FHFYFUFU

I have a little phrase I’ve been repeating to myself as a reminder of my appetite. And no, I don’t mean peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, although I’m down if you have some to share. I mean appetite as in what I’m hungry for, what I want my life to be about and in turn, what I’m feeding it and how I’m feeding it. What am I doing each day? What am I not doing each day? More on all that here.

For her, for You, for us, for us.

The her is my future ________ (insert “girlfriend” or “wife” here).

The You is God.

The first us is for the relationship I’ll have with previously mentioned girlfriend or wife.

The second us is for the relationship I have with God.

It might sound simple, I know what you’re thinking. Love can walk through…wait, what? OK, it might be simple but it’s been a good reminder to keep my eyes pointed towards God– my savior, my helper, my provider. I don’t always get it right, but that won’t stop me from trying.

-Out of the Wilderness

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Trusting God to sustain

…at times the path way has been steep and rocky, sometimes treacherous even, but by going to Him in prayer, in medication, in reading His word, He has sustained me EVERY TIME.
Grand-daddy Davis

My grandfather wrote those words to me in 1991, not knowing that 26 years later his grandson would be self-employed and learning what “sustain” really means. And I love that he capitalized “EVERY TIME.” It’s like having a best friend that never can’t hang out,  that won’t ever decline to show up. I also love to think about God using this definition from dictionary.com

Screen Shot 2017-09-02 at 11.39.44 AM

That’s what God promises to do for us. Amazing! It’s so much farther beyond just the physical (money, food, etc), too. It’s also emotional, spiritual, sanity, temper, fear, anxiety, worry. This whole interest in God as sustainer and provider really gained traction this year, 2017. But I guess the story dates back to when I was laid off a couple years ago (early 2015). That year flew by as I rode out my severance package. 2016 was an adventurous year as I pursued less traditional forms of income (I wrote a book!). When 2017 rolled around it was a lot like the previous year, until tax season.

You dropped a bomb on me!

I didn’t realize how much I’d owe till I totaled up everything from 2016. And I also tithe around tax season, so my checking account was about to take a hefty hit. Thankfully, I survived… though there’s a water line on the wall of my checking account, much like when a flood recedes. This line here is how much you used to have… now, you’re waaaaaaaaay down here.

So as I was monitoring my accounts more closely, I began praying more earnestly. What does the Bible say about who to trust, who will provide, and all that? Well, the answer is easy: God. But I guess when I was on a salary, I never really thought about that sort of stuff. The checks go in automatically, the health coverage is taken care of, there’s not a scramble to make ends meet.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

This is the year of trusting God to sustain me, like Grand-daddy did. The first real example was tax season, like I mentioned. But then not too long after that, my computer froze up. One Apple computer later, I was actually excited to get to trust God for a way to keep working (I edit videos as part of my income) and at the same time, not losing my mind out of frustration!

Don’t get me wrong, I have a long way to go. It’s a daily thing, and often I’m like:

But I love Proverbs 23 and 30 that have two great advices…

“Don’t wear yourself out to get rich; stop giving your attention to it.” Then in chapter 30, “Give me neither poverty nor wealth; feed me with the food I need. Otherwise, I might have too much and deny You, saying, ‘Who is the LORD?’; or I might have nothing and steal, profaning the name of my God.”

I think we all have an opportunity each day to trust God to sustain us. And it’s amazing, SO AMAZING, when we recognize Him doing it.

-Out of the Wilderness

 

What if God is the sun?

“God is like the sun; you cannot always look at it, but without it you cannot look at anything else.” — G.K. Chesterton.
img_20170603_115600.jpgFirst, I hope you read this with an open mind, especially if you’re a Christian like myself. Because it sounds a lot like pantheism to say God is the sun, but that is not my intention at all. When I refer to God, I’m speaking of the God of the Universe, the one who created the sun actually 🙂 so take all of this as just a day dream that turned into a conversation with a good friend, and something I believe God is capable of doing if He so chose to.

OK, OK, on with it! I’m a big fan of endings with a twist. I still remember those wow moments in a couple of M. Night Shamayaya movies The Sixth Sense and The Village. I’ve also started watching Leverage and that show is great for having surprise endings. I guess I like the thrill of expecting one thing, but then something else totally out of the blue happens. Side note, I just watched Split (M. Night Shamyaha movie) and it’s pretty great, too! I recommend it.

img_20170603_114640.jpgA few months ago I was chatting with a friend. I’m not sure exactly how we came up with this notion, but what if God is the sun? What if, at the end of time when Jesus returns and order is restored, we have the biggest OMG moment as God says, “Hey y’all, hey Dolly… I’ve been here the whole time!” (Who doesn’t love Dolly Parton, right?)

