Friday, March 31, 2017

When Your Soul Feels Convicted

My heart got convicted the other day. Well, actually, it took a full day for what I heard to truly set in and convict me. And then it just overwhelmed my soul. 

It’s not that I am living a perfect life with no need to feel conviction. On the contrary. My heart had gotten a little “tough,” as hearts can so often do, when you go through life.

I met the sweetest woman. She was leading a Bible Study and it didn’t happen to be the one I had registered for, but God placed me so that I would intersect with her conversation to someone else. She was talking about distractions. How everything is a distraction these days. And how often we are on Facebook when we should be reading Scripture. Or how we go through a busy day, and we fail to read, ponder, and dwell on God’s Word because of all the distractions in our days – in our lives.

And I felt it. Not at first. But I felt it. The weight of all those distractions in my life.

I believe that God made us for these days and these times. I think Facebook is WONDERFUL. I want to be on the record for saying that. The connection to other people can truly be a good thing. I don’t think God is asking me to give up Facebook, however, he may be asking me to read His Word BEFORE I get on Facebook. And He may be telling me that if I can stay up late on Saturday night, that I can get my behind to church on Sunday morning.

Our choices have changed and we haven’t even noticed. We haven’t noticed how we have facebooked, movied, shopped, read, partied, socialized, eaten, travelled, and worked God right out of the equation.

We are too busy.

How can He be the greatest thing in our life, if we fail to even give Him any time in our day?

I have missed Him. I have gotten distracted. I have gotten busy. And I have “busied Him” right out of my days. My love for Him has not changed, but I have had to strain harder to hear Him. He didn’t move. I did.

We are to prioritize living for Him. Obeying Him. Reading His Word. KNOWING His Word.   And yet we don’t even talk to Him.

I used to turn off my radio in my car, and just talk to God. It’s been awhile since I did that.

I used to listen to Christian podcasts weekly. They have sat on my ipod for quite awhile until recently, when I opened one again to get some fuel for my soul.

I started writing Scripture out in a journal so that I could meditate on His Word. It has sat abandoned for a few years.

It’s one of the reasons I do Bible Study. It forces me to get in His Word because I fail in disciplining myself to do that consistently.

I am ready to get back into prioritizing my precious Savior. I am longing to clearly hear His voice when He speaks to me again. I’m excited to see Him work in my life and the life of those I love – because I’m looking for it.

Life is full of distractions. Most of them aren’t bad. They just need to be prioritized. If we have time for them – we have time for God. It’s as simple as that.

I don’t want a “tough” heart. So I’m thankful to feel it stirring. I’m thankful for the conviction. It means things can move again. They can grow.

And that’s what I desire.

How about you?

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Ground Is Shifting

Seasons. Oh, how they come and go.

I’ve been in the desert. Climbed the hills. Maneuvered the windy roads.

A season is entering my life right now. I can feel the winds of change blowing stronger and closer than ever.

The winds of change.

Sometimes, I like change. It can be energizing and exciting. Other times, I dread it. For change means stretching of the soul, and painful lessons.

I’m not at all sure what this season of change will bring for me. A little of both, maybe?  But, I’m nervous. I feel like I’m standing on shifting ground and it unnerves me.

I COULD look at it like I’m being taken to new lands. New adventures. Or, I could look at it with a sense of loss and sadness over leaving something that I’ve grown to love.

The empty nest is knocking louder on my door. It’s so close. And other things in our lives are shifting as well.

What will the new season of life feel like? Will I embrace it? Will I have a hard time adjusting?

So many unknowns.

One thing I know, is that I don’t walk alone. My God is a God full of surprises. He loves me. He roots for me. He has the best in store for me. (And for those I love.)

So, as I head to answer the knocks growing on my door, I can do so with courage. I can do so with thankfulness. And I can do so with confidence, knowing that my God has a gift waiting for me on the other side.

The ground may feel shaky now, but “upon the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sound.”

I won’t sink. Of that, I’m sure.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Perspectives Change

It’s funny how our perspectives change in life.  When I was first faced with the prospect of having adult braces (after already having them in high school), I said, “no way.” I wasn’t going to touch that idea with a ten foot pole. Then, when it repeatedly came up over the years and the idea escalated to braces AND jaw surgery… everything in me JUST wanted to do braces. “I’d give anything to just have to do braces!”

When my baby girl started looking at colleges, I did not want her to go to college an hour away. Then she started looking at colleges several states away and I was like, “Please, choose the one that’s only an hour away!”

