Happy First Birthday!

One year olds don’t need birthday parties.

Birthday parties for one year olds are completely for the parents. They put together this elaborate event with a theme, and balloons, and a cake that all matches. They invite all their friends and family and make all this hullabaloo. For what?

To watch their child absolutely destroy a cake, make a GIANT mess (which, by the way, as a parent you probably wouldn’t have tolerated the day before and you most likely won’t like the next day), take a thousand pictures, and call it cute.

Let me let you in on a little secret. The one year old child doesn’t care. Not even a little bit. They have no idea what’s going on.

One year olds don’t care about giant birthday parties. They care about eating and sleeping and maybe a little walking and playing with some toys. They care about doing all those things around people that they love and feel safe with. That’s it. That’s all they care about.

And so it is with this blog.

This blog couldn’t care less about turning 1. You know who cares? Me.

I do! This is a tremendous day. It’s a milestone marker for me. The blog itself is just a tool. It’s pretty agnostic as to who is using it or even what it does. But to me, today is a really big deal. A really, REALLY big deal.

What is the purpose of this blog? Why do I write every week?

I didn’t start out writing this blog with a “purpose” or theme in mind. All I knew was that God had told me that I needed to be writing. So I wrote.

Now, I make it sound like it was easy. Oh, God said do it, so I did it. That’s not exactly the way it went down. In truth, He and I have been having this conversation about my writing for a long time. I’m talking YEARS. It was a long, long time before I ever wrote the first word here. He wanted me to write. I even wanted to write. But …

If you know me then you know there are at least two things about me that kind of get in the way of me accomplishing anything. One, I get obsessive when it comes to details. Every little thing has to be perfect or I won’t do it. And two, I am easily swayed to just let the world take me where it wants to take me. I have great plans but struggle in the follow through department.

So for years I would “wrestle” with God over details. What should I write about? How long should each post be? Where should I do my writing at? What format should it be in? Blah, blah, blah. Then I would just get tired of fighting through it all and I’d conveniently just forget to start. I’d get started writing something and then miss a day and let the whole writing enterprise fall by the wayside.

So near the beginning of last year God and I were once again having a conversation about my writing. He was telling me how I needed to write and I was confessing my fears about needing to have a plan and a theme for what I wrote and a place to put it all. I was giving Him all the excuses.

  • “I don’t have just one thing that I want to write about. A successful blog needs a theme.”
  • “I don’t have a website yet. And I don’t want to use Wordpress. I can’t start writing because I don’t have a home for it.”
  • “How am I going to find the time to write?”

I could keep going, but you get the gist. Basically I was just making excuses. So in desperation I asked God one last time: “What should I write about?” His answer: “It doesn’t matter. I want you to write. The rest will come.”

It still took me 8 months to write my first post.

You’re a Fool

I have heard it said that the definition of a fool is someone who knows what to do yet refuses to do it. I was being a fool. I knew what to do, I just didn’t want to do it. I felt so unprepared. I felt like I was going to be embarrassed. Like no one was going to read what I wrote anyway … so why bother?

I needed to bother. Even if no one else in the entire world read my blog posts, I needed to write them. No matter what it was I wrote about, whatever it was that God put on my heart, or that had my attention that particular week, I needed to be obedient to the call to write. I needed to write for me. It was (and is) a form of therapy, and time spent with God, and learning for me.

I hope that everything I write about will help others like it helps me. There will come a time (in the very near future I think) where what I write about will be dictated by the problems and pains that you, my lovely readers, are having and that I can help solve.

I’ll be honest. I want to write and sell books and make money at this craft. I want to have an audience that cares about what I write. I really do want to have an effect on peoples lives. What writer doesn’t?

But if all I ever do is write to please others all the time then my audience becomes someone it was never meant to be. My writing has always been on purpose to satisfy a calling.

Ultimately, it’s for an audience of one.

