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Are You The Glue?

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Have you heard the expression before? You’re the glue in this family.

You’re the glue in this organization?

You’re the glue that held us together with this project?

Glue is that sticky substance that through some scientific means bonds things together. Keeps them close. Holds things in place.

Are you the glue?

Being the glue isn’t something that one gets assigned, rather it’s something that just happens. Certain personalities tend to be the glue.  This is not something they try to be, they are created with this ability to bond.  For unknown reasons they seem to be the one that others look to for direction or information; to feel connected with and welcomed.  Glue people somehow have a way of understanding what’s going on, even when they don’t know all the details.  Their welcome mat is out and they live with availability. They are the glue that hold people together.

I’ll ask again. Are you the glue?

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Maybe a better question would be, are you sticky? 

Sticky substances have a way of holding onto all kinds of things, good and bad. Now we can all relate to that, right? Each of us has a tendency to hold onto good and bad. But if you’re a glue person, like me, it’s important to recognize a few things:

  1. Not everyone acts like a glue person. Don’t be angry when others don’t care the way you do.
  2. The gift of bonding and holding others close is a matter of the heart.  Caring always costs you and enriches you at the same time.
  3. When you find that you aren’t able to “glue” like usual, it may be because too many prohibiting things have stuck to you. Examine your life. What is stuck to you that doesn’t belong? That empty’s your body and soul? That makes you sad?

I’ve been reading the gospel of Mark.  I’m only 3 chapters in but have identified somethings that have made me think about my ability to care for others. Even if we are not a glue person by nature, each of us takes on the role of a glue person in various seasons of life. We all can relate to the responsibility of caring for others whether it’s a child, disabled loved one, an elderly neighbor, foster child, sick or injured co-worker who doesn’t have family support, a family you know of who has great financial, emotional, relational or physical need, etc. There are a thousand different scenarios where we are asked to care for others.

Jesus is just beginning His journey in ministry.  People are getting to know Him.  He is speaking publicly and healing all kinds of people. People are drawn to Him. Jesus welcomes them.  He entertains their problems and questions.  He walks for miles and miles with them (as that is how people got around). Jesus was a glue person.

There were moments along the way where Jesus went away from the crowds.  He needed to sleep, to pray, to rest.  His closest friends were frantic when He wasn’t being the “glue” all the time. When you develop a reputation for being the glue, others will come to depend on you to hold things together. But Jesus did not let the lure of being needed dictate His schedule or His own need.

Jesus gives clear perspective:

  1. You will burn out if you don’t find a rhythm that allows you to step away from the needs of others. It’s simple, you cannot be a glue person if your stickiness wears off.
  2. You have to let go from time to time.  Stop dwelling on how you can help or assist.  This sounds very un-Jesus-y. But glue people tend to get a little obsessed with how they can carry others.  Jesus teaches us there is a time to rest from this never ending work.  There is a time to lay it down and fill our minds and hearts with other things.
  3. Remind yourself that your identity doesn’t come from being a glue person. Holding people together is what you do not who you are. When we confuse this we tend to become people pleasers and that is a burden glue people cannot afford to carry. We have to maintain the ability to say no at the right time so we are able to say yes at the precise time.

Are you a glue person? Are you in a season of life where you have to be a glue person?

If you are, your work is too important to ignore.  Through you others feel welcomed and invited.  Through you others find a listening ear or a new perspective. Through you others belong. Through you others become grounded and learn they matter.

We would do well my fellow glue persons to learn from Jesus, the Ultimate Glue Person.  You never know when you’ll be asked to be a glue person.

 

 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.  – Ephesians 2:10

 

Three Surprising Invitations

So recently I was reading the very beginning of the Bible. I don’t normally write about the specific things I learn directly from my reading but today I decided to share a surprising discovery.  I hope you enjoy it and that it gives you food for thought.Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 12.50.22 PM

If you know the creation story from the book of Genesis in the Bible, you have read that God created the earth and heavens.  But you might not know that in between the words of the story, there are three surprising invitations.

It took God 6 days to create everything. The Bible also records that 6 times God looked around.  HE SAW.  Then He called it all good.  I’ve never really noticed before that before God called it good, He saw.

God invites us to see.

In the middle of all His work God stopped, looked around and took inventory. He remarked about the good work He created.  We are invited to stop and look around in the middle of our work.  Find what is good and note it.  Become familiar with recognizing good.  It reminds us that God is near. Sometimes you cannot find what it is you are looking for if you don’t stop and see.

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The text then says God completed His creating.  His work had an end.  Everything came to a stop.

God invites us to stop.

It doesn’t mean that He was done creating.  The Bible is very clear that God continues to do a new work. But He was done with His work for the week.  Enough was enough. He knew when to put down His pencil. We too are invited to stop.  We are nudged to relax the grip of control over our affairs, knowing there is more to be done but yet saying, “Enough, it will wait for another day”. Our work is not meant to be the essence of our lives. It has an on and off switch.

