God Moments

What is a God moment? A God moment is a clear moment when God shows himself in special way. For example: a child can’t go to summer mission trip bc the family can’t afford it and out of the blue a silent donor steps up and provides the funds for the child to go to camp. That is a God moment.

I witnessed a BIG God moment recently. It was really someone else’s God moment bc it happened to them so I won’t detail it here -but I saw the moment too. I saw God in what happened to them and bc I needed a God moment in my life it became mine as well. It was as if God raised his arm and was waving a big yellow flag and saying “Yes I am here! Yes I love you. Yes I see your life and your challenges and I will help you! ‘

OK! Wow I see it. Why do I need these God moments to affirm what I already know – that our God is with us in our lives all the time? Why did I need it? Because I was losing hope. I was down. I was wondering when God was going to fix my problems. Where the heck was he? Well Anne, HE is here ALL THE TIME! In the muck and the mire he is here. When our hearts ache he is here. WITH US – ALL THE TIME.

We need to pay attention to God moments. They are not just gifts to the deserving and only lucky folks get them. No- God moments are for everyone. Sometimes we miss a God moment because it isn’t a big one like the one I witnessed the other day. Or we think of the moment as a blessing but not as God truly showing himself to us. God is in all things. Small moments are God moments too. We are just human-we sometimes need the pomp and circumstance of a BIG God moment to get our attention. We say “Oh wow- he is here.”  Gods like” I am here all the time- I just had to make sure you saw me. You’ve been missing me.”

Writer Jerry Schmoyer writes in Time Out (on Studentministry.org), “So appreciate the “God moments” as the “icing on the cake” special love notes from God, but do not limit God’s involvement in our lives to these. Realize that every activity and every event in our life is, in fact, a God moment.”

So it took a God moment given to someone else for me to be lifted up again with hope. It feels somewhat selfish to grab on to another’s moment – but it was a moment for me too- it just spoke to me and I think God truly wanted it that way. God is trying to tell me that He is here all the time. He is in every moment. I can take another persons moment and be reaffirmed bc God wants it this way. He wants to tap me on my shoulder to remind me to come up for air and breath him in.

Take a moment and look around – God moments are right there in front of you. It doesn’t have to bowl you over like it apparently needed to do to me to wake me up and get me focused. They are there to be seen and appreciated. What a wonderful God we have.

The God moment I wrote about in the first paragraph? The one where the child got to attend the mission trip? That was my daughter.  We were that family. I did not grasp that as a God moment at first- how things fell together to get my child to that trip. It was hard to accept that gift at first. It was easy for me in my bravado to ignore that it was a God moment but as I sat to write this column it dawned on me that I missed the subtle nudge from God letting me know he is right here taking care of me and my family. Our human minds can become so muddled we sometimes just do not see what is right in front of us.

We shouldn’t need BIG God moments to get us back on track or to help us have faith. We have God in every minute of every day. But the good thing is those moments are going to happen no matter what because we have a loving God who is glorious and is going to be part of our lives whether we see him or not. So we always have a chance to be knocked over by one of the big moments if thats what it takes. —Praise God for that!

Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

 

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It’s all about love…

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This is a picture of my dad on his wedding day in Marco Island Florida last February 2013 -he was 77 years old. My dad and his bride LuWayne dated for about 16 years before they decided to tie the knot. Yes 16 years.

My dad and my mom divorced when I was thirteen -my brother and I lived with him. That was not common in those days and divorce itself was just becoming something you didn’t have to whisper about. My dad found himself raising two kids- one a teen and the other a pre-teen. Needless to say our house was quite crazy! I was full of myself and boy crazy at the same time. How does a dad deal with that? Anyway we wouldn’t have survived without my Nana- my dad’s mom. She is another story for another post.

My dad began dating which was super weird when you are a teen. I didn’t want to pay much attention to his dating and I was ridiculed by neighborhood kids when he brought a woman over for a cookout. She had a couple kids of her own that came along. I was mortified as I listened to the neighbor kids sing the Brady Bunch song to me. Anyway I never saw that woman again and my dad began dating a fellow IBMer named Jean. At some point my dad became serious with Jean and married her the summer before I went into tenth grade. Back then I didn’t think much of her- she was very strict and cramped my teen style. But later I realized what she took on by marrying my dad. She took on two teens and a man that is – how can I put it- unique. My dad has a very strong personality. So poor Jean had to be tough. They had there ups and downs but mostly ups. Sadly Jean developed cancer at age 51 and passed away. I was 30 by then. My dad was 58 years old.

