Being the mom of three teenagers, we have some interesting conversations & experiences. In their lives, there a significant events that seem to be defining moments, like getting a driver’s license, taking their first solo missions trip (without me), getting their first job, etc. While these events are very monumental, it seems to me that the more important stuff happens in the preparation for these events. For example, my husband has been massively attentive to help them practice driving so they’re fully prepared when they take their drivers license test. And the work they do at home to clean, do laundry, etc prepares them to do good work on their first independent job, hopefully.
I say all of this to encourage both you & me that the defining moments are hopefully nothing more than the cumulative total of preparation & practice to ensure that these moments / experiences go off with great success. Don’t neglect the importance of daily routines & practice as these set us up to succeed for what can seem to be pinnacle experiences & events 🙂
I’ve frequently thought of faith being this clean, powerful, superhero, handsome, supernatural ideal. Like if faith was a person, it would be stylish, muscular, manicured, well appointed, organized & timely – maybe like Captain America in The Avengers. Indeed, when I read about the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, they all seem powerful, competent, effective & generally great role models, mostly.
In actual truth, when I look at these heroes more deeply as well as my daily attempts to live a faithful & faith-filled life, it often feels messy, murky & muddy. The outcomes of faith are very appealing but the walk & work of faith isn’t quite as pristine & manicured. It seems to me that faith is both a walk & a process. We love the results but sometimes we want to escape the work, uncertainty, mess & process that precede the outcomes.
Just because faith can be messy, murky & muddy doesn’t mean we should quit. Indeed, the process is worth the results 🙂
I know that I’ve had a good workout when I’m breathing heavy & it takes me awhile to catch my breath – I like that feeling because my body feels good & spent. So if I’ve worked out really hard, it’s nice to pause for a few minutes & catch my breath before I move on to the next task.
I think God made a great example of this “pause & catch your breath” thing when God rested on the 7th day after having created the world in 6days. Further to this point, let’s remember that God blessed the 7th day, a day of rest & recovery.
Let’s be careful not to ignore or dismiss this important principle of rest & recovery into our lifestyles. It’s good to rest 🙂
We are on the homestretch with this lovely Christmas season & this makes me happy, today. There have been years when I found myself wrapping packages at 11:30pm on Christmas Eve, on the verge of an emotional meltdown, feeling overwhelmed with the work I still had to do and no time. Sometimes I can struggle with some procrastination challenges – hmmmmmm
Final countdown modes can help us be hyper-productive. But I think there’s better value in steady and consistent work than massive bursts of energy with stress and pressure.
Here are some things to think about for steady and consistent:
Let’s be consistent with love, particularly with the people who get on our nerves
Let’s be steady with healthy daily routines: eating, working out, drinking water, etc
Let’s stay consistent with growing and improving ourselves in wisdom
The most important thing for our consistency is maintaining our daily Bible & prayer time – nothing keeps us from drowning or being a victim to devotion than this discipline
Today, while I was buying some paint for a home project, some nice lady offered to hire me to help her with painting her cathedral height room. This was really random & I’m baffled as to why she would think I have painting skills. That being said, there’s lots of good things to be said about laboring & not just on Labor Day 🙂
Work can be an essential part of God working out His purposes in our lives through both the outcomes of work as well as the character work can develop inside of us. I can appreciate that work can be overwhelming & sometimes we can feel like it’s a curse. But even if you think that your work is a curse, consider that God can redeem curses in lots of creative ways, maybe even with home painting projects ,)
My stellar husband cleaned our home office, which had turned into the dumping zone for hiding clutter when guests would come over. This space in our home is also where our kids practice their instruments & we keep the majority of the books I use from time to time. So be clear that entering this room was a hazardous adventure, using politically correct terminology ,)
My husbands way of organizing is to pull EVERYTHING out & then sort through stuff – this can be kind of messy. My way of organizing is to take small parts & deal with them where they are, putting them where they belong a little bit at a time. So over this past weekend, the tripping hazards were plenteous.
Here’s my takeaway lesson: different isn’t always better or worse, it’s just different. When I think about the differences between Joshua & Moses in the Bible, neither was a better or more effective person, they just had different ways of doing things , largely because they had different divine assignments. Let’s be careful not to evaluate people based on our filter, call or methodology ,)
Different isn’t better or worse, necessarily. It’s often just different 🙂
It can be easy to let routines & the daily grind lull us into not paying attention well. Doing the same thing day in & day out can be monotonous, tedious & numbing. Maybe this, in part, is why God implemented a sabbath rest – a day that’s different from the other 6 days of the week.
