Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Spiritual Traffic Jam

I hate getting stuck in traffic.

It's even worse when that traffic is in my heart. So many different priorities in life, and all of them packed on the super-highway of my mind. Often God gets lost in the shuffle.

Most of my traffic is about God, so how can He get lost in the shuffle? He gets lost in the shuffle (or more succinctly, I lose sight of Him) because I'm too darned busy to notice where I am in this life.

I have too many jobs, too many self-inflicted responsibilities, and too many to-do lists. Yes, everything needs to get done, but when everything becomes just the next task to do, I lose focus on the who and why.
It could be ministry work, driving, or crafting- it doesn't matter. God gets left by the wayside and I speed off without even realizing I've left someone important behind.

There's a song called Just Breathe by Jonny Diaz. The first time I heard it I was in shock. God sent me a song! This song resembled my own life so much, I almost cried listening to the lyrics. I pulled the car over and really listened, then I did what the lyrics said. Just Breathe.

Four seconds is all it took for me to be in a better, calmer state of mind. It also allowed me a big enough pause to open my spiritual eyes and see the jam I'd gotten myself into. But it allowed one more, very important moment. It gave me time to let God back in the van!

From that day forward, I'm much more aware when I start getting stuck in spiritual traffic. I take a side road in prayer, turn off the highway and rethink my path, or pull over and breathe, listening to Him instead of the beeping horns. I don't always remember, but when I do, the first thing I do is breathe. It's like a spiritual reset button.

Even when what I do is for God or about God, I get lost in the details. But when I focus on the who (God) and the why (to glorify Him), the traffic snags smooth out and the day runs so much better!

I've cut a few extra cars out of my jams. Tasks and deadlines were postponed or cancelled altogether, schedules lightened, and to-do lists shortened because I just couldn't function as a human being anymore- the load was too great! It wasn't easy (and still isn't!) but God will get me through what I have to do and give me the wisdom to know when to pull off of the highway.

Breathe in God, and breathe deeper than you've ever done before!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My Son, Darth Vader

My son is weird.

It isn't because he has Aspergers. Autism doesn't make him weird- it makes him one really awesome individual!
No- My son is weird because he chooses the oddest people to look up to.

For instance, my son's favorite character is Darth Vader.

It started out as an interest. He loves Star Wars (yes, even the 'prequels'), and I thought for sure he'd want to emulate Luke Skywalker, or Obi-wan, or I could even accept the snarky Han Solo; but a few years ago when he wanted to dress up for a Star Wars party, he chose Darth Vader.

I'm a Christian. He's a Christian. Our whole family is Christian. So why is my son choosing to be the ultimate Star Wars bad guy? The more I protested, the more he wanted to be Vader. I sighed. Maybe this was a teen rebellion thing.

At first he tried to appease me by being a regular old Jedi dressed in black. He told me he was still a good guy- after all Anakin was a good guy in the beginning- so he was a good guy that wore black, with fifteen light sabers attached to his person.

Yes, the picture of peace and serenity was my son. Egad.

Soon he started collecting Darth Vader gear. The helmet. the cape. the gloves. I'd had enough. it was time to put my foot down.

"Son, don't you know that Vader is the bad guy? Why on God's green earth do you want to be the bad guy? He's done so much evil!"

He looked at me, surprised. "Mom, don't you get it? Vader did a lot of bad stuff, but in the end, he repented, was forgiven and allowed to go to heaven with his buddy Obi-wan. No matter how bad he was, he was still redeemable! That's why I like him- Darth Vader reminds me that if I do anything wrong, I can always repent and God will forgive me."

I stood there, dumbfounded. He was right.

I can't stand it when my kids are smarter than me. Or at least spiritually deeper than me. I never gave Darth Vader credit for repenting- but my son saw right through him, and saw past the evil deeds to a character that was redeemable.

My son is amazing.

I'm still not overly thrilled that he likes the bad guy, but I understand his perspective. Maybe that's why God gave me a child with Aspergers- Aspies are great at thinking outside of the box and seeing things other people just don't see.

God is amazing.

Sometimes we need reminding that no matter how horrible we think we are, we're still redeemable. Darth isn't the only person wearing a black cape over his heart. Everyone is guilty of one sin or another, and our capes are in all shades of darkness.

My son taught me an important lesson that day- One I've never forgotten. No matter how dark the cape we wear, God will always be there to wash us whiter than snow- if we repent.

Who knew my son, Darth Vader, would teach me such an awesome lesson about God?