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Angela Light

Walking it out- the great, the messy & in between

Nice & Cold

Posted by angela on June 28, 2014
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WARNING: I won’t win a popularity contest with this message!!

Can people be considered nice but cold? Maybe pleasant enough when introduced but mostly standoffish or distant. You know the type of scenario: “Hi, nice to meet you” and a fake smile that looks forced. The vacant look in their eyes that says they’re waiting for the 10 second introduction to be over so they can move on to chatting with ‘their’ people.

It’s awkward many times meeting new people, I get it. And it is perfectly natural to want to gather among your buddies to catch up and chat. I’m thinking about those times when we’re supposed to be greeting new people and (gasp) making them feel welcome. Oh, we’ve put out the obligatory coffee & donuts—doesn’t that scream ‘welcome’?

We’ll smile and say hello even. But to actually have a conversation and LISTEN to what they have to say? We don’t have time for this, right?

I’m probably not supposed to say this in polite company—but many times we’re just NOT INTERESTED in hearing a stranger’s comments, meeting them, welcoming them. We just don’t really have the interest or time to extend hospitality or warmness to others. We have enough to do, enough on our plate and no room for ONE MORE THING or person. Ever feel this way? 

It’s that feeling you may sometimes get when a speaker puts out a call for help with something: a food drive, VBS helpers or nursery duty. Oh no…everyone looks down and hopes not to make eye contact. We’re not interested and don’t want to be bothered.

We don’t MEAN to be distant but we have a full plate. We have a boatload of things on our TO DO lists and don’t want the possibility of having someone else WANT something from us.

Maybe this is a chance to realign our perspective: instead of thinking of this is a one more person with one more demand…maybe it’s a chance to be a 20 second ray of hope to someone lonely. Just a sincere word may be the difference in someone’s life.

We all get disheartened when we hear of how the world portrays Christians and church people as hypocrites. Well….we speak of love and being the hands and feet—as long as we don’t have to truly engage ourselves in others.

It sounds good but don’t bother me personally with it-anyone admitting to this?

I know from personal experience that trying to break into an already established group or gathering is an uphill battle. Most people were polite enough to offer the basic smile but that’s where it stops. We’re told to volunteer & get involved-so we offer with no response. We join prayer groups only to sit alone and watch the rest of the group interact with their long time friends and nod in our direction as a greeting.

Imagine the 1st time church attender who gets up the nerve to walk into a church, seeing all the people gathered and chatting. Isn’t it wonderful to know that YOU made a difference just by offering a few seconds of attention to say hello & be sincere?

I’m speaking to myself as well here. I sometimes hang in the back of the room only to whisk away once the gathering is over. ‘Get away and move on’…but I’m challenging myself to open my eyes a little more this week. Instead of my turbo fast retreat away from everyone, I’ll try to be a little more open hearted.

If we all try this, wouldn’t the results in a lifted heart, even if for a moment, be far reaching?

Father, I pray for Your loving hand to open my eyes to someone You want me to see this week. Let them see You in me.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth. 3 John 1:8

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 1 Peter 4:9

More to the story….

Posted by angela on June 20, 2014
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 She had done all she knew to do. She grew up, got married, raised a family. She was hopeful things would turn out well and life would be great. She dreamed of celebrating a 50th anniversary one day; of feeling a sense of pride when her successful children reached important milestones; having a nice home and plenty of money in the bank. To her, this would mean she had done the right things in life. This was what you did anyhow, right?

Well, her marriage was anything but ideal and ends in divorce. Her children grow up and move out. She never got that dream house or financial security she dreamed of. Now, in a later season of life, she finds herself feeling as if she has nothing to offer and her chances of dreams being realized are over. She prays that things can be better but really-wouldn’t God have done something sooner in her life if He was going to do anything?