So there was my dad alone and having to navigate the world again as a single man. He and Jean had planned a move to Marco Island , Florida. He put it on hold a year and sold their home in Potomac, md. and rented an apartment in the same complex where my Nana – who passed in 1987- had lived for nearly 30 years. I think that move to that apartment was a comfort thing for my dad.

My dad is not one to show sadness. So he always tried to remain upbeat. He was going down to Florida a lot as his new home was being built. I was surprised he kept that plan to move south. He was always a beach guy but I never saw him as a Florida guy. But it turns out I don’t know much!

My dad definitely had his pick of suitors -but I think he was looking for someone special. He dated a nice woman for a bit in Maryland but when he moved to Florida it fizzled out. On the other hand , Marco Island , seemed to be just the right place for my dad. There was a lot to do, it was beautiful there, and there were many retired folks there. My dad was semi-retired and he could work part-time right from his home that overlooked a lovely canal.

Soon after moving there, he had a clutch of new friends. I have to say I think that was brave of him to go where he knew only one person (an old school friend who was a bit older than my dad). That would be hard at age 60 but he knew what he wanted to do and it was a great choice. He was very social and went out a lot. He never really talks about love and anything too sentimental. But to me there was always an undertone of loneliness in those early days in Florida. I really hoped that he would find someone special.

I was still single when my dad was newly single. I had ended a long term relationship just before we lost my stepmother. I was building up my career and I was hoping to find the One somewhere along the way. In some ways my dad and I were on the same path looking for love. In 1997 I went to visit my dad in Florida- i was coming out of a breakup of a short relationship but it left me in a bad state. So running to warm,sunny Florida in September seemed a good idea. And I thought hanging with my single dad would be fun too. The funny thing is that now as I’m writing this I remembered that the person who dropped me at the airport is now my husband! That’s for another story as well!

The thing is when I got to Florida on that visit my dad had someone to introduce me to. I suppose he had spoken of her on the phone when we chatted but I am sure I was caught up in my life so I didn’t pay much attention. So I was introduced to a very pretty lady about my dad’s age. Her name was LuWayne. Right away I knew this person was special. She was warm, friendly, talkative, smart and just zany enough to get my dad. She was a music director at her church and played the organ on Sundays. My dad long ago broke his rule about dating only Catholics. That was a big deal for him. But a good thing because otherwise LuWayne may not have been in the picture. And I was very glad she was.

I could tell my dad really liked LuWayne -I could see he tried to be a better person when he was with her. She laughed at his jokes and she made him smile. My dad can be impatient and she dealt with that like a pro. She was independent and laid back. They were very different but good for eachother. LuWayne was and still is so positive. She is a great person to just sit and chat with she makes you feel cared for. She has three kids who I have not met to this day. All of them I feel I know we have chatted a lot about them.

My dad and LuWayne dated for 16 years. They had ups and downs and even a breakup that lasted a while. LuWayne decided to buy a home in Nashville,TN . Her son and his wife were in that area and I think she wanted to be nearer to them and their children. That fueled a break-up that I don’t have all the details about but I know I was quite sad that they weren’t together anymore. My dad was not the same person as he had been with LuWayne and I worried for him. Luwayne grounded my dad and without her he seemed lost. My dad didn’t express his feelings but you just knew he missed her.

Lo and behold they got back together after seeing eachother on a Saint Patricks Day. The luck of the Irish my dad might say. So began the reconnection. Luwayne began to live with my dad during the winter and shacking up was not something either really believed in. So talk began about getting married. I think my dad would have married her long ago even prior to that breakup but he never pushed it. He had found love again and was happy just being together. She told me that they just keep ending up together and that she knew he was unique (my word) but she loved him. And they are best friends. What more can you ask for? I know my husband just gets me…or what he doesn’t get he just accepts bc he loves me. We are best friends.

My dad and LuWayne got married in a small ceremony – just them and two friends – on the beach on Marco Island last February. They went on a short cruise for their honeymoon. I sent them two toasting glasses for a gift. They were thrilled and used them for their toast after the ceremony. In the picture I see two very happy people. I keep this picture on my fridge. I love seeing my dad so happy. I know it’s been a long road for him. He suffered some major losses. But the one thing I see is a man who never gave up on love. He always longed for it and never ran from the possibility. He found someone later in life and he never thought he wouldn’t. Or at least he never said it. And finally when the time was right for both of them, they got married. Just like Jon Katz said in his new book “Second Chance Dog” that love was not just about him and what he wanted but it was about what the other person needed and wanted too. I think my dad got that idea especially after he and LuWayne broke up and reunited. My dad never gave up on love and now at 78 he is as happy as I have ever seen him. That is a love story.

