Slow Down to Go Fast

What in the world?

The phrase “go slow to go fast”or any variation of that idea  is something I’ve been hearing in the business world for a few years now. At first I sloughed it off as not important – I am a full speed ahead type of person, and honestly, the faster I can get to a destination, the better.

And then I found out that business and life sometimes don’t work that way.

So tell me, does that phrase even make sense to you? If you’ve never in your life heard this concept, stay with me here – I hope to give you a lightbulb moment or two…

A quick google search of the words “slow down to go fast” comes up with a LOT of resources. I mean, everyone from Forbes to TedX to Huffington Post and the Harvard Business Review has articles or videos on this very idea. Even Porsche. (Which begs the question, is it even possible to slow down in a Porsche driving machine?…)

Two weeks ago today I had elective foot surgery to correct a decades-old injury. Even though the injury in itself had slowed me down, I had become accustomed to that pace and thought I could live with it. And then my preschool age grandson challenged me to a race. He pretty much wants to race every time he’s here. I obliged, but soon I was limping my way around the driveway. Could it be that hanging on to that old injury was too great a price to pay? I was asking my husband to pop my metatarsal back into place every few days or so – a process that was painful and unpleasant, but it was my new normal because my damaged tendon could not hold those bones into place. I was unable to hike with my friends in Yosemite each spring, I couldn’t walk more than a couple of miles, I was in pain at the end of a day of skiing and worst of all, I couldn’t even race my grandson around the yard. This had become my new normal. I didn’t like it, but I accepted it. It was’t the best for me, but I endured it. I started thinking about how I’d become comfortable in my new normal, but it wasn’t an optimal place to live.

It took me years of enduring this to finally decide this was no way to live. So when I found out it was fixable, and I had surgery to repair it. And then the REAL slowdown happened.

Here’s what slowing down to go fast looks like for me right now…

Crutches. Scooter. Sit with your leg elevated as much as possible. Wear this boot. And NO DRIVING for several weeks.

Yes, I am on the slooooooooowwwwwww boat right now.

But you know what? I’ve decided it’s ok. By slowing down to fix this torn tendon in my foot I now can look forward to a future of even more mobility. I am slowing down now to go fast later. I am fixing my eyes on a time when I will be able to walk or hike several miles, ski all day without pain, and I’ll be able to race my grandson again – and maybe win for once? (Doubtful, but I will certainly give it my best shot…)

So what happens during the slow times?

Healing. That’s what happens.

A foundation is built for a strong tendon and bone structure to hold up my body for the rest of my life. In order to walk (literally) in my purpose and calling to be a fun and active grandma, I need to slow down and let this foot heal properly. I need to let my cells knit themselves together to form a new bond that is strong and able to perform the work of holding those bones in place. This takes time.

It wasn’t until this past weekend when God was walking me through an exercise of also slowing down my spirit for some inner healing that I saw the full circle message of this.

Life is busy. I know that. We get comfortable in our normal of stuffing our wounds full of temporary fixes. We eat or drink too much to numb the pain. We shop even more to avoid facing the debt. We stay busy to avoid having to listen to that still small voice telling us what needs to change to be healed. But do you know what happens when we slow down and let God fix our torn and broken parts?

Healing. That’s what happens.

Feeling anxious? Slow down and let God heal you.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7

Are you exhausted and weary in your spirit, even down to your very bones?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Slow down and let God do the healing work. Just as I know the good work of healing started when my surgeon repaired that torn tendon, I also know that pushing through it too fast and forcing too much activity on that tender foot would undo everything the surgeon has done for me. Likewise, if I don’t sit with God in the work of healing in my soul and let him knit together the foundation for what’s ahead, I could undo everything the Great Physician has started in me.

…Be still and know that I am God…

Psalm 46:10

Have the lights come on yet? I hope so.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

Let God finish the healing process he started in you so you can soar into your purpose and the calling he placed on your life the very day you were born. It’s never too late to slow down to go fast.

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I’m waiting, God. Where are you?

My church is currently revisiting the book of Psalms, with a different pastor preaching each Sunday. It is so refreshing! Isn’t that the beauty of God’s Word? It is alive and each time we read it, we gain new insight and a fresh perspective on how to apply it to our lives.

Recently, pastor Michael spoke on Psalm 13 – God in our waiting. He reminded us that we all are in a place of waiting at some point in our lives. What do we do when we don’t know where God is, we don’t know what God is doing, or our life looks nothing like we thought it would?

What then?

I remember years ago when I had been severely hurt by someone I thought was a friend. It was painful. It was confusing. And quite frankly, it was depressing.

What did I do?

