Would you go back to a different point in your life? Would you change any of the decisions that you made? Is it helpful to even ask these questions?
I suppose that by reflecting on the past it somehow brings you into the present. That may sound strange, but think about it, when you try to answer the questions you are comparing them to where you are now. The present is your reference point. And, they say that everything that we have lived through and experienced helps to form the you that you are today. We remember the past with joy, we remember it with sorrow, we wish that some times would have lasted longer and when going through some others, they seemed like eternity. Some we remember vividly, others in a fog.
I think that I am content with where I am at the moment. Certainly I miss things and people that were previously in my life and are no longer. I know that I have missed opportunities, could have been kinder at times, and should have reached out a bit more. I have some regrets, those I hold close to my heart. I’ve read that life is like a tapestry and that all of what we have lived so far are the threads that are woven together to make our unique pattern. Peace in the present, gratitude for the past, hope for the future.
I was thinking……I trust God. I know that whatever happens in my life, even though it might be painful, I do believe that in the long run it is for my good and that I can grow closer to God through it. At least that is what my head tells me. But, I have to admit, that it frightenes me a little. I don’t like pain and sorrow. I don’t want to hurt. I want my close relationship to God, but I want to be happy, I want everyone to get along, I want heaven on earth. And then I thought, I’m not really giving my 100%, am I? If I really do believe that God loves me, then I have to surrender it all and trust. Wow, that hit me like a ton of bricks this morning. That will have to be a prayer for me because I know that I can’t do that without His help. To completely surrender, 100%. I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I will pray, and when (if) I can eventually get there, then that is when I will really experience God’s love for me. Until then, I will continue to try to control my world …..ugh!
The funniest thing is when my dog ‘plays dead’ and lays on the floor, head down and perfectly still…..still, except for his tail. His little stubby tail is wagging away, can’t seem to control it. When I come home and he greets me, his tail is going a mile a minute, he is filled with excitement and whether I was gone for 10 minutes or all day, he is equally excited to greet me. Each time I speak his name or have my one-way conversation with him, his barometer tail wags away.
Isn’t it wonderful how joyful he is? He cannot contain his happiness and vigor. It is though life itself provides him with tremendous pleasure. What a great lesson to learn from my dog’s tail. Imagine how wonderful our day would be if we began it with the joy of being alive. What incredible relationships we would have if we expressed our joy and excitement to be with one another. My dog has learned a lot…..now, perhaps it is my turn.
Humility is one of those words that has great depth in its meaning. I remember having a conversation once with someone who had just presented a very inspiring talk. I said to him somthing like, ‘that was really wonderful, you certainly have a gift’ and he replied, ‘yes, I do, thank you’. I remember thinking what a strange response that was. I, of course, would have probably said something like, ‘oh, did you like it….really? Oh, thank you’, and secretly might have wanted more praise and adulation. My response was so humble….or was it?
Humility is a strange thing. Being humble is not groveling about, lowering yourself so that others may elevate you. True humility is being honest with others and most of all yourself, recognizing your flaws and at the same time, celebrating your gifts. We all have gifts (notice the word gift, defined as something volunarily given without expectation of payment in return) and it is in humility that we identify them, develop them and use them. When others recognize them and comment on them, it is in true humility to be grateful, both for the compliment and especially for the gift.
Always putting yourself down or looking for affirmation from others can be arrogance in disguise. It may not be deliberate, but it certainly does not cultivate our potentials. We are created in the image and likeness of God and so, we carry the Divine within. If we truly humble ourselves, that light shines forth through us in our actions, our words, our very being. When others see it, or even when we see it ourselves, we can smile and know with confidence and humility that we are the vessels. It is at that time when we can say, ‘yes, I do have a gift, thank you’. And then, we raise our eyes to the Giver and bow in gratitude.
I had much to learn from that very inspiring speaker!
I have always loved this ancient Chinese Proverb, “A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses“. Isn’t that beautiful? When we choose to bring a little ‘sunshine’ to the lives of others, we ourselves are bathed in light.
