Sunday, August 27, 2017

My Hard Assignment

I've heard many times.

You're not the first person.

To have a hard assignment from God.

And how ridiculously many times.

I thought they were really talking about me.

It really doesn't help at all.

That I recognize.

Many of you may feel the same way.

I'm a self-absorbed human.

And so are you.

Life takes place in my own little world.

Where I'm the star.

Nobody else's challenges are as big as mine.

People just don't understand.

The world around me is so unjust.

Can't they see how much I do for them!

Nobody ever says thank you.

Nobody ever notices.

If anyone really knew the responsibility I carried.


Dramatic martyr complex if EVER I heard it!

Do you sometimes just have to step back.

And tell yourself to get a grip?

Maybe not.

Lord knows I do.

I've been sitting here this Sunday morning.

It's very early.

Before 6: 00 a.m. early.

I come up here about this time.

To my studio.

Most mornings.

It's my have to time.

I have to spend time in this chair.

Getting my feet under me.

Spiritually speaking.

Before my day gets underway.

To read scripture.

And pray.    And hopefully listen.

And this idea of a hard assignment.

Convicted me a little today.

It's hard for me not to be all about me.

I want to make it about me.

And when I do.

That inner dialog in my head often follows.

All those I shared above.

And how hard my assignment is from God.

But this morning.

I thought about my college roommate.

Fighting the physical battle of her life.

Stage four cancer.

A young friend that lives under the constant reminder.

Of what was said over him as a child.

A family member.

Who lost a child.

Someone at work.

That struggles with anxiety.

A friend who's husband cheated after 30 years of marriage.

Another couple I adore.

Who have banked everything on a call to minister in Kenya.

And are still waiting on God to make the way.

I thought about someone close to me.

That's living out the brutal consequences of lifelong alcoholism.

And someone else  that lives under constant scrutiny and expectation.

Because their husband is a minister.


Are hard assignments.

Being self-absorbed is a distraction.

An effective one.

The enemy uses distraction my life.

Effectively so.

To keep me from doing what I'm really called to do.

Because if I'm distracted.

Focusing on me.

I don't see my assignment.

Not the hard assignment I thought I had.

My real assignment.

I have a chance.


To be used by God.

Countless opportunities to make my life count for eternity.

To bless other people.

Just as I have been blessed.

I have a chance to bless and add life to someone else.

Wherever I go.

Is that what I do consistently?

Of course not!

Not nearly as often as I could.

Especially if I'm distracted.

And focused on me.

But it sure the heck.

Is what I can.




And that assignment.

Don't seem so hard.

After all.

** painting "A Woman's Hand's Crossed Over Her Chest"
                     by Elana Ray

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

My False Sense of Security

I watched their grainy images on our camera security system.

One of them crawled through a window at our office.

And walked to a door to let the others inside.

Over the course of the evening.

They smashed windows.

And used a crowbar to pry open office doors.

Including mine.

They sat at my desk.

In my chair.

Riffled through papers and my things.

They threw beer cans across the room.

Knocked over furniture.

And lamps.

And then they left.

They appeared to be just kids.

The police came to investigate the next morning.

They interviewed some neighbors close by.

But the boys in the grainy video images.

Were never identified or found.

The break-in happened last year where I work.

Repairs to smashed windows were made.

Broken things were replaced.

And the memory of it now.

Has faded.

But I felt different because they were there.

And that uneasiness hasn't completely gone away.

Most days.

I rest in what's comfortable.

I rest in what's routine.

I get lulled into a false sense of security.

Safe neighborhoods.

Locked doors.

Alarm systems.

The small town where I live.

But I'm reminded.

Just like that morning at the office.

That my security is not dependent on an alarm system.

Or what party occupies the White House.

My security isn't dependent on my family.

Or how much I have in my retirement account.

I know from walking with Him.

That ultimately.


Is my only real security.

"Nothing can separate you from my loving presence.

 That's the basis of your security."

 "Whenever you start to feel anxious,

 Remind yourself that your security rests in Me alone."

I'm visual.

I'm an artist.

I depend on what I can see.

So, it's a challenge for me.

Many times.

To depend on what I cannot see.

But He reminds me.

"I am nearer than you think,

 Richly present in all your moments.

The more aware you are of My presence,

 The safer you feel.

 I am far more real than the world you can see,

Hear, and touch."

                              "Jesus Calling" Sarah Young

And when I remember that.

My false sense of security.

Is gone.

And my real security.

Is found.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Life After Cable

We did it.

We turned off cable.

It wasn't pretty for the first 72 hours.

There was the initial withdrawals.

From times we fell comfortably onto the sofa.

At the end of the day.

For mindless distraction.

I would say "comfort" was often associated with cable.

But, in truth.

Even with hundreds of stations at our fingertips.

There was almost never anything good on.

(Well.....with the exception of Fixer Upper, anyway.)

It's funny.

I've become quite frugal as I've gotten older.

And it's always a bit of a wake up call.

To see the annual cost of something.

Dang!    Over $2000 a year on cable.

True.   The internet & land line are part of the bundle.

But, the phone we never used.

I take that back.

Kate used our land line.

If we didn't pick up a cell phone call.

She automatically called the land line.

She's persistent that way.

So Kate used our land line.

And I watched "Fixer Upper."

Scott watched what I call -- murder & mayhem.

And while it's true, I'm a news junky.

Politics and news have become pretty discouraging in recent years.

I've grown weary of the 24 hour news cycle.

Not what I want to take in at the end of my day.

All in all.


Not so much worth it.


We called the cable company.

And turned it off.

That was about a month ago.

I'm happy to say.

We have survived.

I won't lie.

There's still times when I just want to plop down and watch.

But, for me.

It's been good.

It was mostly a comfortable distraction.

But, there's other things I'd rather do.

I don't have that much down time in my day.

Time just for me.

And I was spending too much of it there.

On nothing really that important.

I would say.

That a peace has descended on our house in the evenings.

It's always been pretty peaceful here.

But more so now I believe.

More time to exercise.  (Heaven forbid!)

More time to read.

More time for Pinterest.

More time to sit on the porch and talk about our day.

More time for my mosaics.

More space and time to think.

Everything has it's season.

You may think I've lost my mind.

There was a time.

I might agree.

I used to think that people who had no cable were a bit odd.


I've joined the pack.

I'm not sure I'm missing so much.


Keeping it real.

(There's always Netfix.)

Pretty content.

At being cable-free.