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Once God was done creating Genesis records that He rested.  He literally ceased working**.  His seventh day was different from the previous six.  He didn’t work.  He rested.

God invites us into a rest.

God invites us to have a time in our week that looks different; where we enter into a “rest”. A stretch of time that isn’t like the other days.  Moments to walk away from the work. This rest is halting our regular gig in order to experience a break from it. (How that pans out for each one of us looks different.) To “rest” is to admit that God occupies the throne of all creation and He is the One who keeps your world spinning, not you.

These invitations opened up a host of questions inside my head.

  • Do I regularly look around and see the good in my life?
  • Do I acknowledge God?
  • Am I familiar with noticing good things in my work or am I negative or critical?
  • How comfortable am I with stopping?
  • Do I know when to stop? Stop striving, stop worrying, stop thinking, stop talking..?
  • How hard is it for me to stop….anything?
  • Do I enter into intentional rest?  (Not the same thing as being lazy.)
  • My mind may be working even if I’m not, how well am I disconnecting?
  • Do I rest from work and remember I don’t have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders?

These invitations from God surprised me.  I didn’t know in the re-telling of creation, was also an invitation to see God, to experience freedom from pressure and to rest in the knowledge that the same God who is capable of creating EVERYTHING is capable of handling my “creating”.

Sure, God created it all. But through it He invites you and I to continually experience awe, relief, and renewal.  I don’t know about you but that is appealing to me.

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. ~ Colossians 1:16

**Quick side note.  For me the meaning of “work” or “creating” is anything that we may generate in order for our lives to move forward; being fruitful or productive.  It’s our 9-5 work, it’s the care for family needs, it’s the volunteerism we engage in.  That’s my take on it.

The Mother Load

So here’s how the latest conversation with my son goes:

Jake, your feet smell.  Get them out of my face.

Mom, you’re supposed to love me no matter what.

I do love you but your feet still stink and I can’t take it.

But mom you’re supposed to accept me no matter how bad I smell.

Why is he not repulsed by the smell?  Why can’t he put his dishes in the dishwasher?  Why does he think it’s ok to torment his sister to the point where she is squealing like a pig?

These are among some of the great mysteries of motherhood.  These are the things you don’t know about when you first get that baby in your arms or when you are chasing after your toddler. They smell, but it’s a tolerable smell…almost a cute baby like smell.  But you have control.  You bathe them and boom…all clean smelling.  When they are young they are a different kind of mystery. But it amazes you just the same.

In the span of motherhood (or parenthood) you become accustomed to being baffled.

Baffled by the amount of diapers they go through when they are babies.

Baffled by the amount of toilet paper a house goes through in a week.

Baffled by the amount of times Mom is yelled.

Baffled by the realization that you may very well have lost a few marbles along the way.

Oh the Mother Load. The weighty job of being a mother.

All that comes with motherhood that you never knew about.  The things that your own mother couldn’t describe and decided it was best for you to just learn for yourself.  The on-the-job moments that turn you into a gorilla, a negotiator, a banker, a clown, a therapist, a doctor, a teacher, a dictator and a punching bag.

You become someone you never knew you could be.  Sometimes you like that person and sometimes you don’t.  Sometimes you feel independent and  fresh and then the check out clerk at the store calls you Ma’am and suddenly you realize you must look mature and you remember you are responsible for more than just you.

You are a mother.

You carry the Mother Load.

But underneath the weight of what you carry lies a gift that  you were given from the start. This gift stays with you if you remain open to receiving it but it gets lost if you ignore it.  It shows up in the most unlikely places and unsuspecting of times.

It’s the gift of mystery.

When that baby is handed to you, you marvel at the tiny little features and perfection of it all. As time marches, our backs begin to ache and our feet get sore and we no longer live in the mystery of life.  But our children bring it to us each and every day.

It comes when they suddenly need braces because their teeth have grown crooked.

They grew! What a profound mystery.

It comes when they ride a two wheeler or a motor cycle for the first time.  When they figure out how to tie their shoe or negotiate an IPad. When they can read and actually understand what they’ve read. When their hair changes color or textures because of hormones.  When they make dinner without your help. When they laugh at Jimmy Fallen or sing Disney songs…just because they’re so much fun. When they strive for a new goal or make a new friend.  When they choose to be with you over someone else and wave their smelly feet in front of you.

Yes friends, deep within the Mother Load of your job as mom lies the gift of mystery.

Grab hold…..

….p.s. I had to open the window while writing because the smell was really that bad! I’m serious…his feet stink.


The Kidsp.s.s.…as I hit publish on this post I heard the bathroom door open upstairs where my daughter was taking a shower.  Suddenly the upstairs will filled with the sounds of the Disney music she was singing…how can you not love that?…….wonder never ceases to amaze me….

 

Like is the New Love

So I’m sure you’ve heard the expression,

I know I have to love (fill in the blank) but I sure don’t have to like him!

I’ve said it before.  But I’m thinking twice about it now.

