Shut Up Already

I remember my very first writing assignment in first grade. I had a cutout of a girl, who I had to color and decorate to look like me. Her body served as the place I would write a few paragraphs all about me–the things I liked to eat, the places I liked to go. Since then, I have been hooked on the 26 letters that can form new thoughts and ideas. Simple words that can make people laugh and bring people to tears.

I've been asked the question: If you could do anything in the whole world you wanted to and not have to worry about money what would it be?

Of course, for me, the answer is writing.

I have prayed over this desire of my heart. I have began three different novels, or maybe four. I have a notebook full of ideas–some I have seen written already by other authors. And God has blessed me with the opportunity…and now, for the first time ever, the motivation.

He gave me an idea…then His word to back it up.

Then during my fast…he slammed me over the head. Like for real. Like when you are playing with one of those bouncy soft, big summer balls with the kids outside. Somehow your son gets sidetracked and starts staring off into oblivion. You call his name, you call his name again. And then you realize you have the ball in your hand so you chunk it at his head to get his attention? No. That's just me?

So Jesus slammed me over the head with the ball, because I just haven't been pay attention. I may have been playing around with this writing dream, but I haven't really engaged in it.

In the midst of me fasting and praying–crying out to Jesus to give me a true purpose. And he did. My focus on writing was all wrong, it was about me, what I could offer and what I can write. When truly everything I do is about Jesus, and is simply an overflow of all he has done for me.

In my journal, I wrote these questions:

IS THERE WONDER & AWE AT WHAT JESUS HAS DONE?

ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMED AT WHAT JESUS HAS DONE FOR YOU?

When Peter and John went before the Council in Acts 4, their goal was to shut up the Spirit led men so the message of Jesus couldn't go any further. Peter and John were warned–keep your mouth shut. This was there response:

“We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard.”

I can just see them responding in the same way I tell my kids:

“I hear you. I hear what you are saying, but No, it's just not going to happen.”

Calmly, respectfully.

It's like what the council was asking was impossible for them. It's like they were saying:

Have you seen what Jesus has done? Do you have any clue how he has changed me, redeemed me, used me? There is no way I can shut my mouth about that, even if I tried.

And that is how I am trying to live my life. This is how I am planning on writing, with an overwhelming amount of compelling of the Spirit to tell all that Jesus has done for me. I pray that you can do the same. You will have an overwhelming sense of gratefulness of what Christ has done for you, and you just won't be able to shut up about it. Not to your kids, your family, friends, neighbors, people in line at the grocery store. If you know me at all, you know that I don't really shut up anyway–so this should be easy for me.

Do you need a word from God? Do you need Him to show you something? FAST WITH US!

JULY 1

JULY 2

JULY 3

He speaks when we empty ourselves. Comment and commit. Then invite 3 people you know to fast with us!

Ever felt like you just can't shut up already about Jesus? Comment and share! I want to know!

 

The “F” Word

In case you haven't noticed, it's Monday. With Monday's comes whining by 7 am, and this morning a sick child before 9. Let us not forget the empty fridge because I was too busy to go to the Walmart this weekend. My whiny complaints are actually pretty menial. I really enjoy my life, but what I always tend to do is build everything up, in this tall well-stacked tower, and just hold my breath as I wait for it to topple over.

I do this with my work, too. When I'm ready to start actually “working” (writing, ministry stuff, Biblical Study, Market Research, Blah Blah) I tower that up too, a tall pile of papers waiting to proof read, books to read, newspapers, books, peridocials, blah blah. Sometimes I just sit and stare at the pile, trying to climb the tower to the right floor, or maybe even just hang out at the top waiting for my knight to rescue me.

But in my long life of painstaking experience, I know that I can't sit and wait for anyone in shiny armor to ride up on a horse, because the back of a horse isn't exactly condusive to typing and reading, not for me anyway.

Growing up I had horrible experiences (plural) on horse. The summer after third grade, I was riding a horse at summer camp. The horse was tall, the horse was old. There were three of us riding it. The Texas summer heat was beating down, the trails seemed long. I was bored. The tree limbs were low, the girl in front of me was suppose to duck. But she didn't. All three of us BAM! fell right off. Mortified, but not hurt, I swore myself away from thousand pound animals from that day forward.

Fear. The F Word that motivates me to ditch horses, and over analyze the piles of work. I just fear not finishing, or not doing it well or right. My check lists are long, and none of my “To Do's” seem to get checks next to them. Then at the end of the day, I just hate myself for not getting anything done. It's an ugly vicious cycle. And torments me from Monday to Monday. I'm trying to break out of the cycle, but it's not as easy as riding a horse, that's for sure.

