Browsing "Devotional"
Sep 20, 2013 - Devotional    2 Comments

A Hospitable Life

Sometimes I see people.

I hold doors. I help carry boxes. I let them in traffic. I send encouraging notes.

Too much of the time, I don’t see people. I rush past them onto the elevator. I miss seeing them in the lunchroom. I fail to follow up on their rough days. I am too focused on my own tasks. But I’ve found that I like myself much better when I see people. I don’t want to be so focused, driven, or oblivious that my life is inhospitable to changes in plans or needs that come up.

It is one thing to spend five more seconds to hold a door for a colleague, but I want my life to be hospitable in larger ways. I want to have time and energy to hear others’ stories, to really listen. I want to have time in my life for others. Sometimes I feel like I am pushed in so many different areas and I guard my free time fiercely. I need downtime and recharge time. But I do not want to be a hoarder of me-time. I want to hold it more loosely, to be willing to share it. To have time to bless others as well as be blessed myself.

I like myself best when my life is hospitable. I like myself best when I see people and share life with them.

Does anyone else struggle with this?

 

Sep 17, 2013 - Devotional    1 Comment

FOMO

FOMO is an epidemic.

I am a FOMO sufferer… and you might be too.

I will fight FOMO.

Vimeo.com  Kiersten Mosley

Vimeo.com
Kiersten Mosley

FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. It’s the anticipatory angst I have when invited to two events the same night and I have to choose. It’s the feeling of sinking I have when I know fun is going on without me. FOMO  causes me to stay up too late and overbook myself, preferring to be tired, but present at everything rather than having to deal with FOMO’s  irrational fears.

And if that wasn’t enough, FOMO has an evil diagnositc twin, JOMO.

JOMO = Jealousy Of Missing Out.

I think of FOMO as anticipatory and JOMO as reflective. I fear missing out in the future and I am jealous of missing out when I see how much fun was indeed had. JOMO has no doubt grown in exponential proportions since the advent of social media. Everyone looks happy, engaged, active, and well put together in social media. We don’t post unflattering pictures or status updates like, “Doing nothing tonight, but trolling through Facebook watching everyone else have fun.” (Though such statements are no doubt true!) We have fear of missing out and jealousy of missing out based on a skewed perception of life.

The opening statements are true. FOMO is an epidemic. I am a FOMO sufferer … and you might be too. I will fight FOMO. And the first piece is awareness.

United against FOMO!

 

Aug 23, 2013 - Devotional    3 Comments

Living in the Mess

Life is messy.

I learned that in new ways as my house was re-carpeted last week.

I didn’t like it. I didn’t like being unable to get to my dresser or shoes or underwear drawer because they were in my shower, behind seven layers of other stuff.

I didn’t like how much time it took to pack and unpack.

I didn’t like not feeling settled or home because things were so disheveled.

I didn’t like living in the mess.

IMG_0555

 

I felt very much like this:

IMG_0569

But I realized that life IS messy. There is no way around it. Life is painful and full of blocked goals. Relationships, spaces, and plans are messy at times and we have to learn to live in the midst of the mess. I wish I could say that now that I’ve unpacked and have my oodles of books back in their homes that I feel all better. That one battle has been fought and won — due to my organizational ninja skills! — but life continues to be messy. Sometimes my soul feels restless in the waiting and the frustration. A frustration that carpet, or organizing, or moving, or marriage, or children could not appease. My heart longs to experience a peace that this world cannot provide. St. Augustine famously said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” My heart is restless, but for now I am called to live and forge steadily onward in the messiness of life. Taking time to celebrate small victories (like unpacking), and taking time to commiserate with others over the frustration of blocked goals whenever they occur.

Take heart, Beloved. Life is messy now, but in Christ, it won’t always be.

Aug 19, 2013 - Devotional, Exegesis, Health    No Comments

Running and Asceticism

I’ve never experience the runner’s high, endorphine-flooded, goofy-this-feels-like-walking-only-faster-I-could-run-forever state of being. I feel every foot-pouding step, every muscle contraction, every oxygen-drenched breath when I run.

