we are brave when we engage

We often equate bravery with taking leaps. But I think more often, it is about taking steps.  

It is about those ordinarily extraordinary moments when we choose to engage with life, instead of watch it from the sidelines.

 

We are brave when we pursue the friendship with a new person who has come into our life. or the difficult conversation with the person we have known for ages.

 

We are brave when we receive the help when we need when we really need it. or the compliment we tend to sweep away with our hand.

 

We are brave when we give the piece of ourselves we usually protect or the gift with no strings attached.

 

We are brave when we stay when what we really want to do is go.

We are brave when we go when what we really want to do is stay.

 

We are brave when we share, when we love, when we forgive and when we hope.

 

We are brave when we bloom without guarantee the snow won’t come back. Knowing that we are called to bring beauty into a dark and dreary world. Understanding that the risk is worth it.

 

bloom in the snow

 

 

Five Minute FridayThis post is linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. A weekly prompt with strict instructions: write for 5 minutes and post. No over-editing. No do-overs. An practice of freedom. A way to let go of perfectionism. An exercise for some not often used writing muscles. Read more posts or link up over there. Today’s prompt was: BRAVE. (Full disclosure: I write the post in 5 minutes, but I take a little extra time to find and create a graphic to go with it. I think that's still okay according to the rules...)

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Welcome to My New Site!

I am so excited to write this first post at my new Everyday Awe site. If you have been one of my readers for awhile, you will notice that many things have remained the same. I will continue to post twice a week, once with a reflection on life, and once with a reflection from my Walk through the Psalms series. You can still navigate through pages and categories to find resources that I hope will help you engage with God in your everyday life.

I hope this site will help me meet those goals even better, as my posts now have features like "related posts" listed at the bottom, and the Discuss commenting section to help readers become part of the discussion.

I would love to hear what you think. Have you seen features on other blogs that you would like to see me add here? Please leave a comment and let me know? Is there something here that you particularly like or don't like? Please let me know that too!

Thank you so much for reading. I am humbled by the way God has used this site to touch lives. It is a privilege to write here.

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Setting Boundaries and Noticing The Amazing

I’m not sure how long I had been sitting at the computer. My two year old was playing downstairs, more independently than usual, while I was click-clacking away, staring at my screen. Every once in awhile, I would hear a quiet voice call, “Mommy, come play with me.” And I would respond with my usual, “Just a minute, honey.”

As I continued to focus on my screen instead of on him, his patience waned. He made his way up the stairs and began playing with the things directly around my chair. At least then he was in close proximity to me.

He would find things to keep his mind entertained for a bit, but it wouldn’t take long for another “come play with me” request to escape from his lips. But the request, no matter how earnest, was met with the same “just a minute, honey” response I gave last time.

Eventually, he changed his tactic. He marched over to my chair, put his hand on top of mine, and shoved the keyboard drawer closed. Then, he climbed on my lap, grabbed both cheeks, looked in my eyes, and demanded, “Mommy, come play with me.”

I had no choice. Crumpled into conviction, I marched downstairs holding him in my arms. I left my computer and exchanged it for his Duplos.

I spent time with him instead of just next to him.

I wish God would grab my face sometimes.

I know, I know, I KNOW, that I spend way too much of my day distracted. Engrossed in Twitter. Checking this or that blog. Sending texts. Scanning pictures.  Scrolling through Facebook.

The problem is that God is not usually as assertive as my two year old. The Holy Spirit nudges more than pushes, whispers more than shouts.

I wonder how often I have missed God saying, “come play with Me.”

I spend lots of time reading and thinking and writing about God. But often, that keeps my relationship with God on the periphery. It’s something I focus on when I have time. It’s not full engagement. It’s more of a “next to God” life than a “with God” life.

I want more. I want to stop being distracted. I want to live. Fully.

My friends Adam and Christine Jeske have written a book and issued a challenge. To live 31 amazing days in the month of October. As I thought about how I would enter this challenge, I couldn’t escape one thought: I need to draw boundaries.

I can’t notice the amazing around me if my eyes are glued to the screen in front of me.  I can’t be amazed at how God is nudging me if I’m not quiet enough to notice and follow.

Now, I don’t think a strict “give up social media” fast is what I need. In many ways, social media enriches my life. I just need to figure out where it is distracting more than it is helping. Here are two boundaries I can think of right away:

In October, I will not use screens at the table. Whether it is meals or snacks, I will use time at the Table to notice the amazing in my kids.

In October, I will not use screens while outside. Whether on a walk or at a park, I will use time outside to notice the amazing in God’s creation.

And, as I think of more boundaries I should have, I will add them. This challenge gives me an excuse to set boundaries and not miss engaging with the amazing around me.

I already had to put this boundary into practice this morning. Before I finished writing, my son woke up and was ready for breakfast. I put my computer away and sat with him. The first thing I noticed was his astounding skill at making a mess with his food. But then I noticed his eyes. When I took the time to look, he took the time to look back. We had eye contact for almost all of breakfast. And my heart smiled.

I’m excited to see what the rest of the month holds.

You can follow what I notice and do (along with many others) using the Twitter hashtag #31AmazingDays. Just know that some of my tweets may be delayed. You know, due to the social media boundaries I just set for myself.

This should be fun. Would you join me in the challenge?