Family Friday: Never Let Go Jack…Icebergs That Can Be Avoided

I have come to depend upon my eyes way too much.

No kidding. Every day I wake up, yawn, stretch, start looking around and constantly believe that what I see is ….well,…..true,…. just because I see it.

Somewhere along the way I fell in with a bad crowd, that mob that cries out silly phrases like “seeing is believing” and “what you see is what you get”. It was so easy to get sucked in, to become sold on the lazy and presumptuous idea that just because I observe a person, place or thing, I understand its meaning.

Yep, no doubt about it, I have Iceberg Eyes.

I’m a conceited captain who, drifting the ocean of my life, peers through the spyglass of my perception at glacial islands that dot the seascape, and just because I see the icy tips, I’m convinced that I see the whole iceberg. I simply disdain/ignore the reality that the major part of each ice-water mountain is covered, hidden by deep waters, un-attainable to my view and comprehension.

And I tend to see my fellow man with those same eyes. Iceberg Eyes.

As the supposed “Captain of my life”, I meander through each day and take a look at the people around me, casually meting out judgments like Zeus tossing lightning bolts from my own personal Olympus.

A see a lady dressed in sweats screams at her kids in the store, pushing a stroller with one hand and a shopping cart with the other.

She is a “shrew”.

A tatted-up kid blaring noise he calls music while filling the gas tank of his 72 Chevy truck.

He is a “punk”.

Two women and a young man, all well dressed, approach my door on a Saturday afternoon in 103 degree heat and I think, “Uh oh, religious fanatics don’t answer the bell”.

But Iceberg Eyes are not exclusive in their power to judge just the negative. Oh no, not by a long shot!

I see a neighbor in his brand new car, shuffling off to Aspen for vacation with his pretty wife and 2 beautiful children and I know that he has it made and is happier than I.

I watch a church leader and know he is always spiritual, a successful businessman and know he is must be capable at everything, or a Brady Bunch family and I know they never have any problems.

Yep, I am a Know It-All! Lord Grand High Poobah of what is right and wrong. I have a Master’s Degree in “How Things Are Supposed To Be”.

Give me a nickel’s worth of information and I will give you a dollar’s worth of advice. Ask me the time, and I’ll tell you how to build a watch.

I’m a mind reader, a director, a judge and a jury. I see all, so I know all.

I have Iceberg Eyes.

In my arrogance, I believe I can understand someone by how they look or what they do, or what they say. But hasn’t science proven that visual proof is the weakest proof of all? Yet one glance and I’ve got the situation labeled, defined and shelved.

Iceberg Eyes are the epitome of sloth.

Thomas Carlyle said, ”Before we censure a man for seeming what he is not, we should be sure we know what he is.”

But admit it…… it’s hard work, very hard work, to try and truly understand someone. For me to understand another person takes aggressive listening, constant deflation of my own ego (ouch!) and time, time, time!

Forget that! So much easier to shoot out a drive by judgment and close the case on another human being.

When I think I know another person based solely upon what I see, I tend to filter out a few small considerations…. Like, say….I don’t know….genetics, culture, personal history, parents, family, friends, health, religion, finances, prejudice, obstacles they have overcome, etc. You know,…… those events and things that truly create who we are, the hidden foundations upon which the edifice of our personality is formed. Things the eye cannot see.

Minor details.

Even the Bible says, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature …( or on his dress, or on his church or on his tattoos or on his hairstyle or on the car he drives, or on his children or the way he talks)….”for the Lord seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart”

Let someone, however, try to label or judge me in the slightest and oh how I shake my fist and demand that they take a look at the “whole situation”! That they empathize and understand and are patient with me and give me a break and back-off and let me explain and cut me some slack and walk a mile in my shoes!

Having Iceberg Eyes is akin to looking through the telescope of grace backwards.

All mercy for me – all justice for you.

So, what is the cure? How do I rid myself of this spiritual malady?

I can’t.

At least not by myself, for alone I just don’t have sufficient power.

I’m helpless to make the intrinsic emotional and spiritual re-arrangements necessary to change the way I see life. Just as a physician cannot perform self surgery for his own heart problem, I cannot self- perform the operation essential to healing the eyes of my heart.

I must have help from outside, from something with power greater than me. I need an “inner eye” operation from the Master Surgeon.

My willingness, the humility to see things and people and places differently, is the key to change.

I must let some power beyond me first prescribe new glasses for me and then be willing to wear them.

I must daily ask Him to direct the way I see others.

And change I must!

Seeing a world through the tunnel vision of Iceberg Eyes is to live a life of continual mis-understanding and selfishness.

It means to be in constant hazard of collision with other people. Iceberg Eyes can be dangerous.

