Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Meant to Do That!

Well it's been too long since my last post, but our children's bereavement camp is over now and I am back to only one or two full-time jobs! Do you ever feel like life is a runaway train and you're dragging off the caboose? Can't let go - not sure if you can hang on? That's how I've felt for the past several months. As I anticipated the end of camp and a reprieve of sorts from the non-stop craziness I thought about how my life had gotten so out of control. I figured out that it happened this time the same way it happens every time. Little things creep in subtly until I'm completely reactive. Basically that means that I'm bouncing around like a pin ball in one of those arcade games. That makes me dizzy and gives me a headache!

What to do about that?

Well the opposite of reactive is proactive, one definition of which is: acting in anticipation of a change or need. Some synonyms are: fore-thoughtful, forward-looking, visionary.

Visionary. I like that. That's what I want to be.

Look back at the definition. The first word is 'acting'. Taking action. A deliberate thing. Intentional. That is what I want to be.

I have a vision. My vision is to establish a non-profit organization to address needs in my community such as homeless families with school aged children, and young women facing pregnancies for which they are unprepared. As I have recovered from the exhaustion of camp and begun to pray and think more about these needs, God has begun to feed ideas into my head and with them is coming an energy and excitement that I have not had for a very long time.

I have a vision, a vision to write and publish fiction novels and inspirational books to help others in their walk with God.

I can have these visions all day long. I can think about them, dream about the future, wonder what it would be like if only...but until I intentionally step out, make a plan and work it, they will stay only dreams. I don't want to get to the end of my life and have regrets about these visions. I don't want to say, "if only...". I want to live the next part of my life with purpose and intention. I want to decide what is important and do it. I don't want to just sit back and see what God will do in my life. I want to intentionally engage him every day, learning his heart, letting him change my life, and letting that change fuel the visions that he has given me.

I must intentionally:

  • cut out wasteful activities and useless busyness
  • schedule time to plan and research
  • DO IT!
  • live every day knowing that I am on a mission for Christ
  • say no to activities - even good ones - that are not productive and will get me sidetracked
  • look for opportunities to serve others - every day
  • make it my mission every day to be noticeably different for Jesus
  • seek the Lord every day  - he is my strength, my protector, my source of life and love
Tonight and every night, I want to be able to look back at the activities of my day and say,


What about you? Are you living deliberately - intentionally? How do you manage that? If you are not but want to, what are the obstacles that you face? Please share. We all need the encouragement!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hitting The Wall

Do you ever feel like you just don't have one single bit of anything left? Has your brain become so tired of waiting for you to slow down and take a break that it finally used the auto shut-down option and has now left you for calmer pastures? I'm getting a visual that goes something like this. picture a motorcycle with one of those little side car things. You're driving - of course - and your brain is sitting in the little side car. You're going way too fast and scaring your brain to death. She keeps screaming "Slow down! Are you crazy?" and "Don't go left here...we are so lost!"  You keep driving and smiling because of course, as the driver you know exactly what you're doing...right? Now picture this nasty little turn coming up. It's a bad one and your brain has now had enough of trying to talk some sense into you. After one more try..."Please don't go around that turn - I'm warning you!"  You...can you guess? go around that turn. This time, however, your brain takes action. There's a little linch-pin holding the side car where your brain is riding to the motorcycle. Brain simply reaches out, grabs the linch-pin and pulls. She coasts happily to the soft, grassy shoulder, feels the warmth of the sun soaking in, and decides that this is the perfect place to take a little nap. Meanwhile, there you go flying around the corner - without your brain!

I feel like I've gone flying 'round that bend while my brain is resting on the side of the road. The problem is, right now, especially for the next eight days, I don't really have the option (barring some great catastrophe) of stopping for a rest. What do I do now?

I may not be able to take a physical break right now, but I will choose to make time for my soul. I will meet with the Good Shepherd who makes me lie down in green pastures, leads me beside still waters, and restores my soul.  Take a minute to read Psalm 23. Most of us know it by heart, but that can sometimes make us miss things that we should see. These are not just pretty words used at funerals and other events because they sound good. This chapter is a description of our Lord as our protector and restorer. I don't know about you, but I really need that today.

I will be thankful today that this is one part of God's nature, and that he is always faithful and true to his nature. His protection is with me today, and even in the midst of chaos and busyness he can restore my soul.

How about you? Do you need to remember the God who restores your soul? Write this verse down and carry it with you today. Read it often and meditate on it. Let the truth of it sink into your soul like the warmth of the sun and restore you.

Psalm 55:22  "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."

