In a Quandary… Again

 What to do? When to do? How to do?

Ever get stuck in that spot where you know you need to do something but don’t know where to start?

That’s where I am today. Haven’t posted for a bit because I’ve been struggling with what to say, how to say it and when to say it….a recurring theme in my life of late.

An online devotional I subscribe to, recently stated in the teaser: “Lord, am I content with who I am, what I do, and how I do it? Does it honor you if I am not content with who I am?”

I am not sure I could ever say I was content with who I am until this past year. That says a lot about me doesn’t it?

Most of the malcontent I had was in relation to two things- both of which are no longer in my life.While these “things” had meaning for me, they both sapped my energy, my time, my faith. Now that they are no longer in my life- one was removed beyond my control and the other I removed by choice- I have perspective of what they both brought to my life. 

 

To arrive at the instant where the light bulb turned on and the message I received was, well enlightening: “See, this is what I wanted you to learn all those times it was difficult for you; all those experiences where you seemed to be having Groundhog days over and over again; all those days where it seemed that nothing was accomplished. They were for a purpose; My purpose.”

 

Thought I would share a bit of what I’ve learned (you may already know this; but, bear with me-it takes me a bit longer to get something inside my head permanently):

 

Never say anything that you might  or know you will regret later. 

Words, once spoken, hang out there like a helium balloon. They bump up against others, back at you, and just hover in the room. Once the helium is gone they just sink and stay where they fall. Words spoken in anger we cannot take back; but a timely word lingers with a sweet perfume.

 

Would you rather hear:

Arrogant words, rash words, evil words, deceitful words, killing words, words of hatred, rebellious words, cruel words, envious words, quarrelsome words, sharp words, twisted words, violent words, ambush words, perverse words, seductive words, multiplying words, wicked words, reckless words, frustrating words, destructive words, mere words, idle words, meaningless words, despised words, faulty words, insolent words, empty words, wounding words, rejected words, proud words, demanding words, angry words, rejecting words, sorrowful words, worthless words, stubborn words, distorted words, lying words, fearful words, words of lament, woeful words, mourning words, obscure words, delayed words, false words, boastful words, greedy words, impatient words, babbling words, words of entrapment, troubling words, shameful words, judging words, shaming words, defiant words, blasphemous words, condemning words. 

 

OR:

 

Sweet words, sweeter than honey words, soft words, good words, beautiful words, gentle words, prophetic words, true words, guarded words, soothing words, righteous words, well-spoken words, flawless words, words of instruction, kind words, wise words, persuasive words, fruitful words, understanding words, welcoming words, insightful words, just words, accepting words, joyful words, warning words, hidden words, encouraging words, words of conviction, timely words, gracious words, pure words, glorious words, healing words, careful words, warning words, intelligible words, sealed for another time words, given words, restrained words, words of knowledge, prudent words, affirming words, certain words, believing words, comforting words, quiet words, the right words, meaningful words, remembered words, words of blessing, loving words, authoritative words, powerful words, commanding words, fulfilling words, saving words, Spirit-filled words, Holy words, Eternal words, Words of the Lord, Living Word, The Word of the Lord, The Word.

 

If you are even just a little bit like me, I’ll leave you with these words of the psalmist-

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth. Psalm 119:103

 

and a prayer that He will guard the door of your lips and mine so that your words and mine would be received just as we receive the Word of the Living God.  

Wow, looking back on this- boy, did I chase rabbits this time… maybe another lesson learned next time. I bet you could add some words to both lists. One I particularly appreciated was “multiplying words”- gossip by any other name…an interesting way to describe don’t you think?

I Fall Down… Again

In the post-Christmas shopping days I went to the store like many others. Was going thru the aisles just like the other customers in the store. Saw a lady leaning on her basket, looked distressed. She was older, slight- seemed like she’d blow away like a feather if you moved by her too fast.  I paused about a third of the way down the aisle and looked back- she was still standing there. Another lady came up to her and talked with her as if she knew her.  I continued on to finish my shopping and went to the check out. I found myself behind the same lady, who was by now in a wheelchair cart. There were three employees standing by, anxiously watching her. She was on the phone talking with someone quietly. She finished her call as the clerk was completing ringing up the lady’s purchase. By this time she was tearful, apologetic, reassured the clerks repeatedly that she was ok, that she was fine to go to her car and wait for someone to drive her home. An employee called for another employee to accompany the lady to her car. Then the clerks were apologizing to me for taking longer than they felt necessary to serve me.

 

 

Now, all this time I had the feeling that I should be concerned in some way for the poor lady who was in distress.  Why had I happened down the aisle she had been on? Why did I notice her distress? Why did I happen to get in line behind her?