Just ask The Titanic.

(Note: This blog was graciously submitted by Kevin Beatty, a friend of a friend with an amazing talent for painting a picture that cuts straight to the heart.  You can follow him on Twitter @TheDadBeatty.  Kevin is passionate about Identity, Family, Addiciton and exposing Prejudice and Judgementalisim.  He is currently touring China with his Family.

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Believers and the Barista Challenge

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2010/06
/six_reasons_why_your_starbucks.php

As is evident in past blog posts, I *Really Enjoy* coffee.  A flavorful brew just makes me happy.  If I’m honest, it is part of my daily routine.  Whether I make it at home or swing into the Starbucks in my building, it is, for the most part, a constant.

The thing is, I don’t just enjoy the drink, but the atmosphere.

The smells, the ambience, the crowd…and the Baristas!

Second to coffee itself, Baristas are the best part of the coffee culture.
(And can I just give a shout out to the crew at the Starbucks on West End across form Centennial Park?) 

Those cats know their stuff…and their customers.  And I don’t just mean their drink of choice.

They have noticed everything, from every hair cut to new glasses to “How was your vacation in Tampa last week?”  They ask questions and *gasp* remember the answer.

When Jeremy commented on my recent hair cut last week, I found myself strangely convicted.

You see, I’ve grown up in church.  I’ve done full time ministry.  I’ve served Jesus my whole life and I don’t think I’ve ever been as consistent at asking, remembering and following up as he is.

And isn’t that what ministry is all about?  Knowing God and knowing people?

I’m always so blessed when my barista friends remember a small detail or comment on something insignificant.  When I was on staff at a large church, I remember I felt so overwhelmed when they began pushing us to “get to know” at least three people every weekend and follow up with them at the next service.  I was so busy, remembering the little minutia was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

But you know what?  Jeremy is busy too.  Making coffee, working the register, stocking and cleaning and learning new products; and I guarantee there are more customers coming through his store every day than I interacted with in a Sunday at church.

But he still remembers.  He still asks.  He still cares.

It’s what makes Baristas great.  And it’s what makes going to get coffee, even though it takes more time and costs me more in the long run, worth it.

This got me thinking-church is the same way.

People can have their time with Jesus at home-every day even and they will grow.  But God created us for community.  How great is it we get to have Jesus and interact with people, who despite their busyness, care?  As it trickles down, it just gets better-they start to care and extend it to others around them.

Jesus is the purpose and let’s face it, enough in and of himself.  But the community found in a fellowship of believers, expressing concern and love opens a whole new realm of awesome. 

So, just as Jesus said if the people were silent, the stones would cry out in their place (Luke 19:40), I’m embracing and extending a challenge.

I’m not going to get a Barista love in my place.

It’s not just a command or a commission, but a privilege and an honor.

Let’s give Starbucks a run for their money and know those around us and care enough to follow up.

When is a time that you have been blessed by someone caring enough to know?  How can you extend that to someone this week?

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Toilet Paper and the Denominational Gap

A few years ago, I had a leader pose this question as an ice breaker for our leadership team.  Yeah, I was surprised too.  What’s your name, how old are you and do you fold, crunch or wrap your toilet paper?  I guess that covers just about everything.

Once our surprise and chagrin passed, there was actually dialog.  You got it-we talked about our preferred method of toilet paper etiquette and that progressed into why and sundry other bunny trails.

The other day, thanks to a random flashback, I found myself revisiting that conversation, and, as is all too often the case, the Holy Spirit made a clever warp drive leap to a word picture.

Denominations are like toilet paper etiquette.

Yes, you read that right.  Think about it.  Regardless of the church you attend, the focus is on getting clean and getting prepared to go back out.  Whether you fold, wrap or crunch (although, why anyone feels that is effective…just kidding) your toilet paper, at the end of the gig, the end goal is to get cleaned up and prepared to go back out.  It all comes down to preference.

Most of us have reasoning behind why we attend where we attend or why we affiliate where we affiliate or however you want to say it.  But for the most part, we believe the same things.  Jesus, son of God, born of a virgin, fully man, fully God, died to pay the price for our sin, rose again to finish the work and is the only source of restoration for the relationship of God and man forever more.  That’s the toilet paper.

How that message is presented or recognized-how it functions, etc, really boils down to taste.  The cool thing is-I’ve personally experienced awesome Churches that span the denominational gauntlet and I’ve seen God in those places, regardless of what ever Frist <fill in the blank> Church is displayed on their marquee…if they even have one.

So what if I fold and you roll.  The job is getting done.