Stats

That being said, I do care about numbers and stats because they are a marker of growth. I definitely want my blog to grow. I believe God does too. I know we’ll get there in time.

So, what’s the first year been like?

I started out by publishing my posts on Medium because I needed them to have a home. I’m super grateful that Medium provides a place where people can post their thoughts without having to build something custom and personal right out of the gate.

The very first official piece for this blog was posted on August 17, 2018. It is called “Gratitude Changes Everything.” To this day it has gotten 19 total views. It’s a great little piece. You should read it.

Since then I’ve posted 50 other posts (for a total of 51 - including this post). I only took off one week early on when I thought I would not post on the weeks that I had my sabbatical week. Since then I’ve learned that I can write early and still post something even when I’m not officially working on stuff. Also, that consistency is key. These were big revelations.

Over the course of the year I have published 47,879 words for a 938.8 word average per post. That’s the equivalent of a 192 page book! Week by week it doesn’t seem like a lot, but they definitely add up over time. Also, if I /published/ that many words, how many words do you think I actually wrote before editing? Haha … so many words!

The biggest thing of this year happened on April 26, 2019. On that day I published a piece called “Hello World” in which introduced all of you to my new website. That was a giant day for me. I had wanted a home of my own where I could post what I wanted to, when I wanted to and I finally had one. I love it. I hope you do too!

The top 5 posts of the year (by number of views) are as follows:

  1. This is My Story (66 views)
  2. What’s Up For Me in 2019 (48 views)
  3. Practical Ways to Rest - Bonus Episode (35 views)
  4. Year Six (30 views)
  5. Gratitude Changes Everything (19 views)

Thank You and Future Plans

Thank you so much for reading along with what I’ve been writing this past year! It means so much to me that you would come along for the ride.

For me personally, this year has been a huge success. Making it a whole year where I consistently posted every week is a giant achievement. Like a really big deal. There are very few things in my life that I have stuck with that consistently over time. It feels really good to make it this far. I don’t plan on stopping now.

I’ve got plans for the future. Slowing but surely I’ll be making changes to my website to make it better or easier to use. Maybe I’ll throw in some new post types and try my hand at quotes or link lists or something - but never in place of my weekly post. I’m about ready to really start working on adding a weekly email newsletter where you can get these posts in your inbox every week instead of just hoping you come across the promotional post on Facebook or Twitter.

But I need your help in so many ways. If this blog is ever going to really succeed, it will happen because of all of you. So I have some requests.

First, if you like something that I write, if it touches something in you, please share it with others. This thing only spreads if we all share it.

Second, let me know what kinds of things you’d like to see me write about. What problems or pain points are you experiencing? What topics haven’t I touched on yet? If you’ve ever said to yourself “He should write about that”, this is your chance. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or via email. Let me know!

Again, thank you so much for coming along on this ride with me. You are all so special to me.

Happy birthday, my little blog! Keep growing up. You’re doing great.


Because You Read All The Way To The Bottom: Good news! Did you know the song “Happy Birthday to You!” is no longer copyrighted material? It’s true! It is now in the public domain. You can now sing that song at birthday parties without fear of reprisal or being slapped with large fees. You could even record that song and post it on Youtube if you want. Sing away!

Fighting for Freedom - An Introduction

“Come back next week and we’ll dig a little deeper into what is takes to actually be free.”

This is what I said at the end of last weeks post. Those are my words. It’s an exact quote.

What was I thinking?

There are some people who are really great at taking a large topic and condensing it down into concise statements that make sense. That’s not me. I tend to be a little wordier. As if you hadn’t noticed. 😉

I Want to Affect Your Appreciation

The more I thought through the topic of fighting for freedom the more I came up with to write about. Any attempt at condensing it into one blog post seemed like a travesty. The topic deserves more respect and care than that.

You guys ever see the TV show Sports Night? It’s a great little show about a group of people who are creating a nightly sports show in the vein of SportsCenter. If you haven’t, you should see it. Ask me, I’ll let you borrow my DVD’s.

