Saturday, January 29, 2011

Trying to Find the Perfect Balance for My Today

The other day on facebook I updated my status with these words:  Trying to find the perfect's essential.

Essential for what?  At minimal, survival, I think, as sometimes this is as good as it gets  (...keepin it real...). But other times, to function at our greatest potential, maximize our gifts, strengths and abilities for maximum output.  Yes, I do believe this is possible. 

In our lives, we go through many seasons causing our schedules to change, forcing us to redo boundaries, evaluate activities, and rearrange priorities

So how do we find the perfect balance?

I think the first thing would be to make sure we have our priorities in the correct order.  Without God first, my life would be chaos.  After this would be my family, and the remaining items on the list could probably change from time to time depending on a variety of things.

What happens when we loose our physical balance?  We fall down.

I think a similar thing can happen when our lives are out of balance.  We burn out, we get dizzy (confused, tired, deceived) and fall down, we slip away from God, we neglect our family, we StReSs out.

With that being said, I am in pursuit of finding that perfect balance for me and where I am today

To my schedule, I added five classes, 15 college hours, for the next sixteen weeks (Deep breath.).  So I'm asking myself how do I  maintain my same level of commitment to #1 God and then to the rest of my "normal" responsibilities (family, church, home, writing, prayer/devotion, social, volunteering, etc)?

I think the answer to this question will be different for each of us.

In my biology class there is a mother of four small children who is pregnant with #5.  She is also taking a full load of classes.  Waiting at home for her is six loads of laundry, a sink full of dishes and an unprepared dinner.

I'm thinking as long as everyone has clean underwear, order pizza and wash clothes tomorrow....

One of my professors talked about how busy her weeks are and how tired she is in class, especially at the end of the week.  She used a small table for seating while discussing our slides and told the class that if she fell, just let her lay there for a little while because she needed the rest.  :)

I'm sure you could insert your own story here.

In our lab this week, we "played" with plastic models, breaking and forming bonds, creating Isomers.  Isomers are compounds with the same elements but different structures and properties.  So although they contain the same elements, those elements are arranged and joined differently, causing them to have different properties and different reactions, which determines their use.  In joining two of the isomers together, sometimes we had to add or remove a water molecule to create a bond between the two.

We are like isomers.  Although we may have the same  or similar "stuff" (elements) in our lives, that stuff is sometimes arranged differently depending on our own personal situations.   And that arrangement of our "stuff" causes us to react differently and also determines our use and abilities (properties).

And when my seasons change and I another element to my life, I may have to add or lose something to make everything fit together.  (I could always add a hired maid service...)

What areas can I decrease or let go of and still remain healthy?

What needs to be rearranged or re-ordered?

I pray that God will show me the perfect balance for me during this time.  And I pray, if you are feeling a little dizzy and out of balance, that you will seek God and find His structure and grace for this season you are in.  We are meant for great things!  It's not because we are great, but because HE IS!  (Kind of takes the pressure off, huh?) 

Receive His grace, and allow His greatness and His strength to flow out of you.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness..."  2 Corinthians 12:9

"My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be moved." Psalm 42:1-2

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." Matthew 11:28-31

"..casting all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you..." 1 Peter 5:7

Have an amazing weekend, my friends!  :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today I Lingered in the Moment...

There I stood, walking from my mother's house to my own, a small trail between the two.  My eyes forward, I watched my six year old bouncing toward me with his arms spread as wide as the landscape. Suddenly my heart pounded and I was flooded with memories and the realization that this place in time won't last forever.

I found myself breathing deeply, lingering in the moment, reluctant to let go just yet.

I took a picture in my mind, etching every detail of his smile, his face, his arms, his eyes bright with joy and innocence....recording his laugh and his six year old voice.

Though a new day, still, I have been here before.

Watching my daughter twirl and skip, laughter erupting from deep within.  She is now 18.

Watching my other son proudly ride his new bike.  "Watch me, Mom!"  He is now 14.

We blink, and in an instant a moment passes before us, recaptured only in the memories and mental files we have stored away for safe keeping. 

Today, like many others, I dig through those files, visiting another time and place.

I am thankful for moments that have come and gone. 

And for those moments, those gifts, waiting in my tomorrow.

Both time and my children are a gift from God and I look forward to the morning in great anticipation. 

For tomorrow, I have more pictures to take.  More files to open. 

My cup runneth over...

