Five Minute Friday: Listen

Five Minute Friday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5 mins of writing on a set topic.

I’ve decided that if I ever wanted to do more writing….and to really get serious about it then I need to be able to just write. Simply write. So I’m going to join some friends linking up at Lisa-Jo’s blog and we shall see what fun ensues…..

So here goes….

START –

Listen.

I’ve always had a love/ hate relationship with this whole social media and blogging thing.  In some ways it is the coolest thing, to be able to reach out from beyond our four walls and at the click of a button proclaim life, encourage and exhort and to find kindred spirits.  In other ways, it can be a false reality.

Last night I saw Lisa-Jo’s prompt go live.  I sat there and I started thinking.  And then came the onslaught through my twitter and facebook feeds.  Read this.  I just posted this.  This was my blog. Linking up now.

And something within me became a little crushed, a little worn, and a little deflated.

Oh I know there is good.  Tremendous good. There are many blessed and inspired words strung together to create something glorious over the internet.

But the whole orchestra of instruments all together chiming ‘read me’ is essentially the same as saying ‘listen to me’.

And I think as much as I love the hearts behind the blogging, I need to listen to Him more.

I want to tune in to the conductor, more than the individual instruments. For without Him, there would be no harmony, no connections and continuity.  No meaning.

As much as cyberfriends can reach out and love on people. Our Abba Father is at the ready, wanting ALL of my heart.  BOTH of my ears.  ALL of my attention.

We are all instruments, yes?

Let’s tune in to Him, just a little more, yes?

So that we can turn our readers to Him, just a little more.

STOP.

orchestra

Advertisements

Boiling frogs, accents and phone plans

From my title today you can see that my brain is going on a bit of a wacko ride at the moment, and I’m going to attempt to take you with me.  Lucky you.  Or not.

You will have heard that story of how if you try to put a frog into boiling water it is of course going to try everything in its power to get out of that water.  How you would try this in the first place, I have no idea. However, if you have some frogs in a pot of cold water and slowly increase the temperature, they don’t notice the change and…well…voila…frogs legs for dinner, anyone?

That picture is often used in describing the idea of desensitization and how we can become used to our environments and we morph and change with them.

A couple of weeks ago we were in San Francisco and on the boat to Alcatraz we meet three fellow New Zealanders.  It’s not often you see kiwis around here, so we struck up a friendly conversation with them.  We had to tell them we are New Zealanders.  Seriously.  They  could tell we knew they were New Zealanders but we had to actually tell them we’re New Zealanders. I was mortified.  They said our accents have taken on an American twang.  Mate.  Not good.

Now my American friends would laugh at this – as all they hear is a foreign accent.  But to someone from our homeland, they can hear the slight difference in speech, a few different words being used and they can tell – we’ve been living in a different environment.  We are morphing.  We’re always in the process of adapting.  Of trying to be understood. And slowly, over time, there has been some desensitizing going on in our lives.  It’s no longer foreign to flick the lights the ‘wrong’ way around.  I can quite happily drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road.  There aren’t as many things that jump out and surprise us now, although we’re always living with cultural differences.

We can’t help that we have become a little bit desensitized.  It is what happens, gradually, over time, sometimes for good, and sometimes for bad.

Sometimes my ‘outside’ eyes see things and they get me into trouble.  Not everyone always appreciates it when I see ‘stuff’ and I say ‘stuff’ – because from my experience, from looking from the outside in, life here – or anywhere for that matter – sometimes needs some questions to be asked of it.

 And that’s my challenge to myself and to you, today.  Ask yourself the ‘why?’ questions.  The tricky questions.  Don’t just blindly follow the things of your culture – don’t be desensitized by what you see around you, by all the haves that people have.  Be intentional with all you do.

Take i-phone/ smart phone payment plans.  Is it really that important to you to always be in touch with your social media apps?  Does  $70 a month really enhance your life, when you’re striving to be that ‘hands-free Mama’ that everyone was oohing and aahing about a few months ago?  Now before I get a whole bunch of defensive comments all in favour of your fancy pants phones, this really isn’t about the phone and the benefits or the ins and outs of having one.  I’m really not judging.  Hear my heart.  It is not about Suri or Sari or Sara. It is about being intentional.  It is about knowing what you stand for and why you buy/need/ want/avoid/ desire certain things in your life.

It is about living your life in such a way because that is what God desires of your life  because HE has your HEART.  (And isn’t that something we’re all, constantly working on?)

It is about protecting yourself from becoming sucked into and thrown out of the whole desensitization vacuum so that the Moms at school pick up do know you love Jesus.  The Moms watching their little Princesses at Ballet know you care about how their day was.  The teens in your life know you have something better to offer them, than the false promises of the world.

It is about tuning our ears, our eyes and our hearts towards someone who cares a lot more about US and how our hearts are, than the car we drive, the fall decorations we do or don’t have in our houses and the fact that I still, after all this time have quite the Brook Shields look going on.

