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Being Authentic

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Yesterday my husband Greg and I had a most interesting and enlightening conversation in the car – while discussing our pastor’s message that morning at church.

Normally I love our pastor’s messages – he is always prepared and seems to have his pulse on what is going on in the lives of his congregation.  This time I felt he was right on – as usual – but must admit, it made me uncomfortable.  Uncomfortable and a little sad – because I simply was not raised with the idea that it was okay to let people know what you are feeling – especially if it is bad, questionable or sad.

I’m from a generation who believed you did NOT let anyone see you sweat – never voiced a fear or regret – or even dared to be sad or depressed about anything.  This was true in our family – and sadly, in the church.

And to further complicate this – about 3 years ago I found myself in a touchy situation with another person and I was going through a bad time – was in a dark hole of sadness and was criticized for posting a SCRIPTURE verse on facebook about being downcast and sad from the PSALMS!  Good grief.  And because I was in leadership – I was not allowed to mourn over a loss – or even hint that I might be having a problem with it.

So it seems there are two very different schools of thought on being authentic:

1.  We should be honest in expressing who we are – how we’re feeling and doing – and not afraid to be real with people and let them know that we struggle like everyone else.

Or

2. Never let people know that you struggle with temptation or sin.  Always be “fine” when asked and only post positive things when on a social network or in person.   Especially leadership.  Because leadership is perfect and never struggles.  We paste on a smile and never let them see us sweat.  We never have problems with our children – we never have illness or marital trouble.  Never.

Well, yesterday – my dear pastor admitted that he struggles.  He admitted that he’s not perfect – in any way.  That he can be and mostly always IS a disappointment to others in his life.  He admitted that he’s a human being capable of temptation and sin like the rest of us.

I loved what he said about those that attend AA meetings.  They have to say their name and then say, “I’m an alcoholic” or “I’m a recovering alcoholic”  and he believes that when we introduce ourselves to others that we should be quick to say, “I’m a recovering sinner“.  Because it’s true.  We are all at level ground.  Even leadership.

Now I’m also aware that people who are lost need to have a role model – and have someone they can look up to.

Here’s the problem with that.  Most of the time – it’s not reality – and the first time that this “seeker” or really lost person has a problem – they fall, because they don’t have it “all together” like the Christian people they encounter at church on a Sunday morning – and they believe they can’t make it.

Instead – I would submit that you do the following:

1.  Stop trying to elevate ourselves by trying to look better than anyone else

2. Have a humble spirit and listening ear

3. Admit that you have problems and temptations like everyone else

4. Admit that you stumble and sometimes want to go the other way

5. Have a testimony of God’s grace and love ready to share with others when they become discouraged.

6. Be a person that is “instant in season” knowing that God places certain people in our path.

7. Do not let anyone tell you  – you can’t express who you are.  Even if that means you have to admit you’ve failed.

I wish I would’ve done that back then – but I’ve learned some valuable lessons about people and myself since then.  I’ve found out that everyone struggles – we are ALL THE SAME when it comes to this.  How you RESPOND is truly the difference – NOT whether or not you get hit with struggles, temptation and sin.  Because if you live long enough – you will.

Here is what you SHOULD do:

1. Respond in an authentic way

2. Admit that you struggle

3. Ask for forgiveness and for strength from the only one who truly understands and can forgive without strings attached.

4. Tell others that it’s only the grace of God that gives anyone ANY hope in times of struggle – including you.

5. Have a fast recovery time from failure to repentance.

6. Be unafraid to be yourself – including gifts of encouragement and hospitality to bring renewed hope to others who may be hurting and struggling.

7. Do NOT let others rob you of your ability to be yourself.

8. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit – not to man alone.

9. Develop a deep joy in your spirit even in times of trouble.

10. Pray for your leaders – they are human beings too.

 

God Bless

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Secret Sin

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.   1 John 1:8-10

Our pastor spoke on the subject of the 10th commandment in his message last Sunday.  This commandment deals with the secret sin of “coveting”.  And while it sounds like nothing in light of the other big ones on the list – it is the one in which we can hide, push aside and even deny – making it the most dangerous one of all.

