Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: Inspirational

Don’t Stay in the Safety Zone

Our first house

My husband and I bought our first home within a few months of getting married. We were excited, a little scared, and definitely a bit naïve when it came to owning a three family and managing tenants. Our first obstacle came when no one was willing to move out of the house we purchased and planned to dwell. We sent notices to quit, but no one was willing to pack up. We even offered them significant money to leave, but no one would budge. Meanwhile, the lease on the apartment where we were renting was up. We owned a home but somehow were homeless.

We did the only thing we could. We retreated to a safe spot. We moved in with John’s parents while we navigated the eviction process.

Last week I talked about rope swings and how we need to be all in like Peter, but even Peter had to retreat to a safe spot. It was a scary time after Jesus died. Jesus had been their leader and Peter’s friend. Jesus had been here to save the world, but he’d just been crucified. Now, what were the disciples to do? Not only that, but Peter struggled with the grief of having denied Jesus, not just once, but three times after Jesus foretold it. Peter “the rock’s” life had been rocked. So, he went back to what he knew best – fishing – to absorb and regroup. Peter rowed the boat back out, tossed the nets overboard, and went back to being a fisherman.

We may often do the same. Go back to safe ground. Take a step back to gain perspective. But we are not supposed to stay there. It’s okay to stop to take a breath, recharge, get our barrings, but then get back on track. When Jesus came to visit Peter after His death, Peter was fishing with some of the other disciples when Jesus called out to him. Peter didn’t recognize him, but James did and whispered to Peter, who then dove overboard and swam to shore. It was not God’s plan for Peter to go back to being a fisherman, so Jesus called to him and told him three times to feed His lambs.

After Jesus ascended to heaven, Peter boldly spread the good news to thousands of people, both Jew and Gentile. He became the spokesman of the apostles and the rock upon which God built his church.

My husband and I knew we weren’t meant to stay living in his parent’s house. It was a temporary place for us to develop and execute a plan. We eventually moved into the multifamily home and eventually into a single-family home. And now we are often giving real estate advice to other young couples looking to purchase their first home.

Many of us want to stay in the safety zone, doing what’s known and comfortable, but that isn’t God’s will for us. There will be obstacles, but those problems help us to mature. God has great plans for us, but we will never know the sweet reward of stepping out in faith and the joy of walking in God’s will if we continue to stay living in our parent’s basement.


John and I fixing up our first house (red one seen above) once we were able to move there.
You can see the naivety of the first time home buyer smile on my face.

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Man diving into lake

Dive in

Boy swinging on rope swing into lake.

Rope swings aren’t something you can do halfway. You either swing out over the water, let go, and go all in. Or, you swing back and crash into the trunk of a tree. Somebody tied a rope to a tree near the reservoir not far from my house. It’s been taken down now, but we used to hear the whoops and see the splashes as they plunged into the lake. I know it’s only time before the boys try to make one of their own.

Peter was a rope-swing kind of disciple. He jumped into things with both feet. He was notorious for getting out of the boat to walk to Jesus on water and sinking a few seconds later when he got distracted (Matthew 14:28-30). He spoke before he thought and often put his foot in his mouth. One minute, Peter was having divine revelations about his Lord, and the next, he was being reprimanded, “get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:13-23). He told Jesus, even if the others fall away, he would not. Even if he died, he would not deny Him. And then, before dawn that next day the rooster crowed (Matthew 26:33-34).

Man diving in lake

But despite all Peter’s mess-ups, God loved him and had a great plan for his life. He chose Peter to be the rock upon which He built His church. When Jesus returned from the dead, he stood on the shore calling out to Peter and his fishing crew. As Peter recognized his old buddy Jesus, he couldn’t wait a second longer to see him. He dove into the sea and swam into shore. The rest of the men were left to reel in the nets and row in the boat (John 21: 4-9).

God favors the excitable. He blesses those who step out in faith. He desires us to be all-in.

He wants our fervor.

But how do we do that? Part of it is letting go and letting God (like I mentioned in my last blog), but here are some suggestions of ways I’ve dialed things up a notch when I feel like I’ve plateaued or started to coast in my faith:

  • Crank up worship music and dance around the room. Not a dancer? Lift your hands, and see where it goes.
  • Sing along until your voice won’t let you.
  • Not a singer? Chant scripture like it’s your war cry. Repeat it like a mantra. Let it sink into your entire being.
  • Give something away, whether it be a free meal or just a smile. Feel the love of God flow through you into others.
  • Lay prone on the floor and pour your heart out in prayer for someone.
  • Watch a sunset, or go for a hike, or sit under the stars, and praise God for his creation and the great work of his hands.
  • Support a new endeavor upon which your church or pastor is embarking. Join the vision to make it happen, serve, and be blessed by how God moves.
  • Join a church group or lead a church group. Nothing strengthens your faith like being accountable to and for others.

Don’t worry about messing up or appearing silly. Peter sure didn’t, and God is good at covering faults.

So go ahead. Dive all-in. 

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Girl hiding under comforter

When the World Wants You to Worry

Two mass shootings thirteen hours apart – this past weekend’s news headlines instills fear into the hearts of all of us.

Woman under comforter: Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Circumstances like El Paso and Dayton have become all too frequent. My heart breaks for those killed and injured community, and my prayers go out for their families and communities. Worrying about what is happening to this world and where things are headed makes me want to squeeze my eyes shut, crawl back under the covers, and stay there. However, I peel back the covers, and not only face each day but do so with joy and hope.

