I love the extravagant splash of Fall colours. The sun rises or sets and the field narrows, it becomes targeted by cloud cover and the brilliance becomes breathtaking; oranges, yellows myriads of green all exploding on the nearby hills.
But then, there is also the bland and the barren in copious amounts. The scorched black and grey, brownish and overcoming, all-encompassing reminders of a terrifying day; The ‘Beast’ took its toll. So we are left with a painful reality that both exist, beauty and the ‘Beast.’
Where will you look? What will capture your focus?
It is impossible but that you will see. It is totally a choice as to where you look
Go for the colour. Go for the splash!
I, and some others are doing it. It is going to be fantastic for all of us.
My friend has crafted a plan by which about 24 of us can actually benefit from loss.
Of course, you guessed it; I’m talking about weight.
We will benefit physically, and a couple, maybe more, financially. We will lose and win after a six-month challenge. What could be better than, for the next six months, learning to live healthier, eat better and work out regularly? From where I sit, soon to be working out, I think that is a win.
Now, what about life?
How can you win from losing?
I think that there is a trick to it. Here it is. If you have to go through some tough stuff, make it pay! Don’t go through with complaint; go through with getting a wider angle, a larger reference, a shifted paradigm.
That’s how it works. You either let it wreck you for the bad, or you let it wreck you for the good.
I think that Andy Stanley said it, “Wisdom is simply the widest angle of perspective possible.”
So, if you are going to go “through it” at least get the wisdom, that is readily available, from it.
I tried to bring tomorrow’s worries onto today’s grid. That can even work sometimes, but not when you have a full load today; all that does is overload, blow circuits and cause the angst to skyrocket.
I know better.
I would coach you differently.
Without even thinking; actually that is the problem, I was not thinking.
Possibly like you I was just going along ‘handling’ my day. As more things presented, I just added them to the ‘handling’ stack. No thought, no challenge, just piling them higher, deeper, thicker.
All at once they hit, and I was feeling overwhelmed. I’m glad that I’m the only one who has ever done that. But then I started to think and filter but first I prayed, “Lord I am feeling overwhelmed right now.”
As I filtered, I thought:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV)
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV) That grace to help interprets to me, “God’s enablement” to help in our time of need.
This one I kind of stole from Moses’ blessing to Asher, “The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days.” (Deuteronomy 33:25)
These filters allowed me to equalize my tanks and recalibrate my pressure. Now you can do the same.
We have everything we need to cope and manage for today. We, however, overload the day when we borrow worry from tomorrow.
Come back to the moment. As often as you need to, come back to the present. Actually, come back to His Presence. He has Grace, Enablement, more than sufficient to meet you and to help you.
We live our lives, augmented with moments.
Moments used to be an actual measure of time many years and moments ago.
There were 40 moments in a solar hour which was the day divided up into 12 equal parts between sunrise and sunset. Moments then as now were on a sliding scale depending on how long there was the sun in a day. Today they slide as well depending on how much time you pause or linger.
Are moments only given so we can have a philosophical view? That was a surreal moment, …a tragic moment, …and that was a precious moment. Is that the only reason why we have the stall in time in our minds?
Or, are these moments an opportunity to transform our perspective, an opportunity to invite the divine?
I’ve been doing the latter for this last while. I’ve changed one word in a scripture passage that I memorized in my childhood, and I’ve been applying it with frequency. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6, NKJV)
I’ve changed ‘ways’ to ‘moments.’ “In all your ways [moments] acknowledge him,” or a different translation would say, “in all your ways [moments] submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)
Taking our moments, all of them, our great ones, right on down to our lousiest ones, and submitting them to him, right at the moment, we will be given the path out of wherever we are emotionally, spiritually, and even physically.
Maybe take a moment to think about that.
I know that I live in a day and age where I am judged by the word “Christian”, but the problem with “Christian” is that there is no singular definition that suffices.
Is it “Christian” by my standard or yours, because they are probably not the same?