Anyway, there is a great bit in one of the episodes that defines the battle I’m having with this topic of fighting for freedom.

One of the producers (his name is Jeremy) is putting together his first highlight package for a baseball game. The show has a lot of games to cover that night, so each game is probably only going to get 10-15 seconds of airtime. Jeremy tries his hardest, but his first cut of the game is eight and a half minutes long. What ensues is a hilarious battle of creative differences. Jeremy wants to affect people’s appreciation of baseball. He wants to show “the battle.” Casey, one of the anchors of the show is just trying to convince Jeremy to “make it shorter.” Eventually, Dana, the executive producer has to get involved, telling Jeremy, much to his chagrin, that the cut should just have three particular items in it. Jeremy complies but ultimately feels that the life was sucked out of the piece.

Gosh, I feel so much like Jeremy right now.

Constraints

Constraints are great. If this was my job (like it was Jeremy’s) and my editor said they needed 2,000 words on fighting for freedom with three main bullet points, I would find a way to give them just that. You would get the gist of the topic, but it would be missing it’s life. Fortunately for me, this is my blog (haha!) and I have no such constraints. I am my own editor.

If I just cut down what fighting for freedom means, if I condense it down into a few bullet points that squash it into one post, then I do the entire topic a disservice. I would have done what I said I was going to do (“… we’ll dig a little deeper into what is takes to actually be free.”), but that wouldn’t really serve you well. I want to serve you well. I want this to be a great resource for you both now, and into the future.

You Are Free …

For now, let’s get started with a little introduction.

Last week we established that you are already free. You are no longer held captive by anything.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – Galations 5:1

Just because we are free doesn’t mean that we don’t choose to continue to live in bondage to our sins. It doesn’t mean that we haven’t allowed ourselves to be “burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

There are places in us that we choose to stay enslaved to. All too often we get a taste of freedom and yet choose to turn around and walk right back to our prison cell. There are a number of reasons I believe that we choose to do this, and we’ll get to those in the coming weeks.

… But It’s a War

The thought I want to leave with you today is this: You live in the midst of a great war. It’s battle after battle of arrows and armor and swords and lions looking to devour. It’s a war for your heart. As John Eldredge says in his book Waking the Dead:

“The story of your life is the story of the long and brutal assault on your heart by the one who knows what you could be and fears it.”

You are free, but you live in the midst of a war unlike any other. It will require everything from you. You must fight if you are to stay free. Freedom, after all, isn’t free.

Coming Up

Next week we’re going to break from this freedom series (that we literally just started) to celebrate a certain blogs birthday (our little guy here turns 1! 🎁🎂🎉). The week after that we’ll dive right back in and really start to delve into what it looks like to fight for your freedom.

You Are Free

Dear Friend,

You are free, you just don’t know it yet.

We live in a world that heaps upon us it’s expectations, rules, and standards. We, being sheep, spend an exorbitant amount of time, energy, and money in our efforts to conform to those standards.

  • Fashion and design trends change and so we throw out all of our old clothes and remodel our homes excessively.
  • We try every “lose weight overnight” trick in an effort to look like the models on the covers of our magazines even though we know they don’t actually look like that in real life.
  • One that hits closer to home for me: We’re stuck in a continual upgrade cycle on all of the technological gear imaginable because we just can’t seem to live without the newest feature that we didn’t even know we wanted (needed?) until we were told we did.
  • On a little bit darker note we tend to believe that we’ll always be stuck in ways that we don’t really like but we can’t seem to escape. We believe, however falsely, that we will always be an alcoholic, we’ll always be angry, or we’ll never be able to break free from that habitual sin.

Truth Telling

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

– Galations 5:1

It’s time for you to hear a little bit of truth.

Your house and your wardrobe are fine just the way they are.

