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Entries in Julie Sanders (9)

Tuesday
Dec182018

Have a Merry Macro Christmas

With insight and compassion, Julie Sanders reaches out to help people in need. She seeks to see the world through the eyes of the Lord, and in this Christmas UPGRADE, she encourages us to look through a "big picture" lens.

"We don’t want to miss a single detail of the Christmas season," Julie said.

"Sometimes, we find ourselves on overload with the details we see, hear, and know. What would we see if we stepped back?"

Stepping back is something I (Dawn) do occasionally to move beyond surviving tough circumstances to thriving in them, so I truly appreciate Julie's encouragement to shift our focus during the craziness of the holiday season.

Julie continues . . .

Since the year 2000, cell phone cameras have enamored us with close-up images. Micro glimpses call us to look closely at what’s overlooked.

We’ve photographed baby feet, latte art, water droplets, Bible passages, candle flame, and flower petals.

In our effort to focus on small things, we easily forget the big picture.

The Invitation to Look Up

The greatest Gift Giver knows we have a human leaning toward small things—so much that He repeatedly invites man to look at the bigger picture.

  • Abraham, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” (Genesis 15:5)
  • To His people, “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens" (Isaiah 40:26).
  • When Stephen’s life was taken, he “looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God” (Acts 7:55).
  • The Psalmist said, "I will l lift up my eyes to the mountains”—he wanted to remember where help comes from. (Psalm 121:1-2)

Our attention is captured by a micro-scope, but we miss much when we lose the macro-view.

The Capacity to See

Today we have the ability to see small acts and needs around the world. It’s a lot to take in, and we become numb. Our exposure exceeds our capacity.

God’s capacity is infinite, sufficient to be all-seeing and all-knowing for the multitude of small things only He can be fully aware of and responding to in full. 

For us, it’s more than we are meant to see and know and touch.  Too much micro is just too much.

We are limited in our knowing and our capacity to know, but God is all knowing and able to know it all. If we look up, we see beautiful things.

The Benefit of Big Picture

As Christmas approaches the Northwest coast, ferries cut through cold Puget Sound waters from Seattle to a destination in the San Juan Islands. Outer decks empty as passengers find warmth inside around tables. 

A walk through with a broad, macro view reveals random tables where puzzles have been left for strangers and would-be friends.  Simply walking past with a “big picture lens” reveals missing pieces, matches, and images taking shape.

A big picture view reveals people gathering and making warmth, jingling with laughter and conversation.

There’s power in the big picture.

The Invitation to a Merry Macro

What if this was a Merry Macro Christmas?

Instead of Insta-posting small micro-glimpses, what if we captured wider landscapes and larger themes? What if we took steps back to scan the scene, taking in the collective gift of a silent night, decked halls, and peace on earth?

Maybe, like shepherds long ago, we would lift our eyes and see creation’s host giving glory to God in the highest.  Maybe the macro-view would reveal what hearts long to receive—the gift of love to the world.

Maybe the big picture would show mankind through us what grace looks like.

Stepping back in this telephoto time takes courage.

If we resist the urge to zoom in every time, will we fit in or be left out?  Is it a big mistake to look away from the small?

Here are five steps to start:

  1. Take pictures of whole scenes, not just details.
  2. Make your exposure match your capacity.
  3. Talk about the themes of what you experience.
  4. Limit social media details to focus on real, macro life.
  5. Physically lift your head, look up and out, and be present.

“This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name:  

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’ (Jeremiah 33:2).

This Christmas, let’s lift our eyes from the micro-scopic and look to the macro-scope of bigger things God wants us to see.

Have a Merry Macro Christmas!

What small things distract you and hold you captive to details? What micro-scopic concerns could you let go of to invite in a bigger view?

Julie Sanders is a leader with children and families in need, where the big picture of God’s love is always the best gift. During this Christmas season, you’ll find her happy to have her family together again and doing puzzles on cold Northwest nights. Julie writes from her online home, “Come Have a Peace.”

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Pixabay.

Tuesday
Nov072017

Choosing Leaders, Casting Votes & Raising Voices

In this Election UPGRADE, Julie Sanders encourages us to consider godly wisdom when we vote this year.

"Elections raise a lot of questions and stir up even more emotions," Julie says. "Scan social media or listen in to nearby conversation during Election Season, and you’re likely to hear conflict."

I (Dawn) do hear it, and I'm weary of all the name-calling and lies. But Christians can't pull away from the election process. We need to make our votes count.

Julie continues . . .