Frogs may not survive in their environments, if the water gets too hot, but for us – we can do more than survive when the going gets tough.  If we’re intentional and determined not to become desensitized….the tough in us will get going.

Wise and Harmless

Arrogant.

Alienating.

Assuming.

These are not very nice words associated with not very nice feelings.

These negative feelings can easily be put on, likes pieces of clothing, covering up our souls, bodies and spirits.  We can dress ourselves in these sad feelings as quickly as we can dress ourselves in the feelings of:

Humble and unconceited

Integrated and included

Thinking the best of and not jumping to conclusions

But here’s the thing.  I know which feelings I would rather clothe myself in.  Today and everyday.  And I know what feelings I would like my friends to be dressed in.

And I know my written words have the potential to dress people in feelings.

As corny as it sounds – I love all my friends. I really cherish friendships and I really value my non-Christian friendships as much as my Christian friends. BUT  I fear I clothe my non-Christian friends with my arrogance from time to time. I fear I throw ideas out there that alienate them and I fear these friends bear the brunt of a lot of my ill-assumed ideas.

Do you ever stop to think about what yours and my ‘Christianese’ does to our friends?

Our social media worlds filled with Christian-speak?

When you’ve been a Christian for a while you have certain things ingrained in you.  You think and speak certain things in a certain way because it is what you believe and what you can relate to and some of it is a direct result of the hand of God at work in your life.  Changing you.  Moulding you.  The master heart surgeon at work.

And this is good and this is right and we shouldn’t hide our lights.  For we may indeed be the only bible some people read.

But.

In this and through this, my words still need to bless others.  Not to assume superiority.

In this and through this, what needs to come first always to Christian and non-Christians are words that are loving, kind and thoughtful.

The gospel does offend people.  We are in a battle where people’s eyes and ears are blinded to the truth.  There will always be people in my life who don’t understand the way I think, and the way I live. I can be open and honest with my thoughts, beliefs and convictions – but I can do it with conscious thought as to not appear arrogant.  Not to alienate the minority of my non-Christian friends from my majority of Christian friends.  And not to assume that all my friends are on the same wave-length as me.

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” – Matthew 10:16

Image

Who’s the hero?

  When I was at University there was a very important booklet that I really valued and it would accompany me on every late night computer lab encounter I had, and then when I finally got my own computer, it held pride of place right beside me at my desk.  This booklet gave the correct ways in which to write out any and all of the references that you may ever need to use in a formal piece of writing.  Depending on where you find your information, where you find a particular quote, then there is a ‘correct’ way to show where that information came from.  We were encouraged to quote other people’s research – but – the golden rule is – always give credit where credit is due.  

  I’ve been thinking about this give credit where credit is due business a bit lately.  And it makes sense.  It honours those who have worked hard and gone before us, and it keeps us humble.  

  Here in blogland, in Christian circles and in what would be classified as ‘faith blogs’ I wonder, I really wonder, how often do our keyboards point the way towards God as being the hero.  The hero of our stories  Towards God as being front and centre stage in our lives. 

  It is easy to write about what God is doing in us, and even what we’re doing for God.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  A lot of people use blogs as merely a tool for sharing their lives, nothing more and nothing less.  But I can’t help but ponder this thought:  how can I blog with true humility?  How can I give the Lord credit for every way that He impacts my life and how can I portray this so that He shines?  

Credit gives honour where honour is due and keeps me humble.

I never really thought of myself as much of an evangelist before, but I’ve been thinking more and more that my words SHOULD be showing Jesus as key to all I do and say and as being my motivation. They (my words) should be, because He is my motivation and inspiration.  My saviour.  

 I truly believe that there is an attractiveness and a beauty to the things of God when people can SEE what He is up to in people’s lives. And I believe that this is more powerful than when we blog about it. And when we facebook status it.  And certainly when we tweet about it.   

  The whole actions speak louder than words business.  

  I wonder if I am taking far too many liberties when I liken Jesus’ words here: When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.(Matthew 6: 5)  Liken this to our modern day issue of blasting social media sites with all our good deeds and all that is happening in our lives. 

  Now I’m not saying we should keep our stories to ourselves, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t share what God is telling us and doing in and through us.  No, not at all.  These things should be shared and there is undeniable power in a testimony. But what I am saying is credit should be given where credit is due.  God – in all His power and might should be displayed so strongly that there is no doubt that He is the hero in our stories.  Without Him we are nothing.  It is only because of Him, we are anything.

  Could we be in the middle of a time where a new humility is needed?  Where the spotlight is not anywhere near us, but on giving a clear and distinct message – far different from what the world is saying – that great and mighty things can happen when we choose to follow Him.  Great and mighty things can happen we are obedient to His urgings and callings.

  Who is the hero of your most recent blog post?

  Who is the hero of your twitter feed?

Image