Monthly Archives: March 2014

Stop Looking For The Window

God's windowI’ve been hearing the saying, “When God closes a door he always opens a window”, my entire life.

It’s been around even Google isn’t sure who said it first– could have been sung in a song by a dude named Jim Rule or it might have been something that one nun said from Sound of Music… your guess is probably as good as Google’s at this point.

I’ve never liked the saying.

It rubs me the wrong way about God who is big and good and has purpose for us.

It leaves us with the impression that–

  1. Obstacles are God’s way of directing us (which is a common misconception in my opinion).
  2. That God’s plan for us is smaller than our dreams for ourselves.

I mean, come on! Most windows are significantly smaller than doors. Do we want that to be what we believe about the God who created the heavens? The God who gave us brains that think and hearts that beat? The God who created the platypus? Really?

I think sometimes we get a little lazy when we hit a road block and we’re not really looking for a directive from God as much as we’re looking for window to jump out of.

God is big. He can use the windows we jump out of.

But sometimes God closes a door because he wants us to find the courage to kick it in.

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Courage to Doubt

Last week I read a Relevant article called 4 Things Jesus Never Said which I enjoyed tremendously and highly recommend that you read. My biggest take-away from this all-around great post was in the second section of the four things Jesus never said under the subtitle “Doubting is Dangerous”.

The author reminds us of our biblical friend “Doubting” Thomas  and the notorious moment where earned that nickname, then neatly follows that up with a reminder that Thomas was not the only disciple to doubt, quoting Luke 24:11 in which all of the disciples “couldn’t believe” that Jesus had been resurrected.

What stood out to me was this bit,

All the disciples doubted, but Thomas was the only one with the courage to admit he needed proof. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). And when Jesus finally encountered Thomas, he did not rebuke him. Rather he gave Thomas what he needed. He invited Thomas to touch his wounds, and only then did Jesus tell him he could stop doubting.

The beauty of this is Thomas had an encounter with Jesus none of the other disciples did. He is the only one who touched the wounds of Jesus, because he had the faith to doubt. Nowhere does Jesus condemn doubt; rather he meets people right where they are in it.

Courage to admit his doubt… faith to doubt… interesting.

Very shortly after reading that article I came across a video of Simon Sinek on the subject of serving those who serve others (which I will post below). I have, for years now, been a fan of how Simon Sinek teaches about leadership and stumbled upon this particular video while looking up things about his new book, Leaders Eat Last. This video is long (and totally worth watching all the way through) but in the first 10 minutes I heard something that reminded me of what I had just read in the previously mentioned Relevant article.

In response to being asked how he knows so much Simon describes how he’s learned to ask questions so that he can simplify complex ideas into something he can understand. He references a story from his own life in which he was challenged to go 48 hours without lying, not even employing “little white lies” to avoid humiliation. He points out that we all lie this way constantly, telling waiters that our food is good when really it wasn’t because we don’t want to create a fuss, or telling a friend that we’ve heard of the film/music/what have you they’re speaking about when we haven’t to avoid looking out of the loop. In the middle of this challenge Simon had an appointment with a speech writer for a politician and as soon as they sat down the speech writer asked how much research he had done before this interview. Under normal circumstances, not being in a no-lying-challenge, his answer would have been something like, “a little” in order to avoid looking unprepared, but instead he answered truthfully that he done no research and the woman went ahead to fill him in on on the details he needed to know.

His point was that, had he lied, he would have missed out on hearing vital information and that we feel so much pressure to have all of the answers all of the time that we miss opportunities to know what’s most important.

After hearing that I thought of Thomas and what if he had, instead of expressing his doubt, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Sure, it could be true.”? Maybe Thomas would have encountered Jesus in the flesh and it would have been enough to convince him. Maybe. But because he wasn’t afraid of looking like a fool or a coward, Jesus reached out to him and said, “Here, touch me and don’t just believe that it’s me, know

I wonder what our faith would be like if we had the courage to stop trying to spiritually save face, to stop pretending that we have the answers, and we could face our fears and our doubts at the feet of a God who has infinite love and mercy for us. I wonder if we could be brave in this way how God might extend his nail scarred hands to us and give us the opportunity to not just believe in him but to know him.

I do deeply desire the kind of faith that follows Christ out onto the surface of the sea, but I also want the kind of faith that looks to the Father as a child and can say, “God I don’t have the answer, I don’t understand what you mean here, I don’t know what I believe, please show me!”

What do you doubt?

What do you not have an answer for?

What do you not have the strength to believe?

Can you, can we, be like Thomas?

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Stuck.

2ea0b4f47225c04dba62330221b6c76aDo you know that feeling?

It’s as though all of the frustration in the universe is bottled inside you with no release valve. You have no options. You have no moves left. And the pressure is building, threatening to destroy everything inside you, leaving you a shell of a person. 

You can’t handle feeling. 

You can’t stand not feeling. 

It is relentless and you are stuck

What if I told you that it’s an illusion? What if you could believe that stuck is one of the greatest tools the enemy has to keep you from understanding the freedom that comes with finding courage. What if you realized that the worst possible outcomes you can imagine are a vail of lies hanging between you and what God created you for– bravery, beauty, adventure, meaning, trust, walking on water, climbing mountains, and doing the impossible

You can feel it can’t you? 

It’s just a whisper maybe, but it’s there inside you asking you to consider what if. What if we were unafraid, what if we believed that the world belongs to God and he can and will take care of us? What if we could do what we dream of doing? 

We are not stuck. 

YOU are not stuck. 

Don’t believe the lies, don’t give into the shame. 

You are a child of God. 

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