A Joshua Man Needs a Rahab Girl (Devotional and personal thoughts)

A prayer that I prayed to God about eight years ago was my desire for a Joshua man.  Joshua of Biblical times was incredibly brave.  He was amazing.  He was full of faith in God and was not intimidated by circumstances.  And Joshua was one of only two spies sent into Canaan who thought the Israelites could do it, aka beat the Giants.  “Our God is bigger” could be his and Caleb’s battle cry.  And even Moses, who God used to deliver His people from bondage in Egypt, did not even make it to the Promised Land.  Moses displeased God when he struck a rock twice with his staff when God had commanded him to just speak to the rock (Numbers 20: 9-12).  But Joshua had the privilege to lead the Israelite people into the Promised Land after Moses died.  He obeyed God.  Wow!  What a powerful picture of a Godly man!  Joshua has long been one of the Godly men I admire most in the Bible.

You know what God spoke to my spirit when I prayed for a Joshua man?  God said, “A Joshua man is hard to find.”  Yes, I agree with that.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are many great, Godly guys out there today.  But Joshua is a higher standard than that, and his faith seems like the gold standard to me. Joshua’s faith moves me and that is what I am looking for relationally and romantically.  Sometimes I am tempted to compromise or it seems Joshua men don’t exist today who are still single (or who like me and ask me out), but I know that is not true.  I still hope to find my Joshua man, or better yet, to have him find me.

Recently I began thinking, “What does a Joshua man want?” Immediately I thought of Esther in the Bible.  She was beautiful and pure and brave.  She caught the eye of the King when hundreds of other women were competing with her to become Queen.  Her famous and familiar line, “And if I perish, I perish” will always be engraved in my mind as the upmost example of courage and bravery. But recently when I was thinking of Esther, I felt inferior.  She was so beautiful.  I struggle to relate.  I believe beauty ultimately comes from within, like Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  However I must admit that recently when I found some white hairs amidst my brown hair, I was mortified and most assuredly less than thrilled.  In my thirties, not only have several white hairs appeared, but my metabolism has been a significant challenge to me and it has slowed down.  Weight in my younger years was easily manageable and I stayed thin, but now weight can stubbornly refuse to budge in my hope to attain my desired goal weight.  This can hurt my self-esteem and cause discouragement.  I joined a gym last October, and while it has been baby steps, I have finally managed to lose around 9 pounds.  It has been a hard fought battle, but victory is sweet.  Along with weight challenges, I was also recently diagnosed with rosacea, which is a red face condition that can start in your thirties and can even cause puss filled pimples.  Yep, it can make me feel less than attractive.  At times it has caused my nose to even have red spots on the end, making me feel like Rudolph.  None of these things (white hairs, weight gain, and rosacea) help with seeing myself as desirable, especially in a look-obsessed world.  I’m slowly working on making amends with the aging process, but I definitely don’t want to let my self-esteem be wrapped up in my looks or what the number on the scale says today.

The main thing that I think about with Esther is her bravery.  I admired her because I wanted to be her.  Sometimes I feel like a timid little mouse, and many people don’t know that I was extremely shy as a child.  I was an avid reader and pretty quiet.  Even in high school, when I had a class and I was graded on verbal participation points, I had to force myself to raise my hand and talk.  I think I raised my hand to speak just twice, actually.  But I could nail it on a test when I was writing.  So, at the end of our grading period, I got 0 for participation points.  I was so shy and unassertive, I didn’t want to argue about the few times that I spoke in what was quite a long stretch of time.  I long to be brave, and I have seen growth exponentially in my shyness, but God is still working on me with courage and bravery.

But you know who I was just thinking about today who I can relate to?  Rahab.  Yes, I know, Rahab was prostitute, Even now, it seems that is how  she is always labelled.  But I want to point out that Rahab showed remarkable and exemplary bravery after leading a life where she messed up infinitely more than she got it right.  Her story is told in Joshua 2:1-24.  She definitely was not a pure woman.  And a prostitute would not be at the top of most people’s list for who should be in the lineage of Jesus.  But you know what?  She was redeemed when she made a bold choice to hide and save the lives of two Israelite spies who were hiding from Amorite pursuers. This was outstanding because Rahab was herself an Amorite, and she risked her own safety by harboring the two spies and committing treason against her own people.  This would have been punishable by death if she was caught.  Paul even gives Rahab a commendation for her faith in Hebrews 11:31, and she is the only woman besides Sarah who is listed as an example of faith in Hebrews 11 ( https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Rahab).  In BibleGateway.com, a keyword search for Rahab comes up with some thought-provoking things in the topical index, such as “hospitality>>instances of>>Rahab to the spies”, “hospitality>>rewarded>>Rahab’s”, “kindness>>instances of>>Rahab to the spies”, and “mercy>>instances of>>Joshua to Rahab” (https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Rahab&qs_version=NIV).

