Transformation is Far from Instant

Have you heard of The Mudroom? It's a collaborative blog that I'm posting on today. Here's a bit of what The Mudroom about,

Our vision is simple: make room for people.

Sometimes we feel like there’s no room at the table, or we don’t belong at the table, but what if we sidestep the table entirely and just meet in the mudroom? Sometimes the formality of the table can be intimidating and we find ourselves wishing we were under the table.

Sometimes we need the smaller space, the comforting place, with the people who will shove the cast off sweatshirts and baseball gloves and skateboards out of the way and slide to the floor with us. What if we just didn’t go in, and stayed in the mudroom instead?

Welcome to the mudroom. It might be a mess, but that’s what it’s there for.

Isn't that great? The world certainly needs more visions and attitudes like that. I'm honored to have my words there today.

Here's how the post begins...

It’s a parn that’s been there since the beginning, but it’s taken me most of my adult life to see it. 

I am an achievement-oriented person. I love to check things off lists and accomplish goals. In a society like the United States, it’s a pretty common way of interacting with the world. It is no surprise that I, and many others, have brought that way of thinking into the way we read the Bible.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Hooray! We accept Christ and get to check so many things off our lists all at once. Get rid of bad habits—check. Let go of insecurities—check. Find freedom from pain—check. Receive a new life—check. We breathe deeply this hope of the Gospel, and sigh in rich satisfaction at the thought of a different future. We anticipate a path without the struggle we have pushed our way through to get to this fresh air.

It doesn’t take long before we are disappointed. It turns out that though belief can happen in a moment,the emergence of a new life is far from instant. 

And so, we wonder . . . have we failed? Did we not do something we were supposed to do in order to receive what has been promised to us?...

Read more of Accepting the Process over at The Mudroom.

Seeds and Hydrangeas, a Guest Post

Today I have the honor of guest posting over at my friend Claire's blog, Single Christian Girls. If you fall into any of those three categories, or even you don't, you should totally follow her. She is hilarious. 

Not trying to compete with her humor, I kept my usual more serious tone, but hopefully on a topic that would feel applicable to her readers, as I hope it will to you.

It's a bit of a continuation of what I posted earlier this week about growing leaves. You can tell it's what I've been thinking about lately.

Here's an excerpt,

The early chapters of Genesis have gotten trapped in scientific arguments and children’s stories. It’s not often the place we turn when looking for some inspirational Bible reading. Yet, the poetry and images contained within these earliest chapters paint some stunning portraits of God and humanity, if we have the eyes to see them.

One of my favorites comes in Genesis 1:11,

“Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.”

How easy it is to jump to what God created, without pausing to notice how God created. Both the product and the process reveal things about the Lord’s character...
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Finding Perspective

There's a special sort of grounding that happens in me when I get out in nature. When I am hiking up a trail, admiring a flower, soaking in wondrous sunshine, dipping my feet in the ocean, or gazing at the stars, I feel like one small part of a story much bigger than me. I sense the connection of the pieces of the ecosystem, and it brings a calming force to my hurried soul. 

In short, I find perspective.

perspective comes when we see our significance and insignificance at the same time.

In nature, both the significance at each tiny piece of a system and the insignificance of our small selves in the midst of grandeur become simultaneously clear. 

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"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" - Psalm 111:10

We often think of the word fear as synonymous with the word terror. Which makes verses like this feel prickly when we come across them in the Scriptures. Sure, God is powerful, but are we really supposed to be terrified of the Lord? Doesn't that contradict the passages about God's love and mercy and grace?

In Hebrew, the mowra' means fear and terror, but that is not the word used in Psalm 111:10. The word used here is yirah, which besides fear, can be translated as awe. 

Some scholars have made an interesting connection between yirah and ra'ah. Though they don't look very similar in their english characters, in Hebrew characters they are almost identical, with the first having the apostrophe like symbol for the y sound at the beginning of it. The largest and most obvious of the characters are the same. 

Ra'ah means to see or perceive. 

Before asking what it means to fear the Lord, perhaps we should ask what we see. When we look at this world, what do we see? When we look at the Scriptures, what do we see? 

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"Great are the works of the Lord;
    they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
    and his righteousness endures forever." - Psalm 111:2-3

"Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy?" - Job 38:4-7

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. - Psalm 139:13-14

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" - Matthew 6:26-27

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Perhaps fear of the Lord is what happens when we look around and see things as they actually are: the wonder of an amazing creation and the Creator who crafted it, the smallness of my own problems in perspective, and yet the promise that the great God of this world cares about even me.


This post is part of my Psalms Journey series. 

#PsalmsJourney is a series reflecting on the Psalms one at a time, in order. Learn more about it on my Psalms Journey page. If you'd like to join me, put a link to your own post in the comments.