Dear reader, this week I thought I’d do something a bit different, but first let me explain my inspiration for today’s departure from the normal narrative. I recently had a spectacular conversation with a great friend and mentor of mine, the kind of conversation that sticks with you long after it has drawn to a close. She was driving me to the airport, and along the way we dialogued about matters of the heart that were, to put it lightly, extravagantly rich in understanding. As she spoke and shared different seasons she had lived, she both encouraged and equipped me for my current one. While sitting in the passenger’s seat listening, I knew that a very large direct deposit of wisdom was being made into the bank of my heart. I left her SUV after that 45-minute car ride overwhelmingly grateful for that sacred space made simply to reflect on revelations of the soul. We all need that space. And more often than not, we simply do not get enough of it.
So today, for you and for me, I am making that space. I am drawing a perimeter around these next few hundred words and declaring them sacred space to listen, learn and reflect. Today, I will attempt to do what my dear friend did for me a few weeks back. I will openly share with you some wisdom acquired through passionate praise, through painful tears, through honest prayer, through surrendered obedience, through misguided mistakes, and divine grace. These are life lessons the Holy Spirit has kindly revealed to me over the past year and few months, a year and few months in which I have experienced some of the greatest high and lows, victories and setbacks of my adult life. It’s been a year of goodbye’s and hello’s, a year of grieving and celebrating, a year of reflecting on what has been known and pioneering into the unknown. It’s been quite a year, and as new adventures begin to unfold for me, I don’t want to move so quickly past what has come and gone that I don’t create the place and space to reflect and learn. Jesus has led me to some spectacular treasures of wisdom, and I don’t want any of them to go to waste. And so here I am finding myself sharing these diamonds and rubies and pearls of knowledge and understanding with you.
Here are some of my more recent revelations, wisdom from God’s Word that the Holy Spirit has opened my eyes to. May this be more than simple reading, but the receiving of wisdom for your current season. Wisdom is Heaven’s blessing on the earth, and my prayer is that you will be blessed with each and every one of these life lessons…
- You never become lost when you make Jesus your Home.
Transitions can be tricky. And when moving from one season to the next, one job to the next, one church family to the next, one community to the next, one city to the next, well, it’s easy to feel a bit displaced. And in the midst of the chaos of change and the awkwardness of feeling like the new kid in school and the sense of starting over when you’ve grown so accustomed to a tried and true way… well, it’s easy to feel like you may be losing your way. But I promise you if you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, if you seek to be where He is and to go where He leads, if you set your heart on hearing from Heaven and relying on the help of the Holy Spirit, even when you feel out of sorts, you will never truly be without home. When you make Jesus your very Home, you will find a surprising peace in the turbulent waters of change. You may even discover the choppy waves will not be your undoing but the very place you rise above and walk on water with your Savior, much like Peter did all those centuries ago.
- If you focus on who you are becoming, you ‘ll never have to worry about where you are going.
We usually get this one backwards, and believe that the most important question to answer is “where are we going?” What will my major be in college? What’s the career going to be? How am I going to get where I want to go and how can I do it as quickly as possible? How do I land the larger paycheck or the position or the promotion? And yet Jesus didn’t seem to be too concerned about all that. He spoke very little of career paths or big breaks or goal achievements. He did though speak quite often of His identity. Yes, Jesus had a mission and He completed that mission through the cross and the resurrection, but He only fulfilled His mission because He remained crystal clear on who He was. When you make the majority of your prayers about who the Holy Spirit is transforming you to be, you will never be left in the dark about what your steps of obedience in one direction or another ought to be.
- People remember hello’s and goodbye’s, so make them good.
Choose to welcome and include the new face with open arms, an open mind and an open heart. And if the time comes to say goodbye, don’t give them a piece of your mind or the cold shoulder or the slam of a door. Kiss them goodbye. Encourage and bless others as they come and go. That is the way of Jesus, and it’s a magnificent expression of our call to love on another as Christ loves us.
- You don’t have to always have it all together.
This one is a hard one to grasp because well, rarely are we applauded for the messier moments of our lives. No one instagrams or snapchats the dirty laundry overflowing from the hamper or the road rage experienced in rush-hour traffic or being short with our toddler after a long day or when we at the most inconvenient times find ourselves tearing up from stress, sadness, or a combo of both. These may not make the cut in the highlight reel of our lives, but they are real moments. And the worst thing we could possibly do is act like they aren’t. When we are exhausted, in tears, fed up or ready to quit, we don’t need to put on a smile, tell everyone we are fine and continue on full steam ahead. Truthfully, that’s a recipe for a breakdown of some sorts… either spiritual or mental or physical or emotional. When life gets real, we need to be real with people we can trust. That’s where we find help, hope, and healing.
- What we don’t say says a lot.
I’m a bit leery of anyone who always has the inside scoop on someone else’s private life or career setbacks or personal flaws. I’m not sure why people need to be talked about loosely when they are not around. Perhaps, it is done in an effort to present one’s self as important… but in the end, it’s simply insecurity cloaked as ‘being in the know’. Ironically, it is the person who shows discretion in conversation that seems to be a whole lot more knowledgeable. Self-control of the tongue is a sure sign of wisdom, a sign that is both refreshingly rare and admirably trustworthy.
- You may not like the wrapping, but still accept the gift.
People may not always say the kindest or most tactful things. Plans may not always go the smoothest. You may not always be at your best. Your expectations in a given season may not quite match up with reality like you hoped. But it doesn’t mean there isn’t a gift underneath all that poorly packaged wrapping. See past the wrapping and graciously and thankfully accept the gift. Maybe the gift is a deepened faith or an opportunity to learn or a chance to become better prepared for the future or a developing perseverance or most importantly a closer relationship with Jesus. There is a gift underneath the disappointment. And if you become offended by the wrapping, you’ll miss the treasure underneath.
- Make time for dance parties.
One of my favorite things about staying with my family the last few weeks while making the move to New York has been the joy and laughter my nephew Rocco brings. He runs and laughs and growls and asks inquisitive questions and builds intricate wooden train tracks on the living room floor and practices his taekwondo moves and makes the occasional joke about farts. And he LOVES dance parties. He usually initiates them by running into the living room and yelling in sheer excitement for everyone else in the house to join him. And we do. We all dance, mostly ridiculous dance moves which are highly encouraged. In fact, the more ridiculous, the better. And I have to say, dancing in the living room with my nephew is 5 minutes of complete and utter joy. Not worry or frustration or weariness or fear or anger. Just joy. Make more time for moments of joy. Be on the lookout for them, and when they come your way, don’t hesitate to start dancing.