Today I was offered a consulting job. Back in the world of work I knew before I retired. Developing an on-line course for the public health community. This is a world where I know what I’m doing. A world where I’m an ‘expert’ or at least competent. The pay wasn’t bad and it would involve a bit of easy travel. I would be working with folks who respect me and it would add some structure to my days. It would fill my days with a lot of things I enjoyed about my former position, and less of the things that frustrated me.
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? But I’m glad I didn’t just jump right in with a yes. I said, let me get back to you. And then I took it before the Lord.
Well….I got my answer. God did not speak to me out loud, but he made his response clear. Loretta, would you choose to let that world fill you up rather than me? I’ve given you an assignment. Spend time with me, learn more about me, share what you are learning with others. My lesson right now is to let God be my constant source of fulfillment. This is coming at me in many forms.
And I will tell you, I am struggling with this new assignment. I miss the enforced structure of my professional life. I want to fall back on the familiar, the known, rather than blaze a path into the unknown that God has invited me to walk.
So, it really comes down to this. Do I let the work that I’m familiar with fill me up, or do I let God fill me? The temptation is to go with the familiar. The place where I know I’ll get my kudos. But I’m still reading Jeremiah, and I read that God told Jeremiah ‘I can’t bless disobedience’.
At this time in my life God has invited me on an adventure. It’s a bit of a maze where I can’t always see what is ahead, but this adventure is an invitation from God to let him alone fill me, and to do otherwise would be disobedience. I’ve decided to give a ‘no thank you’ answer to the offer. Even though I don’t have a clue where God is leading me on this new adventure, I’m learning to choose him over the apparent security of the known.
My friend Mary diligently collected a certain type of dishes for her table. They could not be found in a store, They had to be sought out and collected from someone who’d owned them previously. She loved the beautiful blue on white pattern that graced her table. Sometimes, I’m sure that others thought she overpaid to have this prize when she found it. After all, those dishes originally were given away in the grocery store as a reward for groceries purchased. They were not fine china nor were they originally seen as pieces with great value.
We all have our own opinions about the worth of something. But that doesn’t make us right! Is value based on the cost of the creation? The time, materials, and care that went into the creation. In reality, the true test is the price that someone is willing to pay.
It doesn’t matter how others see your value. I was redeemed at great price, although there are days I tend to forget that and sell myself short. You too, were redeemed at great price. No one can take away your value!
My nephew and his wife have a new baby. Today, he wrote an eloquent post on their family blog about the challenges of balancing life, the changes they find in their thirty-something lives and I heard the unspoken plea, let us get this right!
This feeling never really goes away does it? At every stage we want desperately to get it right! And, we often are focused on the next step ahead as we fight this battle, so much so we miss living in the here and now.
From my perspective, recently retired from the ‘day job’, I completely understand this desire to get it right as we focus on the next stage or step in life. Life becomes a race and we are focused primarily on the end or at least the next milestone. This can be a heavy burden. It’s difficult to do today well when our focus is on tomorrow. Then, as you look back, it’s difficult to realize what you missed by being so forward focused.
I don’t think God ever intended us to rush so much or to focus so completely on what is ahead. I also know that he is not the harsh critic of my life that I am at times. He said, my yoke is easy, my burden is light. That doesn’t sound like a God who beats me up for more, more, more. He also said that we should not worry about tomorrow, he’s already got it handled.
God’s focus is on relationship. His relationship with us, our relationship with him, and our relationships with others. Relationships require we live in the moment. Want to join me as I readjust my focus?
Oh the angst! No matter where you get your news the focus of the events of the day can easily lead to a sense of despair. It seems that no choice is a good choice. We look around at the events of our day and see senseless violence, greed, corruption and hopelessness in so many places. You can focus on leaders, laws or other man-made solutions to the problems, or …
You can make a conscious choice to keep your focus on the one who has promised to be with you no matter how tumultuous the world grows.
I am choosing to keep my eyes set on the one who is above all governments. The one who is above all creeds and agendas. The one who is simply…above all.
Rather that get dragged down into the despair and hand wringing look up. Focus on the one that has promised to hold tight to you no matter how much the winds of change and evil blow against you. No matter how high or fast the waters grow. The one requirement…just like Peter, as he walked on water, we must not take our focus off of him!
