Call The Marines!

Perhaps a whole new book is needed to address all of the lessons that have been learned from various mentors and teachers in my life.  There are significant lessons that I have learned from my mother that originally seemed appropriate to include in Lessons from my Father because mom and dad always worked together as a team and therefore the lessons are from the Team.  However, I think a separate category is in order for things that are uniquely ‘my mom’!

I worked my way through college – odd jobs, newspaper loading docks, selling plasma (only once – it was too vampire-like for my taste).  One of my jobs was at an architects office.  Oh, it sounds plush, I know.  A budding architect?  An apprentice in the architectural world?  NO!  A lacky!  I ran errands, filled water coolers and made “blue-prints” – but it paid the school bill!

Back in the day‘, blueprints were made by taking specially treated paper and running them through an ammonia vapor bath and then through an ultraviolet light to turn the chemical treated paper “blue”.  Each page would have to be run through the ammonia vapor and Continue reading

Yo-Yos and Wishing Wells

yo yo

The Sleeper, Walk the Dog, Around the World, and the Lindy Loop/Double on a Trapeze! It doesn’t matter which yo-yo trick you try, it always ends with the yo-yo coming back to you – even if you have to re-wind it by hand, like I always do!  I had a cheap plastic yo-yo when I was a kid and after several failed attempts to produce a Sleeping Something-or-other, I gave it an extra hard toss.  The string broke and the yo-yo did not come back.  I suppose it was just a yo!

It is unfortunate how many cliches we seem to have in our modern churches.  Have you ever heard these?

  • Let go and let God
  • God has a plan for you
  • I’ll pray for you
  • God helps those who help themselves
  • Born again Christian
  • I’ve come to know the Lord
  • God always has a purpose…
  • Put it in the Lord’s hands

It’s not that these statements are wrong or misleading – they are just overused or undervalued.   We find comfort in being able to offer something that sounds positive.  If you don’t know what to say, use a cliche!  However, the classic “I’ll pray for you” is barely off our lips before we have completely forgotten what was just told to us.  It would be better to say nothing than to offer empty or forgotten promises.

So what’s the answer?  Changing the words will only replace one cliche for another.  The answer is in the heart.  When we offer or receive a cliche, we must do something with that statement to make it come alive.  Here’s one I heard recently and the more I thought about it, the more I wondered what it really meant.  “Give it to God

When we “give it to God‘ – whatever “it” is – are we just supposed to forget “it” and never think of “it” again?  We pray and tell God all about our problem or issue and then go right back to worrying about it and trying to solve it on our own.  We are like the yo-yo – we throw “it” at God and then pull “it” right back. That’s what makes this a cliche – we say the words but we don’t do the deed.  “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves…” (James 1:22).

5 Things to Consider – What we can do to “Give it to God

  1. Pray – Tell God all about it and ask for His intervention.  He wants to hear it from us – constantly!
  2. Gain – Expect to Gain something from the situation.  This is the ‘purpose‘ or ‘plan‘ that Christians always talk about.
    • growth, perspective, maturity, humility, grace, patience
  3. Lose – Look to Lose something from the situation.  Here is the infamous ‘pruning‘ that ‘removes the dross‘.
    • pride, arrogance, control, anger, bitterness
  4. Stop complaining or having a Pity Party.  Neither God or the rest of us want to hear it (sorry, a tad harsh!)
  5. Start remembering past blessings and answers to prayer.  If you can’t remember any, try reading Psalm 136 or 139.

This is not the final answer on how to deal with the difficult issues of life, but it should be a starting point.  Perhaps we should replace the Yo-Yo with a Wishing Well.  When you drop that coin into a wishing well, it is not only gone forever, but there is the hope that something better  – something greater is waiting for you.  This is not to say that “giving it to God” is equivalent to a magic wishing well or a lucky charm (No!  Not the magically delicious kind!).  God is not sitting idly by waiting to grant our wishes, but He is eagerly waiting for us to surrender our will to His and invite Him to do a great work within us.  So maybe the image we are trying to create is to throw our whole-selves into His care and trust Him to know what is best for us.  More cliches?  Perhaps, but if we really do them, maybe God does have a plan for us after all.

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

Open Mic:  Share your thoughts

  1. What are some cliches that have not helped or some that have?
  2. How do you turn a cliche into something of worth and value?
-Michael G
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