You are beautiful no matter what you look like.

You don’t need the latest, most up to date gadget you can get. If your stuff works, it works. Replace it when it dies. Your budget will thank you later.

This next one might be a little harder to swallow, but it is true nonetheless. You are not your sins and addictions. They are what you experience and choose to do, but they are not who you are.

Like the verse from Galatians above tells us, Jesus has already set you free. What He did on the cross took away all the things that you think you are. The only thing stopping you from living in the freedom you already have is you. Your pride, fear, and doubt. Your willingness to fight. Once you choose to believe that you are free then you can start to make that freedom a reality in your life.

What is Reality?

You are free from fear. No longer does it need to hold sway over who you are and what you become.

You are free from doubt. You have everything you need to make the right decisions. Once you know who you are then … you know who you are. Own it.

You are free from everything that has ever held you back. You are free to be who and what you were meant to be.

You have so many incredible things inside of you and they are all clamoring to get out. You have talents, skills, and gifts that no one (even those closest to you) knows about you. You have abilities that would change the world if you would only set them free.

You may still have to follow the rules of this world (driving 100 MPH in your neighborhood is a no-no) but you no longer have to conform to its expectations. You don’t have to wait for permission to be who you are meant to be. There are no gatekeepers. You are free to become whatever it is that you feel like you are meant to become.

You are free to love and to laugh. You are free to live. You no longer have to be a slave to anything that has ever held you captive in this life. Not your fears. Not your doubts. Not your sin. If you’re a Christian, you are truly free. If you’re not, you can be. Live in that freedom and become the person you are meant to be.

I can’t wait to see who you become.

Your friend,

Rich

P.S. Knowing your free is one thing. Actually feeling or being free is something else. Freedom isn’t free and like I mentioned a little bit earlier, sometimes you need to put up a fight. Come back next week and we’ll dig a little deeper into what is takes to actually be free.

Control Issues

I didn’t think I had control issues until I wrote this post. Here’s how I found out otherwise.

The Lead In

Over time I’ve learned that I think more clearly when I write. I’m not sure what it is about writing that makes this true. Maybe it’s the quiet of the morning when I normally write, or it could just be the process of putting thoughts on paper. Perhaps it’s something else entirely. It doesn’t really matter. What I do know is that I am the closest to my thoughts and they are the clearest and the loudest when I write.

The same can be said about my closeness to God. As I listen to my thoughts and my heart, as I write these posts to you and for you, I am in a position to hear what God wants to say to me. It’s just one of those times when I can hear him the best.

I learn so much about myself when I write. It’s actually pretty scary.

The Post

So there I was, humming along, writing this other post. Maybe I’ll finish it one day but the gist of it was about how I feel like I have a lack of faith. I was talking about how I want to have a backup plan for everything and how, in desiring such, I was closing off my ability to have faith. Faith in myself, faith in others, and ultimately, faith in God.

As I thought about this, I started wondering why. Why do I lack faith? What is it about my life that hinders me from having the faith I see others have?

Boom-shaka-laka

And then it hit me. I do have some measure of faith. I do have belief. I do trust. But only when I can control it.

Here’s an excerpt from the post I was writing. I was talking about where I see my lack of faith show up in my life. This is the moment when I realized what was really going on.

I see it in my relationship with God when I won’t give over to Him every part of my life. I trust Him mostly, but there are probably still some areas where I’m lacking in my faith or that I just want to control.

Holy cow that’s it. The issue is control. Why do I want backup plans? Because I want to be able to control the outcomes of everything. I want to know and be prepared for every situation.

What I learned in that moment, what God taught me, was that the places where I lack faith are the places where I don’t want to give up control.

💥

Ouch

That one hurt me just a little bit deeper than normal. I had no idea I even had control issues. I mean, I’m so chill, right? I wanted to fight back but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that God was right and I couldn’t deny it.

Want some examples?