I’m still reading Jeremiah. God called Jeremiah while he was still a young man. He said, “Before you were, I knew you, I set you apart and appointed you”. Jeremiah tried to argue with God, “I’m still to young! I can’t speak for you.” But God was not having it. He simply said, go, right now!
I notice right off that Jeremiah never said to God, I don’t understand what you want me to say or where you want me to go, he just made excuses. We aren’t told how God spoke to Jeremiah, only what he said. But clearly he heard what he was supposed to hear. God also addressed the root of Jeremiah’s reluctance, fear! He said, I will protect you, but when that didn’t do it, God had to get tough, he said, now get out there and do it or I will make you lo0k foolish in front of those you are afraid of.
Hmm….It made me think about my own excuses.
√ Fear of failure.
√ I’m not sure what you want me to say.
√ I’m not really qualified.
In so many ways, I’m like Jeremiah. I’m not young, but I still struggle with many of his insecurities. If you think that the Old Testament is filled with dusty old stories we can’t relate to, I’m pretty sure you are wrong!
Lately, God’s had to get a bit tough with me just like he did with Jeremiah. So, I’ve decided to get out there and do it before God makes me look foolish. If you find me absent for a day or two, just know that I’m hanging out with Jeremiah.
There is a video on Facebook about an overweight young woman who begins to do yoga and it changes her perception of herself. Despite her weight she masters yoga. She says” I’m free, I feel worthy.” While it’s a touching video it made me sad. Sad because I, along with many women, judge my worth on the wrong things.
Ladies, you don’t need to be thin, beautiful, successful, popular or wealthy to be worthy. You are worthy! You are worthy because God made you worthy. He created you to be the unique individual you are. He loves you, period, no qualifiers needed!
We experience a lot of pain and rejection because we let others define us. Let yourself be defined by God, your creator and savior. It’s an awful tool the ruler of this world, our enemy, uses against us. But, “Greater is he who is in you, than he who is in the world” 1John 4:4.
You are his masterpiece! Stop wearing yourself out chasing a false idea that when you become ____ (fill in your own blank) ___ you will become worthy. It won’t work. The accuser will just bring another lie against you. Look to the one who created you for your worth.
I have been reading the book of Jeremiah, described by a friend as a great book but kind of depressing. I have to say from what I’ve read lately I’m not depressed, I’m relieved! Here’s what I’m learning. Even though God was totally exasperated with his people, he had Jeremiah prophesy for 41 years asking them to repent. That speaks to me of a God who really wants to give us a chance to get our act together and follow him like we should.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a lot of situations in my life were I desperately needed another chance to get it right. I’m a bit hard headed at times and I am totally driven when I’m aiming for a goal. I can miss those warning signs along the way.
In Lamentations 3:23 it says: “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (NLT) So, I can start fresh any time I need to. That is pretty amazing! I’d be a fool not to take advantage of this gift.
Are there things right now you wish you could do over? Well, you can! Just start over right now.
I went out this morning to plant something in my flowerbed and discovered little bulbs popping up out of the ground all over the place. They had grown so much in just a few short years that the ground couldn’t contain them! So, I dug up that one little clump of bulbs and had handfuls of new bulbs just waiting to be planted throughout my flowerbeds. I spread those bulbs around. Next spring, I will have new little purple bulbs popping up all over my flowerbeds. I love seeing this!
This is how God’s economy works. What ever we plant, we will grow in even greater numbers. He has used this principle to spread his word down through the generations. He tells us that what we plant, we will harvest (Galatians 6:7). So, I was thinking, what am I planting each day?
What do I plant in my heart and mind that will multiply and impact my life?
What to I plant in the lives of others knowing that it will multiply? Will I be proud of what I see later?
I really want to see a field of beautiful words, deeds and actions pouring from my life and blessing others. If I want to look out one day and see that field of beauty, then I need to be planting that every single day.
We all need times of solitude and reflection. Time away from interruptions and distractions. My husband and I are fortunate enough to have a little cabin in the woods. It’s not much, no plumbing, no running water. But it sets on acres of beautiful trees. We have no cell phone connection thanks to a big hill that might as well be a mountain.
We will be spending this evening and part of tomorrow there. I will take my Bible and my notebook. My husband will bring his book. We will pack a cooler and just partake in solitude under the trees and the night sky. I will be listening intently for God to speak to my heart.
What do you do to make space for God in your life? Think about turning off distractions so you can give him your undivided attention.