Casting our vote has become a tense business. To choose wise leaders in hard times, we need truth.

The voter’s guide arrived a month ago. Descriptions of experience, opinions, alliances, and promises filled the pages to help make decisions about who to follow.

People have had to “choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15) since the Garden, but when it comes to elections, one thing is sure. 

We will vote for a flawed human being. 

1. Choosing my Leaders

Passion, rhetoric, or vision may cause us to cast our vote for a candidate.

Since no one is righteous, “no not one,” (Romans 3:10) every leader will let us down. It’s human habit to look for someone to see, hear, and touch (to physically follow); but every human leader will someday be a let down in some way.

If you’re looking for a leader who won’t let you down, look up.

Only Jesus is worthy of our total commitment and confidence. When we look to a man or woman to be what only Jesus can be, we’re on a collision course with disappointment. We won’t find flawless leaders to follow.

Eventually, a leader will stand up or sit down at the wrong time. A world hinging on human performance is a world in conflict.

Human leaders are flawed leaders. Our heavenly Leader is the faithful leader.  Though we cast a vote in our community, our trust remains in Christ alone.

2. Casting my Vote

While a follower of Christ knows her citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), she can prayerfully approach the chance to influence her government with her vote.

After reading the voter’s guide where I live, I am more prepared for God to direct my vote to work out His plan. Nations and governments use varied ways to identify leaders; voting isn’t a Biblical mandate. God allows leaders to rise or fall (Romans 13:1).

In every people group, God lets leaders lead.

Our vote results from who we are.

When our identity is in Christ, the process or results of an election shouldn’t overturn the Holy Spirit as the “incumbent” resident in our heart and mind; He has no term limit and cannot be impeached.

Jesus should never share the throne of our allegiance with earthly issues and candidates.

Whatever the conversation stirred by election coverage, when I am in Christ, I am His follower alone.

3. Raising my Voice

A Christ-like vote should have a Christ-like voice.

Followers of Christ cast their votes and raise their voices as representatives of the Light of the World. Too often, it’s not that way.

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?” (James 3:10-11)

Inflammatory language and emotion have poured out from those who don’t claim to follow Christ and those who do. Too often, words have sounded the same. Angry. Attacking. Untruthful. Proud. When we have the privilege of a vote and voice to shape government and life, a Christ-like vote should have a Christ-like voice.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom ... But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:13, 17-18).

Every human leader will let us down. 

Only Jesus deserves to be followed with our whole heart, to have our identity tied to His.

Whatever the outcome of Election Day, God is in control, listening for sweet words and attitudes to pour from a heart filled with His Spirit.

Our vote matters and our voice matters, no matter who sits on earthly thrones.

May our Christ-like votes be heard in our Christ-like voices.

Questions to consider:

  • How could I include government and leaders in my prayer life?
  • What are those around me on social media and in person hearing me say about leaders?
  • What kind of conversations am I listening to?
  • How does my voice and my vote reflect my identity?  

Julie Sanders grew up near the Nation’s Capitol, with a front row seat to watch and learn from elected leaders. She has served with her husband on ministry teams around the world, in nations without the privilege of a vote. Now they call the Northwest home, where she is the director of early learning programs across urban and rural regions. Julie writes from her online home, “Come Have a Peace.”

Graphic adapted, courtesy of maialisa at Pixabay.

 

Tuesday
Nov072017

Choosing Leaders, Casting Votes & Raising Voices

In this Election UPGRADE, Julie Sanders encourages us to consider godly wisdom when we vote this year.

"Elections raise a lot of questions and stir up even more emotions," Julie says. "Scan social media or listen in to nearby conversation during Election Season, and you’re likely to hear conflict."

I (Dawn) do hear it, and I'm weary of all the name-calling and lies. But Christians can't pull away from the election process. We need to make our votes count.

Julie continues . . .

Casting our vote has become a tense business. To choose wise leaders in hard times, we need truth.

The voter’s guide arrived a month ago. Descriptions of experience, opinions, alliances, and promises filled the pages to help make decisions about who to follow.

People have had to “choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15) since the Garden, but when it comes to elections, one thing is sure. 

We will vote for a flawed human being. 

1. Choosing my Leaders

Passion, rhetoric, or vision may cause us to cast our vote for a candidate.

Since no one is righteous, “no not one,” (Romans 3:10) every leader will let us down. It’s human habit to look for someone to see, hear, and touch (to physically follow); but every human leader will someday be a let down in some way.

If you’re looking for a leader who won’t let you down, look up.

