Fireside Chat

If you and I were sitting around a roaring fire and chatting about life and our dreams and aspirations for 2016, I would hope we’d find ourselves chuckling and at ease. But, I’d also want us to stay real and transparent that we don’t always have life figured out and wrapped with a sparkly bow. Life just gets messy at times, but thankfully we don’t have to stay in the mess.
In our little fireside chat, here are some things I’d like us to ponder.

  • Am I an approachable person?
  • Who do I allow to speak truth into my life?
  • What keeps me from receiving insight or correction from others?
  • What little things am I letting eat away at me?
  • How might I risk more authenticity in relationships?

IMG_4066After I added another log to the fire, perhaps I’d share a bit from my journal, which I write in here and there. On December 18, I recorded in my journal an
excerpt from the Our Daily Bread devotional that day, “Once you have become grateful for a problem, it loses its power to drag you down.”

I wonder what problems I’d share with you over the crackling embers. I just said “no” to a new collie puppy that just wasn’t the right fit for me. How long will I need to wait? Do I go back to an online dating service or go with a local professional match service? I recently lost a couple of main clients, how will I regain that income?

We’d probably banter back and forth about our everyday dilemmas and even bemoan political campaigns and ISIS threats, but then maybe we’d dig deeper in conversation.

  • What do you say to a friend who has a loved one who is terminally ill?
  • How do you keep trusting God when others think He’s rather removed from everyday involvement in our lives?
  • How do you stay sexually pure when the world says, “Huh? Why?”
  • Is it really possible to find joy in gut-wrenching trials? How?

Questions like this is where trusting camaraderie is forged. I’m glad we had this fireside chat. We may not have solved everything we’re currently mulling over, but I think we’re on a good start for the year. Here’s one final question for you.

What keeps us from being real and approachable with others? I’ll add another log or two while you send me your thoughts on this.

Brave and Resilient Tip #130: Risk being approachable. Risk being real.

Bravery Through Ashes

Although many of us have never experienced a devastating house fire or a raging wildfire like the ones in the past year that destroyed nearly 850 Colorado homes close to where I live. We all understand ashes in our lives, we’ve all sifted through the powdery fine cinders of burned up dreams, jobs, relationships, finances, or health. We all know what it feels like when unwanted soot descends upon our lives.

IMG_0259Yet amid the embers of disappointment and the rubble of loss, many of us have also experienced a fresh wind, a new beginning, a depth of bravery and resiliency beyond the vestiges of our own strength, our own determined will to keep moving forward.

You may be familiar with the words of the prophet Isaiah who described God’s promise of “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning” (Isaiah 61:2-3).

Last year I took these photos in the initial weeks after the Waldo Canyon Fire roared into the foothills of Colorado Springs. Notice how the multi-colored pottery piece remained essentially untouched by the intense flames. Why? Because the pot had already been through the tempering fire of the kiln.IMG_0278

Perhaps you’re in the kiln right now or standing in the ruins.When you’re in the heat of things and the smoke hasn’t cleared yet, it’s hard to think of something good coming from the adversity. Yet, if you just hold on a little longer, the sprigs of something new, the bright colors of restoration will surprise you.

Isaiah also reminded us that that no matter how deep our pile of ashes or how scorched we feel, we are all God’s works of bravery and beauty. “. . .We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8).

Brave and Resilient Tip #32: Bravery and beauty do arise from the ashes. 

 

What rubble are you sifting through right now in your life? How have you experienced bravery and beauty through the ashes?