Maybe your past, a trauma or poor choices leave you thinking your dreams are just that–dreams.
• Guilt over past betrayals
• Sexual sin that leaves you cold and empty
• Past abuse overwhelming you with deep shame
• In a job or career that meets the need but leaves you empty
• Staying in a comfortable place when you knew you should leave

This is real life-things don’t always end up the way we hope they will, right? So do we just keep going forward, trying to tell ourselves we’re not being realistic? If God wanted us to have all those things from the beginning then our life wouldn’t be on the path it is. We must just need to learn to be more thankful for the blessings we DO have and stop longing for something more. End of Story.

Or is it?

I reflect back on my personal life and all the these things I said I would NEVER do—I’m doing them. The path I’m on would never have been one I would have voluntarily chosen.

Have I lost a sense of all my goals in life?
No, but many of the goals I held so dear for so long are different now. There are some that still hold true but many of the things that I kept as the prize to strive for have shifted.

For so long, I felt my story was at the end and I was just filling in the blanks. My past was over but I was still held down by the fallout or consequences.

What if my chance has passed? Does God give me a chance and if I blow that moment, He moves to the next person?

I realize that I was fighting with what my version of my story was versus what the Father had for me. My version sounded pretty good in the beginning and life is NOT what that version started as. Was I wrong for wanting those things? For having those dreams?

No—not wrong. But wrongly focused. Dreams are great and God knows what desires we have deep in our hearts. But when our dreams are not in alignment with His perfect will for our lives, things won’t intersect.

During this season I realized something: its not the end of the story. No matter if you are at the beginning of your journey or coming up in your final season of life—the story isn’t over. God is the author of our lives and we’re here because he has a love and purpose for each of us.

Don’t let your view of what’s best for you become your goal when the Father has something MUCH better for you. Something you may never have imagined or thought was for you. We are highly valued-priceless to Him!

Father, I don’t want this to be the end of my story. I have much more to give, to share and don’t want to settle for less. Help me keep Your Will as my guiding light in this journey of life. Thank you for loving, valuing and refining me to be all I can be in You.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. (Isaiah 13:12)

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)

Freedom Fighter

Posted by angela on June 14, 2014
Posted in Uncategorized  | 4 Comments

I whined to a friend that I was so tired of always being in the midst of a battle. I was doing all I know to do in order to keep things running smoothly but I’m battle weary.

Ever feel this way?
I recognize there is a season for everything: a season to be in the middle of a battle and a season to not engage. Apparently I missed the whole lesson on ‘not engaging’. Many of us are trained to grab the reins and march forward with battle gear at the ready. We never seemed to learn that we are not called to engage in every single battle, every single time.

My friend shared a scripture she felt was for me at that moment:

 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

Strange, I didn’t recall ever reading that particular verse before. Ever have that happen to you? That you’ve surely read a verse or scripture but reading it again, it suddenly takes on new life?
I sat a little taken aback: I only need be still? The Lord will FIGHT for me? I loved this!!! I really didn’t recall reading this before but this verse was like a bright shining light. HE WILL FIGHT FOR ME. Not me. HIM!! So what do I need to do in this? BE STILL. WHAT?! But…that seems so…well, easy.

I do nothing but be still & quiet (me? Quiet?) and let HIM do the fighting.

There are definitely times when we are supposed to step back and let the battle be the Lord’s. It’s hard to not jump in and try to make things go the way we expect it should. But it’s NOT our battle in these instances. So my mind wanders with the thought that I don’t have to do anything and kick back. No action needed, right?

No so fast! We can all hear and read the words from the bible and agree with them. But then what? Do nothing? I recognize a sense of caution at this moment. The bible also warns us of hearing the word of God and not putting it in practice. If the words fall on us and we pretend to listen but then do not follow the scriptures, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

So how do we know when to act and when to step back? I wrestle with this more than I thought! Do you ever find yourself in this wrestling match?

As cliché as it sounds, it truly depends. There are seasons when the fight IS the Lord’s and He doesn’t need our input or help. We are to obediently be still and let Him do the fighting.

There are also times when we’ve prayed and discussed a situation with God and have been given true direction. However, we didn’t follow through. We may have a list of reasons why but in the end—we didn’t obey.

