I recently read a book that discussed the power of individuals sitting on the same side of the table. Being trained as a social worker, the author was taught to never talk to a client across a desk; but instead to walk around the desk and sit in a chair beside the client so there was nothing in-between them.
This is a simple, but very powerful idea.
Live in grace today. "I can’t believe I did that," you say with a shake of your head. "What's the matter with me?"
We speak words of love, tenderness, and compassion to each other and then condemn ourselves. We talk to our souls in way we would never speak to a friend. We pass harsher judgment on our lives than we would on even our enemies sometimes.
It’s easy near the beginning of the year to start making resolutions and commitments to things we want to do, or people we want to be. Well intentioned, we have every desire to follow through. But the reality is, we often don’t – in fact, we often fail.
We fail in many areas of our lives, not simply resolutions. We don’t deliver results on jobs we’ve committed to. We miss deadlines. We forget critical events. We refuse to see a situation from another perspective. And sometimes, we simply just forget to follow through on what we said we would do- and when we said we would do it.
God is with you. The phone rings, the email comes, the conversation happens, and suddenly your world is sent spinning. How could this happen?
It’s a surprise to you, but not to the One who holds all of time in his hands. In the moments that feel uncertain, you can cling to the only One who is unchanging.
He is with you.
The words were harsh. They assumed things about me that weren't true.
For a few moments my fingers poised over the keyboard. And then I shut the laptop.
For some, this season is filled with unmitigated joy. For others this is the hardest time of the year. Reminding them of the greatest losses, and most heartfelt pain of their lives.
Lost spouses and children. Divorces and children with an ex instead of with you. Broken finances which can’t provide all the presents desired.
Jesus came to earth for you! And Jesus experienced many of these things.
Christmas is speeding toward us. Suddenly the focus is on the long list of things that we need to do. It’s on baking and wrapping and trying to find a bargain.
It’s trying to be in five places at once.
This year I had an idea. Every day, as Christmas approaches, I’m going to start my day by giving a gift.
The women walk in from the cold to swap hugs and share hellos. We place Christmas treats on the counters and presents under the tree. Before we officially begin the evening, we pause to pray. And my beautiful friend Kelli includes these words, "God, please receive the joyful praises of our laughter."
Those words ring in my ears like sweet bells all night as I listen to giggles, chuckles and outright fits of giddiness. These women, the Apples group at my church, know how to have a good time. And as I reflect on it later I realize that, yes, their laughter sure sounded a lot like praise.
The other day, our CEO Chuck Hyde challenged me when he stated, "Busyness with a 'y' is very different than "business" with an 'I.'" He asked our team: "Are you busy, or are you doing our business?"
I immediately thought of the familiar story in Luke 10 of Mary and Martha. Jesus visits Martha's house. Martha has a sister named Mary. Luke states that, "Mary sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving." So Martha goes straight up to Jesus and says, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answers her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."
Thanksgiving is unique among holidays. It is not a religious holiday in quite the same sense as Easter and Christmas. But we render the day meaningless if we fail to give thanks to God for all our blessings.
Neither is the day like Independence Day in marking the founding of our nation. Rather it marks the day of the founding of a spirit that is special to America—that of a spirit of gratitude.