Thanks for reading…

What a world….

What a world we live in. Most days I feel we live in a wonderful world and am thankful God has given me the chance to experience it. But on days when tragedy strikes I wonder why I think this world is so wonderful – its all just really scary.

The terrible explosions that happened April 15 in Boston on the day of the marathon rocked all of us to the core. Some of us knew people running in the race or knew people who were there to watch. We frantically texted them to make sure they were all right. We wondered if other bombs would go off there or even nearer to us. We wonder why these tragic events happened. We became afraid of what could happen next.

When some person or group takes out whatever their anger or hatred they have on innocent human beings it robs everyone of their joy and peace- at least for a time. Children wonder if a bomb will go off at their school or during soccer practice. Adults wonder if they should attend that major league baseball game for fear something might happen. Our lives are robbed of joy….and that makes me so angry. I pray and cry for the victims and those who died in the wake of those explosions, but I also cry for all of us because after each one of these tragedies we are changed forever in some way.

In a world that is out of control – we as humans look for some way to be in control. The harder we try the harder it seems to be to gain the control. When terrible things happen it makes us realize how unkind the world can be – and how not in control we really are. We look for a reason for why these terrible things happen. All the reasons n the world will not make sense of any of these tragedies. There will always be something out there trying to steal our joy- and fill us with fear.

So what to do? As Christians we know we are living in a temporary home. We know we will experience hard times and joys. The only thing we can do when darkness strikes is to reach for the light of our loving God. .                 2 Corinthians 4:18- So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. We may question God – wondering why these things happen and we may just never know- but keep reaching your hand up because God is there to comfort you in the darkness. Isaiah 49:13 – Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. (NIV). God will take your hand and help to heal your heart.

We cannot let the bad things of this world steal our joy and make us fear. If we let this happen we are shrinking our lives and not living the life God wants us to live. We have no way of controlling what is around that next bend. But we do know that God is with us every step of the way. If we lean on him he will lift us from our fears. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (NIV).

I am no stranger to fear and what giving in to that fear can rob you of. I lean on God every day to walk me through fear. In times like this I am more determined than ever to not let the craziness of this world rob me of more of my life. I will mourn with the country and pray for these things to stop happening but I will not allow it to rob me of my joy of life or make me sick with fear. I will believe what my God has told me and trust those words. Otherwise, I am chasing control in a world where gaining control is impossible.— Thank you for reading…

  •  Deuteronomy 31:8 – The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (NIV).
  • Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (NIV)
  • Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Gratitude

I recently wrote this for my church’s newsletter.——–

Perspectives……..by Anne Sweeney

Gratitude-

I had one of those God moments this month. Where a word or thought has popped into my head a number of times. I just felt like God wanted me to write about that word. That word was Gratitude- hence my topic for this month.

What is gratitude? Gratitude in defined on Dictionary.com as the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.

What is gratitude from a Christian viewpoint? Gratitude in the Christian sense is a spiritual practice. It is about offering a deep thankfulness for the Lord’s work in our lives.

I don’t think I am always truly gracious from the Christian viewpoint. Oh, I give my thanks to those who help me, we say grace each evening, I pray and read the Bible when I can, and I try to thank God each morning that I wake up to another day. But I don’t find that I always have what I call deep gratitude. It’s more than just thanking God. It is the need to be more intentional in gratitude. As Christians we have so much to be thankful for.

When I realize what has been given to me by Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection I can hardly believe what I have been given. I surely don’t deserve it. The more I look into myself from a Godly perspective the more awful I seem. There is NO way I could ever get into heaven if it was not for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice He made. I have been given amazing grace!

In a society where we want this and that, and we feel entitled to this and that, we often feel angry when we don’t get what we want. We often blame God. We let the every day stuff stomp out the important things and the things we should have the most gratitude for – the love and grace from God.

Randy Alcorn from Eternal Perspective Ministries puts it like this (and I could not say it any better)” If only we could see our situation clearly—even for a moment. We deserved expulsion; He gives us a diploma. We deserved the electric chair; He gives us a parade. Anything less than overwhelming gratitude should be unthinkable. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything. When you realize you deserve nothing better than hell, it puts a “bad day” in perspective, doesn’t it?

