Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Good Word

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Proverbs 12:25 - Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. (ESV)

I have an acquaintance who never fails to compliment me on some aspect of my attire.

Now, this might be a normal occurrence for many of you, but as I have never been accused of being a fashionista, it’s a rare event for me. She doesn’t gush or tell me I look like I’ve lost 30 pounds (which, while it would be nice if it was true, hasn’t happened yet). She points out simple things like “I love your necklace” or “that sweater looks great with that top”. As I am slightly paranoid about most of my outfits (unless my sister picked them out), I can’t help but be gratified.

It may be shallow, but I like a compliment.

I’ve had several people who have recently provided a word of encouragement at just the right moment.

A random comment at Bible study from someone, telling me how much she enjoys the blog – I didn’t know she’d ever read it – made my day.

Another friend just today added an encouraging comment about my writing to the end of a non-writing related note. There’s no way she could have known that the summer schedule, while fun for me and the kids, is brutal to the writing lifestyle I’m attempting to carve out for myself. But her words were soothing to my anxious spirit.

And then there’s the priceless moment when someone tells me I’m doing a good job as a mom. Especially when it comes on a day when I’m feeling like the worst mom on earth.

I’ve been wondering how often I fail to encourage someone because I’m too busy to pay attention, or because I assume that they are so put-together, so confident, so sure, that anything I might say would be meaningless. When, in reality, there is no way for me to know what’s happening behind closed doors—what frustrations or fears they are facing—or how close to the breaking point they are.

And I wonder, as someone who is rarely at a loss for words, if I shouldn’t do a better job and use my powers for good. I’d love it if when people walk away from me, rubbing their ears because I’ve been talking for fifteen, twenty, OK, fine, thirty minutes straight, they walk away with a glad heart because my words weren’t self-absorbed and self-focused, but were a message of encouragement, soothing to an anxious heart.

Father, let it be.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wimpy Wimpy Wimpy?

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I’m a wimp.

A cream puff.

A marshmallow.

I’m so not cut out to be a writer.

I’m anaphylactically allergic to criticism. And this doesn’t apply only to my writing life. This is just who I am. I have the type of personality that always wants to be right. Not in the “I’m right and you’re wrong” way but in the “I’ll die of humiliation if I answer the question wrong so I’m not going to raise my hand, even though I know the answer” way.

The upside to being paranoid about making mistakes is that it has made me into a very conscientious person. If you ask me to do something, I’ll do it. And then I’ll go over it 100 times to be sure it’s right. And then I’ll call you a few days later to see if it met your expectations.

Again. I shouldn’t be writing.

Because all writing requires some form of criticism.

And, criticism + Lynn = hyperventilation.

Each time I send a writing sample off to someone, whether it’s for an assignment, or a guest blog, or because they asked to read a few chapters of my book, it just about kills me.

OK. I’ll admit that I’m a teensy bit prone to exaggeration.

But the heart palpitations, sweaty palms, upset stomach. Aren’t those symptoms of dreadful things — like heart attacks?

So what’s a would-be writer to do? When all the traditional advice says that she must develop a thick skin if she’s going to survive but when the transformation from thin to thick-skinned would require a personality transplant?

I tend to assume that thick-skinned people send off their work and don’t worry about it. They don’t spend time refreshing their email in case someone has commented on their blog and their hands don’t shake when they open up an email that will tell them whether their work has been accepted for publication. They certainly don’t lose sleep over what some anonymous person said about their book in an Amazon review.

But maybe — just maybe — that isn’t the case at all.

Maybe the thick-skinned person isn’t the person who stands tall and lets the waves of criticism roll by.

Maybe the thick-skinned person is the one the waves of criticism throw to the ocean floor and keep them submerged so long they begin to wonder if they’ll ever surface.

But when they are finally able to catch their breath, they don’t run for the shore.

They stand up.

And let the waves do it all over again.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


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I can't remember not knowing Bible verses.

Lots of them.

It should be noted that my mother claims I could quote John 3:16 at eighteen months. As the mother of a twenty-two month old who can barely say please and thank-you, I find her assertion difficult to believe.

(Every mother believes her children are brilliant. Mine seems particularly prone to this delusion! I love you mom!)

Nevertheless, my childhood was full of Scripture memory. My mother taught me verses at home, I learned verses in Sunday School and then later in school and Awana.

And I praise God for the gift of a mind full of Scripture. Because for one thing, I know that not everyone grew up with Bibles and Bible stories and not everyone had the opportunity to attend Vacation Bible School and Awana.

And people who didn't grow up learning Scripture and yet manage to memorize multiple passages are impressive to me.

Because there's another reason I'm glad I learned Scripture as a child.

It is WAY harder now.