First, in my tears I turned to the Psalms. The Psalms of lament comforted me somehow. Knowing there were others who had endured such pain and made it to the other side reassured me that I would, too. Seeing that God is okay with me asking WHY? was comforting.

Then, God asked me to pray for that former friend. I began to go on prayer walks every day. As I rounded the corner by her house I made sure to cover her in prayer. God had me do this for a full year. I don’t know the effect it had on her, but I can see now that this was the key to healing my broken heart.

Finally, I lifted up praise to God. Even if I didn’t know what would come of this break in our friendship, I knew God was still good and in praising Him, I allowed the Holy Spirit to take over my mind – renew my mind and change my heart. Do you know what? It’s impossible to feel sorry for yourself when you have abandoned yourself to worship. IMPOSSIBLE.

Without even knowing it, I was following the example that is laid out in Psalm 13 –

So, what should we do?

First, we LAMENT

1How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Then, we PETITION, or PRAY

3Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

Finally, we PRAISE

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

Yes. He has been good to me.

Even if.

Even though.

God is still good.

Amen.

(If you’d like to hear the sermon mentioned above, you can click here to find it.)

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If the Door is Open, Walk Through It

I am drawn to doors.

I notice them when I look at a home.

I photograph them when I am on vacation.

I envision in my mind the most lovely doors whenever there is a reference to them in someone’s speech. Sometimes they are polished and perfect.

Other times they are a bit rough, but beautiful in their own way.

The Bible uses DOORs as a reference, too. I counted 235 this morning. Of course, most of those are referring to a physical door. Building the temple. You can’t come in, the door is shut. etc.

But many are talking about doorways into our soul or opportunities.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.   (Revelation 3:20 NKJV)

If you are like me, this is the image that came to mind when you read that verse –

Yes, doors are everywhere in scripture. Where are the doors in your life? Are you facing doors of opportunity? Do you see many doors to choose from and have to make a decision?

I’ve always thought this was such a difficult process – then just the other day I heard one of my favorite Bible teachers, Havilah Cunnington, say this:

I think we spend too much time in doorways and we never walk through the door.” 

I was agreeing, yes, YES!

She went on to say that God is really good at shutting doors to places where we are not supposed to go. If the door is just too hard to open, pass it up. (And I would add, DO NOT, as the old song goes, “look for a window.” No! That room is off limits.)

But if a door is open to you and you are standing in the doorway, pondering, crying, wondering, whether you should walk through it. The answer is YES. Remember, God is really good at shutting doors to things you are not supposed to be involved with. Ask Him to show you.

Your opportunity is on the other side of that open door. Take that step of faith and believe that God will direct your next steps.

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

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WHAT???

When you cannot hear, clearly, the person who is speaking to you…..what do you do?

I know what I do…..I yell back…. WHAT?

A more respectful way to answer would be to say…..”Excuse me, would you please repeat that?”

I am living in a large home right now with a friend.  We both go about our individual busyness, sometimes speaking information the other person needs to know while one or the other is walking away to another part of the house.  When that happens to me I often yell loudly ” WHAT??? ”

It would be better for me to walk to where she is and ask her nicely to repeat the information or request.  That way we would have a face to face conversation and the information would not be misunderstood….because if that happens the outcome is usually chaotic… for instance…”I told you, blah, blah, blah, remember?”…..”No, I didn’t get that message.”   etc……you know the scenario!!

But, what about the message God is speaking to you?  Do you turn a deaf ear and pretend by your own social rules that you don’t hear Him clearly so that you don’t fully understand what He is saying to you?

Since I have been a follower of Christ since a young child I have learned to hear…not saying I always obey…but that’s another topic.  I know the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict and correct so that I will come to repentance.  Then He teaches and comforts me.

Life in Christ is continual learning.    (I was going to say curve….but there are no curves in God’s way.  He is straight….Absolute!)   Yah, I mess up, but God’s still, small voice through the Holy Spirit is constantly reminding me to check my motives.  He points out those sins that pull me away from wanting to hear Him clearly.

I really want to HEAR HIM CLEARLY…….don’t you?   Because His Word gives me life, and I want life more abundantly while I’m on this Planet.     Do you?

And God does not change.  It seems that society is changing the basic, God-given life rules.   What’s wrong is OK and right,  what’s right is up for individual interpretation.  BUT GOD HAS ABSOLUTES….AND THOSE DO NOT CHANGE, and the consequences of disobedience are painful.

I cry out to God often with a WHAT???    What is it God….what are you saying to me?  I want to HEAR YOU CLEARLY…..with no outside opinions or philosophies.

