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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “words”

Hello Sunshine!

One day I was greeted with, “Hello Sunshine.”

I was already smiling as this guy approached, but his greeting made me smile wider.  It caught my attention immediately.  What an awesome way to be described!  Sunshine as in light and bright;  Sunshine as in being light in dark places.

Hello Sunshine! 

YOU are not only commissioned, but YOU are expected to SHINE!  They will know YOU by your fruit!

[“]  The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.  —Luke 6:45

Prior to that day, I had not thought of myself as being Sunshine.   I thought people described in that way were the type that always had a joke on-hand to share at the drop of a dime.  I thought they were people-pleasers who never shied away from expressing a kind word.  To me, they are always noticeable, always smiling and always looking to make you laugh.  This is not me.

Now, I have a better understanding.  Being Sunshine is simply being light in dark places.  Is that you?  When you speak, what comes out of your mouth?  Are your positive expressions limited to clichés–Christian clichés?  Does your nonverbal language match your lingual declarations?  People are watching, even when you do not think so.  They are listening in more ways than one.  Just as a baby knows its mother’s heartbeat, out of the overflow of your heart you are identified.

Hello Sunshine!

Face

You better SHINE!

Praying…More

Lately, I have been thinking about a reoccurring instruction, “Pray over everything.”  I am not sure when this “direction” first started but at this point it seems to be a stubbornly, pressing message.  Do you pray over everything?

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.  —Luke 5:16

Child Praying

Do I pray over everything?  No.  I am getting better about doing so, but I am not there yet.  As I grow in this area, I am noticing that I am becoming more aware about the thoughts and words that I have and say…and do not say.  This is important because thoughts and words are powerful.

Interestingly, as I become more intentional about deepening my prayer life I have noticed that more and more people are sharing with me that they have been praying for me.  Isn’t that interesting?  Is it coincidental?  Nah.  God knows that I now have a greater understanding of what it means to be prayed for.  That understanding helps me understand why it is important for me to be adamant about praying regularly.

I am here—alive today—because people prayed for me, even when I could not or would not pray for myself…not just one time, but repeatedly.  Not only am I here, but I am present and purposeful because of the power of prayer.   OOOOOOOOOH, you all do not know what the prayers of the righteous have done for me!

In addition to receiving the prayers of others, I have prayed for myself.  I have seen God answer my prayers by making a way for me when I saw no way;  I have rested in His peace when chaos relentlessly whirled around; I have seen Him move what some considered unmovable; I have watched Him bring the right person into my life at the right time to help keep me on the right path.  He has fed me, comforted me, protected me, and blessed me all in the face of my enemies.  Guess what, I continue to pray and He continues to do so.

A few years ago, I heard one of my grandmother’s pray for the first time.  I have only heard her pray a few times, but every time I am amazed.  Her prayers are so powerful that they demand attention;  They are so spiritually strong that tears are often called to roll down my cheeks on the spot.  I can only hope that God hears my prayers and smiles upon them as I do my grandmother’s.  I can only hope that when He hears me, He recognizes me as one of His as my grandmother recognizes me as one of hers.

As I reflect, I know that the days are gone when I would simply repeat the same prayers over and over—you know, the ones we learn as children.  I care too much to robotically recite prayers.  I need to be more like Jesus and often withdraw to quiet spaces and pray.  Spiritual warfare is serious.  The power of prayer—individually and collectively—is more than a neutralizer.  Contrarily to what people think they see, it has the power to manifest VICTORY…..EVERYTIME!

Female Friends

Female friends…thank God I have them.  I have heard numerous stories, negative portrayals, of women by women about how we relate to one another.  Sure, at times I am left confused by our interactions in workplace environments (but I will again address that at another time).  Likewise, there are those moments when we pass each other on sidewalks or in hallways and turn our heads.  Are we serious?  With all of the dangers that lurk, can we really afford to dismiss each other so easily or have we collectively agreed to each her own.  Friendship though, now that is different.  (Or is it?)  After all, we invite these relationships into our lives.

Friends

There have been times when, though my best efforts, I still seemed to end up with a few Judasettes in my crew.  Such is life, right?  All the while,  I defined—only to redefine—what friendship means to me.  In doing so, I learned more about myself.  Likewise, I began to pay even more attention regarding the world in which I live.

