IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING

I must admit, I too am part of the group of people who sometimes lets the circumstances of life get to her. Let’s face it we all have days and sometimes weeks where we get down and need to take some time to regroup and regather our thoughts. That’s what this time away has been for me. It’s been a long time coming with what I’ve been dealing with these last few months.

So many times I think we always feel the need to keep going no matter what happens in our lives, that we lose focus of what’s really important to us. We can get up every morning and still have the same feelings of the day before if we don’t deal with them before we go to bed.

Last week I heard a message from John Maxwell and then something similar from Rick Warren about how it doesn’t matter how much you can get done in a day. What matters most is how much have you imitated God in a day. Last week I wrote “Was I an imitator of God today?” and posted it on the wall that I see first thing in the morning and in my bathroom where it is the last thing I see before retiring at night.

Was I am imitator of God today

I don’t find the answers to this question in my list of things to do. I find the answers to this question from my prayers for the people in my life and even my  enemies,the smiles I give to strangers, the helping hand I give to someone in need, the uplifting words I used throughout the day, the forgiveness I give to people who have hurt me (and continue to hurt me), the ability to turn the other cheek when accusations are hurled at me, standing up for the truth of God, the compassion I show, and the love that I show to all people I come into contact with. 

I stopped making a to-do list and started concentrating on this question each day.  When I was in school and had to read a large section of text for assignments I would read through the questions at the end of the sections, because it made me focus more on the answers when they presented themselves. So when I read the question “Was I an imitator of God today?”in the morning, it opens me up to opportunities where I can imitate God with the talents He gave me.

I’m not saying that just reading the question will make things happen, you have to have faith and be willing to put yourself to the side to  learn how to live God’s way of life. You can’t imitate anyone unless you know them. So in order to know God you need to read His Word. Study His Word. Meditate on His Word and Pray.

So while it’s been a long time coming, it has been a time where I regrouped and refocused my thoughts to what’s really important for me.

To quote a famous coach, Vince Lombardi, and the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer:

“God, family, and everything else; in that order!”

DO THE BEST FIRST

When was the last time you prayed? I know it’s a personal question equaled to “How much do you weigh?” But people are more apt to tell you how much they weigh then to tell you when they last prayed. The bible tells us that we should pray without ceasing, pray continually, never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But why is it that we look at praying as our last resort instead of the first action step we take toward life? Why do we save the best for last and do the least first? Shouldn’t we do the best first?

All my life I was told to pray like everything depended on God and work like everything depended on me. This was ingrained in me from a small child. It helped me understand that if I prayed first and then did everything I could then God would answer my prayer. It also helped me understand that no matter how much I did, if I didn’t continually pray about the circumstances in my life, my life wouldn’t make sense. And it’s true life doesn’t make sense when we are constantly saving the best for last and doing our little part, the least first.

Pray without ceasing!

Pray without ceasing!

I’ve heard many times from different people in my life “Let’s try this first, if it doesn’t work out, then we’ll pray.” Or the one statement that really gets under my skin…”I’ve tried everything else, I guess a prayer couldn’t hurt!” Prayer is the key to my day and the lock at night. Many times growing up I always thought I needed to go through bad times so that I prayed more, because let’s face it when we’re going through rough days or trials we spend more time in prayer then when times are good. But praying without ceasing means that we should be praying just as much in the good times as well as the bad.

When my sons were little we used to pray together all the time. One day while we were walking to the summer enrichment summer school, it started to rain really hard. So as we walked we prayed and asked God to either make it stop raining until we got to school, or provide us with a way to stay dry. We had just finished our prayer when we all looked at the sidewalk a couple of feet ahead of us and there was a large umbrella laying in our path. My sons and I looked up and praised and thanked God for answering our prayer.

Don’t save prayer as the last resort. Yes, God knows what’s going on in your life, He sees everything, He knows everything, He even sees what’s in your heart. We can’t hide anything from God. So pray, thank Him for all the blessings in your life. Ask Him for help with your health, your job, your family. Pray for protection, pray for strength.

Life will always give us something to pray about.

Do the best first, pray

 

 

 

DAY 16: JOURNEY OF MY HEART

A bit longer than my normal posts, but one that I think you’ll enjoy.

Journey of My Heart

Journey of My Heart

There are many pathways in life. The ones we choose to take and those we do not. There are paths that are well worn, with trampled grass and those without even a single footprint. Which path to take and which to abandon, we ask ourselves this every day with every decision we make. My heart feels the need to make this journey to find the real treasures of life

One such journey has taken me down the Acquisition Avenue. I thought that whoever had the most at the end of this life won a prize. I shopped with wild abandon. There is no prize worth acquiring things you “might someday use,” or clothes you bought in a size you want to wear, but don’t. I bought pictures that were never hung and art that sat in a closet. I was getting such a “good deal” I thought. I spent money I did not have. Acquisition Avenue was not where my treasure was kept, and all the things I acquired that were not needed I gave away.

