Pinterest and Crushed Dreams

Pinterest.

It can be a discouraging letdown of false hopes and easy dreams.

It is so simple to pin something and, “make it mine” but then do nothing further.  Or worse, as in my most recent case, pin something and ACTUALLY try it, just to have it NOT work.

Twice.  Because I forgot I did it the first time.

Yep.

Scowlie face.

For the last two years, Davin and I have been landscaping our backyard.  We are nearly finished, and for two years, we have had no mulch or ground cover to block the weeds.  Since Davin is the one with the brute strength and backyard vision in our family, I have been appointed, chief weed puller.  I have poured hours and hours into pulling the weeds in our yard, just to keep it looking the way we planned it until we can put the mulch in (which happens to be in landscaping, unfortunately the LAST step).

However, I recently read on pinterest that spraying vinegar on weeds is an easy, cost-effective, organic way to kill weeds.  I was so excited!  The pin was from Bob Vila’s website.  Touted under the, “9 natural ways to kill weeds without harming mother earth.”  Now let me tell you, the first thought I had was, “Why doesn’t everybody do this if it’s so cheap and easy?  Why would Davin spend his hard earned money on toxic weed killer if he needn’t do so?  Why would he send me to pull all those tiny little annoying weeds if we can just dance around and spray them with natural herbicides?”  But alas, my enthusiasm was too great and I went for it anyway, excited to get my organic gardner on, I rushed through the house to find an empty spray bottle so I could awe the weed-killer-world with my new hippy ways!

Davin caught me mid-search for a bottle,

“What are you doing?  Why aren’t you taking a nap?”

“Babe!!!  I found this new thing on pinterest, where I can kill ALL the weeds in our        backyard with just vinegar!!!”

“Really?” (skeptical voice, which I dismiss because he’s finds toxic weed killer useful)

“You already tired that, six months ago, remember?”

“No!!!  I couldn’t have, BOB VILA SAYS it on his website!  Bob Vila wouldn’t lie!”

Then I ran out the door with a stinky spray bottle full of nasty vinegar ready to take on the weed world.

I was diligent guys, I followed the internet instructions precisely:

Apply vinegar with a spray bottle, pump sprayer or brush. Like other natural herbicides, vinegar cannot differentiate between weeds and other plants. Do this early in the morning – when there’s little wind – to avoid contaminating nearby plants. Vinegar’s killing properties are activated by the sun, so try this on a cloudless day, which also ensures that rain won’t wash it off before it works its magic. (link above).

“Vinegar’s killing properties…”

I was out in the hot, hot sun (it was like 90 trillion degrees last week somewhere, which made it feel hot here).  I carefully sprayed ONLY the weeds, because I was sure even one drop was going to destroy every single thing it touched within a two foot radius.  It took me over a half an hour, which in my world = almost all my personal free time in one day.  I was generous too with my spraying, like those weeds were soaking wet, as was the ground around them. Having spent many a weekend pulling those little stinkers, I was happy to douse them in poison, be gone you ugly little time sucks!

Here is what happened.

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Brown spots.

Then, a few days later, undaunted, they grew taller.

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And had babies.

IMG_5482Piece of junk!

Do those look dead?

HARDLY!  In fact, I think I made them stronger.  What happened to, “vinegar’s killing properties?”

And since I hate the smell of vinegar AND defeat.  I gave up.  A second time.

Davin was right, I had actually already tried this with equal enthusiasm six months prior.

And this leads me to the only thoughtful thought of this post.  It’s been said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” (author of this quote is much disputed between Einstein and Ben Franklin, neither of which probably said it.)   Which leads me to wonder, where else in my life have I done this?  If I can seriously NOT remember that vinegar didn’t work the first time (which is pretty pathetic if you ask me, and I will blame it on a solid lack of naps), what else am I still doing expecting different results?

Something to think about.

And don’t go wasting your time spraying your weeds with vinegar, Bob Vila’s website tells lies.

Radical Obedience

In bible study this week, we learned that Jesus did nothing except in direct obedience to the Father and that he obeyed immediately.  And in church we are learning about, “Being Jesus”.

It made me think, what if I tried this for one day?  Like for one day I was 100% obedient to the Father in every moment?  What if I really, fully tried to be Jesus for one whole day, in ONE aspect of my life: obedience.  I tried it yesterday for only half a day and discovered something very precious.

It’s not about me.

What?  I figured I knew that already because I’ve heard it a thousand times, and just heard it in a sermon but apparently it’s never fully sunk in because I still find myself constantly fighting for my own way, “dying to myself” but sighing a looong pitiful self-indulgent sigh as I do it.

