Underwhelmed

un·der·whelm  • fail to impress or make a positive impact on (someone); disappoint.   Yep. Underwhelmed. In a world where everyone seems overwhelmed, I’ve had the humble privilege of being in the center of several conversations recently where the person sitting across from me, or on the other end of the phone, transparently admitted, usually with a pause or heavy sigh, that they were simply underwhelmed by God and that ironically led them to feel completely overwhelmed. Underwhelmed by life. Underwhelmed by God and what He is doing. Underwhelmed by God’s timing. Underwhelmed by current circumstances and situations. Underwhelmed by what can seen going forward. Underwhelmed by the monotony of life. Simply stated, underwhelmed. Let me be clear, these are people who LOVE Jesus. These are women who, for the most part are mature, wise women who are, by all accounts, living and walking out in obedience all that God has for them. They aren’t turning from God, but in the moment, in the midst of the circumstances of life, they are underwhelmed. It’s all part of the beautiful journey of Jesus when together, we can come in trusted relationship to share our life struggles with each other. God used these conversations and circumstances, as He often does, to have me verbally speak the very TRUTH I need to hear myself. I hear myself sharing and preaching the very things I need to hear. Well played God, well played. I too have been underwhelmed. Most recently when my unspoken expectations were not met by God and I was left standing completely and utterly disappointed. You see we recently relocated...

You Don’t Know Jack!

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; Luke 6:37 ESV Chances are you see just a peek into the window of the world that others live in and with such limited information it’s time for us to stop and admit that we really don’t know jack! Oh, I know I am going to be stepping on some toes today, my own included. It’s so easy to make a remark and a snap judgement about how someone handles the pieces and parts of their world that others see. You know, how they act with their spouse, kids, job, any or all of these (and many more) are out front for others to “see” and watch. What we don’t know is what’s really going on in that person’s world and why they might have acted or responded the way they did. Listen sweet friend, this is something that I’ve wrestled with for some time now. Here’s the deal, God will not let me let it go. But before I go much further I want to stop and make sure that you hear my heart, please oh please, hear my heart, because my words don’t always say the right thing. You and I have got to stop judging people and start giving out great big whopping dose of grace to those around us. Now, I’m not talking about any situation in which you are physically in danger. If that is happening then seek immediate help. I’m talking directly about the part of us that looks at another...

When Life Gives You A Black Eye

“From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17 When she fell off the stool I was not surprised. I had been watching her, and warning her, as she rocked on its back two legs. As it slipped from underneath her, tears filled her eyes. “Are you all right? I warned you not to do that, didn’t I?” She slowly nodded as she snuggled close beside me. Without hesitation, she asked if I ever had that happen. Laughter passed my lips as I assured her, “yes, I have been hurt because I did not listen.” As a young gymnast, the gym was like home: a place I knew well and felt comfortable.  One evening, our parents gathered for a meeting while a few of us little gymnasts were left to our own devices. Yes, we were told to stay off all equipment. Yes, we disobeyed within minutes. Without coaches or parents, we had free reign on the gym. It was paradise. We practiced our floor routines. We practiced other people’s floor routines. We hummed the music and wildly applauded for one another. Our attention then turned to the balance beams. We had been learning new dismounts, and practice makes perfect. Right? Paradise. Everything was theirs for the taking except that one tree. One after another we flipped off the four inch wide apparatus, landing on the thick mat below. One by one we sailed. I took another turn....

Temptation Anyone?

What lurks in the corners of your life? I’ll tell you what lurks in mine. Temptations. They’ve been around since the dawn of time, and given their history, it’s not likely they’re going anywhere. Years ago I came across a quote which put into perspective why there are times when we’re tempted more than others: “The weaknesses we see in the people of the Bible are the very weaknesses we ought to recognize in ourselves. Like Eve who ate the forbidden fruit we are vulnerable to temptation when we act on our own. Like Abraham, who lied about his wife to save his neck, we are vulnerable to temptation when we are scared. Like David, who slept with Bathsheba while his men were off to war, we are vulnerable to temptation when we are idle. Like Elijah, who wanted God to end his life, we are vulnerable to temptation when we are exhausted. Like Peter, who denied his Lord even after he promised to die for him, we are vulnerable to temptation when we are overconfident. In other words, we are vulnerable to temptation practically all the time.” Phillip Graham Ryken In light of that quote my parent’s should have named me, Lori Eve Abraham David Elijah Peter Dixon. I can honestly say that I see myself in every single one of these notions of temptation. It’s clear that I’m most vulnerable when I’m exhausted, prideful, overconfident and scared. I am Eve’s “sistah”  when I try to “do it my way.” Recently I took a journey which zoned in on what keeps us from that freedom in Christ. Ultimately,...

Let Jesus In

People say that love conquers all and I’ve finally seen that it really does. Love, God’s love, is what gives me the motivation to be done with the sin in my life and give everything in my life to Jesus. When I let Jesus in (even into my temptations), I discover the power of His love.