Many times we’re given the direction we ask for but we ignore it. Why?
• We don’t like the end result
• It takes too long
• It’s not the way we think it should be done
• It doesn’t make logical sense (to us)
• Pride or arrogance (we hate to admit this)
• Fear

Being a follower of Christ will take us to places we may never have thought we’d travel. We may say or do things we’d never expect we would. But if we are truly following in surrender and have trust in our Heavenly Father—we know He has our back. He will not leave us.

In essence, it’s a form of freedom. Freedom to not have all the answers and know what to do in every situation. He will guide us, fight for us.

What freedom!! Thank you Father!

But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. Matthew 7:26

Each one of you has put to flight a thousand of the enemy, for the Lord your God fights for you, just as he has promised. Joshua 23:10

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. Psalm 119:45

Who are you?

Posted by angela on June 5, 2014
Posted in Uncategorized  | 5 Comments

 

I hear from others that tell of their circle of family and friends, their careers, their obligations. In quiet moments when they are revealing some of their most vulnerable thoughts-they feel lost.
Who are they?

• An employee who went the extra mile AGAIN and no one noticed. Someone else took the credit.

• A mom who is exhausted from serving her family’s needs so much that she hasn’t thought of herself as an individual for years. She is a robot who keeps the routines moving.

• A wife or husband who look like a great couple to all appearances. Oh, they absolutely love their spouse. But lately, deep down—the loneliness is a dark cloud that feels suffocating at times.

• The child who tries to get it right-chores, grades, etc but always feels they’re not quite good enough and maybe, one day, their parent or family will say they’ve had enough and leave them.

You know the needs Lord. You know the pretty faces we all paint and strap on our uniforms to do it all One More Time. One More Day. We are weary and dry. Actually starving for living water to fill those empty places that no one seems able to touch.

Then the guilt comes (we didn’t think the enemy would pass up the chance to jump on us with guilt, did we?).

We’re blessed to have a job, family, spouse, parent or child. So who are we to complain? Other people would love to have what we do—so quit feeling sorry for ourselves. Something must be wrong with us or we wouldn’t be so ungrateful. Familiar?

I think of your word Lord. The Living Water that satisfies and never leaves us thirsty for more. I’m always thirsty for more when I try to quench things on my own.

• The spouse who thinks they should leave the marriage for something more fulfilling. It must just be the spouse I have—everyone else seems so happy. Are they? Or are they also putting on a mask? Are we looking for our spouses to fill something inside that is specifically designed ONLY for you Lord? If so, they’ll never be able to fill that void. Ever. They were never supposed to.

• I keep doing what my friends want-good or bad-and I’ll finally have the circle of friends I’ve always wanted. Celebrities and famous people do this all the time: name drop. Go places just to be seen with other influential people. Tell everyone they are friends with this or that famous person. Now I’ll be justified. Now I’m considered important and people will notice me. I won’t be invisible anymore. I’ll finally be SOMEONE.

It’s so true that many days we are empty and lonely. In a room full of people, we’re crying inside. We pray for You Father to intervene and fill us up. We sometimes pray for You to send someone into our lives to fill that void: a spouse, a friend, a baby. These are real concerns and no easy cliché will make the deep void go away.

So who are we?
We are Your children. Not forgotten. Not shunned. Yours.

Our souls are protected from the enemy. He can whisper and taunt but he cannot take us from your hand. We choose how to handle his temptations. We may feel miserable with our circumstances or if the enemy’s rants have taken hold in our minds. But we are yours. Sometimes we lose sight of this basic fact and react to our surroundings.

So we are Your children Lord and we are suffering at times. We cry out to you for relief and sometimes don’t feel it’s enough. What can we do? We know you love us but why are these situations continuing and how do we handle it?

It’s in Your word: Praise. Worship. Even in horrible circumstances, we can still find something to praise the Father.

So I encourage you—even if you are in a ‘dry’ season or a bountiful one. Praise. Even if you don’t feel like it, offer worship.

Father, I pray for your touch and guidance in all circumstances.

 

 

What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 1 Corinthians 14:15

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:15-16

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)