I understand that for me, it is vital that I have strong female friendships.  I not only want to hear, but I need to hear words of wisdom from wise women.  Why?  Well, I hear viewpoints—wise or not—from men all of the time and let’s face it, I am a woman.  I want to hear what other women, particularly wise ones, have to say.  (Iron sharpens iron.)

There are things that I experience because I am a woman and I want to hear of shared experiences, learn from similar experiences, avoid pitfalls, celebrate, guide, receive advice from, laugh, cry, encourage and be encouraged by people who know what I am talking about.  When I say, “It’s too hot to wear pantyhose,” I do not want to have to explain why. If I am asked, “What’s wrong,” and I respond, “Cramps”, I want that to end the conversation…for the day.  If I am addressed as “Hun” or “Dear” in a workplace environment (which I have been), I want support on how to best handle such a scene from a woman’s vantage point.  Also, spiritually, there are situations of faith where women may minister to me more effectively.

I am extremely thankful for the female friends I have.  My hope is that all women have a group of women who uplift, enhance, and advance their lives.  Maybe if we speak more on our positive experiences, others will too.  It will be evident that it is not only possible to have positive female friendships, but that they are plentiful.

Be well my Sisters,

Talk Too Much

Believe it or not, there are times when I can talk too much.  I have always loved words, though not wordiness.  (I just have a lot to say.) 

One Sunday many years ago, I was addressing a congregation.  Afterwards, the Pastor said, “Now we know who the talker of the family is.”  (Funny how you remember things.)  It seemed like everyone laughed, everyone but me.  My family and others reassured me that I had done well.  Likewise, the Pastor complimented me.  Still, I was confused by his remark although I did not linger long on it.  I knew I said what was on my heart and the people expressed appreciation.  This was symbolic of the season of growth I was in.  At that time, if I had something to say, my belief in its truth would result in a high probability that I would say it and move on without much thought.  Times have changed.

Over the course of my life, I have learned the importance of being discerning in speech.  The more I deepened my personal relationship with God, the more I began to understand that sometimes He will show me things for me to know and not to share, at least not immediately.  YES!  I had to learn to keep my mouth shut until the appointed time.  (LOL.)  That was hard.  I have grown.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.  They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant.  (Mark 9:9-10)

Shh

What I learned was to appreciate the blessing of possessing knowledge.  I regularly pray for greater wisdom and increased discernment.  There is a responsibility that comes with these three spiritual gifts.  Many avoid conversations.  That in itself could require a lot of discipline, not to be confused with fear.  For me, the bigger test was learning when not to speak.  The more I worked on controlling my tongue, the more I was able to identify frivolous conversations.  In doing so, discovering the purpose of my conversations became increasingly important.  I gained greater respect for the power of words and for the season for their expressions.

Truthfully, I value when God shows me things.  I am still learning when and how to speak on those things I share.  After all, there is a time for all things…and an audience for everything.  I have not mastered it yet, but I like the growth I see.  Now, when sharing information I try to let the Holy Spirit guide my tongue, not my ego.

Inside Out

Not long ago, a friend told me he admires my diplomacy in speech.  Apparently, he had noticed how I handled a number of situations over a period of time and was impressed.  His compliment was not surprising, however, his observation was unanticipated.  You never know who is watching.  Although not mentioned often, there is an important connection between our words and their connection to our hearts.

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?  But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.'”  —Matthew 15:16-20

It is easy to appear clean in a world that seems fascinated by materialism and superficial things.  Bathe the body, put on clean clothes, wear a neat hairstyle, drive a nice car, and don’t forget to smile.  This simple formula will win you a few friends.  If you are charismatic and approachable, you will win a few more.  People will want to be in your presence.

Both near and from afar, people will watch you and they will search, for flaws.  They may or may not tell you what they see, but many will see you for who you really are inside out.  Discerning Christians will know if your inside matches your outward presentation.  Do not be so mesmerized by a person’s outward appearance that you neglect to listen to their words, that you fail to hear their heart, that you neglect knowing them inside out.  Not everyone is entertained by unclean hearts.

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