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Sunday, November 9, 2008


Afterthought: (noun) reflection after an action.

Obviously God has been teaching me a lot lately. I think I'm at a point in my life, preparing for a new stage and getting ready to move on from the old, that I find myself scrounging around for an understanding to the change I'm about to experience. Obviously God is saturated with lessons to teach us, whether you are looking or is always there waiting for discovery. I think the one that Christ is teaching me right now is about strength and courage.

My dad's favorite man of God in the bible is Joshua...and what a man he was! I can tell, in all the times I have heard my dad preach, Joshua is the one he is most passionate about...and for good reason. I was in the bookstore a few weeks ago looking for a new devotional to study and one caught my eye. "Live Fearlessly" the Study of Joshua. Live fearlessly?.......SIGN ME UP! Joshua....SIGN ME UP! Funny thing, I walked down to my dad's office to get his opinion on the devotional. He laughed when I showed him the book, then reached down and picked up a book from his Desk. "Living a Fearless Life." (another study of Joshua). I've enjoyed learning about Joshua and how to apply his fearless leadership and living to my life.

"Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:6-9

Hmm, makes me wonder if God's trying to say something about having strength and courage in Him??? Lately those two words have been sticking out in my life like a sore thumb (yeah I did just use a grandma phrase, so what?) Strength...Courage. Those are two very powerful words, and my God is commanding us to have these characteristics. Better work on that!

I'm still sorting through areas in my life where I lack strength and courage. Tonight, one area came to mind...debates/arguments. I am one to run in the opposite direction when it comes to these things. I'm not quite sure what it is, but I think it has something to do with me hating the fact of possibly coming across as a jerk or just holding up a weak argument. Ok, I should state here that I'm not trying to say that I think that I need to argue more or debate more, but this is an area that I could be more eloquent in.

Like I said, when it comes to an argument or debate, I tend to get quiet even if I am very passionate bout the subject. Strength and courage lack completely. Sometimes...very rarely, however, I get into an debate with someone and get a little too fired up about it...lacking something important- Love/Compassion. I described it to some friends tonight like running down a hill. As you run down the hill you pick up momentum and before you know it, it is hard to stop. In the same way, sometimes if I'm discussing something I'm passionate about I tend to get too into the debate, throwing aside the love/compassion towards the person I am talking to. So where is the middle ground?

Is there a way to combine love/compassion, strength, and courage when it comes to arguments or disagreements? Tonight, while in Panera, i got to sit in on a discussion between two friends. They were discussing a sensitive subject. I, of course, got quiet and acted like I wasn't interested in what they were discussing in fear of being brought into the debate. I thought about it for a while...why am I fearful? Why can't I just share my opinion, one I feel strongly about? I think, to be raw and honest... I think I was afraid of my opinion being out there for all to analyze. But if I feel strongly about it, why is it hard to share? Well, like I said, this is an area where strength and courage need to be more thriving. So back to the discussion. The discussion between my two friends was fascinating. They both approached the discussion with strength, courage but most importantly, Love. I admired that about both of them. They listened to each other, contemplated what each other had to say, shared their own opinion and throughout it all, kept love at the center. There was no bitterness or hard feelings at the end. Just a greater understanding of each other and appreciation for seeing it from both angles.

(Sorry I'm running around in circles with this entry but I just thought a lot tonight)

Earlier this week, I did have a discussion with someone about Abortion. This can be a very sensitive subject and one I would usually tip toe around but that "running down the hill" effect started with me. Once i began the debate I couldn't stop. It wasn't like I wanted to argue for the sake of arguing it was more so that I was so into the debate that it became personal and when it became personal, I compromised...compromised compassion and love. Sure, I had some strength and courage to say some of the things in our argument but i can tell from looking back that the things that were said, were not said out of love or compassion. And lacking love and compassion was not worth the strength and courage it took to get there. Like I said, I need to find the ability in my character to go into an argument with strength and courage AND love and compassion. The verse that comes to mind is 1 Cor 13:1 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal."

So, a goal for myself: when faced with a discussion I am passionate about, join the discussion with strength and courage but never lacking love and compassion...Its like Coffee and creamer, can't have one without the other! ;)


Courtney said...

wow! loved this post! i think that's something we'll always, as believers, be trying to do "better" - we'll never do it perfectly. BUT we should be trying to combine all those things - passion, courage, conviction, love, strength together. it is SO hard though!

Kate. said...

amen, kate joyce. i love that lessons only continue... you guys are such an encouragement. love you, friend.

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