Good Soil

Updated: Jan 11, 2020

I haven't written in a while. My mind (read: my life) has been on a fast trajectory lately. Both personally and professionally I have been pedal to the metal-- traveling, late nights, early mornings, conflict, and some unexpected tragedy has me in survival mode. Writing has not only been my outlet, but it's be a sacred place where I can pause and sort myself out. It's a place where I can tell the demands of the world no for half an hour. It's amazing how telling those things to wait while I give my first moments of my day to God somehow miraculously make all the other things fall into place. I don't mean that I am given another hour in a day or a bunch of stuff gets cancelled. I mean I can suddenly differentiate the important from the unimportant and the urgent from non-urgent.

Since I haven't been committed to this, my life hasn't been going well.

Life will ask all of us to recalibrate sometime. In fact, there is no way we can stay on course in every area every day. A combination of my own undoing and circumstances out of my control created several unraveling areas of my life and I didn't know where to start to pick up the pieces. I don't know how it is for other people, but for me, not knowing where to start is usually step one of giving up. You hear people say "you don't have to know every step, just begin!" I truly believe that, but when you feel like things are upside-down, the last thing you want to do is to try something while you're weak in spirit. A weak spirit will not buy into a "fail your way forward" mentality. You're tired of the fails. You want something to go right. You just need a win.

I once heard Jeremy Foster of Hope City Church say "we should never despise the things that drag us to the foot of the cross." While I don't want to be dragged to the foot of the cross, I did started praying Jeremy's wisdom. Even though my spirit was weak and my attitude was reluctant, I stopped asking for a burden to be taken from me. Instead I acknowledged the opportunity for God to show me another territory that His love and favor can cover. I told God that I knew this milestone would take me places that I couldn't go on my own. Even though I said the words, I was still weak and reluctant.

I think I show God my worst behavior during a waiting period. My faith, patience, and joy are so small. I trust God's timing! I have done enough damaged in my own life to know that my timing isn't good. But, I just want to pout until the prayer is answered. Here's the truth-- pouty people can't be used in God's purpose. Pouty people demand to be rescued from the hole they voluntarily crawled into. The world of a pouty person only gets smaller and smaller-- less influence, less love, less joy. So how do we combat pouting, self-absorption, and obsession over our own problems? The answer: Generosity.

If you've read my blog at all you have read this before: for every plan the Lord makes, Satan makes an opposite plan. The reason life is so hard is because Satan will make these plans around things meant to bless us: money, influence, health, children, marriage.... evil has a plan for all of it. I am mature enough in my faith to know that a tough time is an opportunity to get closer to God. In this case, that opportunity was quickly turning toward a life of isolation, anger, and hopelessness. It's so hard to see these tendencies in yourself, especially when you feel like your survival depends on your ability to pour all your energy into self-care. Depleted, I walked into a Wednesday night church service where Dr. John Maxwell was giving the message. His message was titled "Living Generously" (link below). Let me just say I LOVE John Maxwell. I read his books, I listen to his podcast, and I watch or attend anything he is attending. But my weak and reluctant attitude did not want to hear about generosity. Generosity is a typical Christmas time sermon, so I wasn