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Posts Tagged ‘commitment’

kyrie

Two days ago I had an appointment.  I had been transiently thinking for over a year on the beauty and meaning of the two words I was going to get tattooed on my wrists: Kyrie, eleison.

Kyrie eleison is pronounced “keer-ee-ay  ee-lay-uh-son.”  It is from Greek and means, “Lord, have mercy.”  Growing up in the Lutheran church, the words could be found in the liturgy as an invocation.  It is a way of calling upon God – namely his mercy – before imploring him to help, to hear, or to be praised.

The words kyrie eleison are deep, rich, and special to me personally.  The Lord always seems to bring them up when I need to remember his mercy most.

Anyway, I made a mistake when I scheduled my tattoo appointment.  My husband and I had been talking about getting new tattoos over the past few months, but we hadn’t settled on anything.  It has been about 15 years since my last tattoo and maybe 10 since his.  So I made an appointment without asking him what he thought.

Later, I told him about my plan and he wasn’t quite as excited about it as I was.  He didn’t tell me not to go, he just didn’t like the idea.  I had a few weeks until the date.  I thought surely he would change his mind before then.

We spoke about it a couple times and his answer was the same.  Two days before the appointment I understood that he really did not want me to get this done.  So, I cancelled my appointment.  My wrists are pristine.

I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit bummed.  I actually want a whole sleeve of tattoos on my right arm.  I’ve had the art picked out for a number of years.  I do not have them but what I do have is a really awesome husband who works hard, loves me well, and protects me daily.

That husband also encouraged me strongly to quit coaching cheerleading this year.  I spent three seasons building a competitive cheer program from the ground up – and, by God’s grace, succeeded.  I was never a cheerleader in school, but because my daughters wanted to cheer, I learned what I could as fast as I could and I finally feel like I understand the sport.  I love coaching and I love the program because it is character-building as well as competitive.  There’s only one problem.  I already have a full time job.  I am Tim’s helper.  I am Mia, Addie, Maylee, and Sonny’s mom.  I am Linda’s daughter.  I can do a whole lot of things and succeed, but if they are interfering with how well I can accomplish my main goals in life – raising and caring for my family – then they aren’t conducive to true success.

It’s been a hard pill for me to swallow, really, because I like independence.  We all love our autonomy, don’t we?  I’m sharing these things because I believe there is a great, big, huge, gigantic LIE in our culture that many people believe.  That lie is that autonomy is supreme and if commitment gets in the way of our autonomy, commitment must be sacrificed on the altar of our personal freedom at all costs.  This, friends, is a giant lie.

We see this tragedy every day in small and big ways.  Everything from not returning text messages to how many children we should have is sacrificed on the altar of autonomy.  I’m here to tell you that commitment to other people is far superior to commitment to yourself.  I know it “sounds” crazy!  It’s because the world’s rhetoric and false narrative on the subject is so ubiquitous and goes right along with our own selfish human desires.  But, the truth is, though we are supposed to love and care for ourselves, our main goal and purpose in life is not to please ourselves.  Our main goal and purpose in life is to put God and others first – says the Creator of the Universe.

Others first, not self.

I literally have to preach this to my desperately selfish self every single day multiple times.  And I still make selfish choices.  I preach it to my kids.  I pray that God helps me put away selfish desires.  He answers by giving me others to deal with who interfere with the carrying out of my selfish plans.

Listen, do not buy the lie that says you are ultimately the most important human on earth.  I am here to tell you that, according to the Bible, you are not.  I am not.  And while we’re on the subject, you and I are most certainly NOT enough.  Please, please stop with that terrible mantra.  If you and I were enough, we wouldn’t need a Savior.  We do.  You do.  I do.  Everyone does.  You are NOT enough.  Kyrie, eleison!

When others are first, everyone wins.  When others are first, people communicate instead of ignoring one another when its inconvenient or difficult to answer or dialogue.  When others are first, people consider how others will feel if they act on selfish desires.  When others are first, life is hard, but it is good.

Commitment is sacrificial.  Autonomy is self-fulfilling.  One builds character.  The other builds walls.  Choose wisely.

 

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recommit

After finishing the project to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem, the people of God spent a considerable amount of time praying, fasting, confessing, repenting, worshiping God, and looking intently at God’s law.  They were thankful for his mercy and providence and ashamed of their disobedience.  God used Nehemiah – the great, godly leader he had called to help them – to spur them on to rebuild not only their city and their homes, but also their very own lives.

