What a way to start my day…I popped into the kitchen for some coffee while a feisty rant fest was playing out with my co workers. Before I knew it I made a comment which further stirred the pot as 3 pairs of eyes glared at me. “Sheesh!” “I really need to remember to simply shut my mouth!”
When we are Jesus filled, I can honestly attest that we go through a transformation. The way we see the world changes, just as that sinful person we were goes through a series of self reflection and insight, and change. God’s grace changes our perspectives and perceptions of the world. The negative we once felt make way for an understanding as we leave our sinful past behind us, and yes, we are made new. Those things we love to do or say in the pass is behind us. I am not saying it’s an overnight phenomenon, but over time, as we embrace Christ within us…we go through a transformation process, because He is now guiding us.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone, of my Church and worship community, and dealing day in and day out with the world around me is daunting and challenging.
As much as I love being in my comfort zone, I think about Jesus – Our wondrous God who came to us in human form so that we may come to know him. He walked among us and help those in need. He healed the sick. His ministry was with the outcast of society. Jesus emulated love. How do I emulate love when I hide from the world?
When we let Jesus into our life and soul, there is something inside us which is transformed. The judgmental, bitchy, negative me – the me who use to sit with the girls and trash talk has faded away. Instead my heart is filled with a love for Jesus that raises in me a depth of soulfulness that I cannot even articulate. I can say that there is a song in my heart. My pen composes love songs for Jesus. There have been moments when I am so overwhelmed with his love, I feel the tears of joy run down my cheeks.
There is also this incredible feeling within to share with others the love that emulates from with in…I want to shout, and sometimes imagine myself lifting my arms in praise of our glorious God. I am aware that those around me – those who have known me – do not understand the changes in me. I have become an outcast and a freak!
Yes, I am happy to live in my bubble, sharing with my fellow Jesus loving family and community, but He calls out to me to walk among the non believers. They are in our workplace, our schools, and we pass them by daily….and Jesus wants us to show mercy, to love, and share our love of Him with those around us. He wants us to tell others how much Jesus loves them too!
Out there, not everyone is gonna think like me, or even share the same religion as me. It’s not about me! It is about sharing the love of Jesus! There’s someone out there who desperately need to know of his love. There is someone out there who wants to know Jesus. Repeat, it is not about me, but about sharing the love of Jesus with others.
God wants to use us as an instrument of help and hope in the world. How can I let God use me if I hide in my shell – my comfort zone? The world yearns for hope, and I have a God who is all about hope and glory – How can I be so selfish that I would want to keep this good news to myself?
Yeah it is scary – they are different from me, with different backgrounds, different opinions, diverse personalities, and their lifestyles are not necessarily like mine, but God still calls us to the world.
Yes, I will feel discomfort, as I did when I should have shut up! I will definitely feel the blunt of their disagreement, and their disdain, but we have a God who wants to partner with us, and He calls us to follow him like fishers of men to outreach!
The next time I find myself in a similar situation, I pray I have the insight and wisdom to smile, and simply say,”Good Morning!”
As an teacher, my heart goes out to children whose parents are going through a separation or divorce. From my experience, the children in my charge go through an emotional and grieving process that often leads to low self esteem and anxiety as they cope with new changes in their lives. What was once a “happy” nuclear family is now a dysfunctional one that sometimes require a calendar to meander through the weekly changes of being shuffled from one house to the other, to who has the authorization to to pick up the child, to a slew of other changes emotionally and psychologically.
My son confides in me the stories of many of his own friends and the drama that unfolds during the divorce of their parents. He tells me the heart wrenching story of his best friend – His bestie has two other siblings (one older and one younger), but after the divorce of his parents, his Sikh father only wants to see him every other week, and wants nothing to do with his two other siblings. His Quebecois mother has custody of the other two, and share custody with my son’s bestie.
I thought at first how unusual until I discovered this week an ex-student of mine is also involved in a divorce. Her mom left her dad with the two eldest daughters, leaving her 24 month old sister behind.
