This Summer, I’m undertaken the adventure with my children of training their weekly domestic organization skills, translation: house cleaning. To make progress on this adventure, I’ve organized some checklists so that it will be clear to the responsible individual when they’ve adequately completed their assignments. Needless to say, the checklists aren’t popular & sometimes, they don’t even like the domestic organization adventure, imagine that ,)
All of that is to say that I guess it’s not really that strange on occasion that we may not like some of the things that God does. At bare minimum, Hebrews 12 tells us that God disciplines us because God loves us. Discipline, correction and training aren’t always pleasant but most of the time, we like the outcomes, just not the process. So let’s stay in love with Jesus, keeping walking with Him through various processes, training and development. For me, staying in love with Jesus helps make everything better, even training my kids through the exciting domestic organization adventure 🙂
I was reading this morning in Hebrews 12 about how God corrects, just like a loving father corrects & disciplines his children. I used to hate the whole idea of correction & being disciplined. If the truth be told, there has been an arrogance in me about receiving correction. In the past, I had the mindset that I did things so well that I didn’t need correction – which of course set me up for some very serious confrontations and painful corrections. Being corrected & discipline isn’t fun. It hurts. But here are a few points in Hebrews 12 that have helped me about receiving correction:
correction is evidence of love – Heb 12:6; no love, no correction
God’s correction is for our benefit – Heb 12:10
when God corrects you, decide to endure & change: don’t faint when God corrects you – Heb 12:5
God’s correction yields good fruit in our lives (peaceful fruit of righteousness) – Heb 12:11
Very few of us like correction. I hated getting corrected when I was a kid – so I tried to be pretty good, or at least sneaky enough not to get caught ,)
We all receive correction regardless of our age. We get corrected at work through performance appraisals, at school through our grades, by the police when we are speeding, etc. The real issue about getting corrected isn’t how we get corrected but rather how we receive correction. Here are some ways to receive correction:
with gratitude or grumpiness
reflection or rejection
soft and tender or hard and brittle
receive or deflect
change or get callous
Let me suggest that we can maximize the correction that we receive by how we receive it. Or, we can wash, lather, rinse and repeat until we make some adjustments 🙂
I made a comment this morning on my fb page about how it helps to hear God when we are still & quiet. I wanted to follow up on this comment because I think that for many of us, it’s difficult to be still & quiet. We live in a really busy, loud, active & demanding world. Between our smart phones, the internet, twitter, conventional media, family schedules & demands, etc, it can be seemingly impossible to find quiet & still. Furthermore, when we do get a moment to catch our breath, our mind is usually racing trying to organize schedules, figure out what we need to do next, hum a favorite tune, etc. Still & quiet seem like elusive & ethereal ideals for people that have lived in a different era or even a different planet.
But for me, still & quiet is essential and it takes some intentionality. For me, I’ve found it super helpful to get up early before everyone else to acquire some stillness before the demands of the day hit the fan. Furthermore, I am also intentional about when & how much music & external stuff I listen to, focus being the operative word.
When I’m still & quiet, with God’s help, I focus my attention toward God with the intent of giving the Trinity my undivided attention (without distraction, interruption or competition). I need to wholly be with my Creator & yes, this requires discipline, some failures & some successes. But the rewards of greater intimacy & fellowship with God are indescribably worth the efforts & discipline – indeed, living water, breath of life & more.
When I think about the word “strong“, I automatically think about muscles, weight lifting, eating protein, endurance, some pain & my gym. It’s interesting that I don’t immediately associate strength with teamwork, honesty, growing, change or time. But when I think about it, these words are also essential ingredients for the word “strong”.
On a somewhat deeper level, I think it’s critical to consider where strength comes from. Where does endurance, discipline, cooperation, patience & the like come from? For me, the short & ultimate answer is God.
Without God in my life, my endurance is like exercising with Halloween candy for fuel.
Without God in my life, the strength of my will power is like trying to swim a lap in a 50m pool without taking a breath – the effort burns my lungs & obscures my thinking
Without God in my life, cooperation & teamwork becomes disguised dysfunction (abusive, neglectful, manipulative & selfish acedia)
When I look to God for His strength in my life, the contrast of His strength versus my strength, helps me appreciate how truly weak I am without Him. Be strong!! 🙂
Since it’s Mother’s Day, it seems fitting to celebrate our moms & their various contributions to our lives. My mom invests in my life in a multitude of different ways, but something that I always appreciate about her is the power of routine. Despite lots of travels & massive demands on her schedule, my mom is very consistent with her routines. She consistently exercises, makes healthy eating decisions, memorizes the Bible everyday and maintains healthy sleeping patterns. My mom is the Queen of Routine. And here’s what is so powerful about the whole routine thing, she’s done this for almost all of my life. So when people ask me about my mom & the secret to her success, of course God is the number one source for all success, but I’d quickly add that her consistent routines throughout the years have positioned her for the successful living she enjoys today.
So here’s my closing thought: let’s make the routines of our daily living conform to our priorities 🙂
My kids have a list of things they don’t like to do: wash the dishes, pick up their room, fold the laundry, homework before playing, . . . . So when we grow up, what happens to this list? Hopefully, we get good at the tasks we didn’t like doing as kids so they’re not such an issue. Or maybe we just suck it up & do these things anyways since we don’t like the negative results if we neglect to do the things we don’t like doing.
I’ve been thinking about doing the things I don’t like to do – maybe as an attempt to avoid doing them ,)
But here are some things that are rolling around in my thoughts:
if I only do what I like to do, what talents & areas in my life would remain dormat from such neglect?
character development – I still think these words should be in the “four letter word” category, along with the other cuss words I avoid
love: a good “four letter word” that also includes doing things I don’t want to do (I love God, love my family, love my friends, . . . . )
Jesus endured the cross & decided to do what He didn’t want to do because of the joy on the other side of the cross. Could there be more joy on the other side of the work than my dislike & procrastination?
These are just some ideas I’m considering when I think about doing things that I don’t like to do – like I’m now wrapping up this blog so I can go to the Dentist 😦
What are your thoughts? I’d be keen to hear your ideas, insights & observations 🙂