Just show up

I was reading a post by a young woman of 17 who I consider wise beyond her years, when she asked a valid question.  Although very young she was through high school and had already taken college classes.  She was contemplating very honestly:  What will I do with my life?  That struck me because as I approach the twilight of my career, I look back to the days many years ago when I first began to question my destiny.  I still sometimes wonder, what will I do with the remaining years of my life.  How can I make a difference?  I’m only one person.  Ah – but this is the key.  What God wants from me is to just show up even if the path isn’t clearly marked, even though I’m dragging my feet and am confused about what’s out there.  God requires only that I seek Him and just show up for the next 60 seconds, 1 hour, 1 day, in a week, a month …. and put my complete trust in Him.

We fret, especially when we’re full of anticipation and throw open the gate to possibility we are overwhelmed by what we should do with our future. Really? We’ve all had these ‘what-if’ fears.  What if I make a mistake, what happens to my future then? We all have to remember that we have this one moment, this one day.  It’s all anyone has. If we seek God on a day by day basis and walk with him just that day – then the next – then the next, that becomes our future and it takes care of itself….  We need to seek God ask His wisdom in every decision and then follow it.  God will lead us and enable us to do and be exactly what He wants us to be. He created each of us and gave us purpose.  He knows our strengths, our ambitions, and what our interests are. Choices will always be difficult and overwhelming.  That’s why it’s so important to invite God into the cafeteria of our lives and let Him point out the best for each of us.  I have made some pretty dumb decisions in my life and when I look back at where I took a wrong turn, I can see that it was when I said, “Look God.  I’ve got this one”.

I pray the blessing of God in your life and that we all realize we all have what we need to thrive and be what we were intended to be.  First we have to just show up! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c–GtojoyYQ&feature=g-all-u

When Silence Is All You Hear

Today, I am blessed with the opportunity to work from home.  I cherish every moment of being able to spend all day in the environment where I produce the best results of all the work I do. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX But this is better. It suits me and the 60 second commute is the best in the land. So why don’t I work here every day? Good question.  And I’ve asked God that same question many times and I hear silence. Have you ever had that experience? Why is that? What’s going on when we ask, well OK beg, God to hear our plea, fix a problem, tell us what to do or at least show us the path. Isn’t it especially stress-inducing when time is involved?  It’s like we have this huge clock in front of us ticking off the seconds while we  W-A-I-T it out.  I know God is up there watching me stare up at heaven, stamping my little foot and arguing my point with restless emotion “God time is nothing to you, but it’s everything to me. Please show me … please give me … please do this.”  And nothing comes. Why is that? This is what I think that all means.

We’ve all heard the three stages of an appeal put before God. Yes, No, and Wait – and let’s face it, there is a lot of wait! That must be why the Bible has so much written in it about patience.  Yes is easy and we accept it joyfully and move on.  No is difficult and that takes a lot more fortitude to accept, but at least you have the answer.  Waiting is – well – waiting is the most important skill we need to develop. Before I start a mutiny here, waiting is not interchangeable with procrastinating.  OK – that’s out of the way.  True waiting is realizing that God is working behind the curtain and our job is to hang on and let Him work. If you thrive on living a painful existence, get ahead of God. It works every time. Helping God out, forcing a situation, insisting that you have it right now will be excruciating. Life comes with enough discordance so why would we want to intensify it?

So how do we wait and what is our role in the waiting? Here’s where we start. One word: FAITH  But isn’t that the easy way out? Shouldn’t we be doing something? We are taught from age 2 that getting what we want requires some action on our part. That’s it! And you’re right. Faith is action and it can be the most grueling task of all. It’s so incredibly hard to wait. Give me patience Lord, but hurry! Here’s what we can do while we wait.  We can keep praying with the right attitude. “Lord, this is what I want. It’s important to me. Time is nothing to you, but it’s everything to me. Give me patience to wait for your answer.  Please remind me that you are in control and are working everything out in the best way because I love you. If you say no, give me an attitude of thankfulness because it was best for me. While I wait on you, impress upon me that faith is everything.” God listens. God speaks. Have faith.

In days of struggle and in days when life is fantastic with everything going your way, remember to talk to God. Talk to Him about everything on your heart and as it comes to mind. We all need to learn to speak with Him often. Why is that? Think about it like this. You have known someone well for many years; in fact they are your soul mate. You’ve talked with them in person, on the phone, over skype (technology is real you know) and their voice is embedded in your memory. They move away and you lose contact with them, but ten years later they call you on the phone.  Do you recognize their voice? Of course you do. It might take you some time, but you will know them by their voice.  This is why it’s so important to communicate with God. When we ask God for something and He answers (yes, no, wait) the only way we will know if it’s God speaking or our own human nature, is if we have learned His voice, if we have communicated with Him enough that we know that it is God speaking.

There are many voices today. Let’s all learn the voice of God, let’s exercise our faith and believe that God has our best planned out for us if we just wait on Him.  “I really want this God, but I will wait on you until I recognize that it is you speaking to me in your unmistakable voice.”  Here’s a song from Mandisa about God Speaking  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjyvC4trKzc

What to believe!

