Jesus as a House Guest

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door,
I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
– Revelation 3:20, NLT

Can you imagine Jesus showing up at your house?  Take a moment and imagine it.

Jesus as a house guest.

The thought intimidates.  It can even terrify.

My small group finished a study of the book of Revelation in February.  What an intimidating and terrifying book!  But before all of the bowls full of plagues and judgement come raining down, Jesus boldly asks for an invitation to come in and rest awhile… as friends.

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door,
I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.
– Revelation 3:20, NLT

If He arrived on your doorstep, would you be prepared to let Him in?

Like little Martha’s our minds immediately jump to,

What does He like to eat and drink?  Will He judge how I keep my home?  Do I have enough crosses and Scriptures on the walls?  

The list goes on…

What’s on the schedule for today?  Could I pretend that I didn’t hear His knock?  He’d know wouldn’t He?  He’s omniscient after all!

Rather than running down the list of how to be the hostess-with-the-mostest, consider your heart.  Is your heart prepared to let Him in?

I have been reading, Beautiful Outlaw, by John Eldredge and it has opened my eyes to see Jesus in a way that I had a hard time thinking about when I read the Gospels.  Over the years I have worked hand in hand with other Christians to stitch that great veil back together.  You know the one, that veil God the Father tore in two as His Son took His last breath upon the cross.  And all these years that veil has been a blockade, keeping me from seeing Jesus properly, and subsequently keeping me from seeing myself properly.

Yes, Jesus loves all of humanity, but He loves the individual.
Yes, Jesus fulfilled the law of Moses, but He also closed the gap between the marginalized and the lofty.
Yes, Jesus endured torture, humiliation and death for us, but He did so as a 33-year-old man.

Jesus, while being the Son of God and the Creator of the heavens and the earth, is also a man who had to learn how to walk, to read and to nail two pieces of wood together.

Recently I also had the privilege of reading and reviewing, Beautiful Uncertainty, by a sweet friend of mine, Mandy Hale (aka The Single Woman).  In the book Mandy discusses reading Eldredge’s book and even shares about a practice she inadvertently adopted from a friend of her’s, dating Jesus.  Sounds strange, I get it, but what she shares about her experience is a beautiful depiction of answering the door and allowing Jesus in as a house guest.

“I was in line at Zaxby’s waiting to order lunch when I felt God begin to tug at my heart. “Order something for Me too,” I could feel Him whisper into my spirit. (And when I talk about God speaking to me, I should clarify that I’ve never heard an audible voice.)

He lays things on my heart in such a powerful way, I know it’s Him nudging me or leading me to do something.

When I felt His gentle tug, I immediately started to argue with Him. “But, God, Zaxby’s is a little pricey. You want me to order a full meal for You that’s just going to sit there and go to waste?” As soon as I responded to God with those words, I could just imagine him laughing at me. (Yes, sometimes I wonder if God is chuckling at my shenanigans. Often, actually. I think He must get such a kick out of me and my ridiculousness.) “Mandy. I give you breath and life and a heartbeat every single day, and you can’t spare seven dollars for Me?” So I ordered God a chicken finger plate with extra Zax sauce, just like me. (I figured God surely loved Zax sauce since it has to be the modern-day equivalent of manna from heaven.) And when I got home, I sat down at my desk with both our meals and started to eat.

Now obviously God didn’t beam down from heaven and join me for chicken tenders. But what followed was the sweetest thirty to forty-five minutes of communion with Him I had ever had. There was something so moving about sitting at my desk that day, quietly sharing a meal with the God of the universe. There was something even more moving about the fact that He wanted to share a meal with me. Me. Little ol’ me. Imperfect, greatly flawed, often the conductor of the Hot Mess Express me.”  (Mandy Hale, Beautiful Uncertainty – Part One, Pg. 4)

I don’t know about you, but if the Creator of the Universe knocked on my door, I wouldn’t leave Him standing outside alone.  Of course once He crossed the threshold, I’d be a ball of nerve; heart racing, palms slick with sweat and words coming out all wrong.  But once I invited Him to sit down at my tiny dining room table (certain that it wasn’t in the chair with the loose leg), I’m sure my breathing would return to normal and I might be able to focus better on my Savior.

And though the idea of “dating Jesus” sounds a little out there, what better way is there to spend your day, then to focus your undivided attention on Jesus?

So again I ask, can you imagine Jesus showing up at your house?
Jesus as a house guest.  Would you let Him in?

How to Give Thanks in Troubled Times -

How to Give Thanks in Troubled Times

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6

I’m a perfectionist.  I like to say that I’m recovering but there’s days that I relapse.  I’m also a worrier.  I think it’s hard-wired into me to believe that if things don’t go just so that the world will come to a screeching halt and the sky will fall down around me.  How Chicken Little of me!?

Philippians 4:6 is a scripture that I’ve highlighted in every Bible that I’ve ever owned.  It’s a verse that I memorized during my first summer as a camp counselor and it’s a verse that I struggle to live up to.  Daily.

Continue reading “How to Give Thanks in Troubled Times”

Day Sixteen // The Best Yes

The Panic That Keeps You From Your Best Yes / Ch. 16 – Pages 190 to 203

Today’s post comes to us from the host of The Intentional Filling, Bree Blum.

I stood in the small bathroom stall staring at the hook that my purse hung from.  The door was latched shut and I willed my hand to reach out and yank it open, but I could not get my brain to send the proper signals.

I stood in that stall wondering if I was going to be sick from the terror that was rising in my throat.  The panic was gripping me, squeezing my chest, so tightly that it felt that my heart might explode from the pressure.

