Margins

Pick up a book, magazine, or newspaper and you are sure to see margins on the edge. If there weren’t margins, you would likely be overwhelmed when reading.

So what about your life? Does it have margins or are you running from event to event? It is easy to get caught up in all there is to do. There are so many options and possibilities and they may even all be good things to do. Maybe you can afford them all. Maybe everyone has fun doing them. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are things you should be doing. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

One trick I have learned is to check in with my sweet husband first before I commit to too much because there are times he knows I am getting overwhelmed before I do. And he tends to remember what else we have coming up whereas I am a ‘in the moment’ kind of gal. If you are finding yourself over committed and lacking energy and enthusiasm, take a look at your schedule and your priorities. Sometimes it’s ok to Just Say No!

Consider why you are here, how God has gifted you, and what you were created for and this might help you prioritize a little.

1 I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations.  2 I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. Psalm 89: 1-2

If you are so inclined, Richard A. Swenson, MD wrote a great book “The Overload Syndrome: Learning to Live Within Your Limits” (previously titled Margins).

May God bless you and your endeavors as you re-evaluate your schedule!

In a fog?

Ever been in a mental fog due to illness or medicine or lack of sleep or busy mind and found yourself doing something out of habit? Maybe you don’t recall how you got from Point A to Point B, but there you are.

The other day I was heading home from a certain side of town and I intended to stop by the post office. I must have been distracted somewhere because I was within one short block of home before I realized I didn’t stop at the U.S.P.S.!

Rats.

Kids arguing in the back seat can distract us. Pressing needs, grief, and sin can all distract us. I think it is fair to say that we have all been distracted from a Godly path at least once in our lives. Sometimes it is a quick detour. Other times the detour may be several years long. With God’s help and a willing spirit, you can get back on His Path.

Seek God’s heart by reading His Word. If you are in a vulnerable place, pray for Godly friends who can encourage you on His path. Be involved in a healthy congregation. Be aware that your choice of reading material, music, and ‘screen’ choices can influence your Christian Walk for good or bad. Pray for God’s strength to get on the right track and stay the course.

One of my favorites: Psalm 34

 

Expectations

Many a human relationship has been challenged due to unstated or unrealistic expectations. You have them. I have them. Sometimes we have expectations and we don’t even recognize it. Unmet expectations usually result in a little (or a lot of) relational stress.

What about when God doesn’t meet our expectations? If we are honest with ourselves and God, we would admit that things happen in life that were certainly not what we were expecting. What will today really bring? We don’t actually know but we can lay our requests before Him and leave them there for Him to address.

Give ear to my words, O LORD,
consider my sighing.  Listen to my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:1-3

Lord, give us the grace to accept Your will in our lives. Continually open our eyes to Your perspective and to Your plan but, above all, increase our faith and trust in You. Amen.

 

Frustration

The are so many things to be frustrated about–the economy, crime, gas prices, family relationships, the health care bill. The list could go on and on. Do you have something that has been really bugging you?

What do you do when you are frustrated?

  • Seek answers?
  • Work harder?
  • Threaten?
  • Go for a run?
  • Name calling?
  • Count to 10?
  • Speak first and think later?
  • Pound a pillow?
  • Flee?
  • Punch a wall?
  • Cry?
  • Swear?
  • Have a drink?
  • Pray?
  • Avoid?
  • Cry out to God?

Sometimes our responses are on auto-pilot; we don’t even think, we just respond. Consider how you respond when you are defeated, discouraged, or disappointed. Ask God to show you ways that are productive and not destructive.

Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.  Psalm 55:17 NIV

If you find yourself in some bad habits as you respond to frustration, ask God to help you change your behavior. Here’s a sobering thought: The people in your life take note of how you respond to disappointment and frustration.


 

Friendships

God has blessed me with so many friendships! I am always amazed at this. At each place and station in my life, He has placed such fun and Spirit-led and thoughtful and loving people in my path! I thank God for my friends!

There are so many offshoots with a topic as broad as friendship. As you ponder this idea, possibly you know someone who is surrounding themselves with dangerous friends and/or heading down a compromising road. Maybe you are concerned about a family that is moving away and that God would provide them with wonderful friendships in their new town or the loss you will experience when they move. If you have children you may want to pray for them to be good and Godly friends and to be able to lovingly address conflicts with their friends. Maybe you have been praying for a friendship that needs to be restored. Is there someone in your life God has been nudging you to befriend?

Dig into God’s Word and let God use the Scripture to tune your perspective and your heart to His perspective and heart and let Him lead you in prayer. And remember, He wants to be your best friend.


