Monthly Archives: August 2015

CHANGE-Part 1

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I hate that word–for a couple of reasons. First of all, it says there is something wrong. Secondly, it’s probably the toughest thing on earth to do. And if that change involves anyone other than yourself, get ready for the fight of your life.

For most of my career I’ve dealt with community change. This requires vision, collaboration, determination and resilience.  In other words, you’re going to need a tough skin. Rejection and opposition seem to be the norm so you can imagine that my plan for each day was to simply try to maintain a forward motion. People are all different and they adapt differently to change.

Resisters.  They look and observe but are not engaged in the conversation. When I walk away from a conversation with this type of person, it feels like the lights are on but nobody is home.

Passive Aggressive. They listen and may even nod their head, and then they act as if nothing was ever said. They heard but they didn’t let their learning translate into action. Their minds were made up so knowledge never became understanding.

Receptive. They will seek to understand–they ask questions and want to know the whys, not just the whats.

Adopters. These people quickly grasp the issue, the change required and ask the how questions. They are ready to receive the good, just need to understand their role.

Leaders. They look at issues and envision a new paradigm and ask “Why not.” These people shake things up and often cause the earth to shake for those around them. Good is never enough–there’s always a better.

Our comfort with change has a lot to do with our ability to see ourselves in the new paradigm and to understand our roles and responsibilities. In other words, it’s the “all about me” syndrome. And to be honest, we all fall victim to this way of thinking at one time or another. It may simply be instinct and self preservation at work. But somewhere along the line we have to open our eyes and see that the change may be coming and we need to adapt whether we asked for it or not.

Probably the hardest change I ever had to deal with was the personal computer. I taught a typing class (now known as keyboarding). I could make those machines sing (that doesn’t mean I could change the typewriter ribbon–there’s not a mechanical cell in my body). I was proud of my typing skills and speed. Well, forget all that. Here came the PC. My boss bought one for the school where I worked. He unboxed it and sat it on a table in the back of his office and we all just looked at it for about two weeks. Yep, we owned one but had not a clue what to do with it. The coach had been dabbling in PC’s at home and was eager for us to adopt this new monster into our lives. I told my boss I’d be glad to read the manual and see what I could learn, but he felt that was his responsibility and so we waited for him to get around to it. After a few days I simply ignored its existence for it could be awhile before the boss actually had time to figure this thing out–we are talking months if not years.

Then the impossible happened–a paradigm shift as they say in corporate America. We needed to send a letter to every parent and it had to be customized with information about their child(ren). Being a fast typist, I started calculating how long it would take me to type over 350 customized letters. This was going to be a mammoth task but I was ready to dig in. As I wrestled with this new project, the coach came in and said, “Oh, this would be a perfect project for the PC. You simply create a spreadsheet with the data you want in each letter, create your template letter and merge/print.” Oh he made that sound easy enough, but we still hadn’t figured out how to plug the thing in. I needed to get cracking on these letters if I was going to make the deadline. There were going to be long nights and weekends in my future and I didn’t have time now to stop and learn all about this new fang-dangled machine and things like spreadsheets.

As the saga unfolded, he left my office undaunted and cornered the boss, convincing him that indeed I must use the new PC for this new project. So my boss arrives in my office and announces that NOW I’m supposed to get that manual out and learn all about this machine and use it for my new project. Talk about resistance. This was not what I asked for nor what I wanted. This change was stressful to the max. As he left, I walked in and stared at this thing. I was afraid to plug it in or touch the keyboard for fear I’d break it, but somewhere in the box there had to be a manual and I would start reading. I’d offered to do so two weeks earlier and been rebuffed, but suddenly I’m now supposed to become the new resident expert. Can we just all remember that in those days the manuals were anything but user/reader friendly. I took the manual into my office, but soon realized I needed to be looking at the parts of the machine if I was going to understand. Determined to do my best, I loaded up this thing with all of its cumbersome parts and took it into my office. But there wasn’t a place for it. So I sat down on the floor with this big plastic thing, its box and wires, and a big screen that felt like an eyeball looking back at me. And I began reading what might as well have been a manual written in a foreign language. When my boss walked in and asked how things were going, I burst into tears–real tears. Yep, I cried real tears the first time I had to use a PC. I was overwhelmed. I was flooded with frustration and a fear of failure. How did he think things were going?

Well, long story short, I figured it all out. The coach came back and helped me and today I cannot imagine my life without my personal computer. Like it or not, change is inevitable. We cannot stop it but we can commit to trying to understand and learn. I’ve watched our churches change music styles, worship times, dress codes, programs, etc. And we have changed the way we work and deliver messages–I’ve even learned to tweet and my church has an app. But while we may change our tools and methods of communication, we must never change our message–LOVE.

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BLOOM

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I was sitting out in my garden this spring and my roses and irises were breaking forth into blooms–there was a majestic explosion of color that could not be quieted. Soon my lilies, hydrangea, crepe myrtles, etc. bloomed. I can tell you the month/week of the month it is by what is blooming in my yard. God seems to have a timetable for these things.

The vegetable garden was tilled, planted, fertilized and watered. And we waited for vegetables to begin to appear as we plotted with fencing, scarecrows and sunflowers against the crows, squirrels and bunnies who were also waiting for a taste of our crop.

And the trees put forth those beautiful spring green leaves that provide such a feeling of freshness. And before long the boughs are filled and flowers break forth. Some of my favorites are the pear trees, red bud trees, crepe myrtles and dogwoods. Oh how my heart thrills to see their blooms arrive each year.

And no yard would be complete without lush grass–you know, the soft, thick carpet that urges you to kick off your shoes and walk around in its softness. There’s nothing like a carpet of green spreading out across the backyard.

Oh, there have been weeds and bugs to contend with. And soaring temperatures and periods of drought have threatened the success of our garden. But in God’s miraculous way, He has made all things come forth and bloom in His time. He is the Master gardener and He knows how to make all things beautiful in His time. It’s been His sun and rain and soil that did all the miracle work. It is such a joy to just sit on the patio and gaze at all the beauty He has provided for us.

Luke 12:27-28: “Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which today is in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith.”

So many times I’ve turned to this verse for encouragement when I was worried over finances or the provision needed for my family. But as I looked at my garden, God showed me a new meaning. God is preparing each of us to bloom at His appointed time. It’s easy for us to look at others in God’s field and wonder what He could possibly be making of us. Don’t lose heart; keep looking to Him and watch the miracle as you begin to bloom unto His good work in His time. Your blooms won’t look like your friend or neighbors’, but who is to say if a daisy, rose, peony, hydrangea, tulip or iris is the most beautiful? Is the grass any less wonderful or important because it doesn’t flower? And what would a garden be like without the shade and fruit of the trees? Oh, and how would we survive without the good vegetables and fruits? You are going to be a unique work of beauty crafted by Him for others to gaze at and marvel. God has created you unto every good work. Don’t look at others and feel unqualified or unimportant. Just give your all to Him and watch Him use your for His glory in His kingdom work.

As I looked at my rose bushes, I remember how we had trimmed them back so far we wondered if they would ever bloom again. And there was so much snow and ice this past winter, I worried whether any of my perennials and my newly planted shrubs would survive. But they are all alive and blooming beautifully. Have you been going through a difficult time personally? Do you feel you might not make it? Put your faith and trust in Him. Count your blessings and watch Him turn your grey skies into blue. Just like with my plants, the cold harsh winter makes the roots go down deep, ultimately strengthening them. James 1 tells us to to count it all joy when we fall into times of testing because it will bring forth patience and wisdom for our journey. So cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you (I Peter 5:7).

–and  if He cares for the grass of the field, how much more is His provision for you.

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DESPERATE FOR GOD

fear-615989__180What drives you to your knees before God? I’m not talking about those times where you find a great chair to sit in, grab your Bible for quiet reading and reflection and begin your prayer time with thanksgiving, praise and worship. I’m talking about when you fly to your knees and the only words that form on your lips are “Oh, God, help me.” For me, those times might include:

*  Bad news–like the night my husband arrived unexpectedly at my office. While always glad to see him, I searched his face trying to figure out why he was there. There was no smile and he said, “I need you to brace yourself, Carol.” There was a pause while my world began to spin and my knees threatened to buckle. He reached out for me and said, “Jason has been in an accident and it doesn’t look good.” There were no words just a desperate mom flying unannounced into the throne room. “Oh, my God, have mercy!”

*  Illness–when the doctors say they don’t have an answer, I fall on my knees before The Healer–my Jehovah Rapha.

*  Financial disaster–job loss, financial crisis–“Oh, Abba Father (daddy), help!”

*  Relationship turmoil–Oh, yes, I’ve worn out a few kneepads for this reason alone. “Oh, God, do you still love me?”

*  Lies and turmoil seem to swirl about you. You don’t know where it’s coming from or what to do about it. The Deceiver has declared it a game day and he is kicking you up and down the field. You want to run under His wings that He might cover you.

*  The doctors tell  you to call in the family. God’s will doesn’t appear to align with yours and your emotions crumble as you try to find a way to understand and accept His sovereignty.

*  Sudden peril–your life hangs in the balances.

*  When I don’t know which way to turn–where to go next.

Scripture has been my only source for comfort in these times for there were men and women in the Bible who went through these types of circumstances. And through it all, we see God’s faithfulness. And I cling to that thread. Throughout my life, He has never failed me yet and so my thread has become a strong cord. It’s all I have in these times. For example:

*  Bad news–The father who had gone to Jesus to seek His help with his child’s illness, but receives the message from his servants that there is no need to bother the Master because his child has died. Yet the Master steps in and heals and raises her.

*  Illness–The woman who reached out to touch the hem of his garment. He was her last hope. She was so desperate that she couldn’t even face him or find words to plead for her healing–she could only reach out to touch the hem of His garment–and she was made whole.

*  Financial disaster–Oh, poor Job. I don’t think it could get any worse, yet from his lips come profound trust that I’ve clung to on more than one occasion, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” And God stepped in and set everything right.

*  Relationship turmoil–David had his share. Yet he was faithful and honorable. Even though he had the chance to slay King Saul who was trying to kill him, he placed his relationship and ultimate throne/position in God’s hands. And God honored him.

*  Lies and turmoil–Esther and her Uncle Mordecai certainly walked through just such a storm. Oh the lies spun by Hamen–can’t you see him gloating as he weaves his web of deceit and lays his traps for Mordecai. Oh, my God was faithful to turn it all around, and Hamen hung on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai.

* The doctors tell you to call in the family. Mary and Martha experienced this type of grief. Jesus was called and came to be with them and He wept. He was moved by their grief. He’s moved by our suffering and the impact that death has on our hearts. Jesus stepped in and resurrected Lazarus, his last recorded miracle. I feel that it was His compassion over our grief, suffered at the hands of death, that paved the way to Calvary.  He chose to walk that road for the glory that was set before Him–His vision of us all gathered together around His throne. So He chose to lay down His life for His friends (us–He calls us friend) to take away our sins and conquer death, hell and the grave once and for all–for us all.

* Sudden peril–While it could be argued that Daniel was also a victim of lies and turmoil, there’s no doubt that when he landed in that den of lions, He and the Lord had a very dramatic conversation. There was no time for flowery words, it was bound to sound something like, “God, NOW would be a good time for you to show up.” And He closed the mouths of the lions.

* When I don’t know which way to turn–where to go next. God told Abraham to to take his family to a place He would show him. So he packed up and left–following God. Later God told him to take his son, Isaac, up to the mountain and offer him as a sacrifice. Abraham didn’t understand. He couldn’t see any way out and was unsure where God was going to take him or what He was going to require of Him. But he took the steps put before Him trusting God that He would lead and direct.  And God provided a lamb.

These stories and passages (and many others) have assured me I’m not the only one who has walked this way of desperation. They also provide me with proof positive that my God hears, knows, understands and will act on my behalf. So I run into my strong tower, His mighty name(s), and ascend the stairs through prayer, where I look out on the battlefield of my life and watch Him fight for me. I feel His reassurance that He is with me and that He is in charge. And in the midst of my storm, there is faith in the One who is Faithful. So I find myself in a unique position–desperate yet at peace.

No matter what you are facing, never hesitate to run to Him in your desperation–His arms are open wide and He is anxious to hear and deliver you.

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UNITY

fireman-100722_640When’s the last time you felt united with someone or with a group. I’m not talking about just feeling like you belong to the group, but feeling that you are all on the same page–experiencing the same focus and passion.

There is power in unity whether that is as a couple, a family, team members at work or a country. Think about each of those groups–when have you seen them united in heart, mind and endeavor?

Probably the most profound memory for me is 9-11. As we watched the fall of the towers, my husband and I decided we should go give blood at the closest collection center. As we arrived, the front lobby was empty as apparently the staff members were in the rooms with those scheduled to give blood. Soon others began to arrive–still no staff members to be seen. As the lobby filled in relative silence, it was obvious that the staff members had no idea what had just happened in our country and the impact it was about to have on their day.

Being a “take charge” type personality–particularly in a crisis–I walked to one of the rooms, knocked and whispered to the technician who came to the door. She looked up and gasped as she saw the over 50 people in her lobby. Panic flooded her face. As I explained the circumstances and asked about options and protocols, she quickly explained to me the limitations that personal medical privacy had on their processes. But I pressed her about how we could log in all these people who had come, get phone #’s, etc. and schedule them so they aren’t just waiting for hours/days on end. We decided I could log into their computer system and start taking names and #’s. She quickly showed me the system so she could get back to the person she was working with in the back–obviously she needed to focus on taking blood from as many as possible as quickly as possible.

By this time the phones are going crazy and there was a line outside. OH ME! A gal stepped forward and said she owned a call center and she would offer their services to answer phones. So we quickly wrote out procedures which we faxed to her offices and transferred all calls. Another person stepped forward who worked with an event company and asked if they could help–chairs and tents arrived shortly. Restaurant owners stepped forward and the crowd was provided with nourishment. A furniture rental facility brought in TV’s so we could all stay informed. And the crowds continued to gather so that our numbers had increased into the thousands. Hospitals sent us more beds, etc. so stations could be created. Off duty nurses and doctors stepped up to draw the blood. I pulled a team together and we determined a way to group everyone and get their information and begin scheduling their return.

No one was worried about position or power. No one argued or felt put upon. No one became impatient. It was obvious to everyone that this was an unexpected crisis and to a man/woman, they were there to help–no matter what, no matter when, no matter how long. There were hugs with strangers, tears, bonding, unity. Whatever anyone had that might help–it was put on the table for the good of the whole.

Do we need a crisis to take our eyes and minds off our own agendas and look to the needs of others? Does there have to be a crisis in your family, church, work team or our country for there to be unity?

Unity Can Be Present in our Lives 

Things that are present when there is unity:

*  Being Available–gathering together (phones aside, etc.–focusing on those with you)

*  Being genuine–just who you are

*  Being Open–sharing your hearts

*  Demonstrating selflessness and generosity–helping others with their roles and needs

*  Acceptance–if you are part of the group, that’s enough–you belong and are accepted and valued just because you are you

*  Sharing a common goal/purpose–it may be as simple as preparing to celebrate the next birthday or anniversary in your family, a deadline as a work group, a service project at your church, etc.

Things that are absent when there is unity:

*  Judgmental attitudes

*  Criticism

*  Imposed or unrealistic expectations

*  Selfishness

*  Personal agendas

*  Exclusionary attitudes or actions towards other members of the group.

There’s power in unity. Acts 4 outlines the impact of a church united. What’s holding you back. Plug in to each other and watch God begin to work.

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PRIDE

book-791884_640PRIDE! It’s that dirty little five-letter word that creeps into your heart, mind and soul and robs you of your self worth. Most of all, it is most often what blocks  our relationship with God. As I deepened my study of wisdom and began to realize it was all about our relationships, it was obvious that the first relationship that must be right in my life was my relationship with God.

Now I’m a Baptist preacher’s daughter and have sat in more pews and heard more sermons than most. I graduated from Bible college at the top of my class, have memorized chapters of Scripture (still not so good with quoting the references). I’ve worked in the church/Christian school, sung in the choir, taught Sunday School for over 50 years, led VBS, hosted missionaries, tithed, been somewhat faithful to prayer and Bible study (I’ve actually worn out a Bible or two), taken bus loads of teens on youth trips and summer camps (which ought to earn me some special reward in heaven), swatted mosquitoes at tent revivals, drunk gallons of sweet tea at church socials and made my share of covered dishes and pies. But when I came face to face with Proverbs 8:13 I had to take out my list of amazing accomplishments that I could wave before heaven and come face to face with the fact that none of that matters. Nope–none of it.

“To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

Instead what I saw was pride. Where had it come from? How had it crept in? As I began to look inside my heart I realized I had a lot of pride. Digging it out seemed hopeless–keeping it out impossible. But if a relationship with God was my true prize, then I had to get down to business with God. Over these past few years God has taken me on a journey to reveal just how much pride is in my heart. We have had to bring it out to the surface and I have had to repent of it. It’s worthless. Even worse–it’s what separates me from Him. He is what I desire. I can honestly say there has been no pride in this effort–it is very humbling. It has been very painful. How and when do we begin to take credit for what God is doing? When do we become self-sufficient instead of solely reliant upon Him? Oh, the deceiver has been busy in my life (and no doubt in yours) because He wants to separate us from our God and to hinder the blessings He has reserved for us.

God is teaching me how to boast and that my boast is found only in Him. Praise God He loves and forgives, He cleans and restores and He uses and rewards. So today I thank Him for His unfailing love (translated as loving kindness in several versions) toward me even though I am a sinner lost and undone. So I rest in and celebrate the fact that He doesn’t discard me because I’ve failed, but instead He has chosen to forgive me.  I praise God for His tender mercies and lovingkindness. I delight in Him and His attributes. Unworthy, yet He has set my feet on the solid rock (Psalm 40:2) and He alone is the lifter of my head (Psalms 3:3).

Jeremiah 9:23

This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
    or the powerful boast in their power,
    or the rich boast in their riches.
But those who wish to boast
    should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
    who demonstrates unfailing love
    and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!

What are you proud of? Be honest–make the list. . .give it to God and let His Spirit speak wisdom to your heart as you begin to recognize your pride.  Then join hands with Him as the Spirit begins to root out your pride.

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THE THRONE ROOM

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When I stand before God each morning in His throne room, it’s a time of transformation. You see, He knows everything about me so there’s no need for facades. I know that He knows (as do I) that I can do nothing apart from Him. So we take out my heart and take a good look at all that is in there: sin, covetousness, insecurity, hurts, frustrations, fear. . .and pride. All things He did not plant there. Things that cause me to act in ways that are not His ways. It becomes obvious that my time has been spent covering up what He and I know is there until I finally come clean before Him and ask His help at cleaning out my heart so He can create in me a new heart–one that mirrors His heart.

This week God has revealed the falseness of pride to me in a new way. So let’s look at some definitions of pride vs. humility. I found these definitions on Askville by Google.

Humility

Humility is true self-knowledge, the good with the bad. It is being able to be comfortable with who you actually are and not trying to pretend to be what you are not. It gives you pride when you have earned it by your talents and accomplishments and shame when you fall short. It accepts that you are far from perfect and keeps striving. It is honest.

False Pride

False pride is presenting yourself to others (and yourself) as something you are not – a man without flaws. Joe Cool, always in the know. The smartest guy in the crowd always and never in doubt. It is pride not earned-style over substance. Not honest.
False pride is trying to seem humble in order to gain the attention of others.

I found it interesting that shame is the result of false pride. Shame is sure to come because we are always going to fall short in our humanity. Oh how the deceiver wants us to believe the opposite is true. Oh the many tentacles of false pride that we each have that wrap themselves around our hearts. I once thought I could be a great wife and mother, church worker/Christian leader, employee–Not so. Even though I gave it my best shot, read the books and tried to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s, I must come face-to-face with my inabilities–my miserable inabilities. In fact, in looking back it is obvious that the more I tried, the harder and longer I worked in my own strength, the more destruction I created. Oh, the deceitfulness of self.

So I find myself on my knees in the throne room.  There’s a movie coming out called WAR ROOM. I have such a room in my house. Mine’s not a closet–it’s a sunroom with lots of windows so I can look up to Him and walk into His throne room. And in the throne room God and I get down to business: my heart business. (And I never get up again until I’ve also bathed each of my family members in prayer–it’s the least I can do for I know I have been bathed in prayer by my parents and grandparents before me).

As I enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, I come boldly before the throne–because He is my Abba Father. Now I didn’t do anything to deserve this relationship or privilege except accept His offer of forgiveness. Sometimes I rush in with singing and joy, but more often than not it is with tears and heartache.

When I’m in the throne room, my false pride and self righteousness fall to the ground like a dirty garment waiting to be gathered and tossed away–it’s not even worth cleaning or recycling. Trust me, there’s no GoodWill that would want this garment. And in its place, He places on me a garment of His righteousness that envelopes me with:

*  True humility. The interesting thing is that even though I stand completely exposed, I don’t feel condemned.

*  True love. I know that He, if no one else, loves me just as I am.

* True acceptance. While others may condemn, when the One who is PERFECT loves you just as you are, there is acceptance.

* True encouragement. He doesn’t say “you can do better” but He says, “Let me show you the way.”

* True cleansing. We agree on some old attitudes and ideas that should be rooted out. We replace my false pride and failures with His vision and mission.

* True strength–strength to get up and to try again.

* True possibilities–can I correct the failures of the past? No. But I know that with Him all things are possible–even the remaking of me and the creating of a future I dream of. He can turn ashes into gold.

* True satisfaction. Most of all I become satisfied–satisfied that if He is the only one Who loves and accepts me, it is enough–more, MUCH, MUCH MORE, than enough.

In the throne room, I have found what I searched for–acceptance, love and reassurance. I can quit my searching for He has filled my longing heart. Before Him I am accepted with all the good, bad and ugly. Not that He is going to let me stay the way I walked in–He is making me new. And, oh how I need to be made new. It’s painful facing my failures, areas of false pride and wicked ways. . .ways that separate me from Him. But I want nothing more than a face-to-face relationship with Him. So if He is my all-in-all, I find I hate anything within me that might separate us. And I’m encouraged that He desires such a relationship with me for He gently points out the offending things in my heart and we agree they have to go. Oh, I didn’t get this right the first time, and I still stumble around on my journey…but He is quick to come beside me and help me. So I press on, for with Him, all things are possible.

The first step was to quit striving and come into the throne room. This took purposeful intent and agreement with God that there was work to be done in my heart. He’s waiting on you as well.

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JUST BREATHE

dentist-674654__180Yesterday, when I should have been posting a blog, I chose elective dental work. What was I thinking? At my recent cleaning, my dentist suggested we might consider replacing a crown because she was afraid it was aging and it would protect my tooth and possibly prevent a root canal if I was proactive in replacing it. FAT CHANCE OF THAT! So as much as I hate dental work (which is probably about as much as you hate it), I set the the appointment and actually showed up yesterday morning. The worst part of any dental procedure is the shot(s) to numb the pain. Let’s just say that we had to do five series of shots to get that tooth numb. And when the drilling and grinding was FINALLY all done, she squirts something on the tooth that made the nerve react even though it was really numb by that point. So pack it all up and ship me off to get a root canal. Exactly why did I elect to do this? Oh, it must have been that $1,100 in my bank account with no place to go.

Besides the many complications and frustrations of that day, the one thing that stuck out in my mind was when my dentist stopped everything and gave me lessons in breathing. “Carol, take a deep breath in and let it out–like this. In and out, in and out.” Now I’ve had many years of breathing experience so if things hadn’t been so dire, I’d have laughed at how crazy it is for a grown woman to need breathing lessons. And every minute or so she’d say, “Carol, you are not breathing again.” Well, what did she expect? Lessons or no lessons, it was a hold your breath and pray it all goes away kind of day.

How many times in my life have I held my breath or tucked my head back under my proverbial pillow in hopes that it would just all go away? It never did. The theory that “If I don’t think about it or look at it, maybe it’s not there” has never worked for me.  It’s always there. Life is just full of these difficult things that come at you like a curve ball when you least expect it–when you are trying to do all the right things. Once I realize it is there (and not likely to go away), I always rolled up my sleeves, put my head down and tunnel through. It’s truly like being in a tunnel where all the air is stale and so you hold your breath and just keep tunneling. Unfortunately, all that tunneling took a lot of effort and I forgot to breathe along the way. I focused so hard on the problem that I failed to ultimately see all the good around me. All I saw was the tunneling that needed to be done. And so as not to beat myself up too bad, someone needed to be tunneling. But maybe I could have taken a little break now and again just to breathe. . .just to enjoy life. . .just to enjoy those around me whom I cherish and adore.

So now that I’ve had lessons on how to breathe–that take it in and let it out effort–I’m going to try it in other parts of my life. Life is messy. It’s unpredictable. It can be painful. . .but if you breathe, it’s a lot easier to bear.

So take a breath today. Lay your burdens down for just a little while. . . and breathe. Breathe in His goodness. Exhale your tension and pain. Psalms 150:6 says, “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” So tomorrow when I have the root canal, I’ll turn my thoughts to praise and try breathing.

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