“Bomb Threat Procedures. ... The primary goal of the bomb threat procedure is to minimize injury to people, damage to the facility, and avoid disrupting normal schedules. The purpose of this policy is to establish procedures for handling bomb threats and actual bomb emergencies.” (https://my.limestone.edu/main-campus/campus-security/)
Is it just me or does everyone seem like a bomb ready to go off? Tense, irritable, defensive, angry - you get the idea. It’s almost funny sometimes - I see people driving down the road with no one around them just honking their horn repeatedly. Who are they honking at? God? Their imaginary friend? Maybe it’s cathartic to just honk your horn with abandon! But I digress…
Everyone seems to be just barely hanging on and all it takes is that one thing to push them over the edge. That one thing can be anything. It can be that we are running late and we take it out on everyone else in traffic. It can be that we are frustrated at our job and we choose to take it out on the cashier at the grocery store. Or maybe we just had a fight with our spouse and we decide to explode all over whoever happens to be closest to us - our kids, the dog, any target will do.
What if we trained ourselves to understand what makes the bomb inside someone go off and we sought to dismantle their internal bomb instead of engaging in combat with them? When someone blows up all over us - what if they received kindness? What if we stopped and looked them in the eye and saw God’s image in them? Wouldn’t that be different? What if we saw ourselves in those moments and thought about how we would want to be treated?
Maybe we should all wear t-shirts that let everyone know what’s going on in our lives - wouldn’t that be handy? It sure would help me out if I had some kind of context for someone else’s behavior. Shirts that say things like “My husband just left me” or “I just lost my job” or “I can’t get through the day unless I drink”. That would make things so much easier! Ammiright? But - alas - that isn’t how it works.
SInce the t-shirt idea won’t work - how about we just love each other and believe the best of one another? Reading that bomb threat procedure at the top of the page makes me think that we can dismantle an emotional bomb. Their goal is to “minimize injury to people”. That’s an admirable goal! Shouldn’t that be our goal? And if someone else’s explosion ruins my day or angers me - then I need to take a good look inside of me. No one can destroy my peace unless I allow them to (I allow them to a lot -pretty much every time I drive - and that isn’t everyone else’s fault. It’s mine.)
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility COUNT OTHERS MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN YOURSELVES (even the ones that explode all over you). Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4)
I’ve made a horrible mistake. I started cleaning my utility room out and it has morphed into “THE SPRING CLEANING TO END ALL SPRING CLEANINGS”! I don’t know what has happened but it has most definitely happened. Today I am at stress Def-Con level 10. There is so much stuff to deal with and I am determined to have a yard sale and just so I wouldn’t change my mind I ran three online ads for this Saturday (and yes that was definitely a run on sentence). I want to curl into a ball and hide but I can’t BECAUSE THERE IS SO MUCH STUFF EVERYWHERE THERE IS NO ROOM! If I smoked, I’d be lighting up right about now.
Me and stuff have a love/ hate relationship. For the last few years I have lamented that we don’t have enough storage space in our house. I wish I was making this next part up - I have a recurring dream that I discover all these closets that I somehow had never noticed before. Seriously. But based on the amount of items that I have managed to cram into the limited space that we have, I think it’s safe to say that if we had more space, I would just fill it up with more stuff.
Here’s the deal - the key isn’t a bigger closet. The key is my willingness to accept the closet that I have. When I’m spending too much time looking for things or managing my stuff or tripping over stuff something is wrong. And for most of us - something is really wrong. We have way more stuff than we need and we just keep buying more and more and more. There is always more to want and more to buy and more ways to organize all the stuff we never use. Have more stuff than your house can hold? No problem! Go rent a storage unit and pay someone else to hold on to the stuff that you haven’t looked at in a decade.
As I’ve been going through all my belongings I just keep asking myself this question:
Does my stuff enable me to fulfill my mission in life or is it adding to my stress? So far all I have left is my Bible, one plate, one fork, one cup and one outfit. Not really! But don’t think that thought hasn’t crossed my mind.
