Five Minute Friday: Fly

The weights of life love nothing more than to crush me into the ground.  If they had their way, I would be nothing more than powder sprinkled on the ground or scattered by the wind.  The weights of life are cruel; not just cruel, though, but crafty as well. So crafty as to make me forget that I was born with wings.

Sadly, it seems as if there are only rare time I remember my wings. Like when I’m playing piano. When the music flows from my fingers and my eyes are closed and my ears hear nothing in the world except the imperfectly perfect melody filling the air around me – then I can fly. When my nieces look at me with adoration in their eyes and tell me they love me and want to be just like me when they grow up – then I can fly.  When the words of Scripture break free from their ink and paper shackles and come to life before me, reminding me of just exactly who God is and how deep and wide and long His love is for me – then I can fly.  When the words I set to paper come easily and breathe life into images and scenes that previously existed only in my head – then I can fly.

The truth is, I always have the ability to fly, to be who God destined me to be. It’s just hard to remember because of those silly weights.  Maybe that’s why the author of Hebrews urges us to “lay aside every weight … and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2, KJV).  He understood that weights attach themselves to us and keep us from our God-potential, and he also knew that turning to and focusing on Jesus is the only way to truly keep the weights from winning their vicious battle.

What keeps you from flying? Look to Jesus and know that He is more than able to lift any weight that has settled upon you.



Introversion and Shakespeare

Today I read an article spouting 10 myths about introverts. Having always considered myself an introvert, I decided to see what other people thought of persons like myself. What I walked away from the article with, though, was not a better understanding of extroverts, but a better understanding of myself.

My definition of introvert has never expanded beyond, “I’d rather be by myself, thanks. No, I wouldn’t like to have a meaningless conversation.” The article explained parts of my personality that I didn’t know how to explain more than, “Eh, it’s just how I am.”

What’s interesting to me, though, is not that I now understand why I don’t like to talk in a large group (but will chatter all day with my close friends), was that the understanding of the differences between introverts and extroverts has been understood far longer than my country has been in existence.  Shakespeare is often credited with having amazing insight into human nature, and once again he has shown this to be true.  In Hamlet Shakespeare wrote the following:

“Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice” (I.iii.68).

Shakespeare recognized that people are inherently different and that moderation is required in order for social peace. Polonius speaks these words to his son knowing that Laertes is an extrovert and that he must learn moderation from the wisdom of an introvert.

It’s not that extroverts or introverts are any better than the other one, because they’re not.  It takes both types of people to make society function as it should. It takes people who are willing to talk to everyone and bring people together and be completely comfortable with strangers, but it also takes people who can quietly observe and make sure the less exciting details are taken care of.

Extroverts, take note from your introvert friends: Try listening to groups of people talking without joining in, and see what you might learn from and about them.  Be amazed at how much you can help someone simply by listening to them without ever giving your advice or opinion.

Psalm 23

Jesus watches over me: I have everything I need.
He takes me to a restful place,
he leads me along safe paths,
he renews my spirit.
His reputation ensures
he will never lead me astray.
Even though I walk
through a fog of depression,
I will fear no evil,
because Jesus is with me;
his instruments comfort me.
He will make sure I’m taken care of,
even when enemies surround me.
He gives me so many blessings,
I can’t contain them all.
I know His love and mercy
will be with me my whole life,
and I will live with Him forever.

This is a paraphrase of a Psalm that has been on my heart and mind a lot lately. Depression may have struck me once again, but that does not change the fact that God still walks alongside me, taking care of me and protecting me.  He will stay with me, depressed or not.

This assurance allows me to hope even amidst forces trying to bind me up and crush me down. Hope is strongest when times are darkest, for it is then that hope is most desperately needed.  When times are high and life is good, hope is unnecessary; why do you need to hope for life to be better when life is already great? But when times are tough and life is rough, hope is what gets you through to another day and another and another.

Hold onto hope, for when you have nothing left to hold onto, hope will still be there.

Five Minute Friday: Grace

I recently saw a book titled Grace: The Power to Change and it immediately got me thinking. How do we change? Do we change through sheer will power? That seems like it might work for some people, but most people lack the amount of will power necessary to change life-sized problems on their own. Most people need something else to help. Grace is what gives us a second chance when screw up, what lets us try again when we do what we swore up and down we wouldn’t do.  Grace is what doesn’t throw us into the garbage bin when we behave in a less than perfect manner. Grace is what gives us the freedom to fail and try again.  Only then can we change, when we know that failure is not the end, but that we must “rise and rise again” until we are no longer the person we once were. Grace is what makes change possible.