Shame

What do you tend to worry about?

Tell me “nothing” and I won’t believe you.

Anyway, that’s my line.  For years I’ve told people, legitimately, that I’m not a worrier. I HATE fear. You can wake up any of my adult children at 3:00 in the morning (assuming they’re asleep) and say, “Complete this sentence: ‘We don’t make decisions…’”

They’ll reply, “based on fear,” roll over and go back to sleep.

We’ve hammered that into them, and I love to see them living that out in fearful times like these.

That said… well… true confession coming…

I do that sometimes.

[click to continue…]

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They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden (Genesis 3:8)

The nature of the shameful is to hide from God when we sense He’s moving toward us.

The assumption of the fallen is to assume that the Great Unfallen would not pick us up. [click to continue…]








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Isolation

Some of the most profound lessons in life can only be discovered face down in a proverbial ditch.  And that’s where I found myself about 25 years ago.  My career was crumbling. My family life was devastated. Whatever influence I had was waning quickly.  My dreams were being shattered.  I was a complete failure privately, and was about to be exposed as one publicly.  And for the moment, it was right where God wanted me to be.

There as life was crashing in all around me, I asked the Lord one of the most life-changing questions I could have asked, and He was gracious enough to give me an answer.

How did I wind up here?

The Lord showed me three things – three huge, blinding, colossal choices or habits that set me up for a trip to the ditch.  The first I’ve already covered here – I allowed myself to get discouraged in one area of my life, and soon discouragement spread like spiritual cancer.

Here is the second.  I read it on the 18th of the month – I know this because it was in Proverbs 18. But reading it was like reading a lab report on the condition of my heart.

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment (Proverbs 18:1, NKJ)

At first blush it was obvious what that meant.  I was a pastor.  I was a public figure who made my living with words and relationships and eternal truths.  I was “on” 24/7, or so I thought.  So I gave every effort to play the part.  I smiled pastor smiles. I prayed pastor prayers.  I said pastor things.  And when people asked me how I was doing, I gave pastor replies.  “Good!” I would say, smiling.

I never told anybody otherwise.

I never shared what my biggest, most challenging obstacles were.  I never shared the depths of what my dreams were, either for myself or for the church.  I never told anybody I had gotten discouraged. I never asked for wisdom or help. I was a professional problem solver. I was supposed to be the solution to other people’s problems and the complete solution to my own… all the while presenting a front and leaving an impression that all was well.

The only way to pull all this off was to isolate myself.  I even had a name for it – I called it “transparency to a point.”  I would let people see and hear enough to believe I was being open and honest, but wouldn’t tell them too much.

Why?  Pride, for sure, but that’s the third answer to the question… more on that later.  Why isolate, then?  Because I didn’t want people advising me to do what I didn’t want to do.  I didn’t want to ask for anybody else’s help to succeed.  And I didn’t want to expose my life and work to somebody else’s opinion, wisdom, or direction.

In short, I isolated myself, and I was an idiot to do so.  I would caution you against the same mistake. [click to continue…]








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Couple looking serious

(A Conversation)

Stuck.

Stuck?

Yeah, that’s probably the best word for it.

As in, you’ve hit the ditch and can’t get out?

Maybe.  Or more like I get so far and every time I hit this wall I can’t ever seem to break through.

Maybe you don’t really want to break through.

What’s that supposed to mean?

Maybe you’d rather lose a thousand pounds than 20.

I don’t follow.

Isn’t it easier to lose one pound and gain it back, then repeat the process a thousand times, than losing 20 and keeping it off?

Okay now you’ve gone to meddling!  And yeah, maybe that’s true, but humor me.  Let’s assume I really want to lose the 20 pounds.  Or I really want to pray consistently.  Or I really want to stop feeling so insecure.

But you feel stuck?

I feel stuck.

Powerless to break free?

Yeah, that.

Tired of 1 John 1:9 being your life verse?

Yeah… Hey!  Wait a minute! Are we talking about me or you?

Well, let’s just say, to quote two former presidents, “Ah feel yur pain” because I’ve been “knee-deep in doo-doo” myself.

And what did you learn?

That I was a bad liar. [click to continue…]








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Until Lambs Become Lions

by Andy Wood on August 12, 2014

in Conversations, Insight, Life Currency

Lion Lamb

(A Conversation)

I watched the Robin Hood movie again last night.

Kevin Costner?

No, seriously?  Russell Crowe.

OK.

I love the quote from there…

About rising and rising again?

Yeah… “Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.”  That really resonates with me.

I can see why.  So are you rising and rising again?

