“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17
If I asked my readers by a show of hands, “How many of you are feeling beaten down, depressed and discouraged?” I would be willing to bet that a vast majority would raise their hands.
This world can be a tough place, right? Master marketers (or what I refer to as “cultural engineers”) sell us this illusion of how we could be truly living if we just had this or that. Just like the carrot on the stick, we can see what we “need” but that elusive contentment is always just out of reach. “If I just had a spouse….if I just had a different house….a different car….a dog….kids….job….” The list noting the roots of our discontent can be a long one….
Today is my birthday. Always a good day to take stock. I tend to look at “macro” goals and dreams on my birthday. The big picture. Where are we heading? How am I leading my family? Am I allowing Jesus and His Spirit to make me more like Him and the person He needs me to be in this world?
As I sit here at Black Rock Coffee in Medford, Oregon reading all of the texts, emails, Facebook posts and listening to the voice mail messages, I find myself extremely grateful and content. Some of the messages brought tears to my eyes (but don’t tell anyone….) as those close to me, reflect what they see in me with voices of affirmation. I pause and think, maybe I’m on the right track here….and there is great satisfaction in that.
I am so grateful for the blessing of these relationships, coming from all aspects of my life. Family, friends, fitness, ministry, music, travel, church, work…. This is my circle. These are the people God has put in my path, to share chapters of life’s journey with and I am grateful for each soul. Somehow God takes a flawed, broken and imperfect “ragamuffin” (to borrow a term from one of my favorite writers, Brennan Manning) like me and then uses me to encourage others and hopefully reflect His light and love to those around me. What an honor! If I pause long enough to really think about it, I’m actually floored….and it fills my heart with joy. Over the course of this journey, I’ve had to learn to let go of a lot of what I thought was important in order to pursue what He has for me. Call it “spiritual minimalism” in a way. There is freedom in that…. in not “trying” so hard. Goal oriented? Yes, absolutely! But the fruit of those goals being different than what the world is selling. Pursuing contentment in God, His provision and often the simplicity of His blessings,… but we still need to take the time to see and take them in. If we rush or are blinded by “busyness”, we’ll miss them.
To those that have blessed me by their words, laughter and presence, thank you so much! YOU are a gift and for each of you, I am truly grateful.
As we all move forward, let’s continue to recognize and count our blessings. Let’s encourage others, wherever they are. Don’t be afraid to come alongside and ask others the tough questions, if that helps them get over the hump. Keep pointing people towards Christ, the only One that lasting freedom and joy can be found in. And pray. Pray for yourselves, your family and the others God puts on your heart. Lift them up, even when they don’t know you’re doing it! Pray that the purpose of the enemy in their lives would be crushed and that God would break through the shadows that can easily blur our perspective. Every day there is a war raging around us for the souls of humankind. I believe that in the fight, one of the things the enemy can’t stand is the power of a grateful heart. Move forward in that truth!
God bless, my friends. Carpe diem!