On a very (very) hot Sunday morning, my family was driving to church when we saw a car stopped in the center of the road.
There was plenty of room to nudge around it and keep going as plenty of vehicles did, but my husband pulled our minivan behind the stalled car and turned the ignition off. Stepping onto the hot pavement, he made his way over to where a man was bent over the open hood.
With our engine (and therefore, air conditioning) turned off, our van became an instant sauna. I noticed the rest of the stalled car’s occupants standing nearby in the shaded grass of the ditch, so I suggested to my children that we join them.
I can’t deal with that one.
He just rubs me the wrong way.
She gets on my nerves.
I can’t vibe with them.
Have you ever said these words about a teammate? I know I have.
Before we get carried away, this is not about the gift of discernment or vexation of spirits. I am aware of those things. But, this is about a person who lives for the Lord, but your personality and their personality clash. Why?
Recently I was listening to Leonard Cohen’s popular song, Hallelujah, which is often played around the holidays. As I listened, I was struck by the phrase “broken hallelujah.” It made me think about how in weakness and suffering our praises to the Lord are often imperfect and broken.
“All who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” – 2 Timothy 3:12
The apostle Paul lowered his eyes as the words came rolling off his tongue. After a few moments, the amanuensis lowered his pen and scroll, waiting in silence. Apart from the crackling of the fire, Paul’s prison cell was eerily quiet. For some time, he remained in silent contemplation, occasionally glancing out of the window into the cloudless night sky.
There is a living home within you.
Whether stately and beautiful, expansive and serene, or dilapidated and in disrepair, cluttered and chaotic—it’s often hard to detect your own setting for lack of visibility.
It’s actually quite rare that someone doesn’t have what I call soul clutter—that white noise of other’s opinions, stories we tell ourselves to cope, lies we’ve believed or agreed with, unregulated emotions, or pain that has become paralyzing. It’s also quite difficult to deal with the resulting chaos because we either cannot map a way beyond the clutter or we are too afraid to journey into the thick of it.
In a June essay, celebrated Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie mourned the decline of good-faith conversation, especially online. The post, titled “It Is Obscene,” promptly went viral.
“There are many social-media-savvy people who are choking on sanctimony and lacking in compassion, who can fluidly pontificate on Twitter about kindness but are unable to actually show kindness,” she wrote.
At the beginning of my freshman year of high school, I was somehow persuaded to sign up for cross country. The team was known for being tight-knit and fun-loving, and though I had never been much of an athlete, I figured, “It’s just running. How hard can it be?”
I soon found out that it was not only hard but painfully hard. I enjoyed the thrill of a short sprint, but when the distance stretched into miles, running began to feel like torture.
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is not good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. – Matthew 5:13
Salt gets bad press. It is tied to hypertension, obesity, heart disease, and other ailments. The need for salt is questioned. The use of salt is discouraged. The presence of salt on many tables is more decorative than anything else. However, this was not the case when Jesus announced to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth.”
What are you hoping for today–perhaps for a better marriage, a job promotion, or a better year than last year? Is it a genuine hope or a just a wish? Whenever I hear someone say, “Well, I hope it happens,” I wonder if they realize the power of hope. Hope is far more than a wish. The apostle Paul says that hope comes from heaven, that it is eternal (1 Corinthians 13:13).
I got into a fight in 1st grade. She pushed me down on the sidewalk; I got up and pushed her down on the sidewalk. We were both sent to the nurse (and detention) and ended up with almost identical scars that remained through high school. We later became friends and grew to laugh about our craziness.
But, before my scar came along, my skin grew this rough, bumpy scab. As a kid, I was intrigued by scabs: “How’d the body do that? And look how easily you can pick it off, see the dotted, white skin underneath, and then it grows back again…like magic.”