Archive for December, 2006

What do I want?

Posted: December 28, 2006 in Spiritual Thoughts

I was challenged a couple weeks ago to answer the question, “What do you want?”.  It wasn’t too tough to reel off a long list of things like a close relationship to God, health for me and my family, protection for my kids, financial freedom, etc., so I was feeling pretty good about the assignment and how quickly I got it accomplished.

I sent it to the one asking (my pastor Jay), and he responded that that was a good list and praised my quickness.  Then he modified the question and asked, “What have you wanted all your life?”.  Huh?  Isn’t that the same list?  No.  It’s not.  As my life has changed, my wants have changed, and what he was asking me was to find out what has been important to me all my life.  What are the basic core things I have always wanted.  It may soundlike a simple task, but stop and ponder it a moment and you will see that it is pretty hard to nail down.  I am struggling with answering the question to be honest. 

Of course I want health, happiness, blah, blah, blah.  Everyone does.  But what are the most important things that would make me truly happy?  Most of the things I wrote in my first list were temporal and related to this life.  I know there is more than that.  How do I remove myself from the plane I am in and think eternally?  Here is the quick list modified to some eternal issues:

  • To feel God close to me
  • To always hear his voice
  • To be close to those I love, before and after this life
  • To be used by God now, and “then” for the benefit of others (which I assume will please God)
  • To feel at peace, knowing I am doing what is right in God and man’s eyes

This is not an easy process.  I do not know what the life after this one looks like in detail.  I do know that what I do now will affect that life in some way, but it is a little cloudy (actually VERY cloudy).

Why did he want me to think about this?  My guess is that it will help keep me from thinking of this life as my total focus. Wonder if that is it?

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On waiting ….

Posted: December 13, 2006 in My Life

Jay asked in his blog what people were thinking as a result of what he has been teaching at The Chapel about waiting.  I posted this comment in response to his post, but wanted to post it here in my blog also…

I never really thought that much about waiting until this series Jay, but I have definitely realized how many different aspects there are to it. Thinking on this has led me all kinds of places, which I will briefly share with you in a rambling sort of way.

I have certainly done my share of waiting in my life, but never really thought of it in any way except negatively. The world today is into total instant gratification, and I am right there with it. Waiting is not a popular thing. When I want something, I want it now, and I hate to hear someone tell me to be patient. Did I ever have patience? Not sure but I do not feel I have much right now. I spend so much time wanting things to happen that when they finally do, they go by so fast. We hurry up the pace of everything to the point that we never really even get to stop and enjoy what is happening in the now. If we can wait with patience, we have a lot more time to focus on today.

How many times in my life have I looked BACK with nostalgia at some event? Many. How many times have I looked FORWARD into the future with anticipation of some event? Many. What about THIS moment? What about the NOW? Sometimes I really just miss it, because I am looking forward or looking back, which is sad, because it really robs the enjoyment of today. God is doing things with me (and others) right now, right this second, and if I do not stop and notice it I will totally miss it, and easily fly right by an opportunity he gives me. Sometimes things are also happening in other peoples lives that I need to take more time to notice and help them celebrate, grieve, laugh, or cry about. God gives us all these experiences, and we should pay attention to each one. Everything is moving so fast around me, and I want and need to slow down and enjoy simple pleasures. Here is an example of a really, really special moment when I stopped the world and just waited:

I walked outside last night and was in a hurry on my way to do something, when I noticed a sound. It was a small sound, but it rang clear in my head. It was really weird to me until I stopped and listened closely and realized what it was. The leaves were falling in the woods behind my house. That was it — no great crashing noise or event, just the leaves. It was almost like a clock ticking in my head as I heard each small beat of a leaf hitting the ground. I stood there for like 5 minutes and could hear almost nothing else while I allowed God to control the pace of my heart, and my thoughts in a spiritual kind of tempo. To that beat I started counting the people in my life that I am thankful for, that I struggle with, that I am concerned for, etc., etc. Funny thing was, I did not think about work, or money, or any of those things, only people. It was a great moment with God. If I had not stopped, listened and waited on God to lead my thoughts, I would have missed it, and that would have been very sad. How many of these opportunities have I missed?

Well Jay, I am quite sure that nopne of this I just articulated entered your head at all as you prepared these lessons for us, but you asked what was in my head, and you got it! Thanks for your part every day in trying to lead me closer to God. Sometimes it gets through! Keep prying on my spirit, God is honoring it.

It hurts so good!

Posted: December 5, 2006 in Uncategorized

I have days when I wonder if I am ANY good to anyone.  Now don’t start thinking I have self-esteem issues (well, maybe we all do a little bit). I have a lot of people wanting my time for things that I know I am good at, but I honestly think the problem I have is an inability to say no enough and sacrifice the good for the great.  I spent a good part of my day doing something I hate (accounting, billing – yuuuuuck!), but when I was done, I felt awesome.  Huh?  That’s just weird man.  So I had to stop and think about that a bit.

Why did I feel so good?  It just felt good to accomplish something that is so hard for me to do.  It took discipline to stay at it and not go off into something I enjoy more.  I know I have to do it, I know it has good results (did you know people do NOT pay you if you never send them a bill?  Imagine that), and I know I will be glad I did it afterwards.  SO…., giving up something you like, to do something you dislike can reap great benefits?  I believe it can.

Okay – I get it God.  I have these things in my life I know I should do (spiritual disciplines).  I know I do not do them (even though I have good intent).  I know when I do make time to do them I reap great and wonderous benefits.  I need help Lord.  I need you to help me help myself.  That needs to start by dying to myself a bit more.

I think I know where to start.  I have to shed some things that are only good, not great.  I need to resist doing things that only I see great value in, and start thinking more widely than what is in my head.  I cannot just shed one thing and pick up one thing.  I need to shed more than I pickup right now, just to make sure there is plenty of time for the great things.  ANd some of those great things are not at the top of my enjoyment list.

Gotta keep praying about this one.

Ding, ding goes the bell!

Posted: December 3, 2006 in Uncategorized

Ever hear a bell when in church?  I don’t mean the normal ring me with a long rope kinda bell, I mean the one in your head that goes off when something hits home.  Mine was ringing in church this morning.

Our pastor Jay spoke (taught, whaever he does) about how to “Wait well”.  He used the analogy of seeing our waiting for God to move in our lives like a waiter waits on a table.  A waiter is poised and ready to act when he sees a diner have a need or make a request of him.  A good one is very attentive and responsive to whatever the diner asks.  We should be that way with God.  How would you feel if a waiter was in your face all the time, instead of waiting patiently in the wings and answering your requests?

Jay and I have had a couple of conversations about why God does not do this or do that in our lives, and how impatient I am .  Well, maybe he will, in his time.  In the meantime, I have to learn to be a “waiter”, observe what God is teaching me, and trust his timing.  Don’t know about you, but that is hard for me.  I guess this is one of those growth opportunities again huh, Jay?

I also met Jay’s friend “Hoolie” (sp?) this week.  He’s a trip.  Nice to know the man who rings Jay’s bell too!  🙂  Seems like a guy I’d like to get to know as well.

Well, better go do some “waiting practice”!