 

Money

I did not pick out verses related to money but God definitely has a persepctive on money. Make a list of people you love, people in your circle, people God brings to mind when you think about money. You can write the list down or not. That’s up to you.

When I think about money, I think about lots of things. Here are some starting points:

  • our own wise decisions
  • the decisions our kids make about money
  • those who have very little resources
  • those facing the threat of foreclosure
  • those who have mounting medical bills and must decide between food and medicine
  • government spending

Based on where you have been, you have a perspective on money…everyone does…..maybe you have a heart for people in certain money situations because you or someone you love has been through a hard time with money. Maybe some of your friends or family are dealing with job loss, medical bills, or foreclosure. Let God put on your heart the people you need to pray for regarding money. Pray for them…and don’t forget to pray for yourself!

 

 

Emergency Sirens

I probably became more aware of this area of prayer during the time my husband Don was on a volunteer fire dept/rescue squad when we lived in Nebraska. When the pager went off or the fire siren was activated, I would try to pray for the entire situation.  It is amazing how many people you can pray for when you hear a fire, police, or ambulance siren wailing down the street. You know someone is in trouble so you can pray for the person/family in the middle of the need as well as the safety and wisdom of the responders, any witnesses, emergency personnel at the hospital, etc. You might just settle on one angle and cover that group in prayer.

Using emergency sirens as a trigger has been helpful to me. Now that I live in a bigger city, I find that I have the occasion to use that cue more frequently.

Emergency Siren= Someone is in trouble= Pray

I am always amazed how God uses daily things to get my attention. Lord, increase my awareness!

Training and Education

You have been a student at different points of your life, do you recall what that was like? Do you remember the awkward stages of youth or the peer pressure? Maybe it was hard for you to understand  certain concepts. Recall preparing for the ACT, SAT or any other comprehensive exams? Do you have kids in college? Know of someone working on an advanced degree with a spouse and children in the picture?

Maybe you know of people in training for new jobs during these tough economic times. Do you know of people in training for volunteer positions? Training on new equipment? Do you know someone who conducts, coordinates, and plans training sessions? How about our teachers and the pastors in our lives?

Now that list you have a list of people in your mind, pray for them in terms of training and education.

And then ask God to show you where He is training you. He is likely growing you for a yet unknown task. Are you a willing student? Are you willing to learn from the Master and Creator who knows and loves you intimately?


What is Your Prayer Perspective?

God has provided you with a unique prayer perspective based on your station in life and all of your experiences. God can use all of your adventures (both good and bad) to nurture your heart for prayer. For example, if there is divorce in your family, you have thoughts regarding how it impacts and family, relationships, etc. If you were abused as a child, you likely have a heart for victims of abuse and, due to your circumstances, you have a unique perspective.

There are people God has placed in my life that either need or have requested prayers for a variety of situations, some I relate to well, others I can only imagine the difficulties. I have found that when I just ponder a circumstance, as little as I may know about it, God will bring to mind different angles of the situation that could use prayer.

My mom died after a long battle with cancer. At the moment, I have a prayer perspective for people supporting their parents as they age, navigating all the medical issues, dealing with an estate, being long distance in all of this, trying to keep the siblings connected, being supportive to stressed siblings, etc…..

Think about the things that you have experienced in your life and how God can turn those into a ‘prayer perspective’ for someone in a similar situation. A general prayer is great–I see it as a sketch. But when I think of covering someone in prayer, I think of covering the angles that I see (from my perspective) and it is like coloring in the prayer.

What are PrayerPoints?

I am so glad you asked!!!!

PrayerPoints are points for prayer that you are invited to consider for the day. They may apply to your life or they may be an angle of struggle you have no experience with. You will find that some appeal to you while others are not so amazing. I try not to get too hung up on the grammatical aspect. The real point of PrayerPoints is to encourage you to engage in prayer. PrayerPoints are just a little reminder to pray. We all know there are a zillion and one things to pray about and just thinking about it all can sometimes be overwhelming. PrayerPoints are simply starting points for prayer. You take it from there.

The heart of prayer is the communication and connection with God. We were created by Him to long for that connection with Him. Sometimes it’s as simple as responding to a nudge from God to lift someone in prayer. Othertimes you will find that as you are reading God’s Word, He gives you a direction for prayer. There are times the words of a song can become a prayer. There are also any number of online sources, devotional books, and prayer journals with encouragement and perspectives on prayer. Resources are plentiful (I have lots!) but incomplete if you don’t actually engage in prayer.

So, PrayerPoint is a little journey God is directing in my life. If you are interested in joining me on this journey, grab a cup of coffee or tea and have a seat.

In His love,
Liz