I can already hear you saying it. Now she’s going to tell me what to believe? That crosses the line. But I’m going to tell you anyway. As I contemplated last week in planning for the week ahead I realized there are some pretty big holes in my armor. Misunderstandings that make me doubt my value as an individual, miscommunications that make me doubt my motives, mistakes that make me doubt my abilities …  nothing I do is right. Whoa! How can this be? Do you ever feel like that? Do any of those things sound familiar.  Doubt! Value as a person? That’s impossible my friends? Before we were born, God knew what we would become. He formed us to be us, uniquely you, uniquely me. He knew there would be days when we would wake up saying, ”How did I get here? What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I _____?” When we answer those questions, we base them on human perspective, but God doesn’t. He looks at each one of us and he sees a treasure. He sees our potential. Where we see a blob of clay, God sees a masterpiece. It’s up to us though to see that masterpiece in ourselves and make strides toward it.  We have to believe God when he says we have great value. We have to believe that we are so valuable to God that He walks beside us every step – He never leaves us. Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you or forsake you”.  That’s a pretty strong promise, especially when we are suffocated by doubt. God is there defending us against those things that cause doubt. He can’t get inside to comfort us and give us strength for the day if we don’t open up and let Him.  Why do we so stubbornly hold onto doubt? Why is it so hard to let go of doubt and believe we have purpose, we have value, and we are far from perfect but God love us and He won’t grab us and pull us to Him, His spirit comes alongside us and whispers in our ears:  I am with you when you make a mistake and I will help you bounce back from it. Believe me, put your trust in me to help you move past it. I am with you when communication broke down and things didn’t turn out well. Believe me, put your trust in me and I will get you through it. I am with you when all those misunderstandings made you feel like you not only lost the battle, but you also lost the war. Believe me. Nothing is further from the truth. I am your God, you are my child. We are in this together but you have to put all your faith in me. All of it! ALL-OF-IT   You can’t hide from me because I love you too much. Please remember that I am the same God who David sang about in Psalm 139:7-10 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If we had no value, would God stand beside us? Would he be with us in every situation? Would he be the guardian of our soul? Today let’s let God be God. Let’s look ahead to this new day knowing that whatever we go through today GOD IS THERE.  Let’s not be like the doubting disciples who had to be reminded again and again:  Why are you so afraid? Why do you have no faith?

So where is that armor?  We need it! Today, tomorrow, until we reach our heavenly home, we need God, we need His only Son, Jesus, and we need faith to get us through. It starts with the one thing we can control – our attitude. Believe God because He, above all else, is believable.

As we step into this new day let’s remember:   Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God wlll be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Let God carry you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMZj0520v0g&feature=related

Ever have a day when everything went right?

OK everybody up! Rise and shine! Good Morning ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ 2 You ¸•♫¸.•.¸¸♥¸*♫ Just wondering . . . have you ever had a day when everything went right? Me either. Yesterday was one of those days.  It started off bad and progressed downward from there. So you know what I say about that! It’s a NEW DAY everyone. Today I am thankful that there is a new day out there, before the sun even comes up … a new day to write on, a chance to make it better than yesterday. This, I know for sure.  No matter what, no matter where, life is good, when God is there. Will today be better? It could be, I hope so, but does it really matter? I know that nothing catches God by surprise. He was right there yesterday during the little earthquakes, all of them there for a purpose, each one an opportunity to buck up and strengthen my faith that God is working everything out according to his plan an purpose. Do I know why? Not yet. Will I ever know? Probably not. but I know for sure, though the reasons are unknown to me I can’t miss the divine appointment with God. If you got close enough to hear me yesterday you would have known there was a line of communication going back and forth between Earth and heaven all day – that we me talking to the only one who knows all about me and loves me anyway, the one who gets t decide everything, and the one who is faithful.  In fact the one who wants me FAT (Faithful, Available, Teachable).  My prayer today is that it will be  better day.  But if it isn’t better by my standards, I will accept it, learn from it, grow stronger in my faith, and be ready for whatever comes.  Ready to join me? No matter what.  This is where it starts over – and it is going to be JOY filled. If you get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself.  Bring on the day!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuWneEsHERI&feature=context-vrec

Take back your time day!

Did you know there’s an official day for reclaiming your time? Me either, but if you want to get your time back, apparently today is the day.  October 24th is Take Back Your Time Day. Seriously. Here’s the official statement from http://www.timeday.org In July 2011, the United Nations urged all member nations to make “the pursuit of happiness” the goal of their governments and (here it is) find ways to measure their success.  It further claims that “Take Back Your Time is a major United States/Canadian initiative to challenge the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine that now threatens our health, our families and our relationships, our communities and our environment.” My comment?  True that! There is no doubt that we are over committed in many areas of our daily life. Over scheduled frenetic lifestyles have become so normal, we wouldn’t know what to do if we had 3 days of unplanned, white space on our calendars. I can’t fault the idea of pursuing happiness and agree that we need to reclaim some calming, restful times to unwind the tension and loosen up. But I have news for the organizers of this ‘major initiative’. The government will never be able to generate happiness! The celebration might be a packed agenda with great speakers and helium filled balloons and confetti shot from gold plated cannons – and I would be the first one to applaud their attempts.  I would also be the first one to ask the organizers how much of their time did they give to the cause. Are they the models of success at ‘taking back their time’?  We can all agree it’s a great concept, fabulous idea, nice try – but boys and girls, taking back our time is not a government regulated commodity, nor is it metric that can be measured.