Lack of Faith in Myself

The “what if’s” of life lead me to have a lack of faith in myself.

  • “What if I’m wrong?”
  • “What if you don’t like me?”
  • “What if I do this thing and it sucks?”
  • “What if I fail?”

I don’t trust myself with things I don’t know and if I don’t know something I don’t have any control over it. My tendency is to fear and not let myself try new things because I can’t control them. So I make backup plans in an effort to control my situations and surroundings.

Lack of Faith in Others

I have things at work that I could give away to other people (should give away to other people) but I don’t want to because I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t do it my way and I really like my way. I know all the nuances and things to look out for.

So I end up keeping all this extra stuff that, at the end of the day, I’m sure someone else could do just as well or better than me. This leads me to just piling on extra work because I’m scared of what me not having control over that thing would mean (for that thing and for me). That also would mean that I would need to find new things to do or take on new responsibilities. That’s new territory and really scary for me.

Lack of Faith in God

I am constantly finding areas of my life where I haven’t completely given over my trust to God. If I don’t have control of those areas of my life, who is going to be watching out for them, making sure that I don’t mess them up? Who’s going to be there to catch me when I fail?

So I hold on to control. I wrap a tight fist around these areas and I don’t let go. I make backup plans and contingencies. I labor and spin and spend a superfluous amount of effort to hold tight to control.

A Tale of Mythic Proportions

Here’s the thing about all of this: Control is a myth.

We are all living out of control. When I think of someone who is “out of control” I think of someone with no boundaries, who is acting all out of sorts. Do you have a picture in your head of what someone who is out of control looks like? Me too … and I don’t picture myself. To me, I am a model of control. You probably don’t have an image of yourself in your mind either. But it’s true. We are all living out of control.

We can’t really know for sure from one day to the next what will happen in our lives. Tomorrow is a fickle mistress. We don’t really know what she will bring.

  • Tomorrow you might lose your job … or you might get a new one.
  • Tomorrow you might have a conversation with someone that changes the direction of your entire life … or you could just stay inside all day binge watching TV and eating potato chips.
  • Tomorrow you might break your leg … or you might get in a boat and, for the first time in your life, sit in awe as you feel the breeze over the water hit your face.

Here is what the Bible says about tomorrow:

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

– Matthew 6:34 NIV

No matter how hard we try we can never really and truly be in control. Oh, it feels better to think that we can, but we can’t.

That’s not to say that we should be reckless. I also don’t mean it to sound like we shouldn’t make plans or attempt to be intentional with our lives.

We definitely should make plans. We absolutely should be intentional and not let ourselves be swept away by whatever life brings our way. I mean, life will bring some crazy stuff your way if you let it.

But faith is an exercise in losing control. It’s giving up control to someone or something else.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

– Hebrews 11:1 KJV

The idea of giving up control is scary. It means I lose control. But when I give that up to Someone who has my best interest at heart, whose plans are better than mine, who loves me with an everlasting love, then I also lose the weight of fear, doubt, and worry. In doing so I am lighter, more agile, and better able to live the life I am meant to live. I’ve removed the self-imposed burdens that those things carry with them and laid them down as well.

If I get to live a better, more fulfilling life by losing control, then I’m all in.

I imagine we all could do with a little less control, no?

Backup Plans

My default status is caution. Let’s just get that out front and in the open right away. I want to know every option available to me and have a detailed plan before I do anything.

This is beneficial in many ways and has saved me in the past from going down paths that I didn’t need to be going down. When I’ve thought through as many options as possible and gotten as much data as I could I’ve often made better decisions.

There are inherent downsides as well. Sometimes I miss out on great opportunities or I am too slow in making important decisions because I’m so focused on making the right one (and not wanting to be wrong).

Can anyone else out there relate? Raise your hand if you’re with me. 🖐️

Where It Gets Tricky

Both of my children want to be a part of the entertainment industry. My son wants to be an actor. My daughter, on the other hand, is much more inclined towards the makeup, costuming, and art side of things.

