It’s a snowy day here in Denver, so the snowplows are out on the streets and most drivers are being cautious. This is good unless you’re running late and in a hurry, then it can seem to be not good. So I found myself coaching the mental game this morning, choosing to acknowledge that the driving conditions were improved with these adjustments.
I would suggest that the same holds true with God. There are times in our lives when things aren’t going as we want or had planned. Maybe there are some unexpected hiccups, unforeseen delays, extenuating circumstances, etc and such things can be abundantly frustrating. It’s also possible that God is working through such difficulties, hardships and hiccups for our best interest. I say this because of Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” So let’s keep loving God, stay true to His purposes and trust that snowplows and stoplights are operational for our best interest!
My husband & I enjoyed a delightful dinner at a “healthy” restaurant last night. The menu overflowed with nutritional options, including the desserts. My indulgence was a chia parfait and I wasn’t expecting anything very tasty. Indeed, my kids will often associate consuming healthy stuff with things being flavorless, at best. More often they think that healthy is flavor repulsive. So it was nice to be pleasantly surprised with the delicious chia parfait!
I wonder if it wouldn’t be helpful to consider nutrition in not only a food context, but also in the contexts of our attention, spiritual disciplines, relationships, intellectual pursuits, time management, conversations, etc. And ultimately, no one & no thing is more tasty or healthy than a deepening walk with God! Indeed, let us taste and see that the Lord is good! Psalm 34:8 🙂
It never ceases to amaze me how much we grow, as humans, in our first two years of existence. Not only do we gain weight and increase in height, but we also massively grow in our cognitive, emotional, relational and identity capacities. And we continue the growing experience when we go to school, learning lots of stuff related to communication, fine motor skills, organization, moral quandaries, computational proficiencies and the list goes on.
Just because we become adults, doesn’t mean that we should stop growing. May we never limit our capacities nor abilities to:
Doing important stuff can be intimidating & even overwhelming. And yet, I believe that we are on the planet to do important stuff.
For example, today I’m joining an amazing team to do strategic planning for Saving Moses. It’s an important activity because today’s outcomes affect babies & toddlers who would die or suffer abuse / neglect without our efforts. So we are doing important stuff!!
So when you do important stuff, here are some things that might be helpful:
Pray: it’s necessary to include God with important stuff
Plan: my husband helps me remember that proper prior planning prevents poor performance
Do: take a step & start even with something small to do / make progress
Teamwork: include people & be a good team player
Measure: it’s helpful to pause & take inventory of the progress & direction
Everything is great! Life is fantastic! I’m blessed & highly favored! Living’ the dream!
I’ve said these words more than occasionally when my life isn’t whipy, when I’m tired, sick & when stuff is awful. So was I lying? Was I making a faith confession? Was I living in denial? Depending on the day or hour, yes 🙂
If we want to love genuinely, let’s be ready for someone to be honest & say that stuff isn’t going well. Indeed, when Job went through a season of living hell, his friends stayed with him in silence for a week before they said a word. There was no sunshine mantra in the conversations w Job & his friends. When a friend goes through a crisis, let’s be willing to walk alongside them with honesty & not get ruffled.
As it relates to having a personal crisis, I recognize that not everyone can handle our honesty or when things aren’t going well. And that’s ok! Let’s allow God to bring people into our lives who don’t always settle for the sunshine mantra.
Choppy or smooth? Icy or powder? Chunky or groomed? These are all descriptions of the snow conditions when a person skis or snowboards.
When I was first learning to snowboard, I struggled to navigate changing conditions. I was really good on groomed runs but ice caused me some significant problems.
I’ve been snowboarding now for almost 15 years & I can navigate various conditions usually without injuries, although I have definite preferences.
I think the same can hold true for us as we mature in our walk with Jesus. Early on, maybe we didn’t have the agility to navigate disappointment or unanswered prayers. As we mature in our walk w Jesus, it’s helpful to keep love as our top priority regardless of the changing conditions. I find that the more I stay in love w Jesus, regardless of what’s happening around me, the easier it can be to navigate changing conditions 🙂
In high school, I never watched wrestling so I’m entirely clueless on this sport, except that I have an offspring who’s doing this sport now 🙂
So I’m learning things that are important & useful for daily living.