I think that doing something different one day a week helps us to recalibrate, come up to periscope depth & get some fresh perspective. Indeed, I think I listen better & see more accurately when I do the sabbath thing. Be sure to get some illumination this weekend from taking a rest / pause 🙂
In contrast to success, I don’t think any of us purposefully set out to fail or enjoy defeat. Indeed, the word, “defeat” causes me to recoil & evokes a gagging reflex in me. Truth be known, I’d rather not try & avoid defeat than to try & feel defeated – operative word, “feel”.
How we feel & what we think about success is really important to consider because our thinking & feeling affect what we do & even how we organize our priorities. Let me suggest to you that we humans tend to frame success in the terms of results but maybe God frames success in different terms. Perhaps obedience is more important to God than results. Is it possible that God defines success as obedience more than results?
It seems to me that most of us like things clean & shiny more than we like the work & effort that goes into making something shiny & clean. Yesterday, my kids & I cleaned out some of our garage. Needless to say, I found lots of undesirable junk (half eaten otter pops, sticks that were used as swords, an ancient waffle iron, wood planks, etc). After lots of sweeping, washing, moving, organizing, etc, part of our garage is not longer a hazardous waste dump 🙂
Sometimes, I think we need to do the deep cleaning work in our thinking, values, time usage & relationships. Life gets filled with clutter over the course of time & it’s tremendously helpful to declutter our lives from time to time so that we manage our time, money & energies to reinforce our central & timeless priorities – shiny clean 🙂
In my travels around the world, I’ve eaten some very creative things. I found out quickly that it was easier to eat what was placed in front of me, if I ate first & asked questions laters. Coaching the mental game for some of the things I’ve eaten was tricky, to put it mildly. Again, eat first & ask questions later. For those of you with allergies, you totally get a “pass” on this one!!!
However, there’s a saying that if you have to eat a frog, stop staring & start swallowing (or something like that). Long story short, when we have difficult tasks in front of us, the longer we wait & procrastinate with these tasks the worse it gets. Eat the frog, do the work & move on.
I spared you the Japanese live frog sashimi – you can thank me later,)
Whenever I go snowboarding, I’ve learned to check the weather forecast so I can be appropriately dressed. If it’s snowing, it helps to wear water repellant gear. If it’s cloudy, I try to remember to bring my flat light goggles. While you may find this to be boring, the principle remains that we need to prepare in advance for things that we know could be challenging or difficult. Sometimes if we know that we’re going to be in some tricky family situations (with Christmas around the corner), it helps to do some mental coaching ahead of time about the things we should or should not discuss. It helps to coach ourselves about our attitudes and some of our thinking so that when we get in some potential hotspots, we have done some preparation work ahead of time to help us with our words, actions and attitudes. Gear up my friends, in constructive ways, there could be some hotspots on the horizon in the next few weeks 🙂
Recently, I was doing some volunteer work on a house of a flood victim from the horrific flooding that happened last month here in Colorado. My specific assignment was to remove the carpet tack strips in the house that had been ruined from the water that had flooded the house. I’ve never had any carpet tack experience so I just plopped on the floor with the metal wedge tool and tried to pry up the strips that were nailed to the floor. I quickly found out that those little strips were extremely hard to get up & I just settled in my mind that this task was going to take a lot of time and work. After about 30min of work & having only made about 18 inches of progress, an experienced construction guy came along & encouraged me to use a hammer with the metal wedge. I asked if that would make the task easier & go more quickly to which he heartily replied, “YES!!!!” So I grabbed a hammer, watched him for a few seconds, learned the technique & voila!!! I was removing the carpet tack strips much FASTER!! The hammer was a force multiplier!!
In our lives, we need lots of force multipliers to help our work be not only efficient but also highly EFFECTIVE! Based on what the Bible says, wisdom is our force multiplier and through requesting & working with wisdom our lives can be suprenaturally effective. Let’s frequently ask God to give us wisdom J
This has been a fairly crazy year for me with travel, particularly during the 1st half of the year. As a result, it has come to my attention that I’ve put on a few pounds (did you like how I suddenly got formal? smile). Thankfully, no one has made any overtly rude comments or observations, but I can most definitely tell a difference with my clothes. So I’m getting my rear in gear to see what great things can happen from endeavoring to get back into shape 🙂
In order to be more fit, to be stronger & more healthy, I have to put some work into these areas – a truth that can apply to every area in our lives. Discipline, effort, work & committment can have some very glorious results in our lives, particularly when we join with God’s grace & power working in our lives. Without some effort & engagement I can quickly get flabby – just a little food for thought ,)
As I write this, it’s about 8:15am & I’ve already had a million things that I need to accomplish running through my mind & I’m hoping I don’t forget any of them. Even though I try to do all of the helpful reminders, checklists, etc, the forgetting part can make everything double stressful. So where does God fit into this scheme?
