Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Don't Feed the Bears

Last month we visited the Grand Teton National Forest.
Everywhere:  reminders about the bears.
Here's the rules:
1.  Don't surprise the bear.  Make noise.
{That's why there are people with jingle bells on their backpacks.}
{We, however, had Erin who talks or sings constantly.}
2.  Don't get between mama bear and her cubs.
3.  Don't mess with her cubs.
4.  Stay 100 yards away from the bear.
5.  Don't leave food anywhere: in your backpack, in a cooler, at camp.
In other words, DON'T FEED the bears.
Did I mention cubs?
Notice the sign above says,
"Removal of this sign may cause INJURY to others."
We learned that, of all bears, "mama grizz" is the most dangerous of all.
She is social {around people}
and she is fiercly protective of what she loves {cubs}.
A tired & hungry bear that just woke up from hibernation is also cranky and dangerous.

NOTE: If you visit my blog for the photos,
feel free to just scroll along to see the Grand Teton photos.
If, however, you read to peer into my spiritual journey,
you may want to pour yourself your favorite drink and get comfy.
Because what I'm going to share in between these photos
of beautiful Jenny Lake, Hidden Falls, and Inspiration Point,
is not really about our hike that day
but about me and my Master.

I have been a tired, hungry "mama grizz" the past few weeks.
And He's been teaching and correcting me
by the patient, gentle, sweet Holy Spirit,
in layer after layer after layer.
Putting out one piece of the puzzle, then another, and another, and another.
This message really is for me.
And if it is not for you, that is totally ok.
But I share because it is helping me . . . and perhaps it might help another.
Linking up with these ladies:

Syd & Erin's hands stamped "Be Bear Aware".

Be bear aware.
Aware of my inner bear . . . my mama grizz.
The layer He gives me first, is this story from Delain that she posted on facebook:
{and I know it is NOT in the Bible, but He is using it to patiently teach me}
“A Native American grandfather talking to his young grandson
tells the boy he has two wolves inside of him struggling with each other.
The first is the wolf of peace, love and kindness.
The other wolf is fear, greed and hatred.
'Which wolf will win, grandfather?' asks the young boy.
'Whichever one I feed,' is the reply.”
I read this story and instantly I am "bear aware".
Even though this story is wolves, I can call them bears.
And whichever bear I feed that lives inside of me will grow and dominate and win.
I'm aware of "Mama Jodi Grizz".

I'm aware of that gut-grizzly
that will fight for these cubs
and those that help sustain and nourish me
like my man,
and my "siestas", my "tas philas", my sisters in Spirit, my girlfriends.

That Mama Grizz can take some hidden falls if she's not careful
before she gets to the inspiration point . . . and she has been on edge.

So this edgy Mama Griz takes herself to a teacher:  Beth Moore 
at a simulcast broadcast from Lubbock,TX.
Knowing there is going to be a word of teaching, even correction maybe.
And the first point the teacher says is
1.  We were created to be in good company.
Good company.  Social.  Mama Grizz is social.  And meant for good company.
She reads 1 Peter 1:22,
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit
in sincere love of the brethren,
love one another fervently with a pure heart...

And Beth makes these two profound statements that I personally
Disobedience to God deforms the heart.
Obedience to God reforms the heart.
To be pure hearted means to be obedient.
It is a difficult, sometimes extremely hard, word to live by.
But I know that He rewards me when I trust that His way is going to take me to a
renewed, rebuilt, reformed heart.
And I know that it will be SO GOOD if I just take a deep breath,
stop my disobedience that is twisting my heart into unrecognizable ugliness,
and obey and let my heart be purified...
which in the end is such
a relief.

Hidden Falls near Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park
She shares point number 2:
2.  An individual calling can only be fulfilled in a "we" context.
Of course, just when I'm feeling frustrated with
so many "we" instances,
this social Mama Grizz is reminded that
the good company, the we, is important -- is vital.

Then comes reassuring point 3:
3.  God never overlooks a single "me" in the greater "we".
Oh. Mama Grizz. Trust that you won't be forgotten.
Do I?  Do I trust that even though
I don't get my way,
or that I don't get to be right,
or that I don't get to be the visible "winner",
that He has not forgotten about me, has not overlooked me, will not take care of me?

I see this in my notes from Beth's teaching:
"Your victory is in His authority."
"Your abundant life is in obedience to God."
And I hear a whisper in my heart . . .
not self, not others, not popular ways,
not politics, not pride, not image, not material stuff. . .
You know it's true . . . you have experienced it.

