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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Realizing I am a sloth and sluggard - OUCH!

Today was another revealing learning experience from God through our pastor John Bruce.

I have spent my life as a doer, so I thought! But the more I get to know God, or, actually get to know me with God, I realize how much growth I have - not a new statement by me; however, revolutionary anyway from today's standpoint.

Last week, John discussed, Smart People Take God Seriously, and it is a sad state that our world is in right now. We take so many other things seriously, the things that really don't impact anything except our pride or boasting.... but that gets me political, and that is not my aim right now.

Today as I heard God's word, I was again, set to grieving how much time I have lost - spending time on the wrong things and with the wrong thinking. Still in Proverbs, John's 10 Ways to Diagnose Whether or Not (I am) a Sluggard or Sloth, and the lesson begins.

Smart People Take Action
  1. Do I Think I am Lazy? Many months ago, and for my entire life, I would have said "no", strongly "NO". And, as I reflect on my actions, or inactions over the years, I am submitting that changes need to happen; I have gotten in life what I have because I don't always act as quickly as I should. So, how does that change? With recognition that change is needed, praying - asking God to direct and guide, then massive action on my part. SO MANY THINGS TO THINK ABOUT: Proverbs 26:16
  2. Do I Make Small, Soft Choices - WHICH Eventually Become Habits? Everyday! Wow, reality is shocking sometimes, and my prayer is that these are not just my revelations, but others can see their need to know themselves better. Idleness saps or zaps energy - how true is this? This morning, I woke up early, then rolled over and fell back to sleep, and when I woke up for the second time, an hour later - I didn't want to budge. John's examples including, longer shower, slower to getting up from the table after a meal, procrastinating and slow to start things. SO WHAT SHOULD I DO? Push myself at every moment. Be the person that does things first, and the best! Proverbs 6:9-11 & Proverbs 19:15.
  3. Do I Always Feel Busy, BUT Accomplishing Nothing? BINGO! Yep! Got me on this one! Never, ever feel like I have enough time - this one is speaking to me loud and clear. My life has been run like the bell goes off, and I am in the midst of a fire drill I will definitely be listening to this message again. It truly is a matter of prioritizing, and knowing what to spend time on. I am working with someone right now - coaching, mentoring, fine-tuning my walk with God, and this is the area. My coach calls it the Playground (my mind). Proverbs 12:11 & Proverbs 14:23
  4. Am I Always in a Rush to Get Things Done? Rushing through life is a past-time of many - do I do it? Absolutely. And, it is my desire to enjoy every aspect of my life - no matter what the activity or event. To be present in all moments, whether planned, spontaneous or "just so happens". Proverbs 21:5 & Ecclesiastes 11:4. There are so many things that haste is costing me. Lord, guide me to savor.... to enjoy.... feel joy! 
  5. Do I Wait "Til the Ideal Time" Before Taking Actions? Proverbs 20:4
  6. Do I Find Myself Saying "I Will Do It Later"? Proverbs 10:5
  7. Do I Need Somebody to Help Me Get Going? Proverbs 12:24
  8. Do I Fail to Finish Things I Have Invested Time and Energy In To? There is wisdom, many times in things that are identified in conflict. My husband shares this truth with me often, and I spiral into defensive mode, BIG TIME! This is an area, that drives me completely nutty about myself and yet, I do it more than anything else. Little things become major things. Through the conflict and lessons of this past year, my personal growth has come in God's wonderful way of nudging, prodding and "here it is, would you please pay attention". Proverbs 12:27 & Proverbs 24:30-34
  9. Do I Live in a World of Wishful Thinking? Proverbs 13:4 & Proverbs 21:25-26
  10. Am I Ruled by my Appetites? Proverbs 26:14 & Proverbs 23:20-21
Thoughts to ponder:

  • ·       Is Christ first for me?
  • ·       "I become what I do regularly" Aristotle
  • ·       Am I my body's master or slave? 
  • ·       Am I resting on His promises or my premises?
  • ·       How am I motivated, externally or internally?
  • ·       God will not do for me what I can do for myself.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Emerging from the Wreckage (... a godly wife, obedient to love like Christ)

My life, my husband would say “is a fire drill”, unorganized, frantic and exhausting. And over the years, I would say that his assessment has been true in a lot of cases. In some areas of my life, however, I am overboard organized, calm and energized. Today, I claim the latter description moving forward. These have been consuming years, we truly have been through a lot. As I look out my office window, as I write this, I see our Redwood trees, sturdy, yet flexible, and deliberate on that kind of growing. With branches extended out, waving in the breeze, new growth on the tips, and stretching greatly to the sky – my mirror image today. 

