Posts Tagged: Jesus

Perfection Rebellion

Good morning! You make Wednesday mornings my favorite time of the week. I have the privilege of interacting with the best people on earth on Wednesdays. Joy! I have a SURPRISE for you at the end of this post…. You may want to sit down.

Is it just me, or is Autumn especially spectacular this year? Do you ever feel like God wrapped the trees in color just for you? Or that the sunset delivered pink and purple clouds as goodnight kisses? Or that noticing nature change is heaven’s way of getting your attention?Like the girl who flips her hair and blushes toward the boy across the room, nature is just dying for you to notice her.

And when I stop to notice, I’m never disappointed. While uprooting tomato plants, composting leaves, and chopping down giant sunflowers last weekend, nature taught me some powerful lessons. Here they are in a nut shell.

1. Nature doesn’t have to be perfect, it just grows toward the light. Growing things are scraggly and misbehaving. They often grow where they are not supposed to grow, sprout where they are not supposed to sprout, and bloom when they are not supposed to bloom. But these responsibilities belong to the Gardener, not the growing thing. The growing thing is just supposed to grow toward the light. The Gardener takes care of the rest. The Gardener plants and waters and prunes and snips. The Gardener protects and nurtures and tends to His plants, expecting His plants to be unruly and growy and wild, with a mind of their own. 

Don’t set unreasonable expectations of yourself to”get it right this time.” Let the Gardener take care of it. Just submit to the process, and let God do the rest. As a recovering control freak, I know that surrendering control to God is hard.  But resisting God’s gardening in your life turns out to be a lot more painful in the long run. You don’t have to be perfect, or be right, or be good, or be wise. You just have to be. Let the Gardener take control of perfecting you.

2. Nature doesn’t have to try to grow, it just stays attached. I’ve never seen an apple or strawberry or tomato try to grow. I’ve never seen something work hard or stress out or make goals to ripen. The only thing fruit does to ripen is stay attached to the branch. No striving, or trying or stressing. Just connection and protection and closeness. I’ve found that keeping connected to God throughout the day, keeps me grounded, focused and at peace. No matter what mistakes I make, or stresses that come my way, attaching myself to the Life Giving source keeps me strong, centered, and growing. Jesus used this analogy.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers…

— John 15:5-6

Staying connected to Jesus, the Source, is really all we are required to do. The work and growth that flows out of that relational attachment is the true and eternal fruit. I know that it’s the American way to WORK HARDER! I know that its the corporate way to “PRODUCE RESULTS!” I know that it is the “Christian” way to IMPROVE!  I get that. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I think we really miss the point when we Christians are so busy trying to become like Christ instead of being filled with Christ. Becoming like Christ seems like pressure to say the right thing, do the right thing, and be the right thing. Being filled with Christ feels like a no pressure surrender, don’t have to “be perfect” or “get this thing right” feeling. It’s just letting God lead.


3.  Nature doesn’t have to hurry or slow down time, it just follows the seasons. There is no rush to grow. There is no hurry to get-er-done. There is no, “Wait, I’m not ready!” No matter what- growth, death and rebirth is bound by the laws of nature and no amount of stress, worry, control or anger will stop seasonal change. Acceptance is key. Time will have its way with us, no matter how we fight it. Time will force us through the seasons, so accepting them with hopeful expectancy is the key to happiness. What would it be like if we, like nature, could enjoy the passage of time? 

The Serenity prayer says that “Hardships are the pathway to peace,” and that “Accepting this sinful world as it is, and not how I want it to be,” is key to serenity and happiness. I believe it. Acceptance of the people around me, of myself, and this world takes the pressure off to perfect it all.

This is me plus 40 years- just enjoying the passage of time. ! I know, right? Awesome! Don’t be jealous! You can print this and hang it up for inspiration.

