Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I think in analogies...

All growing up, I had a serious phobia of bees.  The sheer sound of a “Bzzzz” would send me running in circles, screeching while my hands wailed out of control.   I would detour my path if I saw bees in the clearing; and no matter what I was doing, I was willing to let the bee take over my space to insure a 100 yd distance. 

My caution and fear of the stinger followed me into my teen years; pride set aside, as the sight of a bee still sent me into a frenzy.  I thought I had mastered the art of bee running, until one day the little sucker was buried in the sand stinger side up…my foot could no longer out run, as the stinger latched perfectly to my heal.  I winced for a slight second as I was caught off guard to the tiny prick.

THAT WAS IT?!?!? A MERE SECOND OF DISCOMFORT? I spent years running and screaming and making a ruckus for that?

Should I be appalled, embarrassed, or relieved?
…appalled that the anticipation of the sting was more painful than the sting itself?
…embarrassed that I made a bee sting a lifelong phobia
…or simply relieved that none of my fears were confirmed, and the little bugger no longer has an effect on me?

There are many stingers in this world that prelude a caution of buzzing, sending me running in circles, screeching with hands waiving in the air. I grow fearful, anxious, and create the effect each scenario will cause through my imagination. Rather than resting on faith and truth, the buzz sends me on detours if I can see a "sting" in the clearing. I hurl to a sudden stop, creating enough distance, giving way to the "stinger".

Inevitably, regardless of my best effort to detour my “stingers”, they find me.  Usually I am caught off guard, as they burry themselves stinger side up; anticipating the moment I can’t outrun them.  Some stingers sting worse than others, but each leave me appalled, embarrassed, and relieved as the realization sets in: the buzz was more painful than the sting.

As I look back on years of bee running…I wasted too much time on detours, and too much energy on fear.  The promise of the sting kept me enslaved to anxiety and worry, as my imagination created a false promise of a pain that did not uphold truth.  If I had stopped running, and fixed my mind on truth; truth that a bee sting is NOT going to kill me…I would not have been held captive for so many years. 

As my analogy of bee running set in, I was forced to ask myself what stingers in life am I running from?
…am I putting my trust in the false promise of a buzz to produce a painful sting?
….has my imagination created a false reality enslaving me to anxiety and worry?
…am I creating unnecessary detours?

Realizing that fear is built on lies, and truth is built on faith…I see that satan has used lies to detour me from truth.  God gave me HIS armor… “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” (Eph. 6:16)  God says in Isaiah 41:10 to “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you”

The false promise of the sting only leaves me appalled and embarrassed…Gods truth, however, gives me strength and faith with the assurance of deliverance. 

No more detours from this girl.  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped.  My heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him!” -(Psalm 28:7)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Do you ever wonder why you are doing what you are doing?

I used to.
Then I gave up.

Questions like: Why am I a Real Estate agent?
My only answer: it’s because of Jesus!
I fought Real Estate at first.
God won.
I have never been so glad to lose a fight.
Saturday may have been the worst, best day of my life….

Waking up sick on the day of my first official open house, was anything but spectacular.
Setting up “Open House” signs in 114 degrees, could possibly be a reflection of hell.
I was faced with a choice: I could use the Lords strength and be joyful, or I could be a crab.
My character when sick and sweaty, gravitates towards crab.
If I’m miserable, then everyone else should be also.
God had other plans.
As much as Id like to say I chose joy, I know God chose it for me!
He knew what was coming…

While I cant go into details…
Trust when I say God had a divine appointment set up.

I saw potential buyers walk through the door, God saw broken children in need of His love.
He changed my eyes to see an image of a customer, and fixed my heart to see a soul.
Tears flood my eyes yet again as I think of the gem who walked through the door that afternoon; a woman in need of a friend, a prayer, a hug, a shoulder.
She came looking for a house…but really God was looking for her.
As soon as the conversation began, so did her story unfold.
Tears streamed. Hearts ached.
The Lords power reigned as His Spirit overcame through prayer.
A connection was made in a way ONLY His love can connect.