Wouldn’t that be a crazy twist no one saw coming!? Sounds a little far-fetched, I know, but I do find it quite interesting how many attributes or characteristics of God actually align with the sun as we know it. Here are a few:

  • The Bible often refers to God as “light”/ the sun is light
  • God never sleeps or slumbers / the sun is always “on”
  • No one is able to look at Him / have you tried looking at the sun directly?
  • He’s everywhere all at once / on earth, the sun is kinda everywhere all at once (if reflecting off the moon counts?)
  • God is not bound by time / the same sun that shines on us also shined on dinosaurs
  • God feeds nature at the proper time / the necessity of sunlight for food to grow for humans, animals, fish, etc.

In Genesis 1 the story of creation goes that God created light, and later created the sun. So I totally get it, chances are God isn’t the sun. But maybe He dwells in the sun at times. Who knows. His ways are higher than ours, right? But these kinds of thoughts interest me very much. What does God do that would blow our minds if we knew it? What has He done in the past, or will do in the future, that will leave us in even more awe? In the future, will there be some kind of twist no one saw coming?

-Out of the Wilderness

Being punished by God

Do you ever feel like you’re being punished by God? I had one of those experiences recently, and I’m so glad it didn’t last long. In those couple of days one thing I found interesting is that I had anger towards God. And that, my friends, is me admitting I’m not very spiritually mature. To think about it another way, try remembering when one of your parents grounded you. More times that not, we were instantly mad at our parents, right? Forget whatever we did wrong, that was totally beside the point! How dare mom or dad discipline us and RUIN OUR LIVES!!!!!!!
rain

“I turned my back on everything that was true.”

That’s the same way I acted when I felt like I was being punished by God. I was all like, “Wassup with that, God?” “Why me?” “Why don’t you care?” And God was all like, “Read the Bible!” “Isaiah 58.” “Chump!” OK, OK, not in those exact words but I opened up to Isaiah 58 and yowza, a scolding. A brief recap: God’s people were wondering why He didn’t seem to care about them (this happened quite a bit with them). They did this or that thinking it’s what God wanted. But He called them out on it, with beautiful clarity and insight. That’s the first half of the chapter, anyway. It goes on to offer what God desired from them, and for them. It’s sweet, actually, and very encouraging. After reading that chapter, I saw my attitude for what it really was: sour, unjustified, and immature.

“Left to myself I realize / I am the maker of my own demise.”

I was upset with God when I should’ve been upset with myself. What I blamed Him for was actually just a consequence of my own shortcoming. And while He may have allowed it to happen, feeling like punishment to me, it might have simply been Him using the consequences as discipline. Like if you’re a parent, maybe you did’t save your child from getting suspended when they got caught skipping school or whatever. Know what I mean? They reaped (rept? rooped?) what they had sown. It’s a chance for them to learn something, even if it’s the hard way.

Father-and-Son-Holding-Hands

“Some people gotta learn the hardway.”

This experience was a low moment, but I hope I never forget it because man, God is so good. He hung with me through it and even had a blessing for me on the other side. Totally unfair. A blessing. I was all like, “Really?” and God was all like, “Really.”

Not in those exact words. 🙂

-Out of the Wilderness

So you’re a newlywed, huh?

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.22.49 AMI was chatting with a friend recently about someone she knows who’s getting married. We covered some of the details most people love knowing about when it comes to weddings: location, the couple, the excitement of the families. It’s great when two people love each other, and side note, if you’re a girl wondering if a guy might be interested in you, check out another post of mine: 10 Signs He’s Into You.

My friend mentioned that the two people getting married aren’t Christians and neither go to church, which is why their wedding is taking place somewhere other than a church and not officiated by a pastor. We sort of left it as hoping for the best for the couple and that their marriage will last. I enjoyed the conversation but always wonder why I come up with my best comments well after any particular topic is over.

In this case, I didn’t have much to say in the moment about the folks getting married not being Christians. But if I could do it over, I’d say something about all of us, no matter where we are now, started somewhere. We all have a story and sometimes a relationship with God starts at a young age, sometimes not. Sometimes it never starts at all. My hope for these soon-to-be newlyweds is that in the process of getting married, and being married, that God reveals Himself to them. After all, marriage is spoken about a lot in the Bible and I believe God holds it in very high regard.

Another hope: just don’t screw it up! I say that playfully, yet reflecting on how mankind has pretty much screwed up everything at some point or another. God has given us so many good things, marriage included, and we’ve managed to pervert all of it. And that goes for Christ-followers, too. Here’s the thing about that, by the way. At the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat. People who call themselves Christians aren’t any better than anyone else. Like it says in the Old Testament, “We all like sheep have gone astray.” We’re all looking for an answer. We’re all seeking peace, happiness, and something to worship.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.23.01 AMSo I still definitely hope for the best for my friend’s friends who are getting married. I hope it’ll last, that they positively wreck the statistics of divorce. And especially, I hope somehow they’re willing and able to understand a little more about God through their marriage. And if/when they have kids, they get another glimpse into the character of God, as it’s revealed through a parent’s love for their children.

