opportunities

What Are You Doing???

“What are you doing here?”  This was the question asked by the angel of God to Elijah, as he hid in a cave, gripped with fear, anxiety and uncertainty.  Seems to me that maybe some of us might relate to Elijah, given the recent collection of corona virus (COVID-19) events: shut downs, alarming news, hoarding, toilet paper shortages, contagion and empty shelves at grocery stores.  When we add on the government telling us to keep social distance from anyone, stay home as much as possible and pay attention to your temperature, life can feel a bit apocalyptic.  So maybe we want to hunker down in our home caves and do the Elijah technique, escaping the panic that pervades our society.

To be fair, Elijah’s life was being threatened by the Queen of Israel and she was definitely a formidable and scary person.  So I recognize that I’m not comparing the same stimulating factors for the run and hide behaviors.  Nevertheless, I’m sincerely convinced that we can apply some fantastic and profound takeaways from Elijah’s experience, in 1Kings 19.

In this chapter, while Elijah hid in a cave, he observed lots of tumultuous events outside of his cave: a wind so strong that it broke apart rocks, an earthquake and a fire.  In verses 11-12, it says that God wasn’t in the wind, God wasn’t in the earthquake and God wasn’t in the fire.  But when Elijah heard a small whisper, a gentle blowing, he came to the entrance of the cave to listen to God, Whose first question was, “What are you doing here?”.

Maybe God would ask us the same question in this season, when the world around us seems to be upended and foundations unraveled.

What are we doing?

I’m absolutely a proponent for prudent and wise choices in this turbulent season.  However, I’m not a proponent of panic, fear, anxiety, worry nor apprehension.  Maybe you don’t like the panic or anxiety normal response to this COVID-19 crisis either.  So what can we do, in this unusual time?

First, let’s recognize that we have a unique opportunity given to us, that has never happened to this magnitude in human history.  We get to choose our actions, what we focus on, our attitudes and perceptions.  If we allow the media and gossip around us to be our focal point, then we could be letting our lives overflow with panic, fear, stress and worry.

Second, if we find ourselves “stuck at home” because of a quarantine or government edict to shelter in place, we will likely have some extra time on our hands.  If you’re like me, in the not so distant past, I was bemoaning my lack of time and the hectic pace of my life.  So now that we have more time, what will we do with it?  Let’s be purposeful about this gift of extra time and use it constructively rather than letting the media amplify whatever fears or anxieties we might lean into by not regulating our focus. Here are a few suggestions:

  • do some Spring cleaning, house / apartment projects,
  • read a book that you’ve been wanting to read,
  • do some family games / interactions to take advantage of the extra time together
  • go through your clothes and donate what you don’t wear / what doesn’t fit
  • text your friends and elderly people you know to stay in touch
  • be creative:  write, paint, cook, organize, dance to some fun music 🙂

Finally and most importantly, this crisis affords us an opportunity to snuggle into God, to deepen our intimacy, connection, awareness and strength.  When Elijah heard a gentle whisper, not being distracted by the noisy earthquake, wind or fire (alarming news or corona crisis), he grew in his awareness and recognition of God’s presence, voice and the future that God had for him.  Let’s allow this season to be a richly intimate time and deepen our connection with God!

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Wrestling with Forgiveness

Doing forgiveness is more difficult than talking about it.  Full stop.

And yet, it’s one of the only cause and affect activities Jesus talks about, based on Matt 6:14.  This is where Jesus says that if we forgive others, our Heavenly Father will forgive us.  And Lord knows that I needs heaps of forgiveness!  I suspect you might need alot of forgiveness as well 🙂

So what does it look like when we don’t forgive?  Here are a few things for your consideration.  When we don’t forgive, we:

  • nurse and rehearse the offense / wound in our thoughts & other people who will sympathize with our pain
  • look for opportunities to lash out or pay back the hurt
  • refuse to let the person “off the hook” or recognize and accept God’s grace for them

At the same time, when we forgive it doesn’t mean that we:

  • position ourself to get repeatedly hurt
  • excuse, dismiss or ignore the hurtful behavior
  • continually bring up the offense with the person who was hurtful

Even though forgiveness can be tricky, we need to be forgiving people and we need to keep our forgiveness fresh!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 1 comment

closed doors

I prefer open doors rather than closed doors, but it seems to me that God leads us not only with open doors, but also with doors that are shut airtight.  Sometimes it bugs me when a door is closed to me & I can take it as personal rejection, which is always tough.  But if I choose to see a closed door as part of God’s guidance, then it doesn’t seem to hurt as much & doesn’t feel quite so personal.  It also helps me to remember that the Apostle Paul had his fair share of closed doors, many of which he was locked behind as a prisoner!

Let’s consider that God has the right doors to open for us & we can trust that God is working all things together for our good as we stay in love with God & stay true to the divine purposes in our lives!

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Posted by sarahbowling in Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, values, watch, 1 comment

timing

There are lots of things that I think I need but what I continue to experience in almost a daily way is that God’s provisions are perfectly timed for my exact needs. I have been seeing this reality for several months now – from things related to having more time, achieving things really efficiently, financial provisions & strategic wisdom, just to name a few examples. So I feel that God is really challenging me in a couple of ways:
*trust God more & better
*maybe if there’s something that I think I need that I’m not getting, maybe I don’t really need that “something”
*provision has lots of different expressions & aren’t just financial (wisdom, efficiency, time, etc)
*God’s provisions are perfectly crafted & timed for each need in our lives 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in family, Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, travel, 0 comments

I’m really excited!!

There are times & seasons in our lives that are all about doing the daily routines, maintaining healthy habits & disciplines as well staying consistent w schedules, etc. there are other times when I can feel excitement in my bones & this is one of those seasons.
I’m excited because I feel like we are beginning to turn the corner with making some significant progress w Saving Moses. We are beginning to see some fantastic opportunities & doors opening for getting to help small people 5 & younger. To be specific, our nightcare program is on the cusp of getting launched & implemented. We are also looking at expanding our malnutrition feeding program in Africa along w a few other cool things on the horizon.
This is all to encourage you that sometimes what may seem mundane & boring are essential ingredients that often need to be stable before some exciting opportunities get to be revealed. Be encouraged my friend! God has good things around the corner!

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Posted by sarahbowling in Cambodia, Holy Spirit, living, missions, prayer, saving moses, spiritual, travel, 0 comments

the power of a closed door

I’ve been thinking alot about the closed doors that Jacob experienced in his life: the door was closed for him to stay at home when he tricked his dad for the blessing, the door was closed for him to stay w Laban when he recognized that he’d “worn out his welcome”, the door was closed for him (or so it seemed) when he “lost” Joseph to a wild animal, etc.  Jacob had ALOT of closed doors in his life & I think that these developments were extremely disturbing to him.

I think that perhaps the same is true for us – we don’t like it when things change & places of previous acceptance & comfort are no longer available.  Understandably, we tend to dislike instability.  But here’s the power of a closed door:

  • it means that God has something different open for you,
  • it means that you may possibly be moving into a new season,
  • it could mean that God has a promotion for you,
  • it could mean that the vision for your life has been too small

Don’t wallow in rejection or closed doors.  Don’t get obstinate & refuse to change or move forward.  Celebrate because God is up to something really good in your life!!!

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Posted by sarahbowling in Holy Spirit, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, 4 comments