Why am I doing Real Estate?
Beacause God says, “Love ME. Love others.”
God wanted me to love a beautiful stranger. That day. That time.  HIS way!
He simply used Real Estate to connect the two of us.
It’s not the way I would have planned it.  It’s better.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Grace in the Midst of Disgrace

“God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong…”- 1 Corinthians 1:27

God has done exactly that.

Each of my days are different; however my mornings are a consistent routine.  I can list what I do, and the order I do them.  It wasn’t until this past Saturday afternoon I realized my heart and mind have followed a routine as well.  Unfortunately, it is shameful.  Take a look for yourself…

I woke up on a bed, in a house, with air-conditioning.   
Curse you alarm clock!

I stumbled to a bathroom, with running water, and endless amounts of TP.   
Still contemplating why I was awake.

I had two cups of coffee. Scrambled eggs. A bowl of Fruit. All housed by appliances and cookware allowing me to enjoy such delicacies.
Rather than enjoying my meal, I rushed through it complaining how late I was going to be.

I showered in cool running water and used an assortment of cosmetic items. Shampoo. Conditioner. Body Wash. Shaving Cream.  Razor. Face wash. Make-up. A brush. Curling iron. Toothpaste. Toothbrush. Lotion. Deodorant. Perfume.
All of which go un-noticed, as they are expected commodities in my every day life.

I thumbed through a closet full of clothing and an array of shoes…
Only to catch my thoughts thinking upon the clothing I wish I had.

I hoped in my brand new car filled with gas, cranked on the AC, and blasted the beats from my iphone…
Only to be distracted by the Mercedes SLK that passed me on the highway.

My morning routine was conducted as normal, but as I arrived at the Phoenix Rescue Mission, God started to shed light to my unconscious routine of thankless thoughts.

“God chose what is low and despised in the world, …. to bring to nothing things that are”- 1 Cor. 1:28

Within minutes of passing out water and outreaching to the homeless in down town, I realized it was myself who was in need of "outreaching".

Andrew has a rash spreading on his body due to constant sun exposure.  The lack of shade on Arizona streets leaves his skin in agony and filled with open sores.
His face never lacked the presence of a smile. He was overjoyed with thankfullness from our willingness to listen to his story and bring him cold water.

Tony fights for a second chance at life, as he was recently released from prison.  He prays for strength to return sober to his family 400 miles away in the coming three months.  
Mean while, his only possession is the Bible.  He spends his time translating Gods Word in Spanish in hopes his unbelieving friend might come to know Jesus as His personal Savior.

LeBrie is 3 months away from delivering her precious baby girl.  She seeks Gods favor to provide a shelter once her daughter is born.  She was burdened, but sought out anyone who might pray with her.
After an extensive talk to the Lord, her embrace and tear-filled eyes exuded a light of hope.

Tanya had nothing but a hat on her head and yet she possessed the biggest smile I have ever seen on anyone’s face. Despite being on the streets, with no confidence of incoming food or shelter, she had three prayers: for Jesus to become her best friend, for God to provide her with a Bible study group, and the skies to pour down rain.
The Bible and bottle of water we left her with will never compare to the permanent picture forever framed in my mind of her bear hug and shining grin.

John asked for food and water.  We had nothing left but a few celery sticks, cucumbers, and a half empty bottle of water.
With a smile he said “I’m not a fan of celery, but I bet I can find someone who is. Thank you for the water and your kindness to a stranger.”

I hoped in my air-conditioned car to return to a full refrigerator and loved ones.  There is no doubt God used the weak to humble me in my shame.  My routine each morning has not changed, however God transformed my heart from unconscious thanklessness to a heart of rejoicing. I can boast not in what I have been given, but rather in the One who gives all things. If stuff was the the reason to rejoice, then the people I encountered that Saturday afternoon should not have had any reason to be thankful. My heart has not been transformed because of my enlightened awareness to all I have, but rather to the One who gave. My stuff and routine mean nothing without my first love Jesus.  Don’t be mis-taken, I am thankful for the tangible things I have, but my heart rejoices because I am now able to see Jesus in each moment, rather than floating blindly though life as a shameful mess.

“And because of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, He who became to us wisdom from God, is righteousness and sanctification and redemption. So that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’”- 1Cor. 1:30-31