My GPS unit took me to a bridge that I had not seen before, so I followed the voice and made my way to the Balanced Beam Bridge. This bridge was like no other, there was no traffic waiting to cross it. The beams were shiny and sparkling. Everything looked brand new. I wondered as I slowed down to take in this awesome structure, “What did this bridge connect to?”  “Where did it lead to?”  “Why hadn’t I seen this bridge before?” “Why is it void of traffic?” Then I saw the two red flashing stop signs on both sides of the bridge. I slowed down to a complete stop, and read the small words under the flashing lights, they read, “To get across bridge, middle of the road driving is recommended.” How did this pertain to my life? Is it like this when I go too far to the right I become fanatical about issues? Could it be when I swerve too far to the left I lose my equilibrium? Life is like this Balance Beam Bridge. I need to live in balance, in every situation. I now understand how to get to the other side of the bridge and cannot wait till I can see all the splendor the other side has to offer.

The next road is windy and dark; I have veered around its bends many times before. Depression Drive seems to call my name when trouble rears its ugly head.  It abounds in despair. The bones of faith, hope and love are scattered along its shoulders. This is such a discouraging place. It’s a selfish place. Caring for others on Depression Drive is not allowed because you would feel better when you aren’t  thinking the worst about yourself. I have deleted Depression Drive off the map of my heart journey, since having faith, hope and love leads you out of the darkness.

This brings us to the Faith Freeway. It is paved with prayers. Stepping out on this part of my journey is all about my faith. I ask myself, “Is this faith in myself, or someone or something else?” Some days I ask, “How much faith do I need?” I have to admit that there are those days that I need more faith, in myself, maybe, but most of all in my awesome Creator. Along of the Faith Freeway there are potholes of life that creates a slow down. These are the times I get down, and spend more time on my knees. The only way to make the pavement smooth again is to have that most important conversation of my day, in prayer.

On the left is an off ramp called Liars Lane. How many lies can a person tell? Most people including myself say they don’t lie. Does telling myself something that isn’t true count? Where does the lying stop? Liars Lane is an off ramp that leads to Chaos Circle, Depression Drive, and to anxiety and stress. The phrase “Fake it till you make it.” Should that be part of my repertoire on this heart journey to find my treasure? Is faking something the same as lying? The line has to be drawn and the words that I talk to myself need to be uplifting as they are when I talk to a friend. I need to speak the words of truth to myself. “I am beautiful.” “I can do anything I set my mind to.”  “I am a person of worth.” “My life means something.” “I am good for many things.” “I am a good person.”

The orange caution signs along this path tell me that there is construction up ahead. I must slow down and take a detour now. Come with me as I get on the Moodiness Mile. Some days that this mile goes on for hundreds, sometimes thousands more miles than it should. Do I change my mood when I change my shoes? Do I go from being in my favorite pair of tennis shoes and being outgoing and fun loving; to wearing my stilettos which make me be witchy and mean? Is there a way to get rid of all this moodiness? How often have I made people around me uncomfortable because of my mood? I have fought with this Moodiness Mile for quite some time now, and frankly I am tired of it. It has not brought me any closer to my treasure nor has it made my journey any easier. Not to mention all the people I truly need to apologize to for making them so uncomfortable.

“Oh good, this detour is over. But look what is coming next!”  This ongoing journey gets to take a break and breathe a little; I am in the Patience Parking Lot. Sometimes my vehicle needs to be parked and I need to get out and walk. My GPS tells me that the Patience Parking Lot runs parallel with the Faith Freeway. I must have faith in order to have patience. Patience gives me reasons to stop and smell the fragrant flowers growing along the paths that I did not see before because I was in such a hurry to get to my destination. I now have time to enjoy and take in the beauty of the spectacular sunrise that greets me every morning. I find myself living in the Patience Parking Lot more now than ever before. I am not alone here as many of my friends are here to keep me company. The Patience Parking Lot will never be empty.  Patience is one part of my life that I have not mastered yet, I know I will park here again as there will be times on this journey of mine where I will need to have more patience.

I decided to get out and walk a bit. I made a wrong turn onto the Stressed Out Sidewalk. It is seemed like a popular place to be as there were so many people on it.  I thought this was a party. I was wrong. Now I am getting stressed out with each step I take, and these people seem to be walking in circles instead of actually getting anywhere. There are people here that look somewhat familiar to me, but I am really not sure. The anxiety has caused their bodies to hunch over, they are nervously twitching. They seem to look right through me, yet their eyes never make contact with mine. I don’t like this sidewalk. I have been related to these people, and I have been these people, more times than I care to speak about.  Hastily I got back into my vehicle, drove one block to my destination.

My destination is right here in front me. I found my treasure. Its name is Relationship Road. It has been here all along.  It is the relationships in my life that are my true treasures. My most important one is the relationship I choose to have with God. I never miss to call on him every morning, noon and night. I cherish the time I get to spend with God and His Word. This relationship makes all the others possible. Relationship Road is paved with the memories of my bonds to my parents, my siblings, my husband, my sons, my family and my friends. Travel down this road under the posted speed limit: of one moment at a time.

Throughout my journey my heart has learned how acquiring things is not the same as having a treasure. Living in balance is the only way to get through life. Helping others gets us out of being depressed. Faith and patience work hand-in-hand, you can’t have one without the other.  Being moody and stressed out makes the journey so much harder.  The true treasures of life are the people whose hearts we touch.