Solid Rock Love

Solid Rock Love

I was laughing with a friend the other day about the fact that I have no problem loving my husband but some days I have to work at liking  him.

We laughed pretty hard because we both know how true this is with relationships.  But then I began to wrestle with it.  Is it really possible to love someone and not like them?  Does love work that way?

I thought about this dilemma long after my conversation was over with my friend.  I began to feel uncomfortable with the idea that loving and not-liking someone is compatable. Maybe liking someone is a component of loving and when we dislike we dis-love?

Jesus was traveling through a town called Jericho. At this point Jesus was kind of a rock star.  Naturally a crowd would gather around Him.  There was a man named Zaccheus who was curious about Jesus.  He too wanted to get a look at him.  But being a short man he couldn’t see over the crowd so he climbed up in a tree to be able to catch a glimpse. But being height challenged wasn’t his only problem.

Nobody liked him.

He was dispised by people in his community. And with good reason.  He was a jerk. (You can read the story here, Luke 19:1-10) Jesus did something remarkable and scandalous. He liked him.  While in a crowd of haters, Jesus liked.  In front of a big crowd, He told Zaccheus that He would be coming over to his house to hang out.  Now in those days this was really daring.  To talk to, let alone have a meal with, someone that the community deemed unworthy was like sleeping with the enemy.  You just didn’t cross those lines.  Your own reputation was then damaged if you did.

But maybe that’s the problem with dis-liking, the focus is on me.  When I don’t like someone it’s because they offend me on some level.  They irritate me or make me loose my patience, they are slow or irresponsible, selfish or mean, they are two faced or gossips, they can’t be trusted or arrogant, maybe they just rub me the wrong way.  Trying to live in a world with other human beings is work. It’s easier to dislike someone that it is to work at liking them. I’m really more comfortable that way. So yea, it’s all about me.

The people in Jericho had good cause to dislike Zaccheus.  He really wasn’t a good guy.

But Jesus shows us a side of love that has given me food for thought.  He separates the person from the behavior. With His reputation on the line He doesn’t give into the pressure to please the crowd around Him. Jesus likes Zaccheus certainly not because Zaccheus was likable, but because He was able to see past Zaccheus actions and into his humanity.  Jesus loves all men and women, no matter what.

Love makes room for like.

So what is going on in me when I struggle to “like”?  People behave in ways where it makes it really hard to like them.  It’s just crazy to think that we won’t be affected by someone when their actions offend and disrupt our lives. To dislike is NOT a sin but rather a symptom that there is still work to be done in me. 

Perhaps I need more of the grace, patience, forgiveness, understanding, correction, affirmation, opportunity and kindness of God so that I am able to pour it out when someone is acting in an “unlikable” way?

  • Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to dislike someone?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice to not get so frustrated or annoyed by others who we just don’t like?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice to see someones humanity and not only see the offense?
  • Wouldn’t it be nice to be a little more like Jesus?

So when I’m symptomatic with dislike it’s because I need a little more of Jesus. And although it’s natural say I love and not like someone at the same time, I think Jesus is asking me to help write a greater story with my life.  To call people out of trees and work at liking more.

Like is the new love.

There’s a Hole in the Sky

There’s a hole in the sky today.

Hole In The Sky

Hole In The Sky

It caught me by surprise.   I didn’t know there could be holes in the sky but there it was.  Layers upon layers of condensed clouds rolling back and forth above me.  Ever so subtly a hole opened up.  If I wasn’t looking up I would have missed it.

Holes open up all over the place.  Just yesterday I saw on the news that a sink hole opened up on a paved road and a parked car fell in. My nieces husband had a new business opportunity open up. The ice on my driveway opened up… a little… this past weekend.

Things open up everywhere.

The question is, am I looking?

There was a mother who lived many many generations ago.  She lived in a time and place that doesn’t make sense to us today.  The manner of living, the regulations, the conditions would be foreign, barbaric, and even ignorant to us.  In her world she was a slave.  In her world she had virtually no control over her situation.

Although a slave, she was also a wife and mother.  She had people she loved and cared for.  But the days were dangerous and all slaves were required to end the life of any newborn boys born to them.  The slaves multiplied despite the unthinkable scenario and the ruler was frightened by them.

This mother found herself pregnant with her third child. Her predicament looked impossible.  Her heart agonized over the forced ruling.

But she saw a hole in the sky.

Something was opening up inside her.  A new idea, a new faith, a new hope and it changed they way she lived life, even in her impossible situation.

Somehow she hid the baby.  Of course it was a boy.  She managed to keep him safe and alive when all the other slave mothers couldn’t. The boy lived and ended up changing the world.

It began with this one woman who saw a “hole in the sky” of her life. When she thought she was in an unalterable situation, she looked up.

Where we look will often change what we think.  What we think will change what we believe.  What we believe will most certainly change what we do.  What we do always impacts somebody….good or bad.

So, where are we looking?

 

The woman in this story is the mother of Moses, Jacobed, as found in Exodus 2:1-10.