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a foundational lesson

March 5, 2010

the higher you want to go – you must first go deeper.

when you see a building, a bridge, any structure – there is a foundation. the foundations job is to support the structure. without it, you wont have anything.

several years ago here in my town our DOT began work on a new overpass. i had to drive through this construction zone every single day, several times a day. months and months passed by where it seemed nothing was happening – no progress. nothing appeared to be taking place. no new overpass to look at…just, nothingness. it actually started irritating me. so many people each day were inconvenienced, seemingly, by nothing.

then i learned the lesson of a firm and sturdy foundation. when it seemed that there was no progress and the workers were just wasting time and taxpayers money many things were happening behind the scene.

the higher the structure – the deeper the supports for the foundation must be.

i confess, i have judged many people, friends, in their construction journey for the amount of time they seemed to be throwing away. now…theyre some of the most solid people i know.

makes me think of the many endeavors of mine that have fallen from their shaky existences. i didnt put enough time into them. i invested nothing in the digging process. perhaps i didnt wanta get dirty. maybe it was too much hard work. i didnt wanta be seen in that horrible construction outfit. but all the laziness and lack of determination and discipline has only caused more work.

today…i grab my shovel. and i dig. and i dig. and i dig some more.

are you digging today?

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50 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2010 1:21 pm

    Amazingly good thoughts, Tam. Thanks for sharing. It’s all too easy for me to want the pretty building to go up overnight, with disastrous results, just because I see somebody else’s pretty building.

    • March 6, 2010 10:46 am

      ah, yes…the comparison thing. always a snagger and shovel stealer.

  2. Shauna permalink
    March 5, 2010 1:27 pm

    Thanks for the reminder Tam

    • March 6, 2010 10:46 am

      it was something that i needed more than anything. but always happy to share πŸ˜‰

  3. March 5, 2010 1:31 pm

    This is good! It’s so, so true!

  4. March 5, 2010 1:32 pm

    thanks for sharing this. just what i needed to hear. i just realized (from my last post) that i’ve been hit with fatigue… and it’s weighing me down.

    God has been nudging my heart to take away EVERYTHING right now that isn’t a priority (which is family) and dig on my foundations again. i’ve been so involved in moving, packing, leading, serving, praying, prophesying, enjoying, doing everything that “needs to be done” that i’ve forgotten the art of just being with Jesus (my Firm Foundation).

    and i will do JUST THAT…. dig deep into His well of Life.

    • March 5, 2010 1:33 pm

      …and rest in Him. (i thought i typed this out…but i didnt)

    • March 6, 2010 6:17 am

      Patricia … I’m RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. I was so tied up in my ministry life … I was so identified by others (and myself) by my ministry activities that – when they were taken away, I had an IDENTITY CRISIS.

      So I feel you sister. I am trying to figure out how to do the exact same thing – let him dig my foundations and just REST. I was supposed to be writing a new post on Isa. 40:31 (They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength….) but this post today by Tammy interrupted me … πŸ™‚ I’ll REST now, and write my Personal Devotions post later on.

      Resting together in HIM!

    • March 6, 2010 10:54 am

      and i loved your post so much!

      im always so happy when people, i, actually really hear the Lord and respond. thats what youre doing. such a blessing.

  5. March 5, 2010 1:47 pm

    i love this post. great reminder that i need to spend more time going deeper with Christ.
    Thanks for this. love your blog and your tweets!

    • March 6, 2010 10:55 am

      thank you, melissa.

      we can never go deep enough, thats for sure. but dang it if that shovel isnt heavy πŸ˜‰

  6. March 5, 2010 2:05 pm

    Awesome post Tam! Up until 5 years ago my giftedness always outweighed my character. I spent so much time culivating my gifts and ignoring my character…implosion is a matter of when not if! Thanks for sharing your journey!

    • March 6, 2010 10:56 am

      mmmm, great insight. im glad you shared this, justin.

      without good character what good is the rest.

      having met you…i think you have beautiful, Godly, character.

  7. March 5, 2010 2:35 pm

    Definitely a good word!
    I needed to hear (read) this.

    • March 6, 2010 10:57 am

      kinda slapped me in between the eyes this week πŸ˜•

      i never know what to write either ‘read’ or ‘hear’.

  8. March 5, 2010 2:38 pm

    This was such a good post, sister. And the image is one that is going to stick with me…

    • March 6, 2010 11:01 am

      yay! cuz i didnt want it to be unsticky.

      how do you like that non-word?

      πŸ˜€

  9. Heidi permalink
    March 5, 2010 4:26 pm

    Wow this stirred me on so many levels…

    ” Digging” to me also means escavating. The more we dig the more we discover and find freedom, grace,and meat.

    “digging” also brings a sense of fear. A fear of nakedness and truth of change.

