Hot Tub

I have spent my weekend in a cabin in the mountains with a dear friend and her family. It has been a nice time of R&R, adventures, and just good things: Homemade apple pies… crisp fresh air… Imaginary Jumprope with little sisters… Bonfires… Secret family recipes… YAh-TZEES!…. naps… hot tubs… and yeah just real good things. I am thankful.

And, one of these good things taught me something. Let me explain..

I think that hot tubs outside are one of the greatest things man has ever captured. I say captured, because we cant take credit for the original idea. God did a real great job making natural hot springs, and I am very thankful that we humans recognized it. Because my gosh. I love hot tubs. They are simply the ultimate moment of comfort, and relaxation. Two great, yet extreme elements in the same moment. Everyone should get to appreciate hot tubs. I would love to own a hot tub.

I wish could stay in them forever. But I can’t. You can not stay in a hot tub forever. It gets somewhat miserable and is a fight to stay in. It looses the enjoyment. It just gets too hot! You get dizzy. You get uncomfortable. Our bodies were not made for 104 degree temperatures, and our bodies were not made to live in water.

Our bodies work best on land and in average weather. This is where we spend most of our time and should. Even though hot tub moments are real nice, and needed! We can not live there. We were meant to go out. My time with Jesus, is oh my gosh so nice and most definitely needed. We cant just stay at the church, or in a prayer closet, or in a conference high. We have to get out of the hot tub. Too much of a good thing, it just isn’t good for us or others.

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Honesty

Read these lyrics, and listen to the song by a real talented guy named Noah Gunderson

Jesus, Jesus, could you tell me what the problem is
With the world and all the people in it?
Because I’ve been hearing stories about the end of the world
But I’m in love with a girl and I don’t wanna leave her
And the television screams such hideous things
They’re talking about the war on the radio
They say the whole thing’s gonna blow
And we will all be left alone
No we’ll be dead and we won’t know what hit us

Jesus, Jesus, if you’re up there won’t you hear me
‘Cause I’ve been wondering if you’re listening for quite a while
And Jesus, Jesus, it’s such a pretty place we live in
And I know we fucked it up, please be kind
Don’t let us go out like the dinosaurs
Or blown to bits in a third world war
There are a hundred different things I’d still like to do
I’d like to climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower
Look up from the ground at a meteor shower
And maybe even raise a family

Jesus, Jesus, there are those that say they love you
But they have treated me so damn mean
And I know you said ‘forgive them for they know not what they do’
But sometimes I think they do 
And I think about you
If all the heathens burn in hell, do all their children burn as well?
What about the Muslims and the gays and the unwed mothers?
What about me and all my friends?
Are we all sinners if we sin?
Does it even matter in the end if we’re unhappy?

Jesus, Jesus, I’m still looking for answers
Though I know that I won’t find them here tonight
But Jesus, Jesus, could you call me if you have the time?
And maybe we could meet for coffee and work it out
And maybe then I’ll understand what it’s all about

Yeah. It is intense. He is “struggling with his thoughts” as a friend of mine said. And he is… But aren’t we all?!  If we were all honest, we would all admit to a struggle in our thoughts. That is why I sincerely love this song. I love that he is honest.  I get those doubts. I get those questions.  Some of Noah’s and mine are the same, some are differen. I get that it is shocking, but I dont know if it should be….  I think that Jesus would be okay with it. He lets us be honest. He lets us ask questions. He lets wrestle. And, he sure wasn’t to much of a fan of the answer for everyhting, black and white, know everything pharisees. I think he actually would prefer us to be honest and to ask him the questions….  Life is too short to not be honest with yourself and with God. It is dangerous not to be. I dont want to hide and run from honesty any longer.  Even when it is shocking and scary. Ultimately, even in my questions and my doubts, I choose to trust Jesus.

I believe in honesty.

Stairs

One AM. Tucker Student Balcony.  Just finished writing a paper.
Ready to give into gravity and go to sleep, I did not look forward to the trek back to my dorm.
Fighting to stand up and move, I pack my things up, and begin to walk.

I come to the stairs. My weary legs burdened by my ‘ready for everything’  backpack slowly move up each step and I can’t help but think. “I wish it was just one step. One giant step rather than thirty. That sure would be nice…” As I am saying this, I am creating the picture of this proposed solution in my head. I would have just the first step and the last step. It would take out all the middle ones, and look like a 90 degree angle. Just two steps.

It would not work.

That is just the thing!  This solution would mean going up is like a rock wall, and coming down this would have to be repelling. Hah! Both demand more energy and effort then a set of stairs.  In fact you would still have to walk a distance, then climb. Stairs blend the two.

