Monday, December 8, 2014

"You're stuck with what?"

Are there things in your life that you can't change? Have something you can't live with, except the options seem limited so you're stuck with it?

Before: dreary red and dirty
When we first saw this house, I almost fell over in the master bath. The fixtures were an ugly maroon / rust / deep red. I couldn't even describe the color and I sure couldn't imagine that someone liked it enough to outfit an entire bathroom in it.

Then this week I saw the 2015 "Color of the Year: Marsala." Whaaaat? So our bathroom is hip, chic, and totally in? Who knew. Apparently someone really likes what I could barely tolerate.

I flipped through all kinds of colors chips and accessories on the computer, comparing them against the brown-red. Finally I saw a sky-blue that cheers up the depressing shade. I found a bath mat at ACE Hardware with that color and W brought our old white and swirl-a-blue-Sharpee curtains from Seattle.

Over the course of a few weeks, Ibu A and I scrubbed the hardwater stains off the floor tiles, tub, and sink. I bleached the tired grout and W replaced the cloudy mirror and the lumpy grey grouting around the sink. The handyman built a new drawer under the sink and removed the mould- and termite-infested one.

After: cheery, bright, and clean
And somehow it works. I don't mind our bathroom anymore. Those of you who know how visual I am realize why I wonder if God performed a miracle.

When our surroundings - people, things, resources, or ideas - seem overwhelming or impossible, we have at least a few choices:
  • Freeze. Decide there's nothing you can do and hate every minute.
  • Sit tight and pray. Hope things will improve. Sometimes the situation gets better without our help or meddling.
  • Look around at the possibilities. What might improve things? Can someone who knows more than you advise you? (Coaching is great for exploring your options.) 
  • Think outside the box and try the unexpected. Is there anything you haven't thought of yet? Sometimes weird fixes are worth a try - and you might have a one-time solution for your problem. ("Are drywall corners sturdy enough as a cheap curtain rod if hung on hooks?" Yeah, we did that in our family room years ago. =$10 for 38 feet of windows. Not another person knew what was up there. What's not to love?)
  • Try something new. (For example, have you ever tested a new recipe on dinner guests? Someone at the table will probably like the dish even if your family doesn't think it's great. Right?)
Jesus is a good role model in thinking beyond the expected. 
  • He was born in a manger and died on a cross, hardly bookends for a conventional life.
  • He challenged traditional ideas by emphasizing a transformed life rather than religious rules. (For example, he reframed conventions of purity and washing with principles for separating self from defilements of the heart.)
  • He used everyday situations of farming, herding, and finances in stories to explain revolutionary ideas of heaven's values, true humility, and service to others. 
  • He asked his disciples to do the impossible = feed 5000 people. He had them to look around for what was on hand. Then he performed an extravagant miracle with the bare amount they found.
  • He stepped into a fishing boat when the crowd on the shore was pressing in and he couldn't be heard. (Have you ever read of other rabbis teaching from a boat?)
Are you facing the impossible? What are you being called to do? 

Look around carefully. What is in your hands? Who is waiting nearby? In what ways might God be preparing an unconventional or unexpected solution?

Read more:
*Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations. Ask your father, and he will inform you, your elders, and they will tell you. Deuteronomy 32:7 NASB

*If you seek the Lord, he will be found by you. 2 Chronicles 15:2 ESV

*He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom. Isaiah 40:11 ESV

*Everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:10 ESV

*Paul wrote to Timothy: I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 2 Timothy 1:5 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Faithful God, hear us when we cry out to you. Let us dwell in your presence when we seek you—help us to find you even when you seem hidden. 

Thank you, great Teacher, for those who have passed on their faith and stories of you from generation to generation. Give us words and courage to teach those you have placed in our lives. Amen.

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