Archive for March, 2012

It takes a relentless spirit to finish strong. my story isn’t that i run with happiness. It says i run with purpose, i run with seriousness. i watched a movie this week-end and there was one redeeming… yes, just one, line that came from wasting  over two hours. The line was that when we lose or are not doing our purpose we are broken. i have felt what that is like.

my finishing well requires more than me being happy. It requires persistence and endurance, being relentless in my effort. Hebrews 12:1 in the message says it this way, “Strip down, start running and never quit!” Completing my journey is important in ways i may never know. Not only me but every person regardless of the amount of time lived, influences others. It is important for me to not look back nor leave the course that has been written about me. i must be relentless to live my story as written by the one who created me.

Many days are filled with adversities, health, family, employment, finances, etc., etc., etc., but these situations are not hopeless even though they may seem so. They are just well dressed lies. The story about me says that God has given me Grace to do what truth demands.

Today i will delight in the words written in Luke 1:15 where God calls me “great in His sight.”

God foresaw me as successful. He saw me with a fabulous life. He foresees a great finish for me, one in which i leave a legacy of faith, significance and greatness to the benefit of others. But… it’s contingent on my relentless pursuit to stick to the story as it’s written.

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i have worked long and hard on realizing who i am in Christ and how much He loves and wants me, to fulfil my destiny of having a personal, intimate and eternal relationship with Him. Then if… no, as He desires i can fulfill my earthly purpose here on earth as well. i am not surprised that God desires and wants me, after all He created me. He specifically designed me and has mapped out an entire plan prior to my actual birth. As the psalmist David said, “You saw me before i was born. Everyday of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:16 Don’t get confused, it is His book, but it is all about me.

i am realizing more and more each day that this is a book written about my life… yes the Bible is a book about my life. i have always thought of it as a book of short stories about others who have gone before and made a way for me. i have also thought of it as THE book about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. But i am becoming aware that it’s a book about me. Sometimes a manual for me to follow. Other times a story book to capture my attention. Then other times a book filled with dreams and stories of what is possible for me. This brings an element of excitement to my reading of this book. I often like to see what lies ahead… yet other times not so much.

I must admit that the questions about my life’s bad choices, bumps, bruises, and wrecks seem hard to imagine as something God would write about or plan for my life. Then again He left “decisions” to me and it’s those decisions that cause most of the bumps, bruises, and wrecks. Right now i’m recalling the story of the little train that could. i think i can, i think i can, i think i can. i can read the book, and i think i can, i think i can, choose to follow the story and believe in what is written. Even in the midst of bumps, bruises and wrecks God wrote repentance and restoration into the story of my life. He knew i’d need it!

Here’s one of the greatest things i have read about in my story. God knew what manner of evil would try to overtake me, He knew all the tribulation and adversity i would suffer and He made paths for me to escape and even come out as more than a conqueror and… He calls me an “overcomer.” Hebrews 12:1 says that i run with endurance the race that has been set before me.

The book, the story says, that i run the race and live out this story of my life relentlessly, and in doing so finish strong.

i know, i know, i know, the title is out of character for me but it fits in so many ways. i guess just like push comes to shove it was lingering deep down somewhere. It is the animals real name at least that’s what it’s called in the Bible. When push comes to shove it’s in some way two people being stubborn and donkeys are stubborn or at least they are portrayed that way. Then this is the last day of this topic and to make my conclusion short and simple… well the title says it clearly.

The Triumphant Donkey – The Day After (Matthew 21:1-22)

The donkey awakened, his mind still savoring the afterglow of the most exciting day of his life. Never before had he felt such a rush of pleasure and pride.

He walked into town and found a group of people by the well. I’ll show myself to them, he thought.  But they didn’t notice him. They went on drawing their water and paid him no mind.

Throw your garments down, he said crossly. Don’t you know who I am? They just looked at him in amazement. Someone slapped him across the tail and ordered him to move.

Miserable heathens! he muttered to himself. I ll just go to the market where the good people are. They will remember me. But the same thing happened. No one paid any attention to the donkey as he strutted down the main street in front of the market place.

The palm branches! Where are the palm branches! he shouted. Yesterday, you threw palm branches! Hurt and confused, the donkey returned home to his mother.

Foolish child, she said gently. Don’t you realize that without Him, you are just an ordinary donkey?

Without Him all that’s left is to “Push and Shove” for my position and place in this world.

When “push comes to shove” who am i and what am i going to believe? myself or circumstances. myself or a co-worker, a well dressed lie or my Father?

i find that when i ask these types of questions i am struggling with my identity and i’m searching for a sense of myself. The irony is that the more i seek to identify who  i am, the more fragile i feel about myself. my emphasis shouldn’t be on discovering who i am (what is buried beneath) but on facilitating the emergence of who i’d like to be.

my identity should be seen as an ongoing process. Rather than a snapshot, i should embrace a free-flowing sense of self, whereby i am perpetually re-framing,  re-organizing, re-thinking and re-considering myself. How different would life be if rather than asking who am i, i contemplated how i’d  like to engage life and learn from my mistakes.

As i engage the deepening complexity of understanding myself, i am trying to devote myself to the unfolding process of life, becoming more aware of my thoughts, not reacting out of old habits, but crafting my life.

i thought i was at the other end of the identity spectrum where i claimed to know myself very well. To think i know myself so well leaves no room for growth. Even more, it may suggest a deep vulnerability that is being hidden – as if it were too dangerous to take a closer look.

To become intimately aware of my thoughts, feelings, hopes and fears is obviously good for me. The key is to engage my sense of self more like a willow tree than a sturdy oak. The  willow is flexible and survives the storm as it bends with the wind, whereas the more rigid oak is more likely to crack.

The goal is to access the potential, keeping the parts of my identity that continue to serve me well and shedding the old, habitual pieces that constrain me. This permits me to enter into a relationship with myself that commits to my personal growth.

i have looked at myself over the past week and i have concluded that there was some “when push comes to shove” in me or i would not have done what i did. Today i am focused on getting that out of me… or let me say, getting some portion of that out of me so i never feel as yukie as i did. i know better and i expect better of myself. There is nothing that is more important than relationships at what ever level they exist. There are no coincidental relationships, i believe they are all divine appointments and let me close by adding, they are not all there to serve me or give me what i think i need or want.