Maybe you can’t exactly relate to getting married, being a newlywed or even becoming a parent. Hey, I certainly can’t! But we can all relate to one key take-away:

Whatever you’re doing, just don’t screw it up. 🙂
Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.22.36 AM-Out of the Wilderness

PS. All of these stunning photos were taken by amazing photographer Joe Hendricks. More incredible wedding photos can be seen on his website, along with breathtaking landscape photos (available for purchase)! Click here, you won’t be sorry!

God is able

A phrase that’s been on the front of my mind lately is one you’ll hear in sermons, in songs, or written on posters or in sympathy cards. It comes from Ephesians 3:20.

God is able.

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If you’re like me, though, every once in a while you might ask yourself, “What is He able to do, exactly?” I think the Sunday School answer is everything. But that doesn’t necessarily help me when I’m stuck in traffic and frustrated, or when I make a mistake at work, or when I say something that’s not exactly encouraging to someone. Or for you, maybe you’re losing patience with your kids, or lost out on a big work project, or didn’t do so hot on a recent test. Or maybe you just accomplished something significant, or did get that big work project. There’s still a need for God even in those situations, right? It could almost be anything at all that points us to a need for something more.

What has made the phrase relevant in my life recently is acknowledging that I sometimes get caught in this cycle:

Feeling discouraged <turns into> thinking something will or won’t happen <turns into>  doubt <turns into> unhealthy behavior <turns into> guilt.

So I’ll admit, then, sometimes I wonder about it. “Is God able?” I’ll ask. Is He actually able to help me with what I’m doing today? Using the cycle above, is He able to keep me from diving into discouragement, etc?

Then recently it dawned on me: Yes, He is. Because His ability to “do” isn’t constrained by and doesn’t rely on my belief that He can. He can. He can. That’s it. He can. It’s like wondering if a beagle howls. Or a dolphin jumps. Or if grass is green. The answer is yes, yes, and yes. Whether I believe it or not, the grass is still green. A dolphin will still jump. A beagle will still howl.

And God is able.

So I’m thankful today that even in my wavering ups and downs where for one minute I’m singing How Great Thou Art and the next I’m quoting one of my favorite lines from Rescue Dawn – “God, why don’t You help us when we need You most?” – God is still there, and He is still able.

-Out of the Wilderness

Life: Laughing together like people in Japan probably do

Laughing.

We all do it. Babies. Old folks. Democrats. Republicans. AP English teachers. Criminals. People in the smallest town in the US to people in the largest city in Japan.

ms smilingWhen God created us, he included something that makes life so much more enjoyable. The sense of humor. And it’s pretty cool that there are different types. Something I find funny isn’t the same as what you think’s funny. Sense of humor can be seen in all areas of life; from TV ads like this one…
…to funerals where someone giving the most heartfelt eulogy can pepper in a bit of humor that works perfectly, even in the midst of heartbreaking loss.

I’ve been thinking some this week about this thing called humor. How it fits into my life. If you know me at all, it’s needless to say I value it very much. I absolutely love making someone laugh with a timely thought, an odd look, or a movie quote. And I equally love when someone can make me laugh. There’s more to it, though, and this is what I’ve been wrestling with the past few days.

When do I use humor to keep people from knowing the deeper things in my heart?

I think there are times I don’t like to admit that I’ve used humor as a way for you to like me. Sort of a social resume. It’s especially true when I first meet people. Humor is a way to say, “Hey, I’m a fun person!” I hand over a piece of paper with a few topical one-liners, a personal quip about my dogs, an impression of Jimmie Fallon doing an impression of Donal Trump.

“Let’s build a waalllllll.”

But hey, I’ve already built a wall! Yes, perfect segue. I can comfortably hide behind this wall to keep from revealing the other things I value. Deep conversations. Complete trust. Working hard and not cutting corners. No one wants to talk about those things in social scenarios, right? So a wall’s constructed, beautified, updated with the most current news or movie quotes, all in an attempt to:

  1. Get you to like me
  2. Keep me from being vulnerable which could lead to rejection

This weekend, though, I’ve longed for that vulnerability. I feel it most alive, or most exposed, when I have conversations with long-time friends, those handful of people that’ve climbed over the wall to experience the deeper parts of my personality. Beyond the humor I sometimes hide behind.

So to my long-time friends, thank you for letting me be vulnerable. To new friends, please like me! I hope one day soon we can let our guards down. To laugh together like people in Japan probably do, but also trust each other like long-time friends do.

-BW
ms smiling 2