The answer is: wisdom. In Prov 8:30, it talks about how wisdom was right along side God as God created the world, taking delight in God’s creation. It seems to me that creating the entire universe could be a rather stressful task, but maybe this wasn’t stressful because God is God & wisdom is with God.
So friends, let’s ask God for wisdom to be with us throughout each day & in all of the things that we have to accomplish & with our various responsiblities. To get things done, let’s ask & receive wisdom from God 🙂
In my mind, working hard & believing strong are an essential winning combination. I have some friends who are hard workers but kind of weak believers & it seems like they just can’t get a break & have some results that exceed their hard work. On the flip side, I have some friends who are strong believers but lame workers – they can be ethereal but impractical. The worst arrangement is when a person is a weak believer & a lame worker – that’s lethal! So my friend lets cheer for each other to be strong believers & hard workers!! 🙂
When I was growing up, we used the Big Chief red note pads to learn how to write. I still remember that dingy paper & the giant lines in which I was supposed to keep my writing (good luck). When I started using the regular white lined paper, I remember thinking that it seemed like they wasted alot of space on the sides because the Big Chief paper didn’t have the red line on the left – margin. As I continued to refine my writing skills, I started writing smaller & smaller so that I could get more stuff on the page – at one point, my teacher probably needed a microscope to read my writing.
So here are some thoughts on space & time:
margins create clarity – when we try to squeeze everything into a small space or time, everything can get blurry and confusing really fast
while we are designed to be productive and to achieve things, it’s important to maintain balance between workload and breathing room
Well friends, I’m back from Angola with Saving Moses & life continues to maintain its seemingly hectic pace. Do you ever feel like there’s more work than time or energy? It seems to me that often when I return from int’l trips that I have lots to catch up on & this return home seems no different than any others: using a snorkle to keep swimming until I can come up for air. But here’s something that is really encouraging to me today as I try to catch up from last week’s travels: keeping my focus on Jesus helps me to not get overwhelmed with all of the things I need to get done.
As I was praying this morning, I just was encouraged to remember that Jesus already knew about everything that I need to get done with the limited quantity of time that I have. With this in mind, I receive great strength knowing that if I keep my eyes on Jesus, He will help me. It’s when I get my focus off of Jesus & onto the Mount Everest size work in front of me when I seem to get discouraged. So, let’s keep our eyes on Jesus & keep swimming ,)
There are lots of things that I want. I want to: be effective with saving moses, be smart, be healthy, to know God, be a good mom, be a good wife, be strong & compassionate, . . . . . I want alot of things & here’s an important secret to getting what we want: In order to get what we want, we will often need to do what we don’t always like.
I’m reminded of this principle today as I was reading an organizational structure & business book. As I was reading the book, I found myself thinking, “This is why I didn’t major in business at school.” Neverthless, to help saving Moses be all that God has designed it to be, I have to grow in some areas that don’t really excite me. In order to be a good mom, I have to continually improve my communication skills, especially with listening. In order to be a good wife, I need to get better at home improvement projects both big & little. I genuinely believe that God has designed us to some really cool stuff & it seems to me that seeing these cool things become a reality will require our cooperation, even when we may not like the process 🙂
I live in Denver and we’re having a really lovely snowstorm – it’s beautiful, quiet and abundant! My kids have been playing in it for most of the day because school was closed due to the snow. I was driving around in it a bit earlier and I’ve noticed a few things that can be helpful not only w a snowstorm but also with life:
clothing is like our attitudes: the right attitude can turn many hardships into some great potential fun
together is better than alone: playing in the snow is much better with a friend than alone and the same is true for hardships
time changes things: in the Summer its hard to imagine snow and in the Winter it’s hard to imagine 90 degree heat, but its only a matter of time until things change
teamwork can clear off alot of driveways, or so they say ,)
Ok, right off the bat, please forgive me for not blogging since I’ve returned from Angola. And here’s the honest truth: when I come back from these trips where I connect with moms, infants, healthcare workers, etc who live on the frontlines of infant mortality everyday, coming home can sometimes be complicated. This return, especially compared to last year, is less difficult emotionally for me, but is more physically difficult. Please don’t interpret my thoughts here to be complaints because I’m deeply thankful to God for this absolutely magnificent honor of getting to love “the least of these”. Nevertheless, my body is pretty worn down so I’ve been endeavoring to maintain my essential priorities that of course include nurturing healthy relationships with my family.
With all of that being said, let me also include that I had one of the richest times of the year with God yesterday morning – waking at 3am due to the time change. We had some delicious fellowship meandering through Acts 3, when the beggar was healed at the temple.
I’ll get back into the blogging routine here & shortly we’ll be putting up some great pix from our Angola @savingmoses trip 🙂