Stay.

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Ok just finished a book all in one day. The beginning few chapters were hilarious! About halfway through I realized I don’t have much in common at all with this writer.  I was intrigued at times and sometimes  bored.  Many of our beliefs differ. I found her shrill at times which is the title of the book so, duh. But she kept me laughing. Interspersed with very serious topics, her humor reared its head and I remembered that we have that in common. Funny breaks down barriers. I stuck with it and learned some things.

Three chapters in I posted a picture of her book on my Instagram page and I tagged her. I was giddy with excitement about a book that had me snorting and cry/laughing/cackling. Then I imagined her seeing the tag and reading my post. She doesn’t believe in God and I have this image of her looking at my page, rolling her eyes and dismissing me. I know I shouldn’t assume but let’s be honest, I almost did the same to her.

I realize that I have in the past turned off shows or stopped reading books or dismissed whole entire people because I can’t relate or I don’t agree. But then nothing changes. I think a lot of us are doing this. Sitting in our corner with our fists raised and our mouthpiece in. It’s people on both sides of every issue. We are getting advice from the people on our “team”,  whispering in our ear and pumping us up for the next round in the boxing ring. Gross. I don’t want to participate in that.

I have a new vision of the ring. Two women in the middle.  They’ve never met before.  Let’s say it’s me and you. Sitting on the ground. Truth telling. Without censor. Laughing and sharing stories. Listening. Witnessing. Seeing each other. Allowing disagreements and different points of view to just sit there and hold space. Safe. Not needing to be fixed or changed. Just hanging out there with us among the laughing and the tears and the awkward silences. All the history and experience and suffering and joy. All of the stories of love and loss. The challenges and choices and education and mistakes and spirituality and baggage and fears and wisdom just swirling there around us grounding us in truth. Because it’s all true.

My story is no less true than yours and your opinion is no less weighty than mine. Neither of us is disqualified.

I will keep listening. Even when I want to run and hide in my corner with my people because it feels safer there. Even if your words shock me or my stories make you cry. Even when you are uncomfortable and want to run or I am judgmental and tempted to give advice. Let’s not.

I picture us making it through all the rounds. No knock out attempt. Just two women holding each other’s arms up in the end. Endurance athletes.

Fighters.

Warriors.

Champions.

©2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

Sharing Light

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Okay, it’s pretty clear that I love to read Christian books written by women.  I’ve been sharing them with you as I discover them.

I also love blogs and social media accounts that inspire and lead people to Christ.  Of course I would, it’s what I hope to do with mine.  But I’ve noticed a trend all over the internet.  It’s not new but I feel God nudging me to bring some light to it.

There’s a lot of whining.

I remember when everyone in college was watching “Thirtysomething” and my mom said to me, “Why are they all so whiney? They are healthy and beautiful and have great lives, what are they complaining about all the time and why would you want to watch it?”

Now my mom is a cheerful, “everything is fine” person and that’s not always the truth, is it? However, I get her point.

When we dwell on what’s wrong, we will be stuck in what’s wrong.

When we meditate and think about and talk about and read/write about the things that are right, then we will be more hopeful and content.

We must train our minds.

We must take every thought captive for Christ.

We have a rule in our house that a certain “news show” is not allowed.  The host sets out to make his viewers angry. Honestly, his montages about anything will have you believing the venom he is spewing in no time. Even the most critical “news” watcher can fall down a dark hole watching that guy. I just can’t. He’s not allowed. Bad for the soul.

I’m quoting my mom a lot lately but here’s another gem from her:  “Crap goes in, crap comes out”. Amen?

My point is this. If you want to be hopeful, you can’t focus on all the things that are wrong.

Any conversation between Christians should be hopeful.  We don’t get to believe and understand grace and the Good News and walk around fearful and depressed.  Sure, we can have moments of sadness, confusion, despair, anger…all of it.  Sure, we can discuss with our friends and seek to understand and share stories to help others but those stories don’t help others unless they have a promise of hope in them.  Right?

If you think there is no hope, you are wrong. Jesus is your hope.  We know how the story ends friends.  Even in your sadness and challenges and wilderness seasons, you can claim victory.

