Autumn Leaves 3 Column

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Choosing the Priority Over the Feeling

I’m feeling weary. I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m feeling insecure. I’m feeling guilt-ridden. Why?

I’m just getting over a terrible cold and I’m still producing a hacking cough. I have a wisdom tooth breaking through my gum and it hurts.

I had to “close” the books for my husband’s business and then meet with the accountant to prepare for the taxes, and since accounting is NOT one of my gifts, my brain feels absolutely drained of anything useful.

I’m feeling insecure and under-appreciated in ministry and in my relationships. Mind you, no one has done or said anything to make me feel this way; it’s just how I feel.

An opportunity to share my precious Jesus was cancelled and I’m at a loss of what to do with the information I had already prepared. And most frightening, is God trying to tell me that I have no business pursuing a speaking/writing ministry? Is that why the event didn’t take place?

Weary. Overwhelmed. Insecure. These are the feelings I have. Because I cannot identify any valid reason for these feelings, I wind up feeling guilt-ridden, another uncomfortable feeling. So what do I do?

I bring them to my Jesus. I’m always quoting Jan Silvious and saying, “Feelings don’t have a brain.” Feelings just are; they have no rhyme or reason, they just are.

OK, so I bring these feelings to Jesus in prayer, in contemplation and I wait. I pour out my heart. I sit quietly and listen for the still, small voice to remind me of my priorities.

Doing His will no matter my feelings: that’s a priority.

Taking my thoughts captive: that’s a priority.

Continuing to spend time in the Bible with Him: that’s a priority.

Abiding in the True Vine as one of His branches: that’s a priority.

Thank you Father for showing me that my feelings don’t have the power to stop me from hearing Your voice…or responding in obedience. It’s my choice to pursue the priority....You!

PS - The weight loss continues going well.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Our Unchanging God

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” 2 Peter 3:10

A few years ago while hiking on the Appalachian Trail (AT), I came across a mud slide on the side of a mountain in Vermont. My partner and I rounded a curve and were met with the sight of complete destruction and the trail just disappeared. Huge pine trees lay on the side of the mountain like match sticks that had been dropped to the ground by a giant. They were all facing the same direction with dirt and rock piled all around them.

We noticed some temporary trail markers, so we knew that other hikers had made it through the debris. We climbed up and over trees and through rock piles clambering carefully for about half of a mile until we resumed our hike on the well worn path of the AT.

I have never forgotten the awesome and somewhat frightening sight. It was a powerful reminder that this earth, which appears to be so permanent, is only temporary. That fact is easily forgotten as we live our lives as though this place, this world, is forever.

One day we will be in eternity and all that has been will pass away. Our Lord is the only truly permanent, unchanging entity that is worthy of our trust. Thank you Father for being unchanging and worthy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Food for Thought

"Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.” Ps. 39:4

Survival rate, treatment options, side effects from chemo; somewhere in somebody’s life today these terms are becoming integrated into their daily vocabulary. Alarming, unfamiliar phrases that signify the possible number of days left in an individual’s life because of three little words. It is amazing how simple words can pare away any extraneous impediments and reduce a life to essential priorities: “you have cancer”.

Maybe the words you heard were different; words like “there has been a car accident” or “there is no longer any brain activity” or “there was an IED”.

And accompanying those words are some deep, thought provoking questions. If the words were directed at you and you now had a definite explanation for your cause of death, how would you react? Would you be filled with regrets? Would you be satisfied with how you lived your life? What would you do differently? What if the words were directed to a loved one, how would you react then?

The truth is none of us know what the number of our days. A chosen few are given an indication of how many days are left to them, but for the most part death can be sudden and we have no idea when it will occur. We do have the knowledge that we are finite creatures, but do we live every day with that knowledge in the forefront of our minds?

No, I myself have not heard these words directed at me, but I’m aware of a situation where this very circumstance has become a hard reality and it made me stop and think. Am I satisfied with how I’m living my life? Are you?

Life is short, no matter how we look at it. I don’t want to stand before my Jesus and have to account for opportunities I missed to tell someone I loved them. I don’t want to admit that I was contemptuous of someone’s love for me. And I can’t imagine my heartbreak when I find out just how many opportunities I missed to share the love of God with my “neighbor”.

Definitely, food for thought….and prayer.