Uh- yes that gives me some perspective…how about you? When we realize what we , as Christians, have been saved from shouldn’t the gratitude to God and the smaller every day things just overflow from us? I know this does not always happen though. How can we be more intentionally gracious?
If we look at gratitude as a belief system and an intentional way of life- a choice – we can grow our spirit of thankfulness even when we are amidst the negative times in our lives. Jame A. Autry author of “Choosing Gratitude -Learning to Love the Life You Have” reminds us that “there will always be more reasons for gratitude than for despair.” In practicing gratitude the sorrow and bitterness will be replaced with joy and a humbleness for what we are being given but don’t deserve- grace and redemption. I have some work to do! What about you?

Thank you for reading!

Telling your story

We all have a story or two to tell. There are incredibly interesting things about each one of us and the lives we lead.  I love chatting with people i meet from day to day because usually if you get them talking they have some interesting story to tell.

Sometimes I am shocked that people take interest in our little farm and then I remember how enamored with farms I had been before I had one. Lets face it, I am still enamored with farms –  I love to see silos in the distance.  I love to watch those large tractors drive up and down the fields.  I love to see horses, sheep and cows grazing…and I love to hear farm stories told by anyone who has one to tell! Tell me about your goats getting out, how many eggs you get a day, your compost pile! I am hooked!

I am a mish mash of stories. Some changed my life.  There are some stories I tell very easily and others I hold to myself.  We are all probably like that to a degree. Sometimes I wonder why I might be holding a story in. Am I embarrassed – or is it too private (as some are), am I avoiding something, do I worry what other people might think?

One of the stories I don’t tell often is my Christian testimony.  For those who are reading this and don’t know what a Christian testimony is :”A testimony is a compilation of words that tells others about your faith.”   I dont tell mine very often because I don’t feel like it is that interesting really- it does not have the big bang – it is more of a discovery on a slow moving steam.   And frankly I know I don’t share it often because I worry I might offend the audience.

I had that experience recently  I wasn’t invited nor was I planning to share my entire testimony with a person I was speaking with. But I knew during the conversation I was having that expressing a part of my testimony might be important.  I also knew it might offend the person if I didn’t say the right thing. I have to tell you I hemmed and hawed through the small part I told.  I was frustrated with myself!

Why do I do that?  Why is it so awkward to me to express that Jesus Christ changed my life?  That once i came to know Him my heart was changed- that I was changed?  I want to be so eloquent with my words and express the changes that have occurred in my life after I decided to give my life to Jesus Christ. Instead, I  don’t feel like I made much sense. But today a good friend told me that it is better when we don’t sound so perfect in our words..it makes it all less intimidating.  That made me feel better- because I was not perfect!  Maybe in some way God spoke through me -not in my words but in my expression-  I am not sure but I hope so.

I thought later that my words might have opened a crack in the armor  This person felt that people of faith often were hypocrites.  Maybe by explaining that I was a hypocrite sometimes, a sinner a lot(a forgiven sinner!), and completely underserving of God’s redemption maybe that person would understand that those people they thought should be so infallible because they called themselves christians…were just human.  That being a Christian does not mean we are perfect…  We will never reach that bar if that is what people are looking for when they see a Christian.  To me it means being changed in heart, trying to please and serve God each day with what I say and do- and when I fail that I ask God to forgive me and that my heart means it.

My friend had also been badly hurt by a person who said they were Christian. I won’t deny there are some unkind, and just bad people who might label themselves as Christians. I know when someone is really harmed by a person who claims to be a Christian this can push the hurt person away from God – as it did with my friend.  My only answer to that is – that was a person  – not God. Please don’t turn your back on God because of what a human does to you. Please trust that God did not lead that person to hurt you. God is love – not hate.

Can I help get a person, who has been badly hurt by another person who claimed to be a Christian, to stop blaming God and turn to Jesus?   I have no idea – but the only way I can try at all is by telling my story – no matter how muddled I get in the telling.

So please tell your story – not only the Christian one – tell any story because they matter and you matter and you never know how they will effect someone.  In my case, I hope I made some difference.  I think facing life is much easier knowing I have a creator who loves me and a wonderful place to go after I leave this temporary world.