“Christian” has taken so many meanings from so many corners of the world for so many different eras. For some, “Christian” gets its definition from the Crusades. For others, it is the standard by which my wife wears her hair. And, I agree with you those two are not even close to being on the same playing field, but that is how diverse and how polar the word “Christian” has become. It has taken on its definition from the actions or lack thereof of those who are supposed to be learners of Jesus.
So, you can have “Christian” I don’t want it. I don’t want to have my life governed by a sliding scale of judgment, innuendo or manipulation. You can try and put the term on me, but I’ve decided not to wear it.
I’ve decided that I would rather get lost in the identity of Jesus. I want to live, love and look like him. Oh, he had his accusers. He had those who wanted him silenced. They were more interested in their name, their pedigree, and their protocol. The accuser’s religious pride could not handle someone who just did not care about his religious appearance or his family name.
Yes, I’ve decided that I want my life to be on a trajectory of Christ. If I can stay on that trajectory, then my life will have meaning. I’ll agree with you again; I’m still a long way off, but that is where I am heading.
We are not talking about the book, mythological or actual, “Humility and How I attained it.”
It is not something that I have arrived at and now “I will instruct you,” but I am on a journey.
Rather than arrive, I embrace the idea and the reason for humility.
Humility is not; walking around with our heads hanging down having an Eeyore kind of attitude, “It really doesn’t matter anyway.” It’s not about being poor; it’s not about being the last or least although when confronted, with these things, it will show up.
Humility is not about discrediting yourself or your abilities. It is not about pretending or being glum. It’s not about a comparison with anyone (human) else.
I believe that humility is a wide-eyed, open understanding of who you are in light of who Christ is. All my learning, understanding, wisdom, and talents are laid open before God. Then I see him in all of his glory, or all the glory I can perceive and the result is humility.
If I compare myself with you I might even get to look good, (usually in my own eyes) but when I compare myself with Christ, I am at best, a work in progress.
Jesus, the only one qualified to have a reputation, took none. We, who are unqualified, try to get a reputation.
Jesus humbled himself. (Philippians 2). We who are unqualified should have the same mindset and do the same.
As soon as I catch a hint of vision, of something great, I want to be there sooner than later.
Raised around the push-button culture, I have been affected. If it takes more than a second for a screen to pop up on the internet, I start double clicking buttons and seeing if I can speed it up a bit. Oh yes, we expect instant, immediate, and we can even marshal a Broadband Speed Test to verify our angst.
We are the result of our past culture and have continued to perpetuate impatience in our present.
Even though the foot tapping and fingernail clicking pass the time as we wait, it is counterproductive for what is important.
There probably isn’t a person who doesn’t want to change in some regard in their life. This desire makes itself evident from marketing in our culture and purchase financing that accompanies it; we are looking for the missing ingredient to change and make our lives better, faster, more comfortable, efficient, and more desirable.
The fact is the part isn’t missing. The component is age-old, and it works at the speed of change as it has for many millennia.
It works through a chain of events that are intrinsically linked. These work with precision and accuracy and may well be one of the only ways that lasting change can happen.
The chain is this: suffering, trials, and faith testing -> perseverance, maturity, character, and completeness -> hope, not lacking anything. (James 1:4, Romans 5:3-5, NIV)
I would rather push a button as I would bet you would as well; this is why many swear off on our generation and say that once you become an adult, you don’t or can’t change.
But, you can! Do you want to change? Do you really want to become the person you vision in your dreams?
The formula then is: suffering -> perseverance -> character -> and hope. It may not be inviting, but it doesn’t have to be negative. The label will ultimately identify the attitude you take toward the discomfort that comes with true change. That label is what you determine, either positive or negative.
Here’s the thought; keep the focus on who you want to be and process these uncomfortable requirements. You won’t have to hunt them down; they will present themselves to you soon enough. The result of this three to four step process will be a new hope and new future, but not right now. Process.
