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How About a Little Romantic Realism this Valentine’s Day?

After all these years, I finally figured something out. I tend to have a romanticized view of life. Here’s what it looks like: Life is always better somewhere else—a better job, a better house, a better car, a better spouse. (Not that I’ve ever experienced the last of that list, but I know others who have.)

Romanticism is debilitating because it never finds God in the ordinary. We struggle with seeing how we could possibly serve God in the boring, daily routine of getting up, eating food, going to work, coming home, eating more food, and going to bed, only to get up and start all over again the next day.

Romanticism is never sustainable. Just ask anyone who has tried to perpetuate the waves of romantic highs. The tide comes in, and the tide goes out. Blessed be the name of the Lord. When the tide goes out—and our emotions with it—we find ourselves shifting down from romanticism to resignation. “I’ll never love again.” “This is my lot in life.” “Mine is a hopeless situation.”

When we always seek the extraordinary, we wake up in the ordinary and resign ourselves to a gray existence. Romanticism and resignation are all-or-nothing thinking. Every day is either blue skies or gray and dreary.

But there’s a better way. Jesus calls us to Romantic Realism. God does show up at times in extraordinary ways, but He is also there in ordinary moments of everyday life. He moved through the judges and prophets of old, but He also used a widow and little boy to teach us lessons of deep faith (Mark 12:43; John 6:9).

Romantic Realism gives us fresh eyes to see the world around us, in all of its brokenness and pain, as a place where fresh flowers still bloom and the sun still shines. Here we find contentment while we still long for “a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16).

So, as Zack Eswine once wrote,

“If you are wearing yourself out trying to be and do more than this, Jesus is calling you to stop all this tramping about and come finally home. The great work to be done is right in front of you with the persons and places that his providence has granted you. For me, this means reading the Webster-Kirkwood Times or the St. Louis Post Dispatch, when it sounds much more sexy and feels much more important to read the New York Times or USA Today. I can read the former without the latter but not the other way around because here is where he has called me. Here is where he is working. Here is my past, my place, my life, his glory” (The Imperfect Pastor, 249).

So whether you’re in or out of a relationship this Valentine’s Day, remember this…the grass isn’t always greener. Let’s not miss the current moment because we long for moments yet to come. Join me in celebrating the God of the ordinary who also specializes in doing the extraordinary.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

It’s Not About Me

A young mom was up most of the night with her sick daughter. The next morning, she had multiple piles of laundry to wash, a dentist appointment for her other daughter, groceries to pick up, and the furnace repairman was coming between 1:00-5:00 pm. She felt overwhelmed, overworked, and overloaded. And she didn’t know what to do.

Ever been there, done that? Have you ever had an insurmountable obstacle to tackle, battle to fight, or struggle to overcome? I’m sure you have. We all have. Sometimes it feels like we have an army marching toward us, and we’re too afraid to move forward, but the road behind us has been cut off. We’re stuck.

In 2 Chronicles 20, we read the story about a massive army that was coming against Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. Jehoshaphat was afraid “and set his face to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah” (verse 3). People from every city of Judah gathered together to seek the Lord and cry out for deliverance.

Then Jehoshaphat prayed, “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (verse 12).

In many of the battles I’ve faced over the years, for some reason I’ve felt that I always had to know what to do. I needed to be “the answer man,” upon whom others could rely. For far too long I’ve felt the pressure—mainly self-imposed—that I’ve got to figure things out, chart a new course, and deliver myself and those around me from impending doom.

And I had it backward all along.

I’m not at the center of this battle. I’m not the primary target. The enemy only wants to tear me down in order to discredit and dishonor the God whom I serve. He wants to destroy me to bring about destruction and chaos in the kingdom of God.

This is why the Lord wants us to seek Him first—His kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33). He wants us to trust in Him and lean not on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6). Even in the face of overwhelming odds stacked against King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah, God said, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15, ESV).

The Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear that when we acknowledge our weakness, we will then be in position to receive God’s strength. “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10, ESV).

When you feel overwhelmed, simply acknowledge that you have no power to face that vast army before you. You may not know what to do, but the one thing you can do is keep your eyes on the One who does know what to do. “Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf” (2 Chronicles 20:17, ESV).

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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