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. ~ Psalm 127:3

Lord, make me to know my end and [to appreciate] the measure of my days--what it is; let me know and realize how frail I am [how transient is my stay here].  Behold, You have made my days as [short as] handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in Your sight. Truly every man at his best is merely a breath! Selah ~Psalm 39:4-5 (Amplified Bible)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On the Outside It's Hard to Tell...

God stands knocking at the door of our soul, waiting for an invitation.

And He beckons us to come to Him.

He tugs at our heartstrings, gently pulling at the most tender places, wanting to heal and mend our brokenness, take away our unforgiveness, replace our hatred, forgive our sins, and fill our emptiness with His all-consuming love that we do not deserve.

But oftentimes, we isolate ourselves from Him.

On the outside it's hard to tell.

It's so easy to get caught up in the lingo and jargon that we, as Christians, are so familiar with.  The words roll off of our tongue effortlessly, but void of passion and meaning. 

Rituals replace relationship, and superficiality thwarts spiritual growth, pushing intimacy out of our reach.

We become Professional Christians, or participate in Christian Professionalism, or Professional Christianism....or whatever you might call get the idea.

Reading our bible becomes something we check off of our to-do list instead of something we long for because we love spending time with Him Who is the Word.

Praying feels obligatory instead of a privilege to commune with, know and fellowship in the presence of the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Creator of the Universe, Savior.

We wear ourselves out trying to "prove" our worth instead of allowing God to bring out the best in us.

As my friend Sharon said, "Faithful becomes Sunday worship."

Our lives become filled with unworthy substitutes, everything but the One for Whom we were created.

We have turned our backs and we don't even know it, because we have fooled even ourselves.

I have been there more than once before and it is a lonely, dry, unsatisfying place. 

Being a Christian is more.

It is more than Sunday worship.

It is more than an appearance.

It is more than a life "style."

It is our life.  Our being.  Our reason for existence.  Our hope when there is no hope.

Accept His invitation today.

Worship and know Him, offer your heart and the whole of your being.

Let us lose our professionalism and be real with He can be real through us.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Time of Progression-Part 2: Arise and Go Over

Moving from one place to another always involves change.  Whether spiritually, physically, emotionally or mentally, change is imminent to get from here to there.

And since moving forward is an action, it requires that we DO. 

Do something or stay where we are.

Consider Joshua after Moses had died.

And God said..."Moses my servant is dead.  Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving them - the children of Israel." Joshua 1:2

The word ARISE in the Hebrew is QUWM which means to arise, stand, rise up, stand up, become powerful, come on the scene, to be established, be confirmed, be valid, to be proven, to be fulfilled, to carry out.

God was calling Joshua to ARISE.  Moses was dead and it was Joshua's appointed time to stand up and be established in the place that God had planned for him.

But in order for Joshua to ARISE, to be established and fulfilled, there was something else he had to do.

He had to GO OVER.

In this scripture, the word OVER in the Hebrew is ABAR which means to pass over, to pass beyond, to emigrate, leave (one's territory), cease to exist, to become invalid, become obsolete, to be alienated.

Are you getting the picture?

Joshua had to leave his territory, what was familiar to him.  Life as he knew it had to cease to exist.  His old methods, way of thinking and doing things were now obsolete.  He had to leave the past in the past.  God was doing a new thing.

Joshua was staring his destiny in the face, and he had to take action.

God had already commanded him in Deuteronomy 31:23 to “Be strong and courageous, for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.

So when God instructed Joshua to cross over, it should have been easy for him to say yes and answer the call, right?

Let's take a look at a few verses after God told Joshua to cross over.

God says in Joshua 1:6  "Be strong and courageous..."

And again in verse 7 “Be strong and very courageous..."

And again in verse 9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Even though Joshua had already proven to be a great leader while Moses was still alive, I can imagine that somewhere between verses 1 through 9 there was (possibly) a war going on inside of him.  "Do I go or do I stay?"...  "I can't do this!"..."Moses was a mighty man of God, how can I lead these people as he led them?"..."There must be some mistake."  "Oh, God!  Are you sure?"

But in verse 10 Joshua took courage as the Lord commanded and began giving instructions and preparing for his time of progression, his time to Arise and Go Over.

And when the time came, you can almost hear the excitement and level of faith in his voice as he told the people...."Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you!”  (Joshua 3:5).

He knew he was called and as he moved out in faith he was expecting God to show up!

and then...the LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the eyes of all Israel, so they may know that I am with you as I was with Moses." (Joshua 3:7)

God trusted and knew that Joshua was able to do what He was asking.