    My dad was an civil engineer for over 30 years, he actually designed a few landmarks in Portland, Oregon and the steel bridge, I remember him telling me that when you start a project, first read the blueprints scan over them diligently,2nd dig a big hole, 3 rd hire people whom are smart and want to be teamplayers. I asked him what does that mean:

    He says anyone can go a do something but if you don’t have the team or blueprints than you have a shallow hole.

    Dig deep create wells of joy.

    • March 6, 2010 11:02 am

      i LOVE how you can pull so many lessons and perspectives out of anything, heidi.

      we do discover things as we dig. uncovering the earth can be very healing. albeit very hard in the process, but always worth it.

      thank you for this, sis.

  10. March 5, 2010 4:31 pm

    Honestly? Not digging.

    • March 6, 2010 11:03 am

      honestly? im not either most of the time. but dangit if im not gettin old and time is a runnin out.

  11. March 5, 2010 4:34 pm

    If I don’t daily check my foundation I run the risk of having a shaky day. The biggest memory I took from treatment was that the foundation of recovery MUST come first. It’s the same with my relationship with God. If there is any crack on any side of that foundation, I am not trusting God.

    Another analogy I have heard in recovery is looking at recovery like a 4-legged table. Each leg is a part of recovery. Take 1 leg away, the table gets wobbly. Same with a foundation, say for a house. That’s how I look at my recovery. And my relationship with God. Like a pilot checks his plane before take-off, I must check the foundation each day. I can build what I want, but if I don’t maintain the foundation? It all goes to, well, you know.

    It’s never a 1 person job either. God is with me every step. I am powerless to do any of this on my own. I have IRL friends and a huge network of online friends. We may not talk every day, but sometimes just knowing that connection is there. When I fall. When I feel like crying. When I’m happy. If only you weren’t way the heck south of me! Next time you come north toward the Clayville’s……We could have coffee. Wait, I don’t like coffee. Ha!

    • March 6, 2010 11:11 am

      i love the table analogy. such a great visual. and i have lived without all four legs before. i compensated by staying in one corner of the table all the time because that was the least shaky area.

      isnt it funny how we spend so much time and energy trying to make the best out of a self-induced bad situation, rather than just putting forth the effort to correct it.

      • March 6, 2010 8:22 pm

        that’s why I like the phrase “maladaptive coping skill”
        Defined as:
        1. Faulty or inadequate adaptation.

        2. Not assisting or promoting adaptation.

        We use inadequate adaptive coping mechanisms to numb ourselves to seemingly overwhelming issues, but we end up heaping more issues onto ourselves, which necessitates and perpetuates the cycle of coping skills that are, bare bones. . . self-deception as a form of self-denial.

        So so so fascinating.

        • March 7, 2010 10:14 pm

          it is fascinating how we take short cuts. but theyre really not. in the meantime, creating such bad habits. we spend so much of our lives having to unlearn things.

          and im gonna use the word ‘maladaptive’ in a sentence tomorrow. makes me feel smart when i say it πŸ˜‰

  12. March 5, 2010 6:00 pm

    mmmm…. this was good for me to read right now. I’m on the edge of something (potentially) that I won’t be able to pursue if I don’t “dig” first. Makes me feel like I should have been digging all along so I don’t have dig faster now. We should always BE digging so we can be where we need to be when God calls us to be there, instead of scrambling later. :sigh:

    • March 6, 2010 11:12 am

      “Makes me feel like I should have been digging all along so I don’t have dig faster now.”

      thats good! so well said and true, brandy!

      love you! cant wait to see you soon πŸ™‚

  13. March 5, 2010 6:01 pm

    and I wholeheartedly agree….. that overpass was more than annoying. πŸ˜†

  14. March 6, 2010 5:39 am

    Well crap. I must be building a mondo overpass.

    Great analogy Tam. Much needed perspective. Thanks.

    • March 6, 2010 11:12 am

      haha! but its gonna be worth it, dear friend!!

  15. March 6, 2010 5:54 am

    YES! I’m digging!!!!!!!!

    Thank you for this post…. It is exactly where I am right now.

    Thank you, Tammy ….. Thank you…. “the higher the structure – the deeper the supports for the foundation must be.” Digging is back breaking, hard, PAINFUL work… but so necessary…..

    I needed to be reminded of this today.

    LOVE YOU.

    • March 6, 2010 11:14 am

      im so glad this spoke to you bajan! and am more glad youre digging! youre an inspiration, thank YOU!

