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It’s all About the Journey

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.  Psalm 37:25 (KJV)

From as far back as I can remember I was always on a journey to where and for what I wasn’t sure but bound and determined to get there.  I felt like one of those toys that are wound up and with feet flying sat back down on the ground.  I frantically scurried about stopping only briefly to change directions when encountering significant resistance.

I became a Christ follower as a teenager, and while that didn’t slow me down,  I had a better idea of where I was heading.  I had an insatiable need to know God’s word and studied diligently.  I learned to use various study tools including the Inductive Study Method.  Having a desire to ease the emotional suffering of others, I trained in Biblical Counseling.  I was always searching for my place of ministry.  The area where God had designed and equipped me to function already prepared and waiting for my arrival.  Young and full of energy, I grasped each opportunity encountered vowing to ‘make a difference’ in my world.   Unknowingly I set myself up for failure.

I was privileged to serve in several different areas and found each challenging and rewarding. Teaching, Writing, Drama, Counseling and even children’s ministry.  I worked hard focusing all my efforts on the perceived destination.  I was always sure it was where God had called me, however when met with resistance, I would refocus citing circumstances beyond my control for the change in direction.   I suffered from disappointment and discouragement which only grew over the years never able to enjoy the present for I always lived for the future.

Today a grandmother in her seventies I look back over the years and realize it was never about the destination, it was all about the journey.

 

Do You Have a Map?

If you were traveling through a hostile country where death could be waiting around the next bend in the road, what would you give for a reliable map that would lead you to safety?  We are all on a spiritual journey through uncharted territory.  It began with the first breath and will end with the final breath.

What does your journey look like?  Are you mindlessly traveling through this life without a compass, or do you look to others to show you the way?  I would imagine there are many different ideas as to what your journey should look like, however, you are the one who will make the choices and experience the consequences.  That said, where do you go for direction?

An overwhelming majority of citizens in our country believe the information you need is found in the Judeo Christian Bible. Most individuals who read the Bible believe it contains the word of God; either literal or at least inspired. However, according to ‘Who Reads the Bible and Why’ by David Briggs,  two-thirds of those who do not read it, share the same opinion.

Do you believe as do most Americans that the scriptures contain the answers to life?  That it is a reliable map to follow?

 

Are you CONSERVATIVE?

How would you define conservative?  I have always considered myself conservative, never really thought about what the term meant – until recently. In today’s culture, the term has become so demonized it made me stop and think –really  what does it mean?   So I decided to ‘Google’ it.  My first surprise was the term was used to refer to a person  identified as being adverse to change.  Next, it was applied to an ideology ( Right Wing,) that centers around the rights of individuals vs. the power of the government.”  Further enlightenment from idontgetpolotics.com concluded that conservatives, (right wingers), focus on the past while liberals, (left wingers) focus on the future.  I was beginning to see why people including myself had trouble defining the term.

I wanted to know what the word ‘conservative’ actually meant – you know what is in the dictionary.  I proceeded to locate my old Webster’s New World Dictionary and looked up the term.  This is what I found; Conservative – conserving or tending to conserve – to keep from being damaged, lost or wasted.  I concluded the term referred to ‘protection from waste.’

As a child, I was taught the benefits of conservatism quite simply through the law of supply and demand.  “Waste not want not,”  and  “If you eat it all today, there will be none for tomorrow.”  In my early years, there was no such thing as welfare.  By today’s standards we lived in poverty all our lives, yet we never lacked for anything essential to survival.  We learned early to respect what we had and to be conservative.

A real conservative is not against change, is not stuck in the past without the ability to conform, not against government, not opposed to new ideas and methods, but is acutely aware of the need to protect and preserve what we have.

Are you a conservative?

 

 

 

 

 

Hidden Reality

The face in the mirror that’s so familiar to you and your acquaintnaces isn’t you.  It’s simply the tent you dwell in.  Your place of abode, the physical characteristics people relate to as you.  The real you is hidden away somewhere inside, a person only God truly knows.

The evaluation offered in this article can help you understand who you are and may also offer hints to your bent in life and the direction in which you are heading.  Take time to honestly answer a few questions – for a glimpse of the real you.

  1. What places do you voluntairly frequent?
  2. Who do you enjoy being around?
  3. Who do you pity?
  4. What brings you joy?
  5. What is the most prominent goal in your life?
  6. Who do you admire?
  7. What do you fear?
  8. What do you hate?
  9. After what do you consistently seek?
  10. How do you want others to see you?
  11. What are your secret desires?
  12. Who are your friends?
  13. Where do you spend your discretionary funds?
  14. What makes you uncomfortable?
  15. Would you want you as a close friend?  Why or why not.

As you think about your life experiences,  choices, talents, and  aspirations, perhaps you will begin to discover the unique individual  you are.  It may not be who others think you are, or even who you think you are, but the real you that only God can see.

