Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the tag “fear”

When People are Big {Overcoming the Fear of Man}

 

Of course it’s a bad-hair-day.

We’re visiting a church in another town, my husband speaking about training native pastors and the work of Master’s Bible School, and we’re all a little uncertain of what to expect.

Do I wear a dress?  Are shorts o.k. for the boys?  It’s an outdoor service – is it o.k. for Tim to wear his Birkenstocks when he teaches?  Ethan wants to know if this church will be shorter than ours, and is there a potluck afterward?

I look like I rode in on a Harley, my big hair flying to the four winds in crazy curls.

On the drive in, Ethan also wants to know if daddy gets nervous when he has to stand in front of people.  “I like to be in the back, behind the people.  But everyone is bigger than me,” Ethan says.

There is a God-confidence that is bigger than those social fears, the ones that plague Ethan and I.  Tim is prepared and Birkenstocks are o.k. and we even sing some songs we know, out in the beautiful little amphitheater behind a country church that welcomes us in the Lord.

I don’t really think anyone is concerned with my hair or our clothes.

“Mom, can you find me some different swim shorts?” he asks later that night.  “Henry makes fun of the flowered-ones.”

Another round of swim lessons tomorrow and another bout with the fear of man.  I don’t laugh at his fear or look down on these worries because they are mine, too.  Flowered-shorts and wild hair and one huge pimple, all these giants we have to slay just to get out the door.

“Those flowers are called hibiscus and they’re cool Hawaiian shorts, bud.  That’s what the surfers wear,”  I appeal.  It’s not the best parenting, I know, but it’s all I can come with at the moment.

“Ya, but Henry would make fun of the surfers, too.”

Good point.

Henry wants to make you feel less, and when you already struggle with those insecurities it doesn’t really matter what surfers wear or what mom thinks is cool.

Henry will laugh.

Henry has also laughed at your pink palms and your brown skin that mommy thinks is lovely.  I want to send your big brother in the locker room with Henry, to teach him a little compassion and maybe put some flowered-shorts on him.  But Henry is just a little boy who is very observant and likes to talk, and Henry probably has his own Henrys  in his life.  So it’s me, the one who professes Christ, that needs compassion for the Henrys.

The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe. – {Pro 29:25 NKJV}

This fear of man has never accomplished anything good in us, and most of our insecurities are just a self-absorption that takes us away from Christ and distracts us from serving others.

I’ve heard it said this way:  If you realized how little time people spent thinking about you, you’d spend less time thinking about yourself.  A little cynical, maybe, but isn’t that the cure?  That we ought to trust in the Lord and put others first, thinking less of ourselves and making more of Jesus?  And truly, the ones who are laughing at you are probably the ones hurting most, the ones who have learned that it’s better to hurt you before you hurt them.

The giants we have to slay today are not the Henrys in our life, but the value we place on other’s opinions of us.  

