Tag Archives: breaking down barriers

I’m not too old

I bought a carton of crayons for school.  Yes, for me.  Don’t laugh.  I might never tell you another secret.

My textbook said I needed playtime each day.  So I bought a coloring book, watercolors, and a puzzle.  The assignment: do something everyday just for fun with absolutely no purpose or goal in mind.

Just for fun sounded fun, until I tried it.  It wasn’t fun.  I had to time myself.  I had to complete one page before going to the next, even when I didn’t like the picture anymore.  I had to stay in the lines.

So I decided the next time to let Eli join me.  He chattered through the whole process.  He didn’t even see the lines.  He had more fun dumping the crayons on the table and putting them back in the box.

I should have just enjoyed him, but no.  I forced my hand over his and finished the picture, no matter how many times he’d close the book on me.  I’m pretty sure I have a problem.

I’d love to see if your head is nodding or maybe your looking over you shoulder to see if I’m standing there reading your mind.  Raise your hand if you can’t enjoy life because you’re too concerned about being good…enough.

How many opportunities or accomplishments have you missed or quit because your goal was to be the best and you simply weren’t?   I’m ashamed of my number.

Author Rosanne Bane wrote, “Perfectionists think that insisting on near perfect performance from the outset and criticizing themselves for every mistake will make them learn faster, but his actually impairs performance.”

I also read that to become a master in any area of performance 10,000 hours of practice was required.  I did the math.  At my current pace, I’ll need 13 years.  That’s old for me.  So I just stopped blogging.

I’ve been miserable.  Images of ninety-year-old pregnant Sarah haunt my dreams.  Then an archangel flies by with a trailing neon sign, “You’re not too old.”  I wake to the sound of the pounding nails smashing my fingers onto the keyboard.

If it took Noah 120 years to complete the ark, I can strive on.  But I need to learn a few things.

The lines stifle creativity.

Stop when the book is closed.

Go with the new thing even if it gets dumped on you.

It’s more fun when someone else is with you.

So, let me introduce you to Mike’s blog.  Check out my hubby’s new adventure.  I call him a bi-vocational missionary.  His dream: build a business foundation, network and train other CEOs, then use their combined assets to spread the Gospel.  It’s a God thing.

You can read all about it at Patriarchproject.com and be sure to sign up for his email updates.

BTW Do you like the new blog design?

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Gramma’s Going to School

“It’s never too late.”

I’m in the car driving the one-mile to Mesa Community College.

“I’m not too old.”

I parked the car and compared the campus to the map.  X marks the spot; I see the bell tower building.

“Please, don’t let me do anything stupid.”

I enter the Admissions office.  My eyes scan the room.  Dozens of perspective students turn their deadpan expressions my way and bore quickly.

“Good, I didn’t make an impression.  Now what?”

To my right I spy the computer sign-in system.  I add my cell-phone number, sit in the last available seat, and wait.  In unbroken sequence, three clerks call four digit numbers, tired eyes scan the room, but no one moves.

“Lord, what are those numbers?  What am I to do?”

Someone in the back asks the question that I’m too embarrassed to verbalize.

“Thanks Lord, for nudging that woman instead of me! Now, don’t let me forget my cell number and miss my turn.”

The room feels full.  I shouldn’t label but I will.  There are gothics, jocks, under-dressed girls, young marrieds, young lovers not married but physically locked together, and one person older than me.  Wait, that’s a mother with her daughter.  Yes, I’m the oldest student in the room.

“I hope my daughter isn’t bothering you?”

Whew, a welcome distraction glues me to my seat.  An adorable two-year old is playing at my feet and her parents want to chat.  Before long, I’m sharing with the daddy what I’ve learned from the writer’s conference and dozen books I’ve read on writing fiction.  You see; God placed next to me a young man enrolling in the same classes I’ve selected.

“Thanks Lord.  Not only did you help me not look foolish but you allowed me to help another who knows less than me.  Amazing!”

My number is called and three minutes later I walk out a college student.

“You know Lord, if it’s this easy, I think I’ll go to ASU next year and get a masters in English and then, well who knows what I can do now.” 

Prejudice is a Cancer

Prejudice is a cancer.

I have first hand accounts with both.  Like cancer, prejudice begins with a small defected entity but quickly grows until it kills every healthy living cell in its path.  Cancer kills the very life Jesus gives.  Prejudice kills all the goodness of life.

The story of the Woman at the Well in John 4 is a story about prejudice.  We have two main characters.  One is without sin.  Therefore the prejudice is found only in the woman.

The woman (I want to give her a name but the only name I feel appropriate is my own and that’s too painful) is a victim of prejudice.  Most scholars place the time of this story to be noon, the sixth hour of Hebrew time.  If this were true, then she would be considered an outcast among women by not being allowed or feeling comfortable to draw water at the normal early morning time.  Instead she was forced to venture out in the heat of the day.

Women of ill repute are often scorned.   The underlying force is the same within all prejudices.  Fear.  Fear that we will become like them.  If we hate them enough, our hatred will provide a dividing wall between them and us.  Prejudice provides that sense of false safety.

I was raised immersed in a culture of prejudice.  I prided myself on not being like those prejudice people who hate others for the color of their skin, social status, or religion.  But like cancer, prejudice creeps in where we least expect.  I had become prejudice against the prejudiced.   So had this woman.

She instantly noticed Jesus was Jewish.  She addressed Him with ‘you Jews’ and ‘our prophets’.  Sinless Jesus was breaking down barriers but she wasn’t making it easy.  Her comfort zone was on her side of the wall.  How can you even think to ask me for a drink?  You stay on your side and I’ll stay on mine.

Prejudice people are often highly defensive and steeped in their religious traditions.

Her argument could sound like this today, “You think you’re more Jewish than me, well look, we own Jacob’s well.  You can’t get more Jewish than having the life-giving water for the 12 tribes of Israel.  And by the way, you’re not any more religious than me just because you have a temple in Jerusalem.  We worship just fine on our mountain.”

This sounds very similar to the arguments of today: hymns vs. choruses, cathedrals vs. shopping malls, KJV vs. NIV.  When we’re pushed, we come out fighting about anything and everything.

But you have to admire her boldness.  She didn’t hesitate to talk to a stranger.  If you compare, she’s nearly equal to Jesus in word count.  Is that because she’s a woman?   Maybe it has something to do with it.  But I think it’s more because she’s a fighter.  Prejudice breeds angry warriors.

So here we have a bold, prejudice, defensive, woman warrior who doesn’t quite know how to handle Jesus or His words.

  • How are you going to give me this living water if you don’t even have a jar?
  • If this water will keep me from having to come here again, then I’ll take it.  If not, then what’s the use?
  • You’re confusing me, I know one thing for sure, someday a Messiah will come and when He does He will explain everything.
  • He must be a prophet since He knew my secrets, but could this man really be the Messiah?

The woman saw Jesus as a Jewish prophet without a cup to drink from.

Could there be deep-seated prejudice in your own heart keeping you from seeing the fullness of Jesus?