Posts tagged #risks

prone to wander

when i was younger, my family had a pool. it wasn't fancy - one of those above ground barely over four feet deep kinda pools. but some of my sweetest memories of my father are in that pool. every weekend we spent swimming together as a family - my mom perched on a float, her legs dangling over the edge of the pool, her middle swollen with child and her arms blocking the sun from her face. my sister and i swimming laps and racing and jumping and splashing - sometimes we felt more comfortable under water than above.

but my favorite thing - the thing that would make my heart jump and squeal - would be standing on the edge of the fuzzy deck, waiting for my dad to give me the signal. i'd close my eyes, count to ten, and ignoring the rush of butterflies let loose in my stomach, i'd jump.

i'd jump because i know he was there.

but wait. there's something important here. let me see if i can paint this picture accurately for you because i don't want you to miss it. there's me - on the deck - knees knocking together with excitement and quiet giggles escaping my mouth. there's my father - hands stretched out towards me - beckoning me to trust and take the leap. he never once told me he'd catch me, and most times i'd end up touching the bottom of the pool before resurfacing - but i always ended up in his arms. he always reached down and grabbed me from the water, lifting me above his head and pulling me close to his chest. always.

and this was my favorite part.

is it any wonder i have a hard time taking leaps of faith now? is it any wonder, in my own limits of who God is and what he can do through me, i cling to safety and protection and comfort?

i remember the thrill of the leap. i remember the rush of crashing into the water only to have my daddy rescue me - pulling me to safety in his arms. i remember laughing while sputtering and clearing the hair from my eyes, begging for him to do it again. i would anxiously await my turn for another chance to jump in feet first.

i don't know if i can say that about me now. i know i too often look the other way. i know too often i find the stairs and walk in the water that way - slowly, gingerly, preparing my body for the cold in a way that breeds comfort.  sometimes  i just stick my feet in, barely getting them wet, and then move on my way - too distracted and busy to really get deep.

i think He's calling. i can hear Him in the distance - crying out for me to trust Him - reminding me He is always there. even if i don't have floaties to keep my head above water, He will always pull me to safety.

The safety of His arms.

__________________________________

Are you needing to jump in deep with me? May we never be too comfortable to jump to our Father's arms.

Posted on April 12, 2010 .

best of '09: because it's easier to stay in the shadows

I originally posted this last March - and it's still something I strive for - jumping out of the shadows of my comfortable lifestyle and taking risks. Living dangerous love. Over the past couple of mornings, God has directed me towards Psalm 119. This has always been one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, yet one verse continues to stick out: I'm single-minded in pursuit of you; don't let me miss the road signs you've posted. (vs.10)

When we were younger, my sisters and I would play this game in the pool with my father. It was a cheap version of Marco Polo. Us girls would scream & giggle & protest our dad chasing us around the pool, but ultimately, we adored him catching us. Why? Because it meant him catapulting us into the air only to crash into the water with ease. Absolute hilarity brimming with the love of a father in pursuit of his girls.

How beautiful would it be if we sought His will so purely & without complaint?  I am one of the lucky ones. I grew up in a home which exemplified Christ's love & the importance of seeking His will. Ever since I can remember, my parents have encouraged me to wholeheartedly seek His face.

But I still struggle. I wonder why. Lately, I have felt an irresistible  pull to do more and be more and dream more. What my life is right now? Not enough. He makes all things new & I am seeking a new start to a life filled with urgency & purpose. A life of risks. It's been coming, but my toe is on the line & I am hesitating.

It's so much easier to stay in the shadows, isn't it? This isn't who we were meant to be. There's this little girl in our church. Every Sunday, she wears these red slippers - circa Wizard of Oz no doubt - and she is so completely unabashed about who she is. I'll catch her every once in awhile - twirling round & round to see her skirt fold up around her knees. We have forgotten who we are. We have forgotten who we belong to. We've missed the road signs.

Later in Psalm 119, it says I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. (vs.14) What does He say about living?

  • Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for the orphans and widows in their distress and refusing the let the world corrupt you. James 1:27
  • Run from everything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love & peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts. 2 Timothy 2:22
  • Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of the orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. Isaiah 1:17

Approximately 3.5 million people are homeless tonight on the streets of America. 1.35 million of those homeless? Children. The average age for homeless people in the US is 9 years old.

I had a friend ask me a couple months ago - "if we have church buildings on almost every corner, why aren't the homeless being taken care of? why do we even need homeless shelters?"

I'll let you think about that for a moment.

...

As of 2006, there are approximately 350,000 church buildings in America. I wonder, since 2006, how many building projects have been approved and money raised for pretty new walls for people to meet for a couple hours every Sunday. I tread murky water here, because I know building projects are a sensitive subject for many churches and deacons. But...couldn't that money have been spent on something else?

Like food for those who don't have it? Or shelter for those who need it? Or clothes for those  who have none? Or something more revolutionary & creative & mindblowing that focuses on Christ's love instead of what brings in numbers?

It just seems that, if we were truly pursuing him at all costs - full speed & looking only at His glory - we would be doing things a bit differently. I would be doing things a bit differently. Our view would be different. How do I know? I've lived it. I can't go to Austin anymore without thinking about Blue - the homeless man staking his spot on 183 & 57th. We conversed with him for only a minute - enough to catch his name - but his smile and eyes and face will stick with me for awhile. I don't even know if he would be there if we were to visit the spot again. However, the damage has been done. Three years ago, our window would have stayed up. Our eyes would have been focused on the light. The Taco Bell would be festering in the back seat uneaten & getting cold. But these past few years have wrecked us. Something happens internally when God breaks you.

It's easier to stay in the shadows. It's easier to listen to someone's story & turn around and forget his pain. It's easier and makes life a lot cleaner and nicer. But we were not meant to be safe. We were not called to be comfortable and if we stay in the shadows our light remains hidden. And at what cost to His glory?

Life is meant to be messy and risky and dangerous and absolutely beautiful. Where is He calling you? What is He asking you? What are you scared of?

The shadows are no longer a reasonable excuse.

Posted on December 29, 2009 .

pimp my writing...

I...am no Pulitzer prize winning author. I haven't been placed on the shortlist for the Booker prize. I'm pretty sure those people don't even know I exist.

And that's okay.

I remember sitting in my grandmother's spare bedroom when I was younger - typing away at her computer. I must have created thousands of scenes and hundreds of chapters on that rusty machine. I loved creating stories. I loved getting lost in the rhythmic sound of my fingers tapping the keys - making a cadence all their own. I think, looking back on my life, this is where my love affair with words began.

I was never brave enough to share what I wrote with others, though. I took creative writing classes in school & the teachers always said "you have a gift, girl...you need to pursue this." I will always remember the encouragement of my sophomore Creative Writing teacher - he pushed me into the grittiness of life. It was in his class I learned that my writing didn't always have to be happy & flowery. Sometimes, life sucks. And sometimes, writing about how much life sucks is pretty therapeutic. I'd like to think it's because of him I aim for my writing to be authentic.

Lately, though...I've been thinking. Perhaps it's time to stick my neck out a little.

I'm beginning to feel the need to take a risk.

I just found out a couple months ago that Idaho Magazine picked up one of my articles I submitted to them. It's about my great grandfather & my name sake - my grandmother. After editing via email, I was told that not only were they going to run the piece - but it's going to be one of the feature stories.

I think I realized something then...I can do this.

So, I'm not award winning author & I don't have a manuscript tucked away somewhere that will change the course of literary history.

But.

I have words. And I have stories. And, I am finally beginning to understand these stories are meant to be shared.

I need a bit of help, though.

That's right. You just got suckered in to my dream.

If you write, and I hope you do, have you ever considered freelancing?

If you have experience in freelancing, what are you top tips for novices such as myself?

AND. If you are in the bidnis o' magazines or publishing...you wanna, you know...hire me?

Posted on August 7, 2009 .