Thursday, May 27, 2010

Trading Shoes

"Experience breeds empathy. It's hard to judge the muddy when your feet are dirty too." --Jon Acuff

Have you ever said something in a sincere attempt to be helpful or comforting to someone, only to find out later you possibly could not have said a stupider thing?

Case in point: A number of years ago a friend of mine gave birth prematurely to her son. In an attempt to be helpful, I mentioned she was fortunate to be so close to the hospital as when my mom had me three months early, the hospital was a two-hour drive away. It wasn't until said friend was telling someone else in a group I was part of that it's very hard to leave your baby in the hospital no matter how close the hospital is that I realized the idiocy of my supposedly helpful comment.

(insert face palm here)

Not exactly a moment where I was being a great reflection of Christ now, was it?

I could give many more examples of where my attempts at helpfulness were anything but, but that would become tedious, and well, honestly, rather embarrassing for me. The point is, it's often hard to know the right thing to say or do unless you've been in a similar situation. It's easy to give advice when you're not in the thick of things.

On the other hand, I'm not saying we need to have shared someone's experience before we have any right or authority to speak into a situation or to be able to show some empathy. I think the lesson I'm finally starting to learn is I don't have to try and fix everything. Often times the best things I (and we) can do are a) listen, b) pray for guidance, and c) take a step back and ask myself what I would find helpful if I was in the other person's shoes.

Another example: My dad just went through a longer-than-planned hospital stay that was all kinds of crazy (and I mean 'crazy crazy', not 'regular crazy'). Long-ish story short, I was able to step back while my mom was venting her frustrations and remember my own frustrations when my husband went through chemotherapy a couple of years back. And rather than my usual “Fix it!” setting springing into gear, I was able instead to just listen and admit I didn't have the answers as to why things were working out the way they were. And when I was alone, I took a moment to pray for God to help us and guide us.

It's not always easy or convenient to take our shoes off and put on someone else's . . . but I'm starting to realize the short-term inconvenience reaps long-term benefits for all those involved. And it allows us to be less of a 'fun house mirror' reflection of Jesus at the same time, which is really the best thing of all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In Repair

I'm in repair
I'm not together
But I'm getting there
- "In Repair" by John Mayer

The last twenty minutes or so have been spent clicking through the songs brought up in my iTunes library via the shuffle setting while I've typed, deleted, typed and deleted and typed again various sentences and/or quotes for this blog entry. Nothing that came up in the song queue or in the "New Post" box seemed to be worth listening to or keeping around for posterity's sake.

I feel like that with my life sometimes. Not all of it . . . but a few parts I've been struggling with off and on for however long now. Ah, but I don't want this to turn into another Post of Whining. Seriously, if it gets tiring for *me* to read "I'm struggling with yadee-blah-blah" over and over again, I can well imagine it gets tiring for those who read this blog.


So here goes . . . brace yourselves . . . I'm about to get . . .

. . . positive . . .

I see progress!

I'm learning to let some things go! Some baggage is being dropped!

Now I won't promise you and I it will never be picked up again. I've done that before only to trot back down the road for a 'forgotten' piece of luggage which I then become doubly frustrated with when I acquire more bumps and bruises from lugging around things I know deep down I'm not meant to carry.

Okay, wait -- positive part! Right!

What I do find myself doing more often is putting into practice something R.T. Kendall wrote about in How to Forgive Ourselves - Totally. I can't give a verbatim quote as said book is currently on loan, but the gist of it is this: forgiving ourselves for our mistakes and failures is not necessarily going to be a one-time deal. We may pick up our shame, our guilt, and our regrets again. But rather than beating ourselves up for doing so, what we need to do is forgive ourselves again and again again, until one day we find ourselves so far down the road we can't quite remember where we left that piece of baggage.

And I believe I'm getting there.

I don't have it all 'together' yet.

But I *am* getting there.

I'm in repair.

(And as if that weren't enough, I am also forgiven. How amazing (and humbling?) is that?!)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You, Me & Jesus

One thing I'm (seemingly) slowly starting to realize in a 'put it into practice' kind of a way is that I can't be like other people. I don't mean I'm all avant garde or any such things . . . it's more of a "I just gotta be me" sort of a thing. Now I can't remember if I mentioned this in an earlier post or not, this doesn't mean I don't want to be open to God's correction, to His chisel. (For an excellent illustration of God's chisel in action check out this video .)

I'm trying to get more in sync with Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message):

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

I like the balance that is in the above passage -- don't be cocky, but don't be too hard on yourself either (which is usually what I'm doing when comparing myself to others). Find out what you're supposed to be doing in this life and then just do it. Not only does this mean you're being obedient to God, it also means you're working in unity with the rest of the body of Christ -- the church. You're not trying to do the youth pastor's job when you're meant to be a youth leader. Nor are you beating yourself up because you're not pastoring like the senior pastor. Basically pick an area where you feel like you don't measure up to someone else and insert Galatians 6:4-5 into it.

Insert *God* into it.

Find out what He wants you to do . . . figure out how He wired you and then allow yourself to be used by Him for His glory.

Easier said than done? Oh, if you're anything like me that's often a loud "Yes!!!" But keep on plugging away. As with any journey, it happens one step at a time.

Be you. Be a reflection of Jesus in this world. Put together with with the rest of His followers, we'll make an amazing picture.

Monday, May 10, 2010

And You Are . . .?

I don't know how many of the possibly 'just a handful' of people reading this blog paid any attention to the user name I gave myself for here -- The Scribbler -- but if they have, they'll see it has changed. The Scribbler was a rather random name, one I came up with when I was feeling as though I scribbled more than anything else. But pretty near anywhere else I post or write or comment on the internet, I use the moniker of crosscribe. So hence the change by the lovely black-and-white picture of the coffee cup. :-)

It has been a topsy-turvy week in my neck of the woods. My dad is in a hospital two hours away awaiting a surgery which was supposed to happen last Friday, was postponed, and is now booked to happen in 'the next day or two'. All this is after the surgery he was supposed to have the Friday before *that* was scrapped in favour of another surgery being performed. To say it has been crazy does not fully cover it. I am amazed at my mother's strength. And it's not that she hasn't become frustrated or impatient . . . but she doesn't stay there. She prays, she seeks wise counsel, and she carries on.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


It's hard to break habits. Granted, the habit needing to be changed was not formed overnight, so it would follow it won't be changed overnight (if such were not the case, the 'self help' section at bookstores would be much smaller). But do not be fooled -- the working out of the old habit and the establishment of a new one is going to take, well, work!

Yet one does not need to be discouraged, for as Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

And as a rather . . . flighty fish said in Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. . . "