I’m skilled at several things which makes it challenging to define my craft. What I’m realizing is my craft is to create. I love to look at images of home decor styles and create the look in reality. I love creating new experiences for others that expands their ability to dream for themselves. I love to create new, innovative learning experiences for our son. I create an atmosphere of support as I lead others to total wellness through my fitness programs. I create genuine spiritual encounters as I lead in ministry. I love to create new vegan dishes as I lead our family to better health. I create unity as I intentionally build positive connections with people from different cultural backgrounds. I create new behaviors and new mindsets as I provide mental health therapy. I create businesses that meet needs. I create art with my written words. I create realities from dreams. What’s your craft?
Have you ever been so close to something, yet so far away. This has been the conundrum of my life for the past several years. I have been living in the space between a promise and manifestation. To be honest, I do not know how to live in this space. I do not know how to think, how to act, how to feel…I’m still figuring things out.
Distance. The space between a promise and manifestation is the constant waxing and waning of distance. There are moments when I feel very close to the “end”, then there are moments I feel at the very beginning. Sometimes it seems the waxing and waning is in response to my own reactions to my circumstances; some days I’m hopeful, other days I feel hopeless. Sometimes it seems the waxing and waning has nothing to do with me, but just the ebb and flow of life.
Distance. There are moments I feel so close to God, I can almost feel his breath. Then there are moments I feel I have to beg and plead for God to hear me. The closeness to God is so comforting and creates a sense of security. The days I feel distant from God I feel shunned for something I don’t understand. I feel like a lost sheep…a forgotten soldier.
Distance. What is this place? Why does it exist? In light of social distancing, distance is necessary to reduce and eliminate. In the light of a relationship where two partners are miles apart, distance produces fondness, admiration, and a yearning to connect. In light of a freeway with heavy traffic, maintaining distance means safety, precaution, and wisdom. In the light of an unhealthy relationship, distance is necessary for separation, freedom, and restoration. In the Bible, Jesus even felt distant from God as he was near death on the cross. Matthew 27: 46 (NIV) states, “About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In the next moment, he died and the world was forever changed.
Distance. So…what if the distance between my promise and manifestation is necessary for an unexpected, life-changing outcome? What if the distance between my promise and manifestation is drawing me closer to God through a growing fondness and admiration? What if the “driver” of my life is using distance as safety and precaution to not allow me to be so much in control of a life I didn’t create? What if distance is allowing me moments to restore my total dependence on God and restoring His place as the head of my life?
Distance. I am still struggling, but one thing I am realizing through this time of reflection, Jesus’ painful acknowledgment of distance from God on the cross, just before manifestation of the promise, must mean I am somehow on the right track.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son…” John 3:16
So…God LOVED the world but do you believe God LIKED the world?
I hope most of us, if not all of us, agree that God probably didn’t like the world at the time He sent Jesus. How could He? The world was filled with murderous people, incest, debauchery, idol worshippers, complainers, naggers, criticizers, stubbornness, gluttony, greed, sexual immorality, jealousy, schemers, manipulators, etc. And most of this you can read about in Genesis, just the first book of the Bible!
But here is the kicker…despite it all, He chose to give these same people His best. You see, Jesus Christ was His ONLY begotten son. The best part of Him. There is and will be no other like Him.
God was able to look past what He didn’t like in us and still give us the best part of His love for us…Jesus Christ. Who does that?…Who chooses to gift those they do not like with their best? You see when God gifted us with His best, despite what He didn’t like, a double miracle took place. Jesus Christ became all man and all God born of a virgin AND we became eligible for redemption.
So…what should you do to love someone you don’t like? Give them the best part of you. A friend hurt your feelings or has been disloyal? Give them your best listening ear and heart when they are in need. Spouse broken your trust or unsupportive? Give them your best “I love you” and a hug of forgiveness. Boss treating you unfairly? Give them your best work and smile throughout your day. Child acting up? Give them your best compliment affirming who they are in Christ.
Now, learning to love when you don’t like is not easy but it always results in a double miracle. You and the other person get blessed. I am a witness. I strive to live my life by the phrase “Kill’em with Kindness”. I have found that when I have to interact with an enemy, when I “Kill’em with Kindness” I paralyze them with so much love they soon forget why they didn’t like me. It is the same concept with the gift of Jesus. Love always prevails.
Here is the takeaway, when you don’t like someone, choose to give them a gift of love…the best part of you…and watch double miracles take place.
I love the phrase, LOL, which commonly means Laugh Out Loud. I enjoy reading or watching something funny and experiencing that burst of expression of genuine laughter. There is something very spiritually cleansing and healing when we laugh. In fact, researchers have suggested that laughter increases blood flow, encourages a healthy immune response, lowers blood sugar levels, and promotes relaxation and good sleep!* Now, if laughter promotes holistic healing, why don’t we do it more?
This blog title is birthed from the LOL acronym seen on many social media sites, text messages, etc. I believe the expression of laughter connects with the art of living. When we laugh, we live. So if we replace the word laugh with live, we can Live out Loud every day of our lives. Living is not merely just breathing and existing…living involves action, constant movement. If you are not moving in some shape, form, or fashion then you are dead.
I teach the women at my church the art of Living Out Loud through inspirational activities and events. Our God gives us breath day in and day out as a means to truly “live” the life He has prepared for us. A life that is good and abundant with blessings and His glory. God’s breath is action. In order to truly live, you have to be willing to resurrect those things that are dead in your life…spirit, soul, and body. Are you spiritually dead, having no real relationship with God? Are you merely on autopilot in your life? Are you holding on to dead stuff from your past that prevents you from even living in your present, much less your future? Are you physically consuming substances that are literally killing the cells in your body? Are you holding on to dead thoughts, thoughts that lead you towards a slow death, a form of mental suicide? Are you in a dead marriage or relationship that continues to suck the life out of you every day?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I challenge you to start Living Out Loud today! Start examining those dead areas and speaking life over them. Start taking ACTION and read your LIVING WORD daily to begin living out loud! (for those that do not know what the living word is…it’s the BIBLE! LOL…for real). This blog is designed to help you do just that…LIVE OUT LOUD! I hope it inspires many to start living a life of purpose and fulfillment and boldly declare through their actions…GOD IS THE SUSTAINER OF LIFE AND I PLAN TO LIVE EVERY SECOND OF IT OUT LOUD!
Live out Loud,
*Laughter facts found at http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter?page=2. Not all facts are supported by evidenced-based research. Personal research is encouraged to confirm or deny scientific claims.