What exactly is coveting? And why is it so dangerous?  Coveting in it’s most basic form is this:  wanting something I don’t have. And in this last commandment that God gave to His people – He spelled it out for them – telling them not to want things that belong to their neighbor, their house, their wife or anything else that belongs to them.  Sounds simple right?  But it is not that simple.

Coveting goes beyond the above commandment.  It deals with the heart. It is all about the secret desires and motives –  known only by God.

Scripture has much to say about the heart. We’re told to “guard it” and that it is the “well-spring of life”.  And we truly believe it.  Until…there is something that we just can’t shake – a past relationship that won’t let us go – or a memory of better days – seeing someone or something that we would like to have for ourselves.  And we thing – “who are we hurting – no one knows”.  But God does.

Our pastor said that we can appear like we have it all together on the outside – we don’t murder, steal, commit adultery – you know the “BIG ONES” on the list.  We come to church and seem to have it all together.  In fact we’re so good that people are actually envious of us!  But this in itself can be a trap.  Sometimes those that look the part – are actually struggling with the most secret sin of their own.

But on the flip side of that – we can become “self-righteous” and “judgmental” when we are not as bad as all those other “sinners” out there.  Holding on to our private “secrets” but looking great on the outside.  It was those people who Jesus had to deal with most in His short 3 years on earth.  The ones that pointed their fingers at others – deflecting blame off of themselves – and the ones who did not acknowledge that they had a problem to begin with – and were just as guilty as the murderers, thieves and adulterers.  Jesus confronted this issue – knowing they all were good Jews and knew the commandments well – got right to the heart of the matter and said,

“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Matthew 5:28

I imagine that this kind of radical thinking caused quite a stir.  After all – good Jewish men kept all the commandment to the letter of the law.  This one was uncomfortable and made them squirm.  Why?  Because their heart was wicked and far from repentance – far from God.

We are no different.  Sin is still sin.  Done out in the open – or in the secret places of our heart.  When we sin in a secret way – we are saying that we don’t need a Savior – that we can handle it on our own merit – that because everyone thinks we are good, pure, honest and without sin – that will be enough for God.  It isn’t.  He still knows.  Whether it’s an addiction problem, a lust problem or an unrepentant heart – it’s all the same to God.  Pride and stubbornness are the worst ones – because they tell us a lie – that we are alright without a Savior.

At the heart of our secret sin issue – is Jesus. He patiently waits for us to come to Him and to confess it.  He comes to not just forgive us when we blow it – but to fix us permanently and heal our disease. He heals us from the inside out – taking away the sin and any desire or residue that it leaves.  The sin that will ultimately lead to our destruction – little by little, bit by bit.

How many good moral people are out there?  That sit in our churches?  That have un-confessed sin in their lives?  That are so good in fact – they have no need for a Savior? Don’t be one of those – He is waiting for you today. When Jesus touches your life – you won’t be the same – the change will be permanent – done from the inside out. Something that good moral living alone cannot achieve.  We all have a sin problem – that is why He came.  To do a work that we ourselves cannot do.  Conquer sin in our lives for good – and change us, healing our disease of self-righteousness and pride.

When you get right down to the heart of the matter – Jesus came to save us from ourselves – our sinful tendencies and gave us a better way to live – healing us from the inside out.

Do you have secret sin hiding deep down in your heart that you believe is well hidden – even from God?  When you admit it to Him – He will not condemn you – but forgive you and heal you – giving you a new purpose and a new way to live.  That’s a promise.

God Bless

 

Mercy

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My heart is stirred today in much emotion – a heavy heart over events and situations that have lately affected my life and made it difficult to press on.  A difficult season of life – with many things out of my control – leaving deep sadness,  remorse – and resignation.

Our pastor, Stephen Collins, spoke on the subject of ‘Mercy’ today.  And although it is a subject that is not new to me – or any people of faith  – I believe  I heard newness in this simple message today – things that I will continue to ponder in the coming weeks.  I found myself very emotional.  This is a subject that is close to my heart and life.  And so with tears streaming down my face – I sat there and took it all in – and allowed the Lord to minister sweet words of comfort and blessing.  I was touched and moved beyond words.

I’ve noticed something about people who are merciful. – they are the first ones to forgive, love, embrace and welcome back,  those who are lost or fallen away.  They have no trouble accepting forgiveness or giving it.  They do not accuse and blame.  They have tender hearts – and they understand the value of mercy – because God has shown mercy to them.  They are also the happiest and most positive people in the world – with many friends.  Their friends trust them – and turn to them when they are in trouble – with no fear of judgment of alienation.  These are people who have been forgiven.

