Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Is Getting Up Early Worth It?

Image result for grey people walking

Since starting my job I have struggled against my biggest fear--being so tired with life that my brain stops working on a creative level and merely goes into autopilot. I have always worried I would join the rest of the adult world in their grey plodding through the years. (Remember the picture below? It was a personification of that fear.)

Well, truth be told, I have done exactly that.

Most mornings I leave my house around 8 am and get home around 7 pm. When not working I am doing my finances, squeezing in practice for my orchestra concerts, cleaning, running errands, etc. I rarely have time or energy to just chill and contemplate life.

One main thing that was getting neglected was my spiritual life. In theory I read my Bible before I left every morning but sometimes I just "didn't have time". Or I didn't feel awake enough think it would be quality time with the Lord.

I talked briefly about this struggle with a coworker at the Crisis Pregnancy Center. She has a very long commute to work as well as a large family and could sympathize with my struggle. She mentioned however something she remembered from an autobiography of a Christian family in the mid-nineteen hundreds: the author stated that his father always required them to get up at 5 am, get a glass of water and read their Bible for an hour. This rule was never flexed, even when they had had a late night before. Sometimes, the author added ruefully, the only thing that was tall that early in the morning was the glass of water. But the discipline of being of spending time with the Lord lasted a life-time.

Immediately after that conversation opened my Bible and my eye caught Luke 22:46 --  “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

I chuckled to myself and said, Okay Lord. Point taken.

My goal was 30 days straight of getting up at 6 am and unless you don't count the two days my phone turned off in the middle of the night and  I didn't wake up on my own until 6:30  I was very faithful.

And yes, it was absolutely worth it. 

Often times the literal first thing my eyes focused on in the morning was my Bible and that couldn't help but set the tone for each day. After having read God's word and discussed my concerns with Him how could the following 24 hours not have a more eternal outlook? 

I might still feel dull, grey, and boring but underneath that feeling was the assurance that the Lord was in control and adding color to my life as He knew was best. 

(I am done with those 30 days now and allowing myself to sleep in a little when needed but the discipline has created a desire that I did not have before for regular study of God's word and frequent conversations with Him.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Our Hearts--His Home

Let's just agree that I won't apologize for not posting regularly and you won't be offended by my lack of interaction on all your lovely blogs. Deal??


I had the chance to attend a conference with my sister's church several weeks ago. During one session the teacher connected two Bible verses in a way that I had never before considered.

Ephesians 3:17 says -- "That Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith."

When we move into a new house what do we do to make it "our home"?

We take out old furniture and put in new. We tear down walls. We strip out old cabinets. Basically, we make the place look entirely different and we make it fit us.

Can you imagine how awkward it would be to try and do that with the previous owners still there? They would be offended and fight every change we made.

When we ask Christ to make His home in our hearts we cannot retain ownership. There are no roped off areas marked "No Entry". We give over the right to choose how things are built and arranged and allow Him to change things, no matter how painful for us it may feel.

Continuing on with this concept of Christ coming into us and doing some radical remodeling--

1 Corinthians 3:16 -- "Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"

Remember what Jesus did in the temple? All four gospels record Him cleansing it...with a whip!

That doesn't sound very comfortable to me but the Bible never promises that I will be comfortable. Just that I will be made more like Christ if I let Him in my heart.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Drop by Post

This year I wanted to be more faithful with posting on Arnica Anonymous even if it mean they were just quick little drop by posts.

So...guess what this is? :)

January has been full of blessings for me.

I had been praying for some time for an other part time job and a few weeks ago one practically dropped into my lap (I now have three jobs). I also had gotten very tired of paying mileage on my borrowed car and the same day I started the new job I looked at and bought a lovely new set of wheels. God's timing was perfect and I am so blessed by this shower of his goodness.

I do often feel tired though. Today I had to call in sick which gave me some free time from all but the job I do at home on my computer. And, as you can see, I was able to find a moment to do some catching up in the Blogosphere! Sometimes being sick can actually be a nice thing. ;)

How has your 2018 been going so far? Can you believe we are already nearly a month into it?!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Fight or Flight?

