Makeshift module

It’s interesting talking to friends who I thought had it all together. Only to find out, that they are freaking out inside. I’ve come to appreciate honesty over togetherness. I’d rather know every detail of every insufficiency a person is feeling, instead of hear the news of, “Oh, everything’s great” all of the time.

Honestly, people, everthing isn’t always great. Even Jesus got a bit stressed out. He sweat blood, after all.

It’s ok to admit that we don’t always have a hold on life. Singer/songwriter Jill Phillips has a song called “Nobody’s Got It All Together.” Some of the lyrics are: “Don’t whitewash the truth about yourself cuz nobody’s got it all together.”

It’s true. No one person can handle everything perfectly. That’s why we need Jesus. That’s why we need community. When we talk to each other and unite to discuss/thrive in life, Satan gets a big punch in the face.

Satan fosters pride and a false sense of togetherness. He loves it when we think we can hold our own cuz he knows we’re about to fall. And when we fall in that mindset, he comes and attacks us.

When you go on an isolation trip, you’re gonna get pummeled by the devil.

Home…

Last December I moved from Nebraska to Tennessee to pursue God’s call on my life to work in the Christian media/music industry.  It was a tough move to leave the place that I’d lived in for 22 years.   

Now, eight months later, I sometimes feel like I’m still settling in.  I don’t always know where I’m going.  I can’t navigate the big city like the back of my hand.  I long for my favorite restaurants from up north.  I miss the familiar faces that I grew up with.   I felt like a foreigner most of the time.  I began to wonder if I’d always feel like that.  Sadly, I felt like a visitor to my birth state, as well.  Things had changed.  People were different.  I feared that I’d always feel like I was in between and that I’d never feel at home anywhere. 

I was feeling the “never at home anywhere” emotion the other day when I was taking the dog out so he could empty his bladder.  As he scrounged around looking for the perfect place to potty, I stared at my surroundings.  The trees, the stream flowing nearby, the apartment complex, the city street.  I had observed those things so many times before, yet they still weren’t familiar.   

Then God brought me to a thought path that I’d never happened upon before.  I realized that I would never feel at home unless I was living in the Kingdom.  That includes living by Kingdom principles and living with Kingdom people and working for the Kingdom goal. My goal as a Christ-follower is to further the Kingdom of Christ.  That’s a simple thing that I understand. But I hadn’t taken it to the next level.  Yes, I need to further the Kingdom.  But I always thought of it as a far off place.  Well, it isn’t. 

Believers are supposed to be one in spirit and purpose.  That means living together in the Kingdom now.  Once people become believers in Jesus, they enter into a life of eternity. It’s such a revelation.  I am in God’s Kingdom right now.  So, wherever I am (as long as I’m living by Kingdom principles) then I am home. 

Instantly, as I fully realized those things, it was like scales fell off my eyes.  The trees, road and apartment complex looked like home.  They became a more vivid, warm color.   

Then a second wonderful thing happened.  In my previous blog, I talked about wanting to be a leader in the founding of something big.  Well, God’s allowing me to do that.  My church is multiplying into a new branch in the town where I live.  I will be a founding member of that new church.  I get to be a part of something big from the beginning.  I’m not too late this time.  I’m not acting selfish this time.  I’m not acting out of pride or selfishness.   And…most awesomely…I am home.  I am where I’m supposed to be and it is the most wonderful thing!    

Fame…

I’m surrounded by fame.  I work on a message board for a well-known Christian band.  I live in Nashville, TN.  Swarms of artists, athletes, producers and fame-desiring wanabes flock around looking for their next opportunity. The image of impression is everywhere. 

I have been caught up in the habit of trying to impress people.  I’ve fallen for the mindset that if impress the right people then maybe I’ll get elevated to notoriety somehow.  I even tried to put a Christian spin on it.  Saying things like, “Well, if more people knew me, then I’d promote God more openly and I’ll make His name known and it won’t be about me, but totally about Him.”   

Working to impress people is the wrong thing to do.  I realize that now.  For months, I’ve been trying to get out of that mindset.  Let me tell ya, it’s a really hard thing to do.  It’s even harder because I haven’t told anyone about it until right now.  I didn’t want to admit how much I’d struggled.  I felt shameful.  I felt selfish.  I felt prideful.  Rightly so, because I was those things. 

In lieu of talking about this problem with other people, I sought the Lord.  I truly worked to exalt Him.  I forgot about everything I wanted and everything the world told me that I needed.  God doesn’t need me to be well known so I can promote Him to more people.  He will promote Himself as much as He wants through whomever He wants.  I can promote God to one person; that’s enough for Him. 

As God helped me get over this promotion of self, He kept reminding me of verses that instruct us to exalt Him.  He whispered directions that I needed to humble myself.  He reminded that He doesn’t exalt those who exalt themselves.  He exalts those who exalt Him. But…He also reminded me that I can’t exalt Him for the purpose of eventually getting myself exalted.  That’s not the correct mindset either.  I had to be humble because I wanted to be.  I had to exalt God because He deserves to be exalted. 

I learned to appreciate my place of service.  I had to stop desiring to be at the top of the leadership ladder.  I was put in the places I am in life for a reason.  If I wasn’t where I am, a rung of the ladder would be missing.  Without me on the lower tiers of life, then the others above me would fall.  If I kept trying to climb higher, then I would inevitably cause others to fall.  A towering structure needs every part of its building to be strong.  The tallest tower would not stand without its foundation. 

