Archive | July 2012

Following the Yellow Brick Road or Ruby Slippers?

Dorothy.  The Cowardly Lion.  The Tin Man.  The Scarecrow.  Glinda.  The Wicked Witch of the West.  “Follow the Yellow Brick Road, follow the Yellow Brick Road”.  Munchkinland.  “Lions and tigers and bears.  Oh my!”  Name any of these things and the thing that most people immediately think of is The Wizard of Oz.  However, studies have shown that the most iconic symbol of this timeless film is Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers.  In fact, they are one of the most asked about artifacts at the Smithsonian after being anonymously donated in 1979.

The Wizard of Oz.  You know the story.  Dorothy is knocked unconscious during a tornado and awakens to find herself in a strange village.  It turns out that strange village is Munchkinland, where Dorothy meets Glinda the Good Witch of the North, who informs her that her (Dorothy) house has landed on and killed the Wicked Witch of the East.  Dorothy is revered as a heroine to the frightened Munchkins, but the celebration is interrupted when the Wicked Witch of the West suddenly appears and tries to claim her dead sister’s powerful ruby slippers.  Glinda magically transfers them to Dorothy’s feet and reminds the Witch of the West that her power is ineffectual in Munchkinland.  She promises Dorothy, the now epic promise, “I’ll get you, my pretty… and your little dog, too!”  Dorothy just wants to go home.  When she inquires from Glinda how to do just that, Glinda advises her to seek help from the ever mysterious Wizard of Oz, who can be found in the Emerald City.  “How do I reach the Emerald City,” Dorothy wants to know.  “Follow the yellow brick road.”

We spend the rest of the movie journeying with Dorothy to the Emerald City.  Along the way, we meet The Scarecrow, The Cowardly Lion, and The Tin Man; all are in search of something, so they opt to follow the Yellow Brick Road together.

After surviving flying monkeys, the Wicked Witch of the West, and many other obstacles along the way—Dorothy finally meets the Wizard.  She learns that he cannot actually do anything for her and finds that she is still desperate to find a way home.  Glinda appears to tell her the she (Dorothy) always had the power to return home.  All she had to do was close her eyes, tap her heels together three times, and keep repeating “There’s no place like home.”

Dorothy held the power to change everything all along.  Isn’t that just like us, as Christians?  We walk around with the love and power of Jesus all day long and yet do nothing with it.  Like Dorothy’s ruby slippers, we are absolutely useless when we aren’t tapping into the Power and allowing ourselves to be used for the very thing we were commissioned to do.  We would rather follow our own Yellow Brick Road full of arguments of Chic-fil-A versus Target; Republican versus Democrat; my belief in this versus your belief in that.  What do we find when we get to the end?  That instead of feeling desperate for answers, we should have just tapped our ruby slippers and found that we could have just loved our neighbor like Jesus all along and changed everything.

What about you?  What yellow brick road are you chasing?  What keeps you from just tapping your ruby slippers and finding that you already walk in the power and love of Jesus?

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That About Sums It Up

Today, I did something I haven’t done in a really long time: watched a movie with my little sister in the middle of the afternoon!  Just because I could, ha!  We opted for The Vow.  The book was phenomenal!  The interviews with the couple that wrote the book—incredible story!  I’m not gonna lie, I was a little disappointed in the movie.  However, there’s a line at the beginning of the movie that really struck a chord in me.  Leo, who deserves the Husband of the Century award, says,

 

“We are the sum of every single moment in our lives, every person we’ve ever known– and these moments become our history.”  (The Vow)

 

Maybe it’s because my past has really had a grip on me lately.  Or at least it did.  If you read my Safe Haven post, then you’ve caught a glimpse into that part of my heart.  I am learning a lot on this journey.  (I know it didn’t really seem like it from last night’s post, but I am!)  One of the biggest things I’m learning is that the closer I get to where I believe the Lord wants me to be, the more Satan will use the areas I’m most vulnerable– to tear me apart.  I just have to learn to stay steady the course.  I get to decide how the fires from my past will affect me.  There may be events and people in my past that I’m not excited to admit are there, but they are part of what makes me who I am today and I’m determined that I will come out of this sanctified, not just scarred!

