Tag: spirituality

roadmarks, and guideposts

Why having guideposts is a really good idea

I love Jeremiah 31:21

Set up for yourself road marks, Place for yourself guideposts,

Direct your mind to the highway……..

So often we expect God and everyone else to do this for us. But most verses of instruction in Scripture, if not all, always put the responsibility clearly on our shoulders.

Let me just ask, have any of you even thought about setting up road marks and guideposts for yourself? Much else directing your own mind?

Most of don’t even believe it’s something we should do, much less that over and over in scripture we are commanded to take control of ourselves and our lives.

For example, “Be still, oh, my soul”. Again, we are the ones to do the “stilling”. The Psalms are full of like instruction. King David address his soul in many of the Psalms.

Instead, we prefer to be pushed in every direction by the standards of other people and they don’t even have to be people we know. We naively believe that if it’s in print, it must be so.

How foolish.

Like the post I recently wrote about the Target ad. Really? Everybody should wear this blouse? Why? Because someone somewhere has decided this is the latest and greatest fashion trend?

Or we hear something on the news and all our good sense goes out the window. Why? Because this person is on TV? That makes them an expert?

I am not suggesting that we can’t listen to others and shouldn’t listen to others. But it depends on who the “others” are, doesn’t it?

I won’t mention the author or the book by name but years ago this author wrote a book about marriages and what makes good marriages work. I read the book jacket to learn that this author had been married and divorced three times! Now, why in the world would anyone take his advice his beyond me. And yet the book sold millions. I can see the value in reading about his mistakes and what he should have done differently but if I want marriage advice, I’m going to listen to someone who’s been happily married for many years.

It’s like taking advice about money management from a compulsive gambler. Makes about as much sense.

Yes, we can learn from other’s mistakes but I think it makes a lot more sense to learn from people who’ve gotten “it” right, whatever “it” is. Because even those who do have “it” right have made mistakes but they’ve stuck with it and come out on the other side.

It’s the same with our road marks and our guideposts.  We need them in all aspects of our life, our marriages, our faith, our time, our relationships, etc. Without them, we have no way of knowing if we’re on track or not.

Road marks and guideposts are NOT plans. They are not goals. They are not a schedule. They are more general than that and they work no matter what your plans, your goals, and your schedules.

For example, one of mine is “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” I steer clear of drama that isn’t mine. I leave that up to the players involved. Too many times we allow ourselves to get caught up in someone else’s’ drama when we clearly have no stake nor responsibility for the outcome.

Another one is my daily time with God.  I more clearly see the deviations along my personal roadway when that is intact.

“Road marks”, however, are kind of like traffic signs. I’m going too fast. I need to stop. Watch out for the curve in the road!

When I have my road marks and my guideposts in place, it’s so much easier for me to direct my mind to the highway. Otherwise, I’m just driving along, paying no attention and then find myself on a path I didn’t mean to take.

Even this morning, the road marks and guideposts I’ve set for myself got a little askew which is why I’m late with this post. I don’t get upset about it as I know “life just happens” sometimes.

But an occasional detour is never a problem.

It’s when we get lost along the way because we haven’t been following after the path that we know is good for us that gets us in trouble.

Have you ever thought about setting up some road marks and guideposts for yourself? It takes some thought and they will evolve during the different stages of your life.

Mine were very different when my children were living at home. They were very different as recently as last year when almost all my attention needed to be directed towards my mom. Now that she is gone, I have found that I’ve felt quite “directionless” for a few months as my life is very different now. But I am slowly adjusting and thinking it through. I will be establishing different guideposts for myself. There will be different road marks. The point is to examine your life and make sure you have some personal guides in your life. The parameters with which you surround yourself and keep you headed where you want to go.

God bless and have a “detour-free” day.

 

 

exercise and depression

When medicine doesn’t cost us anything

Two views of local Extension leaders drilling ...

Exercise is the medicine that doesn’t cost anything. I’m not talking about joining a gym or buying expensive equipment although I have done both.  I did belong to a gym once but decided to have to “doll up” and keep my stomach sucked in every time I went wasn’t for me.

Plus, I’m highly competitive so that didn’t help. I had to execute all the moves perfectly and prove to have more stamina than anyone else. It was just too much like work, not the exercise, all the rest of it.

Like most of us, I don’t like “thinking” about exercise but I like knowing that I’m doing something proactive about my health.  I’m a strong advocate for using exercise to fend off depression and anxiety as well.

I’ve said this before but I’ve literally walked off an anxiety attack through exercise. I can’t think of a single condition that exercise of some sort doesn’t help.  Exercise has been shown to work as well if not better than medication for mild to moderate cases of depression.  The “experts” say it’s because it’s the endorphins that are released.  While I’m sure that’s true, I think it’s also because we feel we have done something for ourselves and that feels empowering.

