Friday, October 9, 2015


How was your run?” Charly asked as I staggered into the kitchen this morning.

“It was ok. But I had to stop and ask a lady for a cup of water.”

Did she think that was weird?

I paused for a moment to ponder his question. Was that considered a weird thing to do in America?

“Well. I don't know,” I answered as I filled up my cup with cold water from the refrigerator and started to drink. “She was smoking out on her porch and I walked up and said, 'Excuse me. Do you think I could have a cup of water? I've been running for about an hour and I didn't bring any water with me. I'm starting to feel kind of dizzy and I have about 20 minutes to get back home.'

She kind of looked me over and then went into her house and came out with two large cups of ice water for me. While I was drinking, she said, 'Your face does look pretty flushed.' We chatted about the beautiful flowers in her yard, and then she offered to drive me home. I told her I thought I could make it home now, and thanked her for her kindness.” 

My starting to feel dizzy this morning was a warning that I needed some water. A need to stop and rehydrate. I couldn't keep going the way I was. Or I might end up in a heap on the side of the road.

Last week I read a book I found at the library called Your God Is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan. What he writes in the chapter “Leave Yourself Alone” especially spoke to me. One of my big warning signs that my life needs realignment is when I realize I am seeking affirmation from people. I have learned that I can't keep going if I am dependent on praise from others. I might just end up a heap on the side of the road, dehydrated from not getting enough Living Water.

He writes: “We're obsessed with ourselves and afraid of ourselves. And part of that fear and that obsession--both the key symptom and the main drug that feeds it—is our need for approval. Me, I'm an addict. I can scrounge and scavenge approval in all kinds of ways, and when I don't get it, I know how to act like it doesn't matter anyhow. But that's the addiction: the need for Mark to be approved, applauded, sought after, highly regarded. One of the reasons it's so easy for me—and maybe for you—to lose Jesus is that I rarely go looking for Him anyhow. I go chasing approval and fleeing rebuke. I'm on a great commission to exalt myself and, at one and the same time, avoid myself.

It's so important that you think right thought about me. I mean—oh my!—what if for a moment you thought I was lazy, gluttonous, gossipy, cowardly, stupid, inept? I have to stay very busy ensuring that you see me in the most heroic, humble, dignified, competent light I can cast on myself. But sometimes I get tired of living like that—addicted to approval and consequently, losing Jesus just about everywhere...

If I don't believe that God sees the good I do when no one else notices—or if I resent that when others do notice it, God, not me, gets the glory—then I'll forever be fishing for compliments, finding subtle and not-so-subtle ways of getting applause, flaunting my so-called wisdom, boasting about my self-styled heroism.”

His conclusion: “Leave yourself alone. Enter solitude. Be silent. Do your good deeds in secret. Make dead space into holy ground. You will become less, it's true. But you will also become more; you will discover your true self and meet more often, lose less often, the Lord of the holy wild. For out of empty tombs and dead spaces comes the living Christ. Be still and know that He is God. Behold, the Lamb of God: See how He becomes greater.”

I learned this morning that I can't run for an hour in the sun without drinking water. And God used my dehydration to remind me to pay attention to the warning sign in my life that I'm getting addicted to approval. What other people think of me doesn't really matter. Am I getting enough time alone with Him and hydrating my soul with Living Water?

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, whom He asked for a drink of water, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

Sir, give me this water.

Linking up at Velvet Ashes this week on the topic of Warning.


  1. Hi there, I'm stopping by from Velvet Ashes - I love this story because spontaneous human interactions are so precious. I live (for now) in a part ofthe world that is a lot more planned and organized, and people don't really talk to each other. It's a wonderful thing when those walls come down, whether it's over a glass of water or anything else..

  2. Thank you for your comment, Devi! It's really true. This sweet woman brought me not one but two glasses of water. I don't know if her offering to drive me home was because of how generous a person she was or maybe how bad I looked? But it was such an encouragement to have an interaction like that with a stranger.

  3. Hi Jodie! So funny that you had to stop and think if asking for a glass of water from someone is weird in America - I'm not sure I know the answer to the question but I'm guessing that it is. It seems lately that there are a lot of questions like that which I would have known the answers to at one time - instinctively - but I just don't feel it anymore. It seems to tie into your post to me - you weren't worried about her approval - whether it was weird or not, you needed water :-)

    1. Michele, you're exactly right! Are you back in the U.S. now? Hope your transition goes well. Let me know if you come to Colorado Springs!

  4. Really loving your posts on Velvet Ashes Jodie!

    1. Thank you, Katie! And could you send me the link to your blog again? I can't seem to find it. Have enjoyed seeing your facebook pictures, surrounded by nature :)



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