I run for two reasons:

1. The sense of accomplishment is addicting.

2. To tell myself, “no.”

When I completed my first 5K, I was totally pumped. Not by runner’s high endorphines, but by the sense of immense accomplishment. I started off running thirty seconds at a time and sucking air after each interval. I had just run 35 minutes without stopping. I crossed the finish line, fists in the air, thrilled at what I had just accomplished. It felt like I was walking on a cloud for weeks. Any tough problem that I encountered  seemed to soften in comparison to finishing that race. I’m addicted to accomplishment. That’s why I run.

Jingle Jungle 5K

Secondly, I run for self-discipline. It is good for me to endure through trials. It is good for me to push a little bit harder when my legs want to quit. My body wants certain things: sleep, rest, comfort, ease. Although there’s nothing wrong with those desires inherently, there are times the body and the flesh must be told, “No.”

Self-discipline is a constant training process.

There is a reason I understand much more than I did two years ago why Paul consistently talks about running and spirituality in the Bible. He entreats his readers to train, run, not run in vain, to finish the race. One of my favorite passages: Hebrews 12:1-2 reads: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Life is a marathon; we must train to run well. Even Jesus denied his bodily desires and ran the race set before Him until he crossed the finish line. He is still celebrating the completion of His race. And so am I.

Aug 18, 2013 - Devotional    1 Comment

Loving My Limits

 Loving my limits 

By Leigh McLeroy

(c) 2013

 
I don’t want a super-sized Diet Dr. Pepper. A medium, heavy on the ice, is fine–thank you. And I don’t covet more space than the 1,400 square feet I happily came to call my own last April. (Actually, there are still days when I think it might be too big.) I don’t need a newer car, more clothes, or music, or books, or pretty things to fill up my closets or shelves or rooms. I have enough stuff. I’m blessed.

I’m not unambitious. My head is still turned by beauty of all sorts.I hope to keep being asked to do meaningful work that matters to me. I hope to write more books, teach more lessons, craft more poems. I hope to grow (by breadth and depth) my circle of friends. I have plenty of longings that continue to tug at my heart. But they don’t break it. Not anymore.
I’ve dreamed of traveling to Africa, but it’s not likely that I ever will. I’m not able to take the vaccines currently required to do so. And I’d love to spend a few days at a place closer to home, too, but for now, that kind of trip is solidly out of my reach. Every once in a while I imagine what it might be like to have a tiny place in the country to get away to, although it’s just as nice to be loaned the keys to someone else’s now and then. Maybe nicer. And when people ask about the children they assume I have, although I feel compelled to deflect attention from my childlessness, I am grateful for the chances that are mine to demonstrate what I imagine mother-love to be..

Finally, after years of wanting, and seeking, and striving (and more than a little envy), I’m learning to love not just my gifts–but my limits. There are things I can’t do…may never do. Things I don’t currently have…and may never have. I could focus on them and become unhappy or resentful, or I could consider how those limits redirect me, refocus my desire, and refine my heart for the better. I could choose to glorify God by loving my limits, and living to the hilt here, now, with what I have, and nothing more.

There’s no shame in admitting I lack some things. In all things I have more than enough: I have Him.

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O God, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Psalm 62:1-2, 11-12)

© Leigh McLeroy, 2013
If you would like more of Leigh’s brilliant and beautiful observations of life, sign up for her weekly email at http://www.leighmcleroy.com/wednesday-words.html
Aug 14, 2013 - Devotional, My Story    2 Comments

Money, Money, Money

Money. Dollars. Savings. Retirement. Spending. Investments.

They’ve been on my mind a lot lately.

Tonight is the last session of my financial class. Over the past several months, I’ve been challenged about my views on money and have learned how to be a better steward through this class. I’ve had budgeting homework every week. I’ve watched the stock market. I’ve figured out ways to cut down on my spending and not purchase frivolously.

