Archive for the 'Relationships' Category

Dec 09 2014

I Can’t Compete With That: Thoughts on Feeling Inferior (Part 2)

Published by under Life,Relationships

When we lament what we lack and long for what others have, we’re living our lives in a way we’re not supposed to.

There’s only one thought we typically have about God when we’re moping about, feeling inferior to others: “God, why am I this way? Why am I dumpy? Why don’t I have what they have?” We forget much about God.

Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water? While still growing and uncut, they wither more quickly than grass. Such is the destiny of all who forget God… What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web. They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold.
_Job‬ ‭8‬:‭11-15‬

Spider webs aren’t tables. And our lives aren’t competitions. We can’t lean on the external things – things that aren’t God. He didn’t make life to be lived like that!

Why do we despise beauty and success in other people? It threatens our reign as the most supreme and admirable.

We need to change where we compare.

We tend to look at people we imagine are better than us on earth and say, “Oh no!”

We need to consider all God has done – his beauty, his works, his hand on our life and say, “Oh my!”

We reach across and try to push people down in our minds. We need to reach out and ask God to pull us up to his level. 

God never intended us to compare ourselves against each other. 

When we get irrationally jealous, resentful, and angry at others we see we’re not holy yet.  

We ask the wrong questions. Our goofy hearts ask the shallow questions! Paul talked seriously about this…

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”
_Romans‬ ‭9‬:‭20-21‬

To dig beneath the surface and examine our displeasure with our lot is a hard but essential thing in order for us to grow into all God made us to be. To ask, “Lord, why am I this way? Why am I dumpy in my soul? Why don’t I have what you have? Why do I despise how you’ve made me?”

God has architected the human race. Every last one of us. He’s perfect. He doesn’t make mistakes.

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Dec 08 2014

I Can’t Compete With That: Thoughts on Feeling Inferior (Part 1)

Published by under Life,Relationships

Someone else is always better. They have a better body, better looks, better money, better talent, better fashion, better personality, better brains.

It’s discouraging. We often think “Man, I’m a pile of poop” or “I’m on the bottom of the pile of all these better people.”

This is the part where I’m supposed to write a bible verse about how God loves us. And maybe it really is that simple, but that’s not our experience, is it?

That feeling of inferiority is gnawing. It has a physical feeling. When you consider your place in the rankings, your heart beats a little more shallow, a little lower in your chest. It’s like the core of who you are is trying to hide from the world.

Your mouth doesn’t speak. The only words you hear are from a voice inside that says, “I can’t compete with that.”

Typically, that thought leaves us down. But I’ve had enough of that.

I may not be able to compete against other people in this world. But I can try to compete against these thoughts in my heart and mind. They’re destructive thoughts that don’t belong. They don’t feel loving. They don’t feel like God. They feel foreign. And I want to understand them a little more.

So I’m gonna do a writing exercise this week. I’m going to think on this topic every day the next four days and write a post each day.

Mysteries call to us. We can stay put and be continually confused and frustrated or get up and investigate. It’s time to do some work.

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Nov 22 2014

A Thought on Being Vulnerable with Less Nervousness

Published by under Life,Relationships

Five years ago, my brothers and I did a day-long endurance race – running and cycling around Nashville and doing mental challenges a la Amazing Race.

One of the events we came to was coffee bean counting. My brothers and I are not stupid. But for this event, we were.

The challenge was to count out 1,000 coffee beans. It took us forever. We were one of the first teams to arrive at the challenge, and we kept seeing teams leave before us.

Finally, we understood what we were missing.

There was a scale that was made available to us but we didn’t use it. Teams were counting 50 or 100 coffee beans and weighing them. Then they multiplied that weight by 20 (for the 50 beans) or 10 (for the 100 beans) and added beans to the scale until it weighed that number.

We made something relatively simple relatively difficult because we looked at the problem the wrong way.

My incomplete definition of vulnerability is “acting toward or speaking something to another person without knowing how they’ll react.”

We could be rejected. And that never feels good.

But here’s a different way to think about vulnerability.

Vulnerability is sharing truth with someone else.

Notice what that definition doesn’t include? Anything about a reaction from the other person. Vulnerability is about telling someone a truth. They may not like the truth you tell them but it doesn’t make what you say less true!

When we focus on the reactions of other people,  we imagine the worst. We focus on our fear and not the truth. We put ourselves in a prison, keeping our best and most valuable words locked away to wither. Fear of man is a lousy master.

Think about a few of the ways fear messes up our lives:

  1. Prevents you from telling some woman or man how you actually feel about them
  2. Prevents you from telling someone something really nice you believe about them
  3. Prevents you from telling someone about your faith or some other truth they really need to hear

When you speak, speak the truth – whether you’re talking about the capital of Nevada or the person who is the capital of your heart.

I don’t want to be heavy-handed, but by definition, not to share the truth is to lie. In a somewhat counterintuitive way, when we’re NOT vulnerable, we’re a bit dishonest to the truest parts of ourselves.

Recently, a good friend of mine took a big risk. She wrote a note to a guy she liked. At one time the guy had shown a lot of interest, but she wasn’t feeling it. So after a while, the guy moved on. Somehow, after 18 months, she ended up liking him and wrote him a short, poetic, beautiful, powerful love letter even though she was pretty sure he wasn’t interested anymore. But he was. And they’re dating now. And really happy to be with each other. All because he was vulnerable with her for months and she became vulnerable with him.

Open yourself up. Focus on the truth of what’s inside. Not the reaction on the outside. Be vulnerable.

Let life come through your mouth!

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Dec 28 2013

Hearts On Fire

Published by under Life,Relationships

Spend 10 minutes outside in 10-degree weather with 10 people. Then walk inside. If there’s a fire in the fireplace, you’ll see pretty much all 10 people congregate around the fire.

Most of us human beings want our bodies to be warm. We pay big bucks for warm coats, warm cars (with heated seats!), and warm homes.

What if our desire for physical warmth is just a symbol of our internal desire for soul warmth?

Maybe who we want to be and who we want to be with are people with hearts on fire.

God led the Israelites out of Egypt with fire.

He guided them with the cloud by day and with light from the fire all night.
_Psalm 78:14

God himself is fire.

…the Lord your God is a consuming fire…
_Deuteronomy 4:24

After Jesus walked with the two men on the way to Emmaus, the men later exclaim…

Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?
_Luke 24:32

We’re attracted to fire.

We’re mesmerized by it when wood burns.

We call beautiful people hot.

Do you wonder why you’re not attracted to anyone in your life right now – either with friendship or romantically? (And, romantically, you might be in a relationship with someone you don’t like too much). It might be because the people you’re around aren’t warm in their hearts.

People always wonder how average-looking dudes end up with beautiful women. Sometimes it’s money. Sometimes it’s because the dudes have hearts on fire – filled with kindness and love and joy.

Find people with hearts on fire. Be friends with them. Spend time with them. Their warmth will probably transfer to you.

Be someone with a heart on fire. Make other people better. Transfer yourself to them.

How? It might sound hokey, but somehow, I believe John the Baptist when he talked about Jesus and said…

…after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
_Matthew 3:11

God is fire and he puts that inside us.

Oh, to burn for real with hearts on fire!

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