Don't worry, you're not righteous of your own works, but because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. It is a gift, and once God gives it to you and you accept, it's yours forever. He did not bring you to this place - whatever that place may be for you right now - to leave you. He is there with you right now, sustaining you, waiting to teach you, refine you, restore you. Let him do it. Tell him how much you need him today. Tell him how much you love him. Then listen. Your weary, exhausted heart will hear his still, small voice and will thrill to the sound of the Father saying, "I love you, too!"

Can you relate? Does your soul need to be restored? What scripture is meaningful to you at times like this? 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grace for Dust

I'm at a difficult point in my spiritual walk with God right now. For months, starting about last September, I have had such a sweet fellowship and time of learning and growing. Then June came...I don't know what happened in June, I just know that it has been a difficult time for me to continue that fellowship and so many of the spiritual disciplines that I had cultivated over the past months. Here are some things that have tripped me up:

  • I stopped fasting once a week
  • I stopped exercising
  • I started learning about blogging and social media and got caught up in it - morning times became a time to check email and blog posts (none of which are bad things) INSTEAD of spending time in the word ( okay, there's the problem!)
As a result:
  • I'm exhausted all the time
  • I'm not sleeping well - probably because I'm drinking caffeine again
  • I feel overwhelmed at work
  • I have a hard time focusing and concentrating
Ooh, that's painful to write, but it's the truth. At times like this it's hard to simply get back on track because I feel like I've let God down - disappointed him - lost favor with him. The truth is, I have broken fellowship with him. I miss him, and I believe he misses me. 

How do I fix it? Well, this morning I just sat down at my desk as I usually do, and instead of opening my laptop, I opened my bible, and there he was. I read a verse that has become so special to me because it is a reminder that God understands me and loves me. 

This is my special verse: Psalm 103:14  "For he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust."
I love that! Follow it up with this: Hebrews 4:15-16  "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find GRACE to help us in our time of need."

I don't know about you but my time of need is every minute of every day. I don't have to waste time beating myself up because I slipped. I can get right back into the groove because he's right there waiting for me. 

I have recognized this as spiritual warfare. My feelings and thoughts tell me that God doesn't want me back until I get my act together and prove myself to him. If that isn't a lie straight from the pit of hell, I don't know what is!  If the enemy can keep me working hard on fixing myself he wins. On the other hand, when I remember that God simply waits for me to turn to him - that's it - then I immediately plug back into the source of my strength and let him fight the battle for me. I really like that part! I have to be ready - in the word and prayed up - all the time, but God fights the battles.

No matter how much I slip or struggle he is always God; the same yesterday, today and forever, and he is the one who gives grace for my dust. 

What causes you to struggle the most? Are you frustrated and trying to fight this battle all alone? What scripture can you use to help you fight this battle? 

Live today as one who is graced, and be thankful. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Legacy of Eternal Proportions

As I thought about this post, and the day on which it would appear, I thought about the legacy left to us by our forefathers. It has always amazed me that they had such insight as they wrote our constitution. I believe, as I do about all things, that everything good comes from God. How else could we explain a wisdom and focus that would be specific enough to organize an entire country, yet broad and open enough to grow and change over the next two hundred plus years? Yep, definitely a God thing.

As great as that is, and as much as I love this country, I have to remember that establishing the United States of America was not an end in itself. It has a purpose in God's complete plan.One day every nation, great and small will come to an end, and there will be only God's kingdom. That will be a great day, but until that time, we have work to do - we as in, our country and each of us.

Our forefathers left us an amazing legacy, but it is a temporary one. Consider 2 Corinthians 4:18:  "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

So many things that we do will leave a temporary legacy, but like a stone tossed into a placid lake, the ripple effects of our actions will continue under God's hand to propel his plan and  further his kingdom until the end of time.

What does that mean for us? For me it means:

  • never taking the little things for granted
  • never missing an opportunity to serve (whatever that may look like for you)
  • remembering that God does everything he does because he loves us - all of us
  • remembering that I will never see the entire picture
  • never losing sight of the fact that this is all leading to the fulfillment of God's plan for us
  • remembering that we do not operate in a vacuum
  • remembering that each person we encounter - no matter what their situation - is precious to God
  • remembering how much I need him - my own wisdom is so limited
So, what do you think? Have I babbled like an idiot and traveled in a circle here, or does it make a little sense? As you celebrate our nation's birth and the legacy of our forefathers today, take some time to consider America's place and purpose in God's plan, and then consider your own. It is both daunting and awe-inspiring to know that we each have a job to do - a legacy to leave behind. 

The only eternal legacy will be the lives we touch for Jesus. How are we doing with that? It's never too late to make some changes. 

Have a safe and happy 4th, and of course:

                                       God Bless America!