We’ve been watching ‘A Christmas Carol’  – I was noting how Scrooge shows no mercy at the beginning of the story – and then after being shown his life by the ‘spirits’ – he begins to see others and himself in a new light.  The Scrooge story is a story of mercy.  A story of second chances and a new lease on life – a valuable reminder to all of us to remember that when you show mercy to others – others will be merciful.  And it is interesting to note – that the nephew and employee of Scrooge have merciful hearts and embrace him without question – at the beginning of the story – when he is NOT merciful – and later as he is transformed at the end of the story.  No questions – no judgment – no criteria.  Just open arms of love and mercy.

I want to be one that shows mercy – even when I feel as though others have judged me and not understood me – or shown mercy to me.  I want to be the first to say, ‘I understand, I forgive, I love’.  And leave it at that.  No questions asked.  No hesitation.  No disbelief.  Just love and mercy.

Help me Lord to be that kind of person.  Help me to get over myself, my pride, my hurt and pain.  Help me to let go of others that have wronged me – those who have no understanding that their words and actions have wounded me more than they will ever know – and help me to forgive them and show mercy. For I am very aware that if I do not show mercy to others who have failed – or not done what I think they should, then you will not show mercy to me.  Help me to walk with a pure clean heart – free of agenda – free of revenge.  Help me to see others through your eyes.  Amen.

God Bless

How To Find And Keep A Woman

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I was challenged today (and I love a challenge) by my friend and pastor, Stephen Collins – to write an article to ‘piggyback’ on my article from yesterday, ‘How to Find and keep a Man’.  This time – this one is for all you men out there – wanting to learn some basic ‘secrets’ about women.

Greg and I have been reading the book (our 10th time or so) “The Truth Will Set You Free – But First It Will Make You Miserable” by the late Jaime Buckingham.  In one chapter he talks about the subject of virility of men – and baldness in particular. His writing is humorous and insightful – hearing what men really think about their manliness – how loss of hair affects their feeling of youth and purpose, and dealing with insecurity – either correctly brought on by others – or self-imposed.

I stopped Greg in the middle of the chapter – and said, “Why are men so hung up on losing their hair? – Some of the best looking men – in my opinion have no hair at all!  Patrick Stewart of ‘Star Trek Next Generation‘, Chris Daughtry, of the band, ‘Daughtry’ – Andre Agassi, Vin Diesel, Billy Zane, Bruce WillisSean Connery – to name just a few.  These men exude confidence – and that has NOTHING to do with whether they have hair or not.  And no woman would say they are NOT sexy.

Anyway – I digress.  Back to the subject at hand.  If you are a man – how do you understand, and more importantly win a woman and keep her?

Women aren’t so complicated.  I think there has been much dialogue on this topic over the years.  I think they are more emotional than men are for sure – but basically there are some basic needs and a smart man knows how to meet them.  And a smart man – has just learned to listen more and learn from others who get it wrong.

What should you be looking for?  If you want a long-term relationship – here are some things to watch out for.

1. A woman worth having is one that can adapt to change. I say this because there are many changes throughout life and marriage.  This is the woman who can love you past your enlarging mid-section and loss of hair.  The woman who thinks you get better looking as you age.  The one who will not get squeamish at the first sign of change, both physically or emotionally.

2. Make sure she has a great sense of humor. You’re going to find that this one quality may save your marriage some day.  Can she laugh at herself?  Take a joke?  Not take herself or you too seriously?  Then you may have a winner here.  So many women start out with a sense of humor – but quickly lose it when life becomes serious.  And nothing can make you lose it faster than having children, family issues, financial stresses, external relationships and aging.  Some woman lose it and never get it back again.  The ability to laugh is HUGE.  If she is great fun to be around and can see humor in anything – you may have a winner.  Don’t give her a reason NOT to laugh.  Give her permission to see the ‘lighter’ side of life.