And I’d really like to know – how do you help your kids (or yourself) overcome this fear of man?  Will you join us in the comments?

~~~~~~~~

This right here, the cure for Big People!

Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! – {1Ch 16:8 NKJV}

 332.  Seeing precious friends before their firstborn leaves for college

333.  good neighbors

334.  finding my son on his bed with his bible 

335.  free summer weekends

336. new friends

 

 

{Linking up with A Holy ExperienceThe Better MomTitus 2sdaysScribing the Journey, Growing Home}

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Five Minute Friday: Enough

 It’s Friday and Lisa-Jo has given this writing prompt:

ENOUGH

Every Friday we spend five minutes spilling words and we forego editing  and fretting, and just write.  It’s fun, it’s free, and you should click the link above and try it!  Or at least, read what some others write for fun on Fridays.

GO

It’s crowded and that makes me a little uncomfortable.

People and words and lack of air all combine to choke me a little, but it’s Sunday and I love these people.

She stands to update us all on her life, because she’s a part of us and it’s been so long since she’s been ‘in the valley’.  Her voice is so clear and the words hit me between the eyes.

“When I was a teenager I didn’t want to go with my family to Mexico.  My heart wasn’t in being a missionary.  But I finally submitted to God and decided to be satisfied with wherever He had me.”

Because He is enough.

I worry about doing enough and being enough and did I teach them enough.  Did we pray together enough and do they know Him well enough and will they ‘turn-out’?

We all have to turn out  to find our enough.

Worry turns me in but her words remind me.  He is enough for wherever and whatever and nothing shakes a heart submitted to being satisfied.

STOP

For the Ones Who Can’t Hear “Beautiful”

You shun it as though it were a four-letter word.  When it comes you refuse to hear, refuse to let it attach to you because, surely, you ought to resist that flattery.
Be humble and all that.
Sincere.
You secretly hope that the words are sincere, and inside you desire to wear them gracefully, to be them and believe them.
But your enemy tells you otherwise and you listen to him instead.  To the father of lies?
You have to choose what you wear.

Let Us make man in our image, according to our likeness ~ Gen. 1:26

Your Father has said beautiful since you were born.  He’s made beauty in the world, wonder that you capture with camera or imagination or just sheer enjoyment.
Yet you,
created in His image,
won’t listen.
You have eyes to see it all around, but you wonder if it’s ok to see it in you.  As if vanity came from simple appreciation.

Is it ok to think that I look nice?

You ask me one Sunday before church, and I’m remembering the time of no jeans and no mirrors because I was so weak and so consumed.

Imago Dei.  All of us, the image of God.

Yes.  It is good.

Take a little  time in that mirror and gaze at the image of God.  Be blessed by His beauty and comfortable with your skin, your hair, the color of your eyes and the marks of distinction on your face.
Praise Him for infinite imagination, thank Him for hairspray and mascara and jeans if you must.
And then move on from that mirror and see beautiful  all around you, in others.  Go tell someone they’re beautiful and tell them why.  If you don’t see beauty then tell them why Jesus is Beautiful.  Talk about Him.

Attach yourself to Beautiful when you can’t believe He’s attached to you.

When you hear beautiful, wear it.  Be it.

Put it on with your cross and remember the ugly beautiful, the One Story so dangerously beautiful that it saved you from being forever ugly.

Someday, when your husband tells you you are beautiful, believe him.  Believe him because refusing to hear beautiful is calling him a liar.
There will be unlovely days and sweat-pant days and days of acne and bloating and extra pounds.  There will be days when no one says beautiful to you, but won’t you still hear it?
Won’t you listen to the One Who is inside, who created you imago dei and ever lives to display Himself through all His creation?  Through you?

Believe Him because refusing to hear beautiful is calling Him a liar.

Because, really, beauty-full is what you are.  Don’t cover that up.

{And by the way, beautiful is for boys, too.}

The Lost Art of Presentation {It’s Better Than it Looks}

I’ve read The Hidden Art of Homemaking.  I know all about fresh flowers and art work and candles and lovely music.

And I think that’s all great.

But if I had a dollar for every meal that I’ve prefaced with, “It will taste better than it looks,” I could redecorate the whole house.

Somehow, I just miss the whole presentation of it.

My family has gotten good at naming these mystery meals:

  • almost chicken sandwiches
  • What Is It?  AKA, Manna.
  • Oh-No Casserole
  • Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday on Thursday

I make lopsided cakes, not-so-round pizzas, green “Orange Julius”, and I’ve served soup in strawed cereal bowls.  To guests.

But it all tastes good, really.

Suffice it to say, I need to work on my presentation skills.  I need to work on presentation because what I’ve made actually is good, it’s just cut short by the appearance of things.