Less than a month ago, I had no idea where my life was headed, what I would salvage from the wreckage of my unorganized, frantic and exhausting existence. It was early July, and I laid flat to the ground, sobbing and confused – how could I be here, and not hear all that was going on in my life? How could I disconnect so easily? What could I possibly do or say to make up for my lack of interest in my own life? I was definitely not living for anyone in this household – I was on a collision course with enemy territory. You see, the enemy hates marriage, and he will do anything to destroy it. Those little comments running through my head that said, “why bother, he doesn’t love you anyway?” or “it won’t matter if you work later, he doesn’t miss you…” those are lies. And, I would go to God, and tell Him how unhappy I was. How much I was hurting, and at no time did I feel the need to consider the one in my life, who does not know God; and the only God he saw, was totally disconnecting and leaving him behind even more. 

The fact that today, was a wonderful day, one full of fun, laughter, hope and excitement with my husband, is a miracle. 

My journey is clear. Although I may not always understand why I am traveling a particular way, as long as I know it is God’s will for me to be there, I will faithfully and trustingly follow him. 

In the rearranging of my schedule, I promised God, that my marriage would come first (after Him of course); so life is much different than I had grown accustomed to. In this process of restoration and rebuilding, I have asked God to restore more than just my marriage. I have prayed for the restoration of me, the person that always did what she said, the woman of her word – integrity with myself. To boldly state what I will do, and not be afraid to pursue it; and boldly stating something because I am so afraid; knowing that I have the strength of God with me, I step out much more confident than ever before and go toward my fear anyway.

It is important to Chris that I work out, that I am healthy and getting that competitive, athletic edge I always had before. So, I started a regiment; not tough, but takes some effort. Two days a week, I walk the hill; a 3+ mile walk down 2nd Street, and over to East Avenue, which is all up hill – a definite work out. As I started down the hill for my walk this morning, I had my scripture in hand, Romans 4 and a friend’s blog (Steve Wickham) entry from today Joy in the Continuity of Prayer – Part 1 

I printed both out, so I could read it as I walk down the hill, and I could pray and concentrate on what I read on the way back up the hill.

On my walk, I met a neighbor... had the most amazing conversation. He is 86, Leo. A little rough around the edges, said he was a plumber; as we were chatting outside his house, two young kids walked by and Leo talked to them, they said “hi, have a nice day” and were on their way. He said "the young people just don't want to hear from us old people" you could see in his eyes that he just wanted to share himself; his experience, his trade, his heart..... my heart broke. We stood and talked for 20 minutes. He said, "you know the Lord!" It wasn’t a question, it was his observation. I responded, "yes, I live for the Lord." 

He told me about his wife, Nola, her heart condition and diabetes episodes with the paramedics coming to the house in the middle of the night (I met her too and their friend Jane). He spoke of his accomplishments, life in general, the neighborhood, which by the way “I have lived here for 55 years, amazing, huh?” he went on. He attends Three Crosses; He started to tear up as he talked about the Lord - as I said, rough around the edges, a plumber (construction-type); share some illness concerns - He says, "you go, you have a walk to complete, but promise you'll come back - I know God brought you here." I asked if I could pray for his health and just in general. We shared quite a bit in those 20 minutes. Before I walked away he whispered "your husband - do it quietly... you, me and God got it covered, he will know our Lord".

Thank You Lord for blessing my life in ways that I never knew could be present. When in the past, I would have been one of the young kids too busy to hear an old folk share.