We have to be the people telling the story of victory.  We can be the voice that leads others to freedom.  We don’t have to pretend everything is perfect, we can be real and authentic and compassionate but at a certain point, we have to encourage faith and hope and the promises of God.

The world needs truth tellers and hope spreaders.  So many people are pontificating about what we need. They are planning all the ways we can save ourselves.  It’s not more of US we need, it’s more of GOD.

We will always fall short of the glory of God.  Always. We have problems today because we are sinners. We will always be sinners. The conversation will never change until we get that, repent and receive God’s grace.

Our books, our words, our posts, our shows, our culture, all of it reflects the status of our hearts.  There is a lot of darkness there.  We have been talking about and writing about the darkness for a long time.

It’s high time we see the light. And share it.

lady liberty

©2016 Sue Bidstrup, All Rights Reserved Great Big YES™

Let’s talk about being Invited


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Lysa TerKuerst wrote a new book called “Uninvited”. I’m on the launch team so I had a chance to read a couple chapters. What a concept, huh? She’s writing about what we all feel at one time or another. Rejected, on the outside, unwelcome. It’s universal.

You can pre- order her book here and you’ll receive five chapters as a sneak peak!

http://www.p31bookstore.com/collections/by-lysa-terkeurst  

Everything else in this post is me-except the beautiful graphics, those are from Lysa-my thoughts and words are below and not connected to the book except the topic of the book is SO GOOD and really has me thinking.

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Oh the lies and bill of goods we have been sold. Popularity…being liked…getting “likes”…we place so much importance on things that don’t matter in the long run.

Facebook plays into all of our insecurities and FOMO (Fear of missing out). We see the beautiful pictures of our friends laughing and spending time together without us. Or we hear a story about something fun that happened and we wonder why we weren’t invited. We worry that we don’t pass the muster. Or that our husband doesn’t. Or our kids. We let bitterness take root. We lose confidence and we withdraw. But we still see and hear which just feels like a dumping on our heads of heavy rejection.

Heck, sometimes there’s nothing even going on and we only perceive the slight.  Maybe we’ve been rejected in the past so we assume we are being rejected now.  Maybe we don’t believe we are worthy of being invited.

This is not our inheritance. Jesus did not die on a cross for us so we would sit home feeling lonely and isolated. He invites us into belonging.

You may feel like the beautiful people are out without you. Maybe they are, who cares?  I have been with that crew. It’s exhausting.  All that time spent planning and maneuvering and manipulating and posturing. And for what? Shiny parties end.  Often all you’re left with is a hangover.  Just because you get invited doesn’t mean you won’t carry around a gut wrenching feeling of loneliness anyway.

My wise mom once told me, “In your 20’s and 30’s you want to be invited everywhere. Once you hit 40, you just hope and pray the phone doesn’t ring”.  So true!  Yet even when we are older and wiser, not being invited can still sting.

Maybe you have felt rejected at church. It seems wrong but I’ve talked to enough people and been around enough churches to know that no place is immune to cliques and judgments and people performing and jockeying for a spot at the top. Maybe your feeling of rejection comes from your career or your ministry. Maybe you feel like you have been passed over. Maybe you see other people “succeeding” and you wonder why it’s not you.  Maybe you have heard criticism of your work or your ideas have been mocked. Maybe you feel like nobody believes in your dreams. Maybe you feel invisible.

Here’s the BIG T Truth. God sees you. God loves you. God chooses you. He calls you worthy.

Train your thoughts to return to that Truth.

He not only understands your dreams and the desires of your heart, He put them there!

Remind yourself. He is your audience. He is cheering from the front row. He believes in you.

He IS the cool group. He will lead you to the place you want to be. He says you are amazing. He wants your heart and your time. He invites you into relationship with Him.

No other invitation can compare. No party shines like His.  No feast is bigger. No man loves like Him.  No dance partner is as captivating. No calling is greater than the one He gives to you.  No other celebration LASTS FOREVER.

Friends, you ARE INVITED. Will you sit around with FOMO about earthly things that are temporary and unfulfilling or will you say a Great Big Yes to the invitation that will transform your life?

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©2016, Sue Bidstrup, All Rights Reserved, Great Big Yes™