Who wants to dig in to a meal with questionable results?

I thought about this the other day as I mixed several different leftovers into a meal.  Shelby asked what it was and I said, “It’s kinda like…”.  Not very reassuring.  I need to at least have a name for what I’m serving up.

I thought about the importance of presenting things in a way that was not only appealing, but also true and indicative of the contents.

I wouldn’t put whipped cream on the veggies just to make them look good, and I wouldn’t put the pie in a blender just to make it easier and faster to consume.  Both of those things are good just simply because their ingredients are good.

 But sometimes good things are disguised in bad packaging.

Eventually I was thinking about the gospel.  About all the ways we try to package it up nice and tidy, the ways we manipulate situations to make sure the gospel gets inserted, the way we live like presenting the gospel is uncomfortable.

And I thought about how our presentation, be it style or attitude or just sour character, can turn people off.

We are the presentation of the gospel to the world.  Through nature and logic and miracles and the risen Christ, He reveals His goodness.  And also through dirt-made-image-bearer.  Mankind.  

It’s the grace of God that brings salvation, teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age (Titus 2:11-12).

Because those things aren’t appealing to everyone, should I therefore tweak the presentation a little, make it more palatable?  Or should I be in-your-face with it and forget tact and respect and love for my neighbor, all in the name of getting the gospel out?

We are the presentation of the gospel.  The aroma of Christ is the stench of death to some, and to others the hope of life (2 Cor. 2:16).

Can I say to someone that it’s better than it looks?  Because it is, of course, but how does it look on me?

Please join in the comments and share your thoughts on presenting the gospel with our lives.

{We are hosting 18 people for dinner Sunday, by the way, and I have no clue what to make.  Something that looks and tastes lovely?}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting One Person {Risk Part 2}

Friday, I said that risk was good and that we need to meet lots and lots of people.  Then I drove off to the big city, full of people, and ran into several that I already knew.  I gravitated towards them, the known and the safe, and walked by hundreds I didn’t know.  Hundreds I didn’t meet.

Dinner at The Horn of Africa {in Portland!}

Stopping for fuel

I suppose I took my turtle shell with me.

Saturday in the Goodwill, two men mocked Christians and laughed at one very dear, very devoted and well-known saint.  They bantered and built their conversation around lies, and I just looked at the clothes on the hanger.

A real risk-taker, I was.

I was a country mouse in the big city without my husband and I just felt little.  I felt sure that my husband would want me to keep to myself in that situation, but honestly, I was happy in my shell.  Happy and risk-free.

Then Sunday, back in familiar fellowship, there was a new family.  I swallowed hard and fought down the self-doubt and really, fought down the pride that worries about self.

I extended my hand and forgot names and had to ask again and I may have talked too long or too loud or too irrelevant, but I did it anyways.

I actually introduced myself to someone new.  And today we talked for 30 minutes on the phone.

I had thought that I had failed after the Goodwill incident.  I felt guilty for not standing up for the truth and for being timid.  I read about Stephen this morning,  his boldness and his risk, and thought again about my lack of both.

But another good friend put it this way.  What’s risk to you is not necessarily risk to me.  What’s hard for you may be natural to me, but there other things that scare me, and other places for me to take risk.

Introducing myself to new people really is hard, as silly as that may seem to some.  It really seems like risk to me.  That’s one of the reasons I write.

So I overcome, one baby step at a time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Giving Thanks for all this:

281.  Good friends

282.  A day with far-away friends

283.  Working on the dam with Jake

284. Being with my sister

285. Catching Fred {?I’ll be asking some questions ’bout this one?}

286. Jacob making soft pretzels, and taking bits of mom’s granola

287.  Bailey saying something not funny, and only her laughing

288.  Three people asking if we’re sisters : )

289.  driving 8 hours round trip  for a few good books,  a homeschool shot-in-the-arm,  and lots of good memories

290.  Good stories from the kids at home

Five Minute Friday: Risk

I’ve set my watch for 5 minutes.  I’m supposed to be leaving right now, on my way to Portland with my beautiful daughter for a couple days of book choosing and lattes.  But it’s Friday and Lisa-Jo has given this writing prompt:

RISK.

GO

It’s much easier just to stay home, and when I’m out it’s easier to tuck inside the shell.

There is so much risk associated with being in public.  What if I say something stupid?  What if I say something irrelevant?  What if I don’t know what to say at all and I pull a Peter-on-the-mount?

