Thursday, October 25, 2012

Game Face

You know the look an athlete has when they’re finally in the zone - focused, determined, and unyielding. They put on a good game face so you can’t tell what’s really going on inside – fear, insecurity, and pain. If they can look tough on the outside, you won’t mess with them to find out what is truly on the inside.

While sitting in traffic yesterday, I noticed an interesting phenomenon.  Every driver but one that passed me going in the opposite direction seemed to have their game face on. Each one had their jaw clenched and eye brows slightly burrowed creating the “you don’t want to mess with me” effect. They didn’t look angry per se, they just looked unapproachable.

How many times have you and I done that? We protect our hearts by putting on our game face to keep others away. We allow ourselves to appear unapproachable so that we don’t become vulnerable. Meanwhile, we may be avoiding the blessings that come from knowing the person we’re keeping at a distance. God uses other people to love on us and encourage our hearts. But what happens when they can’t reach us?

I’m as guilty of this as anyone. My sweet husband tells me that when I’m thinking about something or am distracted, I look angry. My eye brows burrow and are even known to rise up on one side in a disapproving manner. If you know me at all, you know that I’m a very approachable person. I’m not intimidating and I even make effort to help people feel comfortable in my presence. But my game face says otherwise!

How often do you put on your game face? Do you choose it or has it become second nature? Are you so busy keeping hurt out that your fail to allow God’s love and encouragement in? Let me tell you, if you keep people at an arm’s length, that’s exactly what you’re doing. People may not mess with you, but they don’t have the opportunity to bless you either.

Remember that I said all the drivers but one had their game face on? The one guy who didn’t was talking on his cell phone, laughing and having a great time. He was smiling from ear to ear. In fact, seeing him brought a smile to my face too. I think I want to be like that guy. While everyone else was defensive and tense, he was relaxed and overflowing with joy. Hands down, he seemed to be the one who would win the game.

So are we ready to set aside our game face and truly get into the game? We don’t have to be tough, we have to be transparent. God will take care of protecting our hearts; we just need to freely give them to Him. God knows how the game will end and He’s got our backs so let’s get in it… game on!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18



Thursday, October 18, 2012

For Your Own Good


I’ve spent the majority of the last two weeks staring at a door God has chosen to close. I’ve knocked on it, jiggled the handle, and even kicked it a few times but it still won’t open. My mind doesn’t see why the door would be closed, so the answer has been hard to accept.

Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever wanted to venture off, blaze a new trail, and start something completely different only to be stopped in your tracks? What about the things that aren’t so different? Sometimes opportunities fit with the direction you are moving in, but for whatever reason, God says no. How do you respond?

While I’m happy to say I haven’t pitched a fit about this particular decision, I am disappointed by how long I’ve stared at the closed door. I’m getting better about accepting God’s direction, but it still can be such a challenge. Have you ever heard the saying “Sometimes we need to say no to something good to say yes to something better”? That’s what God is doing. He is re-directing me from something that seems like a good option to the opportunity that best fit the plans He has for me. I just have to trust Him.

Have you been spending time staring at a closed door? Has God made a decision about an opportunity, a job, or a relationship that you don’t agree with or wish was different? God will only tell us no for our own good, we just have to trust He plans to say yes to something so much better! When God closes a door He opens a window… let’s go enjoy the view!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Do it Anyway

I’m humbled and embarrassed to share the latest life lesson God has taught me.
I had the opportunity to serve one of the sweet ladies in my Bible study by providing a ride to and from church last night. I called her in the afternoon, got directions and agreed on meeting time. About an hour later I was hit with a wave of panic – I don’t have the good car!

We are a four car family. One is with our son at college in Austin. The second, a truck, is what my daughter drives back and forth to high school. The third, a sedan, is our newest addition. It’s red, sassy, and fun to drive. The fourth is the minivan we’ve had for the last six years. It has certainly seen better days, has a seat belt that doesn’t work properly, and has developed a certain, um, odor. That’s the car I had yesterday.

Knowing my husband was in Dallas with the sedan, I frantically text my daughter to arrange a car swap. She informed me that her Homecoming date was already hard at work decorating her truck and that I would have no interest in taking it to Bible study.

I scoured my brain for other options. Could I borrow a car? Could I ask someone else to pick her up instead? It didn’t take long before God convicted me of my pride.  I was going to have to take the van.
As I pulled up at my friend’s house, I hopped out and opened the back door for her. (Did I mention the seat belt that didn’t work was for the front passenger seat?) I explained the situation and told her I would be chauffeuring her to Bible study that night. She was gracious and genuinely appreciated the ride, even from the back seat.

As we drove to the church, I thought about how many times I’ve talked myself out of serving others. “Someone else can do that better than I can.” “My (fill in the blank) is not good enough.” “I can’t offer to do that, they hardly know me.” I’ve allowed myself to be disobedient to God’s promptings and then justified my disobedience. Have you ever been there?

We had a nice visit during our time together and I enjoyed getting to know her more. If I hadn’t swallowed my pride and let someone else take her back and forth, I would have missed out on the blessing of making a new friend. How many times have I robbed myself, and others, of the blessings God has planned?

So, I share this embarrassing story to say... do it anyway. When God prompts our hearts, He has a purpose. He doesn’t just want to embarrass us or make us uncomfortable, He has a plan. Sometimes the plan involves us swallowing our pride and reaching beyond ourselves. Other times it’s about blessing – how we can bless others and how God blesses us. Either way, we win!

Be BLESSED!
Jennifer

“It is the Lord your God you must follow, and Him you must revere. Keep His commands and obey Him; serve Him and hold fast to Him.” Deuteronomy 13:4

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Life is in Session

As I was sitting in a networking meeting yesterday, I heard a friend and colleague say “Ladies and gentleman, life is in session.” After the meeting I let my mind play around with that concept for a little while. What does it mean for life to be in session?

Teachable moments

I don’t know about you, but I learn something new almost every day. Either by personal experience or by watching others, I learn how to live like Jesus in our fallen world. I see examples of personal sacrifice, encouragement, and Christian character. I also see pride, pain, and the long-term effects of personal hurts. Sometimes the lesson we learn is what not to do!

Doing life together
Over the years Greg and I have met some precious friends. We’ve watched our kids grow up, laughed and cried together. We know we can turn to them in our times of need. Do you have a close group of a few friends that you enjoy spending time with? Do they know personal things about you and you know personal things about them? If so, you’re ‘doing life together’ by sharing your victories, struggles, and the ins and outs of daily life. They are your support system. If you don’t have a few select friends you can share with, why not? God intends for us to be in relationship with Him and with one another. The blessing of trusted friends is worth the small investment of time!

Graduation day
Ever heard the saying, “Live your life so that your pastor doesn’t have to lie at your funeral.”? I want to live a life of excellence, don’t you? I don’t mean I expect to be excellent at everything I do, I mean that I want to come before God on my final day with empty hands knowing that I used everything He had given me. I’d like my ‘graduation day’ to be celebrated by the friends and family whose lives I’ve touched for God’s glory. Like the friends who have passed before me, I want to live a life worth celebrating!

So, my friends, life is in session. Are you showing up for it?

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21