Jeannie Bruenning Author

Just a Whisper

Even though I may roll my eyes when asked what growing up as a preachers kids was like, I am grateful for many aspects of it. Especially for the Bible stories I learned in Sunday school. 

One that keeps coming to mind recently is a story between an arrogant king and a rugged old man know as a prophet. 

These two very different individuals decided to have a contest to prove which of their gods was the TRUE GOD. A stone alter was built and piled high with wood. The god who would be declared the winner would be the one who would start the fire.

Ya gotta laugh at that.

How we humans feel the need to prove that we are right. These two took it even further, “let’s make god prove who is right.” 

The king called all his wise advisors – it was a crowd. They all gathered together on top of the mountain and began their rituals of singing, dancing, praying, and shouting.

Our prophet man sat quietly in the shade watching the lively exhibition. After several hours he too got into the actions and began calling out things like, “Yell louder – maybe he can’t hear you!” And “Get more people marching up the hill – giant crowds always get god’s attention.”

After a full day of singing, dancing, praying, and shouting – nothing happened except there was a large group of people who were tired, horse, and defeated. 

Then it’s the prophets turn. He got the crowd engaged by asking them to bring jars of water to pour over the alter. They were very accommodating and when they had finished dousing the wood, alter, and ground around it, they stepped back. I’m guessing the prophet instructed them to stand way, way back.

In contrast to the giant crowd gathering exhibition of the king, the prophet man bowed his head and whispered, “Show them who is the true God.” Then he stepped back, way back.

The magnitude of the flame that erupted engulfed the wood, alter, and ground around it – all from a gentle whisper.

God isn’t lost. He isn’t in hiding. God doesn’t need us to yell and shout and march – dancing is ok, but the rest is unnecessary. The only requirement is a believing heart and impossible odds, and then STEP BACK and watch the fireworks. 

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Stupid Talk

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This verse is being tossed all over the place recently. So I thought it would be good to really look at it. What I found, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is about as clear as God can say it. 

If MY people 

  • that is those who believe in God.

Will HUMBLE themselves

  • Humility comes through strength, is not for the weak hearted. It shows up when someone is very aware of their abilities, influences, power, and authority and uses all of it to SERVE. Humility flows down from those who have risen to the top.

And PRAY and SEEK My face

  • No explanation needed

And TURN from their wicked ways

  • REMEMBER this is directed to the believer – oooops – apparently it’s the BELIEVERS wicked ways that are in the way. (Oh my, maybe we need to turn off the sin spotting spot lights and focus on ourselves.)

THEN…..I will heal their land.

There is no need to read between the lines here – to find the hidden meaning – to interpret to fit your beliefs. 

The equation is simple: Humble + Seek + Turn = Healing.

The bottom line is…God does what He says he will do. If you don’t feel that its happening – then there are 2 possible reasons.

  1. There isn’t enough humble, seeking, and turning going on.

Or 

2.  Your version of a healed land isn’t the same as Gods. 

The only other possible explanation is that God isn’t true to His word – and that’s just stupid talk. 

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A New 23rd Psalm

We memorized this as kids, along with the Books of the Bible, and dozens of other verses. The 23rd Psalm is a multi-use scripture. It’s comforting in difficult times, encouraging in good times, and calming in fearful times. 

Recently I learned some facts about sheep that has brought new light to this old standard:

Sheep facts
  1. Sheep only lie down when they are satisfied and feel safe. Thus the concept of ‘laying down in green pastures’ looks different.
  2. Sheep can’t decipher between gentle streams and unsafe waters. So when the Shepherd leads them beside ‘still waters’ he does so to protect them. 
  3. Sheep have a tendency to get themselves in trouble either by getting stranded on ledges, entangled in shrubs, or jump into raging rapids…thus the hook of a Shepherds staff is designed for rescues – it is made to wrap around a sheep’s neck so the shepherd can gently guide them out of danger. 
With those in mind…The 23rd Psalm

You are my shepherd and provide everything I need.

I can rest in lush green pastures – because I know I am safe.

You know my limitations, inabilities, and tendencies, and You lead me to safe waters. 

You renew me every day and guide me in the right direction.

Even when I’m walking through dark valleys – I am NOT afraid because You are always near. 

When I find myself stranded on a ledge, or entangled in relationships, or have foolishly jump into unsafe waters, You are prepared to rescue me. 

When life is at its darkest and I feel as though I am being attached from all sides, You find ways to bless me, to shine light into my dark days. 