Forgiveness – I have learned how to give forgiveness, and probably even harder, how to receive forgiveness.
Faithfulness – I have learned how God has shown up every time to help, heal and renew. I have observed how to imitate Our Father In Heaven in learning to be faithful.
Grace – Grace is not just a burp in God’s justice, but an enabling of his purpose in our lives and our marriage.
Change – I have learned that I need to change and that I cannot change my wife.
Repentance – I have trafficked here way too often and have had to seek forgiveness with repentance – and if not, how to repent anyway.
Courage – We are living our lives, unscripted, unrehearsed. We live to face the music each day’s song with a smile and hope for our future.
Respect – I have had to learn to respect just because. Respect is paramount to our success and our ability to move forward.
I have learned to communicate – She doesn’t always think my thoughts the way I think she should. Nor do I think hers. Thus, we’ve needed to talk and listen to each other.
Humility – Realizing that I am not what this is about. We are walking together; we are side by side; we are equally engaged and responsible. We, us, our, are our pronouns of choice. If I hurt her, it hurts us. If she hurts me, we ‘smart’ together. If I give up my life, I get ours. I win by giving.
Giving – We have decided that it is not 50/50. If we are giving, it is all in 100%/100%. What is mine is ours. What is hers is ours. We have given and had given up, but what we have given up we have gained back in spades. I would have us, we, and ours all over again. She and the marriage that she shares with me are so worth it.
Love – How much time do you have? – We have loved each other deeply from the heart. We believe that “Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:8, NIV)
Love is a four letter word and sometimes it is plain old work. Sometimes it is spelled, WORK.
These are some of my thoughts about today.
Here is my thought about my wife, “Linda I love you so much. You are the one that I adore, honour and serve with my entire life.” I love you, babe!
We live in a culture consumed with pithy sayings that fit on coffee mugs and t-shirts.
I’ve got to say that I love a well-placed thought/epiphany maybe more than most. A saying that will provoke or inspire, or provoke and inspire is a welcome addition to most days. Occasionally I will meander through Pinterest just to see who is quoting whom and posting what.
What probably isn’t all that useful is a cupboard full of mugs and t-shirts that sit there, a compendium memorial to a moment of, well you know, a moment.
Here’s a thought, ironic, why not take the next worthy ‘pithany’ and engage it. Allow it to seed and germinate. Maybe water it with a muse here or there and enable it to inculcate its way to your sub-auto level. Remember I said worthy.
Let me help you get started. “…love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22)
I don’t know enough. That is probably true. But, what do you know?
I don’t have enough experience. That could also be true. But, what experience do you have?
I don’t know what to say. In a moment of stress or pressure, everyone can fish for words. What can you say?
I am not qualified. If I were living from your vantage point, I would probably say the same thing. But, what are you qualified for?
Isn’t it amazing the excuses we come up with when life faces us with a challenge or an edge? The dodge, the excuse, the hiding to let someone else step up, is very human. You will find it as far back as the ancient deliverer/emancipator, Moses.
Moses gave up all the excuses. His self-worth was so non-existent that it was based on someone else’s self. He wanted God to choose someone else, anyone else, but God wouldn’t let up.
God asked him, “What do you hold in your hand?” Moses held a stick, a dead piece of wood and you thought that you didn’t have anything to offer. With that stick, God engineered one of the biggest people movements in history. It’s an amazing story, good for a reread. (Exodus).
So here we sit some thirty-two hundred-ish years later, and we have the same excuses.
The difference? We are so much more endowed with greatness and great opportunities. Our technologies put us leap years ahead of anyone from that former era. We can learn, read, and apprehend at a pace profoundly greater.
There is something else the same. We have the same God. Again, he has endowed us with greater access to him than back then. We now have an audience with the Master of the Universe with just a simple request. Phenomenal.
So really, what is your excuse?
What is it you have in your hand? Could it be that it is precisely the thing, the talent, the knowledge that God is looking for?
Any chance you are willing to lay it down, and give it to God?