It’s In the Quiet Times…

The_Quiet_Time_-_QT1.jpgLately, I have felt unsettled.  No, I didn’t say that I am not content; I said unsettled. There is a big difference.  For days now I have felt this unsettling in me.  I have been praying for a person for weeks now, so that may be the reason why. I moved last year and just experienced the 1 year anniversary of that, so maybe that’s why. I don’t really know. I just feel that way.

In the rush of everyday life, when we are busy moving here and there, working, socializing, and just living life, the noise of life can be overwhelming. In fact, if we aren’t careful, the sounds can drown out what we should be listening to.

That’s why quiet time is so important. We need to set aside time to contemplate, decompress and live quietly.  At least that’s what I need. I do it each day; usually, early mornings with shorter times. Also, I do a bigger block of time each week just to sit quietly and think. Life can be busy and the important things can be easily missed in our rush to achieve the next thing.  I will admit it, I can’t seem to sit still and be satisfied. If I am not working in my office, I am writing a book or an article or a blog. I do several things at once. I work on several emails to various people while I may be working on establishing some new program or I am setting up some kind of meeting, working some marketing strategy or coordinating some speaking engagement. It’s always something.  I push hard to get things done each day, and I will admit, I don’t have patience with what I perceive as “excuses”  for not doing something. You see, I can’t stop striving.

I have to give myself a break though. I know for a fact, God made me this way. He made me passionate, resilient, persistent and strong. As much as I appreciate the woman God has made me, I also know that I can turn my strengths into weaknesses. The same is true for you too. If you are always working, pushing, striving and achieving, do you have time to stop and enjoy the accomplishment? Do you stop and savor the moment in quiet solitude before you jump to begin again?  These are a couple of the questions I have had to ask myself lately. You see if you have always been the kind of person who believed that doing proves your self-worth, you need to rethink that. You know who proves you are worth something?  God. However, you won’t know it, if you never sit down and take the time to hear from Him.

quiet-the-mind-soul-will-speak-life-quotes-sayings-picturesTurn off the music, turn off the television, put away your computer, put down your phone, sit quietly in His presence and open your heart and your ears. Stop thinking about what you have to do next and be fully present to hear why He has you where you are now.  For the unbeliever, this is foolishness the Bible says, but to you who believe, you know what I am talking about.  1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But the natural [unbelieving] man does not accept the things [the teachings and revelations] of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness [absurd and illogical] to him; and he is incapable of understanding them, because they are spiritually discerned and appreciated, [and he is unqualified to judge spiritual matters].”

God needs your attention and your time. Not after you are exhausted but He needs to talk to you when you are alert and ready to hear. He may have been trying to get your attention for a while now. Has He?

Love Should Build Bridges…

Is it julove builds bridgesst me or do you have trouble comprehending the anger seen in society today?

Most times I can’t comprehend the anger and hate that some people carry around in their hearts. I often wonder what makes them so bitter. so hateful. At times, the hate extends into pure evil.

Like some of you, I too read posts on social media. Some are filled with such divisiveness and hatred. There is no one group that has the corner on the ugliness either. I see people who  range from everyday folks to those who have huge followings writing things against people we should be praying for. Yet, we wonder why we see people acting out so terribly. They are following their leaders!

Do we ever think that we have a responsibility to speak love and acceptance rather than always focusing on what is so different about each of us? If we sat alone and asked the God that we say we follow if what we do day in and day out really represents Him, do you know what He would say to you?

I have a theory; I can have my own theory.  I am not saying that it is right, but for me, I think it is. My theory is that God is displeased with many of our actions when what we do brings about divisiveness and hate. I just don’t see God sitting back saying “you call them out of their names; that’s good.” Nor do I see Him saying “Kudos to you. Just run that idiot over with your car.” or for goodness sake, I sure don’t see Him saying “just kill them!”

When I wrote that last one, I felt right away that someone would say, “He did tell them to kill in the Old Testament.” I refuse to believe that He is happy with hate-filled actions.  You don’t have to agree.

loveoneanotherI sit here and stare around my office and look at the framed art on the walls. Many relate to Love. If you recall, my last book was titled, You Call That Love?  I think about this topic a lot.  One piece of art says ” LOVE builds bridges where there are none.”  I sat watching this and thinking about what was being said.  I agree love does build bridges. For one thing, when we want to dismiss the opinions of others, love will cause us to stop and rethink their point of view. We are challenged to listen. We don’t have to agree, but we listen out of respect for the other person’s opinion. Love causes us to stop and think about whether what we do or say hurts another person.  Now, I know many don’t give a crap about hurting another person’s feelings; they say, they need their feelings hurt.  I say, that may be true, but I sure would like another person to give me the benefit of the doubt when I may not be at my best. Wouldn’t you?

