Upside Down Power

Of all people, Jesus had every right to not live as a servant, to choose self-righteous living – He was God, for goodness sake.

But he didn’t.

He was (is) the one who deserved to be served and honored, but he took every opportunity to serve and honor others. He used the great power and authority as the one true God of all the earth, in the form of a man, and surrendered it.

He laid it down.

He became humble {not in the sense that he was not already humble-for he was God-but in the sense that he portrayed beautifully what it looks like to correct the misconception of power from self-serving dictatorship into servant-like humility}.

Why would he do such a thing?

We common folk demand more than that in our day to day lives, let alone him. A king. The one true King. King of all Creation.

He lived this way to show the world how to be human-fully human. In every sense of what God intended when he made humans – us – in his image.

[This is what we fail to realize. Humans are not the dominant species. God existed before we did and saw fit that we should exist. So he created us. In doing so, God lowered his form of existence.

Let us baffle at that thought for a moment.. apart from him, we are merely dust.

We are not the kings and queens of the world. We are servants of the Most High. We are advocates of the one true King, loving the things he loves and hating the things he hates to exemplify and usher in his kingdom until he comes back rectify it fully.

And that is an honorable responsibility, if we choose to humble ourselves and accept it.

But society today is appalled at the idea of being servants to anything – and rightfully so. We have corrupted the beautiful privilege of servanthood and the meaning of authority into something negative and demeaning. In our petty human kingdoms that we have created and have so struggled to sustain well, we have forgotten the original intention of God in the garden – where he reigned, and we obeyed.

You see, we humans have forgotten the meaning and beauty of submission because we have taken advantage of and ruined the power we were originally given.

Yes, we were given charge of Creation to rule and reign until he returns to set things right. But every ounce of power we humans are given is to be submitted to the reign of the One who has given us authority over this world that we live in. And friends, if we are honest with ourselves, what is our idea of what it means to reign over anything? Of what it means to obtain power and establish justice? Does it really match that of Jesus? Do we really side with those whom Jesus sided (still sides) with? Do we really look much like him, at all?]

{Sorry. That was a long sidenote. But really.}

Jesus chose servanthood in order to show us, his followers, how to love one another with the love of his Father-of our Father. He willfully chose not to exercise the upper hand at times when it would have gone much better and easier for him to do so.

But he was not concerned with what was easy.

He was concerned with love.

He was concerned with others.

He was concerned with lepers, who never knew love or acceptance before they encountered Jesus.

He was concerned with the poor.

He was concerned with forgiveness (and no, not only those who sought forgiveness. But even, and especially, those who were against him completely. His enemies.)

He was concerned with grace.

He was concerned with empathy, with putting the comfort and benefit of others before our own.

He was concerned with humility.

If we truly stop and take a deep, long look at the life of Jesus – all that he said, did, and interceded on behalf of – we see a different kind of power than what we encourage and seek for our own lives.

In simple terms, Jesus was concerned with the Kingdom of God.

Are we?

 

 

 

Medicine for the Soul

Chicken broth, saltines, lysol, load after load of laundry, cuddles, and lots of coffee have consumed my to-do list the last two days. And by “consumed” I mean “replaced.”

{You guessed it: the dreaded tummy bug. We experienced our first case of sickness with a little one in our household.}

Now, if you know me, you probably know that I panicked – big time – because of my ridiculous phobia of throwing up. I will do just about anything to avoid it at all costs – both, being around it and/or experiencing it myself. So when I saw the body heave make its way up her little body into a gag and witnessed her lunch making a second entrance all over her and her high chair, I knew this was something I had to get over.

Fast.

Not just because I was the mom and was responsible on a practical level, but who was I to think more of my own selfish fear than of my child? I was the one she was looking to, both, for help and for comfort. And she was the sick, helpless, confused little one – the one actually in need of help. She needed her mama, and she needed her to be strong.

