Letting Go

 

Paradise Trail Mountain

Is there something you are gripping tightly to in your life?  Fingers clenched, nails pressing into palms?   I do this with all kinds of little things in my life.  I am angry at something my husband said or did,  so I will choose to hold on to that anger.  I continue to replay the words or actions (or lack of ), tasting the bitter over and over.  Or, I cling to feelings of want, unsatisfied desires, choosing not to look at all the incredible blessings that are already present in my life.  Sometimes it’s as small as not finishing my To Do list (since that’s such a rare occasion–not!) and instead of looking forward to the new day ahead which provides me with many more hours God has given me,  I sit in the guilt and pressure of what I didn’t get done the day before.

But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.  Genesis 19:26

What in your life are you holding on to?  What is it that keeps you imprisoned in thoughts, behaviors, sadness?  Or put another way, what are you choosing to look back on that prevents you from experiencing today’s fullest, today’s grace, today’s blessings and peace?

Lot and his wife were directly told by an angel to flee their home and city, for destruction was imminent.  But the angel told them not to look back as they fled.  Lot’s wife wasn’t able to do that–and as a wife who has built a home and raised children in it, living in the same city for many years, I also may have turned my head for a glimpse of it going up in flames.  It is difficult to let go of the old, trusting God for the new.

Like a heavy backpack that is done serving its purpose, let’s choose to take off whatever is weighing on us.  Angry at a spouse?  Let it go–own your part and forgive. Wanting different circumstances in your life? Open your eyes, look at what God has given you right now.  Needing to walk away from something harmful in your life, but frightening to do so?  God will give you courage.

While we may not become a pillar of salt for continuing to look behind us, we miss out on the blessings God has before us.  And because he is a wise and patient parent, he let’s us work that out when we are ready.  Let’s just not take too long to squint into the horizon and kick up the dust on a new path ahead.

 

 

Almost There! A New Beginning…

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Happy New Year’s Eve!  We are on the cusp of something great–a new beginning.  A new year, a fresh start, a time to take one glance back and then turn our heads forward, peering into the blank canvas of a new year.

This past year may have been harder than others, with unexpected disappointments that still sting.  Or maybe for you it was the climbing out of the valley, a mountain-top year full of ease and peace.

Either way, hopefully we have grown a little, learned from our mistakes and difficulties, found wells of gratitude to dip from, found rest in the joyful, and can now walk through 2015 with whatever it brings, stronger, wiser, and more confident in God’s purpose for our days.

When we walk through life with God, open to his calling of our time and our talents, we can live to our fullest, our happiest.  We can weather the trials because we know God has much to teach us through them.  They are a pruning for a flourishing that would never exist without the cutting back.

Where will we flourish this year?

How will we use our time and talents for God?

Lisa Terkeurst expresses beautifully a framework to enter this year:

“In God’s plan you have a part to play. If you know it and believe it, you’ll live it.  You’ll live your life making decisions with the Best Yes as your best filter.  You’ll be a grand display of God’s Word lived out.  Your undistracted love will make your faith ring true.  Your wisdom will help you make decisions that will still be good tomorrow.  And you’ll be alive and present for all of it.” (The Best Yes, p. 6)

To be present in our life–what a great gift for ourselves and those around us–letting go of the past, not fearing the future.  Just living for today, in the moment with all God has for us!  Today we say goodbye to 2014, and hello to a new year~let us rejoice and be glad in it.

 

 

 

Eating For Comfort

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As women we tend to have this unhealthy attachment to food, don’t we?  This tangible necessary substance we need for our bodies to thrive tends to put us on a difficult emotional roller coaster depending on how much self-control we have…or not.   Years ago, when I was in college, I struggled mightily with an eating disorder where food consumed my every thought–planning what I would eat, succeeding, failing, hiding, depriving.  So, I know…

Food gives us comfort, fullness, happiness, and even…peace?  Hmmn, yes, I think I feel true peace after downing a milkshake from my favorite shake place.  Well, at least for a few minutes.

