I will be too busy to care.
My soul will starve to death and my mouth will talk a big game
  when I realize how far I got on my own and that I don't know you at all;
  but you must have helped.
And in the blazing heat of this desert, I will yell about being lonely.
My soul clings to you, but I pull it away;
  I am too busy to learn how to trust your hand to hold me.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Since I've been married, I have found myself gravitating toward things that could potentially become part of a family tradition. I'm stockpiling these Christmas season ideas already, and just want them in one place, so I thought I'd share what I'm thinking through and how I want to use them. This is so random.

  • Hope Ornament: I saw an ornament at Hallmark that I want to create myself. The basic idea is that you have everyone write a wish on one side of a decorative strip of paper, roll them up and put them inside a clear ornament. What I want to do: When we gather to decorate our tree the following year, we will start by opening that ornament and reading what each person wrote. We'll write more hopes and prayers for the next year on Christmas Eve.
  • Twelve Days of Christmas Salad Plates (Pottery Barn): Dave really likes to have the table set for Christmas from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. I'm thinking of something fun that involves getting the entire table set in the amount of time it takes the family to sing, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Could be disaster. Could be memories.
  • Stockings: I want to do something different with stockings. Maybe each person in the family will pull the name of another family member and they need to put something in that person's stocking for each week in Advent (four weeks, each with a theme and goal). We could open the gifts and light a candle on the Advent wreath each Sunday night. 
  • Giving and Serving: Still working this one out. Wondering about giving each family member a choice to give up one of their potential gifts in order to shop for one gift that will be given to someone less fortunate. I don't know how to make that feel more like a real choice and sacrifice.
Also, I'd definitely suggest reading Noel Piper's incredible book about the importance of family traditions. She gave everyone in Molly and Aber's wedding party a copy and it completely changed my outlook on traditions in general.

What about you? Thinking through any Christmas traditions? Already have good ones?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I Realized Something About Myself Today

I've had a couple of rough days and my immediate reaction when the stress mounted was to start doodling. I'm a major doodler, but going to paper and markers to let out some frustration was weird: weird because it was breathing.

I have never considered art to be a way for me to vent.

So I'm left to wrestle with these questions:
Are my regular artistic abilities (and duties) suffering because I subconsciously consider creativity an outlet for stress? How can I expect my product to be excellent when the process to getting there is linked to tension and pain?