Unfortunately, I suppose that the opposite is true as well, don’t you think? So today, with everyone that I meet, I will give roses.
How many times do I wake up during the night and begin to feel crushed under the problems and possibilities in my life? Everything seems to be intensified and magnified in the darkest hours of the night. All of the ‘what ifs’ and the ‘I can’t do its’ and the ‘what will happens’ rise to the surface of my mind and I find myself drowning in the heaviness of thought. I can really begin a downward spiral which brings me to great fear and desperation. And then I remember one word, just one five letter work – trust. This one word has the power to elevate me out of the gloom and to raise me up to where I belong. Trust……Yes, I can’t do it all. Yes, there will be difficult challenges. Yes, there will be sorrow and loss. But, I am never alone. There is someone who is with me, watching over me, loving me. Someone who can do it all and who will do it all. Trust…..a little word with great power. And then, the night breaks and the dawn arrives.
Do you suppose that there is a difference between being weary and tired? I know that sometimes these words are interchangable, but as I think about it, I see a distinction. At the end of a busy day, I am tired. My mind and my body both crave rest. I may feel physically drained and welcome the soft warmth of my bed. After a long day and a good night’s sleep, I awake refreshed and ready to take on a new day.
Being weary, however, is different for me. Thinking about all of the unpleasant things that I have to deal with on a daily basis makes me weary. Reflecting on some current events makes me weary. Watching people I love make decisions that hurt them makes me weary….and the list goes on.
At the end of a long, busy day my body is tired and so I rest. When I feel weary I must remember that my strength comes from above. Sleep refreshes my body, prayer renews my soul.
Aren’t vending machines convenient? Who hasn’t enjoyed a candy bar or a bag of chips on the run. And, who would have thought that drinking fountains would give way to bottled water sold in a vending machine? Instant gratification – coins, oops – dollars in – product out. Convenient, accessible, fast! They certainly serve their purpose for a quick snack.
The problem is that many people have a vending machine mentality when it comes to prayer. Prayers in-results out, and when that doesn’t happen people get discouraged, say that God doesn’t answer prayers, and give up. Prayer is not a vending machine, prayer is a relationship, a relationship between lovers.
If only we could remember that God already knows what is in our hearts. He knows what we should pray for, what we would pray for and what we could pray for. So, what is left for us? Only to rest, to rest in the embrace of the greatest Lover.
Did you ever wonder why you have to be so careful when choosing your words and it doesn’t seem as though anyone else is? How many times have we thought to ourselves, ‘boy, how I would like to say what I am really thinking’, but we seem to be so careful and compassionate, considering other peoples feelings and moods. And then suddenly, someone says something to us that can be so thoughtless, hurtful and just plain dumb! We ask ourselves, ‘why do I have to be so careful?’
The answer is usually ‘because that is who we are’. Isn’t it really a gift that we can see what may be going on in others and that we have the self-discipline to guard our words? Perhaps next time we are tempted to be as careless as others, we should stop and be grateful that we have the ability to stop and respond in kindness. Did he really say that to me? Probably, I have no control over that, I do control, however, my response, and I choose to respond with love.
A while back I made the transition from a toothbrush to an electric model. I had read that it is more effective at cleaning your teeth while not wearing down the gums. So, I purchased one and while I admit I sometimes revert back to the old-fashioned way of brushing my teeth, it does have advantages. What I can’t seem to remember, however, is that I don’t have to scrub when the toothbrush is turned on. I just don’t seem to be able to let the toothbrush do the work and I find myself scrubbing away while the toothbrush is running. When I do finally remember to just hold my hand steady, I can feel the motion of the electric toothbrush as it cleans my teeth.
Isn’t that the way that most of us live each day? Running, working, stressing? Perhaps we should rest a little in the embrace of God who does most of the work for us, in spite of us. My toothbrush teaches me that I still have my part, but the majority of the work is done by the brush. God is at work in our world today as He was in the past. Perhaps we should relax a little and let God be God. Another everyday reminder….