Only Jesus is worthy of our total commitment and confidence. When we look to a man or woman to be what only Jesus can be, we’re on a collision course with disappointment. We won’t find flawless leaders to follow.

Eventually, a leader will stand up or sit down at the wrong time. A world hinging on human performance is a world in conflict.

Human leaders are flawed leaders. Our heavenly Leader is the faithful leader.  Though we cast a vote in our community, our trust remains in Christ alone.

2. Casting my Vote

While a follower of Christ knows her citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), she can prayerfully approach the chance to influence her government with her vote.

After reading the voter’s guide where I live, I am more prepared for God to direct my vote to work out His plan. Nations and governments use varied ways to identify leaders; voting isn’t a Biblical mandate. God allows leaders to rise or fall (Romans 13:1).

In every people group, God lets leaders lead.

Our vote results from who we are.

When our identity is in Christ, the process or results of an election shouldn’t overturn the Holy Spirit as the “incumbent” resident in our heart and mind; He has no term limit and cannot be impeached.

Jesus should never share the throne of our allegiance with earthly issues and candidates.

Whatever the conversation stirred by election coverage, when I am in Christ, I am His follower alone.

3. Raising my Voice

A Christ-like vote should have a Christ-like voice.

Followers of Christ cast their votes and raise their voices as representatives of the Light of the World. Too often, it’s not that way.

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?” (James 3:10-11)

Inflammatory language and emotion have poured out from those who don’t claim to follow Christ and those who do. Too often, words have sounded the same. Angry. Attacking. Untruthful. Proud. When we have the privilege of a vote and voice to shape government and life, a Christ-like vote should have a Christ-like voice.

“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom ... But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace" (James 3:13, 17-18).

Every human leader will let us down. 

Only Jesus deserves to be followed with our whole heart, to have our identity tied to His.

Whatever the outcome of Election Day, God is in control, listening for sweet words and attitudes to pour from a heart filled with His Spirit.

Our vote matters and our voice matters, no matter who sits on earthly thrones.

May our Christ-like votes be heard in our Christ-like voices.

Questions to consider:

  • How could I include government and leaders in my prayer life?
  • What are those around me on social media and in person hearing me say about leaders?
  • What kind of conversations am I listening to?
  • How does my voice and my vote reflect my identity?  

Julie Sanders grew up near the Nation’s Capitol, with a front row seat to watch and learn from elected leaders. She has served with her husband on ministry teams around the world, in nations without the privilege of a vote. Now they call the Northwest home, where she is the director of early learning programs across urban and rural regions. Julie writes from her online home, “Come Have a Peace.”

Graphic adapted, courtesy of maialisa at Pixabay.

 

Wednesday
Oct192016

5 Questions to Decide What Deserves Your Time

In this Time Management UPGRADE, Julie Sanders helps us consider something we all have a lot of, but often misuse—our time.

"On a full plate, not everything is equal," Julie says. "The more options, the more important it is to decide what deserves our time. How can we plan for our priorities?"

The more I (Dawn) talk to women, the more I realize how full those plates are. My own is overflowing and needs some paring down, and I have to tell you – Julie's tips here really help!

Julie continues . . .

Your plate may overflow with feedings and laundry, deadlines and events, or presentations and correspondence. If we start each day hoping important things rise to the top, we risk drowning in a flash flood of urgency and emergency.

Whatever the parts of our busy life, we can’t afford not to plan to make our priorities first. Being in the place where we need to plan is a good place to be.

By learning to count time, measure resources and compare the weight of work, we learn wisdom. The Psalmist said, So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

Counterfeit priorities will beg for attention with a simple knock at the door or chime of the phone.

Ask 5 questions to plan for the main things to take the main chunk of your time and attention. First things first.

1. What can only I do?

Some tasks require my attention. Only I can be my husband’s wife and mother my children. When God directs me to a hurting person, only I can respond in the moment.

But I am not meant to answer every problem or be the savior for every need. Can someone else meet the need?

2. What can someone else do?

When we delegate a duty to someone else, we wisely use our time. I don’t have to do every load of laundry, return every call, teach every lesson or pray for every need.

Since resources are limited, I’ve learned to let go and let others share the load.

3. What can wait?

Someone else’s poor planning does not constitute an emergency for my schedule.

It may feel good to be the “answer” to a trauma, but being swept away by the urgent requires saying “no” to other things of value. Some things can wait. When weighing a request or responsibility, ask, “Can it wait?” 

4. What can be a process?

Deadlines present opportunities to plan ahead. Choose a tool that works for you to schedule times to make progress, and resist letting longer term projects turn into last minute problems.