You’ve chosen me and have covered me in Your love…and it’s more than I can comprehend.

You allow Goodness and Mercy to follow me everywhere.

I will spend all my days living in Your presence. 

These words take on new meaning when they are read as a promise instead of a hope…

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The Big Black Inner Tube

As a teen, my friends and I tubed down the Crystal River. It was a summertime favorite. We’d make the forty-five minute drive, park our cars in the gravel parking lot, pay our fee, get on a big green bus and be taken up the river. 

We excitedly exited the bus and made our way to the river bank where giant black inner tubes were tossed in the water.  Laughter and cheers would erupt as all who were watching ran into the rapids in hopes of catching a tube before it caught the current and floated on without us. Once a tube was captured, we’d jump on, wiggle our butts into the center, lay our heads back and float down the river. No paddles, no oars, we were swept away by the current. 

Imagine for a moment…

…while we were on the tubes, we began paddling against the current. Or, if we had been dropped off down stream and expected to make our way upstream. That would have taken great EFFORT. Such an effort most likely would have created anxiety because we weren’t getting anywhere. We would have been frustrated. By the end of the day, we would have felt as though we had failed. In contrast, allowing the current to guide us was relaxing, enjoyable and a peaceful journey.

I have come to understand that allowing God to guide us is just like allowing the current to carry us down the river. So the question is, in everyday life, how do we know when we’re paddling upstream or allowing the current to guide us?  

It’s easier than we think! We know this by our emotions. When we are striving to make something happen, when we are exerting our own effort, we feel frustrated, anxious and the fear of failure haunts us. Learning to trust that God will provide a current to guide us creates joy, excitement and peace.

EFFORT is different than action. Typically, when we are putting forth EFFORT, we are paddling up stream. We are working really hard and going nowhere. There’s a huge difference between floating down the river and paddling up it. 

ACTION is never an effort. Action comes out of motivation and inspiration, not out of obligation.

You have an idea, you think it through. You begin to develop a plan; you ponder and explore your options. When you feel this is something worth pursuing, you have a choice: Either you believe it’s all up to you to make it happen (effort); or, you wait and watch with great anticipation. When opportunity makes itself known, you spring into action, which will never feel like effort!

When we work out of EFFORT, rarely do the results equal the time and energy we’ve invested. There is usually a cost; this can be relationships, financial, stress or even our health. Effort equals work.

excerpt from Living Unstuck

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Content

I’ve had a ton of self-discovery these past few weeks. Thanks to a book titled Dream Big, I no longer feel like there’s something wrong with me cause I love being involved in a bunch of things at one time. 

Thanks to a small book study with five old friends, I feel more connected than I ever have. And in the past week, thanks to a thing called Tapping I’ve discovered (and let go of) a whole lot of anxieties, stressors, and fears. 

This has been the most amazing change of all. Why do I feel the need to time how long I am in a store? When did running errors become a sprint? When did talk about crazy, out-laddish ideas become an irresponsible way of thinking? When did new adventures become something to fear with the expectation of horrible things to follow? When did having a full day of activity and things to accomplish become a drain or a curse, and something to avoid? 

My personal thorn is feeling like I’ll mess up and someone-somewhere will feel the need to scold me. Holy crap – I’m 59 years old – why do I care if someone isn’t happy, or accepting, or in agreement. I don’t! BUT I have a lifetime of learned reactions and behaviors that know how to react on cue – as I’m discovering them…I’m letting them go. 

Last night when I got into bed I told Jeff, “I have to go to sleep cause I can wait to wake up in the morning!” I can’t wait!!

Thanks to my old buddy Robyn, I stumbled into a thing called Epicure. Cooking classes, planning events, selling products, and making videos…and I’m having a blast. Each step of the way opens me to new and deeper self-discovery and awareness. More insecurities, self-perceptions, and anxieties that I just don’t want to tolerate any longer.  

As those old learned behaviors rear their ugly faces, I quickly move into position and begin tapping them away. I breath more freely, laugh with a little more delight, dream a little bigger, love a whole lot deeper, and tell myself regularly that this weird feeling isn’t something to worry about…it’s just a thing called contentment and I’ll get used to it eventually. 

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Writer, Author and Coach. Jeannie started a publishing comapny in 2009 called A Silver Thread. Resides in a small beach town on the Central Coast of California and has a passion for people and stories. Click here to learn more.

New Release

LIVING UNSTUCK is a collection of lessons to navigate through the journey of finding joy and living a life unstuck. Released Feburary 1st. Learn more...

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