‘Royals’-Living The Fantasy

royals

 

Why in the world do we watch reality TV? Really though, why?

It’s because we long to escape our boring reality into someone else’s story, a story far bigger and seemingly greater than our own. Somehow the Kardashians seem to be a little bit more intriguing than changing diapers, going to the office, making dinner, and trying to find all of those missing socks (seriously though, where do they go?)

Our desire to be around greatness has created a culture of celebrity worship. Against my better judgment, I always end up on E! Entertainment. Be honest, we know you look through People and Us Weekly magazine columns out of the corner of your eyes in the Kroger checkout line. I totally get it; I do it too! We need to know which celebrity has a saggy bottom and who is getting fatter by the second. Although I hate to admit it, I’m somehow interested to see if the Bachelor has found true love (ha – ha). I mean seriously…. It’s important for me to study the downward spiral of former Disney Stars.

Entertainment pulls us in and out of our boring life’s. By switching back and forth between reality shows, are we really just seeking to escape our own seemingly dull realities?

Although we may have a dream for greatness and a drive to rule (even if it is living vicariously through someone else), not everyone can be “royals,” as Grammy winner Lorde proclaims.

And we’ll never be royals.
It don’t run in our blood,
That kind of lux just ain’t for us.
We crave a different kind of buzz.
Let me be your ruler, you can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I rule, Let me live that fantasy.”
Why has this song resonated with our culture?

Lorde is not only an incredible artist with fabulous locks and my new favorite up and comer…. she is right! Not all of us will be “royals,” but in many ways we still possess a fantasy to rule. If you are like me, you have probably come to terms with the fact that you are never going to be a real life princess. In all likelihood, we will never hold an OSCAR in our hand, and will probably never even be nominated as “mom of the year” in our hometown. We realize we may not have what it takes to rule the red carpet, but it’s okay. There are still plenty of little kingdoms that we can rule. We become Daydream believers amidst our ordinary lives.

Our kingdoms can be found in the midst of laundry piles multiplying on our couches, dining room chairs plastered in weird looking remnants from dinners long ago, surrounded by our court jesters covered in peanut butter, in a cubical with one of those swivel chairs and posted notes everywhere, pews, play groups, classrooms, seminary, and even the blogosphere.

We mock celebrities for their absurdities and lavish lifestyles; as Lorde says, “Gold Teeth, Grey Goose, Trippin in the bathroom, Bloodstains, Ball gowns, Trashing the hotel room.”

We may say, “We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair,” when in truth every one of us have been in a love affair with ourselves.
Although we may have never “seen a diamond in the flesh,” oh how long to capture greatness. (Even if its just flipping through the television.)

Even if it is simply, “driving Cadillacs in our dreams.”

We were not made to be “Royals” receiving applause; we were made to give the applause to Jesus Christ – the only One worthy of praise.

Our little kingdoms will one day be destroyed.

 

Free Sample of Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full (Gloria Furman)

book cover

Thankful for this lady and her heart for the gospel!

Gloria (@gloriafurman) is a wife, mother, cross-cultural worker, and the author of Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home and Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full.

gloria

You can visit Gloria’s blog at Domestic Kingdom.

Thank-you Gloria for letting us explore the first chapter of your new book!  How exciting! I just received my copy in the mail yesterday!

Click Here:  Treasuring Christ Sampler with Cover

Lent Is Not About Me

Although I grew up in the Methodist church and probably went to a lent service or two, I vaguely have any memories of it. Even if I went, I’m sure I did not have a clue what was going on.

lent

“Uhhh…are we supposed to give something up for lent like I did FOREVER when I was Catholic?”


“Yes, your IPhone.” (me)

“Bahaha! Ok…seriously…my pits are sweating and the memories of my upbringing is beginning to fan the flames of condemnation. I haven’t thought about what to give up?!?! I didn’t think Baptist did this-that is was a ‘Catholic members only club’ thing. I am just not prepared. They didn’t discuss this in our PVCC Church 101…I just feel unprepared”

The above message is a conversation that I had via text with a close friend of mine who is new to the Protestantism. (This is my same friend who asked if we have a “Baptist” bathing suit that she needs to purchase.) LOVE HER!!! Why in the world our church is having conversations about lent was very confusing to her.

No, you do not have to observe lent; you do not have to “give something up” in order to be in the club. On that note, just a reminder there is nothing we did to be a part of the club in the first place. Similarly, there are no dues we have to pay to remain in the club.

Initially I was very hesitant about “giving something up” because it starts to make me get all uncomfortable and legalistic sounding, and I don’t know what to do with it. The other reason for my skittishness is due to the fact that I generally fail at keeping resolutions of any kind at all. However, the Lord revealed to me how much I loved a certain something – too much. It became clear that I think I deserve this form of comfort, and even sometimes plan my life around making sure it happens.