3.  Beauty is fleeting – don’t choose her because she’s ‘hot’. Now I KNOW I’m treading on very thin ice here – so I will just say that the curvy blond that you fall in love with – just may put on a few (okay – maybe more) pounds after having children and may NEVER look like she once did when you first met her.  Now for some of you men – this is a real problem. I’ve even seen it in some members of my family – the man will INSIST that the woman always be on a diet – or NEVER cut her hair.  All in the attempt to keep the woman the way he first saw her and fell in love.  News flash:  Women always know if you love her just the way she is – or if you have conditions on your love. Even is she pretends she does not.  Don’t be one of those men.  Love her exactly the way she is.  And communicate this clearly with how you treat her.  She should always feel like she is the most precious and beautiful woman in the world – to you.  If you do not – believe me – she knows.

And when you have found her – the perfect woman – here are some tips on how you can be sure to keep her.

1. Treat her with respect. She is not the housekeeper or the cook – or *gasp* – your property. She is your partner.  And although I believe the woman sets the tone for respect in the relationship – (please see my article from yesterday) it is also the man’s responsibility as protector and head of the house to set the tone of respect with the woman he loves.  This will do a couple of things.  First, if a woman is treated with the proper amount of respect from her husband – she will do ANYTHING  for him.  And I mean anything.  And secondly, you will become the ‘hero’ in her life and you will feel like a better man because of her.  You will be able to leap tall buildings with a single bound – all because of giving her the proper respect.  If a woman is disrespected by the man who is supposed to (and who has signed up to)  love, honor and cherish her, she will quickly withhold love, respect and honor from him.  I have seen this happen in too many marriages.  You cannot afford to disrespect and dishonor your woman.  It will have terrible repercussions on you for years to come.  And she will not love you physically the way you want or need her to.  Woman are funny that way – they must be emotionally cared for first – before they can give physical love. It is much easier for you men to separate the emotional from the physical.  Remember – she is not a man – or one of your guy friends and you cannot treat her disrespectfully (like you do with your friends) and then expect that she will respond to you in a passionate way.  Woman’s brains do not work that way.  They do not compartmentalize ANYTHING.  Everything touches and affects EVERYTHING else.  All things must be right and healthy in her world first – before anything else.

2. Listen to her heart. This sounds so silly to most men.  Good grief – I married her didn’t I?  Why do I have to ‘listen’ to her?  She’s so emotional – she just needs to think and be more like a man – then all would be well.  This kind of thinking will get you into big trouble.  And as I stated in my last article – if you don’t think she’s worth listening to – or find her valuable enough to hear what’s going on in her heart – then someone else (who has learned the emotional secret to women better than you) will be there – willing and able to step in for you.  Don’t be stupid.  It happens ALL THE TIME.

3.  Encourage her hopes and dreams. Any woman worth having and keeping has hopes and dreams – some that she’s afraid to even speak out loud – but they are there.  Let her talk about them.  Key in on her and let her tell you about them.  Don’t interrupt – or worse yet –  be too busy for her.  Make the time to really listen.  Don’t try to ‘fix’ or dictate your own agenda.  Most men make the mistake of trying to ‘set her straight’ – or trying to ‘fix the problem’ because men are problem solvers.  Women don’t always need a problem solved – they just want the right to be heard.  And they need someone to understand them.  When you – her husband won’t do this – you are setting yourself up for HUGE problems.  Treat her like she is the most valuable thing in the world – and she will return it.  That’s a guarantee.

Woman love ‘little things’ done for them or with them in mind.  They love getting notes, gifts, flowers – it doesn’t really matter – it’s the thought behind it that really melts us.  We are deeply moved by a sensitive man who will move heaven and earth to be with us – and like my pastor and friend, Stephen said to me yesterday – ‘a man will run through a brick wall’ for the right woman who loves him and respects him.  So true.  And likewise – a woman with the love of a man like that – will do anything for him.

I love it when Greg will call me up when he’s out on a business call – and say, ‘I’m on my way home – are you available to have a coffee break with me?’  OH YES!!  I also love dates – either long evenings together – dinner and a movie – or just going somewhere together and taking a walk and talking together.

I know I am probably leaving many things out – but these are the most crucial to keeping a woman.  A smart woman knows a good thing when she has it – even if she may sometimes forget.  Be that man who reminds her – by treating her like she deserves to be treated.  This is the best way to ‘affair proof’ your marriage – when this happens so much today.

I pray God’s richest blessings on your relationships!