I can quote verses I learned in Sparks as a first grader. Chapter and Verse. King James Version. No sweat.

But the Psalm - the three verse Psalm - I would like to memorize this summer?

Not so much.

I can get the general idea, but memorizing the words so they fall off the tongue with ease . . . it's a struggle. And even if I nail it once, it just doesn't seem to stick the way the verses I learned as a child do.

I've been wondering why this is? Is it because my brain is too busy sifting through the noise of my life?

Or, is it because I'm just not making enough effort.


Hmm...as my dad would say, I just stopped preaching and went to meddling.


Anyway, here's what I'd like to know.

Do you try to memorize Scripture now and if so, how do you do it?

And, how did you/are you teaching your children Scripture? This is an area I feel I've fallen way short on. I don't want to leave it up to Sunday school teachers and Awana leaders.

So help me out. Leave me a comment. And while you're at it, tell me what your favorite verse is!

(You don't have to have it memorized!)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Embrace your Geekness

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Today is “Embrace Your Geekness” day.

I am not making this up!

The definition of geek is difficult to pin down. But I think we tend to apply the term “geek” to anyone/anything that is different from the norm.

I like to think of my geekness as endearingly quirky. I recognize that this is delusional, but I'm happy with this delusion.

So, in an effort to embrace my geekness, here are a few random things you should know about me . . . feel free to chime in with a few of your own in the comments.

I like to be alone. Seven hour road trip + no one else in the car = bliss.

I have a great memory for faces and a lousy memory for names. This means if you run into me and we haven't seen each other in a while, there's a high probability that I've forgotten your name. Please allow me to apologize in advance.

I have been known to watch the same movie, listen to the same CD and read the same book over and over and over again. It can take me quite a while to move on. This is particularly troublesome when the book has been turned into a movie and has a fabulous soundtrack and score.

I love movies. Action, romance, comedy, animation. I'm all for it. But I'm finicky about suspense films and flat-out refuse to watch horror movies. I succumbed to peer pressure and went to one in college and jumped every time my sister walked around the corner of our little apartment for the next six months. It's just not worth the misery.

Another thing I'm a bit, um, picky about. . . if the sign says “Enter” then it means “Enter” not “Exit if no one is coming.” This seems fairly self-explanatory. Why do people struggle with this concept?

And please, oh please do not ask me to attend a party for which I failed to RSVP. I was supposed to RSVP. I didn't. Therefore I can't go. What's so hard to understand about this concept?

(This just happened a few days ago. My husband insisted we attend. I survived.)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Favorite

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A few weeks ago, I woke up in a bad mood.

While on vacation. With the entire family.

I needed an attitude adjustment.


So I took my grouchy self to the balcony of our condo and sat there with my Bible in my lap and stared out at the ocean.

I have a thing for the ocean.

I like to look at it. To listen to it. To walk beside it. To play in it.

I find it fascinating, relaxing, exhilarating and humbling.

After a few minutes of breathing in salty air and intentionally choosing to quiet myself, I started to talk to God.

Here's the gist of our talk:

Me: How could anyone look at this and think You don't exist?
Me: It's so huge.
Me: I wonder what is exactly across the ocean from where I sit now?
Me: I do love the ocean, Father. Please tell me we'll have oceans in heaven.

A bit of a pause.

(Note: I am not making this up and yes, this really is how I talk to God.)

Me: Well, maybe not in heaven, but how about on the new earth?
Me: Yeah, I bet there will be. The earth is what, 70% ocean or something? I think you must have a thing for oceans, too. I bet they're your favorite.

God, with a chuckle: You are my favorite.

Me: (Totally speechless for about two minutes).

Now, first of all, if you don't think God chuckles, let me just assure you.

He does.

Second, I would like to remind you that at this point, I had not opened my Bible. I had not asked God to forgive me for waking up grouchy.

All I had done was approach the throne.

With a bad attitude.

And what does He have to say to me?

You are my favorite.


I'm sorry God. You must have me confused with someone else. Someone who wakes up singing worship songs. Someone who never loses her temper. Someone much better than me.

You are my favorite.

I sat there for another few minutes pondering the idea of being God's favorite. Of all the things He created, it was mankind He chose to make in His image. It was mankind into whom He chose to breathe the breath of life. It was mankind He created for relationship with Him.


God's favorite.


I did get around to asking God to forgive me for my foul temper, but by then it was long gone.

How could I be in a bad mood when God just told me He likes me better than the ocean, bad attitude and all?

I don't know what kind of a day you're having or how long it's been since you sat still long enough for God to whisper in your ear that He thinks you're awesome.

Please don't let your bad attitude stop you.

Run to Him. Take Him all your junk.

Never, ever be afraid to approach your Abba.

After all, you are His favorite, too!