 

In the midst of all the “dark places” along this journey, there are also a lot of people and experiences that I can see God a lot easier.  (Think: Magic Eye.  On top of it, I couldn’t see the same thing that I can now that I’m further away from it.)  I am blessed to be friends with some of the most amazing people folks ever.  Lately, I have been a rather high maintenance friend.  I am eternally grateful for friends who are willing to roll up their sleeves and be right in the middle of all of this with me.  They have gotten in my world and spoken my language, if you will.  They have dropped what they’re doing to touch base with me, insisted we do lunch, or packed their bags and came to town for an Andy Griffith marathon.  They have heard me say the same thing over and over again and hugged me while I’ve made no sense.  They have offered encouraging words and told their own “messy” stories to remind me that I’m normal.  I only hope that I can be the same in their world!

 

I’m the sum of all of that—the good and the bad; the fun and the hard.  I know God is shaping me into something beautiful.  I just think that, right now, I’m still in the cocoon.  I’m excited for the day I feel more like a butterfly.  I hope there’s a lot of pink, ha!    

 

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”  (Psalm 40:2)

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Tonight, I went to get ready for bed just like I always do.  It was a typical evening routine: clear the bed of all the clothes I opted out of wearing this morning, turn down the covers, throw my journal and pen on the bed, grab my pajamas and head for the shower.  The path from my room to the shower is short, but it still means having to pass two mirrors.  I walk past these mirrors countless times on any given day.  The one in the hall has been where we’ve all made sure our look for the day was a good one.  I’ve stood in front of it many times to put on make-up while someone else was in the shower.  It hangs over a glass cabinet and the set was given to me by my grandmother.  I have always loved this mirror!  The one in the bathroom has had numerous notes scribbled and pictures drawn in dry erase marker.  I’ve played at the sink with kids while grinning at ourselves and making faces at our reflections.  I fix my hair in front of that mirror every morning; I enjoy my morning routine about as much as I do my evening one.  For some reason, tonight was different; they both stopped me dead in my tracks.

You know those moments when you really don’t want to cry, but you’re not really sure what else to do?  Normally, I’m pretty good at pushing back those emotions (though I’m not sure that’s a good thing).  Tonight, I couldn’t help myself; I just stood there and cried.  My heart’s in an incredibly bizarre place right now, struggling with emotions that I don’t think I could define if I tried.  The tears streaming down my face were just an outward expression of my inward struggle.  To top it off, I was looking a mess!  My skin was red and greasy from sunscreen.  My hair, while pulled up, was still frizzy from the Eastern North Carolina humidity.  You would have thought I had just left the pool or come off the beach.  If you’ve ever been with me to either of those— you now have mental picture of just how rough I was looking.  When you’re emotions are all over the place, you’re feeling rough, the last thing you need is to glance in the mirror and discover that you’re looking the part too. 

I had just come in from hanging out with a really good friend of mine.  We had been talking about all the people we know who have either just gotten engaged or married and how we should be stoked for them, but that, instead, it brings about this whole realm of “when is it going to be my turn” questions, as well as “if someone asks me that one more time” frustrations.  She had just heard me say that I’m the girl guys are friends with, not the girl guys date.  And now, standing in front of a mirror I’ve usually loved, I knew I was staring at a girl who isn’t convinced she deserves to be loved at all. 

Now, I know that the mess I was standing in tonight is just a result of lies from the Enemy.  I do– I know it in my heart!  However, I’m not going to pretend that just because I know that means I wasn’t struggling in unbelievably distinctive ways tonight.  Because tonight, I guess my head had the upper-hand. 