When Joshua made the decision to answer the call, he learned personally that God is a Keeper of  His promises.  He trusted God with his whole heart and stepped into his destiny.

God is always faithful.  If He is telling you to do something, He will not ask you to go alone.

All He asks is that you go, and when you go...

Be strong and courageous.

Be strong and very courageous.

It is time to move forward into the plans and purposes that God has for you (and me). 

It is time to ARISE and GO OVER!

God still speaks.  I know you hear Him. 

What is it that He is asking you to do? 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Time of Progression - Part 1

I'm finding a familiar theme in my writing these last few weeks. Somewhat hidden among paragraphs and sentences, I've discovered a word and/or phrase that I believe will hold true for much of the body of Christ this year, if they so choose.

The word that keeps appearing on my blank pages and resounding in my ears is progression. Whether forward progress, moving forward, forward movement, or taking a step forward, it's all the same.  The words began to fit together for me like a jigsaw puzzle. 

I feel like this is going to be a Time of Progression.


*Definition- the act of progressing; forward or onward movement; advancement

*Synonyms - advancement, boost, break, breakthrough, development, evolution, forward march, going forward, giant strides, growth, headway, improvement, promotion, step forward

Let me just say, I get excited when I study words.  And this list of synonyms is reason for a little shouting!

On a hunch, (aka....slight nudge from Holy Spirit) I took one of the synonyms...evolution...and expanded a little more.  Are you ready for this?  You're not driving and reading are you?  If so, you might want to pull over.

*change, enlargement, expansion, flowering, growth, increase, maturation, transformation, unfolding

My. Oh. My.

Can you feel it?  God is wanting to do something big in and through His people this year.  And He's wanting His people to do something big in Him this year. 

Of course, there are pre-requisites.  We'll get to those a little later.

And just to make sure you understand, I thought I'd let you in on something else I found.

Since we got excited over a few synonyms, it's only fair that we give equal time to some antonyms.

*blockage, hesitation, withdrawal, decrease, halt, stoppage

So, basically, the opposite of progression , or moving forward (enlargement, expansion, growth, maturation, transformation), would be blockage, hesitation, withdrawal, decrease, halt, stoppage.

Makes perfect sense.

In Exodus 14, God had delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, but at the first sign of trouble, they became very afraid and began to cry out to Moses..."Have you taken us out here to die?  Why?! We would have been better serving the Egyptians!" 

I can hear it today...

"Why, God?  Why did you bring me here if I was just going to get hurt?  Why is it so hard?  Can't you see the enemy trying to attack me?  I would've been better off staying where I was."

V.15 - And the Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me?  Tell the children of Israel to go forward." (emphasis mine).

**The Hebrew word for forward in this verse is Naca, which means to pull out, pull up, set out, journey, remove, set forward, depart, lead out, cause to spring up.

They had been delivered from bondage, but they couldn't stop.  Action was required.  They had to depart from where they were, and move forward in order to step into what was next for them.

There are many scriptures in the Bible where God had already given the victory, but the armies of the Lord had to take action, and go forth, go forward, advance in order for the victory to become reality.  In other words, God had a plan and made a way, but He didn't just do it for them.

So God has a plan and has made a way for me, for you...our victory is certain, unless we stay where we are.  This will have a different meaning for each of us.  He wants to mature us, enlarge us, expand us, grow us, increase us, transform us.  What instruction is God giving you?  Where is He telling you to go?  What is He telling you to do, to get rid of, to repent of, to speak, to pray, to teach, to write, to apologize, to ___________?   What is the action He is requiring of you?  Only you know.

This year will be a time of Progression for many.

A year of Progression for those who say yes.

A year of Progression for those who push through their fears.

A year of Progression for those who aren't afraid of change.

A year of Progression for those who will hear God, and obey.

A year of Progression for those who turn a deaf ear to man's opinions.

A year of Progression for those willing and obedient.

A year of Progression for those who allow God to transform the ruins in their lives.

A year of Progression for those who find their place near God.

A year of Progression for those who do more than talk about what God has told them to do.

The choice is yours.  You can move forward.  I heard in my bible study this week from Beth Moore that we are the greatest obstacle we will face.  Sad, but true.  Don't be the reason you miss your destiny.

Jeremiah 7:24 - "But they would not listen to and obey me or bend their ear (to Me), but followed the counsels and the stubborn promptings of their own evil hearts and minds, and they turned their back and went in reverse instead of forward."

Help me, God, to hear you and obey and move forward with you.

To be concluded.....Stay tuned for Part 2: Arise and Go Over!.....coming soon....