Self-Storing Treasures

Recently two separate self-storage facilities have been built within about three miles of my house. One is actually within about 50 yards from one that has been in our area for several years. I keep thinking about those self-storage facilities as such a reflection of our culture and environment now. If you turn on your television, you can see it in shows such as Hoarders and Storage Wars. We want all the stuff and we want it for ourselves.

It’s even more apparent within us. We store up knowledge (not a bad thing), emotions, feelings and even Christ. We self-store thinking that if we keep it to ourselves, we are better off. If we store up the blessings and giftings from God that we are doing this life the right way because it’s how it plays out in our culture.

But we are so wrong…

What we define as treasures, they reflect where our hearts are. And what we do with those treasures, those gifts and blessings, well they also tell us where our hearts are. Time is a treasure to some…but how are we spending it? Money is a treasure to others….but how are you spending it? What about your gifts and talents? Are they being spent or stored up?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (NIV)

For a long season I stored up my own treasure, in my own self-storage unit you could say. I pulled it away and packed it up thinking that was what I should be doing. Packing away treasure that I defined instead of spending it for what it was made to be spent on. When I took the time to break down and really examine these verses in Matthew 6, I found that my treasure is worth pulling out of storage because it has a better return on investment in heaven than by storing it away. My heart is with the treasure I spend for His glory and good…not the one I pack away in self-storage and keep for myself. It does no one any good to hoard my time, my talents…these treasures I have been gifted, especially me, but most importantly the God who gave them to me.

What today do you need to unpack from self-storage? What do you define as treasures of your life-where your heart is invested by time or money or your talents? How are you storing them up? Where are you investing your treasure, here on earth or in heaven?

#blessed

I really enjoy Bruno Mars’ music.  It’s like if Barry White and Bobby Brown could have a kid, it would be him. It’s fun, fresh, and easily danceable. 24K is one of my favorite songs of his, and I find one of his lines so interesting:

“Got to blame it on Jesus, hashtag blessed.”

I think he captures something many perceive, that when it’s good, when life seems to be on this trajectory upward, where health, wealth and prosperity seem to be clicking on all cylinders, we are blessed and it’s directly from God. I tend to agree too, that those are good things, they really are blessings to have good health, to be prosperous in pursues and not be in poverty.

I have even joked about it on social media, whether it is an extra nugget in my Chick-Fil-A box or no line at a store. But I think we’ve taken the true idea of blessings of God and manipulated them for our own definition and benefit. Then we point them back to God as privileged or better because of that blessing.

But the blessings He bestows on those who believe in Him? Well those are a bit more lasting, eternal than just good health or a pay raise. They are spiritual blessings which move beyond the things of this world and what are defined by this world. Spiritual blessings bring us deeper into relationship with Him, often taking us through a time of pruning and growing, they unify us as believers, and bring Him praise for His compassion and goodness.

Those spiritual blessings He gives us aren’t always what we define as wanting, but He knows it is what we need to be blessed with-encouragement, relief of a burden, wisdom, reliance. It isn’t so much about what we get out of His blessing, but that He gives it willingly to those of us who love Him and call Him Lord. And it goes beyond earthly blessings, to those where He is seated in the throne room. It goes beyond defining them in the way we do in our context of culture or earth.

Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)

Blessings of Friends

I wanted to share that I am over on Journey On today sharing on a passage in Numbers with regards to healthy relationships. I hope you’ll take the time to read the devotion and think about the passage.

It meant so much to me to write this one as I value friendships highly, the people God has placed in my life are so rich with joy, passion, care and love. I know the ones I have in my life at this very moment He has ordained to be blessed, and I get the honor of praying blessings over them. It made me realize just how much friendships matter and how we can be more than to our friends.

How we encourage, support and bless our friends matters…it speaks to Who He is in the midst of it all.

Also I encourage you to read through this week’s devotions on the site and invite you to walk through this study of healthy relationships, as it’s been an eye-opening and soul-gutting look at what healthy is defined as in light of God’s Word.

