Success vs Failure

Why are so hard on ourselves?

Of course, there is always room for improvement. But something doesn’t have to actually be “perfect” to be a success. For me it takes work not to pick apart how something could have been better and just be thankful that it was good, even if it wasn’t perfect.

Why is it that our failures (real or perceived) are like flashing neon signs – always trying to grab our attention?

Maybe it is a good way to keep me humble. Typically things aren’t all good or all bad, I can look at things on a 1-10 scale. And even if it was a miserable experience, there is usually something I learned and, in that case, there was something redeemable about it.

What about when we do “everything right” and things still go awfully wrong. Are we really in as much control as we think? Everything hinges on something and not everything is in our power. We don’t have control over others. We only have control over our actions and responses. And even when we do things perfectly, there is no guarantee the outcome will be what we were hoping for.

Are there some days just getting out of bed and facing the day is an achievement?

I think so.

Success and failure are in the eyes of the beholder. What the world pushes us towards and what God is nurturing in our hearts are likely very different things. Who do you listen to when you are evaluating success?

My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever. [Psalm 73:26, NIV]

May you view your activity with through God’s eyes!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: FLUCTUATIONS

The Law

I have been flirting with The Law a bit lately. It always happens on our trips, especially a really long one. I am tired of being in the car and I am ready to get where I am going and, once in a while, I tend to be a little heavy-footed and my speed creeps up.

Are there areas in your life that have you flirting with disaster?

Knowing the law is certainly one thing. Striving to obey it is another. I knew the law and willfully disobeyed it. This is definitely one area in my life where I try to see how far I can get away with breaking the law. I push my “luck” on the open road.

Even though I haven’t been ticketed for speeding in a really long time I know I would completely deserve whatever comes my way. There is a boundary line and if I knowingly cross it and I am mature enough to accept the consequences. That ticket would mean a fine and maybe points on my license. I am sure I would be sorry I was “caught” but that is definitely not the same as being sorry for my sin.

And there is a difference.

When my heart is contrite, I experience guilt, regret, remorse, rue, and/or shame. It isn’t about being caught, it is about the sin in my life.  Coming to the knowledge of my sin is overwhelming. But knowing my Savior delivers me from my sin and cleanses me from all unrighteousness is also overwhelming.

 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar. [Psalm 51, NIV]

May God’s law work on our hearts and root out the sin that wants to rest there!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: BONES

A Time to Gather Stones

Stone building in Eger, Hungary w
Stone Building in Eger, Hungary

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


Do you have a collection? It might be something you need or maybe it is just something you care about.

While I don’t have anything I officially collect, there are times I have to gather up courage or strength for a task. Sometimes I need just a little more of something to help me get through an unpleasant responsibility.

God’s Word has so much to offer when I am lacking in strength. His Word reminds me He has strengthened others in their time of need and that He is there in my time of need as well.

“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15:2

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” 2 Samuel 22:33

“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” I Chronicles 16:11

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” Psalm 18:32

On the way,

Liz

Peace AND Quiet

With so much unrest all around us, peace can be a difficult thing to find. Some of the unrest is in the world, some of it is in the not-so United States, some of it is in our churches, workplaces, and sometimes it is in our homes. With so many differences in opinion on how things should be addressed sometimes it is difficult to find and agree upon the best approach to resolving conflict.

  • Scientists disprove
  • Politicians agitate
  • World leaders argue
  • Bosses differ
  • Theologians contemplate
  • Siblings bicker
  • Parents wrangle
  • Children bandy

It can be exhausting!

Now I think I understand why my mom would occasionally ask for “peace and quiet”. When things are peaceful, it isn’t always quiet and when things are quiet, it isn’t always peaceful. But ask for both and cover all the bases!

We don’t always have control over what is happening in the world and in our immediate circle but we can look to the Lord for His wisdom and strength as we deal with life’s situations and receive His blessing of peace.

