Friday, September 19, 2008

On His Shoes

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledgs of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace. (Luke 1:76-79, NIV)

Do you remember how much fun it was when you were little to stand on someone else's feet while they walked?

It's amazing how difficult it is to successfully stay on the big feet of a grown up when you are a little child. It's easy for your feet to slip off the side since the tops of feet aren't very flat. Often you are going backwards, so you aren't really sure where you are being taken. In addition, if you try to walk yourself instead of relying on the other person to take the steps, you will fall off. The efforts and failures are usually met with giggles and attempts to try again.

The best way is to hold tightly to the person's hands while looking into their eyes. If you relax your legs and trust them to take each step, your tandem walk will be successful!

I want to be like a little child, holding tightly to Jesus' hands and looking into his eyes as I relax my legs and let him do the walking for me. My heart trusts that he has my best interests in mind and that he won't walk me into a wall or a piece of furniture, but my head still doesn't quite get it. I want to see where I'm going, but to do so I have to take my eyes off of him and twist my body in such a way that I can easily fall off his feet. I want to influence the path he travels, so I try to move my legs, hoping that his feet will go in the same direction -- it always ends in failure.

His path is peaceful, mine is full of landmines and stress. Why do I fight so hard to have my own way? But at least it is helpful for me to think that he may be giggling with me as I fail, and that he patiently lets me climb up on his feet again to keep trying until I get it right!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's a Nice Donut, but....

Last night I let Sammi and the boys buy a dozen donuts for our 'bedtime snack' and breakfast today. They went on an adventure, and each chose two donuts that were to be set aside for them. To fill the box, Sammi chose a few long johns and rounded out the dozen.

The boys were a bit miffed when I told them to select one of the two donuts they had chosen as their bedtime snack. I guess they wanted to save those for last! Then, this morning, Sammi took her last selected donut and a long john for her friend.

Kevin woke up (early, which may explain a lot), went to the donut box and broke into tears. He was really upset that someone had taken all except for one of the long johns. He was angry that there were so few donuts left. I told him that his specially selected donut was still there, but that wasn't good enough! I allowed him to have the one chocolate long john that was left instead of his special donut, but he still sniffled and whimpered through the whole thing. I'm sure it tasted like cardboard in his mouth.

It occurred to me that his response is unfortunately the same response most of us have in today's society. We have the things we chose, our jobs, homes, spouses, stuff, and yet we want something else. A bigger house, a bigger paycheck, more stuff. Then, even when we have more than we chose or need, we are still dissatisfied that someone else has more! When will we learn to be content with the wonderful blessings that we have?

I know that a lot of people are really hurting right now. They are having a really tough time making ends meet. There are a record number of foreclosures in our town (actually, we have the highest rate of foreclosures in the state), many people are out of work, and prices continue to increase with no end in sight. I don't want to downplay the difficulties that these folks are going through.

But so much of our lives are the results of choices that we make. We choose to live in a place that we really can't afford. We want stuff NOW, so we put it on charge, hoping we can pay it off later. We are dissatisfied with our jobs and want 'more, better, sooner' without being willing to take the effort to get more training, put in more effort, or go the extra mile. Or even to get an additional job to pay off some of our stuff. And even when we know what needs to be done to correct a situation, we don't change our behavior in a way that makes a difference.

Paul said he had learned to be content in any situation:
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content
whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it
is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every
situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I
can do everything through him who gives me strength." Phillipians 4:11-13 (NIV)

I want that level of contentment! I want to look around me and acknowledge that God has given me not only what I have selected as a result of my actions, but more indeed! I want to rejoice in that and focus on what really matters -- not the amount of donuts in the box, but the fact that I can hold one in my hand and bite into it's sweet, gooey goodness! Lord, please don't let me lose the joy you have given me because I'm looking at what I don't have. Help me to be content with the wonderful things you give me each day. Help me to make choices that honor you!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

One Day At A Time

How are you different today than you were one year ago? How about 30 days ago? Other than being just a bit older, that is!

I'm not sure where I got the idea, but I decided on August 1 that I wanted to strengthen my arms. I read that push ups are a really good exercise for this, but I knew I couldn't do many. So I decided to just do one more each day. I started with one, and by the end of the month I could do 30 (ok, they were 'girl' push ups and I have to rest for a couple of minutes after 20)!

Knowing that my form could be improved, I decided to stick with the 30 each day and work on keeping my back straight, doing all thirty without a break, and moving toward full 'toe' push ups. In the meantime I decided to add sit ups to my challenge. I'm up to three, which isn't too hard yet, but I know it will get tougher as time goes on!

This 'one day at a time' thinking has really challenged me. I decided to post one thing each day on freecycle, helping to declutter my house over the course of the month. I know -- I could add one more thing each day, but let's take it slow!

I'm not sure what I'll add in October...maybe running for one minute more each day. Running for thirty minutes straight? I've never done that in my life! But at just one minute more each day it doesn't seem impossible.

What can you do just a bit each day? I'd love to have you join in my challenge!