Todd's Blog

Three Little Words

It happened again. Turbulent storms pushed their way through middle Tennessee with torrential rains, deafening thunder and dramatic lightning.

I love storms but my dog doesn’t. She paces back and forth, hides under tables and my keyboard (think music not computer) and sometimes she even drinks from the toilet if we forget to put the seat down. I know that’s gross but humans have peculiar ways of dealing with stress, too. Last night as our beautiful Lab/Husky paced the floor I tried to calm her. I petted her gently and spoke in a calm, reassuring voice. I told her everything was going to be alright. She didn’t believe me. Actually, she had no idea what I was saying. She was completely focused on the violent thunder and lightning. Her tail, which normally wags with happy-go-lucky delight, was pointed straight down as she paced and panted. I wanted so badly to calm her but I couldn’t get through to her. I knew everything was going to be okay but I had absolutely no way of conveying that truth. It was sad. I was sad.

Then it hit me. Could this be how God feels toward us at times? He’s promised to take care of us and meet our needs. He’s promised to never leave us or forsake us. He’s promised to finish the work he began in us. But we can only hear the thunder and see the lightning. We’re focused on what the checkbook or the evening news or the doctor is telling us, shouting at us. Sometimes, many times, the voices are also internal.

“It’s helpless.”

“It’s hopeless.”

You’re hopeless.”

But it’s all lies. He’s standing there waiting and wanting to reassure us, calm us, quiet our hearts. He wants to give us a peace that passes all understanding. If only we would turn to him. If only we would ask. If only we would receive. But on we go in our struggle and stress. We pace, we worry, we fret. We listen to the voices, but not his voice. If only we would tune everything out we would hear him. We’d hear that still, small voice whisper three simple words.

Peace, be still.

Psalm 46:10
Mark 4:39
Romans 8:31-32
Philippians 1:6
Philippians 4:6-7


You’ve Got It!
July 6, 2010, 10:36 am
Filed under: Ideas, Spiritual Formation | Tags: , , , , ,

The other night I had a dream that has changed my perspective on some things. For several weeks leading up to the dream I was searching for a desolate, dirt road to film a video I’m producing. I drove around the countryside several times looking for a location to match the picture in my head but to no avail. Everything in my area is so lush and green and dirt roads are hard to find. It’s way too pretty for what I need. In my dream, however, I found exactly what I’d been seeking and it was a familiar place I’d seen many times before. I just didn’t realize it was there because I wasn’t looking at it from the right perspective. In the dream I remarked “It was here all along. I just didn’t see it.” Then I woke up. The odd thing is that to my knowledge the physical location in the dream doesn’t actually exist. If it does, I’m not sure it’s as ideal in reality as it was in the dream. For me the ‘aha’ moment was the most vivid part of the whole ordeal and it’s actually the point.

It’s so easy to spend our lives focused on what we don’t have. We think, “If only I had more _______ !” (most common answer… money) or “If only ________ would give me a chance!” (most common answer… Oprah? 🙂 ) or “If only I had access to ____________,” (insert influential, powerful or famous person in your field) or “When ____________ happens my life will be so much better” (insert unlikely miraculous event). We’re convinced that some person, event or change of circumstance is the key to our success. For me, the dream is a vivid reminder that I already have everything I need. Specifically, I believe that I’m sitting on a particular idea (maybe more than one) that will be very successful once I act upon it. I don’t need to wrack my brain for new ideas (which I do a lot) or pursue some elusive, illusive circumstance or connection. I have what I need because God has called me and equipped me to fulfill his purpose for my life. Will he use other people along the way? Sure. Will he engineer specific circumstances? No doubt. But he’ll orchestrate things in my life (his part) as I am faithful to utilize what he’s already given me (my part). I won’t sit back and do nothing. I’m just giving up the notion that someone or something is out there and I’ll never be successful until I find him/her/it. You may have heard of the person who died in poverty on their own land which was later discovered to hold a large natural deposit of diamonds. I don’t know if it’s a true story or not but it’s a true lesson. It’s an accurate picture of how many people live life never harnessing their talents, gifts and ideas to follow a calling and impact the world.

Since my dream I’ve been looking at things quite differently and praying differently, too. I’m thanking God for his provision and asking him to help me see it in areas where I’m missing it. I’m also praying I’ll be drawn to the right idea(s) because I usually have so many to choose from. I encourage you to do the same. Begin with the perspective that you have everything you need and just need guidance on how to use it. Assume that you have the talent and brilliant ideas that just need developed. What would you do differently with this as your starting point?

And here are my scripture footnotes (along with music and artwork)…

We Don’t Know What We’re Missing!

A few days ago I wrote my wife a thank you note for the wonderful things she does for me and our three kids. I left the note in her Bible so she would find it in the morning during her quiet time. I hoped it would brighten her day and let her know how much she is appreciated. There was just one problem with my plan. She never opened her Bible that day. As the day went on I wondered if maybe she had read from a different Bible. Like many people she has two or three. I wondered if perhaps she overslept that morning and had to rush out the door. But the truth was I had no idea what happened. All I knew for sure was I had left her a message and she never got it. It just sat there in her Bible. She was completely unaware of it.

As I tried to figure out what may have happened it dawned on me (insert angelic voices). God has written a message to each of us. It’s personal and it speaks to every situation in our lives. Through the Holy Spirit this message comes to life and gives us wisdom, hope and guidance. But what if we don’t take the time to read it? What if we’re preoccupied with a busy schedule or messages from others? Could we be missing out on the answer to a problem we can’t solve? Are we foregoing insight into a struggling relationship? Are we passing up wisdom for a big decision? I think the answer is probably yes but it’s hard to know for sure because the truth is… we don’t know what we’re missing.