Some of it I don’t treasure but I do lug it around. I took it to Indiana from Nebraska. Then we moved to New York and I took it there too. And then we moved back to Indiana. Guess what? We brought it along. But I need to purge and donate some of these things I have been lugging around. I am tired of looking at it.
But it takes some time and some thought.
I tend to mull things around. And when I see these things I think, “This has potential!” I don’t feel like I am a collector of stuff but I have it all the same. Managing all this stuff takes away from more important things. It can also bog down my heart and mind. Sometimes I worry about the stuff being stolen. Or I think about what happens if there is a tornado or a flood. Then what about this stuff? Is all of it necessary? Some of this stuff is heavy —
And it isn’t just physical stuff, either!
I try not to lug around unhealthy, ugly thoughts but some do follow me from place to place. Even if I know things have been forgiven and resolved the emotions attached to the situations seem to come alive again and again. It’s like Groundhog Day! And those things I “put on a shelf until later” are always there waiting for me to review. Do I treasure my right to be angry? Do I treasure being at odds with some people? Do I harbor unforgiveness towards others who have wronged me? What emotional and spiritual stuff am I carrying around that I need to take some time and thought and process?
We do have to live this life so some of our energy needs to go to working our jobs, whatever those may be. But discovering what I do treasure and working on lining that up with what God treasures is worth doing daily. Each day is an opportunity to revisit God’s Word and His blessings and understand more about what He treasures.
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. [Matthew 6:20-22, NIV]
May God bless you as you ponder what you treasure!
I can’t help myself when I hear an accent; I want to know where people are from and I try to ask in a loving way. I know of people who have worked to perfect their speaking so their accent is nearly undetectable. They don’t want to stand out. I love to hear accents because so much of my early years I spent around people who were learning English as a second language and while we all have unique stories, I am sure that someone with a heavy accent has something fascinating to share.
Where are you from?
At first I might be inclined to answer the question from a physical standpoint. I am originally from Youngstown, OH but then I spent quite a few years in Nebraska and then in Indiana. There were a few other places in there but they’re not really worth mentioning. But the truth is all the places along my path made a bit of an impact on my journey, one way or another – even those brief side roads. They are a part of my story.
From where do you come?
Don’t think so much in terms of the physical space but the experiences that describe your childhood or youth or young adulthood. Do you allow them to have their space as descriptive? Or are these experiences defining? Do you rest on them and remember them often? Do you try to bury them? Are they good things? Or bad?
Are you stuck in that hard place?
Sometimes we can get so caught up in where we have been that we miss the places we can go. Being stuck in our history isn’t helpful. But if there are some things to work through and resolve, burying those things isn’t the answer either. There are times it takes years to understand or process “where we have been”. For some of us it has been a very bumpy road with diversions that have brought a lot of pain. Others of us have come from something much easier and carefree and we struggle to understand the pains and needs of others who have come from a place where there was a lack of stability or an abundance of junk.
Where we have been does not need to define who we are and where we are going. I may not have loved every place I have been but I know God can use each of them to grow my prayer perspective for others who may be experiencing something similar. God can and will all of our life experiences for the encouragement of others so it is important to process what needs to be processed. Let God recycle what can be used and transform our trash into His treasure!
We have learned so much about ourselves and others on this trip! We’ve met and visited with people with fascinating life stories. I love to listen to stories. There is so much that can be learned by listening.
We were in Albuquerque for a Hungarian event yesterday and we had dinner with a couple of friends from my college days in Nebraska. We chatted for several hours last night to catch up on kids and life stuff. It was wonderful to reconnect and hear about what was happening in their lives.
During the course of the conversation, we talked about their son’s love for Hungary, a recent trip they took to Europe, and her grandmother’s Hungarian heritage (this was news to me!). Her grandparents ran a “Magyar Cukrazda” (Hungarian Bakery) in New York City in the Hungarian area of Manhattan–just around the corner from the Magyar Ház (Hungarian House)! Wow! We have been to that area frequently since we moved to New York. Back in the day, there were many Hungarian businesses in that area. In fact, I often run into people who lament about how easy it was to access Hungarian things in NYC and are frustrated so few businesses remain. It is just a little wild to me that someone I know from over 30 years ago has such a close connection to where I live now.
The things we don’t know!
Sometimes they are fun connections–like the one I described with my friends from college. Other times they are very difficult life stories that finally come to light after years of processing.
Everyone has a story that is worth hearing. And everyone has a story worth sharing. You never know what you will learn about someone when they start to share about their lives. Maybe the biggest challenge with getting to know one another’s stories is taking or having the time to listen. I know that has been a challenge in my life depending on the season I am going through. But I need to be more intentional about listening.
You never know what you will learn!
When people share difficult stories, it is hard to know what to do with what I have learned. Heartaches, struggles, and joys are all a part of the human experience. We can learn a lot by listening and it can inform our praying.
As you spend time with people this week, think about what they are saying and consider what you learn as “prayer points”. Then pray for them. Sometimes that is the best gift!
God has surrounded me with some very prayer-full friends during the course of my adult life. I am so thankful God has placed me in an several communities with people who can boldly pray one-on-one or in small groups. This is something God must be developing me because over the course of time He has allowed me to rub shoulders (and dirty my knees) with some awesome prayer warriors! I have one particular friend now who, if she knows of a concern, will pray with me over the phone. It seems to be her first reaction if I share a concern. I have other friends who, when I share a prayer request, will say “Well, let’s pray together right now about it.” I am getting used to it. I even like it. Their insistence reminds me: Why tuck an important request away for a later time? There is no time like the present!
The first time I felt called to pray in a very unusual place was in the old Walmart in Seward, NE. A gal I hardly knew was there with her kids and I was with mine. When I greeted her and asked how she was she was visibly stressed and told me she had just come from the doctor with some scary news. As the kids visited we snuck to a different aisle while she explained the situation in hushed tones. I was overcome with the impression to pray for her right there in the aisle. I am sure no one else in Walmart knew what was happening there because it wasn’t a loud or disturbing ruckus–just two moms quietly praying for God’s protection and provision during a time with many unknowns. I am sure God used that situation to calm her anxious heart. He used it to grow my faith in Him and as another stepping stone in my developing prayer life.
I wish I could say that I offered prayer on-the-spot every time I felt impressed to do so. I haven’t. Sometimes I am just too distracted or caught up in the moment to step out in response. I know I need to be more attuned to prayer as my first response–wherever I may be!
My prayer for you is that you practice having prayer be your first response and that if God asks you to pray in an unusual place or circumstance that you respond with a “YES!” Prayer is a powerful weapon…which is why we often run into roadblocks in our prayer life. Satan knows prayer is powerful and does anything he can do interrupt this precious line of communication with our Heavenly Father!