Hardly.  More like “fall and fall again.”

Why is that? [click to continue…]








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Anxiety2

Found myself making a list the other day.  It was really helpful, and I suggest you do the same.  It’ll be good, clean fun. So grab that pen or loosen up those fingers and let’s brainstorm.

Ready?

Make a list of all the things you still don’t know.

Okay, from the sound of those crickets, I’m assuming that may be a bit too broad.  So hone in on one specific area.

The economy? That’s a good one.

Your kids of family?  Excellent.

Your work situation?  Awesome.

Regardless of the venue, when you allow your mind to focus on what you still don’t know because the future is uncertain, you’re giving yourself a heart-engraved invitation to be anxious in the purest sense of the word.  We experience anxiety whenever we are pulled in different directions.  That’s literally what the word means.  Anxiety certainly includes worry, but it isn’t limited to that.  Any emotional impasse can be classified as anxiety.

Recently I was reading the prayer of a really anxious man, and got a whole new perspective on what to do when I’m feeling anxious. [click to continue…]








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let_god_2

(A Conversation)

Quiet.

Quiet?

Yeah, quiet.  You ask how I am… I’m quiet.

In what way? Are you upset?

No.  I don’t think so. Just quiet.

Worse ways to be, I guess.

I suppose so.

And what brought you to this place of being so quiet?

I guess it all started with this sense of yearning – of longing for something more in my walk with the Lord.

That’s a good thing.

Sure, ‘til I realized what’s in the way.

Which is…? [click to continue…]








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CriticOnce there lived a hard-to please husband whose wife was determined to try her best to satisfy him, if just for one day.

“Darling,” she asked that morning, “What would you like for breakfast? “

He growled, “Coffee and toast, grits and sausage, and two eggs ‑ one scrambled and one fried.”

She soon had the food on the table and waited for a word of praise.  After a quick glance, he exclaimed, “Well, if you didn’t scramble the wrong egg!”

Now that’s hard to please!

Of course, critics are nothing new. As long as people have aspired to rise above the level of the mediocre masses there have been people who attacked their motives for doing so.

As long as people have exhibited qualities of leadership there have been those in positions of power who used verbal attacks, “coaching,” and “constructive criticism” to “keep them in their place” and maintain control.

As long as somebody has offered to try to make something better by (gasp!) changing some things, there have been gossips and fish heads who questioned their right to be there, or anywhere for that matter.

Other than politics, nowhere will you find more criticism than the kind that’s hurled around in the name of God or religion. And if that describes you, I have a message for you:  God just called and He wants His name back. [click to continue…]








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It’s hard to look in the mirror – literally or figuratively – and not see it…

The evidence…

The scars…

The stains that are so obvious to us and, we’re sure, to the world around us.

Let someone float a compliment our way, and up they rise, at least in our silent thoughts –

The objections.

The dismissals.

That internal whisper that says, “If only they knew the whole story…”

Know what?  Somebody does.  And He’s the only one who has lived your story and His.  And His declaration over you is the final say:

Sin erased.  Shame forgotten.

Make no mistake about it.  [click to continue…]








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You show me Grace in the cases
Where I would be tempted to give up on me.
Yet you see past the walls and the falls to the work of art
Hidden in this cold heart of stone.
You alone have the faith to see what I could be
When You finish the good work You started in me
When You first showed me Grace.
And I’m amazed.  And I thank you.

You show me Grace in the places
Where I’m still resisting the changes You make.
So you shake my desire from the mire of my stubborn will –
Patiently waiting till I bend.
You intend only good for me – to flourish, free
From the lifeless and broken man I used to be
When You first showed me Grace.
And I’m amazed.  And I thank you.

You show me Grace in the spaces
Between where I should be and where I remain,
With a stain from a past that still casts a dark shadow when
All I can see is sin and shame.
Yet you came to restore the years and store the tears
That I’ve cried in my brokenness, longing and fear
When You first showed me Grace.
And I’m amazed.  And I thank you.

You show me Grace in the faces
Of people who touch the untouchable me.
They can see through my blindness, with kindness they lovingly
Call out the best in me to grow.
And You know how I need to feel what You can heal
Through the tangible goodness You chose to reveal
When You first showed me Grace.
And I’m amazed.  And I thank you.

You show me Grace in the traces
Of glory that whisper to me of my home.
While I comb through the aches and the breaks of a world that yearns
For the day You return to claim
Those you came to redeem from the grave and captive slaves
Like I was when You found me and paid all to save –
When You first showed me Grace.
And I’m amazed.  And I thank you.








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