what made me pause in the supercenter aisle

what made me pause in the supercenter aisle

Not too long ago I was struck with a deep thought, halfway between the stationery and pop aisles of Walmart. (Yes, I’m highly aware of the incongruity: deep thought + Walmart?)

Navigating the obstacle course that is the center aisle, I realized I was watching wobbly cart wheels, wan produce, cardboard displays – looking anywhere except into the faces of the people I passed.

And the thought struck me . . . Why don’t I really look at people? Why do I go my merry way, skipping around live souls God created? How can I so easily walk past someone without truly seeing her?

I guess it’s just easier that way, easier not to get involved.

I mean, what if they don’t smile back? What if he thinks I’m staring? What if I see something I don’t know how to deal with – like supreme sorrow or listless eyes? What if she actually <gasp> started talking to me?

Or perhaps I’m too wrapped up in myself. Yes, it’s far from pristine, but after all it’s what I think of most of the time – my small, little life.

Or maybe, just maybe, I have nothing to offer them today: no smile, no nod, no hope. Only eyes as empty as theirs might be.

So, I hide behind shyness, glancing at pretty baubles and cardboard – ANYWHERE but at the faces.

Look sign

Later I read the story of the rich young ruler confronting Jesus, and I’m struck by the little “stage direction” before Jesus’ final line in this scene:

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him.  (Mark 10:21)

 Here’s Jesus confronted by a man hoping to gain the “Good Teacher’s” approval. Stopped in His tracks by a man eager to brag of the ways he’s been good and done good all his life. Jesus doesn’t laugh at him or nod disappointedly or tell him, “Seriously? You think you’ve kept every commandment perfectly since the day you were born? Oh brother!”

Jesus instead gives the Pause and the Look. He stops and truly SEES the poor, searching, young man. And when Jesus truly sees this man, He loves him.

I want to be so overwhelmed by this same love and grace toward me that I become proficient at the Pause and the Look.

My prayer? That even in a supercenter aisle, Jesus’ love will stop me in my tracks, discard silly only-me thoughts, and overflow onto others so I truly see them, and maybe, just maybe, they catch a glimpse of great grace.

Janna, Grace Embracer

P.S. Have you ever felt like you’re not truly seen?

sign photo: creative commons, courtesy of timlewisnm
child photo: public domain, courtesy of lisa runnels

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments
can you hate religion but love jesus?

can you hate religion but love jesus?

I stumbled across an amazing testimony this week. It’s the testimony of a man who got fed up with a religious system that had little to do with God’s heart. Hmm, I think I can relate in some ways!

See if it strikes a chord with you too, this heart-poem from a man who grew up in Christianity but never saw true grace until he realized religion and Jesus aren’t necessarily the same.

Janna, Grace Embracer

P.S. What are your thoughts on religion vs. Jesus?

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments
a love list from Poppa

a love list from Poppa

Just look at the love list God left for us in these verses.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39 NASB

This verse is a beautiful reminder that we cannot ever or in any way be separated from our dear Father’s love for us.

Sometimes it can come to our minds during the times of intense trial to ask ourselves if these things mean God has withheld His love.

The answer can only be an emphatic “No!”

Because nothing at all is ABLE to separate us. Ever.

 

A special thank you to my grace friend, Carol, for sharing the verse and thoughts today.
Creative Commons photo, Treasure Chest, by Mr. Evil Cheese Scientist

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments
when you’re almost convinced you don’t matter

when you’re almost convinced you don’t matter

Time. It’s our most precious commodity. A gift we can graciously re-gift to someone else, or one we can squander or horde like a miser.

I am cut to the quick today because I allowed my identity to be defined by how much time people will give me. Okay, so it’s not quite that simple – for them or for me – but that’s the squirrel nutshell version.

Enter the email:

“My next two weeks are SWAMPED! The meeting you need with me can only happen ___, otherwise it’ll have to wait a month!”

So, yes, I’m a sensitive soul. But is it necessary to not-so-subtly subtext “I’m SOOO busy I can barely fit you in! I’m doing you a favor to squeeze time out for you. (And a hearty squeeze it is, by the way!)”

The icing on my pity party cake Continue reading →

Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, 1 comment
why i like to call Him “Poppa”

why i like to call Him “Poppa”

I used to hear preachers claim,

The most important thing about you is what you believe about God.

My mental response was always, “Of course it is! I believe in God.”

But the view from here was of a supreme, all-knowing Being who looked down with a stern, wizened gaze. Never smiling much or laughing – at least not in my direction. Some days I knew He must sigh at my failure. Other times I was convinced He was shaking His head in disappointment.

So, every now and then I’d picture a loving father who cherishes and smiles on me in delight, but it was quickly overshadowed by my fear of disappointing Him.

Maybe my warped view of God stemmed Continue reading →

Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, grace changes everything, 1 comment