My heart cries out for these children and the fractures in their young lives. The intercultural dichotomy in a relationship can be challenging, especially if there is a difference of religion and culture. In my ex-students situation, her mom left a strict traditional Chinese patrilineal marriage which denies her the rights from a cultural standpoint. “Married life is hard work”, is what I recently told a newlywed friend of mine. There will always certainly be ups and the downs in married life, and from my own experience, honest and communication is the only way to weather through it. What helped my husband and I through every trial was TRUST and the God centered attitude to work through it. With honesty, there is no denial, just as without communication, there can be no reciprocal relationship.
The love of a newly married couple is very different from the love within a relationship after 30 plus year of marriage. As a couple grow and face the challenges in their marriage together with total honesty and communication, the love slowly develops into something that is full of depth and substance.
I remember when I first met my husband as a young university student in a punk rock club – Yes, a noisy club I use to slam dance and listen to hardcore music. Dan was a friend of the bouncer, who kinda took it upon himself to keep a careful eye on me – a petite Chinese girl who was kinda nerdy, and totally out of her depth amidst hardcore punk rockers.
Dan and I are from two different walks of life and culture, but my dad saw in him something of substance, and shared with him the love of Jesus. Dad planted those first fruits seeds in Dan – love and kindness. Those first years as a couple saw much changes in our relationship – from being a boy friend, to a “common-law” couple, to marriage. I am sure my parents prayer were long and steady on our behalf, just as with every visit, my dad never stopped sharing with his testimony and his love of Jesus.
There were ups and downs as I left the wild punk rock scene and buckle down to studying – first two bachelor and then my M.F.A. Dan always supported my educational drive, even through he only completed his high school degree. He also supported my walk back to Jesus. In the early days of our courtship, Dan would drive me every Sunday to St. Stephen’s for worship (he would stay in the car). This period also saw my dad pass away, and I think his death was a living testimony and opened my husband’s heart and soul.
One Sunday I asked Dan to accompany me into St. Stephens, and he did. A non practicing Catholic by birth, Dan was able to relate to Nick Brotherwood, an ex-punker himself, and now one of the pastors at St. Stephens. With his British accent, and insightful sermons, God used him to touch my husbands heart until His whispers was heard. What follows was miraculous, as my husband joined the Alpha course offered to young adults at St. Stephens, which in turn led to a renewal in Christ Jesus as his personal Savior.
Our journey as a couple has not always been an easy one as we worked through the many changes thrown at us. First from not being able to have children, and after much prayer – the miracle of adopting two beautiful infants, to learning to become parents, and to keeping God center in our relationship – it is with God’s blessing we are still married and together. The last 15 years saw us go through a financial consolidation which saw us lose real estate holdings, and my husband being laid off many times, as his industry went through changes.
In retrospective, much of the challenges thrown our way has helped us grow stronger as a couple, and as parents. It has also deepen my faith in Christ, without whom I would have probably left my husband and become one of the many dysfunctional families around me. By God’s grace, I have been lifted up when I felt discouraged and weak. Faith gave me hope.
Trials teach us what we are; they dig up the soil, and let us see what we are made of. – Charles Spurgeon
I see the hand of Christ in my husbands life, as He opens doors for him, just as I see my husband’s faith remain steadfast with all the curves thrown at him. We dealt with our financial lost together, knowing that God provides for our needs. Most of all I praise God for guiding me to be the best wife and mom I can be, just as I see God working in my husband to be the best husband and dad he can be – loving unconditionally is the key – just as Jesus loves us.
Holding on to our faith, and to God in our time of need is the glue that keeps our family together:
Jesus is our sure and steadfast anchor, without which we would have been lost in the depth of the sea…
OMG, it’s 6:30 pm and I need to get online and log into Guild War 2, or I’ll be missing the nightly world boss event (Defeat Tequatl the Sunless). Before I realize it, I’ve been playing for 4 hours straight! Where did the time go?
White noise is not bad in moderation, but as I’ve come to realize it’s everywhere around me. At home, my world is a twirling swirl of “white noise”. There is the distance hum of the refrigerator, the spinning sound from the dryer as I am writing this post, to the buzzing of the fan my laptop sits upon. I live in noise! Most of the time I don’t notice it. However, when I am trying to concentrate, the noise around me is more evident. Go figure! “White noise” can drive me to distraction.