Additions later... 
I shared this privately with others... but knowing my lovely ladies who commented here, I thought you might find something in it. 

When complaining is directed at me.... in general or about me. I nod, but I am not nodding in agreement with what they say, 
I am nodding in agreement with who God says I am

"I am a mighty woman of God. I am lead to the most amazing situations through my days on earth. No matter what I am going through, my Christ went through the worst. My job is to unconditionally love a man who does not know Christ, and see Christ in me. I am a mighty woman of God, and He strengthens me through every uncomfortable moment, attack or disapproval by anyone else - for that is the enemy - looking for the weak spot to jump in and take me down. I will not be moved. I am on solid ground, here. God has my front, my back and all sides completely. Every arrow that comes to me, bounces back to slap the enemy in the face - take that... " 

or something along this line. It varies depending on how pissed off I am, or how hurt I am.

When anyone is negative, focuses on the negative... yada yada... 
Today, I FOCUS ON WHAT GOD GAVE ME. I wake up, praising that I get to spend eternity (which is a lot longer than my life here); my husband has pain that I will never know. Guilt that will not go away with his ways, and I know that God in him will transform him, so I pray diligently that the Lord will catch him... take his bitterness and turn it into tenderness. My God will take the pain of my husband and make him whole again. I am only unequally yoked in my marriage, but the husband I treasure is the one who died for me - who takes the hits for me every day, seen and unseen. My job, is to love my husband, like Christ loves me. And, who can turn that away?

There is so much wisdom in our lessons; I pray that the grieving is minor; and through your journey God is blessing your honesty and all the giving that is ushered my way from my God. 

And know that I am hearing God. It is hard, because a big part of me wants to just start over and have a life without all the riff and strife. My heart has been broken so much, and it is a daily exercise to seek God and to lay the words or looks or whatever feels wrong with my marriage at His feet. Through my pain, I administered pain to my husband too. Over the years, my disconnection has been deep wounds and wounds that were representative of Christ to him; and my entire desire is to wipe that from existence to create a new Christ for him in my example. The enemy works hard in my house... but I will not be moved. 

During my walk on Saturday as I walked home after meeting Leo, I was in tears, I felt so much grief and loss for a life I so wanted - a husband who adores me, edifies me, supports my every move... but as I did, I was released. What God has in store is greater. My life is being played out here, for a life I will truly live in eternity. Worshiping and loving in ways that tease the senses now.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Proverbs - God's Instructions & Taking God Seriously

Proverbs 1:7

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, 
       but fools \despise wisdom and discipline.” NIV
“ Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God; 
   only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.” The Message

Proverbs 3:4-6

“Then you will win favor and a good name 
       in the sight of God and man.
 Trust in the LORD with all your heart 
       and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways acknowledge him, 
       and he will make your paths straight.” ~Proverbs 3:4-6

Proverbs 9:10

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, 
       and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” NIV
I love this.

Proverbs 15:33

“The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord brings instruction in Wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” The Message

Proverbs 14:2

“An honest life shows respect for God; 
   a degenerate life is a slap in his face.” The Message

Proverbs 14:27

“The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, 
       turning a man from the snares of death.” NIV
“The Fear-of-God is a spring of living water 
   so you won't go off drinking from poisoned wells.” The Message

Proverbs 19:15

“Laziness throws one into a deep sleep,
   and an idle person will go hungry.
GOD’S WORD Translation
 “Life collapses on loafers; 
   lazybones go hungry.” The Message

Proverbs 24:23-25

More Sayings of the Wise – An Honest Answer
“It's wrong, very wrong,
   to go along with injustice.
Whoever whitewashes the wicked
   gets a black mark in the history books,
But whoever exposes the wicked
   will be thanked and rewarded.” The Message
Learning From Wise People
“These also are the sayings of wise people:
   Showing partiality as a judge is not good.
 Whoever says to a guilty person, “You are innocent,”
      will be cursed by people and condemned by nations.
 But people will be pleased with those who convict a guilty person,
      and a great blessing will come to them.” GOD’S WORD Translation

Proverbs 28:14

Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, 
       but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.” NIV