Should I have stopped to enquire as to her well-being?  Should I have offered to accompany her to her car? Should I have offered to drive her home?  And were all of these questions that arose a nudge by the Holy Spirit?  I’m not sure- but I feel like they were.  Either that or it’s an over aware sense of responsibility for others who are not well because I’m a nurse.

 

The argument, if there is one, could been argued from several directions…. And that’s what’s put me in a quandary.  Do I justify my actions to myself by using the latter statement and does that absolve me of accountability before God? Or, do I admit, which is what I think is true, that the Holy Spirit wanted me to step into the situation?  The guilt, the sheepishness that I feel, is it a feeling or is it guilt?  Or is it a missed opportunity to serve another?

 

Mordecai was right when he told Esther: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14

 

 Whenever, I have refused the Holy Spirit and caused him Sorrow, these verses come to mind like the headlines of a newspaper. God indeed raised up others to serve the lady. She was cared for, but not by me. What blessing did I miss again by not being obedient?  I will never know.

 

I’d like to think that I will not miss the next cue by the Holy Spirit; however, I do know myself well enough to realize that it’s a real possibility.  What is it that makes me shrink back from some risks that I feel I was meant to take?  And, what will it take to get me to step out into the uncomfortable (for me) unknown when I do step out at other times?

 Don’t have an answer yet defined for this. But I’ll stop with this quote from Beth Moore- “Sometimes you can tell the degree to which we’re trying to be God over our own lives, by the degree of heaviness in our hearts, because it is a load to take on God’s job.”

Looking Forward to a Place Where I Belong

When the excitement of New Year’s Day has passed and we’ve settled into the idea of 2012 and the writing of it on the page and the checkbook, do you go back to the routine of every day, relieved to have Christmas behind and Valentines’ ahead? Some years that is me; just let me get back to normal and get on with it.

 

This year, I started thinking that what I would like to do with myself would be to do somethingone thing, memorable that no one in my family will forget, that they will talk about for years to come…. that they could be proud of in the telling of it. 

 

 And then, I got a reality check in my head just about the time I started daydreaming about what the something would be… and I discovered that is what it is, a daydream. 

 

Anyone else have these same thoughts?

 

The reality is this: The thing I really want my family and my friends to remember is this: I am faithful. Faithful to them, to God, to who I am, faithful to the standard by which I live.  

 

Hebrews 11: 1 gives us a clear definition of faith: 

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 

 

Other defining statements relate that faith is the substance or the foundation of what we believe. To carry this on a little further down the road apiece, what is it exactly that I hope for and what am I certain of? Skip on down to verse 13 and 14-

 

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on the earth. People who say such things show they are looking for a country of their own.

 

I suppose to make things simple this is what I’m sure of and what I hope for: 

       1. I do not belong here

       2. My home is somewhere else

       3. I will be going there

       4. I will get what was promised to me when I believed.

 

My childhood experiences served me well in concreting the “I do not belong here” statement to my heart. I was given to my grandmother to raise when I was 6 months old. My parents split and went their separate ways. As a child, my grandmother kept trying to get my father to take me back and raise me…. After several failed attempts, a stepmother, and a little bit of maturation on my part, not to mention the 14 different schools I attended between kinder and graduation; I got the message- I do not belong here. 

 

I first realized that my home was somewhere else when I began to understand that Jesus is the son of God, he came to die for me, and when he went back to Heaven he was preparing a place for me- some translations call those places “mansions”.  I grasped onto the mansion part in my younger days. If there was anything I really wanted it was a great big house. I even had a 27-room mansion laid out in my head- a place for everything and everything in its place! Ha- actually I have come to feel that the 27 rooms are in my head! And they are all full! Junk piles up, you know! 

 

I will go to that place that is prepared for me someday, and I will receive what was promised. I think that it will be so much greater and grander than what I imagined in my head when I was younger and I don’t think I will have to worry about the size or the paint color.

 

If you are like me and you feel that you don’t belong where you are- take heart, it may just be a sign to you that you are on the right path! Painful as it may be when we are experiencing those feelings of not belonging- take it as a signal to look ahead and see from a distance the things He has promised to you!

 

Post-script update: I did manage to survive the moratorium on daytime TV before Christmas, with one exception- an early morning peek at the weather. I am pleased to tell you that, now, most days I don’t have the TV on and am busy with other things… but I’m glad I had the experience and was obedient to the request of the Holy Spirit to not watch it for that period of time. Not sure there was a specific “lesson” in there except that of obedience- a reminder that what He asks of us is never impossible with Him – even the small things.

 

Happy New Year!