Cocktails

I mixed up a cocktail last night. It was one of those days where, you know, you’d like to erase it from your memory card for good. Okay, I didn’t really mix an alcoholic cocktail, although I did drink a glass of wine.

No, the cocktail I mixed up was mainly comprised of self-preservation, anger, self-pity, selfishness and I’m pretty sure I threw in a splash of pride as well. I slugged it down quickly and then doused my husband with some of it too. I might have even continued to sip at it until I went to bed. Some days it’s just hard being a person.

Emotions are potent things, duh, and when mixed together with other people’s emotions, look out–big bang creating a world of hurt. Ugh.

I awoke this morning with a bad taste in my heart. My breath was reeking with regret and my stomach was in knots. And we all know there is only one true cure for an emotional hangover. . .REPENTANCE.

I went to a secluded place and traced the ingredients of my emotional cocktail back to their origin, not just sin, but particular sins. Within the sacred place of God’s presence and grace, I found relief.

And I went to my husband and asked forgiveness. Only then were the effects of my emotional cocktail finally gone. Sometimes it’s best to not indulge the emotions.

Which ingredients do you find yourself mixing together in your own unique version of an emotional cocktail?

Haunting Scripture

Have you ever read a Scripture and have it hit home like a ton of bricks, but then you keep pondering it, uncertain of its complete meaning? Mark 6:45-52 is like that for me.

Jesus and the disciples have just fed 5, 000 and collected the leftovers. Jesus then has the disciples get into the boat and cross to the other side. The ESV says Jesus “made” them, MSG and AMP use the word “insisted”. Strong word choice. Not ask, not suggest, but made and insisted. Hmm.

Jesus then goes off to pray alone and recharge His spiritual battery. Meanwhile the disciples are “troubled and tormented in their rowing, for the wind was against them. . .” (AMP). Jesus sees their struggle onshore and then walks on the sea to head on over.

Alas, alas o my soul, how the next words haunt me. “He was about to pass them by. . .” (ESV); “He intended to go right by them. . .” (MSG); “And He acted as if He meant to pass by them. . .” (AMP). Why?

What was Jesus’ intent when He insisted they move out into the water not only knowing they would encounter a horrific storm of such magnitude that they thought they would perish, but observe their struggle and then come close only to pass them by?

Still, He enters the storm.  He chooses to meet us in the midst of our storms, crossing the choppy waters, heading for us.

The disciples think He’s a ghost until He quickly speaks to them, “‘Take heart! I AM! Stop being alarmed and afraid. . .'” (AMP). This is the point where Peter asks to walk on water (Matthew 14). He steps into the boat and immediately the wind “ceased (sank to rest, as if exhausted by its own beating). . .” (Mark 6, AMP)

God has spoken to me different things regarding this scripture. Matthew’s account does not contain “He was about to pass them by. . .”. These words have haunted for so long and have spoken of my own fears of abandonment.

Maybe its about God calling us out deeper in our faith. Maybe Jesus was heading over and at that point their faith was strong, but then an extra large wave crashed into them. I don’t know. I do know, as I wrestle it out, how quickly circumstances can weaken my faith.

What do you think about this passage? Do you have a Scripture that haunts you?

 

Muscle Grace

I started doing pilates again this week. I have slimmed down via diet and thought now is the time to strengthen the stomach muscles. I pushed through my twelve minute routine two days in a row.

This morning I began the exercises and pretty quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to continue. I had jumped right in only to have to pull back quicker than I had imagined. In fact, I had thought it was not going to be a big deal at all to jump right back into the exercises I hadn’t done for a year or more.

Duh.

I’m giving grace to my muscles today, and maybe tomorrow.

On a spiritual level, muscle grace translates to jumping back into spiritual practices that perhaps have fallen by the wayside such as intercessory prayer, meditation, fasting, whole hearted worshiping. And the enemy will attack there too as we try and push through.

So give yourself grace, whether it be something physical that you are trying to overcome, or something spiritual that you’re trying to take up for the first time or again after a long break.

For myself, muscle grace for working outside the home again too.

Where do you need muscle grace?

The Start of a New Journey

Remember how excited/nervous/happy you were as a child for the first day of school? (If you weren’t, sorry, I can’t identify, as the youngest sibling, I wanted nothing more than to go where my sisters went already.)

Today I begin a new journey. It reminds me of starting out on an adventure into the unknown. You start out clean. Who knows how long it will be before you’ll be clean and comfortable again. I am leaving comfort and established routine behind.

I don’t know what’s ahead, which lies and weapons the enemy will attempt to use against me to take me down–as he always tries to do. I do know that greater is He who is in me than anything I might face on this my current adventure/quest/journey into a land where I haven’t mastered the language, and where the culture is different than anywhere I’ve been before.

And I am excited. This will challenge my faith, this will force me to move out of the pool of stagnate water where I’ve been treading far too long. I must intertwine my heart with His and trust, trust, trust.

Some of us like adventure and newness, and some of us don’t. I’m willing to bet we all have a bit of both in us. It all comes down to perspective and I am trying to keep my eyes on Christ, the Author and Finisher of my faith.

Eyes ahead, leaving comfort behind. Steady shoes on, backpack on and ready and willing to begin.

What new adventure/quest/journey are you beginning? What has God placed in your pack to help along the way?