God chose Rahab to be an ancestor in the lineage of Jesus.  I can definitely relate to her.  Sometimes I mess up 80 times and get it right one time.  (Ok, I am being slightly melodramatic).  But God sees the one time I get it right.  And he sees my heart.  And he sees me as His daughter, and He views every time I get it right as a job well done.  Sometimes I beat myself up for my failures when God has already said, “You are forgiven” and “Jesus already paid the price.”  God wants me to move forward, but often I am too busy looking at my mistakes, lack of courage, or my faults.  Looking back keeps me from moving forward toward the Promised Land God has for me.  I’m guessing I am not the only one. What about your Promised Land?  What is keeping you from it?  Today as I was pondering what type of woman a Joshua man needs, I thought about how if I want a Joshua man, then I want to be the type of woman that he wants who is an ideal, beautiful counterpart for him.  I can relate to Rahab.  She made a lot of mistakes, but she got it right in the end with a beautiful story of courage and redemption and God’s love.  Please know that God loves you in spite of your faults, failures, and sin, and when you are tempted to throw stones at yourself due to your failures and times you mess up, know God wants you to put down the stones and He offers you His love, grace, and redemption in Jesus.

Things That Annoy Me

Author’s Editorial Note:

This post was originally titled “Things I Hate”, but now every time I look at that title it does not jive with me, so I have made an editorial adjustment.  Hate is a very strong word, and actually it is a word that I am seldom inclined to use.  I am aware, however, that I definitely overuse the word “love”, but that is in specific cases, such as the “I love Starbucks” type…seriously our English language does NOT do justice to the many facets of love that exist (Greek is much better for that), and I am not one that wants to cheapen the word love in its purest form.  Maybe I am more of a lover than a fighter, too (a.k.a. my disconnect with the word hate and preference for the word love).  Finally, there is the fact that we should love one another (whether you think about God or the Beatles for inspiration), and in my life I want to focus more on the good than the bad.  Thus, without further ado, here are “Things that Annoy Me.”

1. Utilization of the Internet for what seems like personal character assassination and slander. (Note: Character shredding in person is also bad, as well as behind a person’s back).  Bullying is the classic example, but I am being far more broad than that.  The internet is an amazing tool, but I prefer when it is used to edify instead of tear down.

2. Facebook being used for engagement news sharing BEFORE the engaged person’s best friends (or family) are even told.  This is especially bad if the best friends and family are NEVER told, and Facebook is utilized in order to take the place of heartfelt, caring phone calls or other personal correspondence.  If people who are NOT on Facebook DO care to hear directly that their close friends or family members are engaged, then this is particularly bad.

3. Facebook being used for funeral and visitation information, when no other type of personal correspondence is utilized.  This one hits close to home this past week.

4. Misunderstandings.  This is one of the reasons that my MySpace account was changed and is currently private.  Also, I hate it when people have pieces of a puzzle, but they are missing crucial pieces (of course, I am being figurative).  However, I find it grossly unfair when people fill in the blanks with incorrect (and thus false) assumptions.  This seems to happen a lot in life.

5. I get annoyed when people assume things based on a category that someone happens to fit in.  For instance, if someone thinks that since I am a Christian, then I am also a Republican, then they would be wrong.  Or, if someone things that because I am a feminist, then I hate men, that would also be wrong.  I think that our society does this all the time (re: incorrectly assume things about categories of people).  Actually, I have many beliefs that do not always co-exist together, and anyone who takes the time to get to know me will realize that.

6. I am disappointed when people are too busy for things and people who really matter.

7. I get annoyed when people break their word and are unreliable.  A few of my friends that I have been friends with for many years fall into this category.  I finally realized that I deserve people in my inner circle who respect me and are people who I can count on in both good times and in bad (whether I am having surgery or they just want to get a relaxing cup of coffee….a close friend should be counted on to be there for either occasion.  Life is more than just good times, and some people are fun friends but not “thick and thin” friends, the latter of which are more meaningful to me at this point in my life).

Unfortunately, when I had surgery last summer, several key friends in my life were not there for me at all or broke their word to me.  I have tried to work on myself to stop dwelling on some of the friend hurts from that time period (and a major one right before that) that really wounded me and were quite painful.  On a BRIGHTER note, some other people stood out to me that I did not expect- some I barely knew at all or I was just on an acquaintance level with (i.e. the mail carrier at my job who asked me how I was doing {after my surgery}, or someone in passing who took the time to listen to me on a down day and was there when I started to cry….that small kind act made the day better and was definitely encouraging…..you remember stuff like that).  Then there was my newer friend, Tisha, from my church, who gave me a sweet surgery pack complete with amazing chocolate and a cute gift bag in my favorite color.  Kindness always stands out to me, and I appreciate it, as well as reliability and people who are friends in any weather (so to speak) in this sometimes roller coaster of life that we all go through. 

8. Lack of grace.

9. Cussing.  Maybe I don’t HATE it, but I am definitely not a fan.  My Mom used Coast soap in order to wash my mouth out when I went through a cussing spell around the age of 15.  That horrible taste just does not leave your mouth.  I still remember that punishment, and it helped me with my foul mouth. (Please note that I am NOT recommending that any parents do that…..not by any means).

