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.
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).
A few times this past week I heard myself say “I like the thought of…” or “I like the idea of….” in reference to something I really did like.
It occurred to me what an absurd statement that is. Liking an idea or a thought of something is akin to liking the shadow of something. It’s not even part of the real thing, none of it’s essence even- just the memory, or the concept, or the hint of it.
What on earth are we doing liking, or caring for, the mere shadow of something when what we could have is the real something?
What real things are you currently replacing with a thought, or an idea, or a shadow? Real community replaced by people ‘liking’ your posts online? Real 2-way conversations replaced by 1 way text/email/tweets?
Don’t give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another. Hebrews 10:25.
Today, maybe someone needs the bravery to believe the best about themselves, and its likely that cannot happen without you bringing your courage to embolden their courage. Maybe that someone is you, and you need to experience true connection with Christ, not just ‘like’ the idea of doing so.
I was in the Black Hills recently, hiking around with my earthly son, and my heavenly Father kept whispering into my soul while I was there. The thing I remember most today is represented in the picture below. We were near the top of a hike we were doing on Hearney Peak, when we saw these trees, tons of the larger ones had died off because of a bug that was killing them from the inside of the tree. All around them, smaller trees had been bent over and the group I was with pondered that for a moment, when one of my buddies said something like ‘the smaller ones got blown over… they weren’t strong enough without the bigger ones to help block the wind.’
I thought, how true… and then immediately thought of the influence we have in our own worlds, the ability each of us has to be a strong tree for those around us that seem fine, seem growing, but desperately need us to help them to be “strong enough.” The bug that killed these trees ISN’T something trees can defend against. The things that eat away at each of us usually ARE things we can prevent or at least take captive and get help with. The outside of the trees looked fine, but they were dying beneath the bark, and eventually got so weak that they snapped off and are no longer living, let alone helping to protect the others.
I wonder where you find yourself today? Is there some “pine beetle” reducing your effectiveness? Something you need to take captive before you SNAP? There are tons of smaller, weaker ones relying on you to help them be strong enough.
Hey Y’all- here’s the new Fall Newsletter- just click the link below & PLEASE read page 2 for important news! Thanks!
The Switch – Volume 3, Fall ’11 (pdf format)
…or click here to view the newsletter as an image:
To share the newsletter with your friends, use this direct link: http://bit.ly/switchfall11