I always wonder why some people are so willing to take another pill when something as simple as walking could accomplish the same benefit.  And a gym membership or home equipment isn’t necessary either.  Walking thirty to forty minutes about five days a week is enough.

exercise and depression

One of my coping skills to get through this period of my mom’s illness has been exercise.  It’s been a rare day I haven’t walked.  It’s almost spiritual for me. I don’t believe our lives are meant to be compartmentalized. We should move seamlessly from one area of our lives to another.  If the Holy Spirit lives within us, then doesn’t it make sense that there’s no such thing being spiritual only during our “religious” activities.

One last thing though.  When I walk I still have to have my make-up on. Sad, huh?

God bless and have a good day.

zentangle

How God changes drudgery into glory

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For the most part wouldn’t you agree that our lives are largely composed of the mundane? Our daily tasks take on a feel of drudgery and boredom. We don’t see how God is glorified through doing our job, whether at home or in a workplace or both.

But I think that our “drudgery” becomes transformed when we perform our duties and let God’s light shine on them. We do this be realizing that God speaks most often through the commonness of our life, not the exceptions.

How many times do we read about feet washing in the New Testament, a true act of humility if ever there was one.

As Oswald Chambers says:

“When the Lord does a thing through us, He always transfigures it.”

I don’t think we can expect to see that transformation. It’s kind of like “air”. It surrounds us and yet in most circumstances, we’re not aware of it.

We breathe in God’s grace and we breathe out his glory. I have no clue how that happens but I firmly believe we either make the world a better place or not depending on our actions. If in God’s eyes, even the most humble act of washing feet (John thirteen in the Bible) is worthy enough to be mentioned in a book that is chock-full of miracles, then it is obviously important for us to understand why it’s there.

Why did God want the mundane recorded amidst the amazing?

To remind us that life is almost never about the amazing and almost always about the drudgery. It is in the most ordinary of life’s events that God is glorified the most.

So for today, I encourage you that if what you do today seems insignificant, it doesn’t have to be. Anything we do today can bring glory to God. Colossians 3:17 says:

New International Version
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

ps. You know the posts of the last three days? I have something so wonderful to share with you, I can hardly wait. But I want my words to capture the experience and the lessons learned in the most precise way possible so I’m taking a few days to process it all. Keep a watch out for that post. I’ll let you know a day ahead of time. All I can say is, it might well be the most important (and from God’s viewpoint the hardest lesson he’s ever had to teach me) spiritual insight I’ve ever gleaned.

What God calls success

What we call success isn’t what God calls success.

We get all got up with the results of our obedience to God. God cares little for the end result.

For God, the process IS the end.

We keep thinking that our obedience is supposed to lead somewhere specific. When it doesn’t, we question the whole thing. It’s not that he doesn’t answer our specific prayers because he does. But almost always it’s more about the process, the process of our own growth.

Continue reading “What we call success isn’t what God calls success.”

testing something

Why is the word “try” NOT in the bible?

Yesterday’s post got me to thinking. Does the Bible use the word “try” in the sense of  “trying” to do something? So I did some research. I could only find these two verses that even use the word and in both instances, it is used to mean “testing”.

testing something

Here’ are the only two verses that use the word “try” and they both are in the King James Version. Newer versions use the more accurate term “try”.

Job 12:11 ”

Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?” Here the word means “test”.

1 John 4 

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (test) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

But in these verses the word “try” means “test”.

So what does that mean to us as Christians?

I think it’s real simple.

We are not to “try” to obey the ten commandments. We are to  obey them.

We are not to “try” to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to love them. Period.

We are not to “try” to forgive. We are to forgive.

We are not called to “try” anything. We are simply to do.

Yes, there are nuances to the above. The point is the word “try” doesn’t exist in God’s language.

We are at different stages in our journey. Some of us are working on loving our neighbors while others of us are concentrating on forgiveness.

All I’m suggesting is that when we use the word “try” let’s make sure we have a plan for our “trying’.

I’ve been focusing on my word choices. But I haven’t been just “trying”. I have a plan and I work my plan.

working our plan

God is a God of compassion. I believe that God understands our weakness but I also believe God didn’t just give us the Ten Commandments for us to ignore. Jesus didn’t give the Sermon on the Mount for no reason.

We are meant to obey.

It’s a quandary. On the one hand, we screw up.  On the other hand, God tells us to always obey. So where’s the middle ground? Is there any middle ground? Does “trying” come into play here?

I see it as a kind of crevice between point “a”, my humanness, and point “b”, my best self. Sometimes I make the leap successfully. Other times, not so much. When I fall in the crack between these two points, that’s when God reaches down, lifts me up, restores me, and I start again.

jumping a crevice

But the point is, I do start again.

That’s how “trying” becomes more than lip service.

God bless and have a good day.

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