Tuesday, August 4, 2009

But Give Me Only....

In June 2000, I prayed that the following would be found in my life:

"Two things I ask of of you, O Lord;
do not refuse me before I die;
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, 'Who is the Lord?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God." ~Proverbs 30:7-9

Sounds nice and Christian-y, don't you think?
Even a tad holy.

So here it is nine-years down the road and the past twelve months have been a living, breathing, day-by-day, test labratory of what I said I wanted. Of what I prayed to the God of the Universe for, or not so much.

Month after month of no "riches" (i.e. amply replenished checking and savings accounts; 18+ months pre-booked speaking calendar; book contracts; royalty checks flush with sales)....and more than a few periods of, "How are we going to handle these expenses!" systemically threatened & then destroyed any vestige of whacked-out "North American Middle-Class Financially Self-Sufficent Faux-christianity" remaining in my belief system (a system which I'd adhered to far more years than I want to admit), despite that nice, Christiany, humble, and just a tad holy petition in 2000.

There's been no life-altering ah-a insight either. Well, not of the, "I Had a Difficult Four-Months and Then Jesus Fixed Everything and Now I Have a Million in My Bank Account & a Mercedes in My Driveway," sort. Nope. Life is moving forward moment by moment and day by day sounding a bit more and more like this...

"God, I trust you to provide--through honest work, financial wisdom, and supernatural blessing--what I and my family need this day: shelter (i.e. rental home, utilities), food (um, 6'1", 14-year olds consume a lot), and various provisions (gasoline, car repair, college tuition loans.) Thank-you."

Crazy, huh? I know, boy do I know, as I've asked myself a time or two, "Now why did you feel the need to pray those scripture truths? Why didn't you pick something to do with maintaining humility & riches?" Why pray, "not so much," from God? Because time after time, my sense of security and provision either snuggles up close or flies the coop when it come to positive/negative checking account balances, savings records, retirement plans (I'm afraid we've never made it too far with the establishment thereof), book contract advances & royalties, and even the amount of loose change I can or can not find squirreled away in random places. Pathetic, huh?

For today, and I suspect for many more to follow, I will continue to trust Him with today and learn to nestle into the Secure Provider whom all good and perfect things come from.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Thought Police Are Trying to Arrest Me

I couldn't help but think of this oldie after reading THIS article online.

Okay, this should make all of us sit up and take notice. The slippery slope of covert political correctness has left the building, folks! And an Olympic sized disdain and (dare I say it?) hatred has taken its place as it hurls along at warp luge speeds; shamelessly ranting and hurling insults while all but demanding dissenting voices be silenced.

Or at the very least, not crowned.

Very few things get me to shaking my head; but this was a no-brainer. We're gonna wish it was just the dream police coming to arrest us one of these days.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Thoughts Are All a'Twitter

So, the other day I was watching the Susan Boyle video on YouTube and crying like half the world. Man, did she crank it out of the ballpark or what?! I just love it when moments like that happen. Unexpected. And all together delightful.

Then, of course, came all manner of online comments, blogposts, editorials, and such. One in particular captured my attention. It's the kind of writing and insight which makes one wish they had written as it was spot on in every way. Yes, we are an image-centric world and yes, beauty supercedes, well, a lot. Tis all true, as well as this thought strand which developed along with the first: Is the Christian marketplace/talent pool really any different? Really?

I remember reading a book titled, The Wind in the Wheat, years ago. It was a warning wrapped in fictional rebuke exposing, if one believed, the not-so-different parameters of Christian music and its talent. The story bothered me; partly because I desired to be "in" such an element someday (not music, I knew my vocal limits even as a teen), but more so getting under my skin and causing me to take another hard look at the photographic images of my own favorite "artists" and "writers."

May I just honestly say that very few, if any, were homely.

So what's my point in all this?

That Photoshop should go the way of the darn albums spun backwards? And Spanx and MAC Studio Fix relegated to a burn pile?

Uh, no. My point is simply this, it's hard not to get caught up in the hypersuperficiality of this present marketing system. Be it TV. Podcasting. Speakers. Musical artists. Or any other genre. It's hard not to measure yourself (and others) by said superficiality. But I think we have to do just that. Step away from all the Botox'd "I'm-gonna-look-like-I'm-25-forever" imagery ALL around us and settle back into what's important. Step away from the Professional Christian aura we may come to believe about others and ourselves!