Here are some great thoughts on this topic by Joyce Meyer:

                Spiritual Food For Spiritual Hunger

by Joyce Meyer – posted August 28, 2014

Make no provision for [indulging] the flesh [put a stop to thinking about the evil cravings of your physical nature] to [gratify its] desires (lusts) —Romans 13:14
Food addiction is easy, because food doesn’t come with the same stigmas as cigarettes or drugs. Unlike these vices, food has a legitimate—even essential—role in health. Only when it slips into overuse does it become a problem. But it’s so easy to get to that point! Food is reliable. Unlike spouses, friends, or great weather, it is always there. But that’s the problem. Any time we feel spiritually empty, whether through sadness, depression, or boredom, it’s easy to reach for food to fill that void. Soon, we mistake spiritual hunger for physical hunger, and food becomes the immediate answer to any drop in well-being.
You know where this leads. The more you try to treat your spiritual longing with food or other feel-good stimuli, the greater your soul’s cry for spiritual nourishment will be. The greater your disease will become. Fortunately, there is another source of comfort that is always there when you need it. Unlike bad food or drugs, it doesn’t leave you overweight, sick, or lethargic. It’s even free. That something is God. He is called the Father of sympathy and the God of every comfort, who consoles us in every trouble (2 Corinthians 1:3,4).
When I hurt, I have learned to run to God first, instead of another person or substance. I’m not saying this is automatic. It took me years to get this straight, and I still sometimes have to remind myself that what I truly need is spiritual nourishment. But learning this habit will do more to keep your mind and body sound and your life on an even keel than anything I know. Your spirit needs nourishment just like your body does. Don’t wait until you have a crisis in your life to start feeding it.


From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

 

Pass It On…

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Hello! The last couple of weeks I have been so grateful for unexpected comments about how this blog has spoken to someone at the right time in their life–I always seem to be surprised because I don’t know all of the readers, and don’t know who this is reaching.   Often it feels like I am writing into space!  But then someone shares, “Thanks for encouraging me with what you wrote, and by the way  I shared your blog with a friend who I thought might like to read about ……”  So, thank you for reading and sharing. Please pass this blog on to your friends and family, and encourage them to like it on Facebook or subscribe by email in hopes that we can encourage each other through growing and becoming strong in spirit.

Problems Only The Rich Have

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Apparently, I had never heard the phrase, “Problems only the rich have,” but after our pastor’s sermon last week, it was crystal clear to me.

Here’s an example he used.  One of his frustrations this past month has been that the battery in his garage door opener is wearing out, so once in a while when he pulls into the driveway the door doesn’t automatically go up with the push of the button.  He actually has to get out of his car and walk up to the garage and push buttons to make the door open. Can you believe that??

Well, actually I can. Sadly.  I guess I’m a rich person, because I came home from church today and proceeded to have problems that other people in the world just don’t ever have.  Like being annoyed that the key cover for the period on my laptop is missing.  Or upset that our faucet continues to leak.  Or bothered that the kids clothes are all over the floor of their room.  Or, (this one really did me in) VERY frustrated when the Costco size syrup that one of my sweet children precariously balanced on the edge of the fridge shelf fell and oozed all over the kitchen floor (think sticky).  All problems that other people don’t have.

Because they don’t have computers.

They don’t have running water.

Their kids only have two shirts.

They don’t shop at Costco, or have syrup….or a fridge.

Our pastor’s point?

Thankfulness.

Not just thankfulness, but what he calls baseline thankfulness.  Our baseline in America tends to creep up quite a bit more than in other parts of the world because we live in a culture of convenience, efficiency, and discontentment.

As Christians, we need to push that baseline of thankfulness down, down, to the very basics of life.

We need to be thankful for (A HUGE VARIETY OF) food, (ABOUNDING) health, running (HOT) water, a (COMFY) mattress to sleep on, a yard to take care of, and the list goes on.

Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens.  That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.  Thessalonians 5:16-18

I have recently wrestled with potential change in my life, and that change meant losing some things that are dear to me.  Throughout that process, my baseline thankfulness changed.  I gained a whole new perspective of things that I had taken for granted.

You might want to try that exercise.  Think about losing some important and not so important things in your life–your marriage, your job, your cell phone, your church, your computer.   All of those things may have parts that are frustrating, that you wish would be different–but what if they were completely gone?  And you had to start–over. What things would you appreciate again?

We have so much to be thankful for in America–material possessions, freedom, opportunity, choice.  Thanksgiving is right around the corner…maybe it can take on even more significance in our homes as we shift our baseline of thankfulness.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:5-7

What are your problems?

(Darn…my voicemail doesn’t work as well now that I’ve shifted to the new IOS system on my iPhone).

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