So what do you do?  Well, if you’re me, you take your shower then go into your room and blast Bethany Dillon’s “Beautiful”…

 

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.”   (Song of Solomon 4:7)

Speechless

I like words.  It may be a little sick, but I even enjoy the etymology of words.  A lot of my favorite games are built around language: Catch Phrase, Scrabble, Buzz Word, Apples to Apples.  I will usually pick Wheel of Fortune or Chain Reaction over something like Jeopardy or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.  My mom loves to tell the story how I was reading words like “dictation” in the first grade.  While language can be our biggest barrier in effective communication, it’s still all we have really.      

It’s not often that I find myself having absolutely nothing to say.  In fact, my wheels are almost always turning and I find myself lost in a daydream or rehashing past conversations in my head, unpacking what they did or did not say.  (Making sense of it all is a whole other story!)  I have been known to have so much to say that I can’t formulate where to start.  I’ve also been known to hijack a conversation, because I get on a soapbox or get lost on a tangent.  However, sometimes, I just can’t quite say what I want to when I want to.  Other times I’m not sure that I even want the other person to know what I’m thinking, or I have something that I really want them to know, but I get scared or feel stupid or fear that it could change everything, so I just don’t let the words come out.   

I found myself absolutely speechless with God this morning.  Most people tend to use that phrase when they’re surprised, blown away, or even overwhelmed by what God’s just done.  Not me.  I mean, I’ve been there, but that wasn’t it this time. 

I had gotten away from everyone else this morning and when I got really still—I was speechless.  Maybe it’s because I feel stupid bringing the same thing to God again and I wanted to spare Him the drama this morning.  Maybe I just didn’t want Him to know what I was thinking. (Like He isn’t already completely aware.) 

This morning, I realized how tired my heart really was.  It’s like it was just too tired for words.  It’s been in, essentially, a wrestling match with itself for a while now over something.  I looked up through the tears and managed to say, “Lord, I just can’t say it in words.”  And then, just sat there; staring out at one beautiful sunrise.  (I think my silence may have somehow been my loudest cry though.)

I am so thankful that God KNOWS me.  He knows what my heart’s feeling before I can define it.  In fact, He knows what I’m going to feel before I even feel it!  I finally opened my devotion book and found that, today, I was to be in Psalm 139.  Go figure, right?  An entire chapter on just how much God knows me. 

And you guessed it!  I was speechless…

Safe

I passed a sign today that read, “Somebody told me that this is the place where everything’s better and everything’s safe.”  I recognized it as soon as I saw it; one just like it hung over the door in Karen’s Café on One Tree Hill.  As a long-time fan of the old show, there’s a part of me that really wanted to have it!  However, in the spirit of not wanting to be labeled Crazy Lady, I moved on.

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I like to feel safe.  Maybe it’s because there’s a moment in my life that I will never forget when I was keenly aware of just how unsafe I was and I never want to feel that way again.  I was constantly reminded of that quote today as images of unsafe moments in my life flashed in my mind.  I also quickly thought of my Mars Hill Mom’s home.  She epitomizes this like no one else I’ve ever known.

I then quickly wondered whether or not I’m a safe person.  Meaning, when people are around me, do they feel like everything’ better and everything’s safe?  Or do I make people nervous and unsure if they can be themselves, say anything and know it’s not going anywhere beyond our conversation?  When someone shares a secret with me, do they feel the need to tell me it’s a secret or can they safely assume that everything they ever tell me is treated like a secret, not getting repeated to anyone else?  Do I try to fix people or do I genuinely listen, knowing they’re capable of learning something on their own and probably weren’t looking for advice anyway?  Do I listen with a judgmental ear or do people find grace and unconditional love when we talk? 

I think we’ve all been scarred by moments of sharing our hearts with unsafe people.  I know I have!  I have spilt my heart in times of feeling incredibly vulnerable, only to discover that it has been shared by the listener with someone else.  I have learned that’s not the way it’s supposed to work and I don’t want to be like that!  I want to be the kind of person where, when we’re together, everything’s better and everything’s safe because you have found that I extend only the same grace the Jesus offers.

What about you?  Are you a safe person?

 

 “And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31)