I WANT TO ALWAYS ” HEAR HIS VOICE BEHIND ME SAYING, THIS IS THE WAY; WALK IN IT.”   Isaiah 30:21

Ear

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Little Shoes for a Big Purpose

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“What’s the story about your favorite pair of shoes?”

Kind of an unusual question for church, but every week the Question of the Day provokes some interesting getting to know you conversations with those sitting nearby. It’s a tradition at Fellowship Monrovia, where I attend services.

I turned around to chat with the woman behind me, thinking about mentioning the snow boots I bought in college more than 30 years ago and still own.

With a huge smile, she shared her shoe story:

My favorite pair of shoes was my very first pair, when I was 10 years old. I was in an orphanage in Greece during the war, and needed shoes. They traced around my foot on a piece of paper during my birthday in July, and then asked my sponsor in America for the money. That Christmas, I received my first pair of shoes. They were so precious to me! I polished them every night before putting them away in the box. I loved those shoes!

Oh.

Yeah, I had no shoe story after hearing that.

During the rest of the service, I couldn’t stop thinking about that precious Greek lady and her shoe story. I knew I needed to know her.

We met for coffee last week, and through tears she told me of her heart for the Greek orphans, even now. There is no public money available for them. If an orphanage is no longer funded, those little ones are in the street. What she told me is a story repeated countless times in countries around the world.

Meeting someone like this, who has lived a good life because a family cared enough to adopt her is inspiring. Her work now is dedicated to the children in Benjamin House, and she carries on the work that one person inspired in her by providing a pair of shoes.

Small beginnings for very big things. It all started with a pair of shoes for a 10 year old little orphan girl, provided by someone who had never met her.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”   James 1:27

 

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By Grace You Have Been Saved

In reading the book of Exodus, I was ministered to by the Holy Spirit as I read Exodus 20:24-26, about the making of the altar on which to offer the sacrifices for sin. God told Moses how to make it, and explained that if they made an altar out of stones, they were not to be hewn stones ,for if they used a chisel on the stones, it profaned the altar.

Why?

It was a type of our meeting with God under the New Covenant made through the blood of God’s Son, Jesus.

We have to come solely on the merits of His offering…no works of ours can be added.

“For by Grace you have been saved, through faith, and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8

But, you say, “What about ‘faith without works is dead’?” That’s true too, and Biblical, for if the Spirit of Christ lives in you, He will shine through you, and the works will follow because of Him and not because of you.

How freeing that is!

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Just Keep Swimming

I think most of us have seen the movie “Finding Nemo” when the character Dori sings “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” In the movie “Finding Dori” we learn why she sings that song. She is a small young fish and sings the song with her parents when she is learning how to swim and she continues to sing the song when she is facing her fears.

We all have fears that we must face. Whether we are a small fish, a child, or an adult, we all have fears. “If you don’t look at fear as your enemy it will one day defeat you” (Havilah Cunningham). You are either driven by fear, or overtaken by fear. What will it be for you? If you let fear defeat you, you will not grow or become the person God made you to be. You can either step forward into growth or step back into safety. What will it be for you?

There is a spirit of fear that wants to dominate everything in you. It is Satan’s way of stopping you from doing the powerful things God created you to do. Will you let him stop you? Will you let him win? What happens when you face fear? What if? What would you become? You will not know unless you do it, unless you take action. It will not be easy. Facing what you are afraid of is NOT easy, but you will never know who you could be or what life has for you if you don’t.

I was asked why I go on so many trips, and do so many activities and adventures. And my answer is this, there is so much on this earth to experience and so many places to go, why not try to do as much as possible?! I said yes to an 11 month Christian mission trip to 11 different countries. I was scared. I was afraid. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I did it anyway and I am here to tell you I do not regret going one bit! I am so happy I was obedient to God. I grew in ways I would have never if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and face my fears.

Our job is to be obedient and say yes to the opportunity in front of us even if it scares us. There is anointing that comes when you obey God. And when we obey the supernatural will happen. And I experienced just that. God gave me an anointing over my life and I experienced miracles, and went on many adventures.

I have run and finished a half marathon, completed a triathlon, hiked Half Dome in Yosemite, training now to hike Mount Whitney (the tallest peak in the continental America), went shark cage diving, laid with tigers, rode an elephant, went on a safari. I’m not saying this to brag of all the things I’ve done. This is a result of saying yes to an opportunity, facing fears and going for it. I accepted the challenge of training, of leaving the country for a year and in return I was able to do all this and more! 

Are you going to “just keep swimming” or are you going to let fear defeat you? It’s up to you.

finding-dori

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Which Son Are You?

Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God is living and active. I love when I hear a teaching on God’s Word that makes me realize this all over again. It is such a beautiful thing to ponder when God uses an anointed teacher to reveal His truth in a fresh new way.

