Wading the storms of Life...together in word.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Life is full of decisions.  We all have them, ranging from what to cook for dinner to "is this the job I should take?" or "the man I should marry?" 

I think our approach to answering these questions are fairly similar. Most of us look at life logically.  What makes the most sence?  What direction should I take is answered by a process "logically" drafted.  We look at the pros and the cons.  We compare and contrast.  We add up the benefits and the drawbacks trying to make the most amount of sence.

What if the decision we are needing to make though isn't grounded in logic?  What if the answer comes from a place that just doesn't make since or is not like ourseles?  Is it wrong?  A few months ago, I had a decision to make.  I felt that it was not wise to take classes. There was no logical reason to say that I shouldn't though.  I kept pressing through thinking that if that were really the case, God would present something logically to me so that I would have a valid reason not to.  He did not.  When it came right down to it, my classes were being scheduled and the fealing in the pit of my stomach was growing stronger. 

For me, I really debated all the odds.  What is the worst that would happen if I was in classes and something came into my life that made it unmanageble?  What would the consequences be?  How would I need to react?  Then I thought about the full effect of setting out a semester.  How would people see me?  Would they judge me, criticize me, call me a failure?  Would it really interferre with my course of becoming a nurse in a major way?

I only needed 2 classes but I had to have at least 2.  So when the knowledge came up that I could not get in the two computer class that I needed, I realized I had a split second to really decide.  I could push through and settle for an online course OR I could take the out that I was being given just trusting that there was a reason. 

I stood on faith and did not take either of the two classes.

For a moment, I feared that I had made a mistake and that I would regret it but then I found enouragement from a friend unexpectantly.  She told me a story about her brother who had a decision to make based on a "feeling" that did not make since to him.  He didn't listen to his feeling.  He went with logic and in return found himself falling out of a tree and landing with a broken back.  My friend's brother was fortunate.  He ended up being o.k.after some time in the hospital and some major pain. Had he only listened to that inconvenient nudging, though, he could have avoided this. 

I do not know the exact reasons for my nudging. Maybe there are more reasons than I realize.  I do know that it was best that I sat out though.  We don't always know what is ahead.  There are so many unexpected things that could happen at any given moment. Only God knows.  I really do believe that God gives us warnings about things. He speaks to our spirit in a way we don't fully understand.  He guides through our trust in Him and our willingness to listen to His truth.  The only way we know what is of Him is by being close to Him, being in His word, in prayer and in surrender of His will. 

I don't know about you but in my life, I want to be lead by the spirit. I want to head to His warnings and His guidance. I want to follow His lead.  I am seeing the importance of discernment.  I am seeing that in order to truly know His will, we have to learn to discern what is being said.  We have to test and approve. We have to trust and obey. And of course....we have to be willing.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Judgment…looking at someone at face value.

Picture by Judy Royal Glenn, author of

What is face value?  Well, according to the American Heritage Dictionary (2nd Edition 1983), face value is “the value printed on a bill, bond, ect.”  To me though, face value is the value you give another human being based solely on what you see at that given moment.

I went to the library today. I haven’t been feeling well and was only planning to pick up lunch.  So instead of fixing my hair and wearing makeup, I grabbed a ball cap and just went. I had had a shower (good thing) but my hair was frizzy and I was dressed like a mixed matched hiker with white legs. We all have had moments like this haven’t we?  Going places looking horrible thinking no one will notice?   Well in my case, someone did.  The very librarian that has been overly friendly to me on my “dressed up days” now gave me a look like she couldn’t even stand to answer my question.  Her face was scowled, her eyebrows drawn, and her ‘should have been’ friendly smile was replaced with a snarl.  It actually made her look just as bad as me. The other gentleman helping didn’t seem to be bothered at all.  He was friendly and smiling, helpful and kind.  I walked out with a completely different impression of the “rude” librarian than I had had the several times before where she had been friendly.

What the librarian didn’t realize and what so many of us don’t realize is the damage that judgment causes. Because of her judgment, I am less liking to want to go to her for help in the future.    

I think we all judge to a certain degree.  We naturally have thoughts and opinions that come across in ways that we do not realize or maybe don’t care to realize. I think we need to be aware of it though, realizing the damage that it causes. 

In the past few years, I have been blessed by different friends and acquaintances coming to me with a burden they have had, asking for prayer and support. I have loved being able to be there for them and pray with them.  What has stood out to me, though, is the number of times that they have said, “I came to you because I knew you wouldn’t judge me.”  Wow!  First off, what a compliment and second off, they were right.  I had no reason to judge what they had gone through or were sharing.  I would have so missed out had I given them a reason to believe that I would have judged them in any way. 

I know a lot of people in my life that I “should” be able to go to.  I don’t though because I too receive judgment and criticism from them. I can see it in their eyes and the way they react to me or even how they listen or don’t listen.  You know who you can go to in life and who you can’t.

As the church, this must be our greatest flaw other than pride,.
Huge groups of people choose not to know Christ because of what they know about us. 

In the book, Unchristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, we see the importance of laying our judgments down to truly “be in the world” being the hands and feet.  On page 132, they state “Christ calls His followers to be active missionaries to the culture.  This culture is offensive, but we cannot take offense.  It is increasingly hostile to Christians and to whom we claim to represent, but we cannot respond with anger when people express their skepticism, and we are not meant to be isolationists.  (meaning to separate entirely, even compared to being quarantined) Jesus described our role most succinctly; we are to be in but not of the world (see John 17:14-18)” 

I think often of the fact of Christ coming to earth.  I think we tend to ignore how drastically Christ came to us and met us in our sins and failures to show love and acceptance. He was God after all, living in heaven and yet still coming to this earth to reach us, love us and serve us.  How then do we have such a difficult time doing that for others? 

Please understand that I am not saying that we shouldn’t be set apart. The bible states clearly that we are set apart and that we should act like His children not doing the things we once did. To be set apart means not thinking and acting like we did before. It doesn’t mean not loving and accepting anymore.  We show evidence of pride as though we have accomplished our faith process.  Pride is never once accepted as a good quality according to scripture, and faith comes directly from Him and not of ourselves that we should brag about (Ephesians 2:8). 
My point is this.  When we judge others on face value, we are the ones that miss out.  We are the ones that fail to get the whole story and see the full worth of any person, and in the end we are the ones that look bad.  It is possible that some other reason caused this woman to react this way but I doubt it.  Her facial expression was pretty easy to read, as are so many others. 

What I know from my experience is that I have gained a lot in my painful times of working past other people’s judgments.  It has given me a strength that I need.  I know who I am. I know what I need to do, and I am not going to let someone else's ignorance keep me from doing it.