What’s made this so hard for me is that I want to be a leader.  I want to be a founding and leading member of something absolutely wonderful.  But I always arrived too late to be able to do that.  Sometimes I wasn’t promoted to the highest level that I wanted to be.  Or my errors as a person resulted in me not being able to be exalted any higher than I was. And all of the shortcomings of myself and my circumstances really brought me down.  So I fought even harder (in vain) to get where I wanted to be.  In the process, I hurt others and caused division and caused others to fall.   

Thankfully, through several different venues, God showed me what I was doing.  I finally understood what had been going on, I repented of my errors and I asked forgiveness. Then, and only then, was I able to allow God to show me how to live correctly.  He showed me how to exalt Him properly.  He gave me more of a servant’s heart.  He renewed me completely. 

I can’t totally explain every detail of what transformations occurred in me, but I am thankful for them all.   Now I’m seeing God instead of being blinded by the call of fame and being known.  I have to continually focus on bringing glory to God genuinely, instead of telling glory stories of myself and everything I’ve done for the Kingdom.  It isn’t about me and what I’ve accomplished.  It’s about the work that God does.  I can’t have a haughty mindset that feeds off the approval of others.   

It’s a bloody battle, but now I’m on the side of victory.

Burden Sum

A lot of things weigh me down.  Past mistakes and regrets.  Jealousy and envy.  Dashed wishes.  Prior rejection.  My status and position in some venues of my life.  Countless sighs.  Carlessness.  Misunderstandings.

I can manage putting up a protective facade over some of these problems.  However, when I try and cover up several of them at a time, I turn into a miserable version of myself.  I portray awkwardness.  I make sloppy, quick-fix mistakes. 

I’m going through a season of seasoning.  I am the salt and light of the earth, according to the Bible.  In recent experiences and endeavors, I’ve lost a bit of my original flavoring.  Why?  Because I’ve continually covered myself in makeshift marinades that make me look good.  Problem is, those things that were supposedly making me look good, ended up making me look bad because I did those things in selfishness and fear.

Now I’m covered in a thick sauce of things that I don’t want to be anymore.  How do I remove things that’ve seeped into my very being?  How do I expel the lies that have made a home?  How do I keep the flavor of truth and remove the foulness of deception?

A phrase that came to mind a few days ago was, “God forgets; people don’t.”  God forgives when we repent and He forgets our transgressions never to remember them again.

People may forgive us for our blunders, but they won’t likely forget them.  I’m grateful for forgiveness.  But I hate the memories of pain that I’ve created for others.  I fear the synapses that were created because of my actions will too often fire in activity. 

And now I feel this overwhelming embarassment and shame. 

This Plumb song just played in my random iTunes shuffle:

“Phobic”

Iwatched you sit alone
I watched you cry your eyes out
Now tell me what you’ve done

Is it so bad that
I would shut you out
And leave you here alone

Yes, I saw what you did
I was right there with you
I won’t let you sink
No, I forgive you

Phobic
Don’t be
Grace needs a little more freedom
Phobic
Don’t be
Love needs room to breathe

I have watched you grow
And I’ve stood in your shadow
I’ve never walked away

I hung the stars and
I hold your heart
So, don’t ever be afraid

Yes, I know when you breathe
And I feel when you need
I won’t let you sink
No, I forgive you

Phobic
Don’t be
Grace needs a little more freedom
Phobic
Don’t be
Love needs room to breathe

You can be healed
You can be free
You can know peace
Never be afraid again

Phobic
Don’t be
Grace needs a little more freedom
Phobic
Don’t be
Love needs room to breathe

Never be afraid
Never be afraid
He’s here

*contemplative sigh*

Obviously, God’s speaking to me through that song.  I need to shed this sauce of fear so His grace and love can marinate me. 

I want to be seasoned by God, not by the mistakes that I’ve made or the sins I’ve comitted.

Only He can cleanse me completely.  Only He can make me white as snow. 

God, I pray that you would purify me and cleanse completely.  Submerge me in Your grace and love.  Create in me a clean heart.  Renew a right spirit within me.  Make me wholly yours. 

Treeple People

My name is Lindsay.  Lindsay means Linden Tree.  For the longest time, I hated the meaning of my name.  It wasn’t fun.  it wasn’t something neat and regal.  It was a tree.  What’s fun about a tree?  What’s majestic about a tree?

I thought nothing was. 

I was wrong.  Thanks to a friend of mine, I came to realize that my name had a truly prophetic significance.

Metaphorically, I’m a tree.  I’m a place where people can rest and relax.  I’m a good listener.  I have deep roots that are supplied with fresh, living water.  I am strong.  I am part of a network of other trees.  I am planted where I am to stay where I am.  I don’t uproot easily.  I’m not flippant.  I grow gradually and become wiser over time.

Now, before you think I’m getting all environmentalesque on you, let me get spiritual instead.

I am a Christ-follower.  I believe in God.  He is the source of my existence.  He is my everything. 

I am tree-ish because He intended me to be this way.  The traits of the tree that I described above are my character traits.  Now, that I’ve accepted and embraced my treeness, I am more who I am than I’ve ever been.

I’ve spent a good portion of my life denying who God created me to be.  I’ve frustrated His creation.  I’m not going to do that anymore.

I am going to be the tree that He created me to be.

What’s interesting about this, is that I’ll be a founding member in a church multiplication.  This “branch” of churches has a network.  It’s like a forest of churches set up surrounding and within Nashville.  One by one, we keep adding churches, thus strengthening our root system. 

I am a place of rest, strength and wisdom within this church network. 

God gave me a vision of myself as a tree.  He planted me within this network of churches.

My metaphorical name grew into a full grown testimony.

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