Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pockets Full of What?

I was watching my 13-year-old son, Daniel, empty out his pockets yesterday. Oh my goodness. He pulled out the wrappers from three Tootsie Rolls—and then a few seconds later he pulled out four furry Tootsie Rolls. I think he had the entire year’s worth of notes from his history class in one pocket and I’m just sure I saw his trombone sheet music in the other—the music for last month’s concert.

He seemed pretty excited when he found the lunch money he’d been missing. But both of us were disturbed when we saw something that looked like at least half of a science lab. How disturbing is it that there was this big hunk of something we couldn’t identify? How much more disturbing is it that it looked a little like it was frying in its own juices? How even more disturbing is it that he still didn’t throw it away?

I wonder how the kid can even sit down with all that stuff (bubbling and non-bubbling) in his jeans. All I could say was, “Daniel! Son! You need a PURSE!”
It’s funny that he’s carrying around half his life in his jeans. It’s even funnier that he has to keep pulling it all out every day when he changes clothes, and then stuffing it all right back in the clean jeans. Anyone else wondering why anyone would keep stuffing four furry Tootsie Rolls and an unidentified frying object back into the pockets?

It’s even weirder when we let it become a habit to carry around spiritual junk we don’t need, hanging onto stuff just because we’ve gotten used to it. Purse or no purse, if we’re carrying around sinful stuff, it’s past time to get rid of it. And it’s amazing how freeing it is to stop lugging that junk around! Talk about feeling lighter! And it’s exactly how we’re called to live. Not just “encouraged” to live holy. CALLED to live holy! First Thessalonians 4:7 says, “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” (NIV)

O Lord, may we learn to rely on your more and more to produce a pure and holy life in us, according to your calling—a life that will magnify and glorify your name!

Can you imagine how many amazing and powerful things we’ll see happen in our lives when we make that our heart’s prayer every time we talk to the Father?

Go ahead. Talk to him about living out the holiness he’s called you to.

And on a lighter note, I guess I’ll go ahead and talk to Daniel again sometime soon about what’s in his pockets. First I want to throw away the handful of furry Tootsie Rolls I saw in my purse.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dimples Are In the Eye of the Beholder

Just hours after Allie was born, nurses kept coming into my room and asking, "Is yours that beautiful baby with the huge dimples?" I beamed every time. Yes, that adorable dimpled baby was mine!

Fifteen years have passed and I can still hardly resist the urge to say to anyone willing to listen, "Will you get a load of the adorable dimples on that gorgeous girl?" Allie's such a good sport about it. She never rolls her eyes where anyone can see.

Of course, now that I'm older, I've also found that dimples sort of come in different flavors. Allie's have always been delicious. But the ones I recently noticed on my thighs are not nearly so cute. I backed into the mailbox a few weeks ago and my husband thought the dimpled fender left something to be desired, too.

Dimples may come and go, but the simple dimple truth is that it's not what's on the outside that counts. My legs still get me from point A to point B despite the thigh dimples. My car rolls along perfectly despite the dimpled fender. And while my sweet Allie has the cutest dimples ever, that's not what makes her gorgeous to our Heavenly Father. Even as a mom, I adore the dimples, but that's not what I love best about her. Allie has the most wonderfully tender heart toward the things of God. She has a love for Jesus and for his people that touches my heart in its deepest places. She told me when she was 12 years old that God was calling her to be a missionary and she has never wavered in her desire to serve him and win others. Now that's gorgeous!

In these bodies of flesh (both dimpled and non-dimpled flesh), we have a natural bent toward judging and rating importance by appearance. I can't wait until we see Jesus face to face and we understand fully how little these outsides matter. According to his Word, God looks on the heart.

I think he sees Allie's heart as something of great beauty. Hmm, I wonder if her heart has dimples.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thrills, Chills and Pain Pills

Thrills. We tend to get them in different places, according to our personalities, likes and individual pain tolerances. Personally, I get a real charge from a lengthy shopping trip (ooh, did I say “charge”?). My husband would rather smash his thumb with a large hammer than have to make a trip to the mall.

On the other hand, he loves a long bike trip on a nature trail. Heat, bugs, poison ivy and straining muscles I don’t even have? Just bring me the hammer. And a large dose of a strong pain reliever.

Thrills may vary from person to person and from hammer to hammer, but there is only one who should thrill us to our very soul. Only Jesus should be the absolute thrill of our lives. I love the hymn that includes the words:

All that thrills my soul is Jesus
He is more than life to me

Several times a day I have to ask myself if he really is more than life to me. From the shoe sale at the mall to the scenic nature trail, he is the Maker, the reason for it all, he is all of life. No, he’s more than life.

How easily life can become more to me than my Savior. I wish I didn’t have to admit what a spiritual wimp I can become at even the slightest distraction. Colossians 1:17 reminds me that he is more than life—whether I recognize it or not. “And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” He IS life. And he is the only one who can direct us to live our lives in the right way. “It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone’s life is in his power” (Job 12:10, GNT).

Know what’s funny? Life in his power is the only place to find real thrills. Maybe someday I’ll write my own hymn about it. It could go something like this:

He is my trip to the mall for a giant shoe sale
He is my husband’s bike ride on a long nature trail
He is the most magnificent deep soul-thriller
And oh so much better than any goofy pain-killer.

Find your every thrill and your very life in the power of the Savior. When he is all that thrills your soul, you’ll never need a hammer for anything body-related.