Perspective

I have a confession to make, I was previously addicted to talk radio. For some reason, the rants, rambling and occasional logic intrigued my mind. Throughout the recent presidential election, opinions were not reserved regarding political persuasion or support. The rhetoric became increasingly hostile from both sides on various media fronts. I found myself instantly turning the radio on each time my car resounded its faithful starting sequence. Never mind the fact that God has been dealing with me regarding filling my mind with stuff constantly and my apparent fear of silence.

Finally, God punched through my “concern” for political events and I stopped listening – to the chatter. Over the past couple of months, the verbal lashing has only increased. Political polarity pushes the nation to increased emotional involvement and outright hatred. Sadly, believers get caught in this rhetoric as well. Don’t misunderstand, I have opinions and convictions but we, the church, must recognize the danger of all-out personal involvement. It is easy to forget the mission that is irrespective of politics or government. I needed a change of perspective.

The book of Daniel is an intriguing and powerful story of God expertly weaving his people to influence in an ungodly nation. In the middle of the book, Daniel confronts the King of Babylon, the most powerful nation on the planet. King Nebuchadnezzar declared this statement, “At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, ‘Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?”’“ (Daniel 4:29-30) After this statement fell from his lips, God spoke and moved! Nebby was driven from the palace and lived like an animal ”until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever he pleases.“ (4:32)

The most powerful man in the most powerful nation in existence found himself eating grass like a cow because he chose to take God’s glory for his own. God probably doesn’t regard our hearts any different if we find ourselves blanketed by a label of Republican, Democrat or Independent. The desire of His heart is that His name be made known and glorified throughout the nations. Through prosperous times, uncertain times, bailout spending and tax cuts, God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to whomever He chooses! While I find great joy and responsibility in casting my vote, I find much greater pleasure and peace in knowing that after the last vote is cast, God places the leader. While I can’t make sense of that entire process in my mind, I find my soul at rest knowing that the greatest mission of making God famous persists regardless of world events and circumstances.

God made every man and woman in His image, for His glory, and He passionately pursues a relationship with them. May our hearts and minds be filled with dreams and passions worthy of the great King we serve, Jesus. It is always a great time to make Him known. God making an old heart new is change I can believe in.

Changing Your Poohspective

Recently, I heard a family member talking about a conversation they had with a good friend.  After a rough start to the day, their phone conversation left her encouraged and thinking a little differently.  Venting for several minutes, she relayed the challenge of the early morning hours and his response was simple, you can choose to live like Eeyore or you can choose to live like Tigger.

I immediately understood the parallel.  Pooh Bear often finds his way to our television set with great fanfare.  Eeyore, if nothing else, is very predictable.  The storm permanently settles over his world.  Every experience is tainted with the expectation of failure.  His life filter leads him to appreciate little and complain much.  Eeyore is lovable and occasionally surprised by the grace life shows him yet he quickly returns to the color of his coat, blue.

Tigger on the other hand chooses to see life as an adventure and difficulty as challenge.  He embraces each day as one to bounce through and enjoy.  Occasionally, Tigger drifts into momentary despair but quickly resumes his happy-go-lucky existence with renewed vigor.  He teems withe energy and life and has a personality which draws one in.

In a world tinged with difficulty expounded by the current state of our economy, there appears to be reason to despair.  Yet, we have a choice to live life as Tigger or Eeyore.  The difference is a simple word, hope.  I don’t mean the hope recently chanted by presidential candidates.  Hope can’t be relegated to the policies of one man or an administration.  Hope isn’t contained by a government and isn’t found in bailouts.  Really, hope has little to do with our circumstances and everything to do relationships – particularly one relationship.  Romans 15:13 states, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  Genuine hope in life is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  And this hope is not a wish or desire but a reality for those who put their trust in Him.

The question then remains for those who follow Jesus; do we illustrate this hope?  Do you live by hope?  No matter how sharply the 401k falls or deep the recession strikes, God has not relinquished control.  His promises remain and hope never fades, not eve a little.  So, followers of Christ have every reason to live with the right poohspective.  It is not simply blinding oneself to the negative side of life, but choosing to remember the temporary nature and awesome mission of the time allotted to each of us.

So who are you,  Tigger or Eeyore?

Finding Life in Every Stride

Cooler weather in Houston is no small blessing.  The simple pleasure of feeling a cold wind brush across your face and infiltrate an unzipped jacket can be rare this far south.  I love watching a cold front approach with looming thin clouds followed by dry frigid air.  Not too long ago, while running, I watched as the clouds flew past and gave way to a beautiful night.  There are patches of road I run on where street lights remain vacant and the stars shine brilliantly.  It is in those moments, I remember why I run in the first place.

This January, I hope to complete my third Marathon.  I love running.  Well, I used to love running.  I am learning to love again.  Somewhere in the journey, I became distracted.  Any pursuit in life seems to bring with it some level of competition or ambition.  With the ever expanding value of GPS technology, running a certain distance with accuracy became fairly simply.  However, with the emphasis on distance, I also began to notice another statistic, time.  Coupled together like good ice cream and Oreos, they concoct a tempting creation worth aspiring to.  In short, I began to set goals and I wanted to achieve certain results.

Two weeks ago, I had my longest run of this training season thus far, 18 miles.  Due to a set of circumstances largely out of my control, I failed to finish.  That was hard.  I failed to accomplish a goal and ended my run painfully aware of my mortality and fully exhausted.  Far worse, I realized I really hadn’t enjoyed the run.  Slowly, God began to open my heart to realize the bigger story of what He wanted to teach me.  God cares about the end result, but no more than He cares about the process.  In the midst of ambition and a desire for the end result, I stopped enjoying every stride of life.  Learning to see God in the details has proven to be a challenging task.  He is clearly visible but it requires me to stop and smell the proverbial roses.  It seems those evasive roses hold more than a pleasant smell but a deeper mystery of contentment in life.

Over the past two weeks, I have begun taking pleasure again in every step, even the ones that are painful.  In life, as with running, I am learning to enjoy every step, even the ones that are painful.  While the end result is good and goals are important, loving the day-to-day makes the results so much more fulfilling.  I hope I learn this lesson well and model it for my little girls.  Real life is living every stride and letting all of our senses respond to what God is showing us next.