I would guess that I side with the majority of parents out there when I say I want my children to excel in everything they do. My wish for them is that they would be happy, healthy, and able to do the things they love. I don’t think that’s bad or unhealthy on my part. There is nothing wrong with wanting your kids to succeed.

Here’s where my desire to be cautious ends up throwing a wrench in the system.

You’ve all heard the stories of the want-to-be-entertainer who left home with stars in their eyes, showed up in New York or Los Angeles, and just basically tried to survive with part-time jobs while they waited for their “big break.” I can almost guarantee you that for a majority of those people, their “big break” never came. I don’t have stats to back up that claim, I just feel like it’s true. Just showing up somewhere does not mean that you will succeed there. Proximity to a culture does not entrench you in it.

I’ve told Trae thousands of times that I believe in him and that I want him to succeed. I’ve let him know that he has the skills and talents to do the things he wants to do. That’s not lip service or the “you-can-do-anything-you-set-your-mind-to” lie we sell to people. He actually, really does.

On the flip side, I’ve also told him a number of times what I didn’t want for him. I’ve told him that I didn’t want him to follow the same “big break” plan. I’ve let him know that one of my fears is that he’d have to try to afford to pay for some crazy expensive, super tiny apartment on a part-time salary while he hopes that this or that role would come through. I’ve told him (in no uncertain terms really) that he needs other plans outside of acting so that he can take care of himself while he waits for the acting thing to pay off.

I’ve told him that he needs backup plans.

On it’s face, this seems like sage advice. It’s good to have something in your back pocket that you can fall back on should you need it. It doesn’t feel like this is inherently bad or evil. But underneath …

My Role

One of the great things about life is that it is a constant classroom. You can always learn something from someone in just about any situation.

Just the other day I learned that, as a leader, it is my job in all situations to be coach, counselor, and cheerleader to those I lead. Parenting is no different. It’s my job to prepare my children for what the world will throw their way. I need to let them know that the world is tough, that no one owes them anything, and that the industry they want to be a part of is a cutthroat business. It’s my responsibility to prepare them for what lies ahead and then let them go to live in their abilities to make their thing happen. I need to be there for them when they have questions and be able to talk them through what they are experiencing. I need to be their biggest supporter in all things.

What my job is not is to project my own fears and insecurities onto their dreams. What kind of help do I provide in doing that? What good does it do? What does it tell them about my belief in them and the skills, talents, and God-given abilities they have if I tell them that they need to have some other plan because chances are what they want to do won’t work out?

All that does is show my children that I don’t believe that they can do what it is that they want to do. That I don’t trust enough in the skills, talents, ability, and work ethic they have been gifted with to be able to succeed. Every time I do this I place a little bit more of my doubt on top of the already heavy weight of their dreams. It makes it just that much harder for them to break through to a place where they believe.

That is no way to lead them.

Their gifts and talents were given to them by God. And here I am trying to supplant God and tell my kids that I have a better plan for their lives. That they better watch out because I’m not sure that what God has put in their heart is enough to sustain them. I’m ultimately showing my children and the world that I don’t really trust God to be able to take care of them. God gave my children to me to raise up and train and to provide my knowledge to them but he didn’t do that so that I would stop trusting Him with them. If I can trust God with my life (and I do) then why can’t I trust Him with their lives?

Unquenchable and Unwavering

At the end of the day I want my children to have an unquenchable desire for what they are called to do and an unwavering belief that they will succeed. God has given them everything they need for that to happen.

Maybe they will end up doing exactly what they are thinking they will do right now. Maybe they won’t. Maybe their dreams will change. That’s okay. They’re kids. They don’t have to have it all figured out yet. Shoot, I didn’t know what I really wanted to do as a career until the end of my sophomore year in college. Why do I insist on them having it figured out as teenagers?

