Am I the only one?

I struggle.  I admit it.  Am I the only one at age 58 who still questions if they are living their life to its full potential?  Do we ever stop asking that?  Are we supposed to stop asking?  See?  I struggle with that.  It isn’t that I feel like a defective part of the human race or a parasitic amebae, because I am productive. Where I get lost is on the path itself. I look ahead and see a jungle of opportunity. I look back and see pools of experience, all of them defining who I’ve become. Therein lies the problem. At the fork in the path, which way do I turn? When I examine my roots and remember from childhood what I thought would make me successful and happy, I realize they still follow me today.  When I was 12, I was certain that I would be an author of books, but today I am just as certain that I will not. Later I was convinced that I would write and deliver strikingly demonstrative training to hundreds of people who were trying to find their way.  Today, I am just as convinced that I will not. Persuaded that the future belonged to experts in technology, I bought a computer and read every article and book recommended to me on the subject of development and testing with the side benefit of writing. I have discovered that technology advances so quickly, it requires a dynamo.  I am not a dynamo.  In fact, I barely keep my head above the water at low tide – but I keep paddling just enough to keep from drowning.  I love all the nuances of project management, tracking and measuring and finding more effective ways to make things better.  Because of my drive to always be learning, my favorite activity is research.  So where I am going with all this?  I have a future out there and know that every decision I make has a consequence; could be good, could be bad.  I know that I am passionate about research, writing, and helping others.  I wonder am I the only one who wants to live a productive life and finish strong, knowing that they made a difference?  Of all the passions in my life, things I want to do – I’m really not all that great at any of them.  But I am a highly skilled helper, friend, and encourager. None of those will ever by found on a annual salary chart.  In fact, I expect my salary is fixed right where it is today and will likely decline in the future.  So am I the only one who is happy with their life, thankful for all the threads of experience but still question if they are on the right path, one that will carry them productively through their twilight years? Am I the only one who never wants to coast, who wants to make a difference, even if they aren’t an expert at anything?  Who wants to have influence even though they have not advanced far from the the bottom rung of the ladder? Is it OK to be content to be a servant leader, silent and supportive, but satisfied where they are.  I wonder.  Am I the only one?

Make Us Courageous: Men AND Women

The movie Courageous puts a lot of focus on the role of the man, the husband, the father in the home. True – men are the leaders in God’s eyes and are accountable to Him for how they treat their wives and children. Women are also responsible to God for the roles they play. I’ve heard and read comments about what that all means for women.  Never have I read in the Bible that women are beneath men or are inferior or are the weaker gender.  That’s all human erroneous interpretation.  God created men and women equal, but with differences, physically and emotionally.  The wires might be the same but they spark differently and they are the life and breath of the individual.

There is too much focus on the differences and not enough on the sameness.  If we could focus on how we can support each other at home and at work instead of competing, our lives would be more productive. If we could look at ourselves and compare ourselves with ourselves we would grow increasingly better and excel in areas where we put our passions. By comparing ourselves with others, whether men or women, we whittle away our inspiration and creativity. We spend our energy and precious resources in fruitless attempts to measure up to someone elses standards.

For the best life experience, let’s look inward and be ourselves so that we are living the life we were meant to live, whether as a strong woman or a strong man. We are called to be who we are, not who someone else says we should be.  God created individuals, all with unique characteristics, ambitions, talents, and yes – personalities. There is no such thing as perfect, but we can be perfectly who God meant us to be.  I love some of the words of the song Courageous by Casting Crowns:  Seek Justice, Love Mercy, Walk humbly with our God.  We can’t do any of those things if we are focused on who is better instead of rising up to be better than we were yesterday and better tomorrow than today.

Be blessed and better today.

Where can we find peace?

As soon as the news hit the world that Whitney Houston was found dead in her hotel room, the online comments started pouring in. Most of them were expressions of sadness and complimentary of her beautiful voice, popular songs, and her influence on other female artists.  But others stung with the attitude that she got what she deserved because she was on crack cocaine. When a person passes away, does it matter at that point what the underlying cause was?  Whitney Houston was someone’s daughter, someone’s wife, she was a mother.  Whitney was a friend and mentor to many.  Yes, she had it all, she was a celebrity, her life could have been different – couldn’t anyone’s?  Here’s what I think.

Whitney had everything except fulfillment.  In her search for what would fill her spirit and soothe her aching heart, she gave up and gave in before she found it. I’m sure in her seeking she felt desperation when nothing she tried, filled the empty place in her heart and in her life.  We are all in danger of self destructing.  We get broken a little bit each day, sometimes beyond repair.  Other times we put a bandaid on it and keep going.  Then there are other times when we find restoration and complete healing.  At those times, it’s a beautiful reconciliation with ourselves and spiritual awakening that drives us forward.  We have the courage and the fortitude to go on.

The seeking and restoration is only possible when we seek after God the creator and sustainer of life itself.  Matthew 5:1-12 talks about the blessings rained down on us by our Father in Heaven.  When I think of those who suffer with fruitless seeking I pray that they remember the beatitudes.  Verse 6 says: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.  The only way to fill the deep, intense, and emptiness in our soul is to seek the Lord and let His spirit fill the empty space that is shaped like God and intended only for Him.  I encourage you to go read Matthew 5. Blessed are the poor in spirit for they will be filled.  Read for the pure satisfaction of knowing God is taking care of you.

Seek the LORD while he may be found;  call on him while he is near. Isaiah 55:6

So do not fear, for I am with you;  do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help youI will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

Go in confidence and let God reign in you today, give you the sense of His presence and almighty power.  Be at peace in all you do.