Monday, September 11, 2006

Working out & Sharing my Faith

What do the two of these have in common? At first glance or maybe to most, the connection isn't obvious. However, to me it is blindingly clear. I have recently decided to take the plunge, join the gym and finally lose the baby weight...someone forgot to mention that i delivered my metabolism with georgia and therefore a change in diet has little to no effect on the fat that refuses to leave my hips, thighs, get the picture. While in college i could put down several high calorie unmentioned beverages followed by orders of breadsticks at 3 am and just eat a few less breadsticks and drop 5-10 pounds, it is no longer the case. anyway, it has been well over a year, (if i'm feeling totally honest, its been about 2) since i have lumbered around a track or spent some quality time with my nemesis, the treadmill. so, here i am blessed with health and the ability to run and yet i avoid the gym. why? the list could go on indefinitely, but several key reasons stick out...i am embarrassed...what if they (as in the complete and total strangers who weren't born with ripped abs and the ability to run for 60 minutes) see just how out of shape i am? what if they judge me and assume im lazy and lack self control and discipline? i just don't want to put myself out there. another reason, what if i stick with it for awhile and then quit? then ill be a huge hypocrite, unable to follow through with what i have said i was going to do. and finally what if it doesn't work?? i know that seems completely illogical, because physics, doctors, nutritionists and my best friend, amy who teaches aerobics, yoga, pilates and works full time at a gym (she's a total expert) says this will work...but theres this self doubt lurking within me. am i really willing to put myself out there, risk judjment or even worse failure??? these feelings about simply going to the gym remind me so much of all the reasons i sin on a daily basis and overlook opportunities to share my faith. It's like i seem to selectively pick and choose from God's commands and the command to share His perfect unconditional sacrificial love, goodness, grace and salvation with others is just an one easy to neglect. why? because i don't do it often enough to feel comfortable doing it. its not a natural part of conversations and so its easy to avoid. while it hasnt been 2 years since ive shared my faith with someone, it isnt part of my everyday or even weekly routine and yet i know it could be, God certainly provides me with opportunities everywhere i look. and then theres the other reason, by opening my big mouth about my Savior, i open myself up to serious judgment. while the defining difference between most christians and non christians is their belief in this amazing Savior, the only evidence of their differences is what they choose to do with their Sunday morning or saturday night. so many believers just check the church box every weekend, go through a few motions and assume that will cover them until next week. no one would actually admit that...what would that say about them, me?? but the reality is that the vast majority of believers blend in beautifully with the landscape of the world. our politcal views may be counter culture, our money may support different causes and our weekends lend themselves to church attendance, but our faith, our real life vibrant faith doesn't seem to have such an impact on our neighbors, friends, coworkers or even strangers. i think when i am given opportunities to speak about my faith, how the God of the universe came in and gradually began changing me from the inside out, i hear things in my mind like "how many hypocrites have they known?" (im careful to not acknowledge to myself the fact that the world is full of hypocrites outside the church too and that our imperfections and sins are what make us in need of a saviour) "have they seen those crazy televangelists?"(enough said on that one) or "will i completely offend them?" and of course the most selfish question..."what will they think of me and how i live my life?" the result is that eventually my mind is riddled with so many daunting questions that the moment passes by and again i have hurt my Lord. here He is, great enough to change me, to love me so much that He died a horrible death for me and yet, i am too fearful to pass that onto someone who is just as in need of His redeeming love as i was when i first encountered it. i find it truly wonderful that Jesus chose ordinary men to be his disciples, to carry on His work for the ages. He overlooked kings, ceo's, politicians, the rich and influential and instead chose fishermen, tax collectors, and regular people. why? so that none of us, ordinary believers, would have a leg to stand on when we excused ourselves from sharing our faith under the "unqualified" reason. what these 12 men had was a profound faith and willingness to be taught by Jesus, to obey Him, to follow Him and to share His message of love, hope and salvation. i recently heard someone say that it isn't just our faith in Him, but His faith in us. what?? He has faith in me? are you joking? the reality is yes. He left His message in the hands of ordinary men willing to do extraordinary work for the love of their King. He had faith in them. and in us. He has so much faith in us that He is sitting to the right of His Father in heaven entrusting us to share His message, rather than walking the earth continuing to preach it Himself. surely if the One who i have my faith in actually has faith in me, i am in fact equipped to speak of His love. and what if it doesn't make a difference? what if i lay it out there, put myself out there as i share my faith and i am laughed at, ignored, questioned, ridiculed or not believed? so what. didn't He endure so much more as He shared His love with the masses? we are not called to change the hearts of unbelievers, we are not capable, only He possesses that awesome power. we are simply called to share it. thats it. put it out there in love and let Him work on their heart. let Him do what He does, changing people, their hearts, minds and souls for eternity. we are simply commanded to be fishers of men, to share what He has done for them and let them decide what to do with that. the Bible is packed with stories of those persecuted for His cause and He never says, "okay, well you're right, it is a little tougher on you than I had originally thought. don't sweat that whole sharing My love thing, just keep loving and serving me on your own and I will carry my message personally to the masses." no. He commands us to share His message, however inept, unqualified or fearful we feel. my thought is that if you had met Him, known Him, and been changed by Him, you wouldn't be able to stop talking about Him. that's who i want to be. so consumed by His love, so overflowing with His joy, so enamored by His power and so filled with gratitude that i can't help but talk about Him. so, here i am, ready to go to the gym, put my out of shape self on the treadmill in front of all those seeminly fit individuals and start to work. and hopefully, while there, i may be presented with an opportunity to talk about my Savior in subtle ways that may lead to deeper conversations that may lead to someone else being changed by His love.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

