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When I’m all about that cause…and that cause is kinda all about me

I never knew that Martin Luther King made a segue to Cleveland, OH in the midst of his third attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery. He flew mid-march (as opposed to mid-March) to CLE in order to offer a testimonial at the Nobel Peace Prize dinner where he was honored in 1964. The newspapers said his feet were badly blistered from walking for days. The headline read that he was barely able to walk, so badly was he limping.

Have you ever walked with a limp because of a cause for which you were walking, literally or figuratively?

When I was in high school, I burned my candle at both ends over every cause. Every ticket was sold out in my naive conservative heart to saving the unborn, the whales, that remote village in Tibet. I was so overbooked and overachieving that I eventually lost pounds and hair that I couldn’t afford to lose. I was an 83 lb. mess. I walked with a limp.

The difference is that MLK’s cause depended on him and his team to lead the revolution. My causes would still march on to their proverbial Montgomeries without me.

I wonder how many of us are behind causes that need us?

That would actually fizzle if not for our dedication?

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I’m 10 days into a 30 day water challenge. I am replacing my favorite fluids of coffee, soda with 70 oz. a day of H20. My skin looks better but the struggle is real. I still have a huge crush on coffee. I am not alone, it would appear.

I scan my Instagram. Pictures of familiar faces flushed, at the end of the finish line of their 10K. I see Facebook feeds full of Crossfit selfies, Tweets hashtagged with #P90X, Snapchats from Pure Barre, and everyone I know in the First World has recently sworn off gluten, allergies or otherwise.

These are our causes, the fights we fight, the shows about which we tell. These causes are worthy and life-changing–don’t get me wrong. But at first blush, it would appear that these causes are all about bettering ourselves. Project Self achieved, (Selfie, Appendix A).

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And old friend is dedicating the next year to the handstand. I am loving Jon’s project which he is chronicling on the ‘gram. His reflections are thoughtful and far from precious. What good can come from gaining another perspective, one, in fact, that revolves one’s world a whole 180 degrees?

Jon’s project rocked my navel gaze. I realized that Project Self is often a step toward Something Greater Than Self.  First we cut out cookies. Then we go help the Girl Scouts sell ’em. In my case, I’m still hovering in phase I. Sometimes my fight is bigger than self and sometimes it is just so basically about wanting a latte.

I like to believe there are many causes that I support but which don’t cause me to limp, nor will they fizzle if I step away. To name a few: the end to human trafficking, the right to observe religious liberty, the right to equal pay for equal work.

Still, there are other causes, much less organized and publicized which might suffer if not for my marching: my children, my marriage, my students. They are too much a part of me to walk away from them–it is hard to walk away from one’s very self. So I will keep marching and feeling all the glory of the limp I develop.

The good news is that I get to keep the causes in the next life, marching to Zion, maybe even breaking into a run.

 

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Way recommending: “Who’s Picking Me Up from the Airport?”

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I am an unlikely audience member for Who’s Picking Me Up from the Airport?: And Other Questions Single Girls Ask and for this reason, I read it with great relish. What I hadn’t anticipated is how much I would enjoy it and, moreover, how much I would have needed it!

This book is effectively an encouragement for Christian women who are single and age 30+. These women are single not due to widowhood or separation/divorce but because they are still seeking a life’s partner. Still seeking–that’s the error in the perception as the book readily points out. Author Cindy Johnson lays bare what a raw deal single women, especially those in the Church, are given. Ever being postured as not quite whole, their lives not fully realized because they are not yet paired off with someone–we have done a terrible job of ministering to singles and focusing for way too long on their relationship status. The chapter that spoke most into my heart was “Call It What It Is: Why Being Single is Lame” where Johnson offers a “what not to say” to one’s single friends. I have been the offender in almost every one of the points offered. Points. Well. Taken!

The book is not long–150 pages and it is organized in a brilliant way that reads easily, like a memoir. Johnson pairs her own anecdotes as well as letters from her single friends, both male and female, who share their stories in dating and seasons of singledom. Johnson discusses so many beautiful aspects of the single life and how rich it is, but she also shares her journey through relationships that she had expected to turn out otherwise. Her voice is delightful, not just in contrast to the voice one might expect from a non-fiction book on dating and the single life. Johnson’s tone is consistently sincere and funny and she pulls no punches. This book is a gift and I believe that it would be a great gift for a friend, an addition to a pastor’s bookshelf, and would be a great women’s book club pick.

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*Johnson and I have gotten acquainted through our mutual literary agent. I received a free copy of this book in advance with no expectation of review or endorsement.

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Why listening to Christian music makes me lazy

I listen to a good number of Christian contemporary music artists. Casting Crowns, Shawn McDonald, Hillsong, anyone? Their epic Jesus-y ballads score my workouts and car rides and grading sessions.

And sometimes, I get a little lazy about it all.

It’s not the musicians’ or the music’s fault. It’s my own reliance on their worship as my own.

While romping through the woods solo yesterday, earphones scoring the hike per usual, I had to stop and question what I was doing. I was hiking uphill and working up a sweat and pumping endorphins and I was still being so lazy.

I pulled the plug on the portrait of God that was being drawn by someone else.
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I asked myself, is God really a Reckless Forgiver? A Lover of My Soul? Is He Not Dead but Surely Alive? These words were inspired by other believers whom I assume are in close relationship with Jesus. But am I trusting too much in the character that has been revealed to them and, basically, taking their word for it?

I began to think about the very specific ways God has revealed Himself to me recently:
– God was with me when an elder handed me diet pills across the dining room table. He gave me the patience and the words to be loving, to show His character, even when I was insulted and in distress. (1 Cor 10:13)
– He is so gentle in the faces and chubby hands of my kids who love me in spite of all of my intemperate streaks (Romans 2:4)

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Those are just a couple of examples. I’m struck when I think how Solomon tells us that there is nothing new under the sun, and then we turn right around and read in Isaiah how God will do a new thing.

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I just don’t want to underestimate, underexpect, undervalue the newness and the freshness and the total specificity of God. In all His glory, He reaches down to earth and shows His care in such awesome and totally relevant ways, to our own unique and often crappy situations, crappy situations of our own making.

Friends, I just want to have eyes that will see and ears that will hear everything He is doing, not relying on someone else to tell me, or sing an epic ballad about it. I realize more and more this requires being present and showing up even when I want to be a lazeabout.

None of this is new under the sun, but His blessings are new every morning.

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My intention for this spring semester is to show up to my devotion time even when I don’t feel like it, even when I have every excuse not to show up. Have you set an intention for the new year or new semester or new season of life? Feel free to link up a post or share below!

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