Five Minute Friday: Practice

Along the Way Graphic Template

Gentle Reader,

I’m actually writing this on time. And I even got to pop in and chat for just a second. Wild.

Onward, before the benadryl kicks in. So much sinus pressure. Stupid allergies.

Kate says: practice.

Go.

I drop to my knees, grateful for the thick yoga mat beneath me. Sweat drips from my brow, dotting my forearms. Again I wonder why I am awake earlier than I want to be. Why I am putting my body through the torture of physical activity. A disgustingly chipper voice encourages me to get back into plank position. With a heavy breath, I plant my hands on the mat and press my toes onto the slides.

Pull legs into a crouching position. Push out into a straight line. Use abdominal muscles to make the movement. Press down on the slides, legs out into a v-shape. Back into a line. In again.

Arms shake. Core tight. Legs ache. Lips tremble.

They say that fitness is a journey, not a destination. It’s all about the practice. About being better than you were yesterday. One more rep, a little heavier weight.

So, too, I think with our faith.

The Kingdom is then, in eternity, a place for us to look forward to with hope. But it’s also now. Right here. Inside you and me. We are called to a different way of living. Different ethics, different perspective. We get to participate in the beautiful, difficult work of sanctification. We get to show the world what it is to live for and with Jesus.

We don’t always get it right. Sometimes we fall to the mat and wonder why we even try.

In those moments, in the sweat, in the pain, in the weariness, the Spirit says: Get back up.

Stop.

Signature

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER, REST STOPS ALONG THE WAY
PONDERINGS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX EACH SATURDAY(ISH).

Advertisements

Five Minute (Saturday): Opportunity

Along the Way Graphic Template

Gentle Reader,

One of these days I’ll get back to composing these pieces on time. This week, I blame the cold/allergies combo that’s wreaking havoc on my body.

Kate says: opportunity.

Go.

Music makes me happy. I enjoy singing (though I don’t claim to be good at this), dancing (don’t claim to be good at that, either), and watching people who can rock out on instruments do their thing. I’d like to learn to play the violin, banjo, or drums; maybe all three, just for the fun of it.

The music we like reveals a lot about us. Melody and harmony help us to express emotions and thoughts we otherwise couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. So because I am severely lacking in wordsmithing ability today (too much Nyquil flowing in my system, I guess), I take the opportunity to share with you some of the songs I return to again and again.

Worship

Amazing Grace

I know. It’s a cliche. This genuinely my favorite hymn. And it doesn’t get better than this version.

Rock of Ages

Another hymn. Fantastic version.

Love Like This

My own singing voice is low and raspy, so I can’t not love Lauren Daigle. Plus this song…it puts words to an emotion I often feel, but cannot describe.

You’re the Only One

Simple. Profound.

Rock

Layla

It’s Clapton shredding the guitar. I am never not here for that.

Please Mister Postman

Asking me to choose a favorite Beatles song is…it’s impossible. But I’ve been very into this early cover lately.

One after 909

A bluesy, honky-tonk song, written during the early Lennon-McCartney years but not recorded until the tempestuous Get Back sessions. They sound like they’re having a good time here.

Jet

McCartney, post-Beatles. Just a fun song.

What is This Category?

Recently I’ve gotten into some indie, folksy stuff. Spotify doesn’t know what to do with me. The algorithms ping around from Metallica playing with the San Francisco Symphony, to Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus to psychedelic rock and then to this. I don’t know what to say, other than that I just like it.

Glory

River

Finally, the Introvert’s Anthem

Here

Stop.

Tell me, what kind of music do you like?

Signature

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER, REST STOPS ALONG THE WAY
PONDERINGS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX EACH SATURDAY(ISH).

(Yet Again) Five Minute Monday: Touch

Along the Way Graphic Template

Gentle Reader,

I was so on top of things last week. Back to a regular posting schedule. Back to a regular life schedule. Except for the headache that wouldn’t go away, I felt pretty good.

As The Beatles sing, “I shoulda known better.”

My beloved youths shared their germs with me again, and I’m on day three of being stuck in my bed with a nasty cold. All I’ve done is sleep, drink orange juice, and watch movies. Try to read, by my eyes swim and I can’t focus.

Go.

I’ve never regained feeling along the left side of the scar that bisects my abdomen. Too many nerves sliced up. Between the white line and my belly button is a field of nothingness. Except that it itches, practically all the time. But when I scratch the itch, I can’t feel the scratching.

Don’t ask me to explain this.

Skin is an amazing thing. So many different shades and textures. Senses the slightest movement of air. Responds to the tiniest pinprick. Blushing cheeks. Freckles bursting across shoulders in the summer sun.

Our church culture is not touchy-feely. The world around us has given way to the oversexualization of every person and interaction, and, rather than being a people who redeem and restore, we succumb to paranoia. “Noli mi tangere,” Jesus said to Mary Magdalene in the garden that day (John 20:17); we take up “touch me not” as our mantra. So our hands never feel a squeeze in a moment of celebration. Our backs never feel encircling arms during times of grief.

Our bodies are not evil. We can give and receive appropriate, healthy, loving touch. In fact, this giving and receiving should be a natural, normal marker of our communities.

We embrace.

Stop.

Signature

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER, REST STOPS ALONG THE WAY
PONDERINGS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX EACH SATURDAY(ISH).

(Again a) Five Minute Monday: Lack

Gentle Reader,

There is a light at the end of the tunnel of busyness.

Maybe it’s a freight train…

Kate says: lack.

Go.

I lack the ability to see myself as others see me.

Yes, of course, we all deal with that. We’re all surprised by the compliments (and criticisms) that seem to come out of left field. But me, I’m far less taken aback by the criticism. Maybe it’s because, left to my own devices, I’m a real pessimist. Maybe it’s because we women are incessantly told that we don’t measure up to an ever-changing standard. Maybe it’s because I spend far too little time immersed in the healing, loving presence of God, something that I suspect is an issue for many, if not most of us. (I might relate hardcore to Martha and her need to get the chores done).

All I know for sure is that, when I’m complimented, I have no idea how to respond.

It’s not false modesty. It’s not fishing for more compliments.

It’s, “Huh. He really likes me. She said something nice. Why?”

Brain can’t make it compute.

A reminder for me: What I say truly matters. Can really make a difference. Because there have to be others like me out there who’ve latched onto the rough words rather than the smooth. There have to be others who, while not engaged in active self-hate, see themselves as…lacking. And in that sense of lacking, then lack the ability to see the good that others do, the good that God placed there.

Lord, I know that I can’t control my tongue. Any bridling comes straight from Your hands. So Father, please, come reign over my words. The words I speak to others. The words I speak to myself. The words I speak to You. Let my lips be ones that drip with the honey of kindness, gentleness, grace and truth.

Stop.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE NEWSLETTER, REST STOPS ALONG THE WAY.
PONDERINGS DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX EACH SATURDAY(ISH).