He’s Tricky, But Not at All Original

I just wrapped up teaching on the Temple at our Wed. night Bible study, but the last topic we looked at is worth repeating here. I talked about Satan. Yep, he’s a tricky one, but there are just a few things I’d like all of you to know too. Whenever you want to grow in your intimacy and relationship with Christ, there are three for sure things the enemy will do: 1. He’ll try to make you doubt. He make you doubt God, yourself, and what you’re doing. Check out Genesis chapter three for a full description. So, this tactic is nothing new. 2. He’ll try to distract you; get your focus on something else. He’ll blow a smoke screen of business or worry in your face to get you off track. Check out Abraham and Sarah who decided to be distracted with their own plan. 3. He’ll straight up tempt you. Again, this is not new. In fact, the Bible teaches that there is no temptation that can come upon you that hasn’t been tried on someone else somewhere else. It even says it’s common. Again, this tactic should be of no surprise to us. Even though these three things aren’t new, they can feel new to us. We must remember that we are not alone and that God knows all of this front and back, and will provide for us truth for our doubt, a focus for our distraction, and a way out when we are tempted. One more thing. Log this away in your mental mantra book: “I’m not stupid, and my enemy is not original.” When one of these things hits you,...

A Mouse’s Story

Please Welcome Beth Pittman back to the Cafe as today’s Guest Barista!(otherwise known as Mrs. Human) Sometimes, God reminds me of his promises in the most surprising and unusual things… His steely little eyes shifted back and forth as he sat huddled on the floor. The humans had left the house and, now, in the quiet, he realized he had the whole house to himself. “What to do?” he asked himself. He recalled the room with the swinging door that he had visited the night before. There had been something tasty in that room and the thought of it now set his mouth to watering. “That’s it”, he thought, “I’ll go back there.” He scampered across the kitchen floor and headed for the room protected by the swinging door. It didn’t close tightly so he sucked himself in and squeezed through the crack that was left as the door stood ajar. And then, he saw it! The vision of the trash can from the night before that he had pushed into the far regions of his brain was now a reality staring him right in his whiskery little face. This was too good to be true. He had seen Mr. Human take out the trash can earlier that morning. Now, it stood before him, tall and majestic. He looked up but there was nothing bulging out of the top of it like there was earlier. That was interesting, he thought to himself. Maybe there was something that he couldn’t see still in there….but how was he going to get to the top to find out? There on the floor...

Purple Basil Nightmare

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – Mark 14:38 One day, I saw and purchased a beautiful, ornamental purple basil plant thinking it just the right addition for my little herb garden. This plant grew very fast. The dark purple, frilly leaves were beautiful and it smelled wonderful. I enjoyed its beauty all summer long. When winter came, the basil plant died and I soon forgot it. Spring came and I looked at my garden and saw little, purple basil plants coming up all over the place. I felt so proud. Boy, do I have a green thumb. Those little plants just kept coming up, and coming up, and coming up. Before long, they were trying to take over my entire garden. Hold on there, I have some other things planted in this garden. I didn’t want to just pull up the basil but I had to give the giant hibiscus a little space. And my purple salvia and lilies were completely surrounded by basil. Then, I started noticing the purple plants in my other flower gardens. Soon my neighbor told me she had purple basil coming up in her garden. “Just sharing,” I told her with a neighborly wave as I backed up to return home. It became a serious problem when my Aunt Millie, who lives in the house below me, told me that my Uncle David had taken a strange, purple plant to the city horticulturist because it was coming up all in their yard. Soon my section of the neighborhood had become...

Temptation Anyone?

Temptations…you all know what I’m talking about and it’s not that Motown group of 5. It’s the OTHER temptations in our lives. They’ve been around since the dawn of time, and given their history, it’s not likely they’re going anywhere. Recently I came across a quote which put into perspective why there are times when we’re tempted more than others: “The weaknesses we see in the people of the Bible are the very weaknesses we ought to recognize in ourselves. Live Eve who ate the forbidden fruit we are vulnerable to temptation when we act on our own. Like Abraham, who lied about his wife to save his neck, we are vulnerable to temptation when we are scared. Like David, who slept with Bathsheba while his men were off to war, we are vulnerable to temptation when we are idle. Like Elijah, who wanted God to end his life, we are vulnerable to temptation when we are exhausted. Like Peter, who denied his Lord even after he promised to die for him, we are vulnerable to temptation when we are overconfident. In other words, we are vulnerable to temptation practically all the time.”Phillip Graham Ryken There is no question about it, I’m vulnerable when I’m exhausted, prideful, overconfident and scared. I’m not as likely to give into the temptations that swirl around me when I’m immersing myself in The Word. It’s when I go it alone that the problems start. Looking back at my life, heck looking back at yesterday tells the story. I snap at those I love when I’m exhausted.I see things I don’t need to see...