5. What matters most to God?

When deciding what deserves our time, consider what matters most to God. What does He consider a “priority” and what can take a back seat or fall away?

This means priorities are constantly changing, in light of how God guides our steps, including the people He brings into our lives.

Hold tightly to what God cares about, but hold loosely to the order of business on your planner.

After all, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

We don’t know how many days we have. We do know each will be 24 hours, with 365 in every year. We can’t hope or plan to do it all.

First plan your priorities and your priorities will happen first.

Is the way you spend your time a real reflection of your real priorities? How could you plan to put first things first?

NOTE: Julie created an Alphabet Priorities printable bookmark—a helpful tool for sorting through what matters most. It's available here and here.

Julie Sanders speaks and writes with seasoned wisdom. Since moving to the Northwest with her husband, Julie is numbering her days in a new season of life. As the director of early learning programs across nearly 16,000 square miles of urban and rural country, she has daily opportunities to put first things first and live out God’s priorities. Julie writes from her online home, “Come Have a Peace.”

Thursday
May052016

Passing on Our Peace of Mind

When I think of the word "peace," I think of Julie Sanders. She has weathered changes recently, focusing on the Lord, and she is excited to serve Him. In this Mother's Day UPGRADE, the writes about a special kind of legacy we can leave the next generation.

"Whether we are a grandparent, mom, foster parent, or mentor," Julie says, "children will challenge our peace. Parenting is not a place to lose our peace of mind and heart. How do we keep the peace and pass it on?"

As I (Dawn) think back to my early parenting days, I have to admit many nights I pillowed my head with the opposite of peace. I think many moms today are "wired," stressed out and searching for peace too! But having peace isn't just about us.

Julie continues . . .

Since we can’t impact what we don’t possess, passing peace to the next generation starts with practicing it in our personal life.

Before we can give kids "a peace of our mind," we have to have it planted firmly in our own.

Many children are more familiar with “meltdowns” and being “stressed out” than models of calm in the commotion of a day.

Because children today live in a conflicted world, they need to see a heart of peace modeled—to take a godly, grown up hand and walk pathways of peace through uncertainty.

Only when peace fills us can it pour out of us.

1. Pursue it

Faith in Christ not only makes the personal practice of peaceful living possible; it makes it a promise (Romans 5:1). Women who believe in Jesus move from grasping for out-of-reach peace to the promise of it.

The pursuit of a calmly-confident way of living is not unrealistic for those who know Christ. God has made it possible through His Son.

Confidently, expectantly, pursue the peace you are meant to experience in this life.

2. Prioritize it

It’s never been easier to be distracted from God’s ways. Instead of hoping to receive a randomly-grown peaceful spirit, take steps to cultivate it. Plan to read your Bible, be with God’s people, and practice prayer.

Children will learn to love the peaceful life, crave it and plan for it. Instead of focusing on worldly worries in our conversations and energy, setting our mind on the Spirit produces “life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Put peace at the top of your list of daily pursuits, and those in your life will be touched and taught by the calm that comes with you. If peace matters, plan for it.

3. Protect it

Your enemy works against your desire to pass on peace. Expect to be opposed, but determine to protect the peace you need, want and value (Romans 12:18; 14:19). When relationships in your home, workplace, church, or community stir conflict and drain peace from your heart, work to stop it. Refuse to focus on worldly worry.

Choose peace and guard its place in your life. Peace is worth having to give.

4. Pass it on

The next generation looks for hope they don’t see in the world. “Is there cause for hope?” they want to know. Those who have pursued peace as a priority say, “Yes, and ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope,‘”(Romans 15:13).

Women who walk in God’s peace pass on a heart and mind of peace to children who come after them. Mom? Grandma? Aunt? Friend? Mentor? Foster mom? Your gift of a peaceful life will serve the next generation well.

If we put our faith in Christ, we can expect peace of mind and heart. “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace,” (James 3:18).

Today’s children look for grown ups walking in peace, and as they find us, they will follow in pathways sown with the seeds of peace.

Our gift of a peaceful life will serve the next generation well.

What are you already doing to cultivate a life of peace? Would those around you say you bring peace with you?

Julie Sanders, the mom of two young adults and a mentor to teens and young moms, is purposefully passing on peace to the next generations. As the director of a program in the Inland Northwest for children and families in poverty, Julie believes living out God’s peace is a powerful way to bring hope to our hurting world. She writes from her online home: “Come Have a Peace.”

Graphic adapted, courtesty of pixabay.