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Day 6 Mug Hug

 

 

 

 

As I observe our political climate and listen to our president, his supporters, and those who oppose him, I am often in disbelief. Especially when it comes to the behavior, actions, and words of fellow Christians. For that reason, I struggle with my political affiliation. I cannot say I am republican or democrat, because I can’t align myself firmly to either party. And sadly, I feel the same way about labeling myself as a Christian. If you know me, my love for Jesus is deep, but these days, I understand why people would be confused by what a Christian looks like. The bible and how some Christians are behaving don’t align. It takes a lot of effort to keep my anger at bay.

A couple of weeks ago after listening to almost every word of the impeachment testimonies, the TV was on channel 6 and the Christian show, 700 Club, came on. I decided to linger for a moment to hear what they might say, and a moment was all I could manage. In anger I flipped off the TV and called a couple of friends. I wanted so badly to shout to everyone:  Read the bible. That is not what Jesus is about! A tweet that I’m sure no one saw was the closest thing I could do.

It can feel lonely and confusing for those of us who are watching the hateful words said by Christians in public for all to see. I know that some of the Christian leaders I look up to can’t possibly agree with many of the statements we hear from some Christian leaders. I completely understand the neutral position they take. Commenting and confronting some of the statements that we hear from Christians would contribute to the discord that tears at the fabric of our country. Not contributing to the ugliness is Christ like.

Yet there is a place for responding. It has to be done thoughtfully, and Christianity Today has done just that. They have done so in a firm way that is not slapping someone in the face with criticism, or name calling, but with an explanation of why they believe President Trump should be removed. And I am relieved.

Thank you, Christianity Today.

For previous posts of My Twelve Mugs of Christmas, click here.

An Historical Day

Day 7 Mug Hug

Yes, like you, I love plaid. And yes, this is photographed in my bathroom. I’m starting my day differently and almost forgot that I have committed to posting every day until Christmas!

Major things have happened in the last 24 hours. And a lot is happening in the next 7 days, so the closer we get to Christmas, these posts will feel more like a luxury that might not get embraced as the distraction of Christmas and the requirements of work call my name. These books (Bird by Bird, The Memoir Project, and The War of Art) speak specifically to overcoming the obstacles that contribute to us putting off our creativity. This twelve day commitment I publicly made is keeping me accountable to do exactly what expert authors tell us to do: JUST WRITE!

Which leads me to think about what vs how. Whether it’s how we plan our day, a conversation with a friend, or a bigger one, such as starting a business, selling a house, or impeaching a president. As a Christian, we expect certain behaviors that reflect God’s word. Christians will often seek spiritual guidance to make a decision. Some are ordinary decisions without a lot of consequence, some are gigantic, with monumental impact. Almost all behaviors and decisions affect other people.

I hope that we all consider how we affect other people, as well as the degree of our responsibility to them. As Christians, God is our guide, by reading his word, and in prayer. In that way, we will see that it’s not always what we decide to do, but how we do it.

If these 4 things can be our rule, and not our exception, we will all be better for it. We will have a better grasp on the HOWS of our lives that I believe liberate us.

  1. Obey God’s word: We are to be good people. We are to be servants. We are to walk in love. Each of these passages tells us how to do something, not necessarily what to do. We aren’t responsible for other peoples’ success or failure, but we are responsible to ourselves, and if you love God, we are responsible to him.
  2. Pray: Ask God for what you want, and then listen. Let him speak to your heart as you are quiet, and see his glory in creation. Reflect on his word as you push back the noise of the world. When we are listening to God, we are more apt to behave according to his will, and overcome selfish ambition.
  3. Seek counsel: This can be tricky. With all the varied opinions with different levels of influence, it can become confusing. But counsel is God’s will for us. We are designed to be relational (although, some more than others!). But that’s why we don’t leave it there. We filter advice through God’s word. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.” God’s word has rarely omitted a problem for me, but it has always provided me with direction that has given me peace, even when I dreaded the challenge that I faced. In this way, I think of Jesus when he asked God to take the cup. He is our greatest example of obedience.
  4. Trust: Know that God is with us, even when the decision is scary and unconventional. In my current situation, I am fully aware that I could have made a mistake, but I kind of think, “so what!?” I have made many more. We all do our best in the moment, and we ask God to be with us in those moments. We know that there is no mistake that is so horrible, it can’t be redeemed. The story of David is a great example of trust and God’s intervention. David doesn’t ask God every step of the way of how he should act. I think of when he acted like a madman to avoid being killed by King Achish. I imagine it was just good instinct. I also think about the seemingly irony of when David saves the people of Keilah from the Philistines. In spite of him doing so, he is positioned to be caught and killed by Saul. David asks the Lord, “Will they give me up to Saul? The Lord answers, “Yes, they will.” God had sent David into Keilah to save them! David asks God again, “Lord, will the people of Keilah surrender me over to Saul?” And the Lord answers, “They will.” David was obedient throughout his volatile relationship with Saul. You have to read the whole story to know the outcome (1 Samuel), but let me just say, there’s no lack of drama, and it’s my “go to” when I need assurance that God can indeed redeem any situation.

