failure to launch

If you haven’t seen the movie, you at least know the terminology. So prevalent in our society, there are literally dozens of treatment centers and residential programs dedicated to help young adults effectively transition into society. (I know, I shook my head as well).

According to the Optimum Performance Institute, the term “failure to launch” is defined as “not a true diagnosis (nor is it a term we particularly like at OPI), but rather is a common way to describe a young adult who is struggling with the transition to adulthood. It can be defined as an inability to leave home and support oneself, regardless of the underlying cause.”

As much as I would like to giggle a bit as I shake my head in wonderment, I can’t help but to recognize that many of us, as Christians, share in this very same affliction. 

While there are many reasons cited for the root causes of adult children choosing not to leave the nest, I think the overarching theme is a sense of feeling ill-equipped to face the responsibilities and challenges of adulthood. Similarly, many Christians find themselves finding comfort in familiarity, wanting to enjoy the privileges of community, while continuing to deny the opportunities and responsibilities to grow in faith, wisdom and viability. 

Christians often hide behind the cushion of grace and neglect the growth we are called to by our Savior. 

So many times we become paralyzed with doubt, or are subdued by our lack of commitment to the mandate of Jesus to share his love with others. In my walk as a believer, I have witnessed more lukewarm Christianity than I care to mention, and I can’t help but wonder if the gravity of God’s grace has ever fully penetrated their hearts. Truth be told, I am challenged myself in seasons when I feel that the call to feed the poor and clothe the widow, to mourn with the mourners and nurture the orphans, have truly permeated my own daily reality.

How often do I share a good word with a passing stranger?

I heard a story once about a man who knew only one scripture, and yet he loved the Lord with all his heart, so he shared this love with everyone he met. Many people received the Good News of Jesus Christ, and many opened up their hearts to a relationship with him. It is not always the wisdom of God that leads others to faith, but rather the conviction and love in the heart of the sharer.

Do you need to step up and step out? Are you walking in your greatest capacity to the calling He has placed on your own life? Have you become satisfied with being a baby Christian and allowing others to do the heavy lifting? While pointing fingers at fellow “hypocritical” Christians, are you cognizant of the reality of your own testimony to those around you? In a world so broken and harsh, it seems all the more imperative that our complacency be overcome with our passion for what we are called to do. The harvest is ripe, but the workers are few … Are you feeling a pull to something more?? 

It is time, my friends, to launch. 

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. – Hebrews 5:12-14

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, – Matthew 28:19

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. – John 21:17

Advertisements

all you need. now.

Have you ever perused the bible, read the words of Jesus, only to find yourself feeling frustrated, or insufficient? Even deficient? As Christians, we are called to clothe and feed the poor, the widows, the orphans… to share the Good News, to pray without ceasing, and to forgive our enemies.

Facing the daily trials of life, such mandates can feel insurmountable.

The example Christ set revealed a life of sacrifice, dismantling of pride, a rejection of cultural and societal norms. Christ was the quintessential example of love, and as his followers, we are so compelled to walk in his footsteps.

And yet, how many of us actually walk in fulfillment of His plans for us? For our own goals and dreams? How often are we distracted by trials or fears, complacency or just the monotony of each day?

When we allow God to fight our battles, we are released and empowered to fight His.

As simplistic as it can sound, a life yolked to Jesus, daily in the Word, bathed in prayer, brings with it a peace and a knowledge that the challenges in this world are more than under His feet, well within His capabilities, and since they are often outside of ours, are better handled by the God of all creation than ourselves. 

Trust that your faith is not merely a banner to wave or an identity to hide behind, but rather an opportunity to walk in the fullness of life that Jesus offered when He died on the cross. Not just for your sins, did He die, but for all the pain, loss, effort, struggles and fears that seemingly dictate your destiny. No, my friend, He will never call you to that which you cannot achieve. 

You have everything you need. Now. 

Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. 

Isaiah 52:12
But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
 
Isaiah 58:8
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
 
 

 

 

 

 

communion

Most of us think of communion as a sacred thing – something done at Passover or Easter, performed once a year in a formal church service while serious believers are dressed in their Sunday best. The room is solemn and the temperature reverent. If I were to be honest, it is one of my favorite parts of coming together with other Christians – I love the tradition and symbolism.

But are we getting it right??

The first communion was set around a table, with friends sitting on the floor and lounging on cushions in an upper room, while sharing a meal and relationship with their teacher, Jesus.

Interestingly, the definition of communion is two-fold. One holds true to the images in my head, but the other resounds more deeply within my soul.

Communion defined is: 1.the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level.

2.the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared.synonyms:the Eucharist, Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, Mass 

It would seem to me that if the primary function of the word is to share a level of intimacy, communion would be something we can do on our own.

