A Visit to Abundance

We live in a world of have and have-nots. 

I wish I could say it’s different in the Christian realm, but if anything it seems more pronounced.  It might not be a competition for wealth but the struggle for power seems to rise in the absence of financial incentive.

When I tell people I am a Christian writer they want to know if I’m legitimate or a hack. When Tim and I share we planted a church, “how big?” is inevitably the next question, and when I mention the young ladies I speak to and encourage, people seem disappointed that it’s the broken teen mom crowd I address and not the momentous “Women of Faith” tribe.

If I look to find my approval by the world’s standards of more, more, more…I will always be left wanting. 

But I don’t think Jesus would use the same measuring stick.

Typically, when I attend a Christian conference there are unspoken but tangible lines between the attendees and the speakers.  It’s like the hip bar in town and you only get to cross the rope if you are a serious VIP.  The egos are big, the fans are in awe and the competitive, “scarcity mentality” reigns supreme. 

Everyone is angling and ogling –playing the image management game and jockeying from their perceived position into the next strata of awesomeness.

I’m not a good player in this game.  Maybe I’m a bit too rebellious?  Or maybe I just care way more about what God thinks of me then the crowd.

But this last weekend I encountered something radically different – Christian superstars who were willing to pour into the peons with freedom and abandonment.

Now maybe it was the setting –a small conference over three days with serious heavy hitters and a group of writers enthralled and willing to absorb every minutia of wisdom shared, but despite the unique setting, I was amazed at the willingness of these twenty million plus best-selling authors to engage and love lavishly.

It was surreal.

When Paul Young, author of The Shack, entered the room, tears ensued.  I’m not kidding.  I witnessed it on more than one occasion.  Paul will describe an insight or a way God has revealed himself to him and bamm…someone in the crowd or at the breakfast table breaks down in big gulpy sobs of release.

Love changes the game.

Peter Strople, the most “connected man in America” is also the most humble man in the world.  When God looks to and fro for a worthy man, I imagine he sighs in satisfaction and claps with glee at Peter. 

Humility trumps power.

I could go on and on.  Mary DeMuth, George Barna, Ken Blanchard, Joel Clark, Mark Batterson, Jim Henderson, and literary agent Esther Fedorkevich…all willingly moved towards relationship despite the normal barriers of celebrity and power.

Relationship changes people.

I learned an invaluable lesson this weekend.  When someone believes in you, maybe someone further down the road you are traveling (maybe a few global best-selling authors perhaps?) and they tell you they loved reading your book proposal and they gave it their vote, paradigms change. 

Actually, my paradigm exploded.  And I want these fireworks to never end.

I am so tired of living in a world of scarcity.  My new home is in ABUNDANCE. 

I know why these authors give and give and give some more…and why their generosity flows like an endless stream.  It’s because they are connected to the river of all creativity from the author of life itself.  God’s river is lavish and deep and wide and these authors recognize the source of the river will never run dry.

Where are you living –in scarcity or abundance? 


Photo Credit: http://pinterest.com/themodstitch/

It’s not as bad as it could be…

The Christmas my daughter Faith turned four, I succumbed to Barbie Guitar mania.  I was one of “those” parents who got in a bidding war on Amazon and eventually paid twice the retail value to score an overhyped piece of plastic that ended up buried in a storage unit: only to be unearthed years later- just in time for our littlest girl to rediscover it’s hokey Shania Twain belting wonders.

You would think after all this time, I would have figured out the words to the incessant songs on the guitar that my toddler plays over and over and over, but admittedly, I have an awful ear for lyrics, and am repeatedly caught making up my own version of songs and am then mocked by my family.

The other day was no different. Baby Kolby and I were rocking out to the guitar, swaying our hips and singing, “It’s not as bad as it could be, seems everybody’s bugging me.”

My husband looked up from his iPhone snorting, “What did you say? The song says “It’s ‘bout as bad as it could be.”

“Oh, well I like my version better,” I said sheepishly. “I guess I’m just an optimist.”

I flounced away and Kolby and I kept on dancing to our own tune. 

But later, I replayed our interaction and it made me think about how often we choose to hear what we want to hear, based on our own emotional paradigm and life experiences.

When I hear Shania’s song it takes me back to my own journey through abandonment and betrayal, divorce and struggling to survive as a single mom with health issues.  And I guess it’s all perspective, because even on a bad day, I’m pretty confident it’s not as bad as it could be. It could be total crap.

And so a few poopy diapers, teen stress, and pure exhaustion from our hectic life is still merely a gentle breeze ruffling my feathers, not a tornado picking me up and leaving me unconscious and naked thirty miles from home.

And I think I like being an optimist in a world full of cynics, and maybe its God’s little gift to those who choose to trust him for a grander purpose instead of turning to bitterness over life’s disappointments.

At Bible Study the other day, this woman showed up with a big cake for her friend’s fortieth birthday, but she was clearly frazzled from her ordeal with the baker. She explained that she had specifically called in and said she wanted the message to say “Forty and Fabulous.”

When she picked up the cake it read, “Forty and Flabulous!”

I guess some things get lost in a pessimist’s translation.

What could be better than this? Cheap pumpkins and cute kids!

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