KENYA LESSON – CULTURE SHOCK AND BAD DEFINITIONS

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Four years after Africa. THIS is still a paradigm truth. Now that we are in the throws of control over each other and in lands we involve ourselves with when we were not asked, we need to re-recognize our own flaws as we try to help others.

Get this first… Africans are not moping around in a perpetual pity party waiting for the Western white knights.

T.V. commercials are not completely inacurate. Kenya needs clean water, medical facilities, and ample access to education. There are standards of living all humans are truly entitled to, and Africa needs our resources and our hands to help.  Then, we move out of the way! Do Not delude yourself to thinking they can’t be happy without our SOCIAL standards. They are incredibly content with what they have, who they are and the work they do.

The second day we spent in Kwambekenya was a battery of clarity and shifts. Africans do not pity themselves….. We are imperialistic spoiled brats for thinking the contrary. We are not supposed to go on mission to quantify our presence or our power over others.  And yet, there is an overwhelming opinion we are doing just that.  How many times we got the ‘evil eye’ when we visited Kenya… Strange. I thought we were rescuers?  They have already had rescuers who do absolutely nothing. They were fed for a day, so to speak, and it made life a bit harder once the rescuers were gone.

Western culture is not the end-all-be-all. The rest of the world identifies, works, believes, loves, creates in unique and wonderful ways completely their own. Going somewhere to enforce our way is a control issue, not missional. Go to your mission with free hands and a willingness to fix the world Their way.  If you have an idea, by all means let them know.  Don’t go to someone elses home, take over and say ‘WE DO IT OUR WAY, BECAUSE OUR WAY IS BETTER’.

In the end, when you are heading home, you feel at peace, knowing you were an equal part of qualifying relationship. You leave them with your heart.  You leave with THEIR hearts.

Selah

Defining 40

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The definition of ‘Definition’ is: ‘to make something definite’, which makes defining 40 completely subjective.  This is my definite.  For now. *wink, wink*.  What did your definite 40 look like?

I wasn’t at all prepared to turn 40.  I can remember the 8th grade like it was yesterday, but when you do the math, WOW, it certainly was not! Definitely.

Looking in the mirror is different.  Enough said.  Definitely.

Metabolism has become a dirty word… Definitely.

Adulting is now the difference between being an adult child and having adult children.  Strange sense of middle-child syndrome in this dynamic. Definitely.

Retirement is something I actually have to plan, instead of mildly consider. Definitely.

The rest is simple, easy to forget by tomorrow, mildly comical, but not at all important in the bigger-picture. Some may carry on through defining 50, only time will tell.  First-world problems settle into lessons, or vapor. Either way, moving on.

I was not prepared to be ok with turning 40.  The weeks previous, I started to panic, when the day came, it was… Nice! Gobs in my tribe let me know what I meant to them.

Friends from 8th grade are still as close as they were 25 years ago (Damn, math!). How often does that happen?! Not only do we get to love each other for who we were to one-another as children, we have immense love and respect for the mothers, daughters, humans we have all evolved into. – Definitely

The man I married is not the same man who planned, executed to perfect surprise party.  Yet, he is exactly the same.  The chemical reaction that is our marriage goes from solid to gas and back again, yet our elemental structure stays intact. Miracle of nature. Definitely

Our children have the capacity to drive us insane but, fundamentally they are all great kids.  When I thought of having kids, I skipped imagining being a parent to adults. Watching them do life on their own is a pleasure and a privilege. Definitely

Having a job to pay bills to having a fulfilling career.  THAT was a pleasantly shocking revelation! Definitely.

I don’t FEEL any different then 18 year-old me. Yet, I FEEL generations ahead of her. She managed to keep us alive when it was her turn.  She stayed sane and did the best she could.  Now that it is 40-year-old me at the helm, I feel it necessary to return the favor.

40 gets to forgive some, forget some, accept some, reject some. 40 gets to be calm and ok.  40 gets to inherit all the mileage and gets to toss away baggage without regret.  40 gets to remember the past as lessons learned, not unpunished crimes. 40 looks up and forward, instead of down at her feet.  40 is free.  Definitely.

‘Quiet Time’

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For whatever reason, I woke up REAALLLYY early this morning.  So, I got up, made coffee, did a ‘lil Facebooking, and went on with the morning routine.

I could have had ‘Quiet Time’.  You know the kind. Devotional, Bible study, prayer, etc. I’m not claiming that, because that’s not what happened. I simply enjoyed the silence of sleeping children and dogs in a still house while the sun rose. And it was fantastic!

Do I skip ‘Quiet Time’ on purpose? Is it heresy to say I skipped it all-together this morning? If I didn’t feel bad about it, and I wasn’t prompted by God to do it, then NO!

Here’s a experienced lesson about doing for God.  If I feel condemned because I did or didn’t, It’s not God.  If it doesn’t produce in me the Fruits of the Spirit, (patience, peace..) then it isn’t God either.  I felt at peace with the decision to have MY time, gave God a appreciative nod and got to work on time for a change.