God Bless

Are You Happy?

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Heard another great message from our pastor, Stephen Collins yesterday morning.  He has begun a series on “The Beatitudes”.  This question was asked:

Are you happy?  Is this really what you want?  Will that alone satisfy you long-term?  When feelings change and emotions are fickle?

The most profound statement came in the middle of the message.  ‘When we settle for just being happy – we aim too low’ – missing out on God’s blessing in our lives’. Sometimes, God doesn’t want us to be happy.  Sometimes there are lessons in the ‘gift’ of pain and hardship in our lives.  The most significant changes in our heart and character come when life is not ‘happy’ – but dark and sad.

For me – I know this is a true statement – and sums up just what I have learned and lived through over the past 2 years – as I grew and discovered God’s ‘gift’ of hard times, both personally, in my relationships  and spiritually.

If we accept the ‘gift’ in the way it is intended – then God can do His greatest work in us – bringing us more than just ‘happiness’ – but a blessed and meaningful life And sometimes what may feel like the end of the world – may only be the beginning of a great and rewarding life.

Are you happy?  Is that what you really want?  Or do you want more?  Do you want God’s rich blessing poured out in your life.  I know I do.  I want to reap the reward of choosing to do the right thing – when doing that goes against everything I may be feeling.  It means doing right by people and relationships – and being the right person. Living by character and integrity – rather than emotions.  And when I do stray away and don’t choose what is right – at least initially – then knowing how to get back on the right path – hard as it is – to reconcile and fix it – and keep my heart open.

I am more than happy.  I am blessed. I understand this now – but it took a couple of hard lessons to really believe it.  I’m blessed with a wonderful family, a man who loves me with everything that he is –  and friendships that mean everything to me.  What I lost – God has richly replaced – and has taught me a great many lessons in the process.  Things I could not have learned – just by following my heart and emotions because I ‘wanted to be happy’.  When we see life as a journey – and know that there is a much bigger picture than just personal happiness – we will not want to aim so low.

Are you happy?  Are you wishing for more than that?  I invite you to share in some hard times – and think of them as a ‘gift’ – an added blessing to enhance your character and integrity.  I wish you more than happiness, my friend.  I wish you a life of blessing and purpose – a holy calling in which you give up ‘personal happiness’ for something richer and deeper.  To see people the way that God sees them.  To understand there is a lost world out there – and your unique gifts have placed you right where you are – to influence those that He has entrusted to you.  Use them today.

Be more than just ‘happy’ – be blessed and be a blessing to those in your life.

 

God Bless

Safety In Numbers

Sueños rotos / Broken dreams

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Our pastor had another excellent message this morning on “How To Deal with Broken Dreams”.

I was aware of the fact, as he was speaking – that I have had a few dreams and things I thought would turn out differently from what they have.  I think if we are honest – we would all say the same thing.

And it is in a world of broken or unfilled dreams – that you and I can become restless and discouraged.  The most common reaction to heartbreak is to pull away from others.  To isolate ourselves and try to make it on our own.  This is when we need be very aware that when we are pulling away from others –  Satan can have a grip on us – catching us when we are weak and alone.  And pulling us down.

1 Peter 5 says this:

8-11Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

I’m so glad He has the last word.  His hand of protection is always on me.  There is also ‘safety in numbers’.  When we rely on good council from strong Christian brothers and sisters – and are accountable to them – we are less likely to fall away – make unwise choices and stray off the path.

I admit – I like to pull away and be alone – it is in my nature to do so.  I’ve always been somewhat of a ‘loner’.  This is why – although I enjoy my friendships – it is always easier and more comfortable for me to pull away from the crowd.  Being in a married situation – and a mom  – took real discipline for me as a person – because many times when I would prefer to be alone – my circumstances were not conducive to it – nor would my family hear of it!  But my very patient husband was wonderful in understanding this about me – and at times when our children were very young – he would tell me he was going to watch them and that I could just go somewhere for several hours – to give me a much-needed break.

And although this may be a positive in many ways to like to be alone – and be able to refuel and recharge – it is not always healthy.  I need people – the friendships in my life are very important to me – so I have to work at them.  The things we value – we will make time for.  It is the same way in my marriage to Greg.  I value my time alone – but I also make time for him – because it is healthy for me to do so.  He keeps me grounded.  His love allows me to be who I am – and it is a safe place.

