Tag Archives: fear

The Life Savers Club

When I was about 10 or 11, my little sister and my best friend Jenna and I started a club.  We were playing one day and decided that we should do something to “save the animals.”  We called our little group “The Life Savers Club.”  We made buttons.  We puff-painted T-Shirts.  We sold Country Time Pink Lemonade on the corner.  We made sandwich boards and wore them as we rollerbladed down Wooddale Avenue yelling “Save the animals!  Save the dolphins!  Save the whales!”  We met in Jenna’s backyard shed that had a little pass-through window.  I was the President, of course, Jenna was Vice, and my sister was the Treasurer.  We had a coffee can that we had to put our dues, 25¢, in every time we had a meeting.  If we didn’t have the money, no problem, we would just take a quarter out and put it back in.  I think we bought hermit crabs with the money we made.

When I think about the Life Savers Club now, I can hardly imagine myself doing all of that.  It seems so far away from who I am today.  And it makes me wonder, what happened?  When we were little, we were taught that we could make a difference, and we believed it.  If we felt strongly about something, we did something about it, even if that something was really meaningless in the scheme of it all.  Then we hit junior high or high school and start realizing that other people are watching, and it cocoons us into a “don’t do anything uncool, just try to look like everyone else” mindset.  At least, it did to me.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18:16-17).  When he said that, he didn’t mean taking everything blindly and just believing it all like Santa or the Easter Bunny.  He meant the kind of faith that drives a child to make up dance routines to “Gimme That Ol’ Time Religion” and perform them at a nursing home, and to sing Psalty at the top of their lungs (don’t ask me how I knooooooow).   The kind of faith that makes a kid happily and easily invite her friends to church and youth group and summer camp, and watch as they get saved.  A child’s faith is unabashed.  How many of us, as adults, can say that?

God, in His infinite love and ridiculous grace toward you, became a man and died for you.  DIED for YOU.  Do we act like it?  Do we make that message the center of our entire livelihood, unabashedly?  Would we be caught dead rollerblading down the street with a sandwich board that read “LIFE SAVERS CLUB” on it?  Screaming, “He saved ME! He saved ME!  And He can save YOU!”  What would it look like if we put all of our energy and resources into the One who actually has the ability to Save Lives?  Or, are we too wrapped up in our self-protecting cocoon of fear to break out of it and actually fulfill His command, the Great Commission?  It wasn’t merely a suggestion.  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16).  The gospel is the power that brings salvation to people.  If we are able to clearly post and voice our opinions on politics and social morality, how much more so should we be sharing the hope of the gospel?  It’s funny, the things we don’t mind offending people with, and the things we do.

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?  For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels”” (Luke 9:23-26).

So, whaddaya think?  Wanna join my club?  It’s called the Life Losers Club.  It’ll cost you everything you’ve got.  But the reward is everlasting.

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Philippians 3:7-9).

Fearless Felix

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On October 14, “Fearless” Felix Baumgartner plunged 24 miles from the edge of space toward the earth, shattering records and breaking the sound barrier, all while achieving top speeds of 834 miles per hour.  Also on October 14, I did something very, very dumb.  I let myself watch it.

For the next few nights, and a few times since then (when I fail to take it captive….see 2 Chr 10:5), I gave myself the sweats thinking about it.  Here’s about how my thought process would go (brace yourself for my utter nerd-dom).  Suspended in air, with nothing holding me anywhere…in a teeny tiny metal capsule…over 126,000 feet above the ground.  I sit in my little pod, feet dangling over the edge.  My hot breath heavily fogging my helmet.  My heart pounding out of my chest.  My hands clammy and clamped tightly around anything I can get a hold of.  Homey in my ear telling me to go already.  Millions watching.  Feeling faint.  Here goes.  To infinity, and BEYOOOOOND!  I tip my body forward and let gravity begin to work.  My toes lift off of the edge.

NOPE I change my mind!  My body twists and my arms frantically clamor about and catch the edge of the capsule.  Dangling from 24 miles up, I long for the safety of the shiny pod.  Slipping, straining, pulling with all of my might, I try to get my body back up on the platform.