‘Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, [a]I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” ‘ – Luke 22:17-19

Is it possible that the most beautiful and effective manner in which to connect with Jesus, is to take communion whenever we think of him? Could this sacred act be the positioning of heart which brings about the most sacred of conversations with our Lord?

Years ago I was in a season requiring breakthrough, and a wise and dear friend suggested I take communion whenever I felt led. So, I purchased a bottle of grape juice, box of crackers and set aside a small cup and plate specifically for my times of prayer. Not only did I experience a deeper level of relationship with the Holy Spirit, but I began to walk in a greater awareness of the intimate knowing my soul longs to share with my God. Even more compelling was walking in the understanding of just how close the Lord truly is, as my deepest moment of breakthrough actually came as I was driving the kids to school, praying and eating my cracker on the road.

God can move anywhere. 

Never forget that the God of Israel does not live in a box – His facets are infinite and His grace abundant. He will always meet us where we are – sometimes we just need to reposition ourselves to make room. With every day we are given the opportunity to live a life full of meaning and depth in a world so devoid of both. Step, my friend, into ALL that God has for you in His words – 

He longs to commune with you.

real…

What would it take for you to believe? What would you need to see…hear…experience…to truly believe that God is real? That Christ is with you? That the bible is true and that He has given you everything you need to be successful in life?

That the Holy Spirit was truly sent to be your helper and that He lives inside you even now – breathing life and wisdom into every cell of your being.

There is history. Eye witness accounts. The testimony of your own tongue. the dreams. Moments. Mini miracles. Big ones. But still you wait.

What is required for you to live like you believe? Would you stand on a street corner with a sign? Pray with a broken coworker? Step into each day with gratitude? Forgive that family member or even set a boundary with a friend? Would you consider setting aside your agenda? Love better? Stronger? 

I have fallen away. Sometimes for a moment, others for what seemed a long season of darkness. Never have I turned my back on Him, but I turned my back on me. Denied my value, marinated in loss, defeat and lies … forgot who I am and crushed my own soul as I exposed it to the world without starting my days with prayer and speaking the truth and promises of the Word over my existence. 

It’s time to get real. Raw. As I stand on the precipice of change I am reminded of past seasons where my decision was the same. Perhaps the seasons of the earth speak to our seasons of life – there is no loss as long as what you release in the fall, how you rest in the winter, and what you plant in the spring brings you to a greater summer harvest than the one before. 

From glory to glory. Deeper and deeper we enter into His presence, experiencing His grace in ways not yet revealed. Perhaps we are not behind, but exactly where God would anticipate us to be. 

He is never surprised.

What would it take? What do you need to go where you want to in your faith journey? Could it be? Possibly? It rests safely within your heart even now?

If God is real, let Him be. Real.

rights vs responsibility, part 1

Lately I have been challenged to again consider the tension between rights and responsibility, specifically with regards to the path adults walk when choosing to, or being required to engage in, the dismantling of a family. 

Oftentimes, in the process of separation or divorce, the realities of the broken pieces within and between the parents can veil the truth that the children in the middle suffer glaringly more than their parents often realize under the weight.

In no way am I an expert on the subject of parenting, but having survived infidelity, divorce, separation, and also reconciliation, while raising up 4 beautiful humans, I do feel I can speak to some valuable principles which may help others make a healthier transition with and for their children.

Hint – your feelings do not in any way exonerate you from good and kind behavior.

One of the greatest lies we tell ourselves is that biology trumps choice when it comes to relationship. Wanting to have our cake and eating it, too, we forget that when we choose to break covenant promises, we relinquish the benefits that accompany that position in the lives of those we have walked away from. 

And responsibility trumps perceived rights.

Yes, you have the right, as their God-given parental unit, to have access to relationship with your child. And, it is your responsibility to honor the other parental unit in establishing healthy communication, consistent honor of time, and a reasonably established plan for such proposed time spent. This is not a free-for-all.

Yes, you walk in authority as their parent, but that authority

1. does not invalidate what is best/routine for your children,

2. is not an opportunity to undermine the other parent’s opinions or previously established family values,

3. is not license to use your children as pawns as you strive to quantify your decision to leave or value as a human, 

4. should never be a tool implemented to justify pride,

5. and comes with a supreme mandate to step into a greater level of responsibility than you ever were required to assume under the covering of your now-shattered covenant.

Regardless of whose “fault” divorce appears to be, the responsibilities assumed by all parties carry with them the weight of a decision making process that nurtures and reinforces what is best for the children, not our own egos.

Your children are watching.

Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. – 2 Corinthians 13:11

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;  not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; – Romans 12:9-11

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. – Romans 12:10

 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.  – 1 Corinthians 12:26