Sleepwalking

Against my normal writing style I’m going right to the point.

In this life are you really awake or just sleepwalking through it?  Silly question?  Maybe, but really think about it.  If we were totally awake every moment would we see things differently?  Or are we sleepwalking, just going through learned motions of life that bring us comfort yet lead us nowhere?

In light of this contentious world we live in today, I believe this is a valid question we really need to ask ourselves.  And and when we get to the root of the answer, it can get quite scary and raw.  At first response we all want to say yes, I am wide awake.  I have a career, a family, responsibilities and I’m doing just fine.  But if you’re really wide awake then your lens of life just got expanded far beyond those surface realities.  Are you really fine or going through the motions of the comfortable, safe life you’ve created for yourself?

You see, a life fully awake sees beyond whats immediately around you.  There is a larger picture.  And in that picture WE are not the focus.

Yes, thats the raw part.  This culture we live in today is about getting all you can, look good on the outside, do good as long as it makes you look good and doesn’t cost too much.  Today is about me.  Of course we say its about family and helping others, but what happens when that interferes with our plans or doesn’t agree with our way of thinking?  Or what happens when we just don’t get our own way?  Or if the cost is too high?  Let the tantrum begin!

We don’t call it a tantrum.  We see it as sharing our opinion, protesting, writing an opinionated social media post, irregardless of who it hurts or what the fallout is.  It’s our right to share our opinion, right?

Or is it?

Sleepwalking is autopilot, doing what the crowd does, following the norm.  Wide awake makes us see more that what’s in our immediate space.  We see communities, diversity, feelings, emotions, creation and all the things that stir our soul.  Sleepwalking walks right past the wounded, the different, and the lonely as it’s not on OUR path or OUR agenda.  Sleepwalking is the state of busy we live in and the self preservation and exercising our rights to everything we deem necessary even if it crowds out others and only makes way for us.

Sadly, I’ve realized that it’s the sleepwalking that is revered; that is the norm.  And sadly I find myself many days in that trap, centered around the wrong thing but thinking it’s all okay.  I fight the wide awake and the raw, transparent vulnerability it brings.

Yet in that raw, vulnerable, face-down surrendered place is where the breakthrough happens and one wakes up.

It is this place which I challenge you as God has challenged me.  It’s a place we dare not go as the vulnerability is like a thief ready to snatch all that we are.  But it is also this place where one will find rest for the soul.

The true soulife begins here, but never ends here.  You see the art of living wide awake takes us back to this place again and again, to shake off the world, our own self and the pride that daily life brings.  We are brought back to the place to see with a new lens, a wider lens and a window to life that is limitless.  I want to live wide awake and never miss a moment that God has in front of me.  So perspective adjustment is necessary, as always, and stepping into the next season.  And I realize that here, at wide awake, I am truly free and learning the rhythm of grace and love that I can then extend to the world around me.

So where are you, sleepwalking or wide awake?  That is the question posed to all of us daily and the one again this morning I ask myself as I’m brought back to center, face-down and humbled but so empowered.

The change begins with me…learning to love from the inside out.  Raw, vulnerable and yet so fully alive.

Here’s to your soulife my friends…the end of you and me is the entrance to life abundant!

3 John 1:2 (NKJV)  “Beloved, I pray that you may proser in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”

Airports and Endless Adventures

That wanderlust thing…guess I’ve always had it.

The discontentment was never with life as I know it, but the discontentment of being in one place for too long.  What a realization as I walked down the long corridor toward the gate…I was meant to do this the rest of my life…I was always meant to do this.

Purpose.

“We are each born with a purpose, but we choose our destiny.” – Paula White

That truth rings in my ears, yet the fear silences it with the whisper of, “What if you choose wrong?”  Thus, keeping my feet planted all too often, forsaking purpose and the choice of an amazing destiny laid before me for the safety and security of a life well lived.

What is going on?  Sell it all?  Leave it all behind?  For what and for where?

A life of adventure, only to visit…never to stay.

So many cultures, so many people, everyone going somewhere yet many going no where.  Amid all the wealth and success, the bigness of it all, there is a dark, hidden, opposing factor of lack.

Heartbreaking how we can be asleep yet fully awake.