I have also learned that I have to let go of some of the strongholds in my life – people who haven’t treated me right – my chance for complete restoration with an old friend – etc., etc.  In letting go and not expecting anything in return – and in fact –  never seeing things the way I would like them to be.   I decided something today.  This is a ‘broken dream’ and I need to let go of it.  Period.  No more wishing and dreaming of the day that things will be put to right.  No more waiting to ask the questions and find the answers – to hear that I’m not crazy after all.  Just forgiving and letting it go.  Stephen said it so well this morning.  ‘Forgive and ask questions later’.  How simple this sounds.  How true it is.  But how humbling and challenging.  And yet – I know I have to lead my heart in this area.  I have to live with my own choices and my response to the way others have treated me.  I’m very aware that this puts me in a vulnerable position to NOT have those walls of protections around me – yes – I could be hurt again.  But it is a risk I’m willing to take – because it’s the right thing to do.

Colossians 3 says this:

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Peace and thankfulness.  So much to be thankful for.  So much.

And so on this Halloween day – my prayer for you is the same.  Let go of it – all of it.  And God will bless you for it.  Forgive and ask questions later.

Here’s hoping and praying that you will do just that.  Stay close to God – and stay close to each other.

God Bless

Fear Of Failure

Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Downs.

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Heard an excellent message this morning from our pastor – “How to deal with Failure”.

I jotted down some thoughts while I was listening:

We have all failed.

We can let that failure make us better – or keep us bitter.

God uses failure in our lives to prepare us for better things.

It can be Fear of Failure that keeps us back and holds us down.

 

A few days ago my husband and I went to see ‘Secretariat‘.  And yes I am actually old enough to remember watching him race  in those ‘triple crown’ races in 1972-73.  It brought back many memories for me – and was thrilling to hearing the back story.  The film also had a common theme today with our pastor’s message.  Failure. The owner of that magnificent race horse – had experienced failure and set-backs.  She could have given in to defeat and even what she knew about the horse’s genetics – but she refused to give in to either.  She knew that horse was a winner and so against all odds – she believed and that belief empowered her.  Instead of being afraid – she pushed on – and Secretariat is still known today as the greatest race horse that ever lived – no race horse has come close to beating his record in 37 years.

When I heard the message today – I was reminded of that horse.  And of the horse’s owner, Penny.  She was completely convinced that her horse was the best – even though the horse had lost a race at first and others told her – to give up.  She stared failure in the face and didn’t bat an eye.  At a great financial gamble – she believed and made the investors believe too.

How much I would love to be like this.  Just because I know something is true – how often do I really believe it and act on it?  Stare fear in the face and not bat an eye?  Take my power back?  Not care about the whispers and humiliation set against me?  Push on past my own reputation and pride?  Get back up after failing and be changed and transformed through the experience? And most of all – see the blessing in it?

It’s hard.  I have failed.  I am just now seeing the blessing in that failure.  But at the time – I thought it would be what would take me down and steal my joy, my testimony and my walk.  And although I am no champion – like Secretariat and numerous others that have had set-back and failures that are far more high-profile than I – I would have to say that it is because of that failure and my response to it – that I am where I am today. I found God’s grace in the midst of pain and hurt.  I might never have discovered first hand how much He loves and forgives if it hadn’t been for my failure.  I might never have discovered how much my husband really loves and believes in me – or how many true friendships I have – how much they have my back and love me beyond my many mistakes.

The key is our response – not the fear of failure.  To fall down and be broken before our God –  but then to get back up. To allow that failure to create something gracious inside of us that sees past the shortcomings and failures of other people.   To allow grace, mercy, humility and love to be our close friends when dealing with other people.  And to release that champion in our hearts that just wants to run – free – just like that race horse.

Here is a beautiful passage of scripture from the Message Bible.  When I was listening to my friend lead worship on a youtube video – she quoted a portion of this Psalm and it is so fitting when speaking about failure.

Psalm 51

1-3Generous in love—God, give grace! Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.

4-6 You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.

7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.

16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!

 

May you find that this new week  steeped in ‘chaos’ – is actually a ‘Genesis’ week – a new beginning – rich with possibilities and newness.  And no fear of failure.

 

God Bless

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