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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Half The Bed

Years ago, I attended a conference in a huge stadium.  Thousands of women were there to be inspired and encouraged.  It was neat to be among so many ordinary gals just like myself.

There were several speakers and so much was said that day -- much more than I could even absorb in one sitting.  But, of everything that was spoken, there is one thing that I still remember even today.

One of the speakers was introduced and she began to tell her story about how she was once in such a low place that she didn't even have the motivation to make her bed or the courage to leave her house.  She was in more than just a funk.  She was in need of a rescuing.  I can remember sitting there and being so encouraged as she told her journey out of fear and depression.  It was truly remarkable and something to applaud and thank heaven for.  But, it was not something that happened over night.

In her desperation, she had asked God what she needed to do.  One would think it would need to be a big spiritual move.  But, no, quite the contrary.  God told her to simply make her bed.  But, not her whole bed --just half.  And, so that is where she began.  She got up each day and made just half her bed.  After some time of doing that, she moved into making the entire bed.  And, when she continued to faithful do that, she moved on to another small step until finally she was making not just half her bed, but now cleaning her whole house again -- and in the process, finding her healing and her emotional health.  She continued to take baby steps with God and where did it lead her?  Straight to her destiny of encouraging thousands of others just like her.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Beating the Statistics

I was told an interesting statistic from a 10 year old boy who takes karate lessons. 

He said that his instructor lined up the boys in his class and said, "Did you know that only 1 out of 5 students in karate make it to black belt?  Now, who's going to beat the statistics?"

With a determined look in his eye, the boy then looked at me and said, "I'm gonna be the 1 out of 5!"

I've seen this kind of statistic before.  For every 5 students that take piano lessons, maybe only 3 continue after level one.  They quit before they have even really started.

The statistic is probably seen across the board:  Dieting and exercising. Completing a project. (How many unfinished quilts are out there?) A book half written.  For whatever reason, individuals give up.  They don't endure to the end.  With reasonable excuses, they abandon their goal.  They lose interest.  They are distracted, lazy, or just plain discouraged.  They drop it and walk away.

If we are not careful, our walk of Faith is susceptible to abandonment as well.  We might start out well.  Like running a marathon, we begin with much excitement and --  might I say -- faith in ourselves.  We say things like "I'll never give up!  I'll never stop following Jesus!  Look at me?  Do I look like someone who's going to abandon their faith??" 

But, the journey is long.  The road is winding.  The hills can get steep and the forest is as dark as night.  In it, we can begin to question.  We can start to wonder if all this is even worth it?  We start to reason that it might be better to turn back than push forward and keep our commitment -- following Him to the very end.  In a word, we simply want to quit.

The good news in all of this is that there is more than one party that has made a Commitment.  It is not just us that signed the Agreement.  With blood from his own Hands, our Friend has signed a Covenant with us that promises He will NEVER give up on us.  He will NEVER quit.  And, if He sees us fading in the desert heat, He will pick us up from the scorching sand and carry us to the finish line Himself.  HE makes us winners.  HE keeps us going.  And, as we keep our eyes on Him and realize our complete reliance on His Grace, HE'S the One that helps us beat the statistics!


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Now That Sucks

I have a bagless vacuum cleaner that gets more of a workout than an Olympic athlete.  Between kids, our dog, and everyday life, it is relied on daily. 

Every once and awhile, though, I notice it doesn't accomplish its purpose very well.  I spend time vacuuming an entire room and realize that it missed half of what needed to be picked up from the floor. Ugh! 

In my investigation, I realize the problem was that I simply failed to take care of it well enough for it to do its job.  I had forgotten to empty it of its dirt and junk.  Of course it's not going to give me the results it was made to give!

I fail sometimes to do the same thing for myself.  Dirt and junk in the form of burdens pack the inside of me.  Things I sucked up and took into my system even years ago still swirl around my heart and occupy space.  Anxiety clogs my filters.  Other people's dirt have somehow become my own.  And, because of all that crap, I find myself not at my fullest potential, lacking in Joy, mulling through the past dirt and not thriving and enjoying life. 

There's only one thing to do.  Empty out.

Unlike my vacuum, these burdens were never mine to pick up and hold onto.  I was not designed by my Creator to hold onto them.  But, He knew that I would anyway.  So, He tells me...  CAST.  Cast my cares.  THROW OFF all that hinders.  SHAKE OFF the things that are not His Truth.  BE FREE of yesterday's burdens.

And, wow.  Just like my vacuum.  When I dump the junk, I run as I should!