Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Secret of Surrender

10:29:15 Hugh Jackman on stageby Lydia Floren

Let me tell you a little secret about me:  I am a clandestine celebrity watcher.  Yes, I am one of those people who scan the headlines in the grocery checkout lane.  At the hairdresser, I’ll scroll through the latest People magazine.  I might even be known to [gasp] Google a star of my favorite TV show.  I make excuses for this somewhat silly voyeurism:  “I need to be aware of what is going on in Daniel’s world,” I’ll tell myself.  But truthfully, I probably know more about some stuff (the unimportant stuff) in Hollywood, than does my actor son Daniel, who actually lives there!  Besides, my “star watching” started long before Daniel chose his career path and moved to LA.

OK, now that you know my little secret, you shouldn’t be surprised that my favorite part of the Sunday paper is Parade Magazine.  Which gets me to the part that might actually interest you.

Not too long ago Parade featured an interview with actor Hugh Jackman, aka “Wolverine”, of the X-Men.

10:29:15 Jackman

In the article, Jackman unabashedly acknowledged his Christianity, and described how his faith is intertwined with his work.  Here are his words, as quoted in Parade:

“I’m a religious person.  This is going to sound weird to you.  In Chariots of Fire, the runner, Eric Liddell, says, ‘When I run, I feel His pleasure.’  And I feel that pleasure when I act and it’s going well, particularly onstage.  I feel what everyone’s searching for, the feeling that unites us all.  Call it ‘God’.  Before I go onstage every night, I pause and dedicate the performance to God, in the sense of  ‘Allow me to surrender’.  When you allow yourself to surrender to the story, to the character, to the night, to the audience, transcendence happens.  And when that happens, there is nothing like it on the planet.  It’s the moment people experience when they fall in love, which is equally frightening and exciting.  That’s what it feels like.”

I think God wants each of us to experience moments like Liddell’s and Jackman’s.  These moments come when we surrender ourselves to Him.  When we relinquish control and just trust Him, we become a conduit for His Holy Spirit to work through us.

God wants us to “feel His pleasure”, as we do what He made us to do.

When we do, it is as if Jesus murmurs in our ear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of your Master.”

How have you seen God work through you when you surrender?

p.s.  Here’s a link to the Parade article on Hugh Jackman:

Do I Do That?

Do I Do That 10:22:15by Lydia Floren

Don’t people just annoy you sometimes?  For example, maybe

  • You’re in a hurry, and someone’s blocking traffic.  Really?  There is a slow lane for a reason, buddy.
  • All your friends are talking about a great party last week, and you weren’t invited.  What’s that about?
  • Someone talks too loud at the next table of the restaurant, or crowds you in the airplane seat, or gets ahead of you in line.  Tone it down already. Keep to yourself. Wait your turn.

Annoyances can quickly change a decent day into a crappy day.

A remedy:
My sister, Rebekah, taught me a great tip to counter this tendency to let people get to me. When she starts to get annoyed with someone, she’s learned to stop and ask herself this simple question:

Do I do that?

I’ve been trying it.  When I sense my irritation rising, and I remember to ask myself, “Do I do that?”, my mind shifts gears.  That simple question prompts me to look at things from a different perspective, and to think about someone else – not just myself.  And, of course, It doesn’t take long for my answer to slam me in the gut:

Do I do that?  Yes, yes I do:

Yes, there are times when I block traffic.
Yes, I do hurt people’s feelings (albeit unknowingly).
Yes, I can be rude.  Or just plain selfish.

But wait wait wait.  This is ME.  I don’t mean to be vexing.  YOU understand, don’t you?  Don’t you?

Aaaah.  I get it. If I am not trying to annoy YOU, maybe – just maybe – YOU aren’t trying to annoy ME either.  And you know, maybe – just maybe – I am on edge for an entirely different reason.

Asking “Do I do that?” prompts me to give grace to others, and grace to myself.

Try it.  The next time you find yourself getting annoyed with someone ask

Do I do that?

Let us know how it goes!  We’d love to hear from you!

Porch Time

Porch Time10:17:15by Lydia Floren

It is hard to say goodbye to summer, especially up here in the North Woods.

Summers in Wisconsin are exquisite, and we Wisconsinites spend as much time outdoors as possible  this time of year.  For the Floren family, this means a lot of porch-time.

Our back porch, extending from our house’s second story, is surrounded by woods. Sitting on the porch is kind of like perching in a treehouse:

Light filters through the trees. Multicolor greens drape the woods. Birds chatter song in surround sound, as a breeze whooshes through the branches. A chipmunk skitters across the deck, and a chickadee lands on the bird-feeder only to flit off a moment later.

It is easy to appreciate God’s beauty when enjoying the outdoors, but God’s beauty is more profound than just the lush green of a Wisconsin summer.  God’s true beauty shines in His character.

  • His goodness. The utter lack of evil in His existence.
  • His power to overcome evil.
  • His grace to forgive, and to replace lies with truth.
  • His commitment to stay with us/within us now and for all eternity.
  • His gentle care for each of us, accepting us right where we are, and providing what we need, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.
  • His direction, leading us in the next step.
  • His compassion, tenderly cherishing each of us, and consistently loving us no matter what.
  • His companionship, providing company for us through our day.

We’ve said goodbye to summer up here in the cold, cold north, but we need never say goodbye to the One who created it.  In every season His beauty shines within us, and all around us.