Quiet time, or any time with God should not be begrudged time with God, because ALL time is time with God.  When you feel the need (or a that internal voice/pull) to SHARE it with God, then it’s intimate time.  Make sense?  And that is what God wants! Intimacy.

There is also Junk time. I like to do it in writing.  Getting it out on a page, gets it out of me, and therefore unclouds my brain for the good stuff. The praising, the enjoying my day, the loving others part… Writing out all the whiny, boo-hooey, first-world, no-one-else-cares junk, put out there for God to sort through, is just as intimate.  He wants to help, even if it’s the petty little stuff.  It makes for a better perspective actually.  You can claim some rewards and some accountability for the dross and move on.

In short (too late!), the lesson here today friends, is I could walk away from my room feeling confident God and I are good, without feeling I failed as a Christian because I didn’t make a check on the required  list.  Being MOVED to do what we are called to do (and doing it) is far more fruitful than being shoved face first. That will put you into a spiritual wall in a hurry.

Love God and the time He gives. All the time he gives. Good, bad, indifferent, it all has it’s place, and He is in the middle of all of it.

Be blessed, Friends!

Walk Out Your Inspiration

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Fresh Avocados

How do we manifest ideas to things? Actually, the more important question would be.. Why don’t we exchange ideas for reality more often?  Does money hold you back? Courage? Skill set? Are you praying for confirmation? If so, how long do you wait until you give up, or the idea fizzles?  How often have you been in prayer only to see someone else have the same idea and run with it?

I have been there too, folks, on more occasions I care to admit!  Why do we wait so long for confirmation, when the idea itself was the green light to move our feet in the first place? My prayer is typically about logistics.  What do I do? Who do I call? Where do I go?….. Yet, I’m still standing in place(duh).  Tragically, I have waited so long, I have literally felt an idea pass through me, and watched it…

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Imperfectable Me

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Ever get tired of being lectured about how much better you could be, if only you did…….? Ya, me too…  Or, “You are perfected in Christ”,(as long as you follow this nice long list of stipulations and protocol that deam you perfect by only a small percentage of your sphere of influence, and even smaller margin of the human populace).

By those standards, neither sounds like a club I would want to join.

What is our infatuation with perfectionism?  I’m sure ‘keeping up with the Jones'” was a great concept at first, as friendly/healthy competition, but are we so dissatisfied with who we are, we would risk the unique experience of being us, to be someone else? Is this our motivation to reach the unreachable goal of perfection? Is having a million friends on Facebook perfection? Is the media standard for body type, political stance, fashion, ect. perfection?

How about this one?…. Are you perfect when you use the right buzz words at church? Being in a pew every Sunday? Dressing up, instead up dressing down? Attending every single church event? Are you serving or being seen?

Trying to be perfect…. You know what? The human standards of perfection are lame. And, they’re exhausting.  Trying to maintain our current mountains are exhausting.  Trying to backpedal out of the valley to a mountain we already climbed is exhausting.  Trying to be someone else, because we are dissatisfied with who we are is exhausting. The energy wasted to control the judgement of us by others is freakin pointless!

We were very intractly, intentionally, perfectly made.

Intention is everything.  If we don’t intend to be authentic, we’re gonna lose.

 

You are who you hang with so Hang out with people whochallenge you to be a better YOU! not a better Them.

I really like this subconscious definition of perfect… ALL MY EXPECTATIONS WERE MET TODAY! IT WAS PERFECT!

Walk Out Your Inspiration

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How do we manifest ideas to things? Actually, the more important question would be.. Why don’t we exchange ideas for reality more often?  Does money hold you back? Courage? Skill set? Are you praying for confirmation? If so, how long do you wait until you give up, or the idea fizzles?  How often have you been in prayer only to see someone else have the same idea and run with it?

I have been there too, folks, on more occasions I care to admit!  Why do we wait so long for confirmation, when the idea itself was the green light to move our feet in the first place? My prayer is typically about logistics.  What do I do? Who do I call? Where do I go?….. Yet, I’m still standing in place(duh).  Tragically, I have waited so long, I have literally felt an idea pass through me, and watched it manifest through someone else.  I wasn’t trusting myself to be trusted, and there it freakin’ went! (Cue “Dust in the Wind lyrics here)

The idea IS confirmation you are being entrusted with greatness!  The first clue your idea is divinely inspired? An overwhelming sense of love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… (Gal 5:22-23). If you are on high-octane fruits of the Spirit… It’s not only a good idea.. It’s a GOD idea!

You ARE a ministry! What you put into this Earth is exactly what you are supposed to be doing, so please put your Big Ideas into motion!  Give them the life only you were specifically designed to do.