I still remember the first time my dad made me order for myself at a restaurant.  I was Piglet-p-p-p-petrified, certain that the waitress would…I don’t know, laugh at me?  Give me the wrong food?  Not understand me?  I remember that I was scared, just not what I was scared of.

Something irrational, I’m sure.

And I remember many many foot-in-mouth times.

But risk is what I need.

My husband actually tells me to talk more.   Crazy.  He thinks I have something profound to say.

I’ve stood in front of large groups and sat with small ones, said lots of dumb, silly, laughable and forgettable things, and I’m always scared of the risk.

But a few weeks ago this came to mind (I hesitate to say the Lord told me…so take it for what it’s worth to you):  I, you, we all who follow Christ, need to meet lots and lots of people.

Scary.  That means lots and lots of risk.

But I, you, we all, have something worth risking ourselves for, and something worth saying.

STOP

Launch Out to the Deep

On Sunday I take my class of 4th-6th graders downstairs to sit in service.  We are blessed by a visit from Amy, on leave from her mission in Asia, and I think the kids should listen in.  They sit with Bibles and paper, drawing what they hear and chatting a little with their neighbor.

Amy tells us in her second-tongue what the question always is…

“Aren’t you afraid?”

Aren’t you afraid to live alone?  Don’t you get scared at night?  Aren’t you afraid, being a single-woman in a strange country, where alcoholism is rampant and women are often subjected to violence?

She can answer a resounding, emphatic, faith-filled, “No.  I am never afraid because I’m never alone.  God is with me, always.”

God has called her to The Deep.

After Amy comes our pastor, sharing verse-by-verse from Luke 5.

When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” ~ Luke 5:4

Verse-by-verse we hear how Jesus called them to do the thing that was illogical.  To fish during the day on the Sea of Galilee, after a night of toiling to bring in empty nets.  To go out in front of everyone, everyone who knows better than to try to coax fish into the net in daytime.

Nervertheless at Your word I will let down the net. ~ Luke 5:5

Give Jesus an inch, just a smidge of grudging, this-is-ridiculous-but-if-you-say-so obedience, and watch Him work.  Watch how big your God is.  See how He blows all your logic out of the water.

Then call for your friends to come out to the The Deep and help bring in the catch.

“Do not be afraid.  From now on you will catch men.”  So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. ~ Luke 5:10b-11

Two boat-loads of fish, enough for maybe a whole years’ wages.  They forsook all?  To follow Someone Who wants to catch men, the way Peter and all who were with him had been caught – astonished.  Mouths agape and common sense shredded.

The Deep is calling because that’s where Jesus is.  That’s where your logic drowns, where your livelihood is magnified, where your knees buckle and your boats sink and Jesus says do not be afraid.

I’m looking for The Deep, warily looking and cautious.  As much as I can talk about launching out, the doing is another thing altogether.  It looks nice on paper, sounds nice when it’s someone else’s boat sinking, but me?  I have this comfort-zone-thing and I need those fish to feed my family and can’t I just surrender…some?

The Deep is calling us all out of that, in every little and big way.  Read Luke 5 and see how radical this calling is, how in-the-face of religion it flies.

Amy is not afraid, because she has gone out into The Deep and never found herself alone there.  Even when the emails don’t come and the language falters and the food is not comforting.  Even if it seems everyone else forgets, God never does, never leaves nor forsakes.

Will He do any less for me?  Even if my ‘deep’ is somewhat shallow?

I’ll never know unless I launch out.

{This “do not be afraid’ comes up to me again, in Matthew chapter 1.  I’m reading with the kids this morning and I hear the angel telling Joseph to not be afraid, this thing is of the Lord.  I hope I’m getting this.  Launch out.  Do not be afraid.  For those of you that I am blessed to fellowship with on Sundays, do you remember those words from a month or so ago?  About going out in the deep, over your head?  Without fear?}

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I write and remember all He’s done.  Giving thanks, counting to 1000.

That’s not true, actually.  These are just the things that I noticed and took the time to write down.  He does so much more!  My family writes them down with me and we attempt to notice more, and I love it.

188. a dad who stays home with a sick kiddo

189. ice cream – Shelby’s treat

190. getting my baby-holding fix

191. sun shining in on sick Ethan

192. transle googlate : )

193. Friends in Mexico

194. Picture blogs

195. email

196. 6 yrs. with Ethan Shashwat

197. quiet morning in the hot tub with my husband

198. working with an end in sight

199. thick slices of Uncle Troy bread for breakfast

200. the repeated “do not be afraid”

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