Category Archives: Life

Mess or Masterpiece

We have an ongoing joke in my family about my desire to stay clean.  There have been countless instances where me and my father-in-law have decided to tackle another project around the house and when we are finished, he looks like he’s been playing in the mud and I look like I watched him from a distance.  Now, I’m all about working hard and don’t mind getting dirty… I just don’t like to stay dirty.  In all honesty, if there’s a way for me to not get dirty, I’ll more than likely opt for the clean option.

The reality of life is that you can only do that so long.  You can only try to avoid getting your hands dirty for so long before you have no choice but to jump in.  As I reflect on my life, I find that more times than not, I fight for order.  “I must stick to the plan.”  I am a very analytical person by nature.  Not much of a risk taker.  I make calculated decisions, or at least try to.  So when “plans” change, it’s not always easy.

The truth is that the Gospel calls us into the mess.  The Gospel informs us to continue to move from our state of brokeness and run to Jesus.  So we are constantly moving closer to Jesus.  Before you know it, life gets messy… and quick.  Relationships change.  Plans change.  Your life changes because we are constantly reorienting our life to center on Jesus and the Gospel and we press others into that as well.  If you are like me, this isn’t always easy, because things can get dirty and sometimes ugly before they get cleaned up and beautiful.

But that’s ok.  In talking to a friend the other day, he reminded me of that.  Life will get messy but that’s ok because God is really good at cleaning things up as only He can.  It’s ok because God is worth the mess.  Ultimately, when God looks at our lives, he doesn’t see a mess at all.  He sees us as His workmanship.  He sees us as His masterpiece.  And He gets all the glory as the artist who really knows better than anyone else just how beautiful the art really is.  Jump in.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV


Pride is a good soul killer

I know this picture seems to be a bit awkward (not to mention about 2 seasons late) seeing how Spring has officially arrived.  But those beautiful leaves have been covering my yard for the last 5 months.  So this past Saturday and Sunday afternoon were officially deemed as the “Yard work that should’ve been done 2 seasons ago Weekend.”  Let me start by saying that I and the help of some family members had already spent a full day bagging leaves in the Fall which amounted to about 50 large bags of leaves.  Those 50 bags were a little more than half of our yard.  We have way too many trees for my yard work tolerance.

So I was off to work in the yard Saturday morning by myself this time.  That is my responsibility as the man of the house to take care of my “man of the house” duties.  Sidenote:  One of the most defining moments in my life in becoming a man was the day I bought my first lawnmower.  I mean that is a serious rite of passage for every man with a yard.  Anyways, I think it’s appropriate to mention that Kristen would’ve more than helped me but had more important responsibilities to tend to, in the form of a 9 week old baby.  She did however pick up 3 bags of pine cones when Bailey went down for a short nap.  I spent about 7 hours bagging leaves.  Not all was lost.  I got a much needed chance to listen to a Chandler and Driscoll podcast as I raked.  When it was time to call it quits for the day, my efforts landed me close to 30 bags of leaves.  Not too bad.

When I set out on the yard work weekend, my goal was to get the leaves bagged, clean the gutters, and mow the grass for the first time this season.  As Sunday afternoon approached, reality set in and I settled on just wanting to make sure the leaves got bagged once and for all.  I wasn’t the only one doing yard work.  Our neighbors were out taking care of their yards as well, so I wasn’t alone in my efforts.  I figured I had about 15 bags of leaves left.  I had a little less than 3 hours to finish up the yard, so off I go.  I was about 8 bags in, when my neighbor Calvin got my attention on his riding lawnmower and asked if I needed a hand.  I responded the same way any prideful idiot would say…”No thanks, I got this.”  Deep down I was thinking, I would LOVE some help right about now… atleast that’s what my back was telling me.  He asked again, “You sure, I don’t mind at all.”  I fought him again, “No thanks, it’s really ok.”  Then finally he just said he would take a few passes in my front yard with his rider (that’s street language for riding lawnmower).  I finally gave in, “Alright man.  Have at it.  Thanks a ton.”

I immediately thought, this is great!  I’ll at least have part of the yard cut.  It wasn’t long before Calvin and one of his kids were in the backyard helping me bag the rest of my yard.  It took no time at all with a few extra hands.  We knocked it out quick.  Calvin borrowed my blower and he let me use his riding lawnmower to cut the rest of the yard.  Once again I told him how much I appreciated the help and his response was “Shoooot, that’s what neighbors are for.”

Me and Kristen really try to love our neighbors.  It was such a blessing to experience being loved by them as well.  Pride is such a killer for the soul.  A huge part of me wanted to attack the weekend all by myself so that I could say when it was finished, “Hey, I did that… all by myself” and then I envisioned a spot-light would shine on me as my neighbors and family gathered around celebrating in a round of applause.  What an idiot. Pride not only leads you to do stupid things, but it also cause you to miss out on grace-filled opportunities all the time.  I’m thankful God humbled me yesterday and showed me that while I need to be quick to love my neighbor, I also need to be as quick to humble myself and ask for help as well as allow others to help me too.  After all, God helps the helpless; NOT those that help themselves.

James 4:6 – But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

The pains of awkwardness

(this is as awkward as life gets)

So there you are, walking through Target, and you see someone you know walking towards you.  Now this person isn’t someone you know well, but you definitely know them and they know you.  All of a sudden, the fears of awkwardness set in.  Do I say “hi?Will they say “hi?” What do I do?  Then before you know it, eye contact is made, and then you realize they are going through the same exact scenario you are.  As quickly as your eyes met, the connection is broken as you seek to look at anything… literally anything else… to avoid an awkward conversation with someone you just kind of know.  Maybe you fumble for your cellphone to check your email just in case there happens to be a VERY important email you might have overlooked in that very moment.  Nope.  No email.   OK, how about that voice mail that I’ve let sit unnoticed for the last 3 weeks?  Maybe now is a good time to check that?  Oh, who are we kidding?

Or how about the same scenario when you see the person coming and you really think they’re going to say “hi”, and they quickly change direction or beat you to the cell phone search.  You immediately think… “see if I make eye contact with them again!!!”

Why do we do these ridiculous things?  This stuff drives me nuts.  Why not say “hey, how’s it going?” What can that hurt?  I think it’s just being nice.  I’m going to do my best to initiate the “awkward conversation” from here on out.  Take this as your warning.  If we kind of know each other and we begin this awkward scenario all over, I’m going to do my best to go ahead and say “hi,” even if I get your name wrong.  Chances are, I probably won’t get it wrong twice.

See you around.