Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hit Me

Do you remember back in elementary school, when you were just walking down the hallway, minding your own business and suddenly people started hitting you on the way by and laughing? Little did you know, someone had taped a "Hit Me" on your back, so you stop and take it off and life goes back to normal.

Sometimes life is like that. You are going along, minding your own business, and all of a sudden it feels like you are getting hit from every angle. Your filling falls out, you lose water, the dishwasher breaks, your daughter gets rear-ended and catches a pan of chicken on fire, ALL IN THE SAME WEEK! You feel like you have a giant "Hit me" sign on your back and don’t know how to get it off. You probably could blame it on the devil, but things break and things go wrong, so I don’t choose to see the enemy behind everything that doesn’t go my way. I choose to see God at work, allowing these things to happen to remind me to look to Him.

James says "Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed you will be strong in character and ready for anything." James 1:2-4

The victory comes, not in having perfect weeks, where nothing goes wrong, but keeping your eyes on the Lord and trusting Him to bring you through. It’s in having the right attitude in the midst of these little annoyances. Jesus said "In this world, you will have troubles, but fear not, I have overcome." In the grand scope of things, I don’t even think this type of week qualifies as trouble, when you think about the people worldwide who REALLY have troubles. I’m not even sure I could call them "light and momentary afflictions", because its all about stuff that doesn’t matter, just normal every day results of the laws of modern life, the fact that things break. How about "the trying of our faith produces patience"? I’m not sure these even qualify as a trial of faith. They are just annoyances, like the "Hit Me" sign. All these things are so LITTLE in the light of eternity, yet we get so flustered by them. These little problems are NOTHING, yet God can use them to build faith and endurance in us, so we will be "strong in character and ready for anything".

Thank God this week that instead of giving you a perfect life, He is giving you a life that will perfect you and prepare you for eternity. We are lumps of clay in the Master’s hands. Yield to His work in you….

With love and prayers,

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rut or Routine?

Ahhh, routine…. It can be a beautiful thing. The kids are all back to school so this is the second full week of having my regular schedule back. I really love having the kids home during the summer, but the way people come and go around here makes the house like Grand Central Station, and the usual cooking and cleaning routines are tossed out the window on the way to the beach. So no matter how you try to clean, plan or organize during that season, due to the sheer volume of people circulating in and out at warp speed, things tend to get a little discombobulated.

You can see why I might look forward to the semi-organized patterns of fall! The towels get hung on the line, pies get baked, dinner gets cooked (when it doesn’t interfere with a soccer game), and the house is a lot cleaner. I have some quiet and some time to just relax! I can make plans to get together with friends, or work in the yard, or spend all afternoon reading a book. The Lord has been filling up my calendar with dates with my friends this month. It’s a wonderful thing.

It’s funny to think how routine is welcome in some areas, and starts to feel like a rut in others. While I may appreciate the routine at home, in other areas I find things feeling a little stale. Maybe that’s why I went back to school, to dust off my brain, learn some new things, improve my writing, meet new people. In my marriage, we are breaking out of the same old routine and trying to really connect and spend quality time. In my spiritual life, I know I want more than I am currently walking in. In so many areas of my life, it’s a time to get out of the ruts where I find myself trudging along. Time to get up where I can see the grass growing and smell the roses, to experience the journey and enjoy it.

Jesus came so we could have "life, more abundantly" and He wants us to live it and love it! Somehow we get into our comfortable safe routines, looking just at the steps in front of our feet, and miss the wonderful scenery along the way. We forget that life can be an adventure because we are so busy with our "to-do" list we ignore the "just for fun" list. He wants us to enjoy our everyday lives, like Joyce Meyer would say.

Take stock of where you are, and what needs changing in your life. God wants faithfulness and consistency in our lives, but it doesn’t have to be boring! Stop going through life on cruise control or automatic pilot. Stop and smell the roses. Keep looking up and begin to see all He has in store for you. Be open to the new paths He may lead you down, following Him every step of the way.
May you find joy in the journey.

With love,