Category Archives: authenticity

a single thing

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philipppians 1:6).
A few days ago, I wrote a post—a few rambling words brought about because of a single picture that spoke a single word to my spirit. Peace.

If truth be known (and really what profit is there in pretending), I didn’t want to write anything. My pen has grown weary in recent days. In fact, a certain fear crept over me last week, albeit momentary, that, perhaps, for the first time in a long time, I had nothing to say… nothing worthy to write. I’ve heard of writer’s block before, but I’ve never experienced it. Even typing that feels strange, almost ominous, almost as if by speaking it aloud, it might come on in full measure after hitting the “publish” button to this post. If I’ve written it once, I’ve written it a dozen times…

For as long as God allows the ink, I’ll keep penning my heart for him. And so, despite my feelings regarding an empty computer screen and with ample tears to go alongside, in obedience I began to type and pray. Pray and type, all the while asking the Lord to just use it as he would… if he would. Apparently, he has, and that, my friends, is no credit to me. It’s a credit to him.

God honors our obedience to use our gifts, most days in spite of us. We can choose our “no’s”—decline his offer of kingdom investment into the lives of others—but our “no’s” do nothing to further his agenda. Certainly there are seasons when our weariness and worn-out status diminish our effectiveness. We must heed those prompts of needful restoration. But even then, God will always use our willingness when our willingness concedes the struggle to his hands over ours… when we get to the end of ourselves and simply say, “If you will, Lord, use me once more in this single thing.”

A single thing.

We never know when ours will make an impact… our single thing—our one act of obedience, chosen freely despite feelings, emotions, and wills that sometime lead us to consider another direction. Instead of choosing self, we choose a single thing that extends influence beyond personal gratification—that changes the direction in someone else’s life, albeit seemingly small and immeasurable. We…

Bake some bread.
Pen a card.
Visit the sick.
Send a gift.
Run the carpool line.
Make a call.
Share a ride.
Hug a neck.
Speak a word.
Write a check.
Answer an E-mail.
Say a prayer.
Lend a hand.
Offer some time.
Share a smile.
Voice some truth.
Do some chores.
Live some love.
Give some Jesus.

Single things, when gathered and collected, become a big thing in the lives of those who stand on the receiving end. We’ve all been the recipients of single things; time and again our need has dictated their arrival. If we were to chronicle those single things—perhaps even the ones that have been lavishly bestowed upon us over the past week—then we would begin to understand the length that our Father’s love is willing to travel in order for us to have a more perfect life.

He’s working it all out, friends, in a way that exceeds comprehension, and he’s using us as his conduits of sacred dispensation. He’s taking the single things of our single days and weaving them into a tapestry that radiates with kingdom color and creativity. Rarely are we aware of his workings as they unfold, for we are a people easily distracted by temporal details and frustrations. God’s goodness continues in its liberality within our day-to-days, but without pause in our spirits to receive his invitation of sacred participation or to receive his goodness as it arrives, we come to the end of our days barely aware of his entrance and intervention on our behalf.

This week you will stand on both sides of God’s equation for goodness; you will receive it in abundance as well as be called upon in some capacity to add to someone else’s. Your obedience with your single thing will bring color to God’s bigger thing—a portrait that collectively gathers grace upon grace to paint a masterpiece worthy of the throne room of heaven. You may think that your single thing doesn’t matter, is too small and too inferior to make a difference. But your obedience to that single thing may just be the one thing that shifts the eternal foundation of someone’s forever.

Don’t underestimate your single thing, friends. Don’t diminish your obedience to use the gifts that God has generously seeded within your heart for kingdom progress. He who began a good work in you is faithful to bring it to completion. Not just for your sake, but more importantly, for his.

Keep to your single thing; keep yielding your heart in obedience as the Spirit prompts, and see if he is not faithful to make it all count! These are good days to be serving alongside of you in continuing faithfulness. Let us march the steps of our spiritual ancestors, believing God for far more than the eye can see, mind can conceive, and heart can imagine. I love you. As always…

peace for the journey,

post signature

Copyright © February 2010 – Elaine Olsen

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

the purest place…

The purest place.

