We took a little time to find quiet at a local campground. Much needed time away from the constant demands of home. Time unplugged.
I am still alive. I’ve enjoyed a nice little break offline and blogging had to take a back seat. I thought about taking a full blown sabbatical but thought again.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve said everything I could possibly say and I was sensing that a little this week. Of course, it’s completely false, but it tends to happen when I let myself run dry. I get caught up in the happenings and forget to rest and refresh myself.
I’m back and jumping right into where we left off in the Storyline journey. Module 4 is all about role playing.
This has never been one of my fortes. For whatever reason, I’ve always hated when we were forced to role play and act out different scenarios in class growing up. I once had to do it as part of my job training in college. I quit that job so fast. So fast. It was clear that it was not going to be a fit for me.
I resist the idea of squeezing myself into a box. Constraining the quirks and curious habits that confirm my unique personality. And then I run into the dilemma of which roles are lead roles and which are supporting roles? Supporting roles are no less important, but they certainly influence our lives.
This is the part where I wish I could tell you I’m loving this whole process. In my heart, I’m finding it’s been a bit more of a chore than I envisioned.
I can see the benefit, though, of narrowing down the roles one plays in this life to five. When I started listing mine off, I realized it was very difficult to narrow it down to just a few important roles. I like to believe that I can do everything, meet everyone’s demands, but the truth is that I cannot; I am not god. I have limits on my time, abilities and energy.
When I think of it more as areas to focus my time and energies, it seems much less daunting. I still hate to narrow them down, but I realize to be effective it’s necessary. A role may not last forever and likely will not. Perhaps a role will last only a season, or only a week, but I owe it to my family, friends, neighbors, coworkers and community to be present when I’m with them. And not in the I’m-here-now-what-do-you-want? sense, but present listening, living life with them. I can’t possibly do that when I have 50 places to be and 100 things to do – all self-imposed, I might add.
It’s in those moments I must remind myself that my call is not to do the 100 things I think I need to do, but to do the work given me by our Father. We can only know what that work is when we know him.
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
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If you’re anything like me, you fall hard and fast for a creamy, delectable slice of cheesecake. Though I
rarely never turn down a piece, I think plain ol’ vanilla is my favorite. I can’t bring myself to make a whole cheesecake for fear I would consume the entire thing in one sitting.
Enter miniature cheesecakes for two! It’s the perfect solution satisfying my sweet tooth and built-in portion control.
I started with a graham cracker crust. Combine 4 graham crackers and 1 1/2 T. melted butter in food processor. Pulse until crumbled.
Brush out the crumbs from the food processor and add 6 oz. softened cream cheese. I always replace cream cheese with 1/3 reduced fat (Neufchatel), so anytime I refer to cream cheese on this blog you can assume I use the low-fat variety. Add 3 T. sugar, 1/8 t. vanilla, and 1/2 t. lemon juice. Pulse until combined and add 1 egg, at room temperature. Pulse again until well-blended and then pulse a few more times to add a little extra air to the mix.
Divide among ramekins. At this point you can swirl in some chocolate chips, homemade lemon curd, or raspberry puree for a lovely swirled cheesecake.
Top with fresh fruit, chocolate or caramel syrup, or another dollop of lemon curd!
Miniature Cheesecakes for Two
|Prep time||15 minutes|
|Cook time||45 minutes|
|Total time||1 hour|
- 4 graham crackers
- 1 1/2 tablespoon butter (melted)
- 6oz reduced fat cream cheese (room temperature)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla or bourbon
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons lemon curd
- 2 tablespoons caramel sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh fruit
This miniature cheesecake recipe is perfect for that special occasion when you don't want tempting leftovers!
|Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter four ramekins.|
|Place graham crackers and butter in food processor. Pulse until finely crumbled. Divide among two ramekins and press until firm along bottom.|
|Add cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg in food processor. Pulse until combined. Then give it a few extra pulses to make it light and fluffy. Pour mixture into ramekins.|
|Place ramekins in baking dish. Surround ramekins with water, filling until about halfway up sides of ramekins.|
|Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until set in center of cheesecake. Cool.|
|Top with your favorite topping (chocolate chips, lemon curd, caramel sauce, fresh fruit).|
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Welcome back to the Storyline book club. Thanks for your patience and grace in allowing me to take last week off. I think I’m ready to get back to it.
Module 3 is where everything starts to get exciting! It focuses on the redemptive aspects of your timeline. What is it about those hard times you’ve survived that made you stronger? What drew you closer to God? How have you grown as a person because of those negative events you experienced? How has God redeemed those for his good?
It’s a shift of perspective.
It’s learning to see joy amidst trial.
Donald Miller uses the term “victim” a lot and getting beyond the victim mentality. I’m not sure I like that I agree with his point that once given the power to redeem a situation, we don’t have to be victims anymore (p. 43). It may have been a poorly constructed sentence, which is hard to believe knowing he is a well-known writer, but that alludes to us actually doing the redemptive work and seems to contradict other mentions of finding a redemptive perspective. I don’t believe we can hold that power to redeem our stories. We are conquerors (Romans 8:37) when we have the Holy Spirit. The only way we can experience freedom and break free of the chains that bind is when we find our identity in Christ, who performed the redeeming work for us.
I look at it more as seeing the redemption in our experiences. It’s getting to that point where you can share both your experiences and how God has restored you.
Beth Moore says this in Breaking Free,
Most [women who live free] have experienced a serious stronghold or hindrance they fought to overcome. How do I know? Because every person I’ve met who really seems liberated to love, enjoy, and obey God as a lifestyle has been on the battlefield. They usually appreciate and apply victory more readily because they’ve experienced the misery of defeat firsthand. I rarely meet a person who has come to trust God fully without painfully confronting the fact that she can’t trust herself. Freedom never comes easy.
Suffering provides a context for our faith to mature [and] focuses our hope on the consummation of all things, when God “will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore (Revelation 21:4) (Day 18)
Suffering is not a setback to our agendas, but rather an orientation to God’s agenda, which is to form the character of Christ in us. (Day 18)
It’s through that lens that we begin to see a little purpose in our trials, though we may never know the complete purpose.
I can say from personal experience that it is liberating to recognize how God has used really hard times in my life to do great work. It hasn’t been easy and often requires refining fire, but my faith has been strengthened because of it. I also know that even though in Christ we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), I am still being refined and redeemed every day.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
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Y’all I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed this week. I realize I missed the Storyline post Tuesday – please forgive me. We’ll get back on track with that next week.
Also, after the blizzard we had last Thursday, we had another one Tuesday. Our internet was down for a good part of the day and I’m just having trouble getting back on schedule. I had to take a snow day from work and since then my days have been all sorts of messed up.
So, here was the view from my back door Tuesday.