Why Are Lies So Loud and Truths So Quiet?

If only life had the decency to be the other way around.

I do not know why lies have all the connections to adrenaline suppliers.

I do not know why it’s fear, anger, and self-hatred that can seize your heart and weigh it down with a twenty-pound force, rather than peace and love.

I do not know why worry seems so inescapably truthful and peace so too-good-to-be-truey. (Okay, I didn’t have a good word there, but you know what I mean.)

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But it is so. Some things are promised to the Christian, but not immediately possessed. Truths must be worked for; lies ride the second law of emotional thermodynamics straight to your doorstep. Truths must be fought for; lies dart across your battle lines and start whispering their propaganda. Truth is the gym visit, lies the chocolate cake. Truth is the ponderous jetliner, lies the gravity. The world and the four silent walls of your apartment shout addiction, despair, and your lack of value; God speaks in a still, small voice.

Even listening to the relatively loud voice of nature requires work – spiritual linguistics. Many eyeball the galaxy and see an accident. When your own life is chaos, it’s easy to agree. Part of your heart whispers, “isn’t it obvious? He isn’t there. Or he isn’t good. Just quit fighting to believe otherwise; it’ll all be such a relief.”

The good news is…muscles expand.

Work gets easier as it is performed. Ever heard the saying, “It’s easier to stay in shape than to get in shape?” It works here. There was a time when praying my way into peace took hours of spiritual work. Now it takes much less. In fact, knowing it’s possible does half the work. Like a youngster’s body finally bringing together all the right muscle movements on his first bike, the spiritual disciplines come.

It can be a long, difficult phase in which we learn to routinely surrender our emotions to Christ and find stability, peace, and hope in him. But there are equally long and difficult phases in which we learn that simple mistakes can get you fired from even your first job at the chicken joint, or that driving recklessly can get your car totaled, or that your first high school relationship is rarely destiny. It feels unfair. How were we supposed to know?

But there was a second job, a second car, a second chance, was there not? A second side to the valley of the shadow of death.

To those are born on the battlefield, perhaps in a foster home or saddled with depression, God offers more. The bigger the battle, the bigger God’s reinforcements.

Don’t give up hope. You’re far stronger than when you started. As we learn the Shepherd’s voice, the lies grow strangely dim along with the rest of the things of earth, while the truth fills our ears. Though we might not possess it yet, we are promised it.

 

I’m glad you tuned in today. If you found this post to be of value, please feel free to share it on social media. Thanks a bunch!

Daylight Savings Messed Up My Unbelief Clock

daylightWith daylight savings coming up on us again in a few weeks, I thought I’d update this story from last spring.

This weekend, I served as a counselor at a youth retreat, out of cell service.

I woke up Sunday morning at 8:30am feeling most refreshed. I’d initially worried that I wouldn’t get enough winky-winky because I’d gone to bed late (12:30am), but nope…8 hours of sleep. It felt good and I was happy. (You know you’re coming up on middle age when these are the things you think about.)

Until a little while later, when I overheard that Daylight Savings Time had started that night. I hadn’t heard about it during the prior week, and didn’t see the usual Facebook memes the previous day because we were out of cell service.

So I’d actually slept only 7 hours.

The moment I realized this, I kid you not, I started feeling tired. Over one hour.

And it got me thinking: Our reality determines our thoughts and feelings to a great degree.

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We Must Never Become Black Holes

holeI’m stoked. To convey this illustration, I get to be geeky – I get to explain the nature of a black hole, an exotic celestial object of great lifelong fascination to me.

Black hole are collapsed stars, grown so dense that their gravity, out to a certain distance, is strong enough to arrest their own light. Since an object is only seen by the light it sends to your eyeballs, a spherical region around a black hole appears, well, black to the outside observer. The star is still inside, but forever hidden because its light can’t escape.*

For a long time, I was a black hole. Sucking everything in, emitting little. God was working on my inside, but it was a process.

Several years ago, I chanced into a dating relationship. We had a good five months before she called it off. It happens. (She’s married now.) But it was a revealing time. I got a chance to see how such companionship affected me, what it exposed.

Amongst the discoveries: while we dated, I started taking risks. I found a greater enthusiasm for people, asking how they were, hearing their stories.

And after the relationship ended, I found myself tempted to revert to introversion. The tug of social hesitation, fear of what others think, disappointment with life, etc. reasserting itself, overwhelming my emanations. Like a black hole, hiding my light.

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A Survival Tip for Holiday Social Media

weights12-point bucks. Festive kitchens or decorations. Caribbean vacations. Professional photos of big rocks on fingers and newly engaged couples making out in front of a barn somewhere.

Yep. Holiday social media is here.

Sometimes it seems like it’s got something to push everyone’s envy buttons. Somehow, even seeing a Pinterest-worthy Christmas lights extravaganze that outdoes yours can feel like a putdown. Not for me, but for some it can, and hey, I’m not gonna judge. We all have our quirks.

It’s not hard to understand why some dread this month.

But this season doesn’t have to be a train of helpless coveting delivered right to your phone. There is a huge opportunity here for us Christians, to let this month actually strengthen us.

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You Can Control Whom You Fall in Love With

Only Jesus can truly bring you life in this area.You’re standing in what feels like rough pasture. Across the fence lies one that looks greener and smooth. You’re contemplating a choice, dear Christian.

You’ve met someone who makes you feel like you haven’t felt since…you can’t remember when. He’s meeting your emotional needs, just being himself. She “gets you” in a way nobody else does. When you imagine companionship with this person, you catch a glimpse of the life of which you once dreamed.

One problem: that person is off limits.

One of you is already married (or in a relationship that has not explicitly ended). S/he might be outside your age range. Or s/he might be unsuitable – mired in sin, or perhaps not a Christian.

Perhaps you started out with quite a compatible spouse, but you’ve long since lost that “peas in a pod” verve. Now you think you see it in someone else. Someone who’s dropped looks or hints that s/he’s thinking the same.

Being known, being appreciated, being fought for (instead of fought with) or finally triumphing over years of loneliness…

It feels like life.

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