Take Chances, Get Messy

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“Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” If you have ever watched the Magic School Bus you will recognize this as Miss Frizzle’s mantra. And Yes! This is exactly what it takes to create and grow.

If you have children at home, especially young ones, all day long you find yourself cleaning up one mess after another; sticky icky fingerprints on everything, dirt tracked in, and toys all over the floor. The messes are a result of exploring, and this is a good thing because the best and healthiest kind of learning is messy.

The best and healthiest kind of life is often messy too. Chances taken don’t always work out, so there comes a regrouping to move on. Mistakes are made that have to be learned from, so that we can grow into better people. And even the most loving relationships can be mucky and have to be cleaned up from time to time. But when these things are done we find a satisfaction in trying, and a certain kind of joy.

Think about it, the best things in life are messy; babies, dogs, husbands ;), and chocolate cake are only a few examples.

So let’s “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy” because that’s where we’ll find the sweetest parts of our lives. That’s where we’ll find the joy.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.        1 Thesalonians 5:16-18

 

 

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What’s Next?

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Often in our lives the way ahead is unclear. We look off into the distance and there is a thick fog of uncertainty. “What’s next?” we ask God. We want desperately to make progress but we desire the security of seeing where we are going. So we stop, and anguish over what is ahead.

We pray. We pray for wisdom, and a clear path, and God’s answer is often the tiniest light that reveals the place to take one-small-step.

It is easier not to take that step, isn’t it? Because if we do, we have to move away from what we know into the unknown, into the adventure of trusting that what’s ahead is from our Father God. He promises to be with us. He promises to take our hand, but still we often want to cling to what we know.

The first time I was tall enough to get onto a roller coaster I was petrified. But my older cousin took me by the hand and told me, “You can’t miss this! It’s too fun! I will be right beside you and I promise you will be glad you went.” So I trusted him, climbed onto that roller coaster, buckled in, and had the time of my life.

Still, sometimes when the way isn’t clear I am fearful. But I can’t miss it, this next thing that is part of an amazing plan designed just for me. So today, I’m determining, to take a deep breath, take my Father’s hand, and take that one clear step in front of me.

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  —Psalm 16:11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trust

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Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.      –Psalm 143:8

This scripture reminded me again that I need to trust God. And I know I do, and I believe He is trustworthy. The fact that I believe this is a result of the Holy Spirit residing in my heart because, honestly, my life, as I’m sure many of yours, has been filled with difficult challenges, pain and loss. So many times I trusted God to answer a prayer a certain way and His “no” answer brought tremendous grief.

So when God taps me on the shoulder and reminds me to trust Him, I have to ask myself, Trust Him to what? Trust Him to answer my prayer the way I think it should be answered? To arrange things in this world the way I think they should be arranged so that the people I love won’t hurt?

I always ask. I am God’s little girl, so I always ask Him to spare me the pain, and often, miraculously, He does. Jesus, God’s most precious son, asked to be spared the cross. (Matthew 26:39) God said no, and Jesus took the path that His Father marked out for Him, then saved the world.

I am not perfect. I will mess up…lots. Unlike Christ, I have a rebellious heart that wants to take the road of my choosing, the smooth one, the comfortable one.  I have to wrestle, sometimes tenaciously, to find a place of trust. But I am learning to put my hand in God’s and let Him lead me on the path that He has marked out for me. Then trust Him, that just as He promises, He will be near me, holding me up, strengthening me, tenderly loving me every single step of the way. Redemption and healing will come through the pain as I trust that His way is the only one that’s right.

Trying Too Hard

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Trying Too Hard

A dear friend of mine once told me that the words that she wanted on her grave marker were “I Tried”. That particular day she was frustrated with the results of her trying. She is a writer and an amazing editor, but what she is most talented at is knowing how to be a real friend, and though she stays busy being a friend she doesn’t “try” at it because it comes naturally out of the love in her heart.

This morning as I was walking and talking to my Heavenly Father about what He wants me to do next I realized that from the time I was very young I have tried. I have tried so hard to be and do all I thought was needed and right. And though I know there are times for trying, what I’m seeking now in my life is finding what comes naturally out of the love in my heart. What I’m “trying” to do is make time and space for that.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.           —Ephesians 2: 4-9

Every Day Miracles

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Every Day Miracles

This morning I went on my walk at sunrise. It was a beautiful morning, the sky was brushed with oranges, yellows, and morning light. It was so beautiful that it hurt. It touched that deep place in my heart that we all usually keep safely covered.

And I stopped.

And I realized.

That every single day this happens. The colors are different. The weather can be friendly or unwelcoming. But no matter what, the sun comes up and it is beautiful. We wake up, drink our coffee, and get dressed, then move about the world seldom thinking about the miracle that just happened. The sun, that is exactly the right amount of miles away from the earth, so as not to burn us up or freeze us, came up again. The sun, that provides the light of life CAME UP AGAIN! This is a miracle of gigantic proportions and yet so many days I find myself barely looking up.

Today I am so thankful for the miracle of the sun, and for my God, who not only made it perfect for our needs, but also made it beautiful. And tomorrow I will remember to look up.

From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised! —Psalm 113:3

 

Time

Time is invisible.

It sounds like rushing water or a gusty breeze.

It feels like getting pushed down hill with roller skates on….and sometimes…. if we are lucky, or very determined, it can feel like opening a present on Christmas morning.

Time tastes like vanilla ice cream all sweet and cold then melted away and suddenly gone.

It smells like sweaty boys after a baseball game and looks like home movies on fast forward.

It is a glass half empty or half full but not measurable because we can’t decide how much we will have.

