Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Reckless Abandonment
When my children were growing up, I wanted them to LISTEN when I instructed them to do something and then OBEY.  Simple as that.  But it never was simple.  It seemed there was always an excuse . . .

 “I didn’t hear you.”  I forgot.” “I’m going to do it, I just haven’t had time.”  “I’ll get to it soon . . ."

As I write these words, I feel them echo deep in the halls of time in my own life as I’ve responded to my Heavenly Father’s promptings and commands.  How slow I’ve been to respond and how quick to give an excuse.  I dawdle and procrastinate, question if it was really from God or just my vain imagination and generally fail to do what God is calling me to.

This summer I decided I was done arguing, procrastinating and questioning.  When I sensed God prompting, I was just going to plain DO it.  No hemming and hawing, no dillydallying just plain old-fashioned obedience.  It’s been an amazing, crazy, and life-altering ride!

I’ve done things I’ve never dreamed I would do and I’ve loved every moment.  I’ve given a fifty dollar tip to a stressed waitress.  I’ve begun walking around our church building at all times of the day and night praying out loud with a passion and a purpose.  I’ve stood up in a service when those around me stayed sitting, so completely moved by a song of worship that I couldn’t stay seated any longer.   And just last night, while at a worship service, I felt God calling me to take off my shoes because I was standing on holy ground – so I did!

Why have I wasted so much TIME, so much ADVENTURE, and so much LIVING, debating whether my promptings are really from God or not?  Seriously, would my sinful self tell me to give up fifty dollars of my hard earned cash to a complete stranger?  Would my natural desire be to embarrass myself and do something that no one else is doing?
That would be a big NO.  So why do I question and wonder if it’s really God calling me? 

If I want to face the truth it’s not really because I wonder if these promptings are from God or myself, it’s really about whether I want to obey or not.

I have allowed doubt and fear to keep me from living an all-out reckless abandoned life for God. BUT I refuse to live that way anymore!  I'm done with safe, boring, predictable.  I want more!

I’m listening with heart wide-open, waiting expectantly, responding immediately.  The next adventure is just around the corner and I can’t wait!

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other.  Act on what you hear! 
                                                                                           (James 1.22 MSG)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On Top of the World

You formed the mountains by Your power and armed Yourself with mighty strength.
Psalm 65.6
This past week my family and I spent our summer vacation in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  The highlands have always held a special place in my heart and I can’t think of anywhere I would rather be. I spent the early years of my life surrounded by mountain peaks dotted with white horned sheep in the beautiful state of Alaska, so for me when I’m surrounded by mountains it feels as if I’ve come home.


This last week, my husband and I did a "black diamond" hike up Shrine Mountain Pass. Having not made getting in shape a priority, combined with the high elevation, and no food in our pack, we were in for a difficult and challenging hike. There were many times when I wanted to throw in the towel, give up, turn around and not look back but whether it was just plain stubbornness or the promise of the spectacular vistas that lay just up ahead that kept me pressing on, I’m not sure.  But nonetheless, I kept putting one foot in front of the other.


We hiked past fields of wild flowers, craggy rocks, a trickling brook and windswept trees on our climb to the top.  The trail was narrow, with jagged roots and rocks making the way hazardous to our health if we weren’t careful.  Always with the promise that the end was just around the corner. 


FINALLY, we reached the top.  I dragged myself up the last few steps and collapsed on the rocky ground.  The view was all that I had hoped it would be.


Spectacular. Breathtaking. Incredible.


I gazed up at the sky and listened to the desolate sound of the wind as it gusted and whipped around me.  My husband had left to climb the final crest and I was alone with my Maker on top of the world.  


In reflecting back on that hike, I can’t help but realize how much life is like that trek in so many ways.  Isn’t our journey really made up of mountain top experiences with deep valleys in between?  Most of our time is spent walking through the valley and traversing the narrow paths on our way to the top.  Once we reach the top, we enjoy it for a few quick wonderful moments and then we must start down once again.


Life has its rugged paths; the disappointments, the unexpected news, unanswered prayers that can so easily trip us up and cause us to take our eyes off of the goal. Scattered in between are those moments when we get a little glimpse of heaven on earth. Then difficulties and struggles come agin and we want to give up – life is too hard.  It's all to easy to throw in the towel and surrender to the pain and exhaustion of the trail.  


But remember, there is Beauty along the way, Joy in the journey, and Hope in what is yet to come.


Psalm 37.34a (NLT) says, “Put your hope in the LORD and travel steadily along His path.”  

Some day we will reach our TRUE SUMMIT and life will BE A MOUNTAIN TOP  EXISTENCE not a momentary experience!  So Press on!  Don’t give up!  Heaven is right around the bend!