I was brushing my teeth one night in my pyjamas, mulling over the day, when I had one of those moments–you know, where God tugs my chin upward and lets me peek in a bit to what He’s doing in these mundane days that slip by.
About Janel Breitenstein
Janel Breitenstein is an author, freelance writer, speaker, and editor for GoServeLove.net, a site mobilizing the next generation of global workers. After five and a half years in Uganda, her family of six has returned to Colorado, where they continue to work on behalf of the poor with Engineering Ministries International. Her book, Permanent Markers: Spiritual Life Skills to Write on Your Kids’ Hearts (Harvest House), empowers parents to creatively engage kids in vibrant spirituality.
You can find her—“The Awkward Mom”—having uncomfortable, important conversations at JanelBreitenstein.com, at FamilyLife.com, and on Instagram @janelbreit.
Entries by Janel Breitenstein
At Christmas, my heart can be going in about 167,856 directions at once. Packing! Advent with the kids! Decorating! Cookies!
I’m just not all there with God.
So, I’m pulling ideas together to help me (and hopefully you too) hone in on being “all there” this Christmas—starting with our audience of One.
So often I tend to think, “If I’m trusting God, leaning not on my own understanding, praying for wisdom, and all that excellent jazz—somehow, I will be shielded from failure.” And of course, there’s some truth in there.
But in that situation, I had to admit that like the Israelites rushing into battle with the Ark of the Covenant (1 Samuel 4), I was using God as a protective layer, a guarantee.
Most of us know how intimidating Christians can be, even for us Christians. As easily as “authentic” and “real” roll off the tongue, it’s another thing to actually engage on that level.
Yet honest relationships are in the spirit of what God extends to us.
I remember that summer vividly. I was headed into high school, and had just wrapped my hormone-charged little brain around Jesus’s servanthood, His death to self.
Now I see it all over the place.
Ever conversed with a person who just really makes you feel heard and received? Who’s undistracted, and all there?
Here’s my aha moment of late: Real presence with other people actually begins with the way we’re present with God.
We’re often told to dream big for God, or that “God wants to do something big through you!” Perhaps we picture ourselves vaulting over jungles to an unreached people group, or running a homeless ministry, or a crazy amount of colleagues becoming Christians because of our influence.
But I’ve come to the realisation that sometimes, my desire to do something big for God has been, at times, just a desire not to be small.
Conflict is often full of such. . . loss. Loss of closeness, of dignity, of whatever was precious to us that someone trampled on. But would you believe me if I told you conflict is an opportunity?
I army-crawled through my own questions not long ago, amidst a cancer scare for my son. And I’d say that truthfully, more than events that alienate me from God, my thoughts are what often enslave me, threatening to tear me from the rigorous discipline of trusting what is true.
YMI (which stands for Why Am I?), is a platform for Christian young people all over the world to ask questions about life and discover their true purpose. We are a community with different talents but the same desire to make sense of God’s life-changing word in our everyday lives.
YMI is a part of Our Daily Bread Ministries.
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