Here's where I am as of April 17, 2009: God is urgently compelling me to leave behind the "personality/brand" centered huggabaloo of the past and to embrace instead a "value-mission driven" purpose which naturally flows out and into my real world community/online dwelling place/and speaking and writing relationships and projects.

What an sweet, sweet, place this is to be at age 43. No more striving. Just rest which my soul has longed for as many years as I am old. Rest. Contentment. And a renewed passion for Jesus--just Jesus. I never believed too much that the world HAD to have my latest book. And while I teetered a bit with fauxtoriety, when it's all said and done, I'm just the same girl who at age six wanted to run hard after Jesus.

I'm rethinking and RE-EMBRACING truths I knew long, long, long, ago & which I laid a bit to the wayside during four years in particular. Four years which by all outward appearances were "blessed." Well, God and I know different and it is only by His grace and determined pursuit of discipline in my life that those years were redeemed for anything meaningful.

Four years wandering here and there, all the while talking & quoting scripture and landing killer marketing ops.

Four years hearing the Spirit of God whisper say only this, "Duplicity, duplicity, duplicity."

Four years of increasing divine silence.

Four years of covert rebellion.

Four wasted years for kingdom purposes.

How thankful I am for the truth of II Timothy 2:13, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself." I look back on those years and see Him. All four books written during those years are out of print. So be it if it means I follow more closely to Him. Relationships counter to the purposes of God during those years are gone too. So be it also, for neither man nor woman can lead, direct, guide, or inspire the way that He is able. (And yes, I'm including myself in that statement.)

1. Why do you think people are so amazed when an ordinary woman (or man) displays incredible talent?

2. Has there ever been a time when you realized others were caught off guard by the talent, wit, intelligence, humor, or ability, you demonstrated in a specific area of life? Why were they surprised?

3. What has been lost or taken from you that you can look back on and say with absolute peace, "So be it."

4. Is there any area of your life in which the Spirit of God is whispering, "duplicity." If so, are you willing to let it go and to quit toying with it? What specific thing do you need to relinquish in order to take a step of obedience and living a life of truth?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Video Clips Available

Okay, you can finally view some of my most requested topics on YouTube.com (and this blog spot if I did everything correctly)! Tell your friends and forward this blog as I putter along putting together clips, videos, podcasts (next goal!), and writing to help get you a little bit further down the road.

Monday, April 6, 2009

On Our Marks, Get Set...Here We Go!

My daughter has two tattoos.

One following the gentle curve behind her left ear inked with Greek letters conveying the sacred meaning of her name: anointed. The other an elaborate Assyrian cuneiform script imprinted upon the rib cage of her right side, its ancient prayer marking body and soul:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.”

Despite my “tat” request imploring Kristen to refrain from going, “Totally Angelina,” with this not-so-new form of self-expression, I unashamedly admit she wears her convictions well.

Which led to my thinking...well, you know.

Thus, my puncture wounds (hence hypothetical nature of this conversation) would be ensconced delicately between my shoulder blades and read:

“Running after Jesus—lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

While certainly less poetic than my daughter’s (but self-explanatory, perhaps, as to why I have never sought nor acquired gainful employment within the official constructs of pseudo-political church leadership) such fervent & unapologetic declaration articulately summarizes the holy trinity of my past, present, and future: The life-long pursuit of Jesus.

This is all I've ever done; running, sometimes walking, skipping, and limping, towards the One of whom I first sang about in a late-60s paneled classroom; intently marching on its cheaply covered indoor-outdoor carpet, while singing, "I'm in the Lord's ARmeeeeeeeeeee!"

This is what I've known & been inextricably drawn to for thirty-eight years.

This is where I belong.

This is who I am.

Utterly and thoroughly, "Jesusey."

Welcome to my new blog spot cyber-surfer, doubter, believer, mother, daughter, and friend. I believe you'll find it to be broader in nature; allowing me to write, opine, wallow, post links, revel in my skewed quirkiness and thus, explore with few limits, the all-together messy and gloriously complicated nature of the life lived in pursuit.

As times goes by, Running will meld with the design look, nature, and purpose of my website, www.juliebarnhill.com. But it's been three-months since I set out to get that all accomplished and I'm tired of waiting. (As are/were many of you as your emails can attest. Thanks for the, uh, butt-kicking encouragement to "do something about your new blog idea!") So, here it is--a work in progress as I continue to enthusiastically amble my way towards Jesus.