Archive for Faith

Five Minute Friday: Roots

“There are two lasting gifts we can give to our children: one is roots, the other, wings.”

It’s a famous quote. My mother cross- stitched it way back when and hung it in my room. I installed it last year on the wall for a friend who is wonderful at giving roots to her children and her grandchildren as her family grows and grows.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, though I might not have used those words.

We live a fairly good “American Christian” life, I’d say. Church every Sunday, lots of family friends who share our values, careful choices about media and technology and activities to protect our children and family time, occasional project-y service and giving efforts and lessons thrown in.

But what do I really want to root my children in? Comfort? What do I want them to fly toward? Worldly success? If I take an honest look at our life, I’m pretty sure that’s what we are teaching. Good job, comfortable home, nice vacations, new clothes every season, college funds…and we take it all for granted.

Yet the answer I really want: rooted in Jesus. His love for them, and nothing else. Flying to Jesus, and nothing else.

It’s creating a lot of tension in my heart and mind, and I’ll be wrestling with it for a while.

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With just 5 minutes

If you know me at all, you know that housekeeping is um, not my strength. As I just said to someone recently, you know it’s bad when I’d rather exercise than clean!

Sadly, this is one attitude I’ve been able to pass on to my children with great success. With any reference to picking up or cleaning, lots of moaning and procrastinating ensues.

So lately, I’ve been trying a new tactic. With no notice, I’ll issue this decree: Let’s spend 5 minutes and see how we can make this house look better. Or, what can you do while I finish dinner to clean this up?

Its actually met with some success! Especially the short chunks of time, because then they know they can move on to something else. They won’t be trapped in their disaster areas rooms all day.

It hit me this morning that I should be posing the same sort of questions to myself throughout the day. Some issues in the world seem so overwhelming. I can’t possibly make a difference, and so it’s easier to just look away.

So instead, what if just asked this question more often: what can I do to make this world a better place right now? How can I be Jesus’s hands and feet in the next 5 minutes? How can I take quick action to move more toward restoration? What can I do with this 5 minutes that might be more redemptive than checking Facebook. Again.

It might be a quick phone call to encourage a friend. It might be educating myself just a bit on an issue. It might be a quiet moment with God, or it might be quickly filling a big of old children’s books for the local shelter.

The heart to use each moment well is at least as important as the what I actually do. Time is one of the most precious gifts He has given us, but it’s limited. What can I do to not just throw it away? There’s no such thing as “just” 5 minutes.

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MY Race is all that matters: My First FiveMinuteFriday

Race. Racing. Running. It’s been on my mind a lot as I try to, again, bring running into my life. I want to learn to like it. Even love it. I want it to whittle away my bum and my thighs and mostly my calves so they’ll fit into tall boots this year.

I really need to sign up for a 5k for motivation. I have in my mind that I need to run it in under 40 minutes. Which is terribly slow for real runners. Yet it’s a stretch for me. Last time I did Couch to 5k, I ended with a 47 minute race. No lie. My friends walked faster than I “ran.”

So this time, I’m so determined to be faster. I’m more fit (but still a long way to go.) I’m stronger. I should be able to go faster, right?

So I obsess over Runkeeper and pace. I get discouraged when I realize I’m really not any faster than before.

God and I had a nice long chat during yesterday’s 20 minute run (the first time I’ve run an interval that long straight this time). And He reminded me of how I still need to break my addiction to performance. That all that matters is that I run the race He has set before me. No one else’s pace matters, no one else’s path matters.

Just run the race He sets before ME.  Nothing more. Nothing less.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Hebrews 12:1 NLT)

PS – I’m a casual blogger who moves in and out of blogging in cycles.  I’ve been thinking about blogging again for a while, and when I wrote 3 posts in 28 hours, I figured it was a “back in” part of the cycle.

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A few quick lessons on margin

Tweet from Bob Goff: @bobgoff: If we don’t leave some margins, there won’t be places for God to write into our lives. It’s Thursday! What are you going to quit?

Tweet from me: @lgiltmier: @bobgoff I’m slowly learning this. And it’s GOOD.

Reply tweet: @bobgoff: @lgiltmier Take lots of notes and let me know what you’re learning…

I purposely quit some “good things” in my life this year as I sensed God calling me to be more intentional about my commitments, and either be “all in” or “all out.” It has resulted in more margin in life, and I am much more at peace with the pace of life than I have been in a long time.

What I’m learning about margin – my quick, unedited, not fully processed thoughts:

1) I have to create margin intentionally. The world won’t leave me any.

2) When I’m not creating it, I still crave it. So I start hoarding my time for myself to make sure i have some time to do “nothing.”

3) When I create more, I feel freer with my time. I may end up just as busy, but with better things. God things.

4) Quick examples so far: extra day at the food pantry even though I was just committing to once per month. Field trips with my son who truly LOVES me being there. Encouraging a friend. Just because on short notice, I could say, “Yes, I can do that.”

5) I’m quicker to say yes when I know it “fits” with my priorities.

6) I’m quicker to say no when I discover it doesn’t.

These aren’t profound shifts in how I spend my time; I haven’t suddenly had extraordinary things happen in that space in my schedule. But it’s progress, and it’s good. God’s working some things out in my heart and head these days, so I know it won’t end here.

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My Totally Selfish and as yet Unchanged Birthday Wish List

My house is quiet tonight. Kids in bed, husband on the road. As I’m cleaning my kitchen, planning a full day of errands tomorrow, I’m musing about how great it would be if I had a personal assistant. And a housekeeper. And a prep chef, because I’m trying to eat healthy and I’m tired of cutting up veggies and fruit.