Whether we disagree politically, religiously,  or socially, we should be able to do so without being outright nasty to each other.  If you don’t like how I grade your paper, that’s okay, I still respect you and ask the same. If I don’t care for how you raise your kids, that’s okay, they are not mine, they are yours and I should respect that you are doing your best. Just as I would want you to think that I am doing my best also. If we don’t agree politically, I won’t trash talk your position and I don’t want you to trash talk me. When we hold different religious views, I promise to respect how you feel and I pray you will respect how I feel.  In the end, when we disagree, let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt. For us that are Believers, remember what the Word of God says…

“…Knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him”

1 Corinthians 8:1

I know that I am not always right in every single thing I think or do. However, neither are you. Let’s value each other’s differences and seek to see what makes us more alike than different. I think if we do that, we will show LOVE. I believe that’s when the Father of Heaven will be pleased with us.

Only So Much Time…

 

reflectionsA few days ago, I was walking to the park, letting the breeze hit my face. (This is something I do a lot of the time. I do it as my second exercise of the day, but also to talk to God). When the wind brushes against my face, I have a habit of saying “Lord, I feel You in the wind.” Just a little thing between God and me.

Anyway, as I was walking, a thought occurred to me; “one minute you are 5 years old and before you know it, if you’re lucky, you are 55 or maybe 65.”  It is wonderful to be alive, isn’t it? My mom died at 28 years old, so I’d always feared that I would die before I made it to 28.  I am still alive and far pass the wonderful tender age of 28 and I am so grateful.

Still, I have been thinking about my mortality lately, especially since several people I’d worked with over the years recently passed.

The reality that there is more life behind me than what is in front of me, is daunting.  The reality of my humanness causes me to either push the thoughts out of my mlifeisshortind or I sit and contemplate what’s next. The latter can cause stress because, let’s face it, I want to live forever. Don’t you? Maybe I will feel differently at 90 or 100, but I don’t feel like leaving this world anytime soon.

In fact, I dread the thought of leaving this world. Not because I don’t know what is on the other side, I just don’t think in my humanness, I cannot accept that I will no longer be here in the thick of things.

Listen, I sure don’t want this blog to be a downer, so let’s talk about the time we do have on they earth.  What will I do with the time I have?

I want to make every day matter. I want to get up each day and get going. I want to do things that will make an impact on others and on me!  I just do. I can’t imagine not going after my dreams, whether that means trying to run my own business or trying my hand at a new job. It is traveling to places I have never been, experiencing people and things I have never experienced. I want to tell people about Jesus, but I also want to show people Jesus through acts of kindness. I want to offer hope to others and I want to share in the joy other people experience as they learn how to make their own dreams come true. I want to get up each day and run. I want to write books and articles and I want to speak to the masses. That’s a lot!

What about you? What is it that you have always wanted to do and just didn’t feel that you were qualified to do?  Or maybe you just felt scared. There is no better time than now. There is no better reason than you simply want to try.

life-is-so-short-1-728Occasionally, I remind myself that tomorrow isn’t promised and I then ask myself, what is it that you want to do? I then turn to the scriptures and try to hear what God has to say to me because it’s what He says that matters; not what other people “think” I should do.  How about you?

First and foremost, what should matter is your relationship with Jesus;  never forget that.  I make plans for tomorrow, but I also know full well that I may plan, but it is God who determines my steps (Proverbs 16:9). Knowing this also keeps me humble as I pursue my goals. Seek Him first in all things (Matthew 6:33).

James writes (4:13-14a), “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.”

Life is short. What will you do with the time you have been given? Make it matter.

God Is Faithful…

faithful-god-results-dayDo you believe that God keeps His promises? Do you have problems believing that? Is it particularly hard to believe that when you have unanswered prayers.

These are questions that I know we all have struggled with at some point, but I am here to assure you that without a doubt, God keeps His promises.

I am sure you have had challenges in your life. If you haven’t, just wait. No, I am not going to speak anything negative over your life, but just living will offer each of us some challenge at some point. Some reason to wonder if God cares enough about us that He will do something about whatever it is that maybe consuming us.

Over the last month or so, I have experienced one challenge after another. I am not complaining and that’s probably why they haven’t overtaken me; nonetheless, I have had them. My stress level has been very high. Many days I have had to remind myself that I need to stop and take a break away from everything. You see even with those who may be strong Believers, we can still become overcome with stress and anxiety.

I was thinking about all that has gone on in my life over the last couple of months and all of a sudden, I felt that God spoke to my heart,“ God is faithful.” Those words were powerful and stuck with me. They stuck with me because things were about to turn from dark days to days of sunshine even as a tornado was about to pound upon this part of Texas.

The Word of God says, “All things work together for good to those who love God.” If we aren’t careful, those familiar verses can become ordinary; they can become just common sayings for Believers, but I want to caution against taking familiar passages for granted. God is God and we can count on Him. He has proved his faithfulness over and over again. He was faithful from the time I was born, through relationship issues, self -doubt, mistakes, through my illness in 2011 and through too many other challenges I have faced in my life. He will be faithful to you too. His faithfulness isn’t just for someone special because to Him, we are all very special.

Whatever you go through, whether it is a super duper surprise or something that was coming for a while, nothing is a surprise, nor is it so huge that it will overtake Him. Things happen in our lives, good and bad, to help mature us. Other times, things will happen to test us and at other times things happen to help us learn to