Battleground

When you look at someone and view them as the enemy, that’s dangerous ground to walk on. Trust me. It leads to jealousy, bitterness, hurt, and broken relationships. Not the best path to walk down.

Whenever I catch my mind drifting to that sort of thinking, I am quickly reminded of the verse Ephesians 6:12, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

I’m thankful for these “truth slaps” that I often get from my years and years of reading Scripture. Even though I’ve read it’s contents a million times, I still have a hard time living out what it says I should do in my daily life. But I don’t give up there and simply refuse to no longer read the truth I so desperately need. Those millions of times I’ve read this Scripture is the very same reason why I can catch myself living contradictory to what it says.

My challenge to you is a challenge to myself: don’t view others as the enemy. They’re not the enemy, but a battleground. A vessel containing an intense war on the inside. Two forces are fighting for their hearts each and every day. When you look at someone and refuse to give into the lie that they are the enemy, your perspective changes. Your heart changes.

You no longer ask yourself, how can I fight against them, but rather, how can I fight for them?

Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. | Mendolin

In the Wrong

Women RR signI spent my morning on Friday sitting in the local Panera planning and processing a few ideas for my job. Throughout college, I spent most of my time studying and preparing for presentations or exams there while devouring my body weight in their scrumptious blueberry bagels and hazelnut coffee. When given the opportunity to have an off-site work day once a month, I knew exactly where I wanted to go.

There’s something inspiring to be among people as I work, watching and observing from All-Sons-And-Daughters-blaring-through-my-earbuds-while-feverishly-typing-away corner of the room. It’s as if I’m seeing a improv dance routine take place. Everyone moving at their own pace. Ordering, talking, laughing, eating. . . it’s simply beautiful. While the my recent change in diet has forced me to sacrifice on the blueberry bagel (still working on finding a good gluten-free recipe), I still was able to order a large cup of coffee, which I refilled more than I’d like to admit.

It was about the time I was wrapping up my brainstorming session that those ______ cups of coffee refocused my attention to another part of the restaurant. The restroom. Seeing as it was approaching the lunch hour and business was picking up, I decided to open up some real estate for someone else to enjoy, took my things to my car and hurriedly made my way back into the building.

Rushing past the crowds, I burst through the door without breaking stride and was just about to open the stall door when something out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. I turned my head to see a urinal on the side of the bathroom. Now, most of you would have immediately realized you were in the wrong  bathroom, but I can’t lie. My first thought was, “That’s weird. Why did they install a urinal in the women’s restroom?” Luckily, another thought immediately interjected my mind and caused me to realize I was indeed in the wrong restroom. As swiftly as I darted through the wrong door I made my way out and into the proper room, hoping (no, praying) no one would catch me correcting my mistake.

Fast forward through a few details and I am red-faced and giggling at myself in the car over what just took place. Did that seriously just happen to me? I obviously was so focused on myself and my needs that I failed to follow the signs marking the answer to my problem.

As funny as Friday’s experience was, it’s amazing how many times I’ve found myself in other similar situations. When facing a problem, I ignore the signs for help and direction God has placed in my path and I end up standing in the middle of a terrible, embarrassing or just plain sinful situation. What’s even worse is I don’t always immediately realize where I am. The longer we refuse to spend time with God and humbly seek Him, the harder it is to hear His voice and notice His direction. Any situation of pain or struggle, whether physical, emotional or relational is terrible and we must acknowledge it, but when we begin to idolize the pain and allow it to control us, we drift further and further away from God’s direction, healing and restoration. Over time, the problem becomes the only thing we can see and builds a barrier over our heart and eyes, inhibiting us from seeing or accepting truths God is trying to share with us.

The good news? In each problem I’ve been in, I eventually realized where I was (thank you, God!). Sometimes I was standing outside the door. Other times I was in the middle of the room, staring at the urinal and wondering why it was in the wrong restroom. No matter how deep I was in a wrong situation or how unlike Jesus I was behaving, I still got the opportunity to turn around and walk in the right direction. There’s a bit of shame and embarrassment, a bit of giggles at foolish decisions, but a whole lot of thankfulness for God providing a way out.

I love the way God uses embarrassing situations in our life to reveal truths to us. You better believe the next time I am faced with a problem, I will pause and look around to see if my surroundings are what they should be. Until then, I am simply going to try and make sure I avoid being in the wrong room. . .  because I probably won’t be lucky enough to walk into an unoccupied room the next time. 🙂

Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.

mc

Balance

If there’s one thing in my life that I struggle with, its balance. I am one of those rare individuals that likes to get a lot accomplished because I get to knock out a long to-do list, but also loves getting lost in conversation with others or creativity sessions. I have a hard time feeling content while participating in either because I end up feeling deprived of the other.

Most days, my default option is to focus on the tasks that lie ahead of me. I get stuck on the “stuff” of life. It’s easy to see why– no one wants to be the irresponsible one. So, I do my work, clean the house, run the errands… all so I can check it off of my list. But what about the people I am around every day? Do I stop and smile at the woman I pass as I reach for the cereal that’s on sale this week, or do I even notice that there’s a human being next to me as I continue checking items off my list?

My desires are playing tug-of-war with my heart. Every day a different one will win. Does it have to be like this, or is there a key to living a balanced life of both doing and being? Will this only get worse when I have children?

Lord, reveal to me the areas of my life that need to be put back into balance. Remind me of my purpose and how my friendships, my job, my responsibilities, my finances, and marriage should fit together.

Love

Hoping that you feel loved today.

In case you don’t, remember that the Creator of all things-the lovely trees of Autumn, the cool rain, the peaceful lakes, and warm fire- love YOU.

Tune your heart to sing the song that’s woven within you and join the orchestra that echos across the world.

Do you hear it?

It’s beautiful, captivating, and liberating. Come on and sing along.