Fine lines are drawn between our opinionated right or simple choice to ignore and tolerance, acceptance and truth that loves bravely and does not speak judgement. Lines that separate and lines that can become walls, lines that rob us of a plan far bigger than ourselves keeping us stagnant yet seemingly walking forward.  I ponder those and closely examine the walls I’ve surrounded myself with first.

Appearing awake, yet really asleep.

Funny how being in the middle of a crowd you can feel completely alone, endlessly connected but in a cave of loneliness.

Noise everywhere but the loudest noise is inside me.  And if in me then it’s likely in many others.

Where do you find yourself today?  Fully awake?  Alert times 10?  Or when you really look at yourself, are you missing what is right in front of you and going on around you because of the chaos and discontent within?

Appearing awake, yet really asleep, walking toward the next adventure, yet having no where to go.

In a world of striving for success, for the next big thing, the next business deal, the next investment, the next big adventure are we missing what is placed right in front of us?  Are we missing the simple in the midst of a complicated life we’ve created for ourselves?

Funny how an airport can spur such thoughts that have evolved into ramblings.

Then, as I settle into a few moments of simple quiet to muse over and pen my thoughts, the voice comes across the table.  Random comment concerning a physical attribute leading to a conversation, leading to a connection, leading to an opportunity to plant a seed.  How easily I could have missed it.  How easily I could have brushed it aside and ignored what was right in front of me for the sake of being distracted by something I thought so important at the moment.  How easily I could have checked my phone, gone back to typing and missed a moment…one that would be lost forever.  But response birthed conversation and we left better than we arrived.

How many times has the rush and the wanderlust caused me to miss what is right here? Yes there are conversations to happen, connections to make and purpose to fulfill.  But this traveler needs to enjoy the journey and not just look at the destination.  Every step, however small, is one more opportunity, every kind word a place to show love and impact a life.

Yes, I was purposed with a wanderlust, a yearning for more, a restless spirit never to settle.  Yet, on the journey toward the path called destiny there is even more!

Purpose?  Have one.  Destiny?  Moving toward one.  Journey?  The joy in both!

Here’s to living one moment, one day, one experience and one simple, kind word at a time. Here’s to seasons and change and death that brings growth.  Here’s to a Papa that loves enough to never leave us even in the valleys and who celebrates with us on the mountains.  Here’s to friends, conversations, tears and journeys….most of all, here’s to the fabulous, fearless, unique you….love big, live loud and laugh more…it’s all good for the soulife!

From a heart in overflow…Lots of love…Dee

 

Today I Choose…

I hate choices….

By nature I am indecisive.  Some will call it free-spirited, creative, innovative but basically I can call it what I want but… I’m indecisive.  And this does not work well in real life, and especially not in my life with Jesus.

Making a decision for some comes very easy.  That’s who they are…organized, decisive, goal-oriented, sensible.  But for people like me who are emotional, compassionate, who desire to be goal-oriented but just can’t decide what to do next this is the daily struggle. These days God is trying His best to teach me a few things about choices.  You see, the God who created us created us with a will and the ability to have a choice.  That’s what separates us from every other living being…choice.  We choose who to love, choose who to serve, choose what to do next, choose to run or to hide.

Choice…

I have realized that every choice I make comes at some sort of a cost.  This can look like giving up time, or finances or even, here lately, relationships.  I have also realized that since in the kingdom it is people that are it’s currency, it is the price of relationships that seemingly are the most costly.  My time can simply  be a  rearrangement and the finances can be recovered but the relationships lost actually leave a cavernous void.

Choices, both in and out of God’s will, cost us.  When choices we know are in God’s will cost a relationship that creates the place of questioning, of doubt, and of confusion.  Why would obedience come at such a high cost?

But then there is Jesus…

I guess it always comes back to this place.  In the intersections of choice I often respond, react and question as if Jesus doesn’t understand…I know, silly, right?  But my humanity wants to function on feeling and what “looks” right or not right, what’s fair and not fair. Yet stepping back to the place of surrender, I then see that no relationship, no thing, no money, position, or even my time is my own or is a guarantee in this life.  Then in that place of surrender….and I realize that too is my choice, hold on or let it go.

