Always Practicing

It seems to me that life is more about practice than perfect. When I keep this in my thinking, I don’t get so easily discouraged. Indeed, it seems to me that the journey to success are various sizes of incremental improvements. Some increments are big & some improvements seem infinitesimal. Furthermore, I often learn more from my failures than success, particularly when I think of failing as a verb & not just a noun. 

So things that I continue to practice on include:

  • Encouraging words
  • Listening to understand more than reply or argue
  • Trusting God
  • Paying attention to the Holy Spirit

What More?

I’m currently sitting in the Angola consulate to finish my visa application & this is always a jittery experience. It’s stressful in lots of ways because it’s a really complicated process & even when I’ve done everything right, there has been an occasion when my application was denied. 
So I can get stressed out as I wait or I can chose to trust God. These words, “trust God” are easier said than done. But when there’s nothing more that I can do, then I need to actively chose, even moment by moment, to trust God. 

Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to coach our mental game & help us get better at trusting God 🙂

Let’s Practice

“That was practice,” I said with a smile to the Post Office guy when I swiped my credit card too soon. I was shipping a book to someone & was in hurry because of all the things I needed to accomplish that day. The Post Office guy chuckled & I was glad he saw the humor in my weak explanation for being impatient. 
There are lots of things I’m not good at such as being patient, planning, follow through and loads of other stuff. 

I’m not ok with just accepting these shortfalls, nor can I afford to dismiss them as irrelevant. The other way I try to let myself off the hook sometimes is by rationalizing that these weaknesses are too big for me to overcome. 

Maybe you have some weaknesses that might seem insurmountable to you as well. Here are two things for your encouragement:  

  1. Think in terms of practice – the way we get better, even in small ways, is by practice, a process of continual improvement. 
  2. With the Holy Spirit living in us, nothing is impossible!

Let’s keep focused on the Helper & keep practicing!

Grace to Grow

I just had the privilege to catch up w an old friend & it was delightful to chat over coffee & remember some fun times together. It was also interesting to see how each of us has changed, grown and matured.
In all of or relationships, there are things that can bug us about the other person & clearly we have plenty of our own weakspots that can be very bothersome.
Let’s give each other grace to grow & then enjoy the journey. Only Jesus is the completed human masterpiece. The rest of us are works in progress 🙂

I don’t get it

Sometimes I think that we mistakenly wait to do something until we understand it better.  There can be good wisdom with understanding stuff, but  if we aren’t careful, our efforts to understand can undermine our obedience to God.  For example, in Genesis 12 God told Abram to go to a land that God would show him & Abram set out.  I’m not entirely sure that Abram knew the destination that God had in mind, but he was obedient to get moving, nonetheless.  We don’t always have to understand to obey 🙂

Being Nervous

I’m not a big fan of being nervous. I usually mess stuff up when I’m nervous, make goofy mistakes & generally present myself poorly. I was on an important phone conversation earlier this week & I found myself getting nervous, stuttering, stumbling & sounding less than brainy :/
So what to do about being nervous? Here are a few helpful ideas:
*prepare ahead of time – usually my biggest downfall
*pray and ask God to give you peace
*stay focused on what’s immediate, not getting overwhelmed by what’s massive
*trust that God is bigger than your humanity & flaws – message out a mess, testimony from a test & redemption from rubble 🙂

Have an awesome weekend!!

Whispers

Boom!! Bang, clang, crash, slam!! I have three wonderfully active, energetic & frequently LOUD children. Most of the time I really love all of the volume, most of the time. But I also like the still, shhhhh, hush when one of them gets near to my ear to whisper something quiet, important & close to their heart.
Usually when a person whispers, it’s because they want to say something for a limited audience rather than a shout to the world.
God shouts LOVE to the world & whispers in quiet ways to beckon our attention, nearness & presence. Shhhhh, come close – God’s whispers invite you to be near in every moment of this day

hot topic: ebola

Puking blood, bleeding through the eyes, ears and other areas, coughing, fever, headache and some delirium – these are all symptoms of a person who could have the ebola virus.  As I’ve read up on the current outbreak, here are a few important things to note:

  • there’s no known medical cure nor vaccination
  • the current strain is killing between 50-60% of those who catch it
  • it’s spread through bodily fluid (blood, saliva, etc)
  • the World Health Organization thinks that this outbreak could kill 20,000 people before they can get it under control
  • it’s presently in these African nations:  Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria & Congo (DRC)
  • two US healthcare providers with the ebola virus were medically evacuated from Africa & have recovered & been released
  • this outbreak probably started with the orginal victim in December 2013 – a two year old in Guinea  #SavingMoses

Please be praying for Africa with this outbreak.  While I know that there are many deadly diseases that are dramtically more common than ebola, let’s pray nevertheless for protection for the healthcare workers who are on the front lines fighting this awful virus and let’s pray that the leadership for each country will have wisdom in how they communicate and the decisions that they make for their citizens.

 

from and through

If you’re like me, I often pray that God would deliver me from stuff (hardship, struggles, etc).  But often, I experience that God brings me through stuff (hardships, struggles, etc).  While I prefer to not have to go through stuff, I’m grateful that God helps me regardless of how – from or through.

The value of through is that I often get stronger, learn more about God, deepen in my faith, understand who I am better & become more grateful for God’s help and moment by moment presence 🙂 – Noah went through the flood, Paul went through the storm

The value of from is that I often stand amazed at God’s power, preservation & wisdom 🙂 –  God delivered Daniel from the lions, God delivered Israel from Pharaoh, but through the Red Sea 🙂

From & Through – both are important ways that God participates in our lives!

a secret for transformation

Seems like all of us want to grow & improve in at least a few ways.  We want to be more skinny or more muscular.  We want to be smarter, more athletic, less impatient, . . . . . .  All of us have things in our lives that we want to improve.  If there was a magic wand that we could wave to make the wanted improvement appear, we’d go to great lengths to get that wand & ultimately the improvement that we want.  But alas, there is no magic wand.

But here’s the golden ticket for the improvements that we want:  routine.  Yep, the nitty, gritty and daily incremental efforts that we can integrate into our daily routines can produce life changing transformation.  Diets, fads, trends, cool & swanky techniques and mental gyrations often lack the power to improve that comes from just the daily, small decisions that we incorporate into routine living:  

  • A deeper walk with God:  plan to go to bed 30min earlier everyday for two weeks, so you can get up 15min early to read your Bible & pray – spend some time training your body & soul to make spiritual investments
  • being more healthy:  chose to decrease or eliminate a cup of coffee (gasp), the afternoon treat, the evening snack for two weeks;  
  • physical fitness:  chose to walk more (rather than the drive for that close errand, park in less conveninet places that require more walking, take a walk in the evening rather than watch the 30min of TV that turns into 2hours, . . . .)
  • be smarter:  reading is a great path to help us with the smart stuff;  consider joining a book club, get a library card – check out a book;  read something that you don’t agree with or isn’t in the normal interest list (broaden your horizon)

Small but steady changes often create the sustained improvements that can seem elusive.  You can do it!! 🙂