That’s me on my 17th birthday. Woo, virginity blown the year before (with the first guy I kissed–in the same setting–ugh), vowed “never again” till marriage (yikes), sexualized more than a decade prior, porn addicted–didn’t realize it was addiction or problem…
The new Voltron (Netflix) blows my mind. I never saw the original (ahem, Thunder Cats), but 30 years later with my own kids, I’ve been longing for cartoons with solid stories and, uh, steady volume. We even blocked a few “kids” channels since so much was like junk food.
But Voltron-Legendary Defender has been a revelation. Rich story lines, deep and diverse characters, 23 glorious minutes of adventure and self-reflection.
One day my little had a meltdown about biking to school. We were running late so my eldest had to bike ahead. I hated separating and spontaneously called out, “What would Voltron do?!”
That got me thinking, so here’s my top 9 Voltron – Legendary Defender Life Hacks for a little fun and encouragement.
Who never experienced “busy”? Does this sound like you: Agenda is full, head is full, the to-do lists had babies (or, the list is so massive it never makes it out of the mind), and when someone asks “How’s it going?” your go-to is, “Ok, fine, busy. You know.”
[This post may be best experienced with speakers hooked up.]
Can we only experience God in a Cathedral or Sunday service? Do we need silence or meditation? If we’re searching with our hearts we might find *Him anywhere, but one powerful place is Music.
Now, I want to tell you a secret. When I’m waiting at the bike light you’ll find me tapping beats on my brakes. Sure, it’s a normal sight, but you probably don’t imagine I’m exploding internally. Amidst the peace and silence “outside”, there’s rowdy beats and wild noise inside me.
Disney’s Brave touched my heart like Frozen, but deeper. In Frozen we glimpse sacrificial love and our divine identity, but Brave touches something deeper: the reality of our love-hate relationship with God.
Merida, a fiery and fun-loving princess who wants to live on her own terms (who doens’t?) runs up against traditions that oppress her spirit. Her mother tries to prepare her for all the ways and responsibilities of a princess, including arranged marriage, but the pair are losing their minds and each other.
Remember “50 First Dates,” where Henry (Adam Sandler) meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore) who suffers from a rare form of amnesia? It’s a funny love story that shows how a devoted heart will go to all lengths, even self-sacrifice, to prove itself.
When watching we may consider our own relationship with God–atleast I did. Every day looking for *Him in Every. Thing. Hoping for an encounter in anything from a flash in nature, or a song, or moment with the kids, fill in the blank. The stuff where your heart flutters and you catch a glimpse.
But sometimes it’s like *He’s not there.
Sometimes, some days, some seasons, I feel nothing, sense nothing. I’m surrounded by Void. I hate these moments that unite against my heart’s grip on memories of when God showed up…
How can music banish a bad mood and transport us to a place where problems, cares, fear, sometimes even pain (and certainly time) don’t exist? For a moment there’s just that beat, or lyric line, or bass, or …plug in your own thing– it’s magic. I’ll be feeling down but if a song comes on that rocks, something changes–and even babies know the feeling:
Melodies can spark our spirits, balm our hearts, mirror something of our soul, and sometimes floor us. Who needs Ecstasy when some tracks are flat-out orgasmic?
And Music also heals Socially…
Just think: when we rock to the same jam, things like Race, Gender, ‘Status,’ etc., disappear. Love takes shape in a sea of people grooving. Unity, peace, joy, no fear, no shame, No Problem.
If God really existed, why is the world so wrecked? And if *He is so “good,” how could He let those things happen to me…? (note: I use He/His as pronouns for God but fully recognize God with male and female ‘identity,’ for lack of a better word, as evidenced throughout the Bible and the human race. 2-pt post here if you like).
Just one look at the suffering and oppression in this world –not just against people, but all creation– and it’s hard not to stumble on belief in a good God. But blaming (or denying) Heaven for all the woe ignores our God-Given freedom to destroy everything just fine on our own.
Hands can hurt flesh, and mouths can speak death, yet we rarely see God grab someone mid sentence, or mid swing. And if He did intervene every time we exercised our freedom, would we really be free?
I believe God can be found anywhere, from the breeze on your skin, to the wisdom of your kids. Sometimes He* makes surprise appearances in a theater or a Justin Bieber track (post coming!) and my latest encounter was during the Speed Racer film.
The more I watched Racer X, the more I thought of Jesus, and the more I watched Speed, the more I thought of myself. Racing is a great metaphor for life–tension, time, passion, power— and every ‘Speed Racer’ can use a ‘Racer X’ in his corner…
Today my son was cranky. Going out for breakfast with four children– three of them 4 years and under– isn’t easy or fast and my eldest was annoyed. “It’s too druk!” he protested (Dutch for busy/hectic), and I tried to soothe and encourage him. I shared about family from the perspective of The Incredibles (many God-lessons come from kids movies, like Frozen), noting that when they fought side-by-side they were the strongest. But my son didn’t want to hear, much less see me.
I suggested he walk ahead so it was like I wasn’t there, but he started to cry: ‘You are always there!”
The world got quiet and slow and in an instant I had a heaven-flash…
Is this what I said to you, God? Is this why we can’t “see” You? Did I not want anything to do with You and, didn’t trust You had my best interest at heart, and, from eternity, was totally fed up with “Your Presence”?? Ouch.
One of the saddest glimpses into God’s Heart comes from this paragraph from Paul of Tsarsus:
Why did Jesus heal blindness two different ways? One man was healed with a word, the other with spit and dirt. It was a mess, it didn’t make sense, but after a rinse a man born blind could see. The religious elite didn’t like it. They held an inquiry, interrogating and frightening the parents. They asked the man: “what did he do to you?” but weren’t satisfied with the answer. They insulted him to the core and then excommunicated him.
But like all freaks, weirdos, outcasts and misfits, Jesus seeks us out…
It’s possible to get so wrapped up in God, the Bible, your ‘quiet time,’ that you miss His Heart and religion creeps in. God becomes a mere idol and the effects can be devastating, especially if you’re in a family.
I have heard too many stories of people who got, or are currently planning divorce because their partner is getting in the way of their “ministry” (aka service to/for God). #SayWhat?! If you or someone you know ever thought, “I could do so much more for God, go further, faster.. if they didn’t hold me back…” , or if you were willing to serve God at any and all costs, look out, this post is for you.
You may be a fellow parent at school, or faithful church goer. Maybe a pastor, doctor, teacher, neighbor, police officer, business mogul, bus driver, politician, janitor… You may be friend or family, male or female, greying or young, any race, (anti)religion, sexual orientation, political party affiliation,..
I’m not here to curse or condemn you. This is an honest letter from the heart.
It’s maybe every kids dream: a house to themselves. When kids reach a certain age and maturity level, parents will inevitably leave them home alone, maybe even over night.
Many 80’s movies show what can happen when parents go away for the weekend, and we expect sex, drugs and rock and roll–fun and foolishness. We’d never imagine oppression/abuse/hatred, but if we look at the world and consider God gave us the “keys” back in Eden, we see that’s exactly what we got…