So often I crave minuscule things to be done as quick as they can. I do not want to waste time. I am the person who carries all 30 grocery bags in at once, rather than making more than one trip. So often we only look at the first and last step as the only thing of value. However, tonight. I value the 28 stairs in between. I appreciate those steps. There is value and importance in the middle.

I’d like to think God knew what he was doing , when he allows life to be a process. He does not just give us a a a giant stair, and expect one step giant sized up to happen. I think that if he wanted us to do that, we would have that capability. Yet, there are 28 steps in the middle.

Faith and life is a lot of little steps.  Although God could take one step, he walks along with us. He walks at our pace. Encouraging when needed and even lifting our backpacks. I think he may enjoy these middle steps with us. I’ll never forget walking a the incline in Colorado. A mile of stairs. Hard. But. In those  middles steps. I walked with friends. We did stop and rest. I even saw a great a view from the middle.

I want to learn to appreciate the process. I want to value those 28 stairs in the middle as they deserve. I would never be anywhere without them! I want to learn the patience that God has with me and the middle stairs.  I want to walk through those stairs with others.

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Conscience

Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience. Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience”

I don’t think I trust the voice inside everyone. And I don’t always think that voice is sin. I’m confused Pope Francis… Not sure that is what you meant to say. I wish everyone’s conscience was the same. I think I do at least.

I’m thankful for the code I have as a Christian. With the grey we do have I don’t know if I could handle much more…

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-assures-atheists-you-dont-have-to-believe-in-god-to-go-to-heaven-8810062.html

Known

“What we hunger for perhaps more than anything else is to be known in our full humanness, and yet that is often just what we also fear more than anything else. It is important to tell at least from time to time the secret of who we truly and fully are . . . because otherwise we run the risk of losing track of who we truly and fully are and little by little come to accept instead the highly edited version which we put forth in hope that the world will find it more acceptable than the real thing.” – Frederick Buechner

I think life overall would be better if people would be themselves. If people were really honest to themselves. However, to many times, when we have tried to be vulnerable with others, it has been thrown back in our face, used against us, or laughed up. Those are scares that hurt the most. It is important to trust the right people. But it is also important to not give up on people. I never want to find myself later in life, lost. Not even knowing if I like Vanilla or Chocolate ice-cream better living life to please others. I never want to live life that the world controls me out of fear. I want to be me, and known for me. I don’t want to be known for the poster version of me that I so often put up. I need to be known for me. I desire that freedom and life. I think this is what He wanted for us also!  When we know ourselves in Christ, we can live this way. 

I am so thankful for friendships of love, truth, depth. They are worth it. These people I truly know, I truly love. Even in the messiness. The people that know me, still love me so well. I can not imagine life without that. Thankful that they know and love me well. They know good and the bad. We have been through life. So proud of each of them. Im beyond blessed to know them. Love that they are Jesus loving, world changers. Missing my heart friends tonight, and thankful for the new ones I have here. 

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What would the church look like if we really lived in community? Seeing the good and the bad? Being vulnerable? Isn’t this what christian community looks like? Why don’t we live this way? How many people do you really know? How many people really know you?

Wednesday Special

Newts Burger Joint in downtown Shelby is my absolute favorite restaurant. I love it. When at my other home for the summer, it was the place away that I craved the most. The Bacon, Egg, and Cheeseburger… my goodness. That is where it is at! I got to go back for the first time this week.

You get a fantastic, unique burger, and you can get two sides. My oh my, it is GOOD. On Wednesdays they offer a 5 dollar deal. It is a dream.  Obviously, as a college student, and with a college student budget, I find this place terrific.  I sure do love a quality deal.

I realized with this, that honestly. If this deal did not happen, I would not love it as much.  I realized that if it was 5 dollars everyday, it would lose joy. There would not be such satisfaction or excitement.

As cliche as this is, and we have all heard it. If it didn’t rain, we wouldn’t appreciate the sun. I think there are things to appreciate about the rain, and about not everyday being a 5 dollar burger deal. I think I needed that reminder.

Appreciate the Wednesday Specials in life. Appreciate the Mondays, Tuesdays, and Sundays too.

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A High Five

“The high five is a celebratory hand gesture that occurs when two people simultaneously raise one hand, about head-high, and push, slide, or slap the flat of their palm against the flat palm of the other person.”

Everyone has given a high-five. Everyone has received a high-five.

To give a high-five you must receive a high-five.
To receive a high-five you must give a high-five

The best high five in the world requires both participants to give and receive. It can’t happen well if a person is not willing to receive or give. This simple gesture is a metaphor of ideal life together, where giving and receiving go hand in hand, literally.

What if we all gave and received as equally and organically as high fives?

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