Waiting For the Shoe to Drop.

During grad school, I dated this guy who may have been one of the nicest guys to grace this earth. He was the epitome of the good guy. He was sweet and endearing and incredibly thoughtful. I have an unhealthy love for Red Lobster, although I haven’t eaten there in many years. At the risk of an allergy attack, he made me those cheddar bay biscuits on Valentine’s Day. (He was allergic to cheese, poor guy)

Image courtesy of Tumblr page.
Image courtesy of Tumblr page.

For the eight months we dated though I had this interest in a guy I knew. He was the complete opposite and vocally proclaimed he was the bad guy we had all been warned about. At the time of my mid-20s, I wanted that adventure of the bad guy. I wanted to nights out and caution being thrown into the wind. I would find myself torn between spending time with the guy who was the nicest and most romantic I had dated or the guy who didn’t care if you showed up or not for drinks.

I struggled with the thought that I deserved the bad guy, because he could care less if I was around. I didn’t deserve the good guy, who doted on me and sent me cards. For years I had that thought. The thought I didn’t deserve to be treated well, to be happy and cared for. Truth is, I think many of us think this way and we never want to admit it.

To be honest, I grew up in the Baptist church where there was a repeating message often of not deserving anything in life, that God had blessed us with so much and we should be happy with whatever that is dealt to us. I clung to that. That I was this messed up girl who did not get to be happy, get to be the lucky one to find her one. Over and over I felt that it was hand of cards that God dealt to me to only find guys who were jerks or ill-fitted for me. That I truly deserved this existence of miserable dating or being single.

Frankly I do still struggle with that thought on occasion, that I look around at how blessed my life is currently and start to worry and stress. I think that the other shoe will drop or I will get what I deserve, which is nothing. I look for the bad and harp on it. I find the negative and think too much on it, seeking for how it will fail.

Then I get this reminder….that I am HIS. He wants nothing but good for my life. That good often comes through trials and testings. But it is good and it is meant for me. The last few days I have thought on that more and more as my journey continues in life. This journey looks different than it did seven years ago when I struggled with the life of the undeserved. It looks different than it did two weeks ago when I struggled with deserving anything I had. Frankly I don’t deserve any of the blessings and goodness, but God gives them…all good gifts from above to those He calls His own. It doesn’t mean I do or don’t deserve them, it means He knows better and gives abundantly. I am the one who must understand that the line of thinking I have been holding onto is not good and only pushing me further from Him. I need to stop waiting for the other shoe to drop and instead find that my heart is in Him. He deserves that, at the very least.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

Psalm 73: 26

Be Awesome-er

Let’s all agree that we can all rock a pretty mean air guitar. We all feel like we could be on stage with Def Leppard as their lead guitarist any night of the week back in the 80’s. We got this.

I watched the other day at the gym as a guy on the treadmill agreed with this statement. He wanted to show us all just how awesome he was, so he rocked out while running. I wish I had asked him what song he was playing on his air guitar. You want to know why? Because I’d like to be awesome-er.

I would like to show off my awesome skills, while also running for a few miles. Is that a race yet? Is there a 5K for this? If not, there should be. Nashville needs to jump on this as I feel like those two things we do well, play air guitar and run.

We don’t like to talk about how to be awesome, or in some cases more awesome. We prefer to dumb down who we are, wave it away when we do something worth celebrating. Why? Because we like to discount who we are, and the God who works in us far too much and far too easily.

We tell others, “Oh this, it’s nothing” or “I’m not really that good at this.” Let’s stop doing that. Of all the things we do stop, that should be the first. Celebrate who you are in God, and what He’s doing in you. The world has enough of average, when we need more awesome. Don’t shy away from what God has blessed you with.

When you discount who you are, you discount the God of the universe and what He’s doing in you, through you, with you. Choose to be awesome-er.