Maybe I raise my hands in worship, maybe you reflect quietly.  Maybe you have lights swirling around and maybe I’m content with a clean, calm set.  Maybe you stand and kneel and connect to those who have gone before through prayers and affirmations that have been passed down while I freestyle and paraphrase the psalms.

It’s still worship, either way. 

So, why are we judging each other?  Why are we letting something as little as fold v. crunch separate us?  I mean, you wouldn’t judge your friend because they roll their TP and you don’t, right? (If you would…well, that’s a little sad).  We’ve bought into a lie that says my way or the highway, when I’m pretty sure God is the one who makes the fair or foul call on what is the narrow way and what isn’t.

Now, there is something to be said for the quality of the TP used (we’ve all been in the public restroom that have replaced the roll with the tissue squares that just don’t cut it).  Looking back at the list above, if one of those keys is missing, chances are you’re going to end up in a messy situation.

I’m just saying; let’s do our best not to confuse the aesthetics of a thing with the function of it.

So, if you are a roller, roll on.

If you’re a dancer, dance on.

If you’re a cruncher, crunch on.

If you’re a contemplator, contemplate your little heart out!

And we can all rejoice that we use toilet paper/are in a God glorifying community, as can those around us.

Do you roll, fold or crunch?
Do you have any denominational prejudice? What can we do to break free of being more concerned with a camp line that going after the people who have no camp?
    

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Throwback-Remember When TV Taught You Something

I know, long time no blog. Between travel, moving, school and insanity, it has been quite a while. The good news-Fog For Muses is back up and running and we’ve got some awesome guest blogs, reviews and all around adventures coming down the pipe-so stay tuned. But, as Robin Goodfellow sought to make amends, so I too, have a treat for you. I was in Florida with the wonderful Christian Enright a week or two ago and I don’t know if we took a wrong turn at Albuquerque or what, but memory lane took us flash dancing down with LaVar Burton and PBS awesomeness. So, check it out and enjoy!

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If God Let Me Write My Love Story: Would I Really Write It Differently?

I love a good romantic comedy.  I really do.  Just Like Heaven, Never Been Kissed, Just My Luck (yes, even though it’s Lindsey Lohan), etc.  The list could probably go on for a while.

They all have the same basic premise. 

It goes something like this:  Girl is going after life/goal/trying to find herself.  Via a contrived meet cute, Girl Meets Lead Guy, normally under some unlikely circumstance and even though she is attracted to him, it just doesn’t seem like an option.  Same goes for guy—she’s either out of his league (above or beneath or a ghost) or he’s dealing with some tragedy in his past (which makes him the desired brooding type the audience roots for).

There is a realization by each party that they are smitten.  It looks like the couple will come together…maybe it’s a montage of fun moments together, a vulnerable time of back story or a random championing of one or the other that leads to the mutual “ah-ha” moment.

Then, as it is wont to do, conflict hits and “reality” gives them a wakeup call, which in this case is represented by some nearly insurmountable conflict/misunderstanding that drives the couple apart.

A time of soul searching ensues.  Eventually, they are drawn back together like magnets, realizing that come what may, they can’t let circumstances keep them apart.  A bold, unashamed, come hell or high water type of declaration is made, cue cheesy music and the kiss the audience has waited for…and roll credits.

And we EAT THIS STUFF UP!  Ladies, let’s be honest—these are the stories we like and we dream of living for ourselves.  Whether you relate to Julia Stiles as Kat in ’10 Things I Hate About You’ or you’re more like Kristen Bell as Beth in ‘When In Rome’, we’ve all dreamed a dream in times gone by.  We’ve all wanted to be the heroine that is strong and still swept off her feet.

So, why do we think real life is any different?  When it comes to “Mr. Right”, we really want him to be here right now!

We want that perfect guy to come, announce himself as the perfect guy, propose and be done with it. 

But think about it…if you walked into a movie with that kind of plot, would you like it?  Would you recommend it?  Would you sigh or laugh as you discuss it later?  I highly doubt it.  There’s no adventure, no character development, no investment—and no one wants to pay $10 to watch a movie lacking those key plot elements.  So why would you pay your life for it?

Picture your favorite Rom-Com leading lady.  Do you think she enjoys the fact that the screen writer is writing her a memorable love story when she is standing dejected in the rain or is binging on ice cream on her valentine’s night spent alone?  Probably not.  That’s why we relate to her.

Thing is, a good plot that pulls us all in and plays on our heartstring is not about some chick sitting in her kitchen just waiting for the doorbell to ring.  It’s about a bold woman living life and the hijinks that follow when her movie man is released on the scene.

If we are grateful when the Hollywood writers meet that expectation and show us a love story that makes our hearts flutter, why do we gripe at God when it seems like our romance is in a holding pattern?