While I’ve been purging my physical home the Lord has been nudging me to purge my spiritual home as well. Yup - He’s been doing some spring cleaning of His own on my heart. What junk am I carrying around that I need to let go of? What treasures has Christ given me that I haven’t pulled out and used? I think my heart needed a purge way more than my home.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
The other day my husband, youngest daughter and I were waiting in the line at the post office. It was one of those moments where I was in a hurry and, as I stood there in the line that never seemed to move I could feel myself getting ticked. I’m sure you know that antsy feeling. I don’t even know why I was in such a hurry - I just was! It also occurred to me that my purse was ridiculously heavy and that I needed to return an email and that I had far too much to do….blah, blah, blah. I stood there - lost in my thoughts and somehow silently conveyed enough anger that my daughter told me that I seemed a little tense. “I’m FINE!” I snapped. Then suddenly I overheard angry voices at the counter - two customers were fussing with each other and as I listened I was literally overflowing with internal self-righteousness. Here is just a sampling of my pithy thoughts: “No wonder the post office is going under, they have terrible service!” “I have better things to do than to wasted my time waiting around like this!” or my personal favorite “Those people need to calm down. Some people can be so impatient!” Ugh - why am I admitting all of this? I make myself sick seeing this in writing.
But then…(I just love those two little words)
But then…God does what only He can do.
But then…It was finally our turn and for some reason Jesus saw fit to show up right there at the post office counter. He opened my eyes and I saw this precious human being standing in front of me. She wasn’t just a service provider, she was a child of God created in His image. And so Jesus told me to really look at her and pay attention!! In that moment everything else just faded away and she told me her story. She told me that she had two grown kids and that her son who was 28 had died of a massive heart attack three months earlier while they were gathered for a family reunion. She told me that it has been terrible and surreal and that sometimes she still cannot believe it happened. We stood there - the two of us and we connected and swallowed our tears and I told I would pray for her and I have definitely prayed. She poured out her heart to me standing at that ugly formica post office counter and it was hard and sad and beautiful.
Jesus somehow always seemed to be able to really see people. Here’s what He said about how He communicated and ministered:“This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.For this people's heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed,lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” (Matthew 13:13-16)
Can I pull my eyes off of myself and my agenda long enough to be more than what Jesus describes as a person who has closed her own eyes? Am I willing to make my to-do list subserviant to the bigger to-do list that God has in mind?
I want to.
I want to take off my glasses of selfishness and put on my Jesus goggles.
I want to really see and be seen. To know and be known. I want to take the risk of being awkward and not knowing the right thing to say if it means that I can show someone else the love of Christ.
Get your googles on friends - we have some work to do.
Today is our girl’s 17th birthday and I just wanted to say thank you! Ever since Reina came to us as a tiny baby, we have prayed for you and also thanked the Lord for you! Every birthday, every Mother’s Day, every Christmas, you are always on my heart and I think of you with such gratitude. I wish you could know this precious girl today - you would be amazed by her. From the time she entered our lives, she has been an absolute joy! When she was little she was always - and I mean ALWAYS - smiling. It was like every day was a giant party that she had gotten invited to!
She’s a junior in high school now and just got her driver’s license. In many ways, she’s wise beyond her years. She loves all kinds of music - but NOT country. Every square inch of the walls in her room are covered with music posters, photos of friends, etc...I sometimes wonder if the room will collapse if we take all the stuff off the walls. She’s artistic and emotional. She loves makeup and will always offer to do my hair and makeup before I speak or perform and I let her since she’s so much cooler than I am! She’s good with kids and they love her - she babysits and works with kids at our church every week.
She is compassionate and hurts so deeply when others hurt. That kind of heart can be hard on a person in this world. I have that same kind of heart so she’s like my emotional spirit animal - we totally get each other in that way. She still climbs up into bed with me once in a while and snuggles with me - although those times are getting fewer and farther between. She loves photography and has an incredible eye behind the camera - it’s just in her to know how to take the right shot. She worries a lot. She would go to every single rock concert that came to our area if she had the money to do it.
When I look at her, I wonder about you. I wonder if you know that you made the right decision. I wonder if you know that she is doing extraordinarily well. I wonder if you know that she is thankful for you and so are we. You would be so incredibly proud of her! And so today. I want to tell you from one mama to another - thank you. Those two words are not nearly enough but I hope you somehow know deep in your spirit that our little family is so grateful to you for the dear gift you gave to us in the form of our Reina.