comfort zoning, cartoon poetry and a rhythmic charge to reach out

it’s time to help someone. time to open your eyes to a person in need. you can’t keep sitting inside your air conditioned house day after day. search out people who are not in your sphere of influence – burst the sphere, & venture into another demographic, even for a half hour this week. you can do it. that half hour could literally mean the world to someone.

anyone can love someone who loves them. but to show love to someone who you don’t even know – who doesn’t like you – or is in some way different from who you’d normally approach – to show genuine love to someone like this is honorable. it is what each of us ought to do, with compassion and love. Lord knows i need to more.

i came across this artist, peter nevland, a few weeks ago & his animated nature & humor grabbed my att’n. at 1st, i thought he was this crazy, outspoken shaggy-lookin’ guy & almost abandoned. but his content kept me listening…until i appreciated how different he was in his approach to art & poetry. search him on youtube or check out his site. give him a few clicks. you’ll see.

meanwhile, here’s a cartoon video of a more serious piece he wrote {from experience}, about reaching beyond our comfort zones to just be available for anyone in need. so click below, relax & get uncomfortable.

http://spokengroove.com/index.php?location=george_ani

thanks

thanks, God, for loving me. thanks for accepting me. i love that i don’t have to pretend around you; i couldn’t if i tried. my flaws and sins are before you every day. you created me, developed me, changed me, have given me a new name. i am yours.

you wrap your arms around me when i feel lonely. your presence calms me, & at the same time lifts me up, taking me far beyond the joys of a man’s touch, the taste of a perfectly made ‘americano with cream’ or the fleeting burst of creative passion i feel when i listen to a really great song. your presence in & around me is the best thing i can think of. period.

i can be myself, with unwashed hair, no make up, dressed in outdated clothes & come to you with my ever-changing fears & questions, struggles with selfishness & pride and still know…that no matter what, there are two things that will not change:

you love me.

you accept me.

fathers, sons, love & forgiveness

wait! this one’s a long post, but it’s a good thinker, hang with me here!!

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. – Gal 4:4-7 (NLT)

i love how God sent his Son to earth, spoke to him as his Son, & treated him as a Son should be treated. now we have the awesome privilege of making that comparison with our own children. we can see so much more clearly how to parent our own, and even more importantly, how to view ourselves as the precious, priceless children of God we are. when we hurt ourselves, are hit w/sickness or feel pain by another (in any way), he is immediately there to pick us up, squirt some bactine, give us a bandage & a hug if we will dare to reach for him. ok, not literally, but at least thru the body of Christ if you’re plugged in somewhere & absolutely thru His Word. but so often when a natural father disappoints, we attribute those failures and faults to our heavenly Father. why?!?! i guess doubt creeps in…squelching our faith in any kind of father figure. with every shattered hope, from sexual abuse to never receiving a hug; from an unfulfilled promise of a phone call to a no-show during the birth of your daughter, comes an opportunity to do one of two things. either

a.) build walls of protection to no longer “feel” hurt (which like denial, never really works) or

b.) dare to reach with faith as a child in a desperate state, for our Father in heaven.

hmmm…case in point ~ it’s 2:18am & my daughter, who’s fighting a fever & goopy droopy eyes just woke up crying. it was only natural for me to get up at the sound of her cry and go to her, give her medicine, pray & rock her in my arms. i wonder…how much more does our own Creator & Saviour long for that closeness every time we cry.

i’m learning (from books by john bevere & also nancy missler), that a danger in building protective walls is while they seem to keep hurt out, they also keep love in. in order to love as God does, unconditionally, we h a v e to make ourselves vulnerable. if we hold anything against them, we for our own growth need to say to our earthly father figures (if only in our minds), ‘you may have wounded me. it’s not okay, but i will still love you, because now that i am a child of God, i aim to love as he loves. completely opposite of natural love…it is this new agape love. the kind that is not selfish. expects nothing in return. gives until there is nothing left to give…& wants to then give more. nothing you can do can weaken…or strengthen it.’

it’s really hard for me to understand this love. the more i think about it, the more i want to crouch in a corner & hide. it seems like just about everything i do has some kind of ulterior, self-seeking motive. i used to hate the phrase ‘oh, get over it’, but it’s starting to become my friend these days. i so don’t want to be that easily offended person people talk about & tip toe around.

because we let the sins of an earthly father figure offend us to the point of resentment, trust seeps out the cracks & our love grows increasingly hard. as the Bible puts it: “and because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (matt. 24:12 KJV) what an image this scripture conveys! like candle wax when the flame is snuffed out, the surrounding air within minutes begins to harden it. we are surrounded by iniquity like air. but this says to me that only when i choose to overlook an offense, will my love remain soft, vulnerable, and of God.

He is that burning light that feeds my love for others, every day. i wish i could love, serve, speak, parent more like him…but i’m so glad that he sees my progress thus far, and accepts me as i am.

praise you, God.

“Instinctively we try to be like our God, and if He is conceived to be stern and exacting, so will we ourselves be. The truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings and His service one of unspeakable pleasure.

The fellowship of God is delightful beyond all telling. He communes with His redeemed ones in an easy, uninhibited fellowship that is restful and healing to the soul.

He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.”

– A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) from The Root of the Righteous.