James & the Path to all Joy and Flourishing, when we Realize we are not the Point

James 4:13-17

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.

“But as it is, you boast in your arrogance;”

Arrogance:        an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.

I have been super arrogant with my assumptions about others choices, we all are.  It come from many places in the dark corners of my heart.  Pride, comparison and jealousy… Sigh….

Seeing the manifestation of sin in my own life is both humbling and devastating.  In these moments of raw reality in my own soul, I am also starkly aware of Gods mercy and love toward me, regardless of my flaws and insecurities.

Because in the end it is not about me….  Ya Ill say it again ITS NOT ABOUT ME,  or you.  Because “MY” plans are insignificant and “GODS” plans are the whole point.  So I need to be thinking on, praying over, and anxiously awaiting, Gods plans, not mine.

And I know the type A planner in you just freaked out a bit but take a breath.  This is God releasing us from so much pressure and rejection.  When His plans are the agenda,  when He is the most glorified.  It releases us to to not be offended when everyone else dose not realize that we “should be” the point.

When I think my plans are first priority, but everyone else has their plans as the top of the list, that only mixes up a recipe for strife and disappointment.  Too many cooks spoil the broth and it is true.  Because we are all adding to the same pot in the end if we are working as one body.  My chicken soup might be your minestrone, and without prayer from the communal body, the Church, we all might be missing the fact that Christ was making mushroom soup all along.

And that is not to say we aren’t to plan.  That we can’t move ahead in life and ministry without a committee meeting.  We all know that we are to be good stewards of our finances and families and bodies and such.  We are all to be daily taking part in the great commission.  But be ready for change.  Be ready to make Gods agenda your number one and then tailor your life here to work with in that vision.

When we are living holistically with Christ, He will to touch every aspect of our existence.  What are all the labels we place on ourselves , mom, teacher, cook, minister leader, farmer, employee, friend, wife…  Are they honouring Gods plans?  Then hang onto them. But if it is earthly temptation,  if you are placing your identity in anything other then Christ, let it go.

This spring I sold some horses.  It was hard.  But not because I was emotionally attached to these particular horses.  Actually I was happy to get rid of theses few.  They were bossy in the herd and hard to catch.  It was just more feet to trim and more coats to shed out.  More feed to buy and more pasture to be managed.  It was work and money I was spending on horses I hadn’t rode in years.

But it met me in a prideful place, where I was basing my identity in “Being a Horsewoman”.  I wasn’t ready to let go of that part of myself for many years and its shameful, all the time we wasted and money we burned just to prop up my assessment of myself.

But the time had come and they needed to go.  I didn’t want to do it alone.  But the Lord called me out into my wilderness once again, because deciding in  my heart wasn’t anouf.  I had to obey with my feet.  The trucker got called out to drive and I was dropping the kids off with Grandma and headed down the hwy. with the trailer in tow.

And despite my tears of anxiety the night before. The anxiety to have to face this taring away, this revealing of what lay beneath the layer of Horsewoman to what the Lord was working out underneath that facade.  It was a pleasant drive.  It was a freeing realize as I opened the back gate into the ally, as I watched the ponies get marked and prepared for sale.  I was free,  I was home, there in the dusty stock yard.  Because I had let go of the label I had clung to all these years, and I was still whole.  I was still loved, and I was drawn onto the solid ground of Christ and not in the things of this world.

Stand in Christs calling, not in the plans of this world.  That is the space you will feel most free.

This is the message of James…

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The night we fought about Chicken-Tractor, Fung-sway

Communication….  Its hard.  With all this texting and tweeting you would think talking might come smoothly and naturally.  But nope.  And don’t try to pretend like you are such a expert.  We all want to be heard but the listening is the part that hooks us.

We work at it, read a book, implement some practices.  We all have the best intentions, so don’t be discouraged and give up.  Its just we struggle, Im not alone and neither are you.

But really, that my be the lesson in itself.  Its really not about me and truth be told, its not about you either.  All the conversations we are having out loud and in our heads don’t serve us much if they don’t either, honour the King or proclaimed His glory.

So the Trucker decided we should get some chickens and left me in charge of the rest.  I wanted to brain storm and plan out or little Hen Hostile together, but we just couldn’t seem to connect on the topic so with a will and a way I pushed forward and ran his toes right over with my Chicken tractor….  All for the lack of listening and articulating.

And how may others have been mowed down at the cost of productivity?  In our Churches and in our Schools.  We decide and we do.  We take over and sacrifice team work and delegating, just to save the meeting and the talking.  But how can we ever be known?  How will we ever know the Father if we can’t stop and sit at His feet and do our half of the communicating?

But that takes faith to be ready to obey.  Sometimes we only want marching orders, but not all the steps we are to take along the way.  I know its true for me.  I put off prayer till Im ready to surrender and then Ill bring it to the Lord.  But that will never stretch my faith, I will never grow that way.  It is the process of figuring out the procedure that propels us forward and into faithfulness.  When we are willing to obey we are willing to communicate.  When we are ready to admit “Its not my will, but Yours” That is when we Talk our Walk.  

Because sometimes the walking is the easy part, everyone can fake a good walk but to surrender our stillness, is the practice of patience and perseverance.  Some times I confuse Busyness with Holiness and I forget to stop and Pray.

I sacrificed doing life together for the sake of getting the work done and I had to repent over a Chicken Tractor.  What a stilly thing to have lost patience on. Here in my wanting to have it done and over and my way, I missed a chance to create and build and grow and dream with the one who I Love.

How much more do we miss our chance to operated with the Lover of our Souls when we don’t stop and pray.  When we miss what is truly important.  When we Martha our way right out of communion with Christ.

Stop and Slow and Savour and let the words sink in.  Some times marriage looks like staying in a hard conversation, 2 hours after the conversation has started.  Communication isn’t easy, that we know, but if I listen twice as much as I talk. If we take the time to allow our words to sink in and give grace and creativity a chance to grow.  We will Grow to.

Patience is tied to good communication and good communication always comes from a heart that is humble and ready to serve and sacrifice.  When we are truly ready to communicate we are truly ready to compromise.  That is the place were conflict flees.  That is the language of Love, living out Faithfulness to give Flourishing.  That is a conversation that Honours God.