Thanks for reading—-

I knew I had pickling spice–one of those little God moments

I was trying to make corned beef for St Pattys Day- I was doing it the day before because we had a church activity Sunday night the actual St Patty’s Day.

I realized that my corned beef did not come with a pickling spice packet. I normally have pickling spice in my spice cupboard. I did not recall using it all up but I could not find it.  I took a bunch of items out and there was no pickling spice! So frustrating!  I knew pickling spice had cloves in it- at least I thought it did- so I put cloves on my meat. Then I decided to consult the internet on how to make my own pickling spice.  So I looked on the net and put together a list of spices I thought I had and decided to use those to make my own version of the spice!

I walked back to the kitchen and opened up the cupboard and was reaching my hand in- I had not touched anything. All of a sudden something fell in the back of the cupboard! I had a weird feeling…. I reached back and there were my pickling spices!  I had looked all around in there but not well enough! Coincidence….hmmmm maybe to some… but that was a God moment for me! However simple, I know He and his angels had a hand in helping me find that spice! All I could do was smile and whisper thanks.  It is nice to know we are being watched over….all the time….

The corned beef was pretty good I might add!

Thanks for reading!

Having Compassion…

I wrote this last fall for our church newsletter. It was election time and I felt that there was so much hate tossed around – it really made me sad. So this was what I wrote:

Perspectives……Anne Sweeney

Everyone Needs Compassion….

Today on my Facebook newsfeed, GodVine shared a sign that read “Don’t Judge Someone Just Because They Sin Differently Than You.” This made me really think about how easy it is for me to be judgmental. For goodness sake I even judge others for judging others! As if I have it all figured out. We all sin. All of us. Sometimes I think we humans feel like we need to belong to something so we join this bandwagon or that to feel important. We react before we think. Sometimes maybe we need to look at ourselves and the stand we are taking. Are we not sinners too? Some sins are easy to see and other times they are only known by us and God. But we are all sinners…it is just human nature to sin. I know I am a sinner!- and I know I am blessed to have my Savior Jesus Christ to save me from me. We need to try to separate the sin from the sinner and treat the person as a person. Isn’t it said “Hate the sin, love the sinner”?…I hope people do that for me… I hope I can do it for others.

Psalm 19:14 says “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” This is a tall order for human beings! I can be so judgmental!Some days I feel like I keep thinking and saying things that are so unpleasing to God but I can’t seem to stop! Is it just my nature to think surly things and say unkind words? No—we all have moods…joy, sadness, anger, crabbiness, etc. When I am joyful it is so easy for me to be loving and non-judgmental because I am feeling loving and kind. When I am crabby, tired, stressed, those kind thoughts and words can be so hard for me to find! But I do have choices. I can choose to make the words kind and try to chase those negative thoughts out of my mind.

In having these choices we get to thoughtfully consider the plight of others. This can help us avoid harsh judgement against other sinners…or when others disagree with our beliefs….or live differently than we do. Looking at others compassionately may not come naturally but its a choice we can make. We can choose to step back and look at someone and their sin and if we can really separate that person as a person and see the sin as a sin we can see the child created by God. This is compassion. This is love. Love is a choice not a feeling.

The Bible tells us how important it is that we love each other. In Romans 12:10 it reads:
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” We know Jesus said that we need to love one another. Jesus knew all humans are sinners – he knew none of us had a right to judge another. He had love and compassion for every person he met during his time on Earth. He wanted us to love each other and be devoted to each other because humans need other humans to support them through life. Ephesians 4:32 says: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. As Christians we are so lucky to have salvation. The only reason I need salvation is because I am a sinner! It is only because of the unconditional love and compassion of God that I have received this gift of salvation. Better for us to love the sinner the way we, the sinner, want to be loved.

Where am I going with all this? I don’t know. It just seems that lately I have seen a lot of hate. I don’t even watch the news and I cannot get away from all the negativity and judgement. Maybe it is because we are in the midst of voting for president. Hackles seem to come up more easily during these times, I suppose. It just bothers me to see so much hate and judgement. It reminds me to try to be less judgmental as I am in no position to be a judge. Disagreement and differences can be healthy if love and compassion are put forth. We can actually learn from each other –and sometimes just agree to disagree. My view may be naïve but I try to take what I learn from the Bible and the important messages that are taught there. What is stressed most is love and compassion. This earthly home of ours is temporary. We can make a difference in this world by just trying a love a little more, judge a little less, and show lots of compassion. I am challenging myself to improve in my tendency to judge. I want to show more love and understanding….I am choosing to do this…how about you?