But I’m tired of thinking about money! I don’t want to be so focused on saving that I’m not generous. I do not want to be miserly. I want to spend smartly, save wisely, and bless others. I want to invest well.

I’m determined to make good habits and not turn into Scrooge McDuck diving through his money vault joyfully hoarding for himself.

scrooge mcduck

Money really does reveal what you love. I’ve spent more time looking through my past spending records and am continually amazed how much life costs and how much I spend to make myself feel better. After a hard day, I may treat myself to a trip by the craft store. And it even though the dollar amount might be small in comparison, the link between spending and happiness is strong in my life. I tell myself, “I am not Scrooge McDuck. Hoarding does not equal happiness.” I read a financial book last week and the biggest take home message for me was this. Money: When you die, you can’t take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. Investing my resources in something much larger and longer lasting than my own life, that is a wise investment.

What are you investing in?

Aug 2, 2013 - Devotional    No Comments

Multitasking and God

I’m still thinking about the quote, “You can multitask things, but you can’t multitask people.”

Not only am I guilty of multitasking people, I’m guilty of trying to multitask God. I have to sit to do my devotionals, or read my Bible with a pad of Post-Its next to me so I can jot down all the other thoughts that crowd out my head while I’m trying to concentrate. I get distracted, I take breaks, I throw in loads of laundry, I think God will understand.

Mothers-are-the-best-Picture

But lately I’ve realized, God doesn’t multitask me.

He’s not listening to the prayers, petitions, or pouting of millions of people all at once, giving them each a percentage of His attention. That is the glory and joy of living outside of time, He doesn’t have to worry about making the most of His free time. He isn’t tired and doesn’t have deadlines. He sees me. He sees you.

I’ve always loved Hagar’s story in Genesis 16. “She [Hagar] gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [the “well of the Living One who sees me”].” — Genesis 16:13–14 (NIV). God saw her, heard her cries when she was at her lowest point in life. He is a God who sees, who looks after his Beloved.

Isn’t such a God worthy of all my time and attention instead of sharing me with the laundry? I think so. Perhaps I’ll amend the quote: “I can multitask things, but I shouldn’t multitask God!”

Jul 25, 2013 - Devotional    No Comments

Multitasking People

“You can multitask things. You can’t multitask people.”

The speaker repeated that several times at my orientation last week.

How often do I try to multitask people? I call out, “I’m listening!” when I’m really throwing laundry in and deciding how full I can make the barrel and still consider my clothes clean after the cycle. I talk on the phone, but I’m not fooling  my conversational partner, she can hear the clackety-clacking of keyboard keys through the phone. I watch a movie with my roommates, but my eyes stay glued to a different screen the entire time.

I’m terrible at multitasking people.

It was a fear of mine as I upgraded to a smart phone. I didn’t want to have the phone grow directly into my hip, as if my joints were dependent upon being connected continually. I don’t carry my phone with me at work. I leave it in my room at home typically. It’s just so distracting.

And dishonoring.

It doesn’t respect my friend or family member to be interrupted by a cute little chirp every few minutes of a conversation. I am willing to multitask things: do laundry and vacuum, pay bills and dust, file and sautee with reckless abandon! But I don’t want to multitask people.

May this be true in my life!

attached to cell phones

Jul 10, 2013 - Devotional, My Story    1 Comment

Magyar Vagyok, Nem Turista!

A friend of mine is in Budapest right now.

She asked for my recommendations on sightseeing and eating and I got this dreamy far off look in my eyes as I wrote her back remembering my numerous trips to this gem of a country. I have such fond memories of Hungary. Teaching English, devouring delectable food, committing cultural faux pas, living with naked hosts. Each could be a post by itself! Below is a post I wrote after my last Mission trip to Hungary reprinted here for your enjoyment and my nostalgia!

