Shade Intended

 

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Hey beautiful people!

I have been a bad, bad, blogger lady recently. Forgive me. Sometimes, it all gets to be too much…the responsibilities and the deadlines and moreover, the frustration and the resentment that comes from balancing the deadlines and never having the courage to say

this is too much”.

I had finals and projects and papers and lessons and life positively coming out of my ears, and I had to take a short break because I felt that burnout was on the horizon, and a burnt out me is no good for anyone involved. I did the stuff that I absolutely had to do, and everything else got forcibly shoved on the back burner for several weeks.

You know what? It felt GOOD. But beyond that, I did my own little Bible walk on what todo when everything is just too much. I happened upon Psalm 61. The awesome thing about Christ is that the revelations that He gives are not just for us, but for us to then pass on to others who need. I call this lesson, when giving shade is a good thing.

In our modern day colloquialism, we think of giving shade or being shady as being sneaky or subversive with criticism. Much like other qualifiers, saying “no shade, but…” really signifies that you mean all the shade in the world.

shade.jpg Mm-hmm. I see you.

But in Biblical understanding, shade is covering. And being covered is not a bad thing. Psalm 61 is like a cry from everyone who has every felt that they are juggling more than they were ever intended to:

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.

We are crying out to God for a little shade. The Word says that we are asking to be led to the rock that is higher than I. This ain’t the rock that we are talking about, by the way…

rafiki_simba Ahhhhhhh za benyaaaaaa….ok, I give up.

No, the Bible refers to Christ as The Rock of Ages. So when we are overwhelmed by our deadlines, by our relationships, by our children, our parents, our families, by our health crises, by our jobs and so much more, we are called to take off running and collapse at the feet of Jesus. He is higher than we are. He is equipped to handle it. Jesus did not die on the cross for us to hang in the wind and deal with everything ourselves. Furthermore, the same Psalm has two more things that stood out to me in this season of being stretched too thin, both emotionally and otherwise.

Selah. In many psalms, you will find the word selah, and though there are several definitions out there, the one that resonates the most with me right now is that Selah was a cue to pause. These psalms were actually sung, and the selah was a note to the musicians to take a breath, and that rest was just as powerful as the song that they were singing. It is ok to pause. No, hear me. It is ok to slow down. Pausing is restorative. It allows us to meditate on the enormity of the God that is standing in the gap for us. It allows our cup to be refilled so that we are able to overflow onto other people.

Legacy. Later on in the psalm, there is a line that says “you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name”. Some people look at fearing God as a bad thing and more of a reason to not buy into the Higher Power “deal”, but when you know God, you know that that fear is really more of a healthy reverence. God is not ordinary. He knows exactly how many grains of sand there are on any given beach right this very second, but yet somehow, He knows you…too. Like, how is that even possible? The moment that we treat God and what He has the power to do as ordinary, we forget to be grateful. And we have the heritage of knowing that we have that kind of God on our side.

So what does covering do?

Covering allows us to heal. At work today, I heard one of my students ask my coteacher why she had a bandaid, and she mentioned that the cold weather made her skin split and the bandage was holding it together so that it could heal. So, so very many of us are split…by heartbreak, by pain, by family issues, by fatigue, just by LIFE. Covering pulls us together and allows us to heal.

Covering allows us to rest: We are literally no good to anyone when we are grasping at straws and running on fumes. How can we be who He has called us to be–believers who give cheerfully as we are given, with a gift that is pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing–if we aren’t even full. You know what happens when you max out a credit card….yet how many of us are operating with maxed out lives? There are penalties either way.

Covering allows us to cover. When you realize how much you have been protected from, it gives you the desire to shield other people. To introduce them to your toolbelt. To place His Word in their hands (or…on their screens *wink*) and say HEY! I have got this really good news…want to hear?

So the next time that shade is used in a negative context, stop and think that maybe the context isn’t all negative

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Perhaps, you need to rest in that shadow. And honey, that shade was intended.

 “There is none holy like the LORD: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. For there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God…” I Samuel 2:2

Be Blessed,

StephTheScribe

The Presence of Presents

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Hey beautiful people!

I looked and realized that I have been on this blog journey for just over two months now…and I’ve been supported in a major way by friends, family, and complete strangers, receiving messages from people saying that a post resonated with them; there have been almost 150 visitors and over 200 views, and I really am humbled by the love. I remember when I first started this site, though, I mentioned that I’d put poetry on here. I haven’t yet, so that will be the next post!

 A little history: I have been writing poetry since the age of 14 (so almost 15 years). It started out with me, a pencil, and a composition book and eventually I got the chance to perform at hometown open mics and still do occasionally. Here’s the thing though: God will show you your gift, and then there is a process of figuring out, at least in my case, how that gift can be used for the glory of God. Because I started writing at a time when I wasn’t particularly close to God, a lot of my earlier work reflected that. There was a lot of lust, a lot of anger, a lot of longing (for various things) and a whoooooooole lot of profanity. I published online and wound up authoring two books of poetry: Far Above Rubies  and The Love Lessons. The second was less gritty than the first, but what they both had in common was that God was making brief appearances rather than being allowed to run the whole show. Eventually, I stopped writing for awhile altogether because people were complimenting my poetry and I had learned the art of cadence so that important thoughts took center stage, but I was being confronted with the enormous responsibility of a platform and was too afraid to say something that wouldn’t make God proud. It was the love of a friend (and a really pretty journal) that brought me back, and now I know that I’m not just writing some stuff on a page for a reaction, but I am walking in my gift. If you have no idea what you were created for, or even if you KNOW that you can write or sing or paint or dance but you think that you are doing it for the wrong reasons, I encourage you to:

Consider your SHAPE: Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church has been quoted as saying that a person’s shape: their Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences—are the group of things that God has given you that sets you apart. My church has a Spiritual gifts assessment, but in lieu of that, find a trusted, Godly mentor…they have a way of teasing out our destinies when we’ve let life get in the way. Another way that I have heard this stated is once you figure out what bugs you the most about the human condition, you’ve figured out your calling. In my case, my love of writing also branches out into a desire to help people learn to write effectively and passionately…nothing worse than a piece where you can’t get engaged because the message isn’t transmitted clearly.

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Read Gods view on gifts: 1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV says that we are “managers of the gifts that God has given” us…and that “they may be great or small” in our eyes but “they matter to God”. How humbling and cool is that?! The gifts that we have are not really ours. Think of the manager of a store. They may have the keys, they may hire and fire, and they may hold a fair amount of authority, but at the end of the day, that Rite Aid, Radio Shack, or Forever 21 doesn’t belong to them,…however, they were put in authority by a higher power to make sure things stay shipshape, and they are responsible if something goes wrong. You were put in place to steward your gift and you will answer to a higher authority if it isn’t taken care of, but your name is NOT on the deed to that house, honey! You are merely a renter.

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Not be discouraged:  The above verse says that our gifts may be great or small in our eyes. We have a way as humans of being our own worst critics and because of that we act as roadblocks that stick out as God is desperately trying to curate our gifts of be of use to a broken world. Move out of His way….I don’t care if your gift is beatboxing, plate painting, math or making diminutive nativity scenes out of shoeboxes and toothpicks…God can use it somewhere.

Let Him work, y’all. Stand and watch as your muse and your ministry connect and ignite a passion that you didn’t even know you had. I look forward to hearing about your gifts!

Be blessed,

StephTheScribe