Friday, March 25, 2011

Decisions, Decisions!

Something that I want to teach my daughter is how to wait on making big decisions in life.  That is not something I learned at an early age, but in adulthood and only after multiple experiences in making the wrong decisions or acting too quickly.  While I was running last weekend, my decision making skills, or lack thereof, was weighing on my heart, so I prayed about it.  I told God that I didn't want Nora-Kate to make her decisions the way I did, but I didn't know how to model the behavior I wanted to see in her.  I have always been told to "pray about it" before making any decision, especially the big ones, but I have never seen anyone actually do that.  Based on my experiences, praying about a decision before actually making one is good in theory and a noble thing to say, but I have never seen it modeled the way it's preached.  After pouring out my heart to God, He gently reminded me of a Rachael Ray episode I saw last summer.  A mother who was on the show had a teen daughter who wanted to change her hairstyle.  The mother told her that was fine, but that she had to wait a week before committing to it.  If the daughter still wanted to change her hair after a week, the mother would take her to the hair salon.  I thought, "That's brilliant!  That's what I'll do..." Then, I realized that I could tell Nora-Kate to wait a week before committing to a decision, but I want her to see it modeled in her parents.  So, I promised God that I would talk to my husband and we would agree on an allotted time to pray about major decisions before we actually make any.  I talk to God about as many decisions as I can during the day, anything from what I should eat for breakfast, to which route I should take when I run, but actually waiting for an answer is something that was foreign to me, hence the reason it was my epiphany for the weekend.  

In short, the revelation of my weekend run was that my husband and I should sit down, decide on a time period in which we're actually going to seek God when we have a major decision to make, then come together and make it as a family.  It's revolutionary for me because I know it will change our family.  We will make better decisions in the long run to, hopefully, accomplish God's will in our lives and be used for His kingdom!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bucket List

In light of James 4:13-15, which says, "Now listen you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.'  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'"  So, if it is the Lord's will, these are the things I would like to accomplish before I die (listed in no particular order).  I will add to it as God puts desires on my heart.

  • Maintain a blog with the purpose of benefiting others
    • Write a book
    • Go on an overseas mission trip
    • Visit New York, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls during the day
    • Help people in need without worrying about money
    • homeschool my child(ren)
    • be present at my child(ren)'s wedding
    • see and hold my grandchildren

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Absolutely So!

    It took several runs for me to grasp this lesson God was trying to reveal.  I knew it was a big one when it made me stop in mid-stride and squint my eyes and tilt my head in confusion.  I'm still not quite sure that I have attained all the knowledge He wanted me to learn from this's really too deep for my mind to grasp and for my limited vocabulary to articulate.  I have prayed that God will express His thoughts and wisdom through my vocabulary...scary! 

    I run on the back roads around my house and I love it because I get to see animals and experience nature in a way I would not otherwise experience if we lived in the city.  While I was running one particular day, I was looking at the trees and listening to the birds sing.  The wind was blowing slightly and it wasn't too hot, so the birds were quite happy that day.  Then, this truth hit me in the head like a sledgehammer.  Humans are quick nowadays to say that everything (your reactions, decisions, morals, etc.) depends on the situation at hand.  When questioned, we give advice like "You should do what makes you feel good; do what makes you happy" or "How you should have reacted to that person depends on the situation."  We also question morals and try to qualify when it's okay to sin.  For example, we may think "I don't know if I would steal medicine for my child or food for my family if we were desperate."  Others might question morals and situations that are more severe than that, but it comes down to this:  People try to improve the world by taking away absolute truth and morals, but in reality, that philosophy is destroying our world and society.  If there are no absolutes, how do we know where to draw the line?

    The world, namely nature, doesn't work that way.  Everything in nature is on a cycle and it happens that way every day, month, and year.  It doesn't matter how much farmers want their crops to grow; if they don't prepare the land correctly, plant the crops at the right time, and nurture them appropriately, they won't grow.  It doesn't matter how much the farmer's family needs the food, the absolute truth is that if it didn't rain enough and he missed a step in his planting and harvesting, his family won't have food.  If I want to run a marathon or lose weight, it doesn't matter how I feel about accomplishing those tasks, if I don't train, eat right, and exercise, my body will not be prepared to run 26.2 miles or lose weight.

    God is Truth.  His principles work and, whether or not we believe in the Almighty and Magnificent Creator, if we live according to His principles, we would produce better citizens and society would function a whole lot more smoothly.  If everyone really did meet someone else's needs before their own, then their own needs would get met in the process.

    Sunday, March 20, 2011

    Date Night

    My husband took me on a date last night, the first one without our daughter since she was born on September 20 of last year.  It was a very enjoyable and needed date night.  We laughed, reminisced, and talked about lots of different things.  It was fun to catch up and date my husband again.  In between conversations, though, I found myself looking at the crowd that was gathered at the bar to my right and thinking about my place in this world.  I am an introspective person, so this wasn't uncommon for me at all.  While I was observing a group of girls at the bar who were so desperately vying for any man's attention, I realized that I don't really fit into this world.  I don't, nor have I ever, had the same desires other girls in my life have had, like being noticed by men, gossiping, or participating in meaningless conversations.  I am an introvert; I have not figured out if I am one by nature or by nurture, but I do a lot of self-reflecting.  I don't talk much, which is different from most women.  I actually only open my mouth when I feel that is absolutely necessary or when God gives me a nugget to share with others.  Surprisingly, since I was in college, I have always wanted to be an evangelist.  I admired eloquent speakers and "cool" Christians who could relate to anyone and always knew what to say.  I wanted to be like them, and, fairly regularly, I have prayed that God would give me an opportunity to speak at a Christian conference or event where I could share what God has taught me.  Then, I read a book by Bill Hybels called Just Walk Across the Room.  It completely changed my outlook on evangelism.  I always thought all evangelists had to be the same, like they were clones of one mold-they were good with people, natural and fluent speakers, and charismatic, and I didn't feel that I was any of those things.  When I read Hybels's book, God showed me, through Hybels's words, that I have to evangelize in a way that is natural for me.  God made me and wired me the way He did for a reason & He wants to use me in the way He originally intended if I will just allow Him to do so.  It just took me a while to recognize my strengths. I have always been better at expressing myself through the written word, rather than the spoken word, which is ironic that I would pray for an opportunity to speak at a Christian event. I prayed that prayer because I know all Christians are called to actively share their faith with anyone and everyone, but I didn't realize that we could do it in unique ways, and that my evangelism would look different than my pastor's, the youth minister's, or anyone else's.

    I am excited about this blog because it is a challenge.  I consider it a challenge because I don't want to hinder God's work, but advance His kingdom.  I just want to help someone, and that is my prayer.