Six hours into my “giving up” something, I caved. I told you I was bad at this. Epic failure??? Wait! Then, I realized that my failure is in some way the whole point of lent. It’s not about being perfectly self-controlled and awesome. No, the point is that even when you try “to do the good you want to do,” as Paul said in Romans 7, “You do what you don’t want to do.”

I’m really bad at lent; this is simply one more reason as to why I so desperately need Jesus. I couldn’t keep God’s law perfectly. I’ve not loved God with all of my heart, soul, and mind, and I’ve certainly not always loved my neighbor as myself. I’m a sinner who has fallen short in every regard. I’ve not just failed at lent, but I’ve failed in meeting all of God’s holy standards.

My response? Thank you, Jesus. Thank you for showing me once again that I am weak – that I often enjoy TV more than I enjoy you. That I often run to grab the remote before I grab your Word. Thank you that you are always on the station of GRACE.

Let us not make this season of lent about us.

“I gave up my I-PHONE, so I am so getting sticker on my Jesus chart.”

“I am so committed. I am so faithful. I am all over this sacrificing thing. I am so zealous.”

No. May this season of lent, we get over the “I’s” and lift our eyes to the throne and say, “I NEED YOU JESUS.”

Goodbye, Bravermans

ash
“Mommy, WHAT is on your forehead?”

How do I explain ashes to a very confused four year old? How do I tell her of frailty and mortality?

“Honey,” I say, “this is a reminder.”

Ellie says, “A reminder?” She’s obviously still confused, although very aware of her mother’s forgetfulness (keys, phone, wallet, school papers, etc.).

I reply, “Yes, a reminder that mommy needs Jesus.”

She says, “But MOMMY, you already have Him.” (Score! At least she recognizes that I “have Jesus,” because I’m sure that some days she has to wonder).

Then I say, “Yes, I have Jesus, but sometimes mommy forgets that I need Him every day – even this very moment. These ashes on my head remind mommy that I am not a superhero, and I am in need of rescuing. Jesus rescues me!”

Why Ashes?

Living in the land of entitlement where we feel as though we deserve the car we are driving, the house we are living in, the food we are enjoying, and the entertainment we are consuming, we need to be somberly reminded that the only thing we actually deserve is hell. We are entitled to God’s wrath and judgment; after all, Romans 6:23a teaches us, “the wages (or payment) of sin is death.”

I will confess that so many times, I think God owes me comfort. I deserve to sit here, watch Parenthood, and eat my popcorn because I worked hard today. “God, I did laundry all day; I deserve to sleep well tonight.”
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In a dark sanctuary lit only in candles – singing songs of brokenness and repentance – I would join a line of other sinners, who like me, were in need of a reminder. It was our sin; it was my sin that nailed Jesus to the cross.

Looking into a mirror, I take the ashes and paint my forehead with a cross. From dust I came and to dust I will return. No, I am not immortal. I will die. Someday soon I will find myself lying in a casket. Looking in the mirror, I pray that I would see myself for who I truly am – a sinner in need of grace. But there is more to it than that. I was not left to merely be consumed as ashes, but Christ covered me with beauty through pouring out His blood on the cross.

There is something bittersweet about mourning. My husband tells me I am really good at mourning. Lament could possibly be my spiritual gift. I find myself thinking and turning my thoughts towards why I sin. Oh how often I feel the heaviness of sin, and I cannot wait to see heaven’s gates open up. Then, and only then will I no longer have the desire to bow down to other loves. God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus for my sin, and He has not wrath remaining for me. Therefore, I can run freely to His throne. I don’t have to hide my sin; He knows it all, and yet He still loves me – and it’s all because of Jesus.

Mourning may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

And so we turn off our television set, not to show how much self-control we have, or even that we are keeping ourselves from something the Lord has given us to enjoy. No, we turn of the tube to ask the Lord to remind us that all we really need is Him, and that all things are a gift, even watching the Bravermans.

Seriously….Let It Go!

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This. Song. Will. Not. Let. Us. Go.

At the Oscars on Sunday night, the Tony Award-winning Broadway star Idina Menzel belted out “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. Not only did she receive a standing ovation from the crowd, but the song even won an Oscar. If you’re anything like me, you can’t get this song out of your head.

There I was cleaning the kitchen and performing what I thought was a riveting rendition of “Let It Go.” Welcome to my life – the world of Disney. It’s a magical place where dreams come true.