  16. March 6, 2010 6:42 am

    wow tam. this one is pretty powerful. so very true.
    digging? yes. i just quit my job at cvs, but I feel like God is totally working in it
    all. doing what i need to do, to be who i need to be. and yes, amen.

    i think the foundation can always have room to be more solid then it is…
    we are all a work “inprogress” πŸ™‚

    • March 6, 2010 11:16 am

      i agree…the foundation can always use support. i think as our lives change, as yours just did with quitting your job, we have to revisit our foundation as our structure may go in a different direction.

      keep diggin, girl πŸ˜‰

      • March 6, 2010 7:56 pm

        Yes, I HEAR that! It’s like ” Okay God, I was here, and doing this, and now I am over here and now what?”
        Its so hard to get used to the new foundation he places us on sometimes, we aren’t used to it being more above ground then we are used to, but regardless, we have to learn to walk on the new foundation set forth in our lives. Otherwise, we should have just left ourselves to standing on the sand.( which is like quicksand)

        I’m a diggin’

  17. March 6, 2010 7:03 am

    Wow, what a powerful lesson sister, kinda reminds me of the house with its foundation on the sand as opposed to being built on the solid foundation of rock. I too have wasted a lot of time building on foundations that were not deep enough, so now I dig, deeper and deeper. God bless you and yours,
    BlessedDad

    • March 6, 2010 11:19 am

      definitely like the passage. yah..my life has been a shaky-mess of building on shallow depth. from relationships to finances to even parenthood at times.

      now that im headin toward the big 4-0 😯 it is reeeeally hittin me.

      thank you, blessedDad!

  18. March 6, 2010 7:37 am

    I agree we always seem to want our overpass built over night. Paying no attention to the need for a deep, strong foundation. I like what Heidi said, that digging means excavating. Getting rid of whatever could cause our overpass to be shaky, unfirm. While I was reading this I thought of the parable of the man who built on the rock and the one who built on sand.

    • March 6, 2010 11:24 am

      definitely true. ive had so many shattered structures. and THEN be surprised by their demise.

      do you think that in this current generation of, ‘the world owes me’, this is gonna be a lesson that is just passed by?

      i just see a society of not wanting to put forth the effort. it scares me, quite honestly. i see it in my kids sometimes too. gotta intersect that one real fast.

  19. March 6, 2010 8:32 am

    Here’s the thing about shoveling. It’s monotonous. You have to deal with hard soil, rocks, and treacherous, unmarked lines of cable or gas that were put there in the seventies by somebody.

    You get sweaty really fast. But you gain muscle mass–particularly a stronger back, enabling you to keep digging. You may also discover things that you forgot you buried and now have to deal with, but are worth digging up anyway.

    Sometimes my arms get tired and I stop.

    And sometimes I forget that the boys I oversee at the facility I work at are digging, too. Some of them, anyway, and for me to get impatient about their speed, progress and direction isn’t fair. I forget they have miles to dig down before they will ever be able to start building up. And it sucks for them. It sucks because I think they have way more rocks in their soil.
    And then there are the ones who sit in the shade looking at the shallow hole they’ve made, sipping lemonade, and blaming the heat, their clothes, their lack of strength–anything they can in order to justify their lethargy; they’re content sitting under the shade waiting for the hole to give way, somehow.

    I keep praying that God would give me strength to keep digging, and that I’ll have an understanding of when to stop digging down, but not be overwhelmed with the time it will take to do that. I am praying for the ability to know when to encourage my boys to keep digging, despite their obstacles, and the courage to challenge them to get off their lazy butts and pick up the shovel and do something with their lives or nothing will come of them.

    Thanks for this reminder. Really.

    • March 6, 2010 11:26 am

      keep digging!!! i think by you tending to your foundation the ones around you will see that and be inspired to dig too.

      i just love the honesty in your comment here. thank you for that!

  20. March 6, 2010 9:24 am

    So Good! Yes digging and sometimes I get really tired and grumpy and put down the shovel for a bit but then pick it back up because in the end I know its worth it!

  21. March 6, 2010 10:48 pm

    i want Him to build me tall and strong, so i know that means letting Him dig down deep inside me. i feel like i’ve been in that digging process for so long now… i can’t wait to see the structure start going up. but i don’t want to rush the process or shortcut anything. i’ve seen how that causes the building to topple.

    i’ve been stewing for a while over the thought of needing to develop my character more than my calling. and i think it ties in with this same thought of digging deep before i can build tall.

    • March 7, 2010 10:17 pm

      “but i don’t want to rush the process or shortcut anything.”

      and thats so easily done. ive spent my entire life doing that, looking for ways to do that, then cleaning up my mess from doing that. ugh.

      i love your character before calling thought. so, so true, alece. that right there should be a blog post at the grit. get on it, girl.

      i like your brain a whole lot o bunch.

  22. March 8, 2010 9:05 pm

    Thank you for the reminder to keep pruning my roots! I want to stand firm in all I do. Dead wood be gone! πŸ™‚ thanks for your words. I needed to hear them tonight!

    • March 8, 2010 9:13 pm

      you are so welcome!

      glad i could be of encouragement for you πŸ™‚

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