In May, my phone rang as I pulled up in front of my son’s elementary school. It was a robocall from the town. My car automatically puts my calls on speaker as a driving precaution. My son and his cousin listened in the back seat to the broadcast announcement that a possible threat had been made upon the Ashland High School and there would be a heavy police presence at all the town schools. The drop off teacher peered at me through the window and cars lined up behind me. I had only a moment to decide whether to throw the car back in drive and peel away or open the car door and let my baby out when I could tell he had fear in his eyes and a million questions for me.

I held up a one-moment finger to the drop-off teacher and prayed Isaiah 54:17over my son and nephew that no weapon turned against them would succeed. I put on my brave face and opened the car door. I told them I loved them like I do every day but added, “God has got this, and He’s got you.”

Baby birds in nest

It’s hard to relinquish those that you love. I have to remind myself, that even though these precious boys are for a time in my care, they are God’s children. His love for them is greater than my own. Even if I want to protect them from every hurtful and hateful thing out there, it is God’s will, not mine. He has big plans for them, and it doesn’t entail keeping them locked away for safekeeping. As hard as it is, I have to let go and let God, and not only that, the Bible says I have to do it without worry.

Don’t worry; be praying. – Philippians 4:6 says it straight out, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” In order to allow my boys to become young men, I’ve had to stay put and let them venture from the nest, but not without prayer cover. My role has changed from Mommy guardian angel when they were little to a prayer warrior.

Don’t be a joint worrier. I will sometimes pray as if expressing my concerns is going to evoke God to worry also, enough to take action and save the day. Praying like this isn’t honoring God. It’s trying to control God.  1 Peter 5:7states, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Cast means to throw. Not throw like a game of catch where you wait for it to be thrown back. It means to relinquish it, surrender it to God completely.

Let tomorrow worry about itself. Don’t exhaust yourself worrying over what the world is becoming, if layoffs are coming, or about your son or daughter leaving to get their driver’s license, for college, or the military. Worrying about tomorrow today only causes you to worry twice and leaves you exhausted. Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Worry is good for one thing only: to help us recognize an area of our life that we need to surrender.

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Hands holding question and answer balls

For When You Don’t Have the Answers, and for When You Do.

Hands holding question and answer ballss

Ever try to assemble a trampoline? If you ever get the chance… well, don’t. It is not a fun experience. We purchased our trampoline through Amazon. They claimed to have a company who would come out and assemble it for us for a small fee. The problem is the company never came. After rescheduling multiple times and our boys staring at the unopened box promising hours of fun and jumping, we decided we’d assemble it ourselves. It even came with a how-to-video. How bad could it be? We’re fairly intelligent people. My husband can read building plans. We should be able to follow seven pages of instructions.

By midafternoon, springs rocketed into the air nearly missing us. We had the instruction video playing on repeat. By nightfall, each of us sported bruises, blisters, and dripped with sweat. It was a miracle we got the thing assembled. As I lay exhausted on the couch, I decided some things I was never meant to understand. The group, Go Fish (their tag line is music for kids that won’t drive parents crazy), has a song called, Planes, Phones, and Microwaves. They sing about the mysteries we don’t understand, but that we should thank God for the people who can – Amen to that.

Boys on trampoline

Often, we think we deserve an explanation. God, why did I not get the promotion? I thought it was your will? Why can’t we have children of our own? Why would I have cancer? Sometimes, our intellectualism gets in the way. We think we can figure everything out on our own. We are okay using phones, computers, and the internet without fully understanding how they work, but when it comes to God, we demand answers before we can believe – before we can trust.

Here’s the thing: we’re not meant to have the answers.

1 Corinthians 13:12 says, “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”

We are not supposed to have it all figured out. It’s God’s way of building our faith and strengthening our confidence in Him. Just as we the microwave to heat our lunch and the airplane to hold us in the air, we need to trust that God is in control. We will never have it all figured out, at least not this side of heaven. However, we can have peace because God, who knows us completely – our desires, wants, and needs – does have the answers.

And He is for us.

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Carpenter

Enjoy the Process – Potential in the Making

I wouldn’t say I was a tomboy as a child, but I spent a lot of time building forts. My Carpenterfriend Alison had an old barn in her backyard, and there were a lot of old boards laying around. We borrowed a handsaw, hammer, and a couple handfuls of nails and dreamed up a plan to build a fort complete with a roof, windows, and a swinging door. I can’t remember now how we got the door to swing, but it did.

That summer we spent countless hours sawing and hammering. I can still remember the scent of the dusty old barn and fresh cut wood. I learned a great deal of carpentry skills like you need to be exact with your measurements, and how not to hit your thumb with a hammer. Alison and I talked, laughed and sweated, but mostly had a blast. After adding the finishing touch of painting our names in white on the door header, we stood back and admired our work.

I don’t think we played in it for longer than two minutes. Our carefully-constructed beautiful fort once built, became forgotten. For Alison and me, it was all about the fun of the building process. After that, we were off to the next project and adventure.

Life is about becoming, not being.

Lorri Dudley's bookshelf filled with writing books increasing her potential

I’m still learning about the writing process. My bookshelf is chock full of books on how to write. I think I’ve read more books on how to write than I did to obtain my degree in psychology. There is always room to learn. If we stop learning, we stop growing. Learning about my passion is an enjoyable progression. There are times where it’s hard to bear the criticism of my trials and errors, but I know it will strengthen me in the long run.

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything,” (NIV).

I have to admit facing trials is a lot different than having fun building a fort one summer. Some of you may look at where you are and struggle to find any joy in your situation. The path it took to get you there might have been loaded with pain and heartache, but God is strengthening your faith so that you can grab hold of His righteous right hand, and let Him pull you out. Mark Batterson, author of The Circle Maker wrote, “We can’t have a testimony without being tested.” God is developing the maturity in you to persevere to the next level.

Find your joy in the trial by knowing you are potential in the making.

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