Oh, how the years and the situation can change our perspective!

That’s how it’s been in my life with so many things. And I’ll bet it’s been the same way in yours.

We can be so adamant about things…. Until down the road, we see them differently. We feel them differently.

Maybe, you’d call it karma. Some people might call it maturity.  I call it, being humbled. Because our pride speaks so often in our lives. It speaks quickly, and LOUDLY.  Until we are forced to confront things in a different light.

Sometimes it’s funny. You can joke about how you used to say such and such, then turned out to be right where you said you’d never be.

Sometimes it’s painful.  You don’t want people mentioning the past AT ALL, because things might have been easier.

But sometimes, it doesn’t matter at all what we WOULD have done, or what we said in the past. Because, God has His own plans and agenda for our lives. He likes to stir us up; when we don’t like to be stirred.

That’s how we grow.

That’s why we rely on Him.

In our own strength and control, we have little to no need for His impact or influence in our life.

I wish with everything in me, that I could embrace things better. I wish I could have peace of heart that was ready to accept any outcome. But I’m human. And I don’t.

So, the lesson I’m learning is to try to keep an open mind about people. About things. About situations. Because tables can so easily turn. Change can so easily happen.

Our perspectives in life are colored by our experiences. So, it’s important for us to remember that we haven’t experienced ALL of those colors or shades. That there are options, alternatives, and outcomes different than what we want or envision.

They may even be better.

Not everything is going to go how we thought it would go. If we let it, those are the exact times that can turn us into better people. Those very things that change our priorities and perspectives – can change our hearts.

We just need to let them.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

We All Have An "It" In Our Life

You can run.

You can run for years. And you can think you’ve successfully run from “it.”  But you haven’t. There it is. Staring you in the face.

You can’t outrun it. And you can’t hide.

God’s good at making us face things we’re afraid of. He’s good at reminding us that we can’t ignore certain things in our lives. He’s SO good….. at showing us that we can make it through; even when we think we can’t. Even when we dread, with every fiber of our being, that “it.”

No, we can’t outrun it.

Jonah couldn’t. He tried to outrun God’s orders. He had to face them. He thought he got away – for awhile. But, he didn’t. And neither have we.

That thing we dread? It may not be as bad as we think. There may be hidden blessings in it. Yes, there may be hurt, too. But just as God is so good at reminding us that we can’t outrun things in life, He’s also so good at equipping us with the strength we need to confront and defeat them. He specializes in training warriors and helping them come out victors.

I would rather not enter the battle. I would rather run. I’ve TRIED to run. Do you want to know a little secret? It never works.  For a time, maybe. But it only delays the inevitable.

We all have an “it” in our life. We all have something we have tried to run from.  But isn’t that exhausting?

I decided to resign myself to my “it.” I’d rather have more time on the OTHER side of the “it” than more time on THIS side of the “it.” I’d rather have more time living in freedom, than in bondage.

How about you?

Please stop running. Turn around and face your “it.”

It’s time.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Little Eyes That Take In SO Much

Little eyes.  Teenage eyes.  They see so much.  They take in SO MUCH.

There is so much more, than what meets OUR eyes when we look at our young people. We fail to see how they sit quietly in the corner, watching as mom and dad argue.

We fail to see, how they watch in horror, at the violence we call “entertainment” on the television.

We don’t see how our careless words, hit their very core. Or how they watch other kids at school exclude them.

But they take it in. They see. And they know far more than we give them credit for.

Those precious, precious eyes.

Those eyes belong to our children. Our grandchildren.  We are responsible for them.

I don’t want to see hurt in those eyes. I don’t want to see tears fall. I want to see joy, spark, and life sparkle from those precious eyes. I can’t control everything, of course. But I can play a part – an important part, by imparting love, wisdom, understanding, empathy, joy, and acceptance into their hearts.

I can provide a safe home environment for them.

I can have a ready hug. And an available ear to listen.

We take in so much of life, too. But it’s our job, to protect those younger than us. To give them the time they need to develop the maturity, discernment, and strong moral compass needed, to handle what is thrown their way.  They may act like they can handle it, but it’s our job to truly KNOW if they can handle it.

The world is tough. It’s fast. And it doesn’t take into consideration the innocence and purity of a child. That’s what we need to do.

We need to protect them. Cherish them. And love them with everything we’ve got.

For those little eyes are seeing too much, too soon. Much, much too soon.