Full circle…God gave us the choice to love Him, the choice to serve Him, the choice to be obedient.  He knew that it would cost us to belong to Him.  And at times that cost would be very high.  That’s why he sent Jesus…the perfect example of the high cost of the call.

Today these lyrics ring true…

“My heart beating, my soul breathing…I found my life when I laid it down.  

Upward falling, spirit soaring…I touch the sky, when my knees hit the ground” (Hillsong United “Touch the Sky”)

Upside down God-life, upside down choices, things that make no sense and cost so much in our finite mind but with God it’s just part of a much grander plan.  Choices, sometimes hard choices with high cost.

The constant, decisive, pivotal place in the Jesus life.

So my friends, choose well today, choose surrender and find your life…your true soul life.

I find my life….when I lay it down…

Counting the cost yet trusting the reward today….bless your soulife!

Dee

 

P.S.

Enjoy this….take a moment and breathe!

Touch the Sky – Hillsong United

Transparent Grace

Grace…underserved, unmerited favor, to esteem, honor, favor, dignify or distinguish.

Transparent grace…a funny concept that has just been wrecking my world lately.  I keep rolling those two words over and over in my head as they in many ways are set to oppose one another.

Grace, we often understand as a covering, something we walk in, something that elevates. Yet the concept of transparency is raw, open, uncovered, and often is the very thing that will depose, shun and cause hurt.  So how then, can they be two words that would seemingly at this moment fit together like a hand in glove?

As always, my pondering, searching and questioning leads me back to the heart of God.

Revelation 1.

God made Himself transparent when he came to earth in human form.  Jesus laid the heart of God bare for all to see, not just to hear.  He never ran away, covered up nor did he hold back the true heart of God from anyone, no matter what their current life status was!  He transparently confronted those things that grieved the heart of God in an effort to reconcile them back to or show them their Father’s heart.

So that was true of Jesus, but what about us?

Revelation 2.

As I have pondered and even wrestled with this with God I am realizing a few things about myself and the culture at large.  First, we love to talk about grace.  We want it, we need it and when we accept it we wear it like a royal robe.  The problem lies in the fact that it is often that very robe of grace, which was meant to empower and strengthen us, that becomes the grand cover up.  While yes it covers our sins, we often use it to insulate rather than radiate.  You see Jesus never insulated himself from anything or anyone, but radiated the Father’s love and grace to those around him.

It was not a grace that elevated but a grace that humbled, not a grace that set apart but a grace that welcomed and included, not a grace that judged but a grace that loved.

You see the Pharisees, like us sometimes, wore a cloak that kept them set apart. This was the cloak that they were elevated above, which bred a mindset of judgment and much religious activity.  Yet Jesus, God in the flesh, took on a robe of the common man, transparent and open for all to see, assimilated yet not conformed, humbling himself to the ordinary.

What I realize is this is the definition of transparent grace.

And it is here I realize that I have lived anything but that.

Revelation 3.

You see for many years it was a life of covering up, a life of competition, being right and doing right things and “cloaking” all that was not right for the sake of acceptance and love of people.  Unfortunately, in many religious arenas that is the very thing that measures success of that person.  I looked like I had it all together, could say all the right things and could be whomever I was needed to be.  All the while, cloaking the insecurity that caused me to compete, the envy that caused me to judge, the pride that blinded me, and the fear that allowed me to insulate myself from the broken and dying.  What I had received as grace offered freely became walls of captivity for my soul.

Leading me to my now….

Transparency…walls are down.  Transparency…the grace Jesus died for so willingly I abused for the sake of fitting in and acceptance within the church culture and community. Funny how God can use the very thing that is wrecking our lives to reveal to us the depth of His love.  Funny how the desert heat can cause us to lay down all that we “cloak” ourselves in.

I now realize it’s the transparent grace of Jesus that I can only wear.  The grace that loves the hurt ones, the ostracized, the least the broken and all the ones that are basically as I am…a hot mess girl!  But the transparent grace that we are loved with is also what transforms us.  Jesus sees through it all, past the “hot mess” to the beautiful creation we are.  Then then for as much as we have received we must now give…

A life of purpose is not a big church, a big job, a ministry, a successful career or even the perfect family.  It is a life lived ON purpose, transparently honest about what we are not and ALL that God is.  A life that loves big, loves loud, takes risk and embraces all we were created individually to be.