The important thing for me is that I don’t squash their dreams. That in my fear of life I don’t make them fear theirs. That I always provide a safe place for them should their plans not work out. I need to provide direction as a coach, wisdom as a counselor, and support as a cheerleader. Then I just need to get out of the way and watch what God does.

It’s going to be awesome.

True Worship

The Lord says: “These people come near me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”

– Isaiah 29:13

As long as I have been on staff, every December at NewSpring we have a three day conference that we call the Staff Leadership Conference or SLC. The purpose of this time is for the staff to take a step back, catch our breath from the day-to-day ministry that we do, and learn from some of the best leaders in the country.

Typically during this conference we have “worship” right at the start of each day. This, just like in church on Sunday, is meant to draw us in to the presence of God in order to hear the words that He would speak to us through whoever is communicating.

Last year, on one afternoon during the conference, we also had one whole session, a solid hour, of nothing but worship.

For me, this was one of the best sessions of the entire conference. I raised my hands, I shouted, and I begged God to see His face. I cried. I heard God speak very intimately with me. It was amazing.

More Than A Song

There is a connection between myself and my God that is at its strongest when I am in those moments. I hear things from God that I don’t typically hear. Perhaps my guard is down. Perhaps I’ve opened myself up to more of the His Spirit. Whatever it is, I can hear and see God an order of magnitude better during these times.

But I’ve learned that worship is more than just the songs we sing during a service.

Worship is how we treat our family before we get to church on Sunday morning. Worship is how we steward our money. Worship is what we say and do when that guys cuts us off in traffic, what we look at when no one else is home, and how we love on our mother-in-laws when they come in town for a visit.

So many times we sing to the Lord on Sunday with full hearts that shout about His great love and how we want to worship Him for eternity, but we don’t want to worship him at our jobs on Monday. We will cry like a baby with our hands raised high but we will get angry with the girl who messed up our $4 coffee order on Tuesday. We may not outwardly say anything to her or we’ll tell her it’s okay, but inside our heart is seething. “How dare she? Doesn’t she know who I am? Doesn’t she know I’ve got someplace to be?!?!”

What’s going on inside of you is much more worship than what is coming out of your mouth.

The Lord knows the heart. He can split marrow and bone. What’s inside of you, “the parts you don’t like to talk about at parties,” says Colonel Jessep from A Few Good Men, that’s true worship. God says that our hearts are far from Him.

Words vs. Motives

Outwardly, what we say sounds like God. But inwardly, we sound more like Satan. We go through the motions of worship on the outside because that’s what we’ve been taught to do.

  • “Yes, ma’am.”
  • “No, sir.”
  • “I’m sorry.”
  • “I’ll pray for you.”

These are all things we’ve been taught to say and do but I question them. We say these things because we think they sound polite (and they do) but if we don’t mean them or believe them, what’s the point? If our heart isn’t in it, if we’re just doing it because that’s what we were taught to do, then it’s just rote memorization and physical memory. It’s not worship.

One thing I think I’ve gotten right as a parent is that I’ve always told my kids that when they hurt someone they should apologize for hurting them. But I told them that I never wanted them to say “I’m sorry” if they didn’t mean it. I want to teach them to actually be sorry, not just say they were.

Words are just words. If you don’t mean them they are just trite contritions and wasted breath. People can see through your bull crap. They know, deep down, if you mean what you say or not. Don’t let your words just be lip service. Mean what you say or don’t say it at all.

I feel like that is kind of how God sees us and what He is getting at in the verse above. Mean what you say. It has to come from somewhere inside your heart, not just words that come out of your mouth.

Overflow

A quick warning then I’ll be done:

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

– Luke 6:45

Other versions have it: “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

This is basically saying that what comes in also goes out. Garbage in, garbage out. Just be careful that the things you are filling your heart with are the things that you’re okay with saying out loud. Because they will come out of your mouth. Probably when you least expect it.