If this blog has given you insight into strengths, talents or gifts that perhaps you did not know you had, share your findings with others.  Comments are encouraged.

 

 

The Illusion of Life

via Photo Challenge: Silence

We are all fellow travelers in a fallen world, where pain and suffering are the norms.  Many carry burdens struggling under a heavy load.  Each seeks encouragement, love, affirmation, and direction while striving daily for the prize he wills to be out there.  Others may live each day with back bent and head bowed low yet unrelenting in his journey.  All are  silently searching for answers, life’s purpose, for truth.

In this fast-paced, technological world, it’s easy to become trapped in daily routines.  We can become so focused on just “doing the next thing,” that people become no more than a means to an end.  Much of what we sacrifice our lives for will one day be useless ashes.  Real value cannot be seen with the eye or heard by natural means.  It’s hidden behind a wall of flesh.  Listen to the silence.

New Year’s Resolutions for Families

It is believed the idea of New Year’s resolutions began in ancient Babylon.  At the beginning of a new year the Babylonians as well as the Romans, would make promises to their gods.   Knights of the Medieval period were known to take the ‘peacock vow’ which reaffirmed their commitment to chivalry.   During the celebration of their new year, the Jewish people reflected on their behavior and sought forgiveness for wrongdoing.  It has also been a part of the Christian tradition during the season of Lent.

According to the AMA, approximately 40- 50% of Americans participate in this tradition.  Regardless of the period or group involved, it appears the idea is self-improvement.  I’m sure many of you, as have I, made New Year’s resolutions.  It seems like a great idea, but unfortunately, they don’t seem to last very long.  However, any commitment, anytime toward self-improvement is beneficial if taken seriously.

Perhaps the best way to develop new behaviors is to concentrate on making the action a habit.  Habits are hard to form because the behavioral patterns of humans become imprinted in neural pathways, but it is possible to change old and form new through repetition.  It has been suggested that a new habit can be formed after about 21 days of repetition.  The more difficult the action, the longer it may take to master.  The idea, However, is to repeat the action until it becomes automatic.

There are many different reasons and methods associated with the tradition of New Year’s resolutions.  Perhaps the most popular is associated with losing weight or overcoming negative habits.  I challenge you to use the month of January 2018 as an opportunity to make positive, long-lasting improvements in your family relations.   Things we all know are important but never seem to have the time to develop.

Every family is unique, and no size fits all. However, the following could be an option.

  1. Weekly family conference. – Predetermined time and place free of judgment and criticism where individuals may express personal opinions, concerns and suggestions relating to the family without the fear of reprisal.
  2. Consider something similar to the ‘Roberts Rule of Order’ as the standard for facilitating discussions and group decision-making.
  1. All have equal rights
  2. Full and free discussion of all matters introduced
  3. Only one person speaks at a time
  4. No interruptions
  5. Before a new topic is presented – current speaker must voluntarily yield the floor
  6. Remarks unrelated to the subject under discussion are out of order
  7. Attitudes not allowed
  8. A 100% vote required to adopt change
  9. A 100% vote of those present needed to open or close the meeting.

A 30-day investment in January can produce a much healthier and happier family for 2018.

Happy New Year!

The Normal Day

The  redundancey of daily tasks in our normal every day lives tend to lull us into a sense of complacency.    Lost in the demands of the moment and giving little thought to the possibility of change.  A few years ago I lost my husband of fifty-two years  and suddenly  what is written in the quote below became a glaring reality to me.  I went about my day doing familiar things,  then overnight my life fell apart.  No time to talk or adjust.  I just went to sleep and awoke in a different world.

During those first weeks I searched franticaly for something to anchor my life.   Gradually over the months that followed, I clawed my way through the maze and found solid footing.    I don’t know how many others might experience what I did.  I guess it would depend on a lot of variables, however, for those of you who might, I have included some material that struck a cord with me.

We all choose what we will entertain in our conscious mind.  The things we attach importance to while others are discarded with little thought.  Some of you who read this post may take it to heart making it a part of your daily life.  Others will toss it aside as not relating to them.  However, the chances are very high that one day in the future it will come back to haunt you when you like others before you scream silently into your pillow wishing for a chance to return to a normal day.

Quote taken from ‘Defeat & Despair’ blog.

“Wherever you are right now, stop and listen; look around you.  Whatever you see or hear — the voices of your loved ones, the bustle of your workplace, the quiet of your home after others have left, your well-tended garden and your beloved pets and handmade decorations — all the minutiae of your present surroundings will one day belong to a vanished past.  The magazines and books lying around now, if they survive at all, will soon seem passé, then eventually become quaint collector’s items.   The photographs on your walls will fade and appear dated, the hairstyles and clothes hinting of bygone eras.” ~ Unknown author

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.”

— Mary Jean Irion

What does  your normal day look like?  How might you redeem the time and live it to the fullest?  Share your ideas with other bloggers.