Putting Feet to Your Faith –
This morning, in worship service, when one of the staff members went up on stage and gave the announcements she talked about a missions class. She said; “This class will help you put feet to your faith!” To my knowledge, this is the first time I heard this phrase or at least the first time it resonated with me. I liked the idea of beliefs and action coexisting, what I think, say and do being in sync.
Later I reacted to a post from someone on Facebook who’s having a rough couple of weeks. There has been progressing in the recent past but for some reason, the last month or so battles thought won were being fought again. I replied to her post; “I understand and live these “honest and ugly” truths. It’s tough, feeling like you have to start over, but I’m reminded by wisdom and therapy that we’ve grown, have learned/are learning, experienced a new normal and the starting line has been moved. We may not be where we want to be but thankfully are not where we started.”
Even when it seems like our journey is two steps forward and three, maybe five, steps back we are making progress. We ask, no plead, for the faith to keep walking, to put feet to our faith.
Sing Along –
Earlier this week I had a song stuck in my head. It played over and over in my mind. It was from an artist I don’t like or dislike and was a song that was fine but not spectacular. These facts didn’t matter because the song was like an earworm which burrowed its way into my brain and wouldn’t stop. I found myself humming the tune, singing along, tapping my foot and fingers, when I was in meetings, classes, and other places.
It is hard to get a song out of your head sometimes. I usually try listening to it several times in a row which can dislodge it. Other times singing it out loud, all the way through, will do the trick. However, some songs refuse to let go and I just live with it until finally, another song, or silence if I’m lucky, takes it place.
I was speaking with someone this week about the causes of poverty, abuse, addiction, incarceration and the incredibly hard task it is to break free from these often generational, familial, cycles. Too often, people think the battles we face are won by acts of wills and choice. While these are important they are not the sum of all problems. When you have been surrounded with these ills of society and family you become used to a normal. You witness those you love and look up to make decisions that keep them trapped in the cycle. Growing up in these environments impact the way you think, your view of the world, and the hopelessness of being free. Who we are, what we are, are not only the choices we have made but from a myriad of choices which happen when we cannot decide for ourselves or even before we are born.
Understanding the truths about some of the people we meet each day will, hopefully, rewrite the judgmental and biased scripts we easily recite in our minds when we encounter the poor, drug addicted, alcoholic, homeless, ex-felons, and wonder; “Why can’t they do something about their lot in life?” Maybe, they need us to sing a new song to them.
To Trust, To Share –
This afternoon I was in Lewisburg, Tennessee for a meeting. I arrived early along with several other people and we were sharing with each other big and small life events which have happened recently. There were several birthdays which happened in January, someone had gotten married, another person was recently engaged and other good news passed along to the group.
We know deep down that other people have lives we know nothing about. We understand that friends, acquaintances, even family members are experiencing things on the road of life that we may never know unless they choose to share.
Too often we are absorbed in our own worlds and forget about the countless worlds of others which surround us. Sometimes this focus on ourselves isn’t selfishness but survival. We are going through challenges, fighting battles and just trying to stay alive. Sometimes we are myopic and consumed with whatever is happening in our lives there’s not room for others.
Life is sharing, connecting, enjoying and struggling with those with whom we share the road of life. Good and bad, negative and positive or somewhere in between when we open our stories to others and they, in turn, trust us with theirs relationships happen.
Can You See the Difference? –
I spent most of the late morning and afternoon doing what I’ve been doing every Friday for the past month and a half; raking leaves. The giant Oak tree, the giver of these leaves week after week is almost bare and there shouldn’t be too many more days spent doing this chore.
When raking each week there an interesting thing which happens to my vision. The leaves cover most of the ground when I begin and when I’ve gathered as many as I can it looks like I’ve collected most of the leaves from the ground. However, when I finish and look over the whole yard there seems more leaves missed than when I looked before. It can be discouraging, to still see the leaves, but when I remember the number of leaves I started with I am satisfied with the progress.
In the same way; wisdom tells us to be careful judging people by what we see. We do not know the battles they have faced, the hard victories won, the devastating defeats. The progress made could be miraculous and we insult the work done and the accomplishments achieved when we judge folks at first sight.
“Life is warfare.” -Seneca
THE. BATTLE. HAS. BEGUN… AGAIN.
If you live in the country there are two truths of winter. The first is that when winter weather strikes your road will be among the last cleared, salted, cared for and maintained. The second is that field mice want to use your home as a shelter from the cold.
Each year a battle for territory begins. The mice look for vulnerabilities, holes, weaknesses in the perimeter. When one is found the enemy infiltrates and attempts to establish a foothold. Signs of the adversary begin to appear and a quick counter attack is necessary. Yesterday Beth and I launched our first offensive against the invaders. Traps, holes plugged, all food in containers and mouse proof boxes. Now it’s their move.
Wisdom shows us the need to be similarly vigilant over our thoughts and spirit. Negativity, judgement, selfishness seek to make their home within us. They poke, prod, search and try to squeeze their way into our brains and hearts. Our response to thwart an enemy trying embed itself within, cement their foothold, is one of the most important battles we’ll wage and choices we’ll make.