Trek to the Manger (DQ22)

Trek to the Manger Ch 22It’s so hard to know what people need to hear.

On the one hand, there are things I like to say! I have my favorite stories to tell and advice to give, and when I’m learning something that affects me deeply, I’m apt to want to share it with others.

But what if those things aren’t what my fellow sojourners need to hear? What if they just need me to listen? What if they just want company – a peaceful presence on the road – with no words at all?

I’m wordy and I know it. Today, I want duct tape over my mouth, to remind me to be “quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19), because my high-beam energy just might be scaring away those who are in desperate need of God’s presence, not my interpretation of it.

Consider those whose lives currently intersect with your own. Who is keeping step with you? Who is lagging behind? Who is watching from the sidewalk, as if on the parade route? And what is your responsibility toward them as a bearer of light in God’s Kingdom?

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Trek to the Manger (DQ13)

Trek to the Manger Ch 13

I met a guy today who is counting down the days until March, when he leaves his cell phone and “sprinkles” behind for a year-long solo trek around the world. He can’t wait!

I imagine he will have some stories to tell.

Today I’m wondering, for those of you who are reading along in Trek to the Manger, which “on the road” story speaks most loudly to you?

Damascus? Emmaus? Gaza? Explain.

Trek to the Manger (DQ11)

“I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way.” 2 Corinthians 6:11-12 (The Message)

This passage cuts deep, man. On so very many levels.

First, it makes crystal clear that I can enter this wide-open, spacious life. It’s right there, and I’m at the threshold. No one is going to push me out the door, but no one is going to pull me in, either. It’s all on me, and the door is wide open, and Jesus says, “Come.” I’d have to be some kind of Space Cadet not to respond!

Then, there’s that whole “we didn’t fence you in” piece. But, I like to blame others for my situation. It’s easier to point the finger elsewhere than to take responsibility for the choices I have made. With these five words, I’m kind of a wreck, because if I’m feeling fenced in or left out or without options or stuck-in-the-mud, no one did that to me. We didn’t fence you in.

The smallness you feel – that’s universal. That’s the human condition. That’s what happens on the inside when we keep God on the outside. Nobody “does” that to you, either – that smallness comes from inside you. But it lies! That voice in your head, saying “you’re not enough,” “you can’t do anything right,” or any other self-talk that puts you down – that voice is lying to you. Call it out! Are you going to just sit there and take it? YOUR LIVES AREN’T SMALL! There it is – the truth.

But you’re living in small ways. Comfortable ways. Safe ways (no, not the grocery store).

Stop it! Just stop selling your God short, and step into the space He’s created for you to come alive in. I’m right there with you – lots of us are. And we are Space Cadet enough to see this through.

How much space would you say exists in your daily routine for God to come alive in you? Are there adjustments needed, to make room for Him to move?

Trek to the Manger Ch 11

 

 

 

Trek to the Manger (DQ10)

Trek to the Manger Ch 10I think we forget that we are children of God.

We grow up and grow into titles and relationships and seats at the table, and we just forget that inside these adult-shaped frames are kids-at-heart.

What childlike quality is missing in your life right now? How might you get some of it back?

I challenge you to uncover the whimsy and wonder that you’ve buried under grown-up responsibilities. Take the Daily Giveaway for a ride and experience life through the eyes of a child (yours or borrowed) in the week ahead, or create some Christmas memories by wrapping packages in ways that foster curiosity and awe.

Then… share some photos with us! Email your gift wrap ideas or kid-focused outing pics to me, with your permission to share (no names will be used – photos only):

brita@pinkshoesministries.me

Trek to the Manger (DQ7)

Trek to the Manger Ch 7I was talking with a new friend over coffee the other day, and she shared with me a dream she has for ministry. It started with a picture in her head, and she can actually “see” herself in a very particular place, doing a very specific type of ministry, and it’s so cool! Especially because her vision has absolutely nothing to do with her “real life” as it is today. She’s not trained for it. She doesn’t live in that geographical area. She basically has no idea how to get from point A (today) to point B (the dream). Even still, it’s crystal-clear in her heart and compelling as heck – she can’t shake it.

Sometimes God gives us a glimpse of Heaven and we mistake it for something we can have/do/be on earth. Now, don’t get me wrong! I have no doubt God can equip us to bridge any gap between where we are and where He compels us to go. But some dreams are bigger than this world – our human minds and bodies just can’t handle them in full. So, God gives us a sneak-peek. A taste. Just a sliver of what He has in store. And we’re hooked! Ruined for life-as-we-know-it, but oh-so-hopeful that what we can see with our hearts may one day be revealed to our world-weary eyes.

Tell me this: How has God whet your appetite for Heaven? And where do you see glimpses of what He has in store for you, and for all of His kids?

By the way – if you’re trekking with us and haven’t weighed in on a DQ yet, we would love to hear from you! Just to know you’re there. Don’t be shy! The “reply” option is located below this post when you click on today’s post title and scroll down. If you’re posting for the first time, there’s a delay before you can see what you’ve written. And you can reply to others’ responses, too!

Trek to the Manger (DQ6)

Trek to the Manger Ch. 6 2017It’s a beautiful thing, when God uses something ordinary to reveal something holy. 