Here’s some things I’m learning from watching wrestling:
Preparation is important: if you want to succeed, it’s helpful to more than show up
Mistakes foster learning: it takes lots of learning to win & mistakes can be helpful ingredients for learning
Be willing to change: a flexible strategy can facilitate winning
Let’s not forget that Jacob wrestled with an angel of God all through the night in Genesis 32. He acquired.permanent limp & he was changed in both name & character. Sometimes we need to wrestle to grow & gain!
With the beginning of a new year comes lots of opportunities, quandries, questions and things to be resolved or addressed. For me, these things look like managing kids with changing schedules, planning international trips, navigating limited resources, strategizing for growth, resolving some conflicts and working through some unexpected hiccups.
I could easily get screwed into the ceiling with stress, worry, frustration, fear & anxiety. But a more helpful option is to pray. There’s a really old song about taking to the Lord, our worries, problems, etc . . . ” . . . . ,take it to the Lord in prayer.” Let’s make prayer our first reaction rather than our last resort!
There are kinda of weight classes: losing weight, boxing, weight training, wrestling etc. So dealing with weight can be an interesting concept which is frequently a popular topic at the beginning of each year. Here are a few thoughts that could be helpful when you think about weight:
**Future Preparation: sometimes today’s weights are training for tomorrow’s responsibilities. What might seem heavy could actually be helpful for weightier matters in the future
**Losing Weight: anxieties, fears, failures, insecurities & other stuff can be weights we shed so we can be less weighed down
**Time Lever: sometimes waiting can be weighty but as we wait on the Lord, we can gain new strength! Consider Isaiah 40:31, “Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”
There are some things that won’t change, like gravity, sunrise / sunset, increasing taxes & sand in the Sahara. But when things seem uncertain or there’s instability around us, we want something stable, solid, predictable and reliable.
Maybe it would be helpful to keep our trust in “certain” things, stuff that doesn’t change. For example, regardless of how we feel, the circumstances around us, surprises or mishaps, God’s love for you doesn’t change. In addition, regardless of who is in your life or who is missing, God is ever present and never abandons you. And let’s never forget that God is working out things for your benefit, as you stay in love with God & true to God’s purpose in your life, based on Romans 8:28 🙂
Let’s not allow ourselves to get unsettled or rattled by various uncertainties in life because God is very certain, faithful and loving toward us!
The week between Christmas & New Year’s feels like a “not ready” week, maybe because of all the festivities, bustle & frenzy leading up to Christmas, . . . . . And then we pause 🙂
And for such a pause, I’m abundantly grateful. I don’t have to get ready for anything – no dinner guests, no events, no sermons, no parties, no gift wrapping or last minute presents to buy. In this week, it’s ok to be “not ready.” So I appreciate the opportunity to lounge in pjs, take time for reflection, watch birds and squirrels eat berries off the tree outside my window, get my vacuum into the shop for a much needed tune-up, sleep in a little bit and be entirely comfortable with being “not ready.”
Maybe this idea goes back to the concept of Sabbath, when we pause from our work and take a day of rest. I sincerely believe that such a pause is an essential ingredient for growing in our intimacy with God 🙂
Artists can often think about what they’re crafting, painting, sculpting, writing or creating. They take whatever is their medium (a canvas, clay, marble, glass, pen & paper, etc) & begin to do their creative work. We can often concentrate on the medium & ignore or forget what isn’t there. And what isn’t there (the blank or void around the medium), is referred to as “negative space.” In some respects, what isn’t present, what’s missing, can often be equally as important as what is present, observable & the creative content. The absence can accentuate the creative work.
And to this end, let’s remember that what God does, divine creative work, is not only with & through us as the medium, but also in the pause, void & vacancy of what can seem to be missing. Don’t diminish or resent the negative spaces that might be happening in your life. Our Master Creator is doing divine work & you’re a masterpiece in the making 🙂
The past is a really interesting thing to consider. Like me, you likely have some very fond memories as well as some experiences that you’d rather forget. And today is a new day, with new mercies, new experiences, new people, new minutes, new activities, new adventures, . . . . lots of new for new days!
And may we never forget that God’s mercies are new every morning because the faithfulness of God is infinite. Let’s allow each day to be new & have a fresh start. Yesterday is over & today is a new day 🙂
Are you good at makeup, organizing, decorating, math, cleaning, cooking, exercise, socializing, baking, talking, etc? I believe that God gives each of us unique talents and abilities, which we often take for granted because they seem “easy” to us.
