restoration

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

 

The Silverware Drawer

So I recently cleaned out my silverware drawer. Every time I opened it I was frustrated by the chaos.  A small voice kept after me, just deal with it, clean it out, fix it up.  So I finally did.

You’re thinking, big deal, right?

Well it is to me.  I have one drawer where I keep silverware and most all the kitchen utensils.  When I first moved in this house this drawer seemed most natural to me to host all things kitchen utensil-ly.  So it became the silverware home.  And like all homes, over time it needs some fixing up.  Something I had neglected for a long, long, time…ask anybody who has tried to open it.

So one snowy day I decided enough was enough and I cleaned it out.  I purchased new drawer liners and threw away anything that hadn’t been used in a year or that had at least three more just like it.  It’s amazing what can accrue over time in a nasty silverware drawer.

Alas, I got the job done and all was right in my kitchen.

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As I looked at the newly organized drawer, ok I know some of you are looking at it and are thinking “That’s organized?” believe me…it’s a step up …a big big step up!!  But as I looked at my drawer I couldn’t help but feel a bit uncomfortable with how long it had taken me to deal with the mess. I was embarrassed by the amount of useless things and crumbs taking up space. Why did it take me so long to fix this mess?

And then it came to me.  Almost as if a little voice quietly spoke these words.

Everybody has a mess somewhere they don’t want to deal with.

I know I’m not the only one who has a messy silverware drawer.  Raise your hand if you have a closet  you are afraid to open the door to for fear it may never close?  How about a garage that no longer can fit your cars?  Maybe a basement that has been hijacked by old furniture, boxes of memories or the stuff that you think you may need one day? A crabby attitude that invades family time?  Envy that has taken root and fills your thoughts with jealousy?  Cookies you just can’t stop eating?  Anger that is ravaging your relationship? Control that micromanages everyone and everything?  Obsession with phones, tablets or computers that you can’t seem to live without? Fear that keeps you from leaving your comfort zone or keeps you up at night? Am I getting close?

We all have messes.  We share this trait as humans.  We all have something that we know needs attending but we’d rather not deal with it. This is a common thread in each of us.

After I had cleaned the drawer I realized that it felt good to have order back.  It felt good to have invested in something that made my life a little better.  Looking at my newly organized drawer I had another revelation.  Improvement is good.  Improvement is possible.

Which one of us is not drawn to stories of those who overcome?  Who does not find appealing the stories of those who, although living with difficult, even self induced, consequences, find life in seeking order?

We are created for order in the chaos.  We are flawed by our own inabilities and fears.

I took out one fork at a time when I cleaned my drawer.  It felt big at first to tackle the mess. My drawer really was a disaster. But with each utensil I pulled out I gained a growing desire.  A desire for order and a clean drawer.  One motion at a time. Removing one item at a time, I began to believe it was possible to get through it.

I may be flawed but I am influenced by a desire for restoration.

Do you hear a voice whispering something small to you today?  Our problems feel so big sometimes it keeps us from dealing with them. Sometimes a small voice is necessary for big jobs.  Sometimes small voices are the ones that get us to take that one step, that leads to the next step that cascades into a series of steps toward order, improvement, health, growth, healing and restoration.

Maybe we shouldn’t be listening for the big voices but the little ones?

We may share the messy trait as humans but we are united by our desire for wholeness and restoration. Breathing  life into whatever needs a fresh start we write a richer story, we awaken the desire for good to spill into our lives, we extend the hand of unity to someone else needing to do the same.

Resorting order starts small.  Like a silverware drawer.  Maybe the little things we bring order to foster courage to tackle something bigger farther down the road? Today a silverware drawer, tomorrow the back part of the basement.  Who knows?

New Year Restoration

2015 Restoration

2015 Restoration

January 1 2015 my son asks, Mom what’s your New Year Restoration?

You mean “resolution”?

No, “restoration”, that’s what it’s really about anyway.

Huh.

He got me with that one.  He’s right.

New Year Resolutions are about restoration.  Transforming something in your life that isn’t so good into something better. Restoration.  I like that spin on this age old tradition.

Restoration is practical, active and visual.  How many times have we watched shows where old homes, junk or furniture have been restored for a new purpose?

Restoration is hope and possibility filled.  There are places in my life that need to be restored for a new purpose.  Who doesn’t need an upgrade of some kind?

Normally I do not do New Year Resolutions, but I will do a New Year Restoration.

Back to my conversation with my son.

Well Jake, my New Year Restoration is so say “Thank You” more often.

Why?

Because when I say “thank you” out loud I’m practicing gratitude and I want to practice gratitude.  I want to appreciate people and blessings more regularly.

Why?

I think gratitude leads to a fuller life.  Appreciation reveals goodness in everyday places.  I want to focus more on what’s good versus the negative things I’m prone to recognize quickly.

That’s good mom.

Thanks Jake.

And that was that.

Resolving to change has never really gotten me anywhere before.

I’ve been more successful at restoring something that is run down and refurbishing it.  Restoration is a process.  It takes vision and patience.  A system of progressive steps.  It isn’t so black and white.  Pass or fail.  Win or lose.

I know it’s just a slight shift of words but it brings a more attainable and purposefully meaning for me. I like restoration a lot better than resolution.

What’s your New Year Restoration?