After their time of reflection and repentance, the leaders drew up and signed a covenant with God.  The people all took an oath of commitment to carry out the terms of these promises.  They also risked a curse if they would fail to obey.  Matthew Henry notes that, “Every oath has in it a conditional curse upon the soul, which makes it a strong bond upon the soul; for our own tongues, if false and lying tongues, will fail, and fail heavily , upon ourselves.”  In other words, if we would make a promise to God or man, we best be prepared to do all within our own power to keep it.

With all this consequence for failing to keep such a pact, why did these people seem so forward to sign up?

The answer is that these people had been failing.  They had been in sin.  They had been exiled, enslaved, and their home had been devastated, destroyed, and left desolate. Yet God had burdened a man named Nehemiah to come and help them.  God had brought them back to rebuild and re-establish themselves.  Now, they recognize both their guilt and his grace and they feel obliged to make these promises and strive to keep them.  Here is a group of people who truly want to be right with God.  These are God’s people.

So, what was it that they bound themselves to do?

The people promised not to intermarry with foreigners as they had been doing, they promised to observe the year of jubilee and forgive all debts in the seventh year, they promised to tithe all they had to God first and to give him the very best of their possessions to use in his house.

What did they commit to God?  Family; money; food; assets; only…everything.

That is the kind of commitment we must make to Our Lord if we would seek to truly repent and follow him.  WE are the ever failing, exiled from the garden, living in the  broken world we call home, sinners.  When we recognize the things he has done for us in sending a Savior to rebuild and recenter our very lives around the truth and His righteousness, we cannot help but to commit our everything to the building of His house and His kingdom.  If that is not our attitude and desire, we have not yet seen him and we do not yet know him. Therefore, let us repeat the words of these restored sinners and do as they committed to do saying, “We will not neglect the house of our God.” ~Nehemiah 10:39b

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Image

Roll with the punches.  As an obsessive runner/ home school facilitator/ family business bookkeeper/ mom of three/ caregiver of one, you’d think I would understand this concept by now.  I’m forever forced to improvise, make due, makeshift, and man up.  But, no.  Boxing has proven otherwise.

I love structure.  I love security.  I want to know the next ten moves, the revised itinerary, the game plans from A-Z, and the three alternate fire escape routes.  I often speculate on whether God placed me in my positions as a lab-rat gone bad experiment or just felt unusually comical the day he planned out my steps.

I cannot go one day without having numerous infringements upon my time, my schedule, my plans, and my chosen path.  But are any of those things even mine to begin with?  Not really.  They (and I) belong to a sovereign God who have given them to me only to manage, not to own.  I am not the deed holder on any of the above.

Many who talk to me about home schooling say they do not “have the patience” to do such things.  My reply is always the same, “Neither do I!”  And neither do I have the patience for bookkeeping or parenting or cooking or cleaning or doing anything contrary to that which my insatiable flesh desires.  I want to live outside and write books and ride my motorcycle, my dirt bike, and swim and shadowbox and run and explore – preferably alone  every single day for goodness sake!  Help me!

Hello, my name is Lori and I am a selfaholic.

When I first starting living into these various I-did-not-sign-up-for-these callings, I was poindexter at the dance; Saint Susie at the saloon; a lineman trying to limbo.  I felt like a rigid, stiff, stick figure without any joints.  I simply could not move.  I was much more married to structure than I am now – more than a decade later.  I guess I am at least starting to roll.

Still, somewhere along the line I always seem to get into trouble in the ring.  The fight is fierce for that which I do not feel like fanning into.  When the punches start to fly at me with full-on fury and faster than a five foot female fighter’s hell-fire, I guard up, but I do not get out.  I duck, but I do not drive on.  Coach says I’m only half-committed to my damage control defense and my fight back formulas.  I get the first move and then I set my opponent up to blast me with my incorrect second, third, and fourth moves.  He says that when I am under attack, I have to fully commit – either to roll out or fire back.  Do both and I’m toast.  A knockout is certain to befall me if I fail to find my focus.  If I’m half committed – either offensively or defensively, I’m in trouble.

So, I either have to beat ’em to the punch or fix my feet to be quite fancy.  If my hit drives me back, it’s the wrong move altogether.  I have to learn to stop the rigidity and roll with the punches.

To learn that physically will doubtless help me improve it practically.  Whatever happens, I must learn to commit fully.  Half commitments, half-hearted hits, and hurried deviations will land me life-down on the canvas and my calling.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. ~Isaiah 30:21

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