Well, this is a much longer mug hug than I’d anticipated. So much for the luxury I didn’t think I was going to embrace!

Thank you, Jesus for this Mug Hug, and your word that is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

 

Day 8 Mug Hug

Today’s mug is actually a favorite cup, and I can get it any time of year. As much as I love good coffee, I also love McDonalds, as a company. With a lower price, their lattes are adequate. Their stores are clean, their service model is consistent, and they strive to offer a variety to please the current trends. I have a friend who eats one ice cream cone a day from McDonalds, and another friend who daily gets her $1 soda. I like how I fill out a 1 minute survey with my receipt and get a free small latte, and I like their frequent buyer cards. I especially like Susie at my neighborhood location. I don’t go often, but she always greets me with a smile, as if she knows me. I marveled at her one day last year. Winter calamity put the fear in everyone and shut down most of the surrounding businesses, but Susie greeted me with the same enthusiasm she greets everyone, every day.

This morning had me out the door early running a Christmas errand to my daugther’s house on the East side. Hence, a change, but I’m happy to share my enthusiasm for the good ole’ American icon: McDonalds.

I am surprised they don’t have holiday cups for the season. I guess another reason to like them. They’re a practical bunch.  Merry Christmas, McDonalds!

For previous posts of My Twelve Mugs of Christmas, click here.

Day 9 Mug Hug

I’m not crazy about this mug. It’s bigger than I like, and doesn’t shout “Christmas.” But it shouts “Bridgette,” (as well as “Beijing” and “Starbucks”). She brought it back from China when she went in eighth grade with a group from OES. So this is as much a hug from Bridgette as it is a Mug Hug.

The busy traffic of life has a way of zipping past, our memories left so far back, we can hardly recall ever being there. But there’s something about touching an object or a person or living an experience that knocks on the heart, awakening a memory and welcoming it in.

When I grabbed this mug it was like, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” This mug reminds me of this thing, and that thing reminds me of that person, and that person reminds me of that event, and when I did that thing, and I remember a lot about that moment in time. Some things I didn’t love or could make me sad, so in this moment, I skip past that, and reach for the things that I did love, because after all, this is a Mug Hug, and even though this is NOT Folgers, this is the best part of waking up!

For previous posts of My Twelve Mugs of Christmas, click here.

Day 10 Mug Hug

 

This is from a set I got a few years back at an after Christmas sale from Pete’s Coffee. You may see it again, or, maybe not this exact one, but one of the other three, that all look the same.

I realized that if you read my blog, “Getting There,”  you read that I had a burning question about my furnace, which was: Has it been broken all these years? The answer is, “Yes.” I could be embarrassed about that. I kind of am. But I’m also, very much not. I am capable and competent in a lot of things, but this was not one of them. As much as I’d discussed my cold house in the winter, no one ever said, “Have you checked to see if the upgrade kit on your TRANE XL 80 has been replaced?” Ugh. I could have gone my whole life and not been compelled to know that information.

Lesson learned however: Get the annual equipment checks.

For many of us, our grateful hearts do the heavy lifting most of the year, but the holidays remind us of our reality that we work so hard to manage or deny. The holidays demand our attention like a mom who places both hands on our cheeks, twists our face in her direction and straight into her eyes.

For encouragement about peace and joy, click here to listen to our pastor’s sermons on the four aspects of advent. I’m so grateful for Pastor Brad Williams whose messages lift me up and equip me for a life that’s not easy to navigate.

That’s it for today. I’m diving in to work. Today on the agenda: Work on Explanation of Services for my new biz, and a website.

For previous posts of My Twelve Mugs of Christmas, click here.

PS: If you receive an email when I post, know that I constantly see room for improvement in my writing, so the post always changes once I hit PUBLISH. To see the most current version, go to the website!