On the Road,

Liz

peace2w

Unforgettable Moments

sunsetwIf you are on Facebook, you might have caught a posting or two of adults in the stands at a ballgame snatching a ball out of the hands of a young child and being very satisfied that they had scored the prize. Caught on video, this “moment in time” of someone being jerky gets replayed and replayed and replayed for the world to see.

Ever been so caught up in the moment you cannot believe how you behaved?

I have.

And while there might not be actual footage of it posted on Facebook to watch over and over and over, rest assured, I often hit the replay button in my own mind.

atonewSometimes it is so hard to remember that I am forgiven!

And if I don’t make a point of surrounding myself with reminders, well, I get caught up in the memories of my sins. These painful reminders can be good because they nudge me to be humble and gracious to others who may be struggling because there are times I have a tendency to forget my own sins and get really frustrated about someone else’s. But, if I get stuck in “replay” mode on my own situation, it can be disastrous.

I have some memories that I won’t soon forget. As long as I don’t get stuck there, it can be a good thing.

On the Road,

Liz

Prizew

His strength. His peace.

atrength3w

There are so many people I know and love in the middle of situations that are very challenging and yet they persevere. I know it is because they are relying on God as their source of strength even if it is just one step at a time, one day at a time.

How easy it is for us to think, at least initially, that our strength, education, bank account, or resilience will get us through every situation. “The world” chides us for being weak or dependent both directly and indirectly. If we are indoctrinated by that garbage for too long it can seep into our souls and cause some problems. We might try to “power through” or “make it on our own” but it really can only get us so far.  We might look down on others for needing assistance but, if we live long enough, we will eventually find ourselves in circumstances that can bring us to our knees:

Aging parents. Disabilities. Death. Broken Relationships. Job loss. Natural disasters.

When I am on my knees it seems I am better able to see and hear the things from God that I need to know. I am not quite as distracted by the other nonessential things because my focus is on seeking the strength for the day. In some situations we might find we need assistance from others and it helps us get along. In other situations, we might find ourselves completely alone, with utter dependence on God and His provisions.

When we are smart or strong or physically able or have “enough” do we let God be our strength and our salvation?

strength1wThat is a challenge for me. Sometimes I get confused about how I am making it through life or a certain situation. It is very difficult to shut out the world’s way of thinking that everything is up to me and my efforts. The more resources I have at my disposal the easier it is to think that I am handling it all. Once I think it is all about what I am achieving, I get frustrated when things don’t pan out according to plan. But have I really dreamed up the best plan? It seems rather empty to chase after physical things and try to control all the things that happen in my life. The thought that I have control (and even make the best choices in situations when I can exercise control) is an illusion. Life is not all about me. Life is not all about you. My life is not my own. And neither is yours!

Have you been in a place where the outcome is out of your control and you just need to trust God to give you His strength?

Heavenly Father ~ give us your strength for this day and bless us with your perfect peace! Amen.

On the Road,

Liz

strength2w

 

Delays, Detours, and Disappointments

smallwaterfallpp I love when a new opportunity comes about that I can take advantage of. It usually isn’t something in the original itinerary – more of a last minute addition that we decide to explore. It is usually a fun, little surprise. But unplanned detours and delays are not exactly my cup-o-tea – especially if I have a timeline I am trying to accommodate! What about you?

How do you deal with delays, detours, and disappointments?

Usually, my biggest concern is with losing time and getting off track. I don’t mind being flexible when I have planned for it but when there is a place I really want to get to and I am delayed or, heaven forbid, prevented from reaching the destination altogether, I can get a bit cranky.

But if I am teachable in the midst of unmet expectations, I can learn a lot.

I don’t often knowingly choose the difficult road, though sometimes a life detour takes me there. But a lot can be learned from a delay. A new vision can come from a detour. A richer relationship with God can come from disappointment.

I am thankful God redeems my life. If I look back through the years, some of His deepest provisions for me came to me through delays, detours, and disappointments that were not in my plan.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5 NIV

Heavenly Father—thank you for providing for me in the delays, detours, and disappointments in order for me to see You at work and have a deeper relationship with You!

On the Road,

Liz