I’m No Superhero

If I were a superhero then I would want to be a character that always had energy to keep going no matter the pace or distance. The ability to always have the right words for any situation wouldn’t be bad either or some days I think the perfect ability would be invisibility.

But I’m no superhero. Apparently this fact doesn’t stop me from trying.

I think partly it comes from knowing there is so much that needs to be done… always! Part of it comes from trying to be like everyone else, but the truth is I simply cannot keep the pace of most of my other colleagues.

So it isn’t surprising that I had an anxiety attack a few nights ago. It’s also not surprising that countless times this week found me in tears. In fact, I think today has been the first day in two weeks I’ve been able to breathe, really breathe, without feeling like a concrete block was sitting on my chest.

Why am I sharing this?

Because I recognize my tendency to try doing it all in my own strength. Then I fall to pieces, let people down, let myself down and feel horrible. And I am certain that I am not alone in this tendency.

Why the feeling that we need to be superheroes instead of relying on God? He is after all in control, yes?

Often my actions, my stress level, would lead one to believe that it all rests in my hands, but it doesn’t. Thank God!!

So today I did nothing. I took a long bath and used some wonderful smelling clay mask. I cooked fish and watched movies. I did nothing productive, except a load of laundry to have some clothes for the week. And I think to myself, “Yep, I think God knew what He was talking about when He said we should have a day of rest every week.” He’s a lot smarter than we give Him credit for.

Tomorrow begins a new week. I have classes and clubs and meetings and Bible studies and visa trip preparations and summer camp plans and the list goes on. I’m starting this week, however, mindful that I am not a superhero  and don’t need to make others think that I am.

What are you facing this week that you need to remember that God is in control of? I pray the peace of God will be with you throughout the days ahead as you rest in Him to take care of those things.

 

 

 

Fear and Love

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
   and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Prov. 9:10

Do you ever have those moments when you read the Bible and feel the weight of the words you just read? Maybe you’ve read them over and over, but suddenly you see it in a new way.

Do you ever read the Bible and realize that there is so much you don’t have an understanding of?

Last night at our weekly Monday night Bible study/discussion group we watched a video discussing the fear of God. Francis Chan spoke of how in the Church we have taught the fear of God is just this idea of great respect for God, but if you really look at Scriptures it seems that people who encountered God were truly afraid, not just respectful. That’s the whole reason why the next words are usually, “Fear not”.

I think part of our misunderstanding is an unspoken belief that fear of any kind is bad and we cannot reconcile fearing God and loving God. Fear conjures ideas of horror movies and negative emotions and so we quickly quote 1 John 4:18, “Perfect love casts out fear” and deduce that God couldn’t be serious about fearing Him, it must be a translation error.

It seems to me that the fear must be present to be cast out though, and if we truly consider the power, might and holiness of God then the natural reaction is awe and terror. Coming in contact with such revelation dethrones our pride and egos and reminds us who God really is and what He is capable of.

I remember in college when we had a spring tornado rip through campus. Myself, along with a few others, were huddled in the bathroom of a large, metal building waiting for the storm to pass. Sitting  under a sink listening to pieces of debris bang and bounce off the walls, watching the ceiling tiles lift and lower, I can honestly say I wasn’t that scared in those moments. Then we walked outside to survey the damage. The building just across the road from ours was completely destroyed. That was when I was terrified. Face to face with the realization of how much I had to depend on God’s protection because compared to even something like a tornado I am nothing.

If a tornado has that effect, or an earthquake, or whatever else it may be that strikes that chord in you that says, “Whoa! I’m not as big and bad as I thought and I definitely need your help God” then what will our reactions be to come face to face with the Creator, the all-knowing, all-powerful, ever present Alpha and Omega? Yes, I think fear is a good word.

But God doesn’t leave us there.

He then steps in and says, “Don’t be afraid.” His perfect love, His still small voice comes and comforts and reminds us that He is our Father who gives good gifts. But I don’t think we can understand perfect love until we have experienced the fear of God. Without the fear of the Lord then we will feel that we are entitled to this love and comfort and goodness, but with it we recognize the immense grace and unconditional love of the Father.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” In my opinion it’s the beginning of wisdom because it is the place where we come to really recognize that we are small but He is great, we are weak but He is strong, and the knowledge and understanding that it’s not about us at all.

Wisdom to Get Wisdom

Here in Kyiv, as with universities around the world, we are in the midst of mid-semester craziness. Schedules are packed, everyone is tired, and most of us are longing to see the icy fingers of winter retreat.

My first greeting this morning was sunlight streaming through the curtains, a wonderful way to awaken. Though don’t be fooled, it is still in the 20s F  outside and tonight it is supposed to snow again. Baby steps to spring I suppose.

Between English clubs, camp planning, event planning, hang outs and the normal day-to-day life, one of my favorite times of the week is a one-on-one Bible study on the book of Proverbs with one of the students.

This past week we were looking at Proverbs 4 and among trying to figure out exactly what is our heart that can hold on to words and needs to be guarded, we had a lot of fun with one verse, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.” (Prov. 4:7)

The beginning of wisdom is to have a desire for wisdom, to recognize that you are in need of wisdom and to go searching for her. In some ways it seems to be this circle, you need wisdom to know that you need wisdom.

Proverbs is filled with all these words that are similar, yet distinct: wisdom, knowledge, understanding, insight, etc. For example, insight is the ability to see to the true nature of something. There is a measure of understanding that comes with insight, but it isn’t all that understanding is.

Often knowledge and wisdom seem to get confused or lumped together in our world, but there are a lot of people that have great knowledge and skills but have very little wisdom. I think wisdom is when you can use what you know and understand in a way cuts to the heart of a matter and appropriately handles a situation. Sometimes mere knowledge only brings confusion, but wisdom begins with an appropriate fear of God and seeking Him, listening to Him, and acting on what He says.

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.” (Prov. 4: 7 NIV)

“Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom.” (Prov 4:7 MSG)

May each of us seek after and listen to wisdom. Is there something you need wisdom for today? I’d love to know how to pray for you.