Do we know where happiness comes from? Do we know where joy comes from?  Did you know that these terms Joy and Happiness are not interchangeable? Remember this is my blog, so these are my opinions shared here and you can agree or disagree – but what you read here is what germinates in my mind, smolders in my heart, and winds through many twisting turning thought paths before ending up here.  Happiness comes from external circumstances, things that happen in our lives that are good, consoling, make us feel good and we are happy. When I wish you a good day, I want only the best of circumstances for you so your day will make you feel happy and be happy. As parents we want our children to be happy, or grandchildren to be happy. Sadly, life is full of unhappiness.  Circumstances are huge barriers to happiness. Life is never perfect – in fact, life is tough, anything but perfect.

So where is this happiness? We can’t buy it on the street corner or get it from reading all the books on topic. Joy is internal. We all have it because it was given to us at birth. Some are better at deepening the roots of joy so its characteristics become stronger, some are better at snuffing out worry before it begins to smother their joy, some are better at producing a livelier  crop of joy – but we all have it. Joy, even from its most miniscule existence can be cultivated to proliferate despite our circumstances.  We’ve got the formula – it’s proven to work 100% of the time. This is not marketing my dear friends. This is truth.  Joy is manifested from the inside and if we get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself.  Philippians 4: 8-9 whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Someone at work said to me one day, “You’re always so happy.” They were dead wrong. No, I am not happy. I am joyful – despite my circumstances.  Today I am thankful that God gives us the tools we need to be joyful. Come what may, our God gives us everything we need to survive and thrive  in this present world.

The government will never be able to legislate happiness, nor will they be able to measure it. Our only hope for happiness is to generate it from the inside out. From joy that is at our core because our priorities are in the right order:  Jesus Others You (J.O.Y.)

Unfinished

I hear there is rain in the forecast. Interesting fact for the climate, but what does that mean outside the atmosphere? Many of us are affected by gloomy weather. Cloudy outside and … well what if that created an opportunity to be sunny inside. I think of a candle that shines so much brighter in the dark than when it’s in a room full of light. Think of  how that relates to how having the inside right, makes the outside take care of itself.

When it’s dark, gloomy, and raining, don’t we put on a raincoat, and maybe even shield ourselves with an umbrella? Why is that? Sure, too keep from getting wet. But isn’t it more than that? Isn’t it also to make sure our clothes stay dry, that we keep from getting cold, and worse yet, from getting sick? We protect the inner layer so we don’t suffer the ill effects later on. That’s how it is with the rain that drips irritations, drizzles frustrations, and all out cascades sorrow into our lives. We can be sheltered from  have to get out the armor, the rain coat, the umbrella (favorite Bible verses, supportive friends, and prayer).  It’s a new day we’re approaching . . . in fact, it’s here. Ready? Have you talked with God yet? Have you told him everything that’s on your heart? He knows it anyway, but have the heart to heart, get it out there where you can see at least the next step in your path. That’s why we have the light. It’s a good start and that’s all we need to get our shine on. Did you know our world depends on us to bring light? Somebody has to do it.  Why not us? Let God carry you high today…..shine shine shine. God will make today beautiful. Rebecca St. James – You make everything beautiful 

Watch it! unfamiliar path ahead

So did you watch the debate last night? Let me answer that. No! I’ve been listening and watching the story unfold and history being made for the past what? 10 months or more? Just as a game in sports is never won in the last second, neither is this political race. The final point, the final vote will decide – yes, of course.  But the game and this race has been played out over the duration. A debate (battle of words) doesn’t change circumstances, values, beliefs, philosophy, or evidence. Instead I reflected.  This Bible study on Daniel has taught me some new things that I had never thought about before. Talk about politics! Daniel was thrown into the lions den with ferocious (um the kind with big teeth and bigger claws than the storybook variety) blood thirsty lions because of politics. Let me clarify PRIDE of the king and politics. What changed Daniel’s situation? The king didn’t change his mind, reconsider and pull back. No! He even had a stone rolled over the den so there would be no turning back, no chance for Daniel to escape his circumstances. But prayer changes everything. Daniel experienced an intense encounter with God – his life was all about faith. What an amazing lesson in endurance, keeping the relationship with God alive, acting out of a heart filled up on faith. The uncertainties in life can overtake us, scare us senseless, smother our energy and rob us of our joy. Life has to be lived out of faith because this is the moment we have and our tomorrows are the accummulation what we do with all the little moments in between. My prayer is that we all remember that God clamps shut the mouths of the vicious lions – even those that surround us today. It’s all about walking by faith, not by sight.  We have to trust God in the dark for what He promised us in the light.  Here we go . . . stepping out in faith for this new day.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeTu8twnGvU&feature=related