waking up

georgia takes after her dad in a lot of wonderful ways...her amazing blue eyes is one of my favorites, but it is followed closely by her disposition that follows waking up. i have no concept of waking up and instantly being able to smile or speak for that matter. two cups of my favorite coffee and 15 minutes is the minimum requirement for me to use any words that could be considered english and understandable. so you can imagine my delight at the joy my sweet daughter has upon first waking up. instantly, she is full of smiles and laughter. her dad is the same way, up in the morning and happy...maybe not the laughter part, but im certain if his first thought was funny, he could laugh. i dont care if i woke up to chris rock or adam sandler voice tracks...i would still hit snooze, mumble and hope that sleep would consume me immediately. anyway...this pic is of georgia in her carseat within seconds of her waking up from her nap...amazing, i think.

Devils Tower

We just had one of the best 4 day weekends ever. there was nothing too extraordinary about it, just the amount of time we were able to spend as a family that made it so great. the decision to not go out of town was definitely the right decision and gave us a chance to just relax. the weekend entailed date night, family naps, retail therapy, a block party and a day trip to devils tower. date night took us to a really great new restaraunt for the second weekend in a row and ended with smores and friends at our place. our day trip to devils tower was a great escape for the day and after visiting, its a must see for this part of the country. devils tower (the first national park, i learned ) is a really beautiful place and with its extreme height, unique shape and suprising location, its no wonder why the native americans consider it sacred. we ended up doing the hike around the tower meeting a lot of people along the way (its amazing how many strangers stop and chat to people with a cute baby) and occasionally stopping to watch the climbers (a few of the 15, 000 crazy people that make the ascent annually). how spectacular their view must be! the trail winds its way past astounding overlooks that reveal the vast rolling hills of the area as well as perfectly shaded areas framed by trees and boulders. the sky could not have been any bluer, the trees any greener or the weather more perfect. it was a sneak peak preview of what is to come with my favorite fall days just around the corner. we are already planning a trip back in the fall so we can take in the bright colors of the season from such a spectacular vantage point. it is a perfect place to visit, soak up and thank God for all that He has so perfectly created.


We don't mean to constantly refer to Abe as her brother, but we can't seem to stop and as weird as it is, we have a lot of friends who ask us how her "brother" is adjusting to having his new "sister" here. we are by no means comparing the two (afterall, abe was potty trained light years ahead of the peach) anyway, they get along swimmingly. abe thinks she's fascinating and georgia thinks he's the coolest toy she has. i am certain she will figure out in the near future that while his tail is easy to find, it is not the most reliable when it comes to trying to steady herself.

Pulling Up

georgia has started to pull up and get into everything. certainly, my days have just gotten busier, but i love watching her explore and find new things. yesterday, she discovered the basket with dvds. she giggled as she emptied the basket. such fun.