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Bent not Broken

Hiking last summer, we came upon this area of trees.  God impressed upon me the reality and beauty of trees with ‘character,’ and more specifically of wood that has ‘character.’   Wood that has been bent, but not broken.

bent not broken

bent not broken

 

I love that there is a straight tree there for support and encouragement maybe even, and guidance for the tree that went the wrong way at first, but is skyward now.  Both stories are amazing, both have beauty.  There is beauty in the straight and narrow, the path less traveled, the path immediately upward, and as our friends in Hyland sing, there is “beauty in the broken.”

God uses both paths for His Glory, both show his mercy and grace and love.  Embrace your path and praise God for your role in others’.

 

Where are you looking?

my son and I went backpacking a short time ago.   (side note, all that extra stuff you think you should just bring ’cause it doesn’t weigh THAT much will crush your face when you fall down…  hypothetically)   While we were backpacking, treading down a trail I’d not trod before, I noticed a few things.  One, I’ll talk about now, some others will come along the trail soon.

We walked about 14 miles the last day, I guess I should call say we ‘hiked’ to be correct, and during that trek I really really really wanted to know what was coming ahead.  I could look behind me and clearly see, as we were hiking uphill a lot of the time, all the ground we had covered since leaving the gorgeous lake we’d been at the night before.  I couldn’t see what was ahead, I had no idea how much longer we had to hike to get there, and not knowing was not fun.

While walking, pondering, wishing I knew what was around that next bend in the trail, it occurred to me that I do this a lot.  I romanticize what it would be like to know what’s next, and because I can’t I end up looking back and wishing for that.  I also forget that looking back means I’m only gazing at a previous days’ unknown, one which I also didn’t know about, but which also came and went the same as this one would.

Why do we look back?  Here’s a clip from a web show I recently watched, pondering this question:

It is so much more desirable to look back, to dwell in the past, because we can measure it.  We can know it, we can see it, we were just there.  And, forgetting all the real trouble that may have been present there, we long for it.   The future, the next step, what is around the bend is so often clouded by our own fear and trembling- but isn’t that the way we work it out-  with ‘fear and trembling’ (Philippians 2:12)

My prayer for myself these days is to trust more in what God has for me around the bend, and long for what is behind a lot less, for He who helped me start down this hike will help me get home-  the trail is just one step in front of the last one.  He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to complete it.

What kind of agent are you?

Outcome AgentI’ve greatly enjoyed the ‘Bourne’ movies so far, so when I saw an ad for the upcoming ‘Bourne Legacy’ the other day, it should not surprise you that I was fixed upon the screen checking it out.  I heard,  ‘something something OUTCOME AGENT something something’ and then I thought, “hmmmmm.”  (all quotes approximate)

It occurred to me, shortly thereafter, that I consider myself some sort of an agent, a change agent of some kind, just not sure what kind that might be.  This, to me begs the question-  which kind of agent are you?   How many kinds are there anyway?

Are you an OUTCOME agent?  Like, does what you do depend on what is on the other side of the equation?   A friend one time lead a group of us in a bible study and referenced an Oswald Chambers quote that has stuck with me.  It goes something like ‘we have nothing to do with the other side of obedience’

So, when I look it that way, I really don’t think I’m an outcome agent in as much as I’m not to concern myself with the outcome of my calling as if it is some transaction that is taking place.

Rather, I’m to be obedient to the call on my life, and let it be transformational instead.  I currently have that on repeat in my head, because the pride in me continues to try to measure and quantify my call instead of shutting up & listening & waiting upon the Lord.

how about you?

those that WAIT upon the Lord will renew their strength….

Trust me… I need this

This morning, my wife sent me a picture of our dog.  This isn’t newsworthy on it’s own, though our dog is awesome, but it did make me think.  Our dog, atypically, had spent the night in his kennel, something usually reserved for him only after he’s done something outside the bounds of our family rules.  Most likely we just haven’t found the spot in the house where he pee’d on something, but for a reason unbeknown to us, he felt like he needed to spend the night there-  he disciplined himself.

Trust me... I need this.

If only we could find our way to that same kind of self-imposed care.  Discipline usually sounds so much tougher, but really-  it is a deep level of care, and some of us don’t do well at caring for ourselves.

I wonder if that might be a good place to begin discipline in ourselves, to start with caring.  Then, identify WHAT needs care, attend to THAT THING, and, probably, it will take some “kennel time” to make that thing stick in each of your days.

But, remember, discpline for self or care for self should NOT be done on by your self.  Heb 10:24 and the conviction and guidance of the Holy Spirit should help you realize & understand that.  So, if you do a bit of kennel care, a bit of discipline of self make sure its not by yourself; don’t stay there with it.  SHARE it with a friend and ACCEPT the grace of God that makes life not fair and eliminates the gap between what you will try to do and what you think you need to do (which you ACTUALLY DON’T need to do, because Jesus already did it).