June 29, 2012

Process of Decision

It seems to me that I’ve been going through a period of time that has required serious decision making in quite a few areas of my life.  Quite honestly I have found it to be at times: tiring; troubling; a time of doubting; upsetting; a struggle; distracting; and divisive – just to list a few feelings.  I find myself also being impatient, indecisive, short tempered and unsettled.
In my quiet time as I stood still with the Father this morning facing yet another decision, I commented out loud asking “why can’t it just be an obvious and clear answer?”
A clear, obvious answer came!

The process is just as important as the decision.

By examining all the aspects and the way an answer fits (ie. the process) – there will be:
-a better awareness of pros and cons
-an awareness of potential issues that could arise
-a willingness and readiness
-a better awareness of my own feelings, biases and how I communicate
-a clearer awareness of my own strengths and weaknesses
-a stronger foundation on which to build
-the knowledge I’ve grown; individually and together with others on joint decisions
-in joint decisions there is mutual understanding and purpose
-a personal clearer purpose

This time has reinforced that as I make life decisions I need to be in prayer, be in the Word, and seek the counsel of Godly mentors.  It has also reinforced the need to stand still. 
A couple of these decisions have reinforced that there are times in joint decisions when the process is more than what I feel has been laid on my heart or whispered to my spirit. It is rather listening to the whispers spoken to the family – what is weighing on the hearts of all. 
This time of decisions has also reminded me I need to intentionally let go of my anxieties, fears and wants; let go of my plans in order to be able to have what God has planned.

I’m sure there is more for me to realize here – but I trust I will learn or eventually see His purpose – sometimes things take awhile for this kid to learn…ha!

I continue to learn to be able to let go and let God – to say willingly (not begrudgingly) “Thy Will be Done”.

Psalm 119:105  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight
Proverbs 15:22  Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 16:1  To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue.
Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Matthew 6:33 Seek first His kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

June 19, 2012

For those alone or lonely

A conversation from the past replayed as I was lying in bed.  Someone I knew had commented that she had been so alone and lonely.  This floored me.  She had a husband who was a man of God; three loving girls for which she was very active in a multitude of activities supporting their interest and talents; attended and was involved in her church; part of a women’s group and involved in more than what even I was aware of.  Yet, she felt alone and lonely; having many acquaintances but no close friends. No phone calls to chat or check in – unless she initiated it; no emails with encouraging messages or sharing funny stories; no invites when couples went out or families got together – unless there was a need “could you watch my daughter,” “can you bake a dish,” “could you drive?”

I couldn’t believe that someone I admired so much felt so alone.

“We all get trapped in the business of life” I suggested.

“If some one values you – time is given and even enjoyed” she said through a sigh. “I’ve asked people to coffee or lunch or shopping – often met with “busy” and then heard stories of the deal at the restaurant or the funky shirt that was seen as they shopped.”

She told me ‘I decided I needed to step back and let what I thought were friends go.  I’d hoped that maybe they’d show me …” (she lowered her head).

We got together a few times before she moved for coffee, prayer, discussion.  The last time we spoke she told me she was okay.  Her conclusion – “I can be alone and not lonely because my best friend is Christ and He will not leave me where I am”.

I pass through the empty valley she was in – sometimes again and again - with the companions of ‘alone and lonely’. It is then I remember her words and SMILE.  I might feel lonely but I am never alone. I have also learned that my best friend Christ will not forsake —I will not be left, deserted, or abandoned in the darkness; Christ is my Light.

Is. 42:16 - “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

June 14, 2012

Vertigo of life

I suffer a few health issues that at times tend to make life run a little less smoothly.   Vertigo tends to challenge me periodically.  It’s a dizzying sensation in which I lose equilibrium.  Sometimes accompanied by light-headedness, vertigo causes me to go through my day with unsteadiness.  Perception is tilted and there is a feeling of wavering motion as I am trying to move forward or even just be.  On those days, all I want is to have balance restored.
I realize that this is actually a physical manifestation of how so many of us exist in daily life emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  Many of us find ourselves juggling so much – schedules, commitments, concerns, quests for perfection, quests for success – that we seem to be endlessly searching for some kind of balance in life.  And finding balance in our lives is important for studies have proven that a balanced life improves mental and physical health.
So the questions become – How do I find balance?  How can I live life feeling balanced?

There is plenty of advice on how to have a balanced life:  get organized; create daily routines; establish a good support network; be flexible; simplify your life; track your time; leave work at work; nurture yourself; learn to say no; rethink your errands; drop activities or even people that sap time and energy; establish and focus on your priorities; take down time; exercise; relax.
While all of these pieces of advice may hold benefit, I have learned from experience – both in my physical struggle and in life – that the ONLY way to overcome loss of equilibrium is to focus beyond…    The answer/cure/solution will never come from inside yourself or a source that exist within this earthly realm. 

Peace… balance…  contentment…  answers… come from beyond and above; from a God who knows, cares, and loves.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Isaiah 26:3
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

“For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…I can do all this through him who fives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13

June 12, 2012

"Who do you say I am?"

A recent devotion focused on Matthew 16:15 and Christ's question, "Who do you say I am?"
As I was Standing Still with this question I became amazed by how personal the answer to this question is at any one given moment in my life.
When I am walking through the dark times - He is the "Light of the world" (John 8:12).
When I am on shaky ground - He is the cornerstone (Luke 20:17)
If I am searching for a direction or answers - He is my wonderful counselor: the truth and the way (Isaiah 9:6 and John 14:6)
When I am feeling distant, weak or unsure in faith - He is the "author and perfecter" (Hebrews 12:2)
When my spirit is in turmoil - He is the Prince of Peace (John 14:27)
When I hunger - He is the "bread of Life" (John 6:35).
When I am feeling inadequacy, convicted and know I fall short in my sinfulness - He is the Lamb of God; my Redeemer and Savior.

Considering once again the question "who do you say I am?" my mind and my heart ponder perhaps a different perspective - "who does He say I am?"
I am both humbled and filled with joy as His Word provides answers:
1 Peter 2:9 reminds me that I am His Chosen - "called out of darkness into his wonderful light".
Galatians 3:26 tells me that in Christ I am a "child of God."
Romans 8:17 says that I am an "heir of God and co-heir with Christ".
He knows me so intimately that He knows the number of hairs on my head (Matthew 10:30) and my name is written in His hand (Isaiah 49:16).
I am so loved that "He gave His only Son" (John 3:16).

I am so very thankful for a Heavenly Father who holds all the answers to questions I have at any moment of my life.  It is my prayer to know - that each of you may know - fully His love, His mercy, His faithfulness, and His abundant grace.

John 6:35  I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
John 8:12  When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 14:6  Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Hebrews 12:2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith; who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.