I was making crystal ice castles out of thin air, and my spirits were soaring along with the song. That is, until my 4-year old little girl (who is a Frozen expert), said “Mommy, you don’t look like Elsa at all!”

What! I was shocked! “Is it the nasty yellow sweatpants I have on or my seriously crazy-looking eye brows that need a good waxing?”

NO, I don’t look like Elsa, but at least my eyes are in proportion to my wrists.

Although Elsa and I apparently look nothing alike, we share one thing in common: we both love to hide.

I hide in a number of ways. I frequently cancel appointments with friends; I don’t answer phone calls. Often, I simply run into the bathroom and lock the door. Much of the time, I get lost behind the screen of my I-Phone. In doing so, I’m building my own “Kingdom of Isolation” – a kingdom in which I’m the queen.

“No, I don’t want to build a snowman. Can you just take your cuteness somewhere else and leave me alone?”

Why do we hide?

The phrase, “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them see,” is something that many women can relate to. We know the awful, ugly, hideous sin that we are capable of and we dread the thought of others seeing it. We’re afraid for them to know the real us, because if they did, there’s no way we would be accepted (or at least that’s what we think).


Because we are petrified of being exposed for who we really are, we hide. Sometimes we simply lie and say we are doing great (when we know we’re not). If and when we speak about our sin, we tend to speak in very general terms, avoiding the details that genuine humility and confession requires. Other times, we don’t say much at all; we simply smile through the pain of the condemnation that we feel on the inside.

Be The Good Girl You Always Have To Be

Every time I hear this line from “Let it Go,” I’m reminded that in and of ourselves, we can’t be the “good girls” we’re supposed to be. In fact, the Bible teaches us that the only goodness in us is the righteousness that we receive from Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:10, 2 Cor. 5:21). The church is not for good people. It is for people that realize they need a goodness and righteousness outside of themselves; it is for people who trust in the goodness of another Person – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even once we are Christians, we don’t have it all together. We still sin. Historically, some have held to the view that when we become Christians, we just stop sinning altogether. Even if we believe this to be impossible, perhaps we subconsciously live with this expectation of perfection. In those cases, no wonder why so many of us freak out when we sin and are sent into a whirlwind of confusion and doubt. Listen, I get it. It would be great to not sin anymore – and someday in glory, we won’t. But in the mean time, we have to, “let it go.”

Now, when I speak of sin and say, “let it go,” I don’t in any way mean to belittle the magnitude of sin, nor the hatred that God has towards it. Christian, we must not “be okay” with our sin. Rather, we must “be killing our sin, or our sin will be killing us” (to quote the old Puritan, John Owen).

However, when we think about our remaining sin, we have to “let it go” in the realization that because of the cross of Jesus Christ, we have been forgiven of all of our sins – past, present, and future. Every single ounce of the wrath that we deserved was poured out on Christ Jesus. When God let Christ go to the cross, He let our sin go with Him. Our sin record was “let go” when the blood flowed from the side of the Son of God; sisters, if God can let it go, we too, must let it go. It displeases God when we seek to pay for something that has already been paid for. Jesus died for our sin not so that we could live in guilt and condemnation, but so that we could experience peace, joy, forgiveness, and freedom.

It is only trusting in this Jesus and His deep love for us that can melt a frozen heart

Don’t be shocked by your sin. When you sin, run to the arms of Christ and be thankful that even your sin reminds you of your great need of a Savior. As one of my favorite songs says, “the only fitness He requireth is to feel your need of Him.”
So, what happens when we are found out, and we are standing there exposed? Like Elsa, do we cry, run away, and hide in a castle up on a mountain?
We cannot escape ourselves by escaping people. God uses people to reveal our sin so we can come to Him for healing.

frozen

The Christian life was not designed to be lived in isolation. If fact, it can’t be lived in isolation. We are the body of Christ. We need one another. In fact, there are nearly 60 “one another” passages in the New Testament. Without other Christians in our lives who love us enough to tell us the truth, and to correct us when necessary, we’ll never finish the race.

The beauty of the Gospel is that we are already exposed. All of our sins and flaws were exposed the day Christ was nailed to a tree. When Jesus died, He announced to the world, “She is a sinner!”

Because we’ve already been exposed, there’s no longer any reason to hide. Let us strive to be real, take of the mask, and stop concealing. We’ve been found out, and yet God chooses to freely accept us.

Paraphrasing from Tim Keller, in any relationship, to be loved and not fully known is comforting, but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved (still), is unbelievably rare, and yet that’s exactly what it’s like to be loved by God. This God became a Man and He died in our place – not because of how great we are – but in spite of how sinful and rebellious we’ve all been.

Let it go, sisters.