Break. It. Down.

My dad and I hunted for that particular refrigerator box all over the city.

I had this fantastic idea that involved glow-in-the-dark paint, black butcher paper and blowing away the other kids in my science class. It all hinged on the box.

My plan was to create a solar system room. As the cardboard door closed behind you, your eyes would be astounded by the glory of nine {because there were nine then} planets revolving around the sun.

After a day of searching, we came home victorious and I stored the box in the garage.

Overwhelmed by the size of the project, I procrastinated. As the two week lead time dissolved, my fear took over and nothing seemed to turn out right. The styrofoam planets wouldn’t hold the paint. They also wouldn’t hang right.

I grew discouraged.

Eventually I cut out and glued some construction paper planets to a butcher paper covered cork board during my science class to earn some points for a 2-day late project.

Things had not turned out as I’d planned.

::

I have grand schemes in life.

Schemes…as in plural.

Yet over and over I find myself staring at a giant refrigerator box. Overwhelmed by the thought of making that first cut or painting the first stroke.

“What if I measure wrong?”

“What if I waste my resources?”

“What if it’s not enough?”

I’m tired of it.

The problem I’ve discovered is that I act as though each tiny step is going to significantly impact the ultimate outcome.

That a single impatient word will ruin my relationship with my child forever.

Or finding the perfect school and master’s program will guarantee my future dreams.

The weight of the decision crushes the idea.

Sometimes it’s just about breaking it down to find out what’s next.

And then doing it.

Light, Dandelions & Sin

Yesterday I had a moment in talking with a friend where I felt God shine a spotlight on an area in my life that needs to change.

Have you experienced that? It’s extremely uncomfortable. You’re going along doing the instinctual, trusting that what’s natural is what’s right, and then suddenly you’re blinded by a floodlight piercing your eyes. As I wrote that last sentence I am struck by the similarity to Paul’s story. You know, when he was still Saul. And killing Christians.

He was living his life the way he’d been raised, and doing it very well. He had clout.

Listen to him brag about himself…

“…circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.” {Philippians 3:5-6}

Paul was the man. He was doing what was natural. Then, God beamed His spotlight on him and Paul was blind. Maybe that’s what Jesus meant when He said He was the light of the world.

::

So, I {like Paul} was making my way through my day — although, to be clear, I was not pursuing and killing Christians — when all of a sudden God lasered in on an area of my mind that is wrong.

And instantly I felt guilt. Well, maybe guilty isn’t the right word

exposed

ashamed

remorseful

Before you begin imagining all of the awful things that I could have been doing, I’ll tell you.

My priorities were off. I was selfish. I thought of my own needs before the needs of others.

Even that makes it sound worse than what I intended, but isn’t that how those little sin areas in our life always are? We justify, or even overlook, them because they float like dandelion puffs through our mind. The problem that I’ve discovered with dandelion puffs is that as innocent as it looks when my kids are blowing “wishes” around the yard, those seeds take root and now we have a bunch of weeds.

Courtesy of photobucket

As the evening progressed that moment replayed in my mind, and I allowed the shame and guilt to settle in. It tucked itself in with me last night and drug itself out of bed with me this morning.

I need to be different. That has to change. Lord, help me to change,” looped in my brain.

Most mornings I don’t have the time {make the time} to soak in the Word. The chaos of four kids dressing, brushing, fighting, tying, and rushing takes over; I let it. This morning I took the ten minutes necessary to read and journal.

And God spoke.

The verse isn’t necessary, because the words weren’t important to the epiphany. Well, it was to me, because my reading illustrated someone doing right what I had done wrong the day before. It felt like the floodlight was now trained on that portion of scripture, which reflected right back onto the sin in my life.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” {Isaiah 6:5}

But…

before more guilt could set in, God said, “I’m showing you this so intentionally because I am changing this in you. It is not to make you feel ashamed, but rather so you have a milestone to look back on.”

We all feel exposed, ashamed, remorseful and guilty when the Holy Spirit’s light shines into those dark places. Rather than run and hide like Adam & Eve, we must welcome the burning coal to our lips.
He will do the work to change us, He shows us so we can see how we’ve changed.

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