James 4

Submit Yourselves to God

“4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Here’s the challenge I put out to my bible study group and now to you too if you like: to be like Jesus for one day.

He did nothing except in direct obedience to the Father.

He obeyed immediately.

He obeyed fully.

“If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” (John 15:10)

Two girls in my study totally took me up on it.  We are all going to pick one day next week and try it, then report back.

Here are the results from my half day:  Right away, God gave me the insight that it’s not about me and it wasn’t in the crappy feeling type of way, it was in the everything sits right now kind of way.  We were designed to be obedient to God.  As soon as I got in line with that mentality, snap did I feel better – that sounds absolutely the opposite of what you’d think, but I’m telling you I was happy – like way happy.  I was content.

It’s kinda like this picture of my oldest daughter.  When we trust God fully, when we give him 100% obedience, we let go of the tight grip we have on control, he can then toss us up in the air and when we keep our eyes on him the whole time, it’s totally fun – we’re not afraid of getting dropped, we know he will catch us every time, leaving us to yell, “more!  again!”  Our act of total obedience displays full trust in the Father.

TheAnthonyFamily (229 of 330)
photo credit: Danny Montemayor Photography

But we have to let go of control for him to give us a good toss.

As soon as I decided it wasn’t about me, not much bothered me (and I have three little kids guys, they can do A LOT to bother a person;-)

Later, when Davin and I went on a date, my focus wasn’t about getting what I needed (talking time, connection) it was on, “Okay, God, you know my needs, I trust you to meet them in whatever form you like.”  Whaaat?  I was again so chill.  I think it might have been one of my favorite dates ever because I wasn’t trying to get what I needed out of it.  Later that night, we went to look at cars and the car guy had met Davin the week prior.  We all started talking and right away he starts sharing about his life and since I was so chill (trusting my Father) it didn’t bother me that it was a “date-night” and I normally wouldn’t want to be interrupted with other peoples lives, I instead enjoyed it.  He ends up sharing that he was raised Jewish and his wife a Unitarian, but that because we were cool people and really chill, and he wanted to know what church we went to, he was interested.  This guy was so rad!  We of course raved about our church and the teaching and community and gave him the website and maybe he and his wife will come with us on a Saturday.  How stoked was I after that?  So stoked!

So, that was a half a day.  I am going to strive towards this awesome feeling of, “it’s not about me” this whole week.  I am guessing I’ll screw it up somewhere, but hopefully, because of Christ in me, the hope of glory, I’ll get right back to it.  I seriously hope this insight and mentality stick with me, this is who I want to be.  I like being like Jesus.

So, maybe you’ll try it?  An entire day of obedience could look like almost anything: forgiving someone who’s wronged you, not holding a grudge, saying, “after you” in line, stopping your day to help a stranger, calling a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile – only God really knows what your day might look like, but I can assure you from experience, it is WAY more fun to live in 100% obedience than 50% or even 20%.

God is not a half way God, and neither is obedience.

Good luck and I can’t wait to hear about the cool things happen when you try it out.

Let’s do this guys!!!

As always, thanks for reading.

God’s in your box

A while back, I started to read C.S. Lewis’ book, The Problem with Pain.  But at the time, I wasn’t IN much pain, so I lost interest and moved on.  The other day I was wishing I had read it.

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This last week, I was in a great deal of pain.  I had a four-day migraine.  It came and went, and was super bad at the beginning.  Like puke-in-the-sink my-head-might-explode bad.

All I could think of at first was, “whhhhy?”

“Why God, would you allow this to happen?  I thought I was healed?  I really was!  I’m so disappointed!”

Also, I just told like the whole internet that you healed me, soooo, that’s pretty awkward.  What am I suppos-to say?

Not like God is ruled by what goes onto the internet, that’s for sure, but I felt kinda crappy about the fact that I just finally announced my big healing news and was super stoked, and then I came back from a church retreat and I got a few headaches that week, and then one very enormous migraine the following week.

As my toddler would say, “supa lame.”

Here is what I do know, and why I am actually sharing this.  Because my life trails are not all that important in your world, however, some of the stuff I learn during them has been life changing for me, so I want to share.

On Tuesday, after I got over my pity party, I took some ibuprofen and thanked Jesus that he helped people invent medicine to make me feel slightly better when I’m sick. I then ate, and took a nap and threw away any guilt I was feeling that I wasn’t healed, or didn’t trust God enough to heal me and not take medicine.  I was able to go out to dinner that night with some friends, and felt mostly fine.

I woke up the next morning, at like 3:30 am, feeling nauseous and back in pain.