So...I am still here. And to start the New Year I would like to apologize for not reading and commenting on all of your lovely blogs more. I know I have missed some great content and I will try to do better in 2018!

To move on, what I wanted to share today came to mind as  I was creating my New Year's resolutions. I was scribbling some thoughts down on struggles that I wanted to see conquered in 2018 and it occurred to me that I was handling them the wrong way. I was trying to be the tough one. The girl holding the blazing sword and saying, "You shall not pass!".

That doesn't work though because my temptations don't come charging at me head-on with a snarl and horns.

They tip-toe up behind me on sparkling fairy feet and whisper everything I could desire sweetly in my ear.

(A quote I discovered on Pinterest but have been unable to locate the author of.)

I am unable to stand and fight them but find myself instead following them with a charmed smile on my face straight to the door of hell.

So what should  I do?

2 Timothy 2:22 says that I should flee them.

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Not stand my ground. Not even make an orderly retreat. But "FLEE". Get out of there! Run so far away that they can't find me to sing their delightful lies.

As this concept began to sink in I had to ponder exactly how I was to flee. In general this is not the physical running away from something. It's more subtle.

It's throwing out all of the sugar in your house (an example I use merely because most people can relate to the struggle of dieting.).

I can't think, "Well, I'll just be strong this time." because we all know, when push comes to shove I won't be. I'll cave just like I have every time before and eat that one bag of M&M's I stashed in the basement.

Humor aside it's a very serious topic dealing with my spiritual health.

Fundamentally it's not allowing myself to get in a situation of temptation but instead fleeing with wings on my feet!!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Me, Myself, and I

Looking back through my posts I am disappointed, but not especially surprised, to see how "me" focused they are. "Here is what I have done wrong." "Here is what the Lord is teaching me." etc., etc.

They are not necessarily me talking about what an awesome person I am but they are still selfish. Focused on my works and not Christ's.

I can be a perfectionist and in my spiritual life this boils down to unending efforts to be a good enough person that God won't regret saving me. Terrible theology, I know. (Update: ran across this thundering verse of love and grace immediately after writing this post-- “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins." Isaiah 43:25 -- my sins were blotted out not for my sake, but the Lord's.)

So how to end this cycle of navel gazing?

Stop talking, thinking, and focusing on myself.  I need to stop working so hard to better myself and instead, follow the Lord. Focus on Him. His amazing works. His grace. His compassion.  Not so much my lack of these qualities (though I do think there is a very important place for conviction! don't get me wrong!) as much as His possession of them. Do I spend as much time thanking Him for being perfect as I do asking to be made perfect? God is teaching me that there must be a balance. I can't fix myself by looking only at my faults. I need to stare in wonder at His perfection and let Him work on fixing me.

I feel like a hiker, so afraid of tripping that all they can do is stare at their feet. I would be much better off to lift my head, listen to my Guide, and keep my eyes focused upwards, toward the top of the mountain.

Meh...that all sounds very mushy and confusing but I hope you can understand.

"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:13b-14

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Grace Upon Grace

So...I wasn't exactly intending to take a break from blogging. Sometimes though, life throws unexpected things (good and bad) at us and all we can do is accept them from the Lord and deal with them.

I copied the following song into the front of my current journal because I felt it perfectly fit my life right now. I often feel like I am completely ruining everything with my ignorance and stupidity. And then I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that God covers me with grace. He forgives me and will work everything out for my benefit. Yes, I am out of control of my own life. But I trust the One who is controlling it and am so thankful for the grace He offers to me.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

In Which I Fail as a Mentor

When I started volunteering at the local crisis pregnancy center in April of this year my plan was to do all their behind the scenes work. Counting money, cleaning, making copies, etc. I was good with but nothing directly involving the clients. I knew dealing with them would drive me nuts.

And then a child, pregnant with a middle aged man's baby, walked in the door and looked me in the eyes.

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