In my head I was composing a witty Facebook status about these things – about how it’s almost my birthday and if anyone was looking to get me a present, this list would be a good place to start. Oh, and for good measure – add an iPad and some new running shoes to the list. (I’ve got 2 years to 40 – and I’m going to run a Disney half-marathon while my age still begins with a 3. And my knees need new shoes. And did I really just write that in such a public forum? Starting to sound like accountability. Yikes.)

Anyway, it was going to be funny.  And all of my mom friends were going to “get it” because they could all use the personal assistant and housekeeper and prep chef and carpool driver and…

Except that I started reading Crazy Love last night. I barely skimmed the first couple of chapters. I didn’t have my highlighter, and so I’ll have to go back and start reading again, because there were some definite highlight-able things there. I didn’t do any of his little “assignments” to watch videos, etc. to meditate on the wonder of God as Creator. Or as Holy. Or as eternal. I just skimmed because that’s what I do. Easier that way – it doesn’t sink in as much. You can think “Wow, what a great and convicting book” but you aren’t necessarily changed by it because you didn’t really absorb it because you read it at warp speed.

Hmm, but something seems to have clicked. Because suddenly I’m thinking about this fun birthday wish list, and it hits me – “My story is not about you. Do you know how unimportant those wishes are? How non-eternal they are?” (Temporal is probably really the word, except that’s not really what I heard. It just sounds better to make my writing sound better.)

Anyway, I’m just struck by how utterly selfish I am. How convinced I am that it’s all about me – and you know, none of it is about me. It’s all about Him.

What am I going to do about it? I don’t know – because I only skimmed. I don’t have to change yet.

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Missed Lessons: On Self-Reliance

I ran today.  Outside, Week 3 of C25K.  Remember, the program I finished with a 5K, oh, 16 months ago?  And then promptly stopped running.  I wish I had a good reason why – but it went something like, “Oh, I made the goal – finished a 5K, and it’s July and really stinkin’ hot out here.”

But for some reason, I feel like running again. I started on the treadmill at Miracles Fitness a few weeks ago.  Which is odd, because the first time around, I NEVER ran on a treadmill.  Didn’t even want to try it.  But inexplicably, as I got back into a workout routine, running seemed to come with it.

But this week, it took a lot of psyching up to go and do it outside.  Which makes no sense, since the first time around I did it ALL outside.  What got me out there?  Good question.  That deserves some reflection.

What I’ve been mostly been pondering is how it felt.  I won’t lie – it was hard.  I’m actually more out of shape now than the first time I started running.  My running shoes probably need to be replaced, so my shins were feeling it a bit. And I missed the controlled speed of the treadmill, which makes my legs go fast just to keep up.  Suddenly I had push myself to do the running, not keep up with the external force that would knock me flat on my bum if I didn’t keep up.

And what I loved about it is that I was back to depending on God for the strength in my legs and my lungs and my mind.  I prayed much of the way through – often just for the strength to make it to the sign or the tree just up ahead.

And I remembered – THIS is what I loved and learned the first time running.  How it felt to depend on Him each moment, each breath. To rely on His strength that helps me do all things.  To trust in Him so that I can run and not grow weary.

I remember wondering what He was preparing me for 16 months ago.  Why did He call me to run at that point in life?  What did He know was coming that I would need to learn total reliance on Him for?  I was a bit apprehensive about that.

But the crisis didn’t come. Life went on as “normal” and I went back to self-reliance, controlling, planning, doing things in my own strength.  I’m not even so good at that – but I like to be independent even when it’s not working so well.  And I at times thought, “Huh, wonder what all that was for?”

And so today it hit me – He was preparing me for every day life.  Because I should be relying on Him like that EVERY DAY.  Not just through a crisis or a valley.  EACH MOMENT.

Some would say coincidence, but I say divine inspiration – here’s what I read in Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling this morning – somehow I got a day ahead, but I’ve just been going with it, so this is for March 16th:

“It is good that you recognize your weakness.  That keeps you looking to Me, your Strength.  Abundant life is not necessarily health and wealth; it is living in continual dependence on Me.”

Hmm.  I’m a bit sad that I missed that lesson the first time around.  But I’m hopeful that I won’t miss it this time.

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For the giver.

I haven’t been writing because I started to get the sense that I was spending my days looking for blog material instead of His gifts.  And as beautiful as all of the gifts are, I’ve heard Him calling that my focus should really be on the Giver, not the gifts themselves.

Are you one of those people that has to have the “perfect” gift?  I am.  It drives my husband bananas.  Even when it comes to weddings, I can’t just pick a random thing off of the registry.  It has to be something I connect to in some way. This time of year the need for the perfect gift can get a bit challenging/annoying/stressful.

But it has me thinking about why I like to give “perfect” gifts.  And why I’m touched when I receive them.  It becomes not so much about the gift itself – it’s being loved.  Being known.  The the giver truly “sees” something in the receiver.  As a giver, it’s not about getting credit for picking out the perfect gift – it’s wanting the receiver to know that I truly “get” them and appreciate them and love them.

It is no different with God.  His gifts are simply an expression of His love for me.  His way of reminding me that He truly knows me, loves me, and wants a close, personal relationship with me. His gifts are meant to draw us together.

I’m thankful for…

118. God who is personal.

119. the death of Christ that allows Him to see me as beautiful and perfect though I am far, far from it.

120. God who will go to great lengths to pursue me that I might see Him and have relationship with Him.

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