The place from which I want to write my words. Greater still, the place from which I want to live my life. To write and live otherwise is hypocrisy.

Hypocrite. The word hupokrites meaning “one who acts pretentiously, a counterfeit, one who assumes and speaks or acts under a feigned character; a dissembler, pretender.”

I’m not a pretender; I live out loud before my God and before you. The me you find here isn’t the sanitized, polished version of me. Some are uncomfortable with that; some would rather see me otherwise. No, what you find here is a woman on the road toward perfection. Some days getting it right; most days living beneath that “right”. If there is any good living in me, it is solely based on the sanitization that has come to me through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. He, alone, is my worthiness.

To write from a place of perfection is to never write at all. If “having it all figured out” were the prerequisite for blog entries, then none of us should ever pick up the pen again. I’m not kidding. What kingdom profit is there in our pretending? What can be gained from prettying up our “pictures” other than to stroke our egos via the compliments of others? I don’t want to write from a place of pretension. I don’t want to read it as well. I just want to live real and to be in a community of people who feel the same way.

This means, there will be days when I struggle…

with Sundays.
with worship.
with sin.
with disappointments.
with regrets.
with anger.
with love.
with parenting.
with selfishness.
with unkind words.
with unclean thoughts.
with unforgiveness.
with _____________.

This also means there will be days when I joyously overflow…

with Sundays.
with worship.
with freedom.
with hope.
with promise.
with kindness.
with love.
with parenting.
with selflessness.
with encouragement.
with purity of thought.
with grace.
with ______________.

You’ll find it all when you come here because my all is what I have to give you, not some sanitized version therein. This is my life; my walk of grace; my journey toward peace. No one thing, one experience, one difficulty gets a pass. It’s all open ground for God’s kingdom purposes.

Our days and nights, nights and days, are filled with the stuff of our becoming. Our moving closer into the image of Christ. Our being shaped and fitted for a bridal gown worthy of the aisle of heaven. We don’t get that dressing overnight, friends. In fact, until we shed this flesh, we live each day exposed, half-dressed for the entire world to see. I think God has created our flesh for public disclosure. In doing so, you and I become a living witness and testimony to the power of God’s transforming work in our lives.

But we’ve perfected our cover-ups, and they are easily detected by God and others. It’s painful to watch, painful to read, painful because there is no healing, no moving onto perfection, as long as the hiding of our “stuff” takes precedence over the exposure therein.

I’m not suggesting that your “putting it all out there” in a public forum is the best way for you to work through your problems; some issues are better dealt with in the privacy of your own sacred space with God. Some things are too raw for public viewing. What I am suggesting, though, is that when you and I do take the steps to “work out” our salvation with our words and our honest approach to the process, grace and kindness should be the portion we afford one another; not judgment or condemnation.

The purest place. The inner chamber where the living God resides and where faith’s illumination and grace’s redeeming work is accomplished.

If we cannot write our words from that place because we fear the words of others in this place, then we live as hypocrites. Counterfeits. Characters on a stage that, when the curtain is drawn and the applause has subsided, go home to live in isolation and emptiness. And I, for one, refuse to resign my life to isolation.

I choose exposure. To God and to you. For some of you, that’s not an easy swallow. Your palate prefers a smoother, more digestible menu. I understand, and I graciously excuse you from the table. But for the few of you who’ve made it this far, who’ve hung with me and who think there just might be something to this “being real” with one another, then stick around. There’s more to come because, God willing, I have a few more seasons to walk. And whether I want them to or not, words find me on the path. Fill me, and then force me to pen them for public disclosure.

The sustaining prayer of my heart is that when I do dip the pen into the inkwell of my thoughts—when I choose public disclosure over private rumination—my words will write from the purest place within. The place where my heart intersects with the heart of God and where the resulting conclusion births kingdom seed.

You are my friends. I value your presence in my life. I value your life. This isn’t a game for me, and certainly isn’t about painting you a perfect picture. It’s solely about living God’s truth out loud and on purpose with the hope of encouraging your heart to do the same.

May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart, always be found acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Amen. So be it. As always…

peace for the journey,

post signature

“hupokrites” from… Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary Old Testament (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1992), 1423-1424.

error: Content is protected !!