When I was a student, I use to procrastinate before settling down to study by cleaning the whole house. Yeah I was having a hard time buckling down to work. As I got older, my slew of devices from the iPhone, iPad to my online gaming became handicaps to drown out what needed to get done, or it help drown out the stress of teaching, or push the personal life anxieties I was experiencing into the crevice of my mind. What I don’t see, I don’t need to examine.
Yes, I have got to say, “white noise” helps in covering up the immediate, and is effective in keeping my mind so occupied, I don’t need to think or feel. Every moment of my day, “white noise” also blocks me from dealing with what’s essential in my personal walk with Christ. My world overloads my senses, so that in essences, I am never essentially alone.
White Noise – according to Clay Scroggins is “a form of sound masking, and I couldn’t agree more.
It keeps our mind and being so cluttered with non essential time wasters that it prevents me from being in God’s presence with a pure heart.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 | NIV
These days I yearn for silence, and ironically the more I seek quiet time, the more I get disturbed or side tracked. Today I sought the empty classroom of one of my colleague for just that – only to have her interrupt me a number of times to the point I gave up. I decided to be mindful of her need to chatter, and put aside my own need. Being in the moment came first in this instance. I also got a chance to explain to her why I was seeking alone time with God.
Why has the issue of silence become so important to me?
So I can hear Gods whisper.
I need to pare down on the “white noise” around me.
I’m not sure how it started, and perhaps the process of restoration with God is a part of my life long journey. Perhaps is was through a series of life events that moved me to draw closer to God. Maybe it was the need to share my love of Jesus with my children before they become immersed in our secular world. Nevertheless something triggered inside me – intangible and profound.
Once my relationship with Christ was restored, I saw my world anew. The old kinda slipped away, and in came the new:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
I can certainly attest to this!
Shooing away “white noise”, has been an interesting process as I identify how obsessive and dependent some of them are in my life. My iPhone alone is a trove of white noise. Notifications abound from Facebook (and messenger), twitter and all my social media (Kik, Whats-app, Skype, Team speak, etc.) to “you’ve got mail”, to text reminders, and text messages.
Deleting Facebook, and messenger is one of the best things I’ve done in cutting the white noise out of my life. The daily thumb scrolling to see what my “friends” are up to became obsessive. Well, do I really need to see what they do day in and day out? Do I really need a blow by blow of their daily schedule, along with where they are every hour or so? OK a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my drift. I also deleted most of my social media chat accounts. How the heck did I use to have time for all this?
Oh then there’s the television – not necessarily a bad thing, but throw in Netflix, and I have the biggest vehicle for wasting time yet! During the Christmas holidays, I watched all the holiday themed chick flicks in two days. Most recently, I watched all 10 episodes of Westworld – a HBO series in one day. Binge watching is not a good thing. I cancelled Netflix, and downsized my television programming with the excuse to my kids – “No, television during school week!” After a few weeks, the habit of nightly television watching kinda passed. We do not miss it!
The past few months I noticed I don’t log online much to play one of the many online games I use to play (GW2 and Tera is my short list). Oh the mores of a hardcore gamer! Wow, I can’t even figure out how the heck I had time to play them all.
Yes, it’s a matter of priorities, and these days my shift of focus is clearer since I eliminated most of the “white noise” from my life. I am not perfect, but I am chipping away at it daily. Today I challenged myself to stop thumb scrolling the daily news from all major online media outlets, and I was successful. Who needs the negative and “fake” news anyways?
Drawing closer to God, and being in the moment, has revealed to me the importance of my family – of their Spiritual well being, of time spent with them, and of seeking a deeper relationship with them as well. Time passes quickly, and in a blink of an eye, they are all grown up. Why waste it on “white noise”.
As I move close to God, I also seek more time alone with Him. These days I wait till the kids are in bed, so I can meditate on His word, watch one of the many teaching sermons from North Point Community Church and Buckhead Church, and with every opportunity, I praise Him. This is also my time to reflect and blog – my way of sharing the Good News of my Savior Jesus.
Most of all, I long to hear His whisper, and to be in His presence.
6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6 | NIV
Below is the first episode of White Noise, This sermon moved me to reflect and write this post. When God opens my heart, He also reveals to me my short comings, so that I can with a joyful heart, be made new in Him. ❤