My heart cry now forever will be one of transparent honesty, with myself, with others, with God.  It’s time to not just talk about grace like it’s some illusive concept that we just accept one time, but to walk grace, to be transparent, with no fear of others opinions, to tell our story to the world around us where we are placed, to BE the church and to BE the grace and love the world so desperately is crying for.  The world at large and this generation are tired of too many words…they are crying for real, transparent lives that exude the grace that God sacrificed all to give to us.

Today, love big, don’t make excuses, do the risky thing and most of all be true to who you were created to be.

Transparent grace….oh so amazing and a grace that saved my life…only so that I may be used to save the lives of others.

Bless your soulife today…you Are so dearly loved!

Gracefully wrecked….Dee

Came across this from a dear friend and bold man of God…great follow up!

Church Gangs

 

 

Words

The power of the tongue can carry life and death.

I have been pondering the prolific use of words in our society lately.  In a country where freedom of speech is allowed at unprecedented levels with very little censorship or boundaries, words seem to be the driving force behind life as we know it.  Words, spoken in every way from casual conversation to eloquent prose both written and even sung, they are in every moment of our life, often creating the rhythm by which we move.  I often have wondered what would happen if someone suddenly yelled “QUIET”, and it actually happened!

Can you imagine if the world suddenly became silent? And even the written word momentarily vanished?  What would we be left with?

Silence.

Quiet.

Stillness.

With only the heartbeat of the natural beating in our ears and laying itself bare before our eyes.  Crazy thought…but one that holds much appeal these days.

In the bible, David, Soloman, James and Peter all spoke of the tongue and the power of our words.  Soloman, notably one of the wisest and wealthiest men to ever live in that time, even went so far as to write that it carries the power of life and death.  Interesting proposition…

How often do I speak careless words, and have conversations that are meaningless and even at times could be harmful?

Martin Luther King used his words to inspire and incite a dream to come to life.  Ghandi used his words to speak peace.  Billy Graham used his words to effect the eternity of thousands.  Today, words are tools that create chaos, bring destruction and destroy families and relationships.  But what if your few words could be the catalyst for changing that?

Me?  Well I am just one voice…that’s the lie.  The lie that silences our voice, makes us think we do not matter and what we have to say, write or sing carries no weight.  But here’s the truth…

It does.

What are the words dying to escape your lips?

Better yet, where are those words being birthed?  What is your soul really wanting to speak.  It is said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So the real question on the table is where is your abundance?  Is it in what you can gain from the words you speak?  Is it an abundance of fear keeping you silent only to allow something to continue to wither and die, or is there a deeper abundance that is screaming to get out?

Pondering silence always brings me back to the heart of the matter.  Silence is necessary yet we fight it.  And without the silence we lose the appreciation of the words around us.

Be still and know that I am God (Ps 46:10)

We want to know God, but there is a requirement…stillness, quietness, silence.  I remember a time that it was clear that I was not to sing.  No biggie, right?  Well for a worship leader, for one who music is the vehicle by which God carries you and your instrument is your voice this was devastating.  I was not sure how I could survive.  Not sing?  Really God?  But then it was clear…

Sometimes we are so busy operating in our gift, or making our requests known to God that our voice becomes so loud we cannot hear the Creator.  As Paul said in I Corinthians 13:1 we are like a clanging cymbal.  And its because our words are flowing out of a self love not a love for our Creator, our need to be heard.

So I silenced by voice…for months…maddeningly hard at first but then in the stillness and quiet came the peace that God knew I so desperately craved but had no idea I needed.  And it was in the quiet, in the stillness, His love washed over me, His unraveling of myself began and He began to reveal to me who I really was and the depth of His love for me. IT was here in the silence I found my voice.  Silence spoke to my soul and unlocked a place I didn’t know existed.

So how quiet is your world?  Does your soul scream chaos or are there whispers of peace flowing through you?  In that desperate place is where our true soul voice lies…the place that feeds us and the place that the enemy of our soul wants so desperately to silence by drowning it out.

I challenge you today…be still…be quiet…take a moment and breathe and let the Creator of your soul speak in gentle whispers of love.  Fight the discomfort and just do it…it just may unlock that voice that the world so desperately needs to hear!

Blessings to your soul,

Dee

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