We all know the story of the prodigal son. In fact, it may have become boring, common, predictable, and just so much yada yada yada to our ears. I heard Troy Murphy, Chaplain for the Green Bay Packers, speak recently on the scriptures found in Luke 15:11-32, and God used his words to rock my world. I’ll give you one highlight, but it’s definitely worth watching the whole sermon here.

We have the two sons to consider, the prodigal son and the older brother.

Think about this: when the younger son asked his father for his inheritance, we see no mention that the father argued with him, or told him what a mistake he was making. He gave his son the inheritance. In the same way, God won’t disrupt our wandering. We don’t have to go off the deep end to be a prodigal. In fact, we all could be prodigals in some way. A prodigal is not necessarily a desperate, horrible sinner, but someone who wants to pick and choose what he wants from the Father, and then live life on his own terms.

Ouch. Guilty.

The older son is the obedient one, but boy oh boy does he have an attitude problem! I’ve done this for you. I’ve done that for you, and you’ve never done ___________ for me! This self righteous attitude says I want something from God, but I have to do something to earn it. Then, God will OWE ME.

Ouch again.

If there is anything to take away from this, it’s that we are all both prodigals and older sons at some point. Both are dangerous places to live, but in a sense, the prodigal is actually more desirable than being the know-it-all-do-good-live-by-the-rules son.

Why? Because of verse 17: “When he came to his senses...”

The Bible says the prodigal son came to his senses and ran back to the father, and we see that the older son remained bitter and refused to join in the celebration. Sadly, we see so many Christians choosing to be the older son, even when they witness the compassionate heart of the Father welcoming a prodigal back home.  It makes my heart sad for them.

And then I think of all the prodigals wandering the earth, experiencing hardships that may lead them to that point of coming to their senses, and it makes me so happy we have a father who will celebrate us when we come to our senses and run back into his arms!

Father and son having fun together in sunset ocean on summer holidays

Luke 15:11-32 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

 

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But you promised…

God has given me promises and sometimes I think, “Are they ever going to happen?”

I have been in 2 weddings this year and I just went to a third wedding this past weekend. These weddings have been of very dear friends of mine and I am over the moon excited for each of them to marry the love of their lives. Each couple has put God first and he is at the center of their relationship. It’s a beautiful, yet rare thing to see in this world. But this is how God intended marriage. Marriage is a gift given to us by God to be a representation of his love for the church. We are his bride and he is the bridegroom. Marriage on earth is a taste of what it’s like between us and God.

Marriage is a beautiful thing and something I strongly desire to be apart of. I am single at the moment but I think, dream, and pray for the man I am going to marry.

In 2013, God gave me a vision of my wedding day. I saw myself radiant and I was looking up into the eyes of my husband but I couldn’t see his face. All I could see was myself and light shining brightly all around us.

In 2014, God told me attributes about my husband and what our relationship would represent and told me to pray for him every day.

In 2015, I wrote out everything I want in a husband, prayed over the list and made room for God to add to it. I sealed the list in an envelope. I stopped praying for him every day and only when I thought of it.

In 2016, God gave me a new perspective about marriage and another promise to hold onto. He told me that this marriage will not only be for me and my husband but for so many others around us. This made me look at the bigger picture. It’s not just about me. It’s about so many others. With all of this in store for the marriage I will have one day, I am willing to wait as long as God intends. He has a master plan and sometimes we get stuck on the little things and never take the time to step back and look at the bigger picture. I will continue to pray for my husband.

God gives us promises to keep our focus on him. He tells us what we need to hear at the time to keep us on track. He has a plan behind it all. And I know one day He will cross the paths of my journey and my future husband’s journey and it will be unlike anything I could ever dream or imagine. I tell this to you as an encouragement, especially to all the single ladies and men out there. God knows. He has a plan. Someone of you will be married to someone here on earth. Others of you have a marriage with Christ (this is to all). He is waiting to take your hand and have a relationship with you.

Give God your heart and he will fulfill his promises to you.

The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you an oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways.” Deuteronomy 28:9

You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.” 1 Kings 8:24

(There are over 3,000 promises in the Bible.)

God's Promise                   Marriage

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ALL SAINTS EVE

That’s right…..November 1st is All Saint’s Day, so Halloween is the opposite of that…an evening where witches, ghosts and zombies are glorified!

It’s fun for little children (and adults) to dress up in cute costumes, but the glamorization of the underworld is not funny.  Evil, demons, witches and Satan worshipers are real.

Be aware!  Be wise and cautious.  Think about it……….

Deuteronomy 18:9-13

When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.  Let not one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God.”

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