I stepped out from regular life for a couple of days. I was in a prayer zone while awaiting the birth of a new little baby in my life.
Have you ever stepped away from life for while?
All those regular routines and typical things that fill my day were cast aside. I holed up and hunkered down. Sometimes it is easier to be distracted by regular tasks while waiting but I was only really able to watch and pray.
And then pray some more!
I think it is important to change up routines. It helps me think about what is truly essential. It helps me re-evaluate what is important and how my time and efforts should be directed. And, when there is a huge change in routine, like when waiting in a hospital, prayer is one of those important opportunities that comes to the surface! There is nothing like knowing you are not in control and giving it all to God.
And there is nothing quite like a new baby to remind you how beautiful and fragile life is!
I know there are times I get so distracted with my day that I forget to stop and be thankful for all that God has placed around me. I know I need more gratitude in my life! And I also need to express it to everyone I come in contact with. There is so much critique and criticism out in the world and a thankful heart helps me refocus and gives me attitude a positive spin. It is so easy to get drawn into negative thinking patterns, but expressing positivity and thankfulness can be infectious in a good way!
Let’s start a revolution!!!
What three things are you thankful for today? Can you dig a little deeper and come up with 10?
Lord, help me to be more mindful about the blessings all around me!
I am going to challenge us both a bit today.
Do you have a lot of rules and expectations on how people should behave? Do you find yourself regularly disappointed in people and situations and complaining about it to the nearest person, even if you don’t know them? Are you a grumbler?
I will be honest with you: I hate when I am in that kind of space. I don’t like being around me and I wouldn’t enjoy being around you either! And really, who wants to be around someone who regularly complains?
One of the worst things you can say about me is that I complain too much. Of course, there are things here and there that might not go as planned and I might mention them, occasionally. But if you can honestly say to me “You complain more often than not,” well, that will crush me. I do not want to be that person. Please tell me I don’t do that. But, I need you to be honest with me too. So, please tell me the truth.
Complaining is ugly. And it can make the most beautiful
I know I am a person who verbally processes and so the first thing I have a tendency to do is open my mouth, for good and for bad. But if I am not happy about a situation, grumbling and complaining to those around me cannot be my default. I have to find another way to process disappointment.
Once in a while I like to try to disguise my complaining as “making an observation” but is that just semantics? Probably. At best a complaining spirit is a bad habit. At worst, it’s a habit of my heart.
When I am unsatisfied with things I try to ask myself “Where is my heart today?” If I spend time each morning recalling the new mercies I have been granted by my gracious God I think it will become easier to grant grace and mercy to others!
Tell me, how do you process disappointment?
I have a favor to ask you!
When I complain about the same thing, over and over again, will you ask me what steps I am taking to resolve that situation?
I know I can get stuck because I have been stuck before. When a situation comes up and blows my mind so much that I have no clue how to move forward – then I am stuck; even if I can’t verbalize it. It’s my own, personal wilderness.
I am sure you have been there, too. It isn’t a fun place to be. It might be the result of:
- a broken promise,
- a death of a person,
- a death of a dream,
- an issue that just doesn’t seem to ever get resolved.
When I seem to be on “repeat”, please get my attention and ask me if I plan to wallow in this place forever or If I am I interested in moving forward with my month, my year, my life.
I might not like being challenged like this. I might get angry with you. But they are words I need to hear from you, if you are my friend.
Sometimes I don’t even recognize I am stuck but those who are around me surely do. My prayer is that I lovingly receive your words of concern and take action, but I might not be ready to. If I am resistant, please be patient and keep praying for me. I am not sure how long I will be stuck. I don’t know how much of life will pass me by as I wander in the wilderness – let’s hope it isn’t 40 years! The truth is, I don’t want dwell in a place of loss and confusion. That is not how I want to spend my days.
I want to dwell in the Lord! But I may have just gotten stuck.
Yesterday the sermon at church was based on Luke 10:25-37. I have always loved the parable of The Good Samaritan. I hate that the neighbor was robbed and blown off by both the priest and the Levite who ought to have cared more about him, but I am thankful the Samaritan went out of his way to care for the wounded guy.
There seems to be no shortage of people needing mercy these days!
“Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37 ESV
I love how the Good Samaritan binds up the wounds and makes arrangements for the care of his wounded neighbor. He takes some time to directly care for this man but then he also moves on to what he had set off to do earlier, leaving behind some money for his care. I hadn’t thought about that before. He makes provision for him but isn’t the one to do all the “hands on” work.
As I dug into “mercy” just a wee bit more I didn’t get very far when I realized how many, many, many times we ask for mercy from the Lord. It’s all over God’s Word, particularly in the Psalms. It’s woven into our liturgy. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. But mercy isn’t just for us to request and receive. In this parable, Jesus reminds us that mercy is for us to do!
Have I ever been a “good Samaritan”? Sure. But I have more often been the Levite and the priest. And, I am definitely the one who needs and receives an abundance of mercy. I need to remember that more.
When have you experienced mercy? When have you extended it? Do you find yourself withholding mercy because a person hasn’t shown themselves worthy?
Let’s be generous with mercy. We should dole it out at least as often as we request it.
We make peace, come in peace, leave in peace, and we share the peace. There is a time for peace, people bring us peace, we go home in peace, we promote peace, and we are buried in peace. Clearly, God desires us to be at peace because He talks a lot about it! But there are times we just don’t have it. I am not exactly sure why and I am sure it is different for everyone. As I thought about peace (or lack of it in my life) I have come up with a few thoughts:
For me, when I am angry or fighting against the way something is, I do not have peace. I used to think that accepting something meant I liked it but I don’t think that is how it goes. However, I think it is important to learn how to accept my reality without being angry or incredibly sad….eventually. We all work through the loss of beautiful things that were or things we hoped for that will never be in different ways and at different speeds. This is a part of the human experience. How that shows itself is just as varied as we all are.
I also know that my response to my circumstances ebb and flow. One day I may accept the reality of my situation and be hopeful as I look forward and, another day, I may be back in a place where I am really struggling with things. Sometimes I move between wanting to shake my fist at God or sit in a puddle at His feet. I can be angry, frustrated, disappointed, and sad. Other times, I feel refreshed and ready to move forward in peace. Sometimes that range of emotions all happen in the same day!
And then there is the challenge of when I am headed down a path and the lack of “peace” lets me know that something isn’t right. Do I pay attention? Do I adjust my course? Do I pray for God’s wisdom? Get input from a trusted counselor?
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.Psalm 34:14
May God grant you His perfect peace!
There are so many choices these days that I think I have decision fatigue! Every choice seems to have some critical consequence and there is just so much to keep in mind.
How about you? Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Some days I need to cling to a verse like the one above. If I am doing a “breath prayer” I even have to shorten it to “My hope is in YOU all day long!” It can even be shortened still!
But, I can’t ignore the first part either: “Guide me in your truth and teach me!” Have I allowed for that kind of space in my life? Not always.
When I want to run away from everything I have to stop and think: When was the last time I created the space for God to speak to me through His Word? When have I last “retreated”?
I need to allow for the time and space to dig in — either on my own or with a small group. Preferably both. I recently attended a weekend conference with a precious friend. I cannot tell you how long it has been since I have done something like that — it was such a blessing! I have to arrange to do something like this once a year, at least! If you have a suggestion, send it my way!
I’ll be praying for you as you make space!