On the other side, I’ll bet there are some things that you’re good at doing now, but probably not very good when you started doing these things. For example, when I first started ironing shirts, I was awful. But over time, I’ve become more proficient with practice and now I’m much better.
Instead of framing things from a failure and quitting perspective, let’s consider that most of the stuff we do is practice and we are on the journey of continual improvement. For me, this helps me stay away from shame, discouragement and even quitting. Let’s celebrate practice and stay away from failing 🙂
“That’s not what I said.” A lot of times when I listen to someone talk, I have to realize that I don’t always hear what’s being said. And I don’t hear what’s actually being said because of my own perspectives / filters that obscure what is said. Consider that the religious leaders in Jesus’ day couldn’t hear His words because of their own filters. They were concerned about their position & power more than hearing Jesus’ truth & genuine love.
With this reality, we would be wise to consider what may be our filters. Here are some examples for your consideration:
Fear: failing & bad experiences can skew our ability to hear stuff clearly
Scarcity: lack skews our ability to hear clearly
Shame / Embarrassment: when something has terribly wrong in our lives we can easily feel shame
Jesus tells us to be careful what we hear & we would be wise to consider what filters we might have that could be muddling what we hear!
It’s easy for me to get a bad attitude when I’m tired, when I have jet lag, when a day is overflowing with bad stuff, etc. And I find that attitudes are important catalysts for how we experience life. In the Bible, we can see various people who wrestled with their attitudes & the outcomes. For example, David had good reasons to have a bad attitude with the Saul season & he endeavored to coach his attitude by keeping his focus on God – a really helpful principle!
Let’s also remember: a bad attitude ruins everything good & a goodattitude ruins everything bad 🙂
Moses is a familiar character particularly in the Old Testament but Aaron isn’t as known. And the truth is that Aaron was a massively significant partner to Moses to help him be effective & fulfill Moses’ divine destiny. God even assigned Aaron to be Moses’ mouthpiece for interacting w Pharaoh with the 10 Plague stuff. And Aaron was the first high priest in Israelite history, along w being a military support to Moses during a battle against the Amalakites.
Sometimes I think we mistake significance with fame or visibility. And even though Aaron messed up w the Golden Calif thing at Sinai, God didn’t shun Aaron & delete his participation in helping form Israel into a nation.
Let’s be sure that we stay engaged in community & a contributing partner no matter our shortfalls or visibility!
I’ve been reading about Moses and the significance of his impact for the nation of Israel. I appreciate that Moses had a plethora of significant impacts and here are a few concise take-aways from Moses’ life that we can apply:
age doesn’t need to be a limiting factor – Moses began his greatest impact when he was 80years old
teamwork is essential for significance – Moses partnered with Aaron who was God’s provision for Moses’ shortfalls
keep trying – Moses’ first interaction with Pharaoh seemed to backfire & make things worse for the Israelites
listen to God – this is the most important take-away that we can apply everday
Maybe when everything is said & done, probably the most significant thing we can do is obey God, with moment by moment help from Holy Spirit!
Imagine my surprise at 8:30am on Thanksgiving morning, when I unwrapped our turkey, only to discover that it was still frozen, with company expecting delicious & cooked turkey at 1pm. My son was helping me & our faces reflected mutual freaking out!! I was even pulling ice out of the cavity & trying to troubleshoot solutions. Long story short, we had a delicious, fully cooked turkey & no one got sick eating it 🙂
In the meantime, my son was the hero who helped me avert a Thankgsiving disaster and here are a few things he did that could be helpful when you face a possible cataclysm or fiasco:
Assess the situation and don’t freak out – gather as much info as possible to grasp the extent of the possible disaster: Everything was frozen on and in the turkey
Start thinking of little steps to make the situation better: We ran hot water on the outside of the turkey, as well as in the cavity
Keep working with the incremental improvements: We stopped up the sink so that hot water could get around the turkey as much as possible
Thoroughly inspect the progress: We frequently inspected the mobility of the legs to see if they were unthawed (greater flexibility = less frozen)
Be positive & encouraging: “Mom, I think we’re making some good headway in unthawing this bird!” That was really encouraging to me!!!
Teamwork: Appreciate that we are better together than trying to do catastrophes alone
The outcome of our efforts was a delicious turkey & a delightful meal. Possibly more important, I learned LOADS of helpful tips on cooking turkeys, I had a significantly bonding experience with my son and I now know how to cook a turkey at a fast speed 🙂