He did it with the star that heralded Jesus’ birth.

He did it with Jesus’ stories about farmers and dirt.

And he does it with you, when you live the way you’re made!

Pointing to Jesus with our lives is what being a citizen of heaven is all about. Who do you know who does this well? What makes their impact so powerful?

Today’s Star Sighting challenges us to leak the Light wherever we go. Think of one ordinary, routine part of your day and start to pray that God will illuminate it! May He use you to reveal something holy to the light-starved people in that place.

 

 

Trek to the Manger (DQ4)

Trek to the Manger Ch 4Today, let’s do an experiment. Before you read the words below, make a mental note to pay attention to how you feel when the words wash over you, okay? Here goes…

What is God’s will for your life?

(deliberate pause)

 

 

How does that question make you feel? What comes to mind when you wrestle with it? On a scale from shiny-happy to shakin-in-yer-boots, where do you land?

I’m here to propose that sometimes our problem is that we ask the wrong questions. Don’t believe me? Try these words on for size…

What is God’s will for your life today?

Feel different? Is your response quicker or slower? Heavier or lighter? More active or passive? Do you see where this is going?

What questions are you asking of yourself these days? And do they bring your soul to life, or are they crushing your spirit in the very worst way?

Maybe if we choose better questions to ask, we can break those infernal holding patterns and experience life as the adventure it was surely intended to be!

What do you think?

 

Trek to the Manger (DQ2)

Trek to the Manger Ch 2You wouldn’t leave home with laces dangling from your kicks, would you? But how many times have you hit the ground running without having tied your spiritual laces in prayer?

Tying your shoes is a matter of practicality. If a shoe is made to be tied, it won’t function properly without tightening the laces.

Tying your shoes is also a matter of safety; the referee will even blow his whistle and stop the game for a soccer cleat in need of a good, strong double-knot.

It’s the same with prayer! Prayer is practical, because our design as human beings requires intentionality to insure that life functions as it should. Prayer is also a safety feature, keeping us from the avoidable hazards created by rushing into life without concern for how prepared we actually are (or aren’t).

Two questions for today, then.

If prayer is the act of tying your spiritual shoes, how might you add this important step to your daily routine during Advent? (Keep in mind that shoe-tying isn’t a time-intensive investment, but it is a critical step in preparing for the day.)

What prayer(s) are particularly special to you? Are there words that you use to draw close to God that you might be willing to share with us? 

To reply, make sure you have opened the actual post for today. To do this, click on the post title (above), then scroll down to the area below the post. There will be a delay the first time you post, so don’t worry if you don’t see it right away!

Alien/nation

Reflections on Trek to the Manger, chapter 6

In many places around the world, Christians are increasingly considered to be aliens. Not so much the “from another country” kind of alien; more like the “differing in nature or character to the point of incompatibility” type (merriam-webster.com).

Don’t believe me? In the article A More Secular Europe, Divided by the Cross (June 17, 2013), Gudrun Kugler, director of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, was quoted as saying:

“There is a general suspicion of anything religious, a view that faith should be kept out of the public sphere… There is a very strong current of radical secularism,” she said, adding that this affects all religions but is particularly strong against Christianity because of a view that “Christianity dominated unfairly for centuries” and needs to be put in its place. (Andrew Higgins, nytimes.com)

In spite of the growing animosity against Christianity worldwide, we who belong to Christ have an opportunity each and every day to “be limitless light in a world filled with lines and boundaries and borders”  –Trek to the Manger, p. 23

The way you choose to live your life has the potential to shift the focus from words to action; from ideas to illumination; from your life to the presence of God Himself. 

As members of an alien nation, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, we can choose to sit back and avoid alienation by hiding our light under a bushel… or, we can saddle up the camel and hit the road with passport in hand. “The degree to which you are open to letting the Light of God shine through you is the degree to which your life can be a beacon of hope in a desperately hopeless world.” (p. 23)

How your life answers these questions could make all the difference today:

“Who are you? What are you doing here? Now, prove it.” (p. 21)

Passport, please.

Have a comment or question to share? Click here for the Trek homepage, then scroll to the bottom where you’ll find the Reply/comment space… Or, simply scroll down and reply to this post. I look forward to hearing about your ADVENTures!

Looking for the Trek to the Manger reading schedule? Click here!

Trek to the Manger (and Advent 2015) Begins Today!

Welcome to the beginning of the church year, and the beginning of the Advent season! Beginning today, women all over the globe will be choosing faithful paths to Christmas, bypassing much of the consumerism and hoopla en route to the true Gift – Jesus Christ.

If you haven’t purchased your guidebook yet, you’ll find Trek to the Manger at Amazon.com (available in paperback or Kindle formats). A reading schedule is available here: 2015 Trek to the Manger Reading Schedule as well as free Trek to the Manger Small Group Discussion Questions (which can also be used as journaling prompts throughout the Trek).

When you visit the Trek to the Manger page throughout Advent, you’ll find reflections from Brita’s own Trek, to which you are welcome to add your own!

The ADVENTure is just beginning! Grab a few traveling buddies and strap on those traveling shoes… for a Trek to the Manger.