“I’m sitting here at a restaurant in Budapest sunburned, dehydrated, exhausted, sweating, coughing, and covered in mosquito bites… and life is good.”

orlando grace church IMG 3968 300x225 Magyar Vagyok, Nem Turista!

The Hungary Team 2010

My trip to Hungary was exciting, beautiful, and bursting with laughter despite the numerous circumstances which could have made it a rough trip. We were spoiled Americans stuck in an air-conditionless nation in the middle of a record setting heat wave with temperatures near 100 every day. I didn’t get a full night’s sleep for two weeks. I struggled to communicate with both my students and my host family. I haven’t been able to take a real shower since I left the states.  I ingested a few unidentifiable meats. And yet somehow none of this seems to matter. I am normally not this resilient, but today I am a part of a team – an integral part – and that knowledge trumps every other circumstance trying to pull me down right now.

orlando grace church IMG 0826 300x225 Magyar Vagyok, Nem Turista!

Kelly and Laurie showing off their buttons!

The title of this post means “I am Hungarian, not a tourist.” It was on a button which my host family gave me in 2008. I chose it as my title because I was more than just a tourist on this trip; I experienced something which transcended a mere two week stay in a foreign country. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of calling. In my mind I’ve always thought of calling as something distinct from the rest of life and significantly long term. Such that if someone was called to missions, I wouldn’t see them for several decades! Since I graduated from RTS last year I’ve wanted to receive my calling as if I was in a holding pattern just waiting for God to reach down and tell me how to really start my life. My ideas about calling have slowly changed. I have thought more and more about the one truly long term calling – to be faithful. My calling is to obey my Lord in whatever situation I find myself, to be just as faithful in the everyday as I am in the big things, like mission trips. The following is an excerpt from my journal entry as I processed my mission trip to Hungary.

“My job is to be faithful where you have me, Lord, that is my true calling. Jobs may change and I may move. Marriage may find me someday, but my calling, my big calling will stay the same. To be able to know why I’m here, why I came, how I contributed. This is such a gift! All too often we don’t get to see the big picture or know how we helped the cause. But I was given a peek, a glimpse into my part in the big plan – and for that moment it was beautiful. My calling may not be showy or spectacular to everyone else, but there will be times that the curtains will be pulled back for just a moment and I will see the tapestry that You are weaving instead of just seeing my own individual thread. That happened tonight as I sat amongst my fatigued, sunburned, and dehydrated fellow soldiers and felt your goodness to us.”

orlando grace church IMG 3618 300x225 Magyar Vagyok, Nem Turista!

Jun 14, 2013 - Devotional, Exegesis    5 Comments

Know Why You “No”

I hate saying no.

I really stink at it. I detest feeling like I’ve let others down. I have to work myself up to near-frenzy to get the words out and I typically feel remorse about it afterward as if I’m single handedly crushing someone’s spirit through my negative reply. I struggle with this. It’s a constant battle for me not to overbook myself, feel totally overtaxed, and want to retreat from the world.

I was complaining to my mom about this feeling and she said something which totally blew my concept of saying “no” out of the water.

She quoted Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Then she went on to exegete the passage saying, “Kelly, God prepared for you good works, specific good works, and you should walk in those working at them mightily. Other works may present opportunity, and they may appear good from the outside, but if they’re not the good works that God prepared for you specifically, then they won’t be good if you say yes.”

Mind blowing truth! What beautiful freedom!

orlando grace church Graduation Kyle 055 225x300 Know Why You No

If I say “no” to everything, I’m being disobedient by failing to walk in the good works God has prepared for me. If I say “yes” to everything, I’m not being a good steward of myself! By stretching myself too thin I’m failing to give enough energy, time, and attention to the specific works which have been chosen for me. But perhaps even more frightening than that is the fact that by saying “yes” to everything I could be inadvertently usurping a work meant for another and thereby denying him of the opportunity to walk in the good works prepared for him!

I’ve found myself praying my own version of the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity to say “no” to the works not prepared for me.
The courage to say “yes” to the works which are prepared for me.
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Amen.

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