MOVE your idea! Share it, make it, do it, be it!! Still not sure?  Second clue… If your idea is bigger and smarter than you… If your idea flies so far out into left field it requires you to race out of your comfort zone to retrieve it… Yeah, it’s definitely a God thing! Prayer is our backbone as believers. So pray away if that is what you feel compelled to do, by all means!! Keeping in constant contact while in motion is necessary.  Stationary with doubt causes trouble.  When Jesus went into the desert for forty days, he walked. HE WALKED… When he was tempted, He didn’t stand, mouth agape, eyes clamped shut, praying “why” and wait for the devil to move on! He DIDN’T STOP MOVING! Forward motion is essential for MOMENTUM!

Stationary with fear is crippling. Oh, I know this well, don’t you!?  Anyone fear failure? Judgement? Embarrassment? Fear paralyzes from the hands, down!  Fear is so toxic, we make a B-Line right back to doubt!  “NO, you don’t want me….”  And, to tell you the truth, we fear how we make look to others, when it’s not about us in the first place! What if failure was a part of the lesson line-up?  Wisdom typically doesn’t come from a constant string of success, folks!

Anyone fear success?  Oh, crap, what if your big idea works!!! What if it requires more work than you thought?  Cut the “what if” crap already!!  If God gave you the idea, He is also equipping you for it!  Abraham, Noah, Moses… Do we need to go there!!  Here’s the thing y’all, if we sit back and allow our divine inspiration to turn stagnate, we are being disobedient.  Disobedience is not rewarded with greater or better ideas! Seriously. We clog our own spirits up so much we couldn’t possibly be conduits of Spirit.

This idea of yours is not just for you. This brain baby your carrying, is about its divine effect on your sphere of influence and, perhaps beyond it!! Our ministries are crucial for our place and our time! Ester 4:14 “……Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as THIS?” One of my top 5!!

God is pure creativity.  Wouldn’t it be safe to venture, God is eagerly sparing no expense to bless those who are willing to create?

Your time has come, Friends!

A Product of Change

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Lately I have come to appreciate the seasons of life.  Change allowed for it.  When rolling around in the box of current change, it is so difficult to see or even anticipate where your current season is guiding you to… In moments of stillness, as wounds are healing, and fog clearing, perspective shifts and clarity happens. With clarity, storms settle.. It’s a pretty amazing thing!

It’s a Sunday morning, and I am not at church. At the beginning of this season, it was due to people and the unmet expectations of people.  This kind of thing happens so frequently, and I had promised myself years ago that it wouldn’t happen.  It did anyway. Separation and a feeling of almost condemnation and judgement of others didn’t help.  Is it really that bad that I chose to stay home in bed on a Sunday? Not to mention, I was condemning myself, because I was pretty sure God was not pleased. Someone once told me, FROM THE PULPIT, attendance is not something to keep score of.  Yet, we still do, and I still was…

My love for God has not diminished because i don’t go to a building every week.  And His love for me has not diminished either.  One of the many things I cherish in my relationship with Him. AND, I believe God is perfectly fine with me not going to church (for the time being), IN FACT, he knew before I did, this season would be coming.

When I was saved, I was at church every time the door opened. It was fun, and blessed beyond expression. I did everything possible to be in service to the church… (See where this could lead?) I fell in love with service, and people, and programs, and studies.  Immersion can be so necessary and wonderful!! It can also get dangerous if you are not paying attention…

And, I wasn’t.  Pride became the driving force instead of  God. Need for status and recognition, and the approval of others was what I was worshipping.  miracles were still happening. Growth and faith was still happening.  But this pride of mine was beginning to dull out the true power of these things.

AND, I was becoming institutionalized by RELIGION. I was trying to earn my way into grace, instead of KNOWING i already had it. I was using church buzzwords like candy, and saying things like “bless their heart” in that condescending way. You know what I’m talking about. I would tell people I would pray for them, and then.. NOT pray for them. I was getting legalistic. I was becoming the Christian I had avoided all of my life! Without thinking, I slipped right into it. Then, the bottom fell out (as it should).

The last three years have been an interesting lesson.  When God fires you up, the dross that blows away can be devastating. People blow away. Position blows away.  Your left with some stuff that MUST be dealt with. In moments of stillness and clarity, you can rest and be healed. Perspective is brighter and forgiving. One of the best parts is coming to terms with loss, because the gains are exponentially more powerful.

It’s Sunday morning and I am not in a designated building of worship. I’m good with it! Not to say I won’t go back, because most likely, I will. Today, I sit in my bed, sharing a cup of coffee with my husband, playing with our infant son, overwhelmed with blessing and clarity. Because I AM part of THE church, I don’t feel condemned or judged by my God for it.  He’s doing something new and amazing, prepping my family for a new season of ministry. Whatever that may look like.  It most likely will NOT look like the expected. THAT is exactly why I came to Him almost eight years ago… He assured me that, though RELIGION stays ever tightly taped up in a box, RELATIONSHIP is and forever will be limitless.

Change… It is a miraculous thing!

Happy Sunday Friends! Where ever you are, however you are doing it, raise your hands up with gratitude and love for where you are! Things are happening within your Change!!