Let’s face it.  When we picture the movie of our own dreamed love story-there is waiting, conflict and a joyful realization.   These elements move a story, develop character and provide satisfaction that isn’t realized apart from the plot arc.  Sure, omniscience on the when, where and how might put our little hearts at ease, but where is the story in that?

If I’m being honest, and God were to hand me the pen to write the love story of my dreams…it would still involve the elements I don’t enjoy because it makes the resolution that much sweeter.  So, I think I’ll leave that double edged tool in the hands of the Author of Love and enjoy it as the story unfolds.

 

Ladies-What do you think…if you were to write the synopsis of your dream love story-how would it read?

Guys-What about you-What does a love story that appeals to a man look like?

Anyone have plans for showing love to the masses today?  Share and encourage!

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The Ghost of Valentines Past: Why Some Love’s Were Never Meant to Die

(Have you ever had one of those days when you flip back through your journal to see what was going through your mind “at this time last year”?  I have…only, I don’t really keep a journal, so this blog has to suffice.  While strolling through memory lane, I re-read this entry from just around a year ago and decided to give it a little face lift.  So, this years thoughts are bold-ed and dispersed throughout…amazing how it’s still relevant).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, I am about to get a little vulnerable.  There is a point to this post, however, I feel it will be better communicated if the mental journey I made today (last year…and again today) is showcased, and for the good of mankind (so noble, I know), I am willing to expose some of the inner workings of my heart.  If you skip the backstory, please read the italicized portion at the end.

As a good percentage of the world gears up for February 14th, the temptation can arise for those lonely ride in bucket 5 individuals (Never Been Kissed reference for the ladies) to view it as the season of our discontent. (Still a great girl movie).

Even for those of us who are single by choice, gladly embracing the time we have to pursue those things God has put in our heart, it can be a little discouraging. (This year, I would reword it…not discouraging…just mildly distracting.  This past year, God has really shown me how a heart set on him can rest and be encouraged by just about anything… gratefulness–it changes everything).

I can’t lie, as I see my friends enjoying a season I have yet to know, a little stirring of desire may disturb the quiet waters of my own contented soul.  (Desire is still there, but contentment and joy have grown).

There was even a time when I readily joined in with my friends in celebrating Happy SAD (Singles Awareness Day) on February 14th (the ironic thing, those who were most gung-ho in celebration are now happily married). (Historical, thus still true).

So, as I find myself approaching this annual celebration of Love, I can hear the little niggling voice in the back of my mind.  Initially, I simply thought I would simply post something encouraging about enjoying the season of singleness or some other Joshua Harris approved sentiment. (While there may be more posts like this in the future, I’ve really learned that Singleness isn’t about being alone or not “in love”, but it’s about being open to love indiscriminately.  There is no one to be jealous, no one to feel ignored or under appreciated.  But there are plenty in need of compassion and time).   

But, the Muse of Divine Inspiration, the Holy Spirit, got a hold of me this morning with a challenge and I decided to pass it on to anyone out there who is tiered of maintaining and would enjoy taking some ground.

So, for 2011, I am issuing a Valentine’s Challenge to myself and who ever else might be game.  This year, I am determined to be an extension of love to someone without looking for love back. (I’m taking up my own challenge again in 2012…maybe it will be a tradition).

John 15:13 (GOD’S WORD Translation)

13The greatest love you can show is to give your life for your friends.

When we lay down our own gratification and seek to love and serve with our only satisfaction being the fact that we have been an extension of Jesus to someone and he has been made great in their life, we are extending true Love.  It may be inconvenient, it may not be “romantic” but it could mean the world to someone.

John 15:13 (The Message)

11-15“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.

So, this year, I’m committed to sharing in the mature Joy of Jesus by loving how He loves.  So, think about it and find a way to be an extension.  

I’ll be donating blood for example Tuesday, February 14th.  One time giving can save up to three lives.  

Some other options, send random cards to people, buy someones lunch when they aren’t looking, spend your romantic dinner serving food for those who don’t have anything.  

I’m still getting my game plan together, and the only reason I post this now is to see if together, we can make a difference and just love.

Whether you are single in facebook status or just single-minded in your pursuit, it’s really not about ring on your finger or candy in your mouth…just love.

Thoughts?  Plans?  Share them in the comments, you may just inspire someone else.

Lyssah

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Guest Post’d

Good Day All!

If you haven’t done it yet, make sure you drop by Sammy Adebiyi’s blog.  This is the only blog I know that the author can take a brief sabbatical to, you know, have a baby and the dialog and community double and triple.

If you need more incentive than that, I’ve got a guest post up there today-check it out!

http://sammyadebiyi.com/blogs/sammy-adebiyi/occupymyblog-day-8#comments

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