Also, in terms of cussing, in PARTICULAR, I hate the “B” word being used toward women and girls.  Many people seem to accept that word as being ethically and morally acceptable (or perhaps people accept that word as being justified,  utilizing “the ends justify the means” type of argument).  Also, I understand that some women use that term for empowerment, as other terms have been used by victimized and oppressed groups in order to reclaim the language.  I am not trying to be the language police, BUT I will say that I previously worked for a year as a legal advocate for abused women.  Every single women was called that word by her abuser…every single one….and, of course, we as women get socialized to think that we “deserve” to be called that, somehow.  (Author’s note: Please note that I am not saying that everyone who ever utters the “B” word is abusive or an abuser.  But, that word can be very unkind and derogatory, and that is something to think about).  Language (written or spoken) is powerful and can be really edifying and encouraging, or it can rip another down and be incredibly harmful.  I am no saint, but I try to use encouraging language, and I also try to apologize when I have been wrong.

More Semi-Random Musings from My World (the Avengers)

More Semi-Random Musings from My World:

1. Marvel’s new Avengers movie rocks!!! ! Yeah, I know, deep thoughts from my world.  I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone who has not seen it, but I think that at this point of the weekend, you may be in the minority if you have NOT seen it yet.  I believe that I read on the internet that it had the second best opening weekend EVER.  (And I read that sometime on Saturday).  So yeah, I saw a 10:15 am showing on Friday (my vacation day), which is kind of “crazy”, but it was to accommodate my friends afternoon work schedules (the Avengers is 2 hours 23 minutes long, but I think that previews were like 21 minutes…..so we got out of the movie at around 1 pm, actually).  For longer movies, sometimes I wish there was an intermission, because you hate to get up and miss anything in the movie in order to run to the restroom or get a popcorn refill.  I polished off my kid’s meal popcorn during the previews (it’s small), and the movie theatre that I was at gives free popcorn refills, but I didn’t want to miss the movie, so it was hard to take advantage of that exceedingly cool facet.  Anyways, it was quite fun to be one of the first of American audiences to view The Avengers, unless you were one of the mass of humanity at the midnight showings around the country.

I loved Joss Whedon’s (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) directing of The Avengers.  He directed it with a human side, which I appreciate immensely, and the interpersonal focus on the characters and their interactions was 100% compelling There is an article on Joss and his directing and The Avengers in my new May 2012 issue of Wired magazine.  The article talks about ‘The Whedon Way”, and I completely saw the part about how Whedon’s characters are quite aware of their own weaknesses and strengths, and they are good at voicing them.  Whedon is quoted as saying, “It’s a flaw in my work that is enough of a virtue that I let it slide” and “I make people ridiculously self-aware because I hate deception.” (May 2012 Wired magazine, page  175).

There was such a depth to the characters of The Avengers, and it was interesting to see the nitty-gritty human side that is often left out of action movies, or under-valued and under-developed in favor of explosive special effects and all the bells and whistles.  I found myself appreciating the differences of personality and giftedness of all the characters, and I saw the theme and importance of unity in order to come together and accomplish great things.  “No man (or woman) is an island”, as the old saying goes, and you know what?  It is true.  Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto.  Once the Avengers stopped fighting amongst themselves, then they were able to become a team and achieve the hopes and objectives that Nick Fury has for them.  Also, a human emotional piece in the Avengers that stood out to me was that I saw how Natasha (a.k.a. Black Widow) was somewhat tormented by her past….wanting to erase the “red in her ledger” (as she kept saying at one point of the movie) and obtain a clean slate.  A clean slate is so liberating and so freeing.  Who among us hasn’t desired that at one point of our lives?  I think that is the importance of grace (and, because of my faith beliefs, I think that is the importance of Jesus, redemption, and forgiveness).  This world that we are all a part of is not one that promotes grace, and that old song “What have you done for me lately?” (Jodi Whatley?) rings true in our perfomance-oriented, hurried, and score-card keeping American society.  I can preach to the choir sometimes, and this topic of grace is one that I am still learning, with scraped knees and frustration with myself (and others) along the way.

Also, I need to point out that while I can appreciate characters like Captain America, and his unwavering focus on bravery, rules, and always doing the right thing, and I enjoy Hawkeye’s talent for bow and arrow (he and Katniss Everdeen are single-handedly helping the old school bow and arrow make a comeback), however, I found myself appreciating more the strengths of Tony Stark (a.k.a. Iron Man) and seeing a new side of him in this movie.  Honestly, I didn’t see the first Iron Man movie (just the second one), so this may not be a perfect synopsis or character representation, but from what I can tell (and from his own self-awareness, a.k.a Joss Whedon style), he can be brash, cocky, self-absorbed, and brilliant (and he knows it), but he also has many other sides that are beautiful.  He really comes full circle when he realizes the importance of unity and working with others. He has so much to bring to the table: such strength, smarts, a philanthropy spirit….and in the end he is noble and brave and willing to sacrifice for a cause he cares about.  Quite beautiful, indeed.

Well, I had a few others things that I have pondered lately, but I am actually going to leave this post just with my personal thoughts on the Avengers.  I think that anything else would lesson what I feel led to say, and my other ponderings may just be future posts for another time, or my own introspective musings and self-awareness.