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!
Life can get extremely stressful. We can struggle with agendas, time restraints, expectations, shortfalls, and so much more.
It is so easy to get caught in the swirl of the immediate, the tyranny of the urgent, and the ‘have to’ of the moment. After all, everyone expects it now.
It’s true; things have to get done, budgets need to balance, deadlines have to be met, commitments need to be kept. Stack onto this loss, failure and missed moments and you have a volcano ready to blow! And that is just the workplace.
Now come home to what feels like a litany of expectations and family commitment. At times, it can be just overwhelming. It can be hard to hold or regain equilibrium.
This locomotion of this multi-car freight train seems impossible to control.
How do you stop this menace?
Years ago now, I managed to locate my house from a flight as we flew over our city. I measured it with my thumb as I looked out the window. My thumb covered my entire property. I said to myself, “I am spending my whole life working for something that I can cover with my thumb?”
How do I wrestle my life back into perspective? How do I regain balance and margin?
I guess I have to ask myself the hard, revealing and penetrating questions.
What am I really working for?
What, rather who, matters?
I want to spend my life for who and for what is most important.
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.
So much of my life has had to do with the retrofit, examining and reflecting. This pondering and taking stalk has proven to be invaluable; but, once you have figured out how you ‘roll’ then you have to begin the action of rolling.
What is the plan? What are the steps? How do I break it down into the bite-size pieces? Who do I need to partner with to make it happen? What do I need to avoid? When am I going to start? When will I accomplish my goals? What will the accomplishment of these goals look like?
This ‘getting it done’ is where I need to live. These are the next steps for me.
Not just a vision, though imperative; not just a dream, though essential, just a well laid-out, step-by-step, growing plan that has been initiated and is what I follow.
I had to write four papers for a course that I was taking while our city evacuated because of the “Beast.”
At the same time of writing these papers, I was privileged to walk with a dear friend through her stroke, intensive, then palliative care. She eventually succumbed to her illness. Sadly, I will be conducting her memorial service tomorrow.
All this happened while I have had a regular work schedule and also a somewhat ‘ramped up’ pastoral schedule again, because of the Fort McMurray Fire.
Now that the smoke of this course has cleared, I am excited to concentrate on this blog and the official launch of this site.
Very shortly I will be able to provide details of a new book that I have written, “Path Out – Eliminate the Swirl.” I will make it available here, and I am looking forward to the help that it will offer for those who are continually dealing with the issues, the swirls of ‘yesterday’.
It’s going to be a great Fall. I look forward to moving ahead with 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.
There is ample opportunity to cut corners, to cheat, to ‘score,’ to sell the flawed dressed up as the perfect, after all, everyone else is doing it, or are they?
I can hear my dad in my ears, “Well if everyone else was jumping off a bridge would you do it?”
The answer is supposed to be ‘no,’ but I’ve grown up in a culture that actually jumps off bridges and pays someone for the opportunity. So the point gets clouded and indistinct. I see a culture today where there is a lot of ‘fuzz’ and not enough clarity.
Where are the Daniel’s of our day, the three Hebrew children? Where are the uncompromising, the integral, the honest if you will?
When it seems not to matter when no one appears to be looking, where are the men and women who play it straight?
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.
So what do you do? What do you do when you find yourself being inconsistent?
I don’t have personal experience here, but others I’ve heard…Right? I’m sure each of us has had times when, being brutally honest, we don’t measure up to the exact measurements that we expect of ourselves. Yes?
Well, one tact is to pretend this is a problem for someone else and just move on. It’s the same idea of, “Don’t worry about where you are, just run faster.” Going faster might show great enthusiasm, but little to no reality for consistency. “But, if people see that I’m busy then they will respect me, honour me, love me…”
Then there is the honest way. I’m human, and I have the exact struggles that you have. Maybe I’m stronger in a given area, but I also am weaker, that’s right, I said weaker, in another.
The bottom line?
I guess I need to grow. I need to struggle to have life work well for me. I guess, “I guess I’m inconsistent.” There I said it.
Now I know where to work. Do you care to work with me?