In and Out

integritywOnce we are school aged we are often aware that there are some things we need to do to fit in. Some of those are fine things to require. There is a place for order.

Some people comply and “fit in” more easily than others and that has always been the case for any number of reasons. It always depends on the “group” needs and goals. As we get older and enter the work force we typically want to fit into the work culture yet also stand out in a way that shows our contributions are unique and beneficial to the team.

There is a delicate balance to fitting in yet standing out.  

But don’t be too surprised when the qualities, strengths, and perspectives that comprise you are not appreciated by everyone. If you are in a work environment that does not appreciate integrity and honesty, you might need an exit strategy. If you volunteer for an agency that asks you to compromise your core values, find a better fit. If you serve on a church board that does not behave in a healthy way, step away. While it is true you can change a system from the inside, it cannot be done singlehandedly. Sometimes the culture of a system is unhealthy and fighting against something so ingrained is like beating your head against a wall.

But don’t forget to look inward and evaluate if you are being too hard-nosed about things that may not really matter. Even though we may be wired a bit differently and may approach a task differently than the next person, it can be a matter of preference. And the difference in approach is what makes life and relationships interesting.

If you know someone who is working hard not to compromise their core values, be supportive by praying for a better fit for them. Be willing to listen as they process and brainstorm. Give them the gifts of encouragement and laughter and unconditional love.

On the Road,

Liz

A Step Ahead

In the book of Acts, Barnabas mentors Paul. Later, Paul mentors Timothy. There is always someone ahead of you on the road in life and there is always someone coming up behind you on the path.

Are you willing to share what you’ve learned?

If you know of a great spot to stop or an important place to avoid, you probably share that information with someone who is looking for recommendations. In life, there are many opportunities to give someone a “heads up” as they are on their way. Sometimes it’s encouragement and other times it is a word of caution. Maybe all you can do is listen and pray for them.

Are you willing to learn from others?

Likewise, there are times you are in a place where you can look to others who have been on a similar road. Maybe you are dealing with a wayward child, an aging parent, or a difficult crossroad in life – do you seek wise counsel? It may be that all they can do is listen and pray for you. But being heard and prayed for might be just what you need to provide encouragement for your journey.

At any point in life we can encourage, caution, and take heed. There is always someone who has been where we are going. And there is always someone who is headed to the place we just came through.

God loves when we care enough for His people to share His love and grace and promises with them. We might only be “a step ahead” but sometimes our presence is all the encouragement someone needs!

Heavenly Father ~ help me to listen to those ahead and be willing to share Your good words with those who are coming up from behind! Amen.

On the Road!      ~ Liz

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PrayerPoints ~ Tuesday, March 8th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 86

“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

I think Psalm 86 is full of comfort and encouragement that it was really hard to pick just one snippet to feature. You may find that a different one that speaks to you as you read through it. If so, don’t hesitate to share it!

I am including another song by John Michael Talbot because I really like it and I particularly this album. Enjoy!

 

PrayerPoints ~ Tuesday, March 1st

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 61

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to a rock that is higher than I.”  Psalm 61:1

There are times that life is just so hard.

Being faint of heart can be the result of many things: physical or mental illness, medical treatments, undiagnosable issues, job loss, divorce, death, or watching someone you love struggle with any of the above. And often, with the exception of prayer, we are powerless to take away the pain and the suffering. But we can pray, even when we don’t know what to say or what to ask for.

Do you know someone who is struggling with a situation? Have you prayed for them?

Sometimes it is easy for me to get caught up in the surprise and the details of a challenging circumstance that I don’t stop what I am doing and actually pray.

Lord, let that be my first response!

If you are a list maker or you keep a prayer journal, jot down the name of the person or people you want to pray for so you see it and it reminds you to pray on their behalf.  I am a very visual person, so a list helps me get refocused on my priorities as I typically have a lot of distractions in my day.

And then, consider following up with a quick personal note to let them know you are praying for them. It may take a little extra effort, but a note of encouragement can be a physical reminder of your support and prayers. Notes of encouragement are also very portable and can combat that feeling of loneliness and isolation that often accompanies trials and tribulations. If you live nearby, there may be a tangible act of service you can provide. Pray about your opportunities to serve.

If you are struggling and would like me to pray for you, let me know. You can tell me a little about your situation but if you are uncomfortable doing that, you don’t need to. As I pray, I will pray for many facets of your life, even ones you don’t particularly mention.

Even if you need prayer yourself, (and, don’t we all?) consider also praying on behalf of someone else. I find that when I am in a particularly tough situation (and I feel powerless in my circumstance) if I step out of the muck and mire of my situation to care for another through prayer, God seems to lighten the intensity of my situation.

God’s blessings as you dig into His Word this week and consider praying for a struggling friend!

 

 

Employment

Do you know someone unemployed, underemployed, or stuck in a difficult or dangerous job? Please consider lifting them and their families up in prayer today.

It is easy to see how discouraging and despairing it is for someone struggling to find employment. Frequent rejection is frustrating and disheartening. Sometimes the family struggles with a vicious cycle of shame and blame regarding the job situation. While job hunting can provide a good opportunity to evaluate priorities, skill sets, living arrangements it also can take its toll on a family and esteem. Specifically praying for families struggling with employment issues is a great way to connect with another’s need. You can take it a step further by sending them a note to let them know you are praying for them, ask them if there are specific needs you can pray for on their behalf, surprise them with a gift card for a grocery store, or invite them over for dinner and games.

Heavenly Father, there are so many people who are willing to work but many companies are cutting back and jobs are not so easy to find. Please give them eyes to see the next step for them and their family. And provide encouragers along the way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Welcome to Delaware by Watermark

Well it’s been a cold December
and the leaves have fallen true,
and I do believe I’m still in love with you.
Yea my scenery keeps changing,
and sometimes it’s hard to view.
But you’ve let me see so much since I’ve known you.
But I headed to what seemed like nowhere
You told me to come,
you told me you’d meet me here.

You were here to say
“Welcome to Delaware”
I know you’ve traveled far.
And it’s a lot colder here than what you’re used to.
And I know that in the winter time,
things aren’t what they used to be.
So all you really have here now is Me…

So I settled here, and that is that.
For you to show me who I am,
You had to take me to a place I’d never been.

And all the things I dreaded most
about the things unseen,
have now become the sweetest part of me.
Though I headed to what seemed like nowhere
I knew you would come
I know you would meet me here.

You were here to say
“Welcome to Delaware”
I know you’ve traveled far.
And it’s a lot colder here than what you’re used to.
And I know that in the winter time,
things aren’t what they used to be.
So all you really have here now is Me….

I have always loved this song. The melody is simple and soothing (if you can find it–you might have to actually buy the CD, I don’t know, but the CD is great so it wouldn’t be a waste! I love the perspective. I hope you love it too! Liz