When Life Seems Out of balance

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My husband and I enjoy biking on the weekend. The greenway near our home is a beautiful place to ride. The paved trail runs along a long, winding river, complete with water falls and lined with lush flora and beautiful green trees. The air is fresh, smells wonderful, and feels great blowing in our face as we peddle along the paved trail.

However, there is one section that I don’t particularly enjoy. It runs underneath an interstate bridge. There is a concrete wall on one side of the trail and on the left is a gulley of water. It is also not very well lit. While the paved trail is just as wide as it is out in the open, the dimness of the light and the concrete wall on one side with the water on the other always causes me to lose my balance and I end up getting off the bike and pushing it through the tunnel.

I find this is true in my spiritual life as well. When I’m not reading my Bible or praying as I should, life tends to get a little darker, I get a little wobbly, and I’ll  be unkind, make a bad choice that I later regret, or just start to have less peace.

God’ word is a light that guides us through this uncertain and scary world helping us to make decisions that are best for ourselves and others.

If your life seems a little off balance lately, try spending more time in God’s word and watch the light of God’s wisdom glow brighter in your life, helping you to see more clearly to smoothly navigate through this sometimes crazy but wonderful life.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”  Psalm 119:105

 

Why I blog

I’m a natural encourager.  I can always see the good in people – their great qualities, characteristics and abilities when sometimes they can’t see them for themselves.   Actually, I’m pretty good at seeing the good in any situation, especially bad ones.  Maybe that’s because I tend to look for them.

I love the Word of God because to me it’s like an owners manuel for Life.   I believe there are answers in there for every situation we encounter.   The Bible is like a well that never runs dry, bursting forth with new insights.   They don’t always jump out at you, (although sometimes they do), but often you must dig and study to discover the truth.  God seldom makes things too easy for us.  We are designed to work for the best things in life and studying the scriptures is no exception.

My previous three posts: Confessions of a Winter Whiner, Are you a Worrywart, and Our Limited Time on Earth, are all life lessons I’ve learned through the scriptures.

I want to share what I have learned along my life journey with others by taking situations that we often deal with and applying a scripture to that situation.  I figure that if I have dealt with it and found a scripture to encourage me, that it can possibly help someone else.

Our limited time on Earth

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Photo by A Sanders Production

It was the last act of love from my father to me and my siblings, the remnants of everything  he had worked for his entire life, handed to me on a piece of paper.  We had just closed on his house and property and we each received a check as our portion of the inheritance.

Dad had passed away a few years earlier.   After his funeral, I stood in the bathroom looking out the window over his back yard and into the fields behind the house.   For almost ninety years he trampled around these grounds. As a young child he would no doubt run and play and he also told stories of plowing the fields behind the house with a mule.  Then as a grown man, he worked those same fields with a tractor, plowing and planting rows of corn, potatoes, and other vegetables; I can still see him carrying food out to the pigs, chickens and cows.   In his later years, he would sit on the back patio, drink coffee while watching the sun set, and feed his pet squirrels or chat with visitors.

The land had been in our family for generations. Dad had grown up in the house just two doors down.  My great grandfather owned hundreds of acres which was divided up between his children.  Then my grandfather’s land was split up among his five children when he passed, leaving my dad with several acres on which to farm and raise his family.

As a child, I would ride my bike along the country roads past my three aunt’s houses.  I always I had a sense that this was our little corner of the earth.  With relatives living all round, It just felt like it belonged exclusively to us.

But that day after his death, realizing that after almost ninety years, my father would never walk these grounds again, the reality set in that we really don’t own anything on this earth.    We only get to use it while we are here and then we must leave it for someone else.  This is not our permanent home. We’re just passing though.

“For the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”  1 Corinthians 10:26.

How to not be a worrywart

Do You Worry?

I find myself getting anxious over many things. When I’m running late, struggling to reach personal or professional goals, family matters, the affairs going on in our nation. There is plenty to worry about in today’s world, yet God tells us,  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” Philippians 4:7

Really?  Anything?

I confess, some verses are just hard to obey. “Do not kill,” I get, but to never worry about anything? This one seems almost impossible.

I tend to get anxious about situations that I want to go a certain way because, frankly, I want control, but many times I’m anxious about things over which I have  no control.  What I’ve found is that being anxious actually just complicates the situation and makes it worse.  Worry never helps.

What can we do?

So how do we keep from being anxious or worrying about circumstances or situations that are important to us?  God tell us in the next verse that when we bring our petitions to Him in this way, “The peace  of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7  When we do our part, God promises to do His part!