Thanks for reading!

An Authentic Life?

I wrote this in May 2012 for the newsletter for the church that I attend…

Perspectives…by Anne Sweeney

Am I living and Authentic Life?

I attended a memorial party for a friend who lost her life recently to cancer. During that party they showed a video of pictures taken throughout her life. They were just beautiful and such a reflection of who she was and the life she led. She was really a wonderful, funny person and during her 16 year battle with cancer she lived her life to the fullest. What I call an Authentic life. Maybe when a person is faced with a life threatening illness they know they need to live their life as best they can…maybe the reality of facing death takes the fear out of living life.

What is an Authentic Life? Mike Robbins author of “Be Yourself- Everyone Else is Already Taken” defines an authentic life as “enjoying a new sense of freedom to be who you really are – yourself, natural and without a mask.” He explains that there are five principles of authenticity –
1) Know Yourself – this refers to self-discovery and growth about yourself
2) Transform your fear – a willingness to express, own and face your fears
3) Express Yourself – honestly express your emotions
4) Be Bold – going for it- even it you are scared
5) Celebrate who you are – loving and appreciating the person you are.

I would add a sixth principle to the list above – trust God who gave you life – to help you to find an authentic life. Without a relationship with God I see the five principles above being hard to reach. It is God who will carry us through every trial. God wants us to live an authentic life.

I have done a lot of changing over the years. I used to be trapped in trying to please everyone, I had trouble saying no and I often did things that others thought I should do. As I matured I realized I wasn’t happy conforming to what the norm was for others. So I sought out my own normal. Often when I had an idea that was out of the norm a lot of people liked to tell me why I shouldn’t do it. Then I knew that my idea was a good one for me! Take our farm- we would not be here if we had not followed a “normal” path. It was our faith in God and ability to step out of the box that led us to this place.

I still battle with having an authentic life. I battle with anxiety – and sometimes fear stands in my way. But my relationship with the Lord has helped me so much. The more I trust him the better I am able to face my fears as in step 2 above. I am not always authentic..my opinions are often different than others – should I be real and express them? I think if asked my opinion I should give it and that is when being real can be hard. Questions like “who are you voting for?”- can make me mute- should I answer with the truth even though I know this person is voting for the other guy and he might get upset and argue with me? Or should I just go along with the conversation to avoid argument? Maybe politics is a bad example but you get my drift.

I often don’t want to offend people by talking too much about my relationship with Jesus Christ. Why do I do that? My relationship with Jesus has only brought amazing blessings to my life. I look at life in such a different way. It is a gift I long to share but I often feel like I will offend someone if I share with them. But to be truly authentic I really need to feel I can speak about something that defines who I am. So I am a work in progress. Where are you in this journey? Maybe you had never thought about this until you read this article! Maybe you never will think of it again! But for some, maybe your like me – on a journey to find the most authentic life you can. I can’t think of anything more freeing than living a life authentically. But it is getting to that freedom that is the journey.

I think being able to bring who we really are to the table will enhance our relationships. Deepen them. You know how it feels to see an old friend from the past- one who you knew when you were young? There is so much comfort there probably because at some point when we were young we felt freer to be ourselves. So the connection is deep.

The Bible tells us the type of life we can live. All of Paul’s letters clearly show us what is important in living life. Proverbs is another source to find the life God wants us to lead. The Bible can be a guide and a comfort in a journey to be more authentic. Jesus was completely authentic. He could not have been anything but. He was who he was – he spoke what he felt and taught what he knew God ,his father, wanted him to teach even when he knew many people would dislike him – hate him- fear him – for what he said and who he was. It is hard to live that kind of life because as humans we want to be accepted and loved. To live authentically though we have to understand not everyone here on earth is going to love – or like us- but there is always one that loves all the time- that is God the Father. We also have to let others live their lives authentically.

There are some famous people who understood the need to be authentic:

Henry David Thoreau went to the woods to search for authenticity in his own life. He is quoted as saying “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Thoreau went to the live in the woods in order to find a more authentic life.

Steve Jobs said: ”Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

We don’t need to go to the woods to live to find our authentic life. We can look inside ourselves right in our own homes. We can trust God to lead us to the life He planned for us. And He can be the bridge over our fears.

When in doubt read Philippians 4:6-7 says “6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV). Bring your worries to the Lord and he will give you peace.

Thanks for reading….