After that reality check, I still kept trying to convince myself that the episode was probably just a result of eating too fast or too much, or that maybe she was allergic to something and that she’d be fine as long as she didn’t eat it again. I quickly realized none of that was the case when she couldn’t keep anything down the rest of the day.

Panic continued to seep in.

How would I hydrate her?

At what point do I take her to the emergency room?

Oh no.. she’s crying and there are no tears. SIGN OF DEHYDRATION! My brain was like 10 fire alarms going off at once. The really loud, well, alarming ones.

Google became my best friend that afternoon. I was on it like throw up on Lucy’s carseat.

{Yes, that happened. And yes, it got in every possible crevice and buckle and strap and fold of fabric. And yes, I still go everywhere with Lysol wipes, continuing to clean it like a germaphobe. Even though it’s clean now.}

Finally, realizing she was exhausted and that she seemed fine for hours at a time as long as she wasn’t consuming anything, and that she was acting pretty okay, I gave her a bath and put her to bed.

Despite my anxious anticipation of spending the entire night holding a barf bucket, cleaning linens, and going to the ER with a severely dehydrated baby {worrier, much?}, apparently the worst was actually already over and she slept all night.

“Praise the Lord!” I thought. That wasn’t so bad, after all.

The next morning she had her 12 month check up. I figured that would be perfect because any mom can testify that hearing from a doctor that your child looks well is the most beautiful music to your ears in times of sickness. Especially because {and first time moms specifically can testify to this} our minds have the capacity to turn any sickness, even tiny ones, into deathly diseases.

But the doc wasn’t concerned in the slightest. My mama’s heart beamed with relief.

The only downside to this doctors’ visit was that Lucy was due for her 12 month vaccines.

{Definitely a blessing in the long run; In the big picture, I am so thankful for the wisdom and medical intervention we have today that can enrich the quality of life by preventing terrible life-long and/or life threatening diseases. Diseases much, much worse than the common tummy bug}.

We figured she’d be okay, though. After all, she’d handled all her shots before like a champ. The only side affect she’d ever experienced was sleepiness.

“Well perfect!” I thought. “A little extra rest is the perfect recipe for her continued recovery, anyway.”

Not so much.

That night, she was the fussiest I’d seen her. Nothing could appease her. After I put her to bed, she fussed and fussed all the way until around midnight before finally falling asleep. It was a long night. Even though I was reassured that it was a common side affect of immunizations, my exhaustion had taken over my conscience at this point and had stolen all of my peace of mind.

Even though the tylenol took a while to kick in, Lucy finally ended up falling asleep.

As I reflect this morning over the last couple of days, I feel gratitude slowly overtaking me for the really sweet moments this little rough patch brought our family.

I got to rock my sweet baby and sing to her while she laid completely still in my arms, letting me gently tickle her legs and hold her close. She never does that {the girl loves her bed}.

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I got to watch her and my husband have an absolute ball for hours building George the Cat a house with legos so I could catch up on lysol-ing and laundry. {There were moments when watching them together captivated my attention far more than a clean kitchen or bathroom did.}

I was too tired to get up before 7am this morning, so she haFullSizeRenderd her morning bottle in our bed and I got some extra morning snuggles with her and my hubby.

 

Sure, there were definitely moments of total exhaustion in between and just wanting my routine as I knew it to be back to normal. My task-oriented-self wasn’t too happy about the abolishment of the “to do” list, at first.

But those moments of exhaustion and anxiety were actually a really, really small part of my recollection of it all. My life and perspective on what love truly means was deeply enriched by all those precious, in-between moments. While being “productive” can be helpful and essential, there are also some other essential experiences for the well-being of the soul that we just cannot schedule.

Not being at all in control of the series of events in my household these last couple days have opened my eyes to true fulfillment. The hard parts of life that I constantly try to avoid with my “to do” list are often the very ones that I need to learn from. Difficult situations are not a sign that the world is ending; they are opportunities to love harder, trust Him more, and learn all you can so that when those difficult situations approach next time, your joy is able to grow stronger, not be destroyed. That kind of joy is where fulfillment is found.