We can only decide how we will spend it,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA and who we will spend it with.

—Robin Prince Monroe

Abundance

Last week I found a beautiful, whole, sand dollar. It is rare to find a whole one that isn’t alive. More often, I find the green-brown ones that are still living and I toss them as far as I can back into the water. I knew how fragile it was so I carried it gently in my hand toward home. As I was walking I was thinking about all the sand dollars I had in the wooden bowl on my dining room table. This would make a great addition to my collection.

But did I really need another sand dollar? I had been blessed with this special gift from the sea, and I was so excited to find it, but I already had a bowl full of blessings at home. I started looking for someone to give it to, someone who needed it way more than me. And I found her! I came across a young tween-aged girl who was concentrating hard on the sand as she walked slowly along. “I think this is yours,” I said as I reached out my treasure. She looked up and her face brightened. “How did you know?” she asked, “I’ve been looking for one for hours.” She shyly opened her hand and I set it on her palm. Then she squealed a thank you and ran away.

That day I was given two gifts, a perfect sand dollar, and a young girl’s squeal. It was a two-fer!

Tell those who are rich to do good—to be rich in good works. And tell them they should be happy to give and ready to share.  1 Timothy 6:18 ERV

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Close Enough

Beach and Pools

At low tide the beach where I walk has several pools of water between the shore and the waves. These still pools create a beach walking challenge. If you want to be close to the waves you either have to take your shoes off and wade across the pools, or you have to try to jump over the narrowest place you can find.

This morning when I started out I decided not to cross the pools. I decided that it was just easier to walk further from the waves. But it wasn’t long before I sensed I was missing things. I could hear the waves, but only faintly. I could see the foam but it wasn’t tickling my feet. I could see the sea birds skittering along but I wasn’t privy to them poking their tiny beaks into the sand. The gigantic ocean was right there, and I had full access to it but, at first, I wasn’t willing to cross a couple of shallow pools to be right next to it, to be in it, to be surrounded by its power, sparkling light and awe.

And I started to wonder, am I that way with God? He is right there in all His giganticness, power, and sparkling light, waiting for me to make the small effort it takes to enjoy His closeness. I am missing out on so much when I accept a distance between us.

Today, I finally kicked off my shoes, waded across those tiny pools, then marveled in the roaring ocean’s awe.

I hear the roar to the water coming from deep within the earth…God your waves come one after another, crashing all around and over me. Psalms 42:7 ERV

Are We Becoming Cyborgs?

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(Image photo shopped by me! because I did learn something from that challenging digital art course 🙂

I just finished working on my computer, taking an online art course, getting to know, and enjoy people who I have never met in person, and most likely never will. I am living in a house where I can lock and unlock the door from the phone that I carry with me everywhere because it keeps me connected to more than a 1000 people (LinkedIn) that I barely know, and more than 300 (FB) who have I have gotten to know pretty well simply by what they choose to show me.

And though I am not ancient, I am old enough that I clearly remember a time without computers in my home, a time when I carried a quarter in my shoe for an emergency phone call, a time when I wrote paper letters to people I loved who lived far away, a time when I went to a restaurant and ate and talked and never once looked up something on my phone, a time when sometimes people just sat still and thought about things, or lived in the present instead of frantically trying to take a photo to make sure they could share it with their “network” of friends.

And it is additive to be able to connect like that instantaneously, and it is fun, and there are some wonderful benefits from all the connection. I get it. I confess, I am addicted too. But like any addiction the pleasure is short-lived and the value relatively small. Like a wind-up toy that is unwound, when the screen is off so is the experience. There are no pink cheeks, or sticky salt water and sand left to wash off.

I believe that I have successfully made the transition from antiquity to the cyber world. Sometimes it takes a little time, but I can eventually figure out how to use whatever software I need to do a job, and then use it, with perhaps a few bobbles, but with at least a tiny bit of aplomb.

Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality are amazing and fun, but deceitful because as their names suggest they are still virtual and mixed, but NOT real. Y’all! There is no substitute for a hand on your shoulder, a real hug, someone’s breath on your neck, or feeling a heartbeat next to yours. And nature, oh my, what online is like a warm spring breeze? A rollicking ocean? Or a leaf illuminated by the evening sun? VR and MR offer “close”, perhaps even “very close”, but still not real.

The thing that frightens us most about the cyborg idea is loss of control. But, real control is a myth anyway. We can make choices that can make a difference, but we can’t really have control over anything.

And I do have a choice. Every time I have a free moment I can choose what I do with that time, at least until something that is out of my control interferes. Am I going to have a conversation with the server at the restaurant, or will she find me on my phone posting on FB? Am I going to read a book, write a poem, paint a picture, or play hide and seek with my granddaughter? Or am I going to binge watch my favorite show?

We do live in a technological world, and we do have to be a part of that if we are going to have jobs and function successfully. And that is not all bad, a lot of the connection and equalizing is really good. It is only bad when we lose everything else, or diminish it so much that we forget the realness of real.

I think we love the virtual world so much because we can forget about the real world so for at least a little bit we don’t have to hurt. But pain has a connection to deep joy, and by skipping the pain we miss the point.  In the real world, we don’t have control, but we do have a choice. We can choose to go see a friend instead of texting, or take a dip in the ocean. We can choose to do something real- or we can watch a movie.

The articles I read in my class inspired me to challenge myself to take one typical day and keep track of my screen time. I’m going to include it all, even those few minutes at a stop light when I am checking my work email.

Then I’m going to make a choice about how “real” I want to be.

Because it is my choice!

Excerpt below from my favorite children’s classic, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margory Williams

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side…”Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “it’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then your become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”…

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to carefully be kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.