What is your “F” Word?

Fear Of Wasting Time

Lots of you are wondering, okay some of you, okay two of you are wondering, what is going on in my life. A few post ago, I mentioned that God was doing something to rock my world and no doubt He has.

Last Sunday was my last week serving on a church plant. The 3 1/2 year journey has never ceased to surprise me and even shock me. God has humbled me by using me, and taught me about building His church. After all this time, I've grown but not sure I know much more.

But I'm stepping out trying to use my slightly increased knowledge and a tremendous amount of faith growing a ministry out of my house. A year ago I began ministering to the misfit teenagers in my neighborhood and community. And now, well, they just keep coming. I just keep feeding them (both spaghetti and spiritual). For some reason God wants me to keep doing it, and on top of that, all these other things.

So now, I'm without a paying job, without a church, and without a clue as what to do next. But I'm certain, pretty certain, that I'm exactly where I need to be. I just have to figure out exactly how to do it.

I have to find some rhythm in my days, and accomplish something, anything, before the sun goes down bringing in the night, which brings another day. My greatest fear in all of this is wasting time accomplishing nothing. I'm pretty good at nothing. I can do days and days of nothing. I'm hoping that this will make the somethings, the anythings, mean so much more.

So for the two of you that asked, thank you. Pray for me. And since I have so much time on my hands, how can I pray for you? Comment and let me know.

Have You Seen Her?

Missing: Aspiring novelist and mother of 5. Her writings and musings have gone missing–along with her mind and ability to manage time. She was last seen sitting at the local McDonald's sucking down her dollars worth of sweet tea and using her dollars worth of WiFi. Her mind is currently full of random thoughts and ideas and inspirations that she has been dying to share with you. Tiffany Joy is 5'7″, 30-something years old and weighs None-Of-Your-business! Please comment if you have seen her or her brain!

 

**DISCLAIMER: THIS WOMAN IS NOT REALLY MISSING. SHE HAS BEEN CONTENTLY LIVING WITH HER AMAZING HUSBAND AND CHILDREN. WHAT IS REALLLLLY MISSING IN HER LIFE IS WRITING ON HER BLOG, SO TODAY SHE RESOLVES TO TAP TAP TAP AWAY AT HER KEYBOARD FROM THIS DAY FORWARD OR FOREVER HOLD HER PEACE.

At The Risk of Being Shunned: Why I HATE TWITTER

I have this love-hate relationship with Twitter. I really, really want to love it but I just mostly hate it. I try, I really do. I opened an account to be trendy, and cool and hip. But I am learning, maybe I'm just not any of those things. My initial motivation was that Twitter was a great way to network. I mostly follow other pastors, children's ministry and student ministry leaders, authors, and gurus on Christian leadership. But I see these tweets and find myself just resenting all of them.

Everyone has such inspiring things to say in 140 characters or less. Like here are a few:

Where God guides, HE provides”

“Leadership development isn't a program, it's a lifestyle. Learning to serve others doesn't happen in the classroom, but in ministry.”

“Busyness is not from the devil, it IS the devil.”

“I realized today that I am emotionally exhausted today over something I can not change. It's time to change me.”

“Make sure your worst enemy doesn't live between your own two ears.”

It's like walking into a store with nothing but motivational posters around you. Everywhere. Or maybe even rummaging through a very special line of Hallmark cards. And in between these little nuggets of wisdom is advertising and shameless, self-promotion (cough cough) “read here: how to be a better pastor” and “read this blog: How I lead on Saturday's between 8am and 12:35pm”

Tweets are much more profound than status updates, but I find that most people just link their Twitter and Facebook accounts. How lazy! Who wants to read what you think or who you are shopping with twice?! And I don't know how I can possibly keep up with all of the tweets of my following. There are so many, it's so rapidly changing. I don't do well with change. And I'm not sure I have that kind of time.

So I've decided that Twitter is just too much pressure. On Facebook I can be myself, and people respond, and sometimes they even care. On Twitter I feel like I'm at a job interview, carefully chosing my word usage and placement so that someone out there, who will probably never ever read my 140 characters anyway, might be momentarily inspired.

I have a decent following, not phenomenal but some people say they care what I Tweet, so I won't get rid of my account. Most likely I will follow even more wise, insightful 30 year old hipster pastors. But I'm not sayin' I'm gonna like it.

What are your thoughts on Twitter? I would love to know!