How was I ever going to move from this spot?

Continue reading “Day Sixteen // The Best Yes”

Day One // The Best Yes

Check the Third Box Chapter 1 – Pages 1 to 6

Haven’t received your copy of The Best Yes yet? Download a sample to get you started!

Today’s post comes to us from the host of The Intentional Filling, Bree Blum.

Decisions, decisions.  It’s what landed you here, reading this post. It’s what kept you from pressing snooze for the umpteenth time this morning, and it’s what binds us to our daily schedules.

Oh, decisions…

Continue reading “Day One // The Best Yes”

Masters in Wabi-sabi

For my mom’s birthday, my dad and I signed her up for pottery classes.  I knew she wouldn’t attend them alone, even though she’s been telling me for months to be on the look out for such an opportunity.  So I signed up as well, thinking it would be a great chance to spend some much needed mother-daughter time, but also as a good excuse to play with mud! 😉 Continue reading “Masters in Wabi-sabi”

How I Came to be a Recovering Perfectionist

When I started this blog, it wasn’t with the intention of sharing it with the world.  It was a place where I came to write out things that were happening in my world and I invited just a few close friends and family members to read. The honest truth: I battle with anxiety.  It’s an ongoing struggle.  Some days I feel confident in my own skin, as though I could take on any challenge.  There are other days that my insides scream at me.

Fears and doubts and worries run rampant.  Not measuring up to the expectations of others plague my mind.  Insecurities about the way that I process thoughts and often stutter over normal conversation cause me to freeze up or want bolt in the opposite direction when faced with one-on-one contact.

Anxieties and fears that others will view me as “too different” and come to the conclusion that I am unlovable haunt me daily.  I’ve done the therapy route.  I’ve done the medication.  I’ve even done Buddhist meditation. Nothing has provided the quick fix.   So I’m sure you’re wondering how I came to be a recovering perfectionist.

When I made the scary decision to open up the blog to others, my anxieties went from this pesky shadow, to a perpetual cloud that followed me.  I suddenly found that I needed to hide my imperfections, my flaws.  As a voice that I felt was called to inspire others to become the best versions of themselves (the original mission of this blog) I felt trapped in a monster of my own making.I felt like, if I was to inspire others to be their best versions, then I needed to show the best version of me, and so my writing changed.  I changed.  The content I shared was very surface level and didn’t dig deeper into who I am, other than sharing stories of my singleness.  And it surely did not accurately represent the person that God made in me.

A conversation, completely unrelated to blogging opened something up inside of me.  I was unhappy with how my life was shaping up, having to put on a display, a front, an act for others, as I tried to squash any existence of the fact that I’m flawed and I’m human.  It was a constant evaluation of what I said and did.  It was exhausting.  But it was the words of my brother, that made me see just what I am and what I’m meant to be.

On a car ride home from church I was complaining about the encounter I had had with a colleague in interpreting for the church.  Andy told me that interpreting shouldn’t cause so much stress.

He said, “You’re an empty vessel for God, to be used for His calling.  You are to empty yourself in order to be filled by His message.”

He also reminded me that our pastors are not perfect, their sermons and their words choices are not perfect, and therefore, I am permitted to be imperfect myself.

Light bulb!  The façade, like a smokescreen, suddenly dissipated and I was permitted to see life as what it is, full of flaws, but made beautiful because of Christ.  

My life didn’t need to be a giant game of charades, acting out what others needed to see in order to understand the answers.  My life, my interpretation, and my relay of message, both in interpreting and blogging, did not need to be 100% accurate.

Yes, it’s important to deliver the message with the same intent as the one that originally delivered it, but there is room for interpretation.  And should an error occur, or a flaw be displayed publicly, I should own up to it and accept it as a badge of honor, one that I wear proudly that says, “I made a mistake and I will learn from this.  I will be stronger and more capable of handling the future with more grace and confidence.”

So through the ashes and smoke I stumbled out, bewildered and temporarily blind to the brilliance of that light and truth.  It’s not a 1000 watt light bulb blazing, but the light of the Son shining down and through me.

Out of those ashes, bursting forth with new strength, like a phoenix from flames, strode forth a new philosophy, a new approach to my delivery of words and through my hands.

And a new name and mission was born through The Imperfect Vessel.

And suddenly as I was freed from the chains of the constant upkeep and act of perfection, and my story was easier to tell.

It isn’t as anxiety-inducing as I once thought.  It opened up new opportunities of connecting with my readers and my God.  I don’t have to live in fear of someone finding out my flaws; I’m sharing them voluntarily and it’s been so liberating.

Sure there are still days that anxieties grips me round the throat and threatens to strangle the life and tear away the story from my grasp.  It’s a battle that I’m sure I will war against for my entire life.  But it’s a battle that I know that I don’t have to fight alone.  Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ is with me, and Christ within me.

A simple conversation with a kid, who is not really much of a kid anymore, made all the difference and taught me a very valuable lesson.  My story is important.  And so is yours.  But what is even more important and is the taking that leap of faith and initiate the act of sharing that story.  And just to one up that, there is importance in the manner in which you deliver it.

Do it with transparency, with an ounce (or two, or ten) of humility, and own up to the fact that you are not perfect.  You are riddled with flaws.  And that’s okay.  Everyone is.

Through your transparency and sharing of the real you, others will see that imperfection can be transforming and even beautiful.  No one is perfect.  No one except Jesus.  And that’s quite alright because He’s on our side, shining His perfection and beauty on us and through us.