Measuring yourself and finding true

“Measure twice, cut once.”  

Whenever doing a project, this is the mantra to repeat. Because unless you get things lined up, level, square, and correct, the project won’t turn out. The end result will be frustration. It’s tedious and annoying and oh so important.

 

It’s important to make things true.

 

That’s the word chosen to describe this process. Things are true when they fit. When they are lined up. When they are where they are supposed to be.

 

True.

 

I often cut myself without measuring first. I compare, I rush, I seek accolades, without first defining who I am and what I was put on earth to do.

 

I am created by an artistic God. I am cared for by a loving Father. I am rescued by a beautiful Savior. I am strengthened by a powerful Spirit.

 

This is how I need to measure myself. Twice, three times, or more, in order to find my trueness. The way that I fit in this world.

 

Anything else puts me off-kilter, crookedly hanging on the walls of life.

 

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: TRUE.

Warmth and Light are Not the Same

  “The sun is always brighter when it is this cold outside.”

 

I was walking to my car, bundled up tight with hat, scarf, and mittens, when I realized that I didn’t have my sunglasses. I hadn’t realized how blinding it was outside until I actually opened the door. As I turned around to go back and get them, my husband told me a simple fact, "The sun is always brighter when it is this cold outside." (He has a meteorology degree, and likes to share tidbits like that with me on occasion. I guess it has something to do with the extremely low dew points that come with super cold temperatures.)

 

And, by this cold, I mean freeze your nose hairs and wonder why on earth you live in a cold climate frigid.  Overnight lows around 15 degrees below zero. Highs above zero if we are lucky. This week is January hitting us between the eyes.

 

As I cozied up for a day spent primarily indoors, I kept looking out the window and thinking of my husband’s statement. It was bright out there. Freezing cold, yet sunnier than a mid-July heat wave.

 

We think of the sun as being our source of light and warmth. And it is, when you think globally. The earth needs the warmth of the sun in order to possess life. Yet, not all parts of the earth receive equal doses of that warmth at all times of the year.

 

Yet, whenever the sun is above our horizons, it never fails to give us light. Even when its rays are blocked by clouds, the sun is still shining.

 

Jesus calls himself the Light of the World. Not the warmth, but the light.

 

There is an important difference between warmth and light. They are connected, yes, but also distinct. Warmth changes how we feel. Light changes how we see.

 

Jesus is often marketed as the Savior who makes us feel good. Accept Jesus into your life and you will be happy. He is the friend who will be with you forever. You will never have to worry again.

 

Those things aren’t necessarily untrue. But they are also heavy with unrealistic expectations. Our feelings change with the seasons. We will have times of exuberant joy, when we realize the depth of Jesus’ love for us. When we want to simply lay down and bask in the glow of His glory. But, there will be other times when we will not feel the warmth of Jesus’ presence. We will encounter difficult moments in life that shiver us cold with questions of where is God in the midst of pain.

 

Warm feelings are fleeting. Light greets us every day.

 

Like the sun that is trustworthy to rise each morning and illuminate our surroundings, Jesus invites us to open our eyes and see the world through His light. Jesus came to heal the sick, correct injustice, and spread love to a hurting world. He touched those who had been isolated and valued those who had been cast off. Jesus sees every human as what we are: broken but beautiful beings infused with worth and potential from the love of a grace-filled God.

 

Jesus shines His light into darkness, reaching out to help people see their valued identity as God’s children. And He tells us, as His light-bearers, to do the same.

 

Even if that means shining our lights the brightest in the coldest places.

 

I wish I could wrap this post up with some nice concrete action steps for each of us to consider as light-bearers, but I cannot. There is so much I am still trying to figure out about what it means to live out this calling of Jesus to be the light. Especially in times and places when it doesn't feel warm and good to do so.

 

So perhaps I will simply end with a prayer for Jesus' light:

 

Jesus help me see. Jesus help me shine.

 

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Wonder: The Worth of a Soul

I love to read Lore Ferguson. Her words overflow with the desire to honor Christ in all that she says and does. She brings a unique perspective the the challenge of how we can find wonder in the Christmas story.

 

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

A friend put her hand on me the other night and prayed words like this, "God, I pray she would know her worth..." Right before that, another friend put a box in my hands, a plain cardboard box on which she'd penned dozens of words in permanent marker. "They're words that describe you," she said. An email came as the moments ticked past midnight; "This is who you are to me..." it said. Hundreds of facebook greetings peppered with a few that said, "this is how God has created you and we love it."

And I ring out the last minutes of my birthday with tears in my eyes.

Because the worth is heavy on me.

I ask God a lot why He created me this way. Don't you? Don't you ask Him why He knit you together in ways that confuse and confound you? Don't you ask why this injustice makes you want to throw fists in every direction and why this glimpse of beauty makes you want to weep? Don't you ask why you love this person so deeply, even though it seems, to every eye cast on you, that you are making a mistake? Don't you ask why you can't eat what the slimmest girl in your circle can down in three bites and why, no matter how hard you try, you cannot wrap your mind around what seems so simply grasped by others?

The particulars are different, I'm sure. The beauty of creation is that no two things are identical. But the asking is the same. Why did you design me this way? Why did you look at this part of me and call it worthy? Why did you attach worth to the things about me that I fight and why, God, did you make me this way?

Because, God, I'll be honest. I'm laying in my sin. I'm pining after my errors. I love my mistakes so much that I keep making them over and over again, always believing in the ideal, that someday I'll get it right. And when someone attaches worth to me, I am sick with doubt in the pit of my stomach: they can't possibly mean that. If they knew the real me, the deepest parts, they wouldn't say that.

And then, a thrill of hope. A small pocket that starts as a lump in my throat and moves to a stirring in my heart. A pulse so small I can barely feel it, but a knowing, a feeling, a soul sighing, a piece of joy. A certainty of His intentionality.

Every moment we feel our worth to Him, He appears.

He shouts, breaking in, throwing his grand cloak over our unrighteousness, our unworthiness, our most tender parts and our weakest shames. She's mine! He says. He's mine! He says. I'm claiming this weary soul. I'm calling its worth.

A new and glorious morn.

 


About Today's Guest Blogger: Lore Ferguson 

My name is Lore Ferguson. Yup. It’s pronounced Lor-ee. I began blogging in 2000, when blog wasn’t a word and we still thought you could keep things private on the internet. I haven’t stopped writing since then, though the nature of my site has changed with time, but for nearly a year I’ve been seeking to blog for God’s glory alone. My goal is to see a generation of dechurched, second generation Christians, or the ragged and hurt, come to the joy of what the gospel means deep down. I blog at Sayable and tweet @loreferguson.

 

Wonder: Rediscover the Christmas Story is an Advent series designed to help us pause and reflect on how amazing the stories of Jesus’ birth really are. To break through the cluttered busyness of the season and touch our hearts with the awe of what God has done. Let’s make this a season of wonder and worship, marveling together at our great God.