Another layer of teaching me is added as I teach Sunday School:
Israel demands a king to be like everybody else.
They want to be like everybody else.
God is not good enough to be their leader in their minds.
So, He gives them what they want.
Yep.  He has given me what I wanted, what I demanded.
Let my heart de-form.
And He has gently, sweetly, tenderly re-formed my heart when I quit
doing the "everybody else" way.
The focus verse the kids and I had was this:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.Proverbs 3:5-6

Ok, so I had to go back to the beginning . . . this good company thing.
Back to my notes from Beth Moore to look at the scripture . . . alone . . .
just me and my Master.
Writing fast and furious is how I am when learning from Beth Moore
and this was all I got down:
2 Timothy 2:22 ~ in company with others of pure heart.
So I look it up. And as I read, my eyes are urged to keep reading.
So I do.

Good company.
...pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace
with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes,
knowing that they generate strife.
And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel
but be gentle to all . . .

And the Mama Grizz in me starts to quiet down,
and the gentle bear starts to be fed and grow and dominate.
I read on.  And the words feed the other bear of
peace, love and kindness.

Inspiration Point, 7200 feet.  Jenny Lake, Grand Teton National Park

I begin to remember and see the truth.
The truth that He has my back.
Really.  He does.

He always has my back
even when it does not turn out my way.
He always has my back when
people hurt my feelings, offend me, or do not like what I have done.

He has my back
even when it is hard to choose His way.
Even when everything and everyone screams to go this way.
Because He rewards following His path
with strength, courage, confidence, peace, joy
that is bigger than the other stuff
and that cannot be taken away.

He is there protecting the treasure
deep within
down at the core
that, at times, I do not even realize is there.

He knows how to guard and protect
what is important in each "me"
as we live and work with and in
the greater "we".
He knows the rich, valuable depths
that I am unaware of
that he wants to refine, purify, grow.

And so therefore, He really does have my back
when I trust Him with all of my heart,
when I don't lean on my understanding,
but into Him instead.
Because my understanding will tip me over the cliff
and He is like this solid, unmoving rock wall
that is the guard and guide
of my rocky path on the side of the mountain.

And how do I show that I trust Him?
By following this way
that He is showing me
even if the "Mama Grizz" wants to fight and quarrel.
By feeding the gentle spirited bear, so I can be His.




So what were Beth's last points?
4.  Jesus became a friend of sinners so that we could become a friend of God. 
{She was teaching about Luke and shared that his writings were dedicated to a man named Theophilus, which means "friend of God"...some scholars think Luke was writing to the "greater we" rather than an individual person.  Luke wrote more about friendship, about outcasts, about healing, and about women than any other New Testament writer.  She encouraged us to be empowered by the invasive, pervasive love of Christ so that we can live the "most excellent way" in 1 Corinthians 12:31 which is love.  Love.}

5.  We can revel in the certainty of the things that we've been taught.
We can know that what we have been taught in His word is true, is certain.
And that His teaching is not meant just for our brain, but about reaching us.
It is not about having knowledge, but about living a relationship with Him & others.
My certainty, our certainty is not in circumstance, but in Jesus Christ.
She said {and this is such a foundation of my personal faith}
The more you need Him, the more of Him you get, the more of Him you receive.

6.  Jesus has passed us the salt also.
We are to be salt.
Salt enhances flavor, cleanses, preserves, melts, and causes thirst.

7.  We can also be many convincing proofs that Jesus Christ is alive.
We can choose it.  I can can choose it.
Or I can choose not to.
Disobedience to God deforms the heart.
Obedience to God reforms the heart.

Which bear will I feed?

To learn more about Beth Moore and her teaching, events and resources
Visit the Living Proof website here:  Beth Moore Living Proof


  1. Love this post!! Just love coming along with you on your journey my friend! I am in Beth Moore now doing David so i hope we BOTH are open to the voice of the Holy Spirit's direction. We must always remember that HE is more faithful to us then we could even think to be. Praise God!!!!

    Love and peace to you<

  2. Amazing words. In fact, I was so caught up in your words, I forgot to look at the pictures, so I had to scroll back up. I love what God is doing in your heart -- sound so similar as to what God is doing in mine. I loved the "God has my back" because in all things, as I seek to be obedient to Him, He will never let me fall outside of His will and provision. Amen.

  3. This was awesome. I was awestruck by your writing and by your pictures. Thank you for sharing. I especially love the God never misses a single me in the we!

  4. Mama Grizz... Oh, yeah. She's a mean one!
    And wow, that scenery! I find it awesome that the God who made all this beauty and magnificance really does have our backs and tends to our every need even before we have them!
    Also, I never came to think that salt causes thirst. That we, as the salt, are supposed to cause the people feel thirsty towards what we have in Jesus.
    Praying that you'll manage to starve Mama Grizz to death, little by little :)

  5. Thanks for sharing Jodi !!! Awesome pictures and words.


Welcome ~ share your beautiful thoughts.