My days off are seldom like I think they are going to be. Most of the time they are better than I even thought they could be. This is one of those. I brought many books with me when I headed West on 40 last night and only one of those books has been opened.
Last night I had delicious food at Beyu Caffe in Durham. Delicious spinach dip with warm pita, hmmmmmmm. And found a place I would love to go back to with my laptop and just sit for hours with a cup of coffee and listen to the life music (maybe eat a dessert, or some more spinach dip).
Then heard a great run through of Calvin’s thoughts on the Lord’s Prayer. Very needed in my life at that moment and I’m very glad to have heard it. Saw some sweet friends there and then more talking. Rode home with younguns that knew some sweet Southern Seminary folks, and I thought of their goodness and transparency and faithfulness.
Then went back to my friend’s house: ate leftovers, talked, both on laptops, read some D.A. Carson and called it a night. Didn’t sleep very well and I didn’t know how that was going to bode for today. It has boded very well.
Started this morning with 4 hours at my favorite hangout spot in Durham: Foster’s Market. That is no surprise to anyone! Had a delightful conversation with a friend. Oh, so good. Then drove to have lunch and talk about photography: see people, that was good. Hear what God is doing.
Then headed to Starbucks and had a 2 hour conversation with a wise woman and mom and wife and pastor’s wife whom I had only met once and she was so gracious to let me in on her precious time.
Now I’m sitting at MadHatter’s…thinking, blogging, reading. So, here we go:
1. My ideal evening: sitting with a dear friend or new friend or anyone I just have a desire to be real with over a lovely dinner (cheap, not cheap), and a glass. For hours. No end in conversation. Breathing. Being real. Talking about life, not perfection.
2. What I don’t like: Fake. I’m not a fake person. I have said some things in 2 recent conversations that I never thought would come out of my mouth to people. Hearing those things come out of my mouth make me realize: I love those friends and I can be real with them, and God is still doing work in my heart to make it conformed to Christ.
3. I’d rather have deep meaningful conversations with people, or intentional conversations, then shooting the breeze with folks in a large group.
4. Colossians 3:16 is what happens when life is pressing. In one conversation today, I was able to take Scripture and say how it has been real in my life and how God has used it to shape me. When life is pressing: I want Scripture to come out because that shows my faith and hope are in Christ.
5. Christ is my hope. I tend to get my hopes up about one thing or another. And I get disappointed. But, when my hope is in Christ: which is where it always should be, He never disappoints. As I spoke this truth to a friend last night I knew I was preaching to myself to. As Lloyd-Jones and Bridges and Mahaney all say: preach the gospel to yourself everyday. I need to do more preaching and more listening and more applying and let the Spirit do more sanctifying.
6. I have to believe in the Gospel. If not, my life would be so meaningless. I would have no hope for ever changing, for ever being who I needed to be. I can’t do this life on my own. Christ is my grace and my sufficiency. I need to remember this in all areas of my life: work, “fun writing”, friendships, relationships, photography, traveling, reading, health, you name it. I need Christ. He is the good gospel.
7. I’m not there. Some of those real thoughts that came out today show that I am hopelessly man centered when it comes to areas of approval in my life. Blame it on being a woman: no. Blame it on SIN. Yes. Those two women couldn’t believe that would come out of my mouth? Do I really put on such an air of have-it-together-ness that I could never be that insecure? Do people really think I have it altogether. Folks: disclaimer: I don’t have it all together. God is still at work for His glory (See Philippians 1 and 2).
8. If my life on FB seems like I have it altogether, please don’t believe it. What I put on statuses that are Scripture and quotes are: I am preaching to myself. These are the things that I have read that God has used right then to sanctify me and make me more into the image of His Son. That is His desire. My happiness is wrapped up in Him (or that is where it should be). Its not totally there yet, never will be. Looking forward to the return of Christ!
9. I get disappointed and I get sad over sin (mine and others) and I love being by myself. I also love conversations with people that will allow me to be real and not be judged. Not confronted or held accountable for my sin: I crave that – but not judged. I want the truth to be spoken into my life. Yes, that is hard to hear, but I need it. You need it. We all need it.
10. God is good. The verse I left a conversation with today: The Lord God is a Sun and Shield, He will not withhold anything good from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11). I also love Romans 2:4 (Do you presume, or do you know that the kindness of God was to lead you to repentance) and also Romans 8:32: How will God, who gave us Jesus, not also graciously give us all things in Him.
Those are my refuges. Those are where I lay my hat at night. That is where I turn when I am disappointed or elated. When there is joy. When there is let downs. God is good. I love Him. He loves me. I stand in that.
Thank you: Leah, Heather, Clarissa, Brittany, Sherri, Wendy, Christi, Mollie. And an advance thank you to: Sarah, Christina, and Rachael. You are being used in my life and I am grateful for you!