After praying for awhile for other stuff, I finally got the nerve to ask God what was up.  And although he didn’t answer me why I had to go through the pain I was going through, he did tell me the following.  It has changed how I see Jesus completely.

He showed it to me in a word picture, as he almost always does when he speaks to me outside of the bible or a sermon or whatever.

Here is the word picture followed by what I felt like was insight he gave me:

I am in like basically the visual of outer space, it’s black.  There is a clear very large box.  I am inside this box and it is able to seal completely, so nothing can get into it unless it is opened.  I can’t open it.  In the box, along with myself is what I call sunlight dust particles, the dust you see in the air when the sunlight hits it right.  In this word picture, they are pain particles.  Small particles, that God the Father allowed into my box, and is allowing me to feel.  He is outside of my box.  He said that he knows every single one, he knows the number, the size the weight of them all.  He didn’t let one more speck into my box than necessary.  He said he knows my pain better than I do, he can see it from top from bottom, from inside and out, every angle.  In moments where I forget my pain, he still is aware of it.  So I’m like, okay, but why?  I hate this box.

Then, I see Jesus in my box.

He feels everything I feel.  He feels the same exact pain I feel.  We feel it together. He allows himself to feel the same pain, every ounce, every nanosecond of it, so that he is always acutely aware of what I am feeling.  Even if I forget for a moment, he is always aware of it.

I have never thought of this before.  I always thought when the bible says, “he was a man of many sorrows, he was a man of great pain” it was just talking about his physical life on earth, which was indeed full of pain and sorrow.  I always thought he could relate to our pain, like, “yeah, there was this one time that one of my best friends totally betrayed me to death in front of all my bros, it was super lame, I got arrested and beat up so I TOTALLY know how you feel when you say that you can’t believe so-and-so tweeted blah, blah, blah about you and now everyone’s hatin’, I get it.”  And sometimes I’d think, How DO you know what those little kids being trafficked actually feel like, you were never actually trafficked as a kid.

Whelp.

What this word picture was showing me, was that no, Jesus actually allows himself to feel my very exact pain.  Now whether he really does or not, I do not know, this was a word picture to teach me something about how God works and who his son is.  However, I am inclined to believe that this is an actual truth.

If my littlest one had to experience something painful to make her well, and it was in my ability to feel it to, I would.  I would want to know exactly what it felt like, so I would know how to help her, how to console her, and give her the understanding that she was not alone, that truly, we were going through it together.  Any loving parent would do this if they could.

When Jesus says he walks with us through our trails, I don’t think he is just walking alongside us in ease, although he is God, it seems more like he allows himself to experience the very thing we experience, however painful, however sad, however deep and cutting to our soul.

In this word picture, he and I were head to head, and all I could do was put my head next to his.  At least we were together in this pain, I was not alone.  It seemed the more I focused on him, the less painful it became, he was almost a distraction from the pain, and then just like that the box was gone, and we were out of it together.

Here is what I have learned so far, and it’s really early, but it’s what he is showing me.

Jesus knows my pain, because he goes through my pain alongside me, with me. He’s not drinking a slurpee while I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, just holding my hand.  No, he’s walking alongside me, knowing my great suffering, we are suffering together.  He is choosing to put aside any luxuries he is given and rights as God and walks alongside me through everything.

When I pray, and I ask for God the Father to take away the pain, he sees his own son, Jesus bearing that pain as well, and his heart is moved to action.

Also, when I looked back at that box, I could see that there were times I’d sit in the corner of it and scream.  Totally unaware of Jesus’ presence.  I bang the box with my fists hard.  I cry and fight and yell at God, believing all the while that he is outside of my box feeling nothing.

Whether we want to recognize him or not, Jesus is still in our box.  He’s always been in our box, it’s just that so many of us fail to look up and see him there.  We are too busy looking at God the Father outside of our box and getting angry and feeling betrayed, doubting his goodness.  But he didn’t have to send his son.

It also seems Jesus the only way out of that box.

If God allows suffering to bring us closer to Jesus, than this would be true.  As we draw near to him, the one who knows our great pain, we can find ourselves rescued and delivered.  And, although he may not ever take away all the pain here on earth, we can find rest in the son, because scripture says it is so.

So, I was in pain for four days.  But I walked out of it seeing that Jesus is always with me.  That is a gift I could never have hoped to have been given.  I don’t know that I will ever walk through pain the same.

It’s one thing for someone to say, I can relate to your pain.  At least that’s nice, and empathetic.

It’s another thing entirely for them to take it on themselves and walk through it alongside you, when they don’t owe you a thing.

He’s in your box y’all.