Just then, at the height of my terror, it hits me.  What am I doing?  What safety is this little egg going to give me?  Either I fall out of the pod, I fall in the pod, or I just sit up here and think about falling in or out of the pod.  And then my brain has had about all it can handle and I tell myself to get it  together and I will never be, or put myself in, a situation where I am skydiving 24 miles to the earth.  That’s settled.

Let me just ask you, are you clamoring for the safety of your little silver bubble, when God just wants you to let go and fall into Him?  We sing nice songs about surrender and tell Him that we want Him to be the center of our lives, but often times as soon as our toes lift off the edge we freak out and say “NOPE!”  We do a 180 and fight for the flimsy, temporary structure of self.  Our sin nature hates the sensation of a loss of control.  Thing is, we aren’t really in control in the first place, and when we think we are, we’re deceived.  Paul says in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  Is your life Christ?  Stop here for a moment, and take inventory.  If we just take your life into some basic chunks, let’s hold them up to that question, and not just nominally.  Be honest with yourself so that you can work it all out with Him.  Is your daily life Christ?  Your family?  Your intellectual pursuits?  Your social life?  Your friendships?  Your environment?  Your job?  Your mothering?  Your physical health?  Your emotional health?  Your spiritual walk?  Is He the hub of it all for you that EVERY spoke generates from?  But here’s what’s so awesome…our God is SO gracious and SO merciful to us, that He doesn’t even care about where you’ve been lacking, his Son paid for it all, He just wants you to choose TODAY, NOW, to follow Him wholeheartedly.  There’s no trick or gimmick or equation you have to follow to be filled with Him.  Luke 11:13 says, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  That’s it.  Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matt 7:7).  It’s a promise!

Our walk requires leaps of faith.  The great news is that, unlike Felix, we can be certain that the dive will be a perfect success.  Jump off.

Don’t make me push you.

To infinity, and BEYOOOOOOOND!

Exposed Hearts

Our worlds have all changed in the last 7 days.  Now, when I go to drop off and pick up Kiara from preschool, I have to ring a bell and get buzzed in.  I love it.

One week ago, our nation was rocked by the news of the massacre at Sandy Hook.  To be honest, that first day, I saw the headlines and decided not to read any more.  It was just too much to take in.  What happened was beyond description.  A heart-wrenching tragedy.  Afterwards, however, I found myself thinking a lot about the way we respond to news like this.  Children die and are killed all over the world, all the time.  As of October, nearly 2,000 Syrian children had been killed in uprisings there alone.  Why is it, then, that the collective consciousness of our world, and our nation in particular, was so deeply moved by this incident in particular?  Gun control?  Mental health?  Good vs. evil?  Video games?  Maybe.

I think, though, that the more comprehensive answer is FEAR.  Think about the Facebook posts you see at the beginning of each school year about moms crying and stressing and dreading taking their babies to school.  We do it because we know it’s good for them, but as the saying goes, “having a child is like having your heart walking around outside of your body.”  Parenting is a balance of intense love and intense worry about lack of control, which is rooted in fear.

When those precious babies went to glory last week, our hearts resonated with the parents who lost them like a perfect pitch to a tuning fork.  It’s one of the hardest things a mommy has to do– entrusting the care of her child, who no one loves more, to another.  It’s against our nature.  It’s why Solomon knew who the baby’s real mother was (1 Kings 3:16-28).  Every mom’s worst nightmare is that something would happen to her child.  And we have to put our trust in a crumbling system in a fallen world and pray for the best (all of you homeschooling moms right now are saying…..NOT US! Haha.)

The good news is, as believers, we have nothing to fear.  We can move forward boldly in what God has designed for our children, knowing full well that He works out everything for our, and their, good (Rom 8:28).  Placing Him at the center of our lives and releasing our fear over our children can be a difficult thing to do.  As believing parents, our prayers have to transform from “please, don’t let anything bad ever happen to my baby” to “please work in my child’s life in the way that brings you the most glory and my child the most good.”  That transformation comes from faith, and faith is not something we have to muster up ourselves.  Faith is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9) that comes from hearing the Word of Christ(Romans 10:17).  Lose yourself in Him, dear mommies, and sleep peacefully tonight knowing that we serve a very, very good God.