Our constant striving to get stronger, get skinnier, get richer, get better, get more of whatever is the particular currency of the moment- sucks the joy right out of life. Reaching “Perfection” is a silent, pulsing temptation that never seems far from anything I do. But with any temptation, reaching perfection is just a facade- an imaginary ideal impossible to grasp.

I’m learning to fall in love with the REAL in each moment, instead of striving for the illusive IDEAL. I’m actively rebelling against anything that promises happiness by means of “perfecting” one’s self. And when I find myself depleted, harried and stressed, I connect back to the Source, the Vine, my Friend Jesus, because within the context of this relationship, I grow without trying.

How about you? What has Nature taught you about life, about yourself, and about God? Are you struck, like me, with out beautifully imperfect nature is? How will you stay connected to God through the next week?



Little Gifts Unwrapped: Frisco Eats Chirp

Hey- thanks for visiting. I’m making some videos since it’s a bit easier to watch and listen while you’re doing other things. Enjoy! Here is the video version…Little Gifts Unwrapped: Frisco eats Chirp

And here is the written version:

It was Easter weekend and my eight year old daughter and I decided we wanted to become urban chicken farmers. The idea of chickens roaming our back yard making eggs for our breakfast seemed lovely. The notion that our black lab may be a problematic variable crossed my mind, but I was sure that I could convince him that Chickens were our friends, not food.
We went to the farm and feed supply store and picked out our little chicks. Evelyn named them, Cheep, Chirp and Loudy. On the ride home she cuddled them, cooed over them and was generally smitten with their cuteness. I dropped her off at a play date while I set up the new coop.
I brought the chicks inside the house to keep them warm and went back out to the garage to get the supplies. From the garage, I heard a crash. I knew immediately that the unthinkable had occurred- that the beast had attacked our new pets. I screamed and ran into the house, where I found a lifeless, slobbery chick laying at the foot of my crazed, wild eyed black lab. I ordered him outside to finish the job he’d started and I rushed to save the survivors. It looked like Cheep and Loudy made it. After securing their safety in a locked car, I made a few phone calls to some chicken farmers so I could find them a new home.
Gone were the urban chicken farmer dreams. The chicken infanticide happened on good Friday. I knew I had to break the news to Evelyn. I picked her up from her play date and carefully explained that our HOA would not allow chickens in our neighborhood. I thought I may be able to get away with not telling her the whole truth. She furrowed her brow and said, “Our neighbors already do it. W should just do it and not tell the HOA.” She knew this is what I was planning to do anyway. Then I said,” well, there is one other reason we can’t have our chicks. Frisco ate one.”
Oh, the weeping, the mourning, the tears as she accepted the truth of what happened. Then I told her that I had to find a new home for the chicks at a nice farm up the road. And Evelyn said with a flash of anger, “We should have found Frisco a new home, and kept the chicks!”
Nothing would console her. All day Saturday she refused to even look at our dog. Imagining him eating one of her precious little chicks was too much for her. That night, she and I watched an animal show on television and it had a segment on birds. Frisco was laying on the floor underneath our feet. There was some cheeping from the television, and he immediately perked up and started hunting! Like Pavlov’s dog, he was conditioned that cheeping sounds meant a delicious snack! That just poured salt in Evelyn’s wound.
By Easter morning, she came to me and said, “I think it’s time that I forgive Frisco. He was just doing what dogs do.”
Nothing could bring the chick back, but because of forgiveness, a girl and her dog could be friends again. God invented this transformative concept of forgiveness that has the power to mend what’s been broken. Because of Jesus’ sacrificial love, losing all so we could gain, creating a means by which we can have relationship restoration, we can be restored to God. The things we do because of our humanness, won’t separate us from God anymore. God freely offers us forgiveness. We can say to other people who hurt us, “I think it’s time to forgive. They were just doing what humans do.”
Ephesians 1:7 and 8 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

As we receive this grace for ourselves, we are better able to offer it to the people around us.

My “Relationship Savvy” blog gives you tips, advice, and flippin’ fantastic feel-goods to help with your most difficult relationship challenges.

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