A Time to Give Up

Down the road w
A road in Pécs

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.


Have you ever found yourself trying too hard? There are times in situations that you overwork yourself or take on more responsibility for something, just to make it work. And, in the end, it doesn’t really work and you are exhausted from the attempt.

My Achilles heel is relationships.  When I perceive I have made a good connection with a person, the relating comes easy and is very comfortable, even if there are years between seeing one another face-to-face. But there are some relationships that are challenging. As the years have gone by, those are rarely friendships I have initiated, of course. The challenging ones are the ones where I have people in my life because of life, not because I have chosen to be in relationship with them. It might be a work colleague or another volunteer in a church or civic group or a family member and the connection takes an inordinate amount of effort.

It might be okay to surrender the relationship. If you decide to stop working so hard to make it work it is possible the other person will then step in and make the effort. Or not. And then, is it really a relationship worth pursuing?

There are relationships we have to be in and there are relationships we choose to be in. I pray you have a few solid relationships where you can be carefree and encouraged and know you are loved and appreciated. If you have a majority of relationships that are so exhasuting they throw you off kilter, it might be time to consider giving up one or two. Instead of working as if you are the sole contributor to the relationship, “give up” and see if the other person picks up the slack and also invests in it. If they let it go too, it might be an indication that it is time to be done.

Life is short. Be deliberate about where you spend your time and energy. And while all relationships go through bumps in the road, if you are always thrown out of alignment when interacting with some specific people, you might need to rethink how often you want to go down that road.

The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21

On the way,

Liz

Entertaining Angels

conversationwI have a confession to make. I love talking with people but I get very anxious when I am in a position where I need to begin a conversation with a total stranger.

Those of you who know me personally might find this revelation hysterical. I can talk a mile a minute and I love conversation and I love getting to know people. But sometimes I completely freeze up just trying to initiate conversation.

If I am selling things at a Hungarian festival, I don’t have a problem initiating a discussion because someone is coming up to me and is likely interested in what I am selling. But have me seated next to a stranger in a social situation and I really struggle to find my “opening line”. I am sure I overthink it.

But meeting new people and engaging in conversation is so much fun. I am rewarded every time I do it because I learn so much and the conversation is always interesting. And yet I still overthink my opening line so much that I am inhibited to start. I think I am overly concerned I will offend people or appear intrusive. I want to fix that!

There is so much to learn from the people around us. Taking time to have conversation is important. It is easy to become isolated because there is so much tension. There is definitely an art to conversation these days, but there is also a ministry in conversation. With so many people pulled in so many directions it is easy for those who might need a little extra time or encouragement to talk be bowled-over by those who are impatient and in a rush.

Do I take the time to connect with the people God has placed around me?

The life stories I have heard range from heartbreaking to encouraging. Each situation has some nugget of wisdom for me to learn. While there is an art to listening I think the ministry opportunity is in the conversation. Most people will talk for the interaction, not just to hear themselves ramble on… and both parties can gain tremendous insights about one another as well as themselves when there is a dialogue.

hospitalitywThis week, try to look at conversation as ministry and consider how the exchange of experiences and insights benefits both participants in conversation. Remember: being hospitable isn’t something you have to be at home to do! You can be a welcoming and friendly face in a place you have never been before.

On the Road,

Liz

PrayerPoint ~ Consignments ~ April 10

Have you noticed Consignment Stores are popping up everywhere?

There have always been thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales, auctions, and garage sales. But there just seems to be a lot of new consignment stores lately.

I have two rules about those kinds of places:

  • never buy underwear
  • never buy toothbrushes
Call me uptight, but that is how it is.

It is fun to peruse these sale spots. I always love a good deal. But someone, somewhere, paid full price for that item. And now they are letting it go–for next to nothing. Sometimes it is literally sitting out on the curb with “Free” posted next to it. There are many reasons why that could be but it got me thinking….

I have made some big ticket mistakes in my life and I am willing to share what I have learned for FREE, or nearly free! Maybe it is human nature, but it seems some people just have to pay for a few mistakes for them to be valuable lessons learned. I would rather pick up the first-hand wisdom at the second-hand store, if you know what I mean; at least I can gain the wisdom at less than half the price!

What about you? Do you have some expensive lessons you have learned that you can share with others at a reduced price?  Maybe it has to do with that first credit card? Maybe it has to do with trusting someone too soon? Maybe it involved not trusting God’s Word and His boundaries only to experience some significant emotional pain?

My prayer is that as you travel through His healing and forgiveness you are able to discern which lessons to share and when. Not every lesson learned is necessarily meant to be shared.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:16-17 NIV