We do live in perilous times, but God promised in His word that He will remain faithful to all generations. That includes us!

To never stress or worry is something we can strive for every day.  We won’t reach perfection, but we certainly can become better at it day by day by bringing all our  concerns to Christ, with thanksgiving, and learning to trust Him.  Just like anything, the more we practice, the better we become.

Whenever you find yourself worried or getting anxious about a situation, repeat  Philippians 4:6-7  to yourself to remind you to trust God.  Then see how your mind and heart become transformed in that moment.  It helps!  God knows I have to do that often!

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26.3

Confessions of a Winter Whiner

I confess, I’m a  a winter whiner.  I prefer the long, bright,  warm, sunny days, of summer with colorful flowers everywhere, green grass and lush trees, flip fops, and sun dresses.

Winter, on the other hand, gets me depressed.  Not just the cold and short days, but the many cloudy, dreary days. Sometimes in Tennessee, where I live, we go for weeks with grey, cloudy days and no visible sunshine.

Recently though,  I’ve felt convicted of my blasphemy of winter and vowed to make a change in my attitude.  After all God made winter for a purpose, and I doubt it was just to torture us!  To help combat my sullen winter attitude, I’ve compiled a list of all the blessings winter has to offer that summer can’t bring:

  •  Winter Saves our skin – The summer heat dries and burns our skin.  If we’re smart we’ll use sunscreen while outside, but even with that our pigment darkens to try and protect it from the sun’s intense rays.  Having a few months when the sun is less strong and we’re covered up provides a much needed rest for our skin so that it doesn’t wrinkle as much or get cancer!  Now that’s a good thing.
  •  Candles – You can’t burn candles in the summertime.  It’s too hot.  But the scented fragrance and soft glow that fills the house on cold, winter evenings brings warmth, coziness and comfort to the home.
  • Snow –  When adults hear a snow storm is on the way, we usually get anxious about how we’re going to get to work and from work, or to the grocery store.  Why can’t we just enjoy the beautiful, peaceful, blanket of white like the kids do?  We don’t get a lot of snow in Tennessee, but next time it comes, I’m going to try and not to be anxious about getting to and from work but to just enjoy the view and maybe throw a snowball or two.
  •  A warm fire in the fireplace.  No one would think of building a fire in the summertime.  It has to be cold so the fire can warm you up!  I love reading or chatting by the fire, or having dinner by a warm fire.  It seems to not only warm the room, but warm your soul as its crackling reminds you that you are safe in the shelter of your home out of the elements.
  •  Christmas – Jesus wasn’t really born in December, but I’m thankful the early Christian church choose December 25 as the day to celebrate His birthday.  As far as I’m concerned, it’s appropriate that Christmas comes in December because it’s the darkest month of the year with the shortest days.   Around Thanksgiving, Christmas lights start slowly appearing on houses.  I get to enjoy them every evening on my drive home from work.  The minute I walk into my house from work,  I can light up my own tree to enjoy white light every evening for the next four or five weeks.  Along with the lights, the gifts, Christmas music, shopping and parties all make an otherwise dark and dreary December a glorious month.  Can you imagine how boring December would be without Christmas!
  • Rest – Have you noticed that you tend to sleep more in the winter?   During the summer, I can easily get by on seven to eight hours,  but in the winter it’s more like eight or nine hours.   Winter is a time when the trees and vegetation rest.  Most go barren and don’t bare leaves or fruit for three or more months. They are resting.  Perhaps God gives us more night so we can have  extra rest that allows our bodies time to heal.  By forcing us to slow down, God may be helping us to stay healthy and live longer.

I am learning we can do ourselves a big favor by being grateful for the season God has given us instead of complaining about what we don’t like, especially when it’s something over which we have no control.   As I write this it’s cold, cloudy and drizzling rain outside.  The trees are bare and at 3:00 in the afternoon, I know there’s only about an hour of daylight left.   But my candle is burning in my cozy, warm home and I’m enjoying its cinnamon fragrance.  I can see the lights on my Christmas tree.  Life is good.

Jim Rohn once said,  “You can’t change the seasons, but you can change yourself.”  We can’t grumble and worship at the same time.  The next time I’m tempted to grumble about the cold, I hope I’